Friday, December 4
Read Matthew 1:18
One of the essential doctrines of the Christian Faith is referred to as the “virgin birth” of Jesus. Actually, the baby Jesus was born just like any other child, but He was not conceived like every other child. To be the “Christ-child” – the “Messiah” – He could not inherit the sin nature that God handed down to all men because of Adam’s sin. So, as Matthew described it, Mary was “found with child” (discovered to be) before she and Joseph came together.
Never before had a man been “born of the Holy Spirit”, and never again. One must accept or reject the evidence given in the Holy Scriptures, for that is all the evidence we have. It is a matter of faith, but it is not a matter of conjecture. God promised to send a Savior through the “seed of woman”, and women are not the seed-bearers; men are. So, thousands of years before even Mary was born, God had already determined to use her womb to implant the “Seed of the Savior”, and in the fullness of time, as Paul said in Galatians 4:4, He kept His word.
The word for “Christ” and “Messiah” is the same word: Christos. Messiah is the Hebrew word and Christ is the Greek word, but both words have the same meaning and they both refer to the same person: The Anointed One. Back in verse 16, Matthew said Jesus “is called Christ”; that is, He is recognized as the Anointed One of God, the Messiah. Just as we will live the next 20 days in anticipation of Christmas, so the people lived for 400- years in anticipation of the coming of the long-promised Messiah.
Their lives were hard and harsh under Roman rule, and they lived in the daily expectation that God would soon send His Deliverer, like King David, to set them free. Many men claimed to be the Messiah, and led their followers to rebel against the Romans, and they were harshly killed. The insurrectionists Barabbas, who was set free in the place of Jesus was just one example.
The Messiah they sought was expected to do several things:
- Nationally – He was to be a leader like David, who would free the Jews from Roman oppression, establish Israel as an independent nation, and restore Israel to its former glory.
- Militarily – He was to be a great warrior like David, who would lead the Jews to victory over every nation that had come against them.
- Religiously – He was to be God’s representative sent to restore righteousness over all the earth.
- Personally – He was to be the one to bring peace to the whole world.
Obviously, even though Jesus declared Himself to be the Messiah on three different occasions, because He did not fit their concept of the Messiah or allow Himself to be used as the Messiah they wanted, they rejected Him and arranged for His crucifixion.
In Acts 2:22-36, as Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood to preach, he said:
- Vs 22 – “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
- Vs 32 – “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
- Vs 36 – “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
The name Jesus shows Him to be a man. The name Christ shows Him to be God’s Anointed – it is His official title, not His second name, as we often misuse it. The name Christ identifies Him as God’s:
- Prophet – Deuteronomy 18:15-19, Luke 3:38
- Priest – Psalm 110:4, Luke 3:32-38
- King – 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Luke 3:24-31
Many people continue to reject Jesus as their Savior and Lord today because He does not fit their concept of the Messiah. Many others have expressed their faith in their own concept of Christ, and think they are truly saved, when they aren’t. It is imperative that we have the true, biblical concept of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.