Topical - Chronology of Christmas
Chronology of Christmas:
The Arrival of the King
I. His Ancestry
A. Lineage Through Joseph
Mt. 1:1 ¶ A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud,
15 Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
B. Lineage Through Mary
Lk. 3:23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,
24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,
26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
28 the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan,
38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
II. His Advent
Mt. 1:18 ¶ This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
A. Announcement of Jesus’ Birth to Mary
Lk. 1:26 ¶ In the sixth month (from the time of John’s conception), God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.
37 For nothing is impossible with God."
38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
B. Mary’s Anthem of Praise
Lk. 1:46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
C. Announcement of Jesus’ Birth to Joseph
Mt. 1:19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us."
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
D. The Arrival of Jesus
Lk. 2:1 ¶ In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Mt. 1:25 But he (Joseph) had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
E. The Announcement to the Shepherds
Lk.2:8 ¶ And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
III. His Infancy
A. At the Temple
Lk. 2:21 ¶ On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"),
24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
25 ¶ Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
B. In Bethlehem
Mt. 2:1 ¶ After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 ¶ After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Mission of the Magi
I. Who were they and where did they come from?
A. They were not kings.
B. The text does not say there were only three.
C. They were from the Median-Persian priestly ruling class.
1. Balaam; Num. 22:4-5; 24:17
2. Is. 60:1-5
3. Daniel; Dan. 2:48
II. What guided them?
A. The star was a God-provided source of light which the Magi saw and interpreted on t he basis of the ancient texts at their disposal.
B. The star may not have been their constant guide. It may have appeared in the east and then reappeared once they left Jerusalem. This would have required great faith on their part, even as Abraham had when he left Ur.
B. The purpose of the star was to authenticate and publicize the incarnation, and to draw men to worship the celestial king.
C. It was actually the Shekinah Glory of God that had departed eastward (Ez. 11:23) during the apostacy and had now returned in Christ as a beacon to draw men back to God.
D. This Shekinah Glory was the same as the “glory of the Lord” that appeared to the shepherds, although it was not called a star in that account.
III. Why did they come and why did God send them?
A. To reveal and confirm Christ as a priest-king worshipped by priestly rulers.
1. In Matthew’s Gospel on the Messiah, God calls forth even priestly royalty to worship Christ.
2. The fact that the Magi came proves that Christ is King.
B. To reveal Christ as the eternal priest-king of all nations.
1. For the first time in the N.T., Gentiles received a message from God and acted on it in faith just like Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Anna and the shepherds.
2. If Christ came today, would we go to worship Him? Or would we just watch it on TV? Perhaps we would just consider it another rapidly passing news event to be quickly consumed and discarded.
3. When Christ returns, the Bible tells us that all nations will go to Jerusalem to worship Him.
C. Perhaps also to show that wise men from all nations will seek him even if His own people don’t.
1. Neither Herod nor Jerusalem expected or desired His arrival.
2. This foreshadows His rejection by His people.
3. There was no room for Him in the inn and no room among His own.
D. To announce the arrival of the Messiah in Jerusalem.
1. The chief priests and teachers of the law knew the answers but had no personal interest.
2. The Magi came 600 miles to worship Christ but the Jews would not go even 6 miles to do so.
E. To condemn Herod in his usurped title of King of the Jews.
1. The Magi came to Herod, the king, as one who would surely know about the things of kings. It was strange that he did not know.
2. Herod was a ruthless Edomite impostor who even murdered members of his own family to avoid any possible threat to his power.
3. He was running his own game plan, not God’s.
F. To exalt truth and prophecy as the power of God which cannot be silenced.
1. Herod sought out the truth (from the priests who searched the O.T.) in order to try and destroy the truth.
2. He lost before he started and merely condemned himself (like Balaam many years before).
3. He died of a loathsome disease a short time later, after attempting suicide.
4. But even his act of murdering the baby boys of Bethlehem worked God’s program of exalting Christ by removing any contest of Christ’s rightful claim as the embodiment of the prophecy.
G. To finance the trip to Egypt.
1. The trip to Egypt solidified the identification of Christ with His people.
2. This identification with being delivered from the bonds of slavery out of Egypt would connect inseparably with the work of Christ to deliver us from the chains of sin.
IV. What do they teach us?
A. The wisdom of priorities:
1. Wise men seek Christ.
2. Wise men seek Christ until they find Him.
3. When they find Him, they surrender themselves and their possessions to Him.
B. The wisdom of worship:
1. Wise men are single-minded in their purpose to worship Christ alone.
2. Wise men worship the King with all they possess. They give gifts that are worthy of their worship of Him.
3. Wise men worship Christ with gifts that are meaningful and symbolic.
C. The gift of personal application:
1. Gold is for kings. As the eternal King, He is God. As God, we owe Him allegiance.
2. Incense is for priests. As the eternal Priest, He is the way to God. As the way to God, we owe Him worship.
3. Myrrh is for men. As the eternal Savior, He is the way to God for men. As the way to God for men, we owe Him devotion (obedience, death to self, even as He died for us).
C. In Egypt
Mt. 2:13 ¶ When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 ¶ When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
D. In Nazareth
Mt. 2:19 ¶ After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,
23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."
Lk. 2:39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
IV. His Childhood
Lk. 2:40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
41 ¶ Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.
42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.
43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.
44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49 "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"
50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.