Jesus - The Promised Fulfilled

Bible Book: Matthew  1 : 18-25
Subject: Jesus, Birth of; Christmas
Series: Jesus, Oh What A Wonderful Child
Introduction

A little boy came home from Sunday school and was so excited about the story he heard of the Wise Men, that he shared it with his parents. He said, “I learned all about the first Christmas. There wasn’t any Santa Claus back then, so these three fellows on camels had to deliver all the toys. And Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, with his nose so bright, wasn’t there; so, they had to have this big spotlight in the sky to find their way around.”

Sadly enough, Christmas has become a toss-up between Santa and Jesus. Everyone seems to be more interested in the initials S. C. (Santa Claus) than J. C. (Jesus Christ).

Someone has written a piece showing why Jesus is far better than Santa.

Santa Claus lives at the North Pole...

JESUS is everywhere.

Santa Claus rides in a sleigh...

JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa Claus comes but once a year...

JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa Claus fills your stockings with goodies...

JESUS supplies all your needs.

You have to wait in line to see Santa Claus...

JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa Claus lets you sit on his lap...

JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa Claus doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy/girl.”

JESUS knows our names, our addresses, our history, our future, and the very hairs on our head.

Santa Claus has a belly like a bowl full of jelly...

JESUS has a heart full of love.

 

All Santa Claus can offer is HO! HO! HO!

JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa Claus says "You better not cry"...

JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys...

JESUS makes new life. He also mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa Claus is a "jolly old elf"...

JESUS is the King of Kings.

Santa Claus may make you chuckle but...

JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa Claus puts gifts under your tree...

JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.

Is it any wonder we can sing?

Jesus, Jesus

Oh, what a wonderful child.

Jesus, Jesus

So lowly, meek and mild.

New life, new hope, new joy He brings,

Won’t you listen to the angels’ sing?

Glory! Glory! Glory!

To the newborn King!

In this series, we are focusing on “Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child.” Jesus is more than a precious child, or a perfect child; He is the PROMISED child.

Last week, we looked at Jesus, the Promise Foretold from the pen of Isaiah. All the way back in the Garden of Eden, God announced the promise of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, we are looking at Jesus-The Promise Fulfilled. I begin with the words of Dr. Ian Paisley, “I believe in the supernatural Christianity which presents a supernatural Christ, who had a supernatural birth, who lived a supernatural life, who died a supernatural death, who rose in a supernatural resurrection; and, who is coming again in a supernatural manner.” [1]

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Christ of Christmas. He is Jesus, and He is the promise of God that was fulfilled. Notice our text and see 3 marvelous truths about His birth. First of all, we see:

I. The MYSTERY of His Birth!

We read in verse 18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise, When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

We read of 2 people, Mary and Joseph. Mary was the woman, chosen of God, to be the vehicle which would bring Jesus into the world. As you consider the unusual means of Christ’s birth, there are a couple of things which make it a great mystery.

For one thing, God chose to use:

A. An Ordinary PLACE

In Luke 2: 4, we read that, "Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:”

By leaving Nazareth and going to Bethlehem, Joseph was fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5: 2, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

The name “Bethlehem” literally means, “House of Bread.” It was a city of great renown, respect or reputation. It was a common town filled with common people. But, this was the city which God had ordained for Christ to be born.

Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, but the prophecy given was for Christ to be born in Bethlehem. Thus, God ordained for a decree to be issued, by the Roman emperor, and for a census to be taken, which included the province of Judea.

This demanded that Joseph, being of the lineage of David, should go to Bethlehem to be enrolled. Thus, God slipped His hand into the glove of history, and arrange for Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem.

Why? The answer is given in Luke 2: 6, “that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.”

God chose an ordinary place to be the birthing ground of an extraordinary Savior. God chose the most unusual, undesirable, and unlikely of places to show up, show out and show off the Lord Jesus Christ.

That encourages my heart, because it tells me that we do not have to be listed among the Who’s Who of Churches to experience the power of God. We do not have to have the biggest buildings, the boldest budgets or the best business to experience the blessings of God.

God is not, cannot and will not be limited to ordinary places. We can be just ordinary people, in an ordinary place and experience a glorious visit from God.

It’s not about the place, it’s all about the person, presence and power of the Lord Jesus. You let Jesus get in a place, and suddenly an ordinary place becomes an extraordinary place. It is God that will make the difference in any place.

What a mystery that God chose an ordinary place, as well as:

B. An Ordinary PERSON

We read in our text of the earthly mother of the Lord Jesus. Her name is Mary. In some religious circles, Mary has been exalted to a place of prominence that the Bible never assigns, or ascribes her.

