Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us A CHILD IS BORN, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The birth of Jesus leads to a lot of questions. What child is this? Who is this guy whose birth is accompanied by angelic choirs? Who is this guy that is so VIP that someone had to be born ahead of him to prepare the way for His ministry? What child IS this? Some of the Christmas characters answer the questions about Jesus with a definitive voice. We can know who Jesus is for sure not only because of what was spoken about Him in the moment, but also because of what had been prophesied about Him over the course of a few hundreds years.
What child IS THIS? We get some answers from Matthew 1:20-25 where we read: …an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
What child is this?
This child was the One who would be born of a virgin, who would be the Savior and who would be Immanuel, God with Us.
Let’s unpack these truths beginning with the virgin birth.
Can you agree with me that for a woman to have a baby without the assistance of a male is a miracle? Matthew’s gospel tells us that the child conceived in Mary’s womb was from the Holy Spirit. It was a miracle. This was a miraculous child. It wasn’t conceived in the way any other baby had been conceived or would ever be conceived. Jesus was fully human in that He came from Mary’s womb, but He was also fully Divine in that He came in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. He wasn’t half man and half God. He was fully both at the same time.
Luke calls this child the “Holy One” in 1:35. It means that Jesus did not inherit the sin nature that all of us are born with. He was born without the sin nature because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was born holy, He lived holy, and He died holy—without sin.
The Virgin Birth is critical to Jesus’ mission. It is an essential doctrine to our faith. Jesus had to be born a man because only someone who shared in our humanity could die for our sins. Jesus had to be God because a mere mortal could never bear the infinite price our sins would require. He had to be without sin because a sinner couldn’t die for the sins of others. It is the Virgin Birth that is the foundation for all three of these conditions. He was born of Mary, so He met the human requirement. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so He met the Divine requirement. He was sinless, so He met the perfect requirement when it came to giving His life to pay for our sins.
Isaiah prophesied 700 years before the birth of Christ that a virgin would have a baby. Jesus is the One! God shows us what He had planned from the beginning in the opening chapters of Genesis. The hint of the Virgin Birth is there in the Creation story. For we read in Genesis 3:15 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” God didn’t speak of the offspring of a man and a woman, but of the woman.
What child is this? He is the ONE and only ONE born of a virgin.
Jesus is the Savior. Salvation came through Jesus and only Jesus. Salvation will not come in and through any other person or any other method. If you are going to have your sin forgiven, have peace with God and have the hope of Heaven it will only come in and through Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12-Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
The Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshua, means, “The Lord Saves.” He saved us not simply by being born and not simply by living perfectly, but by allowing His life to be a substitution for our lives on the cross. He hung in our place on the cross. As His blood was spilled the holiness of God that cannot be united with sin, was satisfied through Christ’s perfect offering.
Why is it important that you understand that Jesus is the Savior? Because you need one! You cannot save yourself. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that Salvation is the gift of God. It isn’t something we can do for ourselves or earn from Him. It is a gift that comes to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
You were made for a relationship with God, and everything you attempt on our own outside of that relationship is sin. Sin separates us from God. It moves us away from our purpose. It moves us away from the righteousness we can have in Christ. Life apart from God moves us closer to sin, self and into the clutches of Satan whose goal was to destroy man from the beginning. You need a Savior. Ephesians 2:1 tells us without salvation we are dead in our trespasses and sins. You can be physically alive but spiritually dead and one day, when you are physically dead, you had better be spiritually alive because it is your spiritual life in Christ that will take you into eternity when this life is over.
We all need a Savior and God has sent one! Jesus. He is the ONE! If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, then you don’t really know Him because that IS who He is and it is what He does.
What child is this? He is Immanuel, God with Us. So that He could show compassion to us and comfort us and bring us hope and healing, God came down. He entered in to our experience. He came and walked hundreds upon hundreds of miles in our shoes. He left Heaven and came down and made Himself a vulnerable baby, confining Himself to the human experience so that we could relate to Him, understand Him, and approach Him. There are many theological statements I could make about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, about God becoming man, about Immanuel, God with us, but I’ll simply say this: Because God is with us, we are never without hope. We all need hope in order to live well, in order to stay encouraged when life is hard, in order to persevere when times are tough. Those who experience God with them, will never be without hope in any situation.
Luke 1:30-35 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon 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.
What child is this?
This child is the One who would sit on the throne of David, who would reign forever, and who would be called the Son of God.
He occupies the Throne of David.
Several Old Testament passages speak about the Messiah descending from King David who was the King over the Jewish nation at one time. He was God’s chosen King for Israel during a limited time. We could get into the theological weeds pretty quickly when we talk about the throne of David, but let me make one statement I feel confident about. Look at Revelation 22:16: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
It isn’t that David started something and Jesus is going to finish it as his descendant. It wasn’t a “Tag, You’re it now Jesus.” No! Jesus was the ROOT and the Offspring of David. He wasn’t simply a descendant of David. He was the ROOT! He was the root of it all, and He is the one who is reigning today! He predated David and He post-dated David. Israel wanted an earthly king, but God’s design was always that God would rule His people. We have that ruler in the Person of Jesus Christ. David was a finite ruler. Christ is an eternal ruler. What child is this? He is the One who reigns forever!
