Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

The Birth of Christ

by Tim Yates

The incarnation of Christ is one of the most incredible events in all history. In his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis entitled his chapter on the Incarnation, “The Invasion.”1 Some two thousand years ago, God took on human flesh, became man, and came to planet Earth. The Christ Child was born, and the world has celebrated ever since. Why? Because it’s Christmas. But why do we celebrate Christmas every year, and why is the birth of Christ such a big deal? In this article, I want to discuss the importance of the birth of Christ.


The birth of Christ was predicted (prophesied) in the Old Testament. The Prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). I think it’s truly amazing that the prophet predicted the birth of Christ, the Messiah of Israel, some 700 years before Mary gave birth to Jesus. The name of this “Son” is “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). Jesus is the God-man (John 1:14). Furthermore, Isaiah prophesied that a “virgin shall conceive” the Messiah. The virgin conception of Christ is a core doctrine of the Christian faith. Also, Isaiah predicted, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). This “Child” is identified as “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father.” The Christ Child is the omnipotent One who rules over all things.

The Scriptures also prophesied the location of His birth. Micah, the prophet, foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. He said, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). Furthermore, the Gospel of Matthew directly quoted this very same Old Testament passage before Christ was actually born (Matt. 2:5-6).

The Bible also prophesied how the Messiah would be conceived. Matthew quoted
Isaiah 7:14, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son” (Matt. 1:23). Matthew tells us Mary was “found with child” by the Holy Spirit even “before” Joseph and Mary “came together” (Matt. 1:18). He further claimed, “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:20). The evangelist tells us rather dogmatically that Joseph, “did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn son.” And he called his name “Jesus” (Matt. 1:25). Luke tells us that the angel Gabriel was sent by God “to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name is Joseph” and “the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26-27). The Gospel of John declared, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He further explained, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14). The miraculous conception of Christ is proclaimed throughout the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. Even the Apostle Paul said, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman”
(Gal. 4:4). Paul does not say, born of a man and a woman, but simply born of a woman. The God-man came into the human race via the virgin birth. The birth of the Messiah was prophesied, predicted, and proclaimed throughout Scripture, even foretelling the name of the little town where Jesus would be born. The birth of the Messiah is huge.


Why did Jesus come into the world through the virgin womb of Mary? Think about it. What is the purpose of His birth? Jesus was born so that He could be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Matthew said Mary would “bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Jesus is the One and Only Savior. John the Baptist saw Jesus walking toward him and announced, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Luke testified, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Even the Apostle Paul proclaimed, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). The mission of Jesus was salvific. The purpose of His birth was to restore man back to a proper relationship with God. Consequently, the birth of Christ is huge.


Thankfully, Jesus came to bring us back to God (reconciliation). Do you remember the fall of man? In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve sinned against God. Their sin and rebellion separated them from God. But God pursued a relationship with man. Adam and Eve “heard the sound (voice) of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8). Please note, God made the first move toward man. “The Lord God called to Adam” and said, “Where are you” (Gen. 3:9)? How would God restore fallen man back to Himself? God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed (man) and her Seed (Messiah); He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). Scholars call this verse the “protoevangelium” or the first gospel. God’s provision would come through “her Seed”… the woman (the virgin) conceived “The Christ” (The Messiah). The incarnation of Christ is super important.

Paul explained it like this. He said, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time”
(1 Tim. 2:5-6). Picture a wedge driven between God and man. The wedge which separated God from man is called sin. Jesus is the One and Only Mediator between God and man. There is no other Way (John 14:6). Only Christ can remove the wedge and reconcile man back to God. All of this was accomplished through the cross.


God is holy, perfect, and righteous. How do you satisfy the demands of a holy and righteous God? The solution? Christ and Christ alone. While Paul was discussing the universal nature of sin, he reminded the believers in Rome that God protithemai (set forth) His Son to be a hilasterion (propitiation) for sin through faith in His blood (Rom. 3:23-25).2 In other words, the blood of Christ satisfied or appeased the wrath of God. The Prophet Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would make “His soul an offering for sin.” He further declared when God saw “the travail of His soul, He would be satisfied” (Isa. 53:10-11). The sinless Son of God died an ignominious death to satisfy the righteous demands of a holy God. The justice of God will not permit Him to overlook or pass over our sins. But when the blood of Christ is applied, our sins are removed/covered. Paul reminded the church at Colossae that Jesus reconciled man back to God through the cross. Consequently, the hostility between God and man was removed, providing reconciliation (Col. 1:21-22).3 However, before reconciliation, the wrath of God had to be appeased. Who could satisfy the demands of a holy and righteous God? Paul declared, only Jesus and His blood. The propitiatory nature of the atonement of Christ enables man to be reconciled to God. The term apokatallasso (reconciled) means to bring back to a former state of harmony. The Apostle declared Jesus made peace with man “through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20). The estrangement and enmity were removed at the cross or, as Paul says, “in the body of His flesh through death” (Col. 1:22). Therefore, God reconciled “all things unto Himself” in heaven and on earth. Because Christ propitiated God’s wrath, God is free to take the initiative to reach out to sinful man and reconcile him back to Himself.4 Paul explicitly claimed “that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). The provision of reconciliation was made for “the world.”

But can His perfect provision keep me saved? What if I’m not perfect after I become a Christian? John promised the believer, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). Jesus is our Lawyer (Advocate). He pleads our case. His defense is the blood of Christ. Our sins are paid in full—past, present, and future. Thankfully, Jesus died for man, but Jesus also died for God. God was pleased, satisfied, and appeased by the blood sacrifice of His Son. Believers are a blood-bought people (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19). We are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Eph. 1:7).  


Is the birth of Jesus important? Absolutely. Extremely important. So important, God the Father entered the human race by the virgin birth and took on human flesh. Both the Old and New Testaments prophesied and pronounced Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Moses, Isaiah, and Micah all foretold the coming of Messiah. Even Micah predicted the precise location of His birth. Man needed a Savior, a substitute—someone to remove sin forever. “Not by the blood of goats and calves,” the Old Testament sacrificial system, but “with His own blood,” Christ entered the Most Holy Place “once for all,” and He “obtained eternal redemption” for us (Heb. 9:12). The blood of Christ purchased us from the slave market of sin. We have been reconciled back to God. The justice of God was satisfied by the death of His Son (propitiation). Sin has been paid in full. This is something to celebrate. Why? The Christ is born. No wonder Christmas is celebrated around the world.
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