Who Is This Baby?
Holiday’s bring with them traditions. I come from a family that has a lot of traditions because we do everything together. We have family gatherings for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving as well as many celebrations of events, achievements, or life milestones. Of all the traditions we have, Christmas is one of my favorites. Every year the growing extended family on my Mom’s side gathers to celebrate together. Though there are presents and food and fellowship, there is also an awareness that this holiday is ultimately about Jesus. Because we are all believers there is something we do before any presents are opened. I must confess that as a child I hated it because it meant we had to wait longer for gifts. Now that I am older, I love it. Here’s what we do. My grandpa sits in his lay-z-boy, grabs his Bible, and reads the Christmas story. Sometimes we have the kids act it out, sometimes he reads another Christmassy book as well, but always, the Christmas story is read. In a family filled with believers, it can be easy to forget that the world around us views Christmas as simply a break from school and a time for good deals, family, and gift giving. While none of those things are bad, they miss the big picture.
Christmas is the celebration of a birth. A baby was born and we celebrate His birth. Today we want to answer a fundamental Christmas question. Who is this baby? Why all the fuss? I mean, babies are born all time! Why is this one so important? If Jesus had been a baby born through normal processes under normal circumstances, there would be no meaning in Christmas. But He wasn’t. Jesus was born through a miraculous process under miraculous circumstances and nothing will ever be the same again!
If Jesus had been a baby born through normal processes under normal circumstances, there would be no meaning in Christmas.
We are going to learn four truths about the baby in the manger.
These truths will challenge us to remember the identity of Jesus.
As we remember who Jesus is, we will be better equipped to serve Him.
The more we serve Him, the more like Him we grow. The more like Him we grow the more we bring Him glory. The more we bring Him glory the more satisfied, content, and full of purpose we become. The first truth presented by Paul is that…
1. This Baby Is The Messiah v. 1
1. This Baby Is The Messiah v. 1
When someone is your bondservant, it automatically makes you the master. Paul describes himself as the slave of Jesus, thus designating Jesus as his master. A bondservant does what the master dictates. In this instance Paul says the master has called him to be an apostle and separated him to the gospel. “Called” is the Greek word κλητός (klētos) meaning called. Summoned adj. — denoting someone whose participation or presence has been officially requested (for something); especially a request to which refusal is not an option.
Called – κλητός (klētos)
When our master calls. We answer. As slaves we need to remember our purchase price! One of the clearest passages that describe what we cost is found in (S).
As slaves we need to remember our purchase price.
knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
The price paid for you and I is the precious blood of Christ! We belong to Him! He can call us as He chooses.
Paul has been summoned to be an apostle and this summons cannot be refused. “Apostle” is the Greek word ἀπόστολος (apostolos) which literally means delegate, messenger, or one sent forth with orders.
Apostle – ἀπόστολος (apostolos)
Paul is a messenger sent by God. He also holds the office of apostle which means he was specifically chosen by Jesus to speak on His behalf. In the modern church we look back and may be tempted to think of this as a glamorous position. However, in Paul’s day it was essentially a death sentence. Church tradition, as well as documented history, reveals that all the apostles except John were killed for their faith. Jesus has called Paul to a dangerous mission! Yet Paul’s attitude is that of a servant to the master. He cannot refuse.
Paul continues by stating that he has been separated to the gospel of God. “Separated” is the Greek word ἀφορίζω (aphorizō) meaning separate; appoint; set apart. To be or become selected and assigned for a specific purpose.
Separated – ἀφορίζω (aphorizō)
Paul has been appointed for a specific purpose, the gospel. The good news. What is the good news? We will get to that in v. 2. However, it is hinted at here in v. 1 when Paul refers to his master as Jesus Christ. I have emphasized this before but we would do well to remember that Christ is not Jesus’ last name. Allow me to do a little bit of etymology on this word.
In the NKJV the word “Messiah” appears for the first time in . This English word is used to translate the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach). Though is where the word “Messiah” first appears it is not the first appearance of the Hebrew word mashiyach. The Hebrew word literally means anointed one. It first appears in Leviticus in connection with the anointing of priests. Hebrews reveals that Jesus is our High Priest. He is not an anointed one, He is the anointed one! As we move through the OT and come to 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Chronicles, Psalms, Isaiah, and Lamentations this word begins to be used to designate a specific anointed one who would come in the future and radically deliver Israel changing everything forever.