He reigns forever.
His reign is inexhaustible. No one can take His crown. As He is worshipped now by saints who have gone on before us and by angels who surround His throne, He will be worshipped by all people one day when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2) He is an unshakable King of an unshakable Kingdom. He will not stop reigning. He is sovereign and in control. David lived and reigned and his reign ended, but Jesus’ reign will never end.
He is the Son of God.
When we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we aren’t saying He is God Jr. We aren’t saying He has some qualities of His Father and then has qualities that are unique to Himself. He isn’t a miniature version of God or a “mini-me” of God as we might say about our children, but He is God. Son of God is a title given to us to help us understand the love of our Heavenly Father and the role or function of Jesus. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” What child is this? He is the One who shows us what God looks like! Jesus said in John 14:9, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”
Though He is the Son of God, Jesus has always existed. He didn’t just begin to exist when He was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem wasn’t the beginning of Jesus. He has always existed with God the Father and God the Spirit. As John’s Gospel affirms, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…then, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”(John 1:1, 14)
We worship Christ the Lord because He is God, and He is the One who surrendered to the plan of the Father to redeem us all. In Jesus, we also see what true Sonship looks like. We see what it means to be a child of God. We see how to relate to our Heavenly Father. Jesus came in full obedience to the plan and will of the Heavenly Father. He relied on Him for wisdom, strength, and power. The same access to the Heavenly Father is ours through Jesus the Son.
John 1:15-18 15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'” 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
What child is this?
He was the One who was full of grace and truth and the One who made the Father known to us all.
He was full of grace and truth.
God could have sent Jesus to judge the world and to condemn us all, but He didn’t. He came to us with grace. He came to us in compassion. He came to us in love. He was full of grace. He didn’t come to shame us. The message of the cross for me isn’t a condemnation of sin, although, as our sin was placed on Jesus, Jesus stood condemned by the Father. The message of the cross, the reason for the cross, was the grace of God. God decided to punish Himself so that we could go free. That, my friend is grace beyond comprehension.
The Law the Israelites had lived under could never be satisfied. It was too much. It had become a burden that was oppressive rather than a tool to point them to the relationship God wanted with them. The purpose of the Law was to help people understand they couldn’t measure up to the holiness of God. In grace, God bridged the gap. God, in His grace, went to the most possible extreme to show us how much He wants to be with us. By sending Jesus to the cross, He demonstrated His love for us. What child is this? He is the One through whom the grace of God flows into our lives.
Jesus was also full of truth. He didn’t sugarcoat anything, but the way He talked about righteousness and loving others was different from the heavy-handed approach of the religious leaders of the day. He talked about teaming up with Him in a partnership where He would take the heavy end of the load. He said He would teach people how to live better. (Matthew 11:28-30) Those who listened, those who followed, found a better way, a way that led them out of bondage, out of addictions, out of selfishness and self-reliance. Those who embraced the truth He shared, found a way out of sin, and a life of hope. “For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
What child is this? He is the One who sets us free!
He makes the Father known to us.
Jesus is the perfect expression of the Father. If you are here today and you think God hates you or is mad at you or wants to punish you, you haven’t gotten the correct picture of Jesus. His life and death were spent trying to illustrate and reveal the perfect love of God, the love God has for you, each one of you. What child is this? It is the ONE who shows you the depth of God’s love for you.
He’s the One. He is the One who crushed the serpent’s head according to Genesis 3:15, triumphing over the devil by the Cross. He is the One that was foretold would descend from the Tribe of Judah. He is the One who would eventually be called out of Egypt according to the prophecy in Hosea. He is the One about whom it was said would teach in parables in Psalm 78:1-2. He is the One who was predicted in Isaiah 53:3 to be rejected. He is the One that prophets said would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. He is the One that would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. He is the One who was predicted to be beaten with stripes in Isaiah 53:5. He is the One who would lead a perfect life so that He could offer a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is the One about whom it was foretold in Psalm 22:16 that He would have His hands and feet pierced. He is the One that Scripture said would have people gambling for His clothes. He is the One about whom it was said that none of His bones would be broken in Psalm 34:20. He is the One that was prophesied to be buried with the rich. And glory, Hallelujah, He is the One who Psalm 16:10 declared would be resurrected from the dead. He is the ONE, church!
What child is this? He is the Virgin Born, Savior, Immanuel, who occupies the Throne of David and reigns forever. He is the Son of God, full of grace and truth, who reveals God the Father to us! Merry Christmas, church! Jesus is the One!
No more waiting.
No more wondering.
No more wanting.
No more worrying.
No more wailing in hopelessness.
No more waking up in despair.
No more walking around defeated and empty.
No more wallowing in self-pity.
No more wrestling with sin and bondage.
No more wringing our hands about our sad and broken condition.
No more working to try to impress God.
The baby born in Bethlehem is the One who has overcome it all and can help you fix whatever is broken! What child is this? It’s Jesus, and He’s the One!