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Birth of Jesus Christ

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

The title for the sermon is “Birth of Jesus Christ”.  And the text is he gospel of Matthew chapter 1 verses 18 thru 21.  Listen to the Word of God:

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about:  His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

What a wonderful passage from the word of God.  What would you say to those who challenge us with the question?  How do you really know Jesus Christ was ever born, ever really even existed?

Let us begin with the Bible.  Whereas only Matthew and Luke give extended, detailed accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ, there is much evidence in the New Testament regarding the person of Jesus Christ.

There are 27 books in the New Testament.    They were not bound together.  There were 27 separate historical documents or scrolls or manuscripts. These books were not written at the same time or by the same person.  They were written by 8 or 9 different writers, depending on the book of Hebrews.  They were written in the year of our Lord from about 44 to 49 with James probably written last to the book of Revelation written by the apostles John in about 95 or 96.

And of the 27-different historical document how many specifically identify the person of Jesus Christ.  26 out of 27 books only with the exception of the epistle of Third John.  Were all of the writers describing Jesus Christ from only second or third hand eyewitnesses?  No, they were actual eyewitness as well as authors inspired of the Holy Spirit.  For example, there was the apostle John.  Listen to what it says in First John 1:1-3:  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ

So, notice that the apostle John clearly wrote and testified that he had heard in this passage twice and seen with our eyes, looked at the life that appeared and seen it by sight to us.  He emphasized it six times and with our hands we have touched.  Therefore, by example, the twelve apostles here the apostle John had personal, up close witness to this person this Jesus of Nazareth, to which they proclaimed, testified to it.  So, they were ear, eye and touch witnesses.  First hand testimonies affirm to the physical, historical reality of Jesus Christ which includes writers: Matthew, John, James the half-brother of Jesus, Peter, Jude and of course the apostle Paul.

So, consider the apostle Matthew, inspired of the Holy Spirit of God as he wrote in Matthew chapter 1 verse 18 in part: “this is how the birth of Jesus came about.”  So, notice the birth.  Jesus Christ is a human being, a real historical figure, born as one of us, flesh and blood.  In verse 20 it said in part “What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”  So here Jesus Christ’s conception was supernatural, miraculous, he was born of a virgin, the virgin Mary.  That is why God sent angels, messengers to help certain people involved Mary and Joseph, understand the significance of the birth, this supernatural birth of Jesus Christ.

In verse 21 it says she will give birth to a son and you will give him the name Jesus.  What does that name mean, Jesus?  Jesus is the Greek the Greek form of Joshua which means “Lord saves” or “Savior.”  Save from what?  Save from the Romans? No.

In Matthew chapter 1 verse 21 it says “he will save his people from their sins.”  His people meaning Israel.  His people by extension meaning all those who receive him by faith.  Jews and gentiles.  But are the biblical documents reliable historical testimonies?

Consider that no literature, no writing from antiquity, from ancient times on any subject or person are as quantitative, that is the number of copies or manuscripts or as qualitative in preservation as the biblical manuscripts, documents that collaborate each other and by different writers and at different times of writing concerning the historical person of Jesus Christ.  How about beyond the Bible?  Are there unbiased, non-Christian, secular, historically reliable documents regarding the historical Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ?  Yes!

Consider the non-Christian Jewish historian: Flavius Josephus who was born in the year 37 AD.  He wrote quote: “There was about this time Jesus, a wise man – if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many gentiles.  He was the Christ, and when Pilate at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross.  Those who loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the 3rd day as the divine prophets had pretold this and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him and the tribe of Christians, so named for him, are not extinct at this day.”

Non-believers charged that Christians “doctored up”, changed Josephus’ words in referring to Jesus as “the Christ” and “alive again the 3rd day.”  However, the actual, physical, historical existence of Jesus Christ was not denied or challenged, only some claims regarding Jesus Christ a literal, physical, historical figure.

Is this the only secular source?  No. consider Cornelius Tacitus at about the year of our Lord 112.  He was the imperial Roman historian whom in his writings referred to Jesus Christ by name as an actual historical person who lived, not a myth but a real man.