We come to the NT and poetic Hebrew is traded for the more technical Greek. In we are transitioned from the Hebrew term to a Greek one (S).
He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).
We have found Messias (the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew mashiyach), which is translated Christos (the Greek word for anointed).
So what? Right? The point we are getting at is that when we say Jesus Christ or Christ the Lord or Christ child, we are referring to the anointed one! The one who came to deliver Israel and make everything right again! He is our master. He calls us all to be witness of Him. This time of year gives us some wonderful opportunities to talk about Jesus, if we only take advantage of them. Christmas is about more than a baby, it is about who that baby is!
People are comfortable talking about a baby in a manger, but not a man on a Cross.
Use the one to transition to the other! This baby is Jesus the Christ! The one anointed by God to deliver mankind from their sin! All of that is contained in this first verse. Paul moves on to address how…
This baby is Jesus the Christ! The one anointed by God to deliver mankind from their sin! All of that is contained in this first verse. Paul moves on to address how…
2. This Baby Is The Promised One v. 2
2. This Baby Is The Promised One v. 2
This is very important. Paul states that the gospel was promised by God, through the prophets. Gospel means good news. What is the good news? Jesus! His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection. God made a promise of good news. A promise that was given through the prophets and recorded in the Bible. A promise that was given long before the event promised. One of the questions this brings up is what prophets? The coming of Jesus Christ was prophesied over and over again with some amazingly specific details. Isaiah tells us about a virgin conceiving and giving birth in (S).
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
At the beginning of the month we saw this prophecy fulfilled in . But that isn’t all Isaiah said here. Isaiah says that the Son who is born will be called Immanuel. In we are told what this name means (S).
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
God with us! That is who this Baby is! Isaiah prophesied it, and Matthew recorded its fulfillment. Though we can’t take time to look at them all, the prophesies about the Messiah start in and can be traced through the historical books, the prophetic books, and even the poetic books. In Genesis the general promise to send someone to crush the serpents head is narrowed down and refined telling us He would come through Seth, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, David, and Solomon. We are given details about when He would be born, who would announce his birth, and who the forerunner would be. All told there are hundreds of prophesies about the birth and life of the Messiah; and Jesus fulfilled them all.
I do want to examine a couple more that are always relevant at Christmas time. These may or may not be new to you but it is healthy to be reminded of these things. First, let’s examine (S).
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
This is possibly the most well known prophesy about the Messiah. It was well known in Jesus day as well. When the wise men come seeking Jesus it is this verse that the scribes tell Herod of. Luke details for us how there was a census and Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem where Jesus was born in fulfillment of this prophecy. God used a heathen governor to declare a tax census and bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem in fulfillment of this prophecy!
Let’s look at one more, back in . Here we are told exactly who the Messiah would be (S).
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
This is quite the prophecy! This makes it very clear that the Child to be born will be God in the flesh. He will come from David’s line and will rule forever. Turn to .
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
The Description Gabriel gives to Jesus is almost identical to Isaiah’s prophecy. There can be no doubt that the same individual is being spoken of. Paul writes to the church in Rome, expressing the reality that the good news about Jesus Christ was promised through the prophets and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. Here we see what they recorded! The word “scriptures” simply means writings and “holy” means set apart or unique. That is God’s Word! It is unique out of all writings because it was breathed out by God.
God inspired His prophets to write about who the Messiah would be.
We can trust the Word of God! This baby is the promised one! From Genesis to Malachi the expectation grew, and in the gospels the Messiah arrived! Paul continues in the next verse to explain how…
This baby is the promised one! From Genesis to Malachi the expectation grew, and in the gospels the Messiah arrived! Paul continues in the next verse to explain how…
3. This Baby Is The King v. 3
3. This Baby Is The King v. 3
Paul informs us that what the prophets wrote was about God's Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Depending on your translation you may not have the full title of Jesus here, it may be at the end of v. 4. Either way He is the subject here. I always love the full use of Jesus’ name. In this instance it is heightened with the possessive “our”. We dealt with the words “Jesus Christ” in v. 1. “Lord” means master. With dealt with that concept in v. 1, here it is stated. He is Lord! His resurrection declares Him to be such. Paul confirms that what the prophets wrote about was Jesus, God’s Son. We will deal with that more fully in v.4. What we want to focus on here in v. 3 is that Jesus was born of the seed of David.
