The Great Jesus
Take a look again at the birth narratives of Jesus found in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. Detail after detail highlights for us as readers how great Jesus really is. Consider a few of these points:
1. The genealogy in Matthew 1 points to the fact that Jesus would be of the family of David. Joseph is a descendent of David (Matt 1:20), and he is the legal father. Jesus would be the one to sit on the throne of David and reign. He was born in Bethlehem (house of bread), which is the city of David. These details point to the fact that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic promise (2 Sam 7:12-13). God sent an angel to tell of the birth, even to an obscure place like Nazareth (Luke 1:26ff). They told Mary:
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
The fact that an angel appeared to both Mary and Joseph to announce the news says something important about who Jesus is. These details demonstrate that this was not an ordinary birth and Jesus was no ordinary child. Mary is called a virgin, highly favored, and the Lord was with her. God had this planned all along.
2. Think about the names and titles given to Jesus. In a previous article we pointed that the name Jesus (Joshua, salvation) is important because he would save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21). We then pointed out that Jesus is also called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” The incarnation is so significant because it is God himself who comes to dwell among men. Jesus, the Word, became flesh and tabernacled among his people (John 1:14). Jesus is also referred as the Christ, Lord (which connects to Yahweh), and is referred to as the fulfillment of God’s consolation to Israel and a light to the Gentiles (Luke 1:22ff).
Jesus is called the “Son of the Most High” and the “Son of God” (Luke 1:32, 35). This birth would be brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit who would come upon Mary (Luke 1:35; Matt 1:20). Everything about the circumstances of Jesus’ birth points to the uniqueness and special nature of Jesus. He is the divine Son who came for the particular purpose of bringing salvation and light to a lost world (John 3:16).
3. God prepared a forerunner for Jesus, choosing Elizabeth, who was barren, to give birth to John, who would go before Jesus and prepare the way (Isa 40; Matt 3). This shows God’s plan and involvement in the process. Mary was told about Elizabeth bearing a child, though she had been barren, and that “nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). The seemingly impossible happens as God prepares and fulfills his plan to bring the Son into the world. Matthew points out that what happened was in fulfillment of what the prophet said (Matt 1:22; Isaiah 7:14). Matthew continues throughout his Gospel to connect Jesus to Old Testament prophecy, which, again, shows His uniqueness and importance. None of this was done by afterthought, but through careful planning. Peter put it this way:
“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet 1:20-21).
4. The gospel was first told to Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). These would have been the poor of society. Yet God chose to reveal to them first the gospel message. Matthew then shows the message going to the Magi, likely Gentiles, who would have been on the other side of the social and ethnic scale. Together, the point can be made that the gospel is indeed for all, no matter who one is or where one originates. The gospel is for the rich, the poor, and all social standings between. It is for the Jews and the Gentiles of all nations (think about the fact that even Gentiles are included in Jesus’ lineage).
There is so much more. Detail after detail demonstrates that the Gospel writers wanted us to see how great Jesus is from the beginning. Why is that important? Because He is the one worthy of our worship and praise, and we need to listen to him. Jesus is a gift to us in so many ways. Let us honor Him every day and build our lives upon Him as the solid Rock of our salvation! Think about how great Jesus is and let that be reflected in the choices we make today.