We looked at Jesus before He came to earth as a human. We call that the pre-incarnate Christ. We call Jesus coming in the flesh “the incarnation.”
I like to celebrate Christmas as a celebration of Immanuel, God with us. Jesus gave up heaven for a time. He gave up His ability to come and go freely anywhere. He emptied Himself to be filled with the Father.
Jesus on earth is the example for what our life as a Christian should look like. He said He could do nothing. He only did what the Father did and spoke what the Father taught Him to say. He was empty of self and full of God.
Our goal is to be empty of self and full of God. We want to no longer live for self but have Jesus live through us. The world doesn’t need us, but it desperately needs Jesus! We’ll look at the life of a disciple later in the course. Today, we’re looking at Jesus. (Every day you should be looking at Jesus!)
Today’s lesson is His birth. We have the young woman, Mary, engaged to Joseph; I understand that she was in her late teens. She’s told she’s going to have a child who will be called son of the Most High God. She asks the Lord a question to make sure she understands and submits herself to the Lord’s plan, even though it could mean being stoned to death and at the very least puts her in danger of losing her fiancé Joseph. She asks the Lord a question to make sure she understands and submits herself to the Lord’s plan, even though it could technically mean her being stoned to death, and she certainly is in danger of losing Joseph. The Lord “overshadows” her and she becomes pregnant. Half of Jesus’ DNA comes from God. If His genes had only come from Mary, Jesus would be her clone! God could have made Jesus any way He liked. He makes Him of no special appearance that would make Him attractive to man.
Again, God could have arranged anything for His son, but His birth takes place in the back of a house where they kept the animals. It was no coincidence that a census was called forcing Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem. It had been prophesied that the savior would be born in Bethlehem. God, the Father, couldn’t help but express His joy at the birth of His son. The angels burst forth in song, giving glory to God. Wise men who had searched the Scriptures and seen the sign in the sky, followed the star to the stable, and gave gifts to Jesus. Gold was a gift for a king. Frankincense was a gift for a priest; it was part of the perfume to be kept in the most holy place. Myrrh was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death. He was born to die for us. When He is laid in the tomb, there will be myrrh wrapped up in the cloth with Him.
Read the verses and thank Jesus for choosing being with you over being in heaven. From the day He entered Mary’s womb, He gave up something of Himself. He would have a body from that day on. Jesus is our picture of our God sacrificing Himself in order to be with you!
John 5:30 “I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
John 8:28 … I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.”
Philippians 2:5-7 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
Luke 1:35, 38 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Matthew 1:18-23 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
Isaiah 53:2b He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
Luke 2:11-14 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Matthew 2:2, 6, 11 …“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”…for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” …And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Lesson Point: Jesus is God with us. He sacrificed Himself to be with us.
Challenge Question: Are you willing to give up your life in order to be with God? (We will talk about salvation being the exchanged life, where we give up our life and receive His. Paul says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”)