The birth of christ

There have been many important births since the dawn of humanity.  Consider the births of the scientists who have given us things that make life easier.  There have been researchers who have discovered treatments and cures for diseases and ailments.  Great humanitarians who, through their tireless efforts, have eased the pain of many and helped them live productive lives. The births of those who grew up to be preachers and missionaries have blessed those to whom they have ministered.  However, one birth stands far above the rest.  It is the most important birth there ever was or ever will be.  It is the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Word became flesh (John 1:1-18)

Jesus’ coming in flesh as a man is called the ‘incarnation’, a word that means ‘in the flesh’.  The clear record of the Bible tells us that Jesus is God in human form.  First, we must remember that Jesus existed prior to His incarnation, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-3, 14 ESV, cf. Colossians 1:15-17).

In one of Jesus’ prayers, He prays, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5 ESV).  Clearly, Jesus did not begin His existence when He appeared as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem.  He had already existed from eternity past.

Date of Jesus’ birth: c. 6 or 5 BC

Briefly, historians say the birth of Jesus occurred around 6 or 5 BC.  The Bible tells us that Jesus was born in the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4-5).  Jesus’ birth took place at the time in history God chose.  He had promised humanity a Savior in Genesis (3:15); and then set about to prepare humanity for the Savior’s arrival.  God’s providence had arranged everything to culminate in the birth of the Savior in that stable on that night.  The birth of the One who would give His life to pay for our sins.

Gabriel visits Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

Luke 1:26-38 tells us the story of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary.  This must have been quite unnerving for Mary, a visit from a heavenly being telling her that she, a virgin, has been chosen to give birth to the Savior of the world.  Mary was initially frightened until Gabriel told her that she had found favor with God.  Gabriel explained to her that she would conceive a child by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Believers rightly celebrate Jesus’ birth, but it was actually a normal birth; if being born in a stable can be called normal, that is.  However, His conception was a one-time event that was unique in all of history.

The angel told Mary a few things about her soon-to-be-son:

  • He was to be called “Jesus” (1:31);
  • He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High (1:32);
  • God will give Him the throne of David (1:32);
  • there will be no end to His kingdom (1:33);
  • He will be called Holy-the Son of God (1:35).

Gabriel assured Mary these things would surely take place because, “…nothing will be impossible with God” (1:37 ESV).  Mary and the angel ended their conversation with Mary humbling herself to the will of God.

Angel visits Joseph in a dream (Matthew 1:18-25)

Most believe that place was a stable, because the Bible says the baby Jesus was placed in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals, at His birth.

At this time, Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married.  In their culture, when a man and woman were engaged it was very much as if they were married, only without sexual relations.  When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he decided that he should divorce her without any publicity.  Joseph was probably very confused about the situation.  He believed he was marrying a virgin, and now he discovers that she is pregnant.  People would think that Mary had been unfaithful to her spouse already.  Still Joseph could have made a public spectacle of Mary, disgrace her publicly in order to preserve his pride.  However, apparently, Joseph was a better man and decided to divorce Mary quietly.

However, God had other plans for Joseph.  In Matthew 1:18-25, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream reassuring him that Mary’s pregnancy was a gift from God and that Joseph should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife.  Once again, the angel included in its message that the baby’s name was to be “…Jesus, for he will save his people form their sins” (1:21 ESV).  The name ‘Jesus’ is the Greek form of a Hebrew word meaning “Jehovah will save”.  Even the name God gave Jesus testified to His mission in life.  Believing the Word from God, Joseph took Mary as his wife.

Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7)

Caesar Augustus called for a census to be taken of all those dwelling in his realm.  Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but were required by the Roman government to make the trip to Bethlehem in order to register in the census.  The census was taken in order to assess the population for tax purposes.  Thus, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, even though his parents’ home was in Nazareth.  This fulfilled the prophecy of His birth found in Micah 5:2.

Since this was the time of the census, the city of Bethlehem would be brimming with out-of-towners.  For whatever reason, Joseph and Mary could find no suitable accommodations.  Then, the time came for Jesus to be born.  Apparently, Joseph and Mary searched for some place that she could deliver a baby in relative privacy.  Most believe that place was a stable, because the Bible says the baby Jesus was placed in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals, at His birth.

