WHEN JESUS WAS BORN
Matthew 1:18 ¶ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Matthew 2:1 ¶ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
In Matthew 1:18 we are instructed that we are about to enter into the subject matter of the Incarnation. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:” Or, “was in these circumstances.” Here in the Gospel of Matthew we are introduced to it regarding Joseph, with the wise men and Herod. Whereas in the Gospel of Luke we are introduced to the Incarnation with Gabriel, Mary, and the shepherds.
With the Matthew account, as it took so long a journey for the eastern wise men, they find a young child living in a house with Mary and Joseph. Matthew 2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
But with the Luke account the shepherds are invited by the angels to find a baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
So we are first told (Matthew 1:18), that we are about to embark on the account of the birth of the Eternal Son of God, being fully God, now becoming also fully man as Jesus. He is fully God and he is fully man! Next (Matthew 2:1), we are told that he was indeed born in Bethlehem at the time of Herod the king. And later in the remainder of Matthew’s gospel we are instructed as to what kind of man he was. He was a man who determined to bring righteousness back among his Father’s creation, which was pleasing to the Father! Matthew 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
We find this three-fold accounting of the Incarnation also in the writings of the Prophet Isaiah. For first in Isaiah 7:14 we are told that it is to come. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Next in Isaiah 9:6 we are told that it has happened. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Take careful notice that when the child is born, it is a son given. For he always was the Eternal Son of God, before he came into his Incarnate flesh.
Then in Isaiah 11:1-3 we are shown what kind of man he is after his Incarnation. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
But why does the Lord go to so much detail concerning the event of God the Son becoming the son of man? It is because this One glorious Being shall have affect upon every human being, every angel, and every member of creation! Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
And every one of that multitude that John saw in eternal glory are there solely due to this Incarnate Son! Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Due to their relation to this name, all mankind either receive everlasting life or eternal damnation under the wrath of God. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. The entirety of the human race shall have their eternal destiny determined by their relating to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Also the Incarnation is the glorious event of the invisible God coming into the visible manifestation which he so determined before the world was! Therefore all creation is for the Son’s glory! As has already been stated, all things were created by him, and all creation is for him! Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, … all things were created by him, and for him:
For both the shepherds and the wise men represent those who will still come to the Lord Jesus for salvation. Not all who were in the east came! It was only those who are worshippers! See Matthew 2:2, listed above. John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
These were not just three men on three camels, bearing three gifts, as our greeting cards and church pageants falsely represent. There must have been scores, or even hundreds who came to safely make such a journey that took such a long period of time. For after Herod inquired of these travelers how long it had been since they saw the star and began their journey, he killed all those two year old and under, trying to destroy the Lord Jesus. Matthew 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
And the scriptures reveal that spiritual wise men still seek the Lord Jesus! 1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
The Lord Jesus spoke to the Father concerning those only wise intellectually but not spiritually wise. Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Professing one’s self to be wise without that wisdom acknowledging the glory of God is highly detrimental! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
And how did these wise men know to come all that way to find the new born king? Then followed the heavenly light. Matthew 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 9 ¶ When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And so it still is today! But as it has already been said, not all in the east came. John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star (the sun, the center of our universe), arise in your hearts: For the Son, the Light of life, arises within the hearts of God’s true believers and worshippers, to become the very center of their life! 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Therefore we begin to see just how important birth is to God, and should be to us. For physical birth is a picture of spiritual regeneration. John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And in order to reveal to us the greatness of birth, the Lord God brought forth mankind in several different ways. First He made Adam without the aid of a man or a woman. Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Then He made Eve with the aid of the man, but without the aid of a woman. Genesis 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made (‘builded’) he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, (womb-man) because she was taken out of Man.
Then he produced Cain with the aid of both t0he man and the woman! Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
And finally he produced the Humanity of the Son of God with the aid of a woman, but without the aid of a man! Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The spiritual birth is so vital that the Lord interrupted Nicodemus’ bragging on him concerning miracles and bluntly stated, “Ye must be born again!” And since Nicodemus only had one physical birth, he had no understanding of the second, spiritual birth. And that same ignorance fills our churches today! Therefore we are as the Jew’s chief priests and scribes. For they could readily instruct Herod from the scriptures the exact location of the birth place of Christ, but they had no desire to go to see him! 2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
May God have mercy!
Pastor Gene Breed
December 31, 2020