blog

The Message of Christmas

Matthew 1:18-25

A Sunday School teacher asked her class “What is Christmas a time for?”

She got the usual answers—Jesus’ birthday, a time of joy, a time to worship God… but then one child raised their hand and answered, "a time for sportsmanship, because you don’t always get everything you want."

We don’t always get what we want but at Christmas we do get what we need. Through the birth of Christ, God provides the much needed gift of salvation to us.

History records some amazing and spectacular births, but the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ surpasses all births. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is unique. Jesus is the only baby ever born who had an earthly mother, but no earthly father. He had a heavenly father, but no heavenly mother.

The account in the Gospel of Matthew 1:18–25, views the virgin birth from Joseph’s perspective. Joseph and Mary had become engaged. An engagement in that day was as binding as marriage. Mary was found to be with child. What a shock it must have been to Joseph. Joseph was in a dilemma.

As a result of the legal nature of engagement, a man who found his fiancée pregnant would normally divorce her. Yet, Joseph was a fair and just man, who did not want to shame Mary by divorcing her publicly, so he decided to do so privately. Then the angel prevented this by assuring him that Mary was still a virgin. Her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, as predicted in Isaiah 7:14.

Thus we learn the message of Christmas as Joseph understood it. Through “Jesus” God was moving in history to redeem His people. The grace of God extended to all men who are condemned under the Law, but who may receive grace, mercy, and peace through Christ. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Mat 1:21 KJV). Joseph got the Christmas message.

How can your sins be forgiven?

First, declare your spiritual bankruptcy. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 KJV) To declare spiritual bankruptcy means to understand that the cupboards are bare, our pockets are empty, and our options are gone when it comes to saving ourselves from our sinfulness. Secondly, believe in Christ. The name "Jesus" was a common name in that day, but after it was given to this baby born in Bethlehem, from that day until this - it has not been a common name. “Jesus” in Hebrew means Savior. Joseph understood that this child was to be Jehovah, the Savior. Thirdly, turn from your sin. Finally, receive His gift of salvation.

Our past can be forgiven. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 KJV).

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. One day the son died and the father was so grieved that in just a few months’ times… he also passed on.

There was to be a great auction of his paintings and a great many influential people gathered, hoping for an opportunity to purchase one of the great masters for their collections.

The auction opened with a painting of the rich man’s son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the man’s son. Who will bid for this picture?" There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200? The son! The son! Who’ll take the "SON?" Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I’ll give $10 for the painting."

"We have $10, who will bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10."

A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let’s get on with the collection!"

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I’m sorry, the auction is over. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.

The man who took the son gets everything!"