In discussing the previous verse we noted that God promised and prophesied that the Messiah would come through David and Solomon. Let’s take a look at these prophesies. First turn to .
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
This is what we refer to as the Davidic covenant. One would come through David who would rule and reign eternally. further clarifies this promise (S).
However the Lord God of Israel chose me above all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever, for He has chosen Judah to be the ruler. And of the house of Judah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father, He was pleased with me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.
This lets us know that it is going to be through Solomon that the promise will be kept. Both of Jesus’ earthly parents were from the line of David. We learn this of Joseph in (S).
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
In the genealogies of both and we see the lineage traced through David.
When Paul says that Jesus was of the seed of David according to the flesh, Scripture supports that statement. He had to be!
If He were not from the seed of David, He would not be the Messiah!
Everything we believe would be a lie. The reality that Jesus is from the line of David gives Him the ruling right to David’s throne. Jesus is the king of the Jews. However, that is not all He is. As the Messiah who fulfilled prophecy He is going to rule and reign eternally. So He is not just a king in a long line of Israelite kings. Jesus is the King! records Jesus telling Pilate that He is the King. The baby that we commemorate on Christmas day, this child wrapped in swaddling cloths, this baby is the King of kings and Lord of lords! Finally, in v. 4, Paul reveals that…
The reality that Jesus is from the line of David gives Him the ruling right to David’s throne. Jesus is the king of the Jews. However, that is not all He is. As the Messiah who fulfilled prophecy He is going to rule and reign eternally. So He is not just a king in a long line of Israelite kings. Jesus is the King! records Jesus telling Pilate that He is the King. The baby that we commemorate on Christmas day, this child wrapped in swaddling cloths, this baby is the King of kings and Lord of lords!
Finally, in v. 4, Paul reveals that…
4. This Baby Is The Son Of God v. 4
4. This Baby Is The Son Of God v. 4
So often, at Christmas time, the little baby in the manger is divorced from the sinless Savior who suffered and died on the Cross. These four verses we have looked at this morning are part of one really long sentence. Paul directly connects the child born from the seed of David with the Savior who died and rose again. What we must always bear in mind is that the child born in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling cloths, and laid in a manger; that child was born with a purpose. All month we have been singing “Born To Die”. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary so that He could one day die for sin and rise again victorious over death!
Paul states that Jesus’ resurrection declares Him to be the Son of God. “Declared” is the Greek word ὁρίζω (horizō) meaning appoint; determine; designate. To be specified. To be or become clearly characterized, defined, or delimited as.
Declared – ὁρίζω (horizō)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is definitive proof that He is the Son of God. Earlier we looked at , want to call our attention once again to v. 35. (S).
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
In ancient times a son was not considered less than the father. They were equals. The son would inherit the father’s name and position. When Jesus is called the Son of God it is a statement of equality. Jesus is God. His resurrection proves it!
Isaiah called Him the Mighty God and Everlasting Father! This baby is Immanuel, God in the flesh!
He came to bring salvation and deliverance from sin. Our memory verse for this month is (S).
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Why did Jesus come? To save sinners! This baby is the Son of God and He came to lay down His life as a willing sacrifice for sinners. Enemies, strangers, haters of God are able to be saved because This baby that we are celebrating is God Himself.
This baby is the Messiah, the Promised One, the King, the Son of God. Who is this baby to you? As we gather with loved ones and celebrate Christmas, what are we really celebrating? We are celebrating the focal point of Scripture! We are celebrating the birth of the Savior. We are celebrating the fulfillment of prophecy. We are celebrating the wondrous plan of God.
Have you placed your faith in Jesus the Christ as Savior?
Will we live for His glory alone?
I pray that the Christ of Christmas would be honored in our celebration.
May the celebration of Christmas empower us to live bold lives for Jesus Christ.
Sing with me “Silent Night”
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Who is this baby to you?