Section 1: The Early Events Of Jesus The King
The Birth Of Jesus
New Spiritual Birth In Jesus
Scripture To Consider:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed [engaged] 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.'”
“Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Behold, a 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 commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her [intimately] till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And Joseph called His name JESUS.” Matthew 1.18-25
Something To Consider:
The genealogy of Jesus declared Him to be the Son of David. The story of His birth reveals Him as the Son of God. It includes an explanation of the name which was to be given to Him and the prophecy which was fulfilled. The story is brief, but it bears the features characteristic of Matthew, the gospel of the King, the predicted and yet rejected Messiah; for it shows that the mother of Jesus is about to be proven innocent and that Joseph who was to be His legal father, is addressed as the son of David.
Matthew’s gospel also reveals that Jesus is to save His people and that of the Old Testament prediction is divinely fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. Therefore, this account of the supernatural birth of our Lord is given with inspired delicacy and reserve, yet with such detail and clearness as to leave no doubt as to the fact recorded. The statement of the perplexity of Joseph, the reference to Jewish law and custom, the divine guidance granted in the dream, the simple declaration of the miraculous event is all so natural and circumstantial as to indicate that the writer was composing not simply a poetic story but sober history.
It is not necessary to believe that the deity or sinlessness of Christ were conditioned upon the miracle of His birth; it is conceivable that they might have been secured by some other method of incarnation; but surely, in the light of this miracle, they are most easily understood, and it is further true that doubt as to this miracle is usually accompanied by a denial of the divine person of our Lord or the authority of Scripture.
Nor should this miracle be regarded as difficult to believe. Christ is Himself the embodiment of miraculous events. In Him the human and divine are inseparably united. If He has existed eternally as God, if His earthly ministry was attended by superhuman works, and if He left the world by a supernatural resurrection and ascension, is it not incredible that His coming to earth was attended by both miracle and mystery?
Something Else To Consider:
The real importance of the event lies, however, not in the method, but in the result of the supernatural birth. This is emphasized by the announcement of the name of Jesus and by the interpretation of an inspired prophecy. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew word Joshua or Jehovah which means salvation, and in the dream, it is announced by the angel in the form of this memorable promise, “You shall call His name JESUS; for He will save His people from their sins.”
Other men had borne that same name; notably, the great deliverer Joshua, who had gained the victory over the peoples of Canaan, and also the high priest who had aided in the restoration of Jerusalem. But now One was to appear who was to realize in its fullness all that the name implied. He was to save His people from all the guilt and power of sin.
This birth and this inspiring name were interpreted by Matthew as the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. In the days of Ahaz, Isaiah had predicted that God was to grant deliverance to Judah from the kings of Israel and Syria, and that as a symbol of this divine intervention a virgin should bring forth a Son who should be called Immanuel, which means God with us. The ancient prophet may not have had in mind either a miracle or an event of the distant future, but the writer of this gospel saw that the true meaning of this prediction was realized in the birth of Jesus.
For Jesus was no mere pledge of divine deliverance but Himself a divine Savior. Not only was His name a token of the presence of God, but He Himself was manifest deity. The real significance of the birth of Jesus, as here related, lies therefore in the fact that the Son of Mary is also the incarnate God who is able to save those who put their trust in Him, for He is all that His blessed name implies, our divine Savior, JESUS. And according to Matthew’s record, “Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet.”
Something More To Consider:
Also according to Matthew, “Now the birth of Jesus was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed [engaged] to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child [pregnant] of the Holy Spirit.” The physical earthly birth of Jesus was implemented or accomplished by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. in Luke’s gospel record of the birth of Jesus, we are told in verse 35 of chapter 1; “The Holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you.” Mary’s response to the angel’s revelation was, “Let it be to me according to your word.”
Our new spiritual birth in Jesus, our born-again spiritual birth in Christ, is also implemented or accomplished by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And so, before our new birth in Jesus, before our being spiritually born-again, God’s Holy Spirit is with us, convicting us of our sin. Before our new spiritual birth and before our being spiritually born-again in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is or was, depending on our position in or outside of Christ at that moment, is or was attempting to convince us of our spiritual need for forgiveness and for our need for Jesus Christ’s gracious offer of redemption.
Before our making a decision for or against Christ, the Holy Spirit of God is vigorously working behind the scenes of our lives divinely setting the stage of events, situations, and circumstances that will hopefully lead us to the foot of the amazing grace filled cross of Jesus Christ. And yet, our coming to the cross of Christ, that place of new spiritual birth in Jesus, that instant of being spiritually born-again, cannot be due to the pressure of the moment, or because others are responding.