Because of the role she played in the birth of Christ, she deserves to be admired; but, she doesn’t deserve to be worshipped. The truth of the matter is that Mary was nothing more than an ordinary person, chosen of God, to accomplish an extraordinary event.

James Hastings writes of Mary, “Mary first meets us at a time when she has scarcely crossed the threshold of womanhood.”

Little is known, or recorded of Mary’s personal history. Luke 3 records her genealogy, and we read that she was of the tribe of Judah, and the lineage of David.

But, outside of that, when we meet Mary she was but a village maiden, a little peasant girl. She did not hold some great position in life. She did not appear to have a person of great wealth and means. She was just a simple, common, ordinary person.

But, the mystery is that God chosen an ordinary place and an ordinary person to accomplish extraordinary things. Why? Because God is not, will not, and cannot be limited to ordinary places or ordinary people.

He is the God who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.” I believe the reason God chose to work with an ordinary place, and an ordinary person is so that man could not take any credit for what God would do.

I love how the apostle Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 1: 26-29, "not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: [27]But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; [28]And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: [29]That no flesh should glory in his presence.”

God can, and will use any place, any person, or any procedure to accomplish His will. He doesn’t need the most educated, He just needs the most dedicated. He doesn’t need the most informed, He just needs the most transformed. He doesn’t need the most able; He just needs the most available.

I can just hear someone say, “But, pastor, I’m not a prolific person. I’m not a powerful person. I’m not a prestigious person.” My response is, “Excellent! You are a perfect candidate to be used of God.”

You can have all the degrees in the world, and still not be used of God in a great way. In fact, I’m afraid that all of our DD’s, PhD’s, MD’s and LTD’s often times hinder God from using us.

Still don’t think God can use you? Than, remember that:

Noah was a drunk;

Abraham was too old;

Isaac was a daydreamer;

Jacob was a liar;

Leah was ugly;

Joseph was abused;

Moses stuttered;

Gideon was afraid;

Samson had long hair and was a womanizer;

Rahab was a prostitute;

Jeremiah was too young;

David was a murderous adulterer;

Elijah was suicidal;

Isaiah preached naked;

Jonah was a runaway;

Naomi was a widow;

Job filed bankruptcy;

Peter denied Christ;

The disciples fell asleep praying;

Martha was a worry-wart;

The Samaritan woman made Elizabeth Taylor look like a Girl Scout

Zacchaeus was too small;

Paul was too religious;

Timothy had an ulcer;

Lazarus was dead.

And look what God did with their lives. The Bible is filled with ordinary places and ordinary people who used of God to accomplish extraordinary things.

Such is the case with the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a mystery to behold. Secondly, I want you to notice:

II. The MIRACLE of His Birth!

In 1804, Thomas Jefferson sat down in the White House with two identical copies of the New Testament, a straight-edge razor, and a sheaf of octavo sized paper. Over the course of a few nights, he made quick work of cutting pasting his own Bible, a slim volume he called “The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth.”

After slicing away every passage that suggested Jesus’ divine nature, Jefferson had a Jesus who was no more and no less than a good, ethical guide. Commenting on the virgin birth, Jefferson said, “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

Thomas Jefferson may have been a great man, but if that is what he believed about the Bible, he wasn’t a wise man. The Virgin Birth of Christ is the miracle of all miracles.

I am in full agreement with Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, “Those who would deny the virgin birth reject the authority of the Scripture, deny the supernatural birth of the Savior, undermine the very foundations of the Gospel, and have no way of explaining the deity of Christ. With it, the Gospel stands, or falls.” [2]

Let me show you why the birth of Christ was so miraculous. First of all, it was because of:

A. A NATURAL ARRANGEMENT

We read in verse 18 that, "his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

The word “espoused” is the Greek word mnesteuo. It literally means, “To woo,” and it was used to speak of ‘wooing a woman, or asking for her hand in marriage.”

This is an area of great debate and division. Liberal theologians seek to use this term to prove that Jesus was conceived in pre-marital relations between Mary and Joseph. Simply put, they use this to seek to prove that Jesus was conceived in an adulterous affair.

Harry Emerson Fosdick, thought by many to be one of the great preachers of the 20th century said, “I want to assure you that there is no evidence whatsoever to prove the Virgin Birth of Christ.”

Bishop John Sprong in his book, “Born of a Woman,” writes, “Jesus was not born of a virgin since Mary had probably been raped.” Bishop Robison said, “The Virgin Birth is a story on the level of an Andy Capp comic.”