I am purposefully avoiding too much theological pondering in this article.  I want to focus on what it would have been like that night with Joseph and Mary.  They had traveled roughly 70 miles from their hometown in order to participate in this census.  However, that was just what was taking place on the outside.  Their spirits must have been soaring, knowing what the angels had told them, knowing the time was near for Mary to give birth to God’s Son, knowing that they had been chosen to participate in this incredible plan of God’s to save mankind from sin.  The hardships of the journey, and their lack of better accommodations, could hardly have made a dent in the overwhelming  joy they must have been experiencing.  It just seems reasonable that a loving God would bless their experience in a most powerful way.  This was God coming into the world in human flesh.  I cannot help picture the entire event as something blessed by God in a way that is unique to that particular time and place.  What an incredible story.  Truly, the greatest story ever told.

Conclusion

The Christmas story of Jesus’ birth has always been special to me.  The warmth I feel in my heart at Christmas time is more than the hot chocolate, or the Christmas tree lights at night, or any of the other fond memories I have of the holiday season.  It feels like God spreads His love on humanity a little thicker during the Christmas season.  It is as if He is reminding us that the gift of His Son, that He gave us so many years ago, should convince us of His love for us.  A love that we should all seek to emulate and share with others.

Christmas should be a celebration of the birth of the Savior.  It is my prayer that, this Christmas season, Christians will lovingly and prayerfully take the lead in turning the holidays back into a time of reflection on, and worship of, Jesus Christ.

“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17 ESV).

Interested in reading more about Jesus and Christmas? Check out these articles:

  • Christmas Bible verses

  • 10 Interesting Bible Facts about Jesus

  • 10 Good Christmas Traditions

Resources

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV)

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Have you ever stopped to think about the deeper meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ? Although many people, even unbelievers, have heard the story of Jesus’ birth, its real significance may be missed because of that familiarity with the “story” aspect.

The birth of Jesus Christ—a momentous event

The birth of Christ was not the ordinary birth of an ordinary man. It was the birth of the most unique Person in history. The birth of Jesus Christ was the incarnation of God Himself. In other words, the very God became a man. The significance of this is profound and will take all eternity for us to appreciate. The conception and birth of Jesus Christ was the mingling of God with humanity. Such a thing had never occurred before.

John 1:14 says that the Word, the eternal God Himself, became flesh, meaning the man Jesus. When this happened, the eternal God stepped out of eternity into time to become a man of flesh and blood. Jesus Christ was indeed a genuine man, but at the same time, He was God. He is both fully God and fully man.

In this post, we’ll use verses and notes from the Recovery Version to get a glimpse into the deep significance of Jesus’ birth to strengthen our appreciation of our dear Savior God.

The mysterious birth of Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament.

About 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the Jesus’ birth, saying in Isaiah 7:14,

“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.”

This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ’s birth—a son, born through divine conception in a virgin, without a human father. He was to be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” This son born of a human virgin was the very God with us.

A couple of chapters later, Isaiah prophesied about the birth of Jesus again, saying in Isaiah 9:6:

For a child is born to us, / A Son is given to us…/ And His name will be called / Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Note 1 on this verse in the Recovery Version opens a window into what it means for Christ to be both a child and the Mighty God, a Son given to us, and the Eternal Father.

“The child born of a human virgin is the Son given by the eternal Father. Christ is the child born of both the divine and human natures (Matt.1:20-23) and He is also the Son in the divine nature given by the eternal Father. Through the birth of the divine-human child, the Eternal Father gave us His divine Son as a gift. Through such a giving, everyone who believes in, i.e., receives, this dear Son receives eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 5:11-12).”

The mysterious birth of Jesus was fulfilled in the New Testament.

The New Testament provides us a record of the actual events surrounding Christ’s birth. Through this record we can appreciate the step God took to give us His dear Son to us to be our Savior and our life.

Matthew 1:18 tells us how this virgin birth came about.

“Now the origin of Jesus Christ was in this way: His mother, Mary, after she had been engaged to Joseph, before they came together, was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.”

Note 1 on this verse explains what this phrase “of the Holy Spirit” means regarding Christ.

“Although Christ was born of Mary (v. 16), He was a child of the Holy Spirit. The birth of Christ was directly of the Holy Spirit (v. 20). His source was the Holy Spirit and His element was divine. Through the virgin Mary He put on flesh and blood, the human nature, taking the likeness of the flesh (Rom. 8:3), the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7).”