And also, there is Suetonius who live in the year of our Lord 120.  Another imperial historian who also made references to the actual historical figure known as Jesus Christ.

The fact is:  The world today knows more about Jesus Christ than practically any other person of very ancient times.  About his birth, life and death in detail – more than almost any other person of antiquity whose existence is taken for granted as genuine historical figures.

So, what do you think is really behind unbeliever that charge that Jesus Christ is only a myth, fairy tale.  That Jesus Christ never really existed?

Consider these biblical truths regarding Jesus Christ.  For example, in John chapter 5 starting in verse 21 it says this: For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.  Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.  He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent his.  I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.  For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.  And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

This passage speaks of Jesus Christ as judge, as eternal life giver so as not to be condemned.  And people do not want to hear about a judge, or judgement, or condemnation.

Consider also Acts chapter 17 verses 30 and 31 where it says: In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.  For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.  He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead

So, here it reveals Christ and the things of God that all people, all accountable human beings, must repent of sin and Jesus Christ will be the judge.  That he will judge the world with justice.  People don’t want to hear about repentance, and about sin, and about a judge, and about justice.

Consider now another example in First Peter chapter 4 verses 1 thru 5 listen to these words:  Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.  As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.  They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.  But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Again, the emphasis here is not to live for evil human desires. Not to live in this flood of dissipation which means not to live in overindulgence in pleasure, because men will have to give an account to him who is ready to judge.  We must not be living in lust and debauchery, and orgies and carousing and detestable idolatry and the rest.  Men don’t want to hear that.  They don’t want to have to give and account, they don’t want to have to give up their pleasures.

So, what’s the point?  The real reason that unbelievers reject, even to the extreme – that Jesus Christ was born, that he ever even existed is they do not want to have to deal with someone to whom they will have to give an account, to a judge, to be judged, to give up their heathenistic life style, the pleasure and whatever pleases the flesh.  And usually they are aggravated, non-believers are very aggravated at Christians who do not live in the same flood of dissipation with the excesses and the excuses and to point this out to them, an accounting is going to come and they don’t want to hear about a judge, they don’t want to hear about judgement, they don’t want to hear about justice.  So, how do we know that Jesus Christ really existed an exists?  What is our personal witness summation of all of this to the unbeliever, to the skeptic?  We must share that eyewitness accounts recorded and preserved in thousands of historical documents are valid.  Even unbiased historic secular documents indicate that Jesus Christ is a real person, who really lived, who walked on this earth and is coming again as judge to which we will all give an account, some account, some judgement.

Consider also that the Lord’s church today, about 2000 years later with generation after generation of faith in its founder Jesus Christ still across every continent, every culture, every color, every language and language group.  That on a macro sense.  How about on a micro sense?  Individually?  We also know and see even today, personal transformation of tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands from inside out continues from dramatic conversions to Jesus Christ.  For example, an alcoholic is no longer a practicing alcoholic is now a born-again believer.  Willing in many cases today are believers, particularly in persecuted nations of persecuted

Christians are willing to die for Christ’s sake, willing to die for Christendom, are willing to die for the church, are willing die for Jesus Christ and for the truth of the scriptures.  For a man, Jesus Christ who only lived about three decades on this earth.  But why when what would be a great testimony, the best answer regarding this Jesus, this Jesus of Nazareth the Christ.  What can we say about this man who really lived?  Consider the great passage written by the apostle Paul in the Philippian letter chapter 2 starting in verse 6:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!  Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We believe every word of this great passage and all of the Word of God.  Ultimately it is about faith.  Faith that Jesus Christ is real, faith about all of the other proofs that Jesus Christ was born and existed.  Jesus Christ, what a man, what a God, what a love, that he would become one of us.  That he would take our sin upon himself.  Become a curse, become sin, even a sin offering on our behalf.  That is love.

And Jesus Christ still transforms accountable human beings across this world, two thousand years after he walked on this earth.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10