Nels F. S. Ferre, a well-respected American theologian writes, “Mary, we remember was found pregnant before her engagement to mild Joseph. Nazareth was guarded by a Roman garrison where the soldiers were German mercenaries. Jesus is also reported, throughout a continuous part of the history of art, to have been blonde. This is supposedly unnatural for the Mediterranean countries where this same tradition started and was continued. Hence, Jesus must have been the child of a German soldier. After all, the claim develops that such was the experience of many young girls near military camps.” [3]

That is not liberal theology that is ABSOLUTE HERESY! The Virgin Birth is not incidental, accidental, or coincidental; it is FUNDAMENTAL! And God so orchestrated the events that it unfolded through a natural arrangement.

Again, we read that “Mary was espoused to Joseph.” According to Jewish customs, there were 3 stages in a normal Jewish marriage. The first step was the engagement. This was usually made through the parents, many times while the couple was only children.

The next stage was the betrothal or espousal. This was known as the “ratification of the engagement.” Once the period of espousal began, it was legally binding on both parties.

The espousal lasted for one year, during which time the groom would go away to make provisions for his bride. At the end of the year, he would come back for her.

When this happens, the third and final stage known as the wedding proper took place. It was here where the vows were exchanged and the marriage was consummated. It took place at the end of the year of espousal, or betrothal.

But, notice what God did. In spite of a natural arrangement, God stepped in and brought about:

B. A SUPERNATURAL ACCOMPLISHMENT

Mary was “espoused to Joseph.” In other words, Mary and Joseph were involved in the 2nd stage of the wedding procedure. They were betrothed and legally engaged to one another.

But, here is where it gets interesting. We read in verse 18, “before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Then, we read in verse 25 that Joseph, “knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son.”

The word “knew” speaks of intimate knowledge. The reference carries a sexual connotation. If I could put it mildly, “Joseph did not know Mary sexually until she brought forth her firstborn son.”

But, again, “before they came together,” as husband and wife,” she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Needless to say, such news of Mary’s pregnancy would have come as a total shock to the heart of Joseph.

Questions filled his mind like, “Has Mary been unfaithful? Has she been with another man? Has she broken the covenant of betrothal?”

That is why the angel of the Lord fills Joseph in on the news in verse 20, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”

In other words, Joseph did not have to worry about Mary’s virginity, because this was not a human conception, but a Heavenly conception. This pregnancy was not natural, but supernatural. The seed of Christ had been conceived in the virgin womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost.

Someone might say that it is absolutely impossible for a virgin to conceive and give birth to a child. And they would be absolutely correct. It is impossible from a human standpoint.

But, I remind you that the first man got here without a man or a woman; therefore, it would be no problem for God to get a man here with JUST A WOMAN!

If God wants to, He can use a widow woman to supply our needs; but, if He chose to, He can also use a raven. He can use a lad with 5 loaves and 2 fishes; but, if He chose to, He could also use a fish with a coin in its mouth.

God cannot, and will not be squeezed into the ordinary. He is not limited to ordinary places. He is not limited to ordinary people. And He is not limited to ordinary procedures.

He worked through a natural arrangement to produce a supernatural accomplishment. He chose to use a little, virgin girl, who had never been with a man, as the vehicle to bring Christ into the world.

You say, “Pastor, that’s impossible!” I say, “You’re right. It is impossible from a human standpoint, but it’s not impossible from a Heavenly standpoint.” It may be impossible with man, but not with God, for “with God all things all possible.”

Finally, we not only see the mystery of His birth and the miracle of His birth; but:

III. The MESSAGE of His Birth!

R. L. Moyer wrote: “The God, who brought forth a motherless woman (Eve) from the body of a man (Adam), brought forth a fatherless man (Jesus Christ) from the body of a woman (Mary). There are those who say that it makes no difference whether or not Jesus Christ was virgin born, but it makes a profound difference whose Son He is. Only a divine birth could provide divine Sonship, and only divine Sonship could provide a divine Savior, and only a divine Savior could achieve and provide a divine salvation for sinful man."

The mystery and miracle of Christ’s birth are wonderful, but the most amazing aspect is the message of His birth. For one thing we learn that Jesus was:

A. The PROMISED Savior

The angel of the Lord has just informed Joseph of the Sovereign plan, program and purpose of God. Then, we read in verses 22-23, "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,[23]Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just 8 prophecies regarding Christ. Stoner says that the chance that any man might have fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (One hundred quadrillion).

Stoner suggested that we take 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas; they will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly. Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up that one marked silver dollar. What chance would he have of getting the right one?

Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.” [4]

Yet, we read that God chose an ordinary place, and an ordinary person “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet.”