Then, in Matthew 1:20, an angel of the Lord visited Joseph to assure him of this divine fact.

“But while he pondered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

The first note on this verse points out what God revealed about Christ in His assurance to Joseph.

“God was first born into Mary through His Spirit; after the conception was completed, He, with the human nature, was born to be a God-man, possessing both divinity and humanity. This is the origin of Christ.”

Many years later, in recounting this mysterious story, the aged apostle John made these profound statements in John 1:1 and 14:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

“And the Word became flesh.

The words from these two verses, simple, yet profound, indicate clearly that the Word was God from eternity, and that the Word—God—became flesh in time.

Note 2 on verse 14 speaks further about what this means.

“Romans 8:3 indicates that although this flesh was the flesh of sin, it had only the likeness of the flesh of sin and did not have the sin of the flesh. It is the Word who became such flesh, and this Word was God, the complete Triune God (v. 1). That the Word became flesh means that the Triune God became a man of flesh in the likeness of a sinful man. By so doing God entered into sinful man and became one with sinful man. However, He had only the likeness of a sinful man and not the sin of a sinful man. Hence, He was a sinless God-man, the complete God and the perfect man, having two natures, the divine nature and the human nature.” (Read the full note here.)

How does the truth regarding Christ’s birth affect us today?

Firstly, to be a genuine Christian, we must believe that Jesus Christ is more than a holy man, a prophet, or a martyr. He is the complete, eternal God come in the flesh. This is a basic item of the Christian faith.

As Christians, by prayerfully considering the Bible, especially the verses covered in this post, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the birth of Jesus Christ. God did not save us by somehow reaching down from the heavens in an objective way. The unapproachable God Himself became an approachable, contactable, knowable man. What a mysterious and yet wondrous fact! Our God became a man, experiencing everything of human life and living a perfect, sinless human life. And eventually, He went in His body of flesh and blood to die on the cross for us!

Through His incarnation, God was expressed in a man, Jesus Christ, in the flesh. Jesus, who was born in the manger, fully expressed the very God in all His rich being and Person to mankind. God’s love, mercy, righteousness, holiness, compassion, and glory were and still are expressed in the humanity of Christ.

By believing into the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved and receive Jesus—the one who lived a perfect human life that expressed the true God—as our Savior and our life.

If you’ve never done so before, you can receive Him right now by praying this prayer.

“Lord Jesus, I believe that You are both the complete God and a perfect man. Thank You for being born with our humanity and becoming a real and genuine man with both divinity and humanity. Thank You for dying for my sins. Lord, I receive You right now. Thank You for coming into me to be my life. Lord, live out in me Your wonderful life that expresses God.”

ABOUT BIBLES FOR AMERICA

Bibles for America (BfA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to give away free copies of the New Testament Recovery Version and Christian books throughout the United States. You can order a free study Bible here and download free Christian books here.

Want more?

Subscribe to receive helpful posts on the Christian life and the Bible.

blog.biblesforamerica.org

Have you ever stopped to think about the deeper meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ? Although many people, even unbelievers, have heard the story of Jesus’ birth, its real significance may be missed because of that familiarity with the “story” aspect.

The birth of Jesus Christ—a momentous event

The birth of Christ was not the ordinary birth of an ordinary man. It was the birth of the most unique Person in history. The birth of Jesus Christ was the incarnation of God Himself. In other words, the very God became a man. The significance of this is profound and will take all eternity for us to appreciate. The conception and birth of Jesus Christ was the mingling of God with humanity. Such a thing had never occurred before.

John 1:14 says that the Word, the eternal God Himself, became flesh, meaning the man Jesus. When this happened, the eternal God stepped out of eternity into time to become a man of flesh and blood. Jesus Christ was indeed a genuine man, but at the same time, He was God. He is both fully God and fully man.

In this post, we’ll use verses and notes from the Recovery Version to get a glimpse into the deep significance of Jesus’ birth to strengthen our appreciation of our dear Savior God.

The mysterious birth of Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament.

About 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the Jesus’ birth, saying in Isaiah 7:14,

“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.”

This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ’s birth—a son, born through divine conception in a virgin, without a human father. He was to be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” This son born of a human virgin was the very God with us.