If we willingly respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, if we choose to submit to the overwhelming evidence of God’s grace, God’s love, and God’s merciful forgiveness, then the new spiritual birth process in Jesus has actually begun. If we willingly respond to the work of God’s Word which is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, and if we do not resist the Word of God’s ability to discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts, then our born-again life altering experience and new life in Christ is birthed in us as did the Holy Spirit birthing new life and new hope for the world in Mary the mother of Jesus.
And yet, as in all choices we face in life, this choice remains our choice. It remains our decision! Yes, God has invested much in the preparation process of bringing us to the brink of overlooking our own valley of decision, but He relinquishes that final decision to us. God does not force Himself upon us. And yet, if we choose to take Christ’s yoke upon us and to learn from Him, we will find eternal rest for our souls as promised.
A Few Final Words:
In preparing for this study lesson, I was reminded of the many times I have found myself speaking with individuals about the Lord, the bible, or about salvation. Maybe you have experienced this same scenario. As you attempt to determine what side of the spiritual new birth in Jesus fence a person is on, they say something like this; “I read the bible, but I just don’t understand what I am reading.” Or, they explain, “I tried reading the bible, but it just doesn’t make sense to me”.
If that happens, they have just probably removed all doubt from the equation! They most likely have just revealed their true spiritual position, whether they think they are in Christ or not. For once the new spiritual birth in Jesus seed of faith has been sown in a person’s life by the Holy Spirit, the Word of God is made alive in our hearts and minds. No longer is the bible simply an old book, but it becomes “The Book.” No longer does the bible remain hard to understand. At that point of true new spiritual birth in Christ, the Word of God becomes our lifeline to the kingdom of God.
But what about us? What about our loved ones? What side of the spiritual fence are we as it pertains to new spiritual birth in Jesus Christ? Do we reside on the spiritually born-again true Christian kingdom side, or are we remaining in outright rebellion, living as best we can on the worldly wrong side of that spiritual fence better pictured as the blood stained but grace filled cross of Christ?
The truth is, that God so loved the world that He allowed His sinless Son, Jesus Christ, who was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, to take our sin upon Himself while hanging upon an old rugged cross. Why? Because redemption in and through Jesus was and remains the only hope for mankind. Our duty now is to reciprocate the love of God by favorably responding to the call of Christ and by loving Jesus, His dearly beloved Son. So, the question is, do we love Jesus?
In other words, we do well to keep in mind what Jesus declared in John 14.15; “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” It is that simple! If we love Jesus we will keep or obey His commandments. If we do not love Him, we will not keep or obey His commandments. Jesus followed up by stating, “He [or she] who has My commandments, and keeps them, he [or she] it is who loves Me. And he [or she] who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him [or her], and I will manifest [reveal] Myself to him [or her].”
Has Jesus revealed Himself to you, to me, to us, by way of the Word of God? Has Jesus Christ revealed Himself to you, to me, to us, by way of His Holy Spirit conceiving within us the power of the new spiritual birth in Jesus? If so, then Jesus has also revealed to us the utmost importance of our willingly keeping or obeying His Word as the true witness of our own new spiritual birth in Jesus Christ. Therefore, are we truly lovers of Jesus Christ, His Word, and His soon coming kingdom?
If we are not truly lovers of Jesus Christ, keepers of His Word, and followers of His revealed living example of true Christianity, then we are indeed only deceiving ourselves. For the new spiritual birth in Jesus Christ is not an allusive event that leaves a cloud of doubt upon the monitor of our mind, but it creates an everlasting impression upon our hearts. Therefore, let us leave no room for doubt! Let us leave no place for complacency or for compromise when it comes to our loving Jesus by our keeping and or obeying His written and preserved commandments contained within His Word.
Let us allow the Words of Christ to dwell richly in our hearts and thereby establishing our hearts and minds in the wisdom of God’s Word. Trust me when I say, in the end, we will have no regrets whatsoever, if we yield, if we submit, if we surrender to the new birth, the new born-again spiritual process brought about by God’s Holy Spirit!
Our Father in heaven, thank You for encouraging us to be absolutely sure that we have obtained a true spiritual new born-again birth by way of the Holy Spirit. Let us not be deceived by a man-endorsed, man-manipulated fleshly and earthly experience that profits us nothing of true eternal value in the end. Help us to be found faithfully looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. In Him Always, Amen!