Jesus is everything that God wanted to say to the world He loves. Jesus is The Word. He is The Message.
To those who receive this message, God gives them the right to become His children—His totally new creation.
Only Jesus could make this possible. Only Jesus could bridge the gap between a Holy God and sinful man. Only Jesus could pay a debt that He did not owe because we owed a debt we could never pay.
But in order to do this, He must become one of us in every way. In order to bridge the gap between a Holy God and sinful man, Jesus needed to be both the Son of God and the Son of man. God needed to be born as a man. God needed a birth story—the birth story we find in John 1:14:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The birth story of Jesus in the Gospel of John isn’t easy to find. Unlike Matthew, there’s no list of names. Unlike Luke, there’s no heavenly host addressing shepherds. That’s because John highlighted the deity of Jesus—how Jesus is God.
So we need to rethink what a birth story would look like for God. Where did God come from? What is God’s history? What is God’s heritage?
On Christmas Eve, we considered these questions as we looked at the first chapter of the Gospel of John—where we find the birth story of Jesus, who is God. Watch and marvel at the wonder of the Infinite becoming infant, the Maker becoming man—Immanuel, God with us!
“And it came to pass in those days…” (Luke 2:1)
The first verse of Luke 2 give us a mile marker in history to understand the time in which Jesus was born. It was during the reign of Caesar Augustus, a remarkable man who many saw as the “savior” they had been waiting for. But just consider the contrast between the man-made messiah Caesar Augustus and The Messiah who is God-made-man:
Caesar Augustus, the man-made messiah, climbed the ladder of power through brutality and force, finally exalting himself as the “sacred one.” Jesus, The Messiah God-made-man, left His throne, gave up His power, and descended to be born a helpless baby in the most humble of circumstances.
Caesar Augustus was the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar. Jesus was born to a poor peasant woman, whose pregnancy was surrounded by controversy.
Caesar Augustus would have great pomp and circumstance when he entered a room. Jesus was born in a stable, laid in a feeding trough, and wrapped with ripped pieces of cloth.
Caesar Augustus tried to be a civil savior—providing outward peace through military might—but ultimately his empire crumbled. Jesus was, is, and forever will be the sinner’s Savior, who’s kingdom will have no end. He needed to be made perfect through suffering (see Hebrews 2:10) so that we would be able to say, “Jesus, You know what I am going through. You know what it’s like to be born into poverty and problems, to be an outcast, to be betrayed, to be alone.” He came to purchase and provide what we needed most—inward peace with God.
We’ve paused our study in Romans to consider the birth of our Savior and study the true story of how Jesus made His entrance into our world. Last week, we looked at the account of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Matthew. This past Sunday, we looked at the Gospel of Luke.
Luke 2 may be a familiar text. But as we work and worship our way through the word from God that never changes, by the power of the Holy Spirit we will change as we preserve, ponder, and proclaim the indescribable gift of God’s Son! Watch our study of Luke 2:1-20 as we consider Jesus—the sinner’s Savior.
On Christmas Eve (4pm this Saturday), we’ll look at how the Gospel of John records Jesus’ entrance into our world. Read ahead and do some digging—the account of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of John might not be immediately apparent.
At the end of the first chapter in Matthew, we read that the Messiah was given two names—Jesus and Immanuel. Two different names with two important meanings, and two answers to two important questions.
Those questions were posed to God by David in Psalm 8: “What is man that You are mindful of him? And the son of man that You visit him?” The two names given to the Savior in Matthew 1 are God’s answers to those questions.
“What is man that You are mindful of him?” God’s answer is Jesus, which means “God our salvation”. God is mindful of us because we so desperately need Him!
“And the son of man that You visit him?” God’s answer is Immanuel, which means “God with us”. In order to save us, He has to be with us.
If God knew that our greatest need was money, He would have sent us a banker. If God knew that our greatest need was health, He would have sent a doctor. But God knew our greatest need was salvation, and that’s why He sent us a Savior. And He has gone to incredibly great lengths to show us beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus of Nazareth is that Savior that we have been waiting for—and He is able to save you!
Join us for a special family Christmas Eve worship service as we gather to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus—Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! We gather in-person at 912 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN and online at https://live.refuge.mn
“And it came to pass in those days…”
So begins the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. It's interesting to observe the simplicity that Luke uses to describe the most amazing miracle that would ever take place—God becoming man. And it's interesting to consider the world at the time when Jesus was about to be born. In fact, if you listen closely to the second chapter of Luke, you'll hear the narrative of a young woman observe and consider, preserve and ponder what was happening—not only to her, but to the whole world.
Brutality, war, destruction, poverty, immorality. The world before Jesus’ birth desperately needed a savior. Some expected a civil savior—a leader who would solve all of their outward issues.
Someone like…Caesar Augustus. Scaling the ladder of power through brutality and force, he exalted himself as the “sacred one” and became a man-made savior. He tried to solve man’s outward problems and bring outward peace. But as amazing as he was, Caesar Augustus was still just a man.
The savior the world needed had to be more than a man. The world needed a different kind of savior. The Messiah--God made man—who left His throne, gave up His power, and descended to be born a helpless baby in the most humble of circumstances.
Jesus did not come to be a civil savior. If our greatest need was administration, God would have sent an administrator. If our greatest need was money, God would have sent a business leader. If our greatest need was medicine, God would have sent a physician. But God knew our greatest need was salvation, forgiveness, and fellowship with Him. So He sent us a Savior, His One and Only Son, to purchase and provide what we needed most—permanent lasting inward peace with God. Because that is our greatest need.
With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King!
Christ the Savior is here,
Jesus the Savior is here!
On Christmas Eve, we looked at the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of John and asked some pretty big questions. Questions like…where did God come from? What is God's history? What would God's birth story be?
Listen to our study from John 1 as we carefully considered the genealogy and birth of Jesus.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…”
This past Sunday, we continued our focus on the Christmas story with a closer look at Luke 2. This may be very familiar territory for most of us, but as we work and worship our way verse by verse through this word from God that never changes, we find that—by His Holy Spirit—we will change as we preserve, ponder, and proclaim the most amazing gift of God's grace—His Son. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” His Son—born of a virgin. Born to live. Born to die. Born to give His life for us so that we could live.
Listen to our study from Luke 2 and discover this indescribable gift of God’s amazing grace!
In the eighth Psalm, David asks two questions of the Lord: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?”
God answers those two important questions in one person with two important names: Jesus and Immanuel.
You see, from before time began…before the foundations of the world were established…before God created the entire universe—He saw you! And His love for you is so immense that He began His grand plan to save you.
This plan put a seemingly impossible amount of intricacy in motion—all for you. It spanned thousands of years and involved dozens of generations. It endured from creation through the fall and the flood. It continued through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It included David and persisted through captivity until the plan was finally fulfilled…by a baby boy born in Bethlehem.
A baby named Jesus. A son called Immanuel. Jesus, which means, “God our salvation”. Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” In His infinite wisdom and out of His everlasting love, God responds to our greatest need with Himself.
Oh, come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Immanuel!
This past Sunday, we pushed pause on our Revelation study and Jesus' second coming to consider His first coming. The Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John have detailed accounts of how Jesus was born. On Sunday, we looked carefully at the account in Matthew and how both Jesus' humanity and deity were featured in the genealogy of Jesus. Next week, we'll consider Luke's account. And on Christmas Eve, we'll look at John's record of Jesus' arrival as Messiah.
Listen to our study of Matthew 1 and marvel at the God who chooses to be with us—and who also is our salvation!
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends