This week in our Connect Groups at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are going to study about the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We are studying the Gospel of Luke. Last week, we covered the birth of John the Baptist. The lesson was about overcoming doubt and fear by choosing to praise and serve the Lord. This week’s lesson will focus on the birth of the Messiah. This event has been 4,000 years in the making. I love the fact that Jesus is the King of the universe yet, when He comes to His creation, He comes as a humble servant. All throughout human history, we have records of kings and rulers who are served by the people. Jesus sets a different example as He has the right to be served by the people whom He created yet, He chooses to be a humble servant. How is this going to impact humanity? Let’s take a look and see.
I. Jesus the King
We know that Jesus is the King of the universe because He was there at the beginning when all things were created. As we examine this text from the Gospel of Luke, we will discover that Jesus is also the rightful King of Israel by birth.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1)
The first thing that we learn about the birth of Jesus is that it is a miraculous birth. Today, we do not announce the birth of a child until after the event has taken place. In the case of Jesus, His birth announcement is announced even before the baby is conceived. Also, generally, the parents of the child announce the birth of their child. In this case, an angel, the Angel Gabriel, announces the birth of the Messiah. Another unique thing about the birth of Jesus is the fact that He is going to be born to a virgin, in the family tree of King David. Jesus has the right to be the King of Israel according to his genealogy. This virgin birth is the fulfillment of Old Testament Bible prophecy. God announced all the way back in the book of Genesis, some 4,000 years before the birth of Christ, that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Some 600 years before the birth of Christ, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah proclaiming that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. The birth of King Jesus is the fulfillment of both of these prophecies, and many, many more. Not only does the angel announce the birth of this Messiah, he also tells the parents what the child’s name will be. He is to be named Jesus. The name Jesus is the Greek version of of the Hebrew name Joshua. This name means, “God’s salvation“. Jesus is God’s long promised salvation for all of mankind. This child born of a virgin will be great. The Greek word used in this text is “megas” and it means “the greatest“. Many kings have been born throughout human history but, Jesus is the greatest of them all. Jesus also has the right to be King because He is the Most High God. The angel informs Jesus’ parents that He is God in the flesh. Again, there have been great kings throughout human history but, none of them has been God in the flesh. According to the angel, one day, this King Jesus will be given the throne of David. This will not happen during Jesus’ lifetime. Instead, this will happen after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, at His second coming to the earth. As of 2020, this prophecy has yet to be fully fulfilled. The death, burial, resurrection, and ascension have all happened but, we still await the second coming. When King Jesus does return, He will reign on the throne of David forever. He has the right to reign and He has the ability to reign. Until the time of His second coming, He continues to save people from their sins. If you have never experienced God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, today would be a great day to make a decision to receive God’s salvation.
II. Jesus the Savior
The angel announced Jesus’ role as Savior when he revealed the name of the Messiah. As we have already seen, the name Jesus means, “God’s Salvation“. Upon discovering that she will give birth to the Messiah, Mary shares a song of praise and worship. Mary is a young woman who knows the Scripture. She is often presented as a simple peasant girl who just happened to be chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. She is a godly girl who had a relationship with God. She is also a good student of the Old Testament Scriptures. In the ten verses that contain her song of praise to the Lord for being chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, she makes seven Old Testament references. Mary quotes directly from the Old Testament twice. Mary is a simple Jewish girl who had parents who taught her the Word of God.
51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.
53 “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed.
54 “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.” (Luke 1)
How is the Messiah going to save? What is He going to rescue people from? First of all, Jesus is able to save because He has the strength to do so. In order to experience salvation, the proud are going to have to humble themselves and receive what He has to offer. Those who humble themselves will be exalted by the Messiah at the right time. This salvation will bring satisfaction to people who have been searching for contentment all of their lives. All of us have a God sized hole in our lives and we try to fill it with all kinds of things. Nothing will satisfy that desire other than a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus offers satisfying salvation. This final thing that Mary mentions is that Jesus will rescue His people. The word salvation literally means rescue. Jesus is able to rescue us from our worst enemy, ourselves. He saves us from our sin nature. Have you ever been rescued from the power of your sin nature? Are you still searching for satisfaction in this life? Jesus offers this and much, much more.
III. Jesus the Servant
The final thing that we learn about the birth of Jesus is the fact that He is coming to be a servant. This sets Him apart from the other kings and rulers of this world.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2)
Most of the kings born throughout human history were born to noble families in palaces of luxury and wealth. King Jesus was born to be a servant to His creation. He was born in the humble city of Bethlehem. But, this was not by mistake. This was to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy of where the Messiah was to be born. Over 500 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Micah wrote about the fact that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Not only was Jesus born in the humble city of Bethlehem, He was also born in a manger. A manger was an animal feeding trough. This signifies the humility of the Messiah. He came during His first advent to be the humble, suffering servant. He will return again as the conquering King to rule on the throne of David forever. The Apostle Paul commented on the humility of Jesus in his letter to the Philippian church.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, (Philipians 2)
Jesus humbled Himself by stepping down out of heaven and coming to the earth as a man. Jesus became like His own creation. Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross. This was the most humiliating form of punishment that the Romans had to offer. In the Gospel of John, chapter 13, Jesus teaches His disciples to follow His example of being a servant to all. He washes their feet and teaches them to serve others the way that He served them. Do you live to serve others the way that Jesus lived to serve His creation? What’s the best way to do this? Meet people where they are do what you can to meet their immediate needs and make sure that you share this amazing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is our King. He is our Savior. He is our Servant. Everything that He has done for us, He offers to everyone who will receive Him as Lord and Savior.
May the Lord help us see Jesus for who He is and what He is able to do! May we follow in His footsteps as servants to all.