A couple of chapters later, Isaiah prophesied about the birth of Jesus again, saying in Isaiah 9:6:

For a child is born to us, / A Son is given to us…/ And His name will be called / Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Note 1 on this verse in the Recovery Version opens a window into what it means for Christ to be both a child and the Mighty God, a Son given to us, and the Eternal Father.

“The child born of a human virgin is the Son given by the eternal Father. Christ is the child born of both the divine and human natures (Matt.1:20-23) and He is also the Son in the divine nature given by the eternal Father. Through the birth of the divine-human child, the Eternal Father gave us His divine Son as a gift. Through such a giving, everyone who believes in, i.e., receives, this dear Son receives eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 5:11-12).”

The mysterious birth of Jesus was fulfilled in the New Testament.

The New Testament provides us a record of the actual events surrounding Christ’s birth. Through this record we can appreciate the step God took to give us His dear Son to us to be our Savior and our life.

Matthew 1:18 tells us how this virgin birth came about.

“Now the origin of Jesus Christ was in this way: His mother, Mary, after she had been engaged to Joseph, before they came together, was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.”

Note 1 on this verse explains what this phrase “of the Holy Spirit” means regarding Christ.

“Although Christ was born of Mary (v. 16), He was a child of the Holy Spirit. The birth of Christ was directly of the Holy Spirit (v. 20). His source was the Holy Spirit and His element was divine. Through the virgin Mary He put on flesh and blood, the human nature, taking the likeness of the flesh (Rom. 8:3), the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7).”

Then, in Matthew 1:20, an angel of the Lord visited Joseph to assure him of this divine fact.

“But while he pondered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

The first note on this verse points out what God revealed about Christ in His assurance to Joseph.

“God was first born into Mary through His Spirit; after the conception was completed, He, with the human nature, was born to be a God-man, possessing both divinity and humanity. This is the origin of Christ.”

Many years later, in recounting this mysterious story, the aged apostle John made these profound statements in John 1:1 and 14:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

“And the Word became flesh.

The words from these two verses, simple, yet profound, indicate clearly that the Word was God from eternity, and that the Word—God—became flesh in time.

Note 2 on verse 14 speaks further about what this means.

“Romans 8:3 indicates that although this flesh was the flesh of sin, it had only the likeness of the flesh of sin and did not have the sin of the flesh. It is the Word who became such flesh, and this Word was God, the complete Triune God (v. 1). That the Word became flesh means that the Triune God became a man of flesh in the likeness of a sinful man. By so doing God entered into sinful man and became one with sinful man. However, He had only the likeness of a sinful man and not the sin of a sinful man. Hence, He was a sinless God-man, the complete God and the perfect man, having two natures, the divine nature and the human nature.” (Read the full note here.)

How does the truth regarding Christ’s birth affect us today?

Firstly, to be a genuine Christian, we must believe that Jesus Christ is more than a holy man, a prophet, or a martyr. He is the complete, eternal God come in the flesh. This is a basic item of the Christian faith.

As Christians, by prayerfully considering the Bible, especially the verses covered in this post, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the birth of Jesus Christ. God did not save us by somehow reaching down from the heavens in an objective way. The unapproachable God Himself became an approachable, contactable, knowable man. What a mysterious and yet wondrous fact! Our God became a man, experiencing everything of human life and living a perfect, sinless human life. And eventually, He went in His body of flesh and blood to die on the cross for us!

Through His incarnation, God was expressed in a man, Jesus Christ, in the flesh. Jesus, who was born in the manger, fully expressed the very God in all His rich being and Person to mankind. God’s love, mercy, righteousness, holiness, compassion, and glory were and still are expressed in the humanity of Christ.

By believing into the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved and receive Jesus—the one who lived a perfect human life that expressed the true God—as our Savior and our life.

If you’ve never done so before, you can receive Him right now by praying this prayer.

“Lord Jesus, I believe that You are both the complete God and a perfect man. Thank You for being born with our humanity and becoming a real and genuine man with both divinity and humanity. Thank You for dying for my sins. Lord, I receive You right now. Thank You for coming into me to be my life. Lord, live out in me Your wonderful life that expresses God.”

ABOUT BIBLES FOR AMERICA

Bibles for America (BfA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to give away free copies of the New Testament Recovery Version and Christian books throughout the United States. You can order a free study Bible here and download free Christian books here.

Want more?

Subscribe to receive helpful posts on the Christian life and the Bible.

blog.biblesforamerica.org

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