In other words, Jesus was the promise of God fulfilled. Before the guilty party was banished from the garden, God gave a promise of hope that the “seed” of the woman would “bruise” the “head” of Satan. Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. Abraham foretold that “God will provide Himself a Lamb.” Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise.

Isaiah foretold that “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. Jeremiah foretold of a “Righteous Branch” from the seed of David. Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise.

Micah foretold of a “ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting.” Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise. Back within the ions of eternity past God originated the promise of that “a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel.” Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise.

But, finally notice how the promised Savior became:

B. The PROVIDED Savior

We read in verse 25 that Joseph " knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” Of all the names Mary and Joseph could have given their newborn baby, they chose the name Jesus.

Why? The answer is found in verse 21, “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The word “save” is the Greek word sozo, and it is translated by the verb “to heal.” The idea is that of saving from disease and all its effects.

What was the disease? The disease is called SIN. What are the effects? The effects of sin are helplessness, hopelessness, defilement, depravity, grief and guilt; and, ultimately, an eternity spent apart from God in a place called hell.

But, He was given the name Jesus because He would be the only One who could “save” us from the disease of sin and all its effects. He, who was the promised Savior, stepped out of the pages of eternity into history into prophecy, to become the provided Savior.

One night, a man and his small son were slowly walking down the streets of New York City. The child was captivated by all of the lights of the city, particularly the many service stars hanging in the windows of many homes. Each star proudly proclaimed that a son, in the home, had given his life for his country. Every time the little boy saw a star he clapped his hands.

Finally, they came to a wide gap between houses, through which they could see the black velvet of the sky. They looked and saw the evening star shining so brightly. The little boy shouted, “Look daddy! God must have given His Son too, because there is a star in His window.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the star which guided the wise men to the manger still shines ever so brightly today. It reminds us that God did give His Son “to save his people from their sins.” Thus, the only name which befits such love is the name JESUS!

C.J. Rolls said, “The precious personality of Jesus the Saviour stands out in history as more distinguished than any other dignitary, more prominent than any other potentate, more conspicuous than any other celebrity. As a name, Jesus is more grandly honored and more grievously hated, more acclaimed and more accused than any other. The most outstanding record that is graven on the scroll of time is the date of His birth, and no issued document is legal, no signed check is valid, and no business receipt is of value unless it bears reference to this great historical event. The fame of His name lives on with ever-increasing renown. Of all His names and titles, Jesus is the most charming, consoling, comforting name by which our beloved Saviour is known. Jesus is a joyous name which has awakened more gladness and promoted more rejoicing throughout the whole world than any other. He is greater than all He bestows, better than all His blessings, and lovelier than all the gifts He lavishes on His own. His riches are unsearchable, His virtues are inestimable, and His glories are indescribable.”

Conclusion

The name of Jesus is unprecedented. The name of Jesus is unparalleled. The name of Jesus is unsurpassed. The name of Jesus is invincible. The name of Jesus is incomprehensible. The name of Jesus is irresistible.

The name of Jesus brings power. The name of Jesus brings protection. The name of Jesus brings peace. The name of Jesus will help you. The name of Jesus will hear you. The name of Jesus will heal you.

The name of Jesus gives hope to the hopeless. The name of Jesus gives help to the helpless. The name of Jesus gives haven to the homeless.

The name of Jesus gives forgiveness to the out and out. The name of Jesus gives fellowship to the in and out. The name of Jesus gives freedom to the down and out.

The name of Jesus cleansed the leper. The name of Jesus healed the sick. The name of Jesus gave sight to the blind. The name of Jesus gave hearing to the deaf. The name of Jesus gave life to the dead.

The name of Jesus causes devils to fear. The name of Jesus causes diseases to flee. The name of Jesus causes dynasties to fall. The name of Jesus will lead you when you forget. The name of Jesus will lift you when you fall. The name of Jesus will love you when you fail.

You can’t get His name out of your head. You can’t get His name off of your hands. You can’t outlive His name. And you can’t live without His name.

Is it any wonder then that “God also hath highly exalted Him and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

"Jesus, Jesus,

Oh what a wonderful child.

Jesus, Jesus,

So lowly, meek and mild.

New life, new hope, new joy He brings,

Wont’ you listen to the angels sing.

Glory! Glory! Glory!

To the newborn King.

Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!

He is the promise fulfilled!"

Endnotes

1) “Christian Foundations,” Dr. Ian Paisley, pg. 36.

2) “Can a Christian Deny the Virgin Birth,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler.

3) IBID, Paisley, ppg. 37-38.

4) “Science Speaks,” Peter Stoner.