Dec 1, 2019
The Christmas Story, Pt. 1
Foretold of Old
By Louie Marsh, 12-1-2019
The real story of Christmas begins long before Joseph, Mary or the Shepherds ever lived. Today we’re beginning a 4 part series on Christmas. It begins in eternity and ends after Jesus was born.
1) Jesus was always the CULMINATION of God’s Plan.
The first mention of the Messiah is found in the story of Adam of Eve but the idea was born in the mind of God from all eternity. It was a mystery for millennia and not just to humans either.
Even the angels did not know the full extent God’s amazing plan, but he did and in the face of human sin and selfishness he set it into motion even as he judged Satan for his sin. 14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15 (ESV)
No one could have guessed it then, but thousands of years later this enigmatic statement would begin to be fulfilled in a dusty and largely overlooked little middle eastern town. The Messiah’s heel would finally come down on the serpent’s head years later on a bloody little hill outside of Jerusalem.
Throughout Hebrew history God continued to drop little clues about the coming of Christmas. When he called Abraham to move redemption forward and begin Hebrew history he foretold the future to him: 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:17-18 (ESV)
Hundreds of years later in the book of Numbers the prophet Balaam spoke of it as well: 17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth. Numbers 24:17 (ESV) Yes, a star would both lead the Magi to Bethlehem and from the town came the Christ, to whom all authority was given upon his resurrection from the dead.
The cost of Christmas was also foretold. The birth of Christ was no fairy tale or fantasy. It was rooted in the historical record of human cruelty and the lust for power. God through Jeremiah spoke about what would become the biggest tragedy surrounding the birth of Christ. 15 Thus says the LORD: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15 (ESV)
Time moved along and God continued to drop clues not only about where this would happen, but who the Messiah would really be. This is critical to notice for the Jewish leaders did not understand this and so missed their Messiah when he came. The prophet Micah said, 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2 (ESV)
Our final clue for today is one that foretold the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt and return after Herod’s death. God spoke through Hosea and said, 1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Hosea 11:1 (ESV)
Now all of these are wonderful and were surely mysterious to the Hebrews in the time leading up to Jesus birth. But none of them really capture what this season of Christmas is really about from a Biblical perspective. To see that we must leave what we usually call the “Christmas Story” and look at the first chapter of John’s Gospel where the hidden truth is revealed.
2) Christmas is really about God BECOMING HUMAN.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men…9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him... John 1:1-4; 9-11 (ESV)
12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 1 Peter 1:12 (ESV)
The mystery of Christmas, which Angels wanted to understand for ages but could not, was simply this: the eternal, all powerful, all knowing God, creator of heaven and earth; became a man. In a word Christmas is about Incarnation – God becoming flesh, becoming one of us, teaching us and ultimately dying and rising again to save us.
That’s the real story of Christmas. Eternity touching earth and transforming mankind from the inside out. I’ll be telling you this incredible story throughout the month of December. As you listen don’t get lost in shepherds or angels or wise men, and be sure not to be distracted by the mythology we’ve made up around Christmas of talking animals, drummer boys and more. Stay focused on the heart of the real wonder, the real miracle of Christmas, God becoming human to save us all.
…. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us…John 1:14 (YLT)
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 (ESV)
3) This act of God requires that everyone CHOOSE.
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13 (ESV)