I’m 60 and I still love presents. This is one of the best gifts I ever received; you have seen it before, my friend Archie gave it to me, half man-half pig.
For many people in the history of the world, this could qualify for a god you worship. The advantage of Idols is it allows you to visualise your god, but if you read the bible you quickly work out that God hates the worship of images and idols. The main reason is that it disrespects him, He is a living speaking, loving, God and He does not want a lifeless image to represent him. You can`t have a relationship with a lifeless image. That is why pigeons know exactly what to what do with statues.
The God of the Bible is the living and speaking God. In contrast nothing in all creation is hidden from God`s eyes, His ears are not deaf to the cry of his people, from his mouth come the live-giving words and His hands are long enough to save his people.
But God is Spirit, He doesn’t have an ear, eye or hand. No man sees God’s face and lives. Well not until that first Christmas day
when God personally came to earth. That is the greatest gift of all. God became one of us when God became one with us. To be specific, Jesus is one person with two natures. He is truly God and truly human. God became human not on Christmas day but 9 nine months earlier.
It's the Chinese who measure age from your conception, not from birth. Like all humans, Jesus was conceived 9 months before birth. Sure, it was different to your conception, you were conceived when your parents were intimate and out you popped 40 weeks later. When the angel informed a virgin that she was pregnant no one was more surprised than Mary.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. ~Luke 1:34-35 (NIV)
This will be the first of many miracles that point to Jesus as the eternal Son of God.
From the first moment of conception, Jesus grew as every other human baby in the womb. He had 23 chromosomes and 50,000 odd genes and we are not talking levis. At 5 weeks he would be 1.5 cm long and by this stage, Jesus' heart was beating steadily. At 2 months his ears, noses, lips and tongue are clearly formed and he looks more human than alien. At 4.5 months Jesus' brain began to mature. He is able to give his mum a few strong kicks. At 6 months he was pulling faces in the womb but with no ultrasound, only his Father in heaven could enjoy it. At 7 months 4/5 senses are working: hearing, sight taste and touch. Jesus could hear his mother reciting the word of God. At 9 months baby Jesus goes public.
He [Joseph] went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. ~Luke 2:5-7 (NIV)
It was a unique conception and it was an unusual birth. I don’t know who turned out for your birth but Jesus was welcomed by thousands of angels and a crew of excited shepherds praising God. I don’t know if your name came from a baby name book, but Jesus name came from God the Father via the angel. You shall name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sin.
But in other ways it was a normal birth with no epidural insight, it came with its quota of pain. Its not any easier giving birth to the son of God than any other child. Jesus who is truly God became a human baby, toddler and teenager. The Son of God became fully human in every way except sin. Jesus had eyes, ears, mouth, hands. He had a real and frail body.
As a baby, He would feel hunger and cry for his mother milk. He would have had a pooey nappy, just like the one I saw in the car park. He would have learnt to be toilet trained. My job when the kids were babies was to clean nappies. No disposables then, I would think Joseph did the same thing. As we know: Real men change nappies!
Jesus was born not just as a human but as a male and a Jewish male. He was circumcised on 8th day marking him out as a child of Abraham. Salvation comes from the Jews.
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. ~Luke 2:40 (NIV)
As a baby, Jesus was carried, breastfed, burped and vomited. In that order.
He grew physically strong, He learnt to talk and walk as you did. He crawled, stumbled and fell before he walked. He grew in weight, climbed in height and built up in muscle tone. He experienced both physical and emotional pain. He would have wept when his father died, that is why, when it comes to suffering Jesus knows what you’re going through.
It’s been a crazy year, we are second-guessing everything as if the earth is shaking and we can’t get a foothold. If you know Christ, he knows you, he gets you, he has got you in his hand. God knows what it’s like to be one of us. He tasted suffering first hand in this broken world. You were never meant to do life on your own. Let his arms carry you.
His parents cared as much for his spiritual growth as for his physical health. They took Jesus to Jewish church each week and each year the family went to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. On one trip when Jesus was 12 His parents accidentally left Jesus behind in Jerusalem when they went back home to Nazareth. Even worse was they didn’t notice it for a whole day.
I remember a week after James, my firstborn son was born, we were having dinner with friends. We put James to sleep upstairs in my friend’s bedroom. We had a great time and then left at about 10.30pm. We went back to our home and realized we are missing something. Keys, wallet, oh yes sweet baby James.
It took Joseph and Mary 3 days of searching Jerusalem before they found Jesus. That is a long time, they needed to file a missing person report. They eventually found him in the temple the teachers were astonished at this 12-year-olds questions and answers. His parents were astonished that he was in the temple for so long and I`m astonished that his mum didn’t kill him. Dad says nothing and Mum is upset
…Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” ~Luke 2:48 (NIV)
Imagine your son is missing for 3 days and this is your response. Self-control, that is such an unMaltese way of handling things. Though fully God, Jesus was fully human learning the things of God. He was asking questions as well as giving answers in the temple.
After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. ~Luke 2:46-47 (NIV)
If you’re in school, you don’t have to be a grown-up to learn about God. Parents, your children have questions that schools can’t answer. Questions about Life after death, being forgiven by God, the meaning and purpose of life. I want to say, at MBM our children`s and youth ministry is first-rate. In January we will explore some of these big questions. Parents, you’re here with your kids because you want the very best for them. The research is consistent, those who attend church regularly have better mental health. Don’t hold yourself and your children back from learning about God and finding peace with him. Jesus was learning his bible and yet he clearly knew who he was. He says to his mum.
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. ~Luke 2:49-50 (NIV)
The temple was God`s house and he was God's eternal Son.
Why is it so important that Jesus is truly God and human?
Jesus had to be human, for only a human can take the place of another human at the cross. He had to be God, for only God could endure the punishment for our sins. He had to be sinless otherwise he would die for his own sins.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. ~Luke 2:51-52 (NIV)
Here is Jesus submitting to parents whom he created, Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, He would live the life we should have all lived and then he would die the death we all deserve to die. He will come back to judge the living and the dead.
His eyes saw that his people were harassed and helpless, His heart was filled with compassion, His ears heard the cries of so many for help. ‘Jesus save me’ His hands reached out and healed every person who came to him. As Spurgeon said “Those little arms in the manger will one day grapple with the monster “Death” and destroy it.”
With his mouth, Jesus spoke the truth you need to hear
Use those ears God gave you to hear that there is nothing Jesus can’t forgive, use that mouth God gave you to say YES to Jesus! Use those lips to confess that Jesus is alive!
Otherwise, we are no better than those DEAD images. Without Jesus we are dead to God and he to us, facing a Christless eternity. I think there is no better day to be born again than on the day Jesus was born.