As you read these words, do you picture a Christmas tree in the corner? What an appropriate passage to kick off our next section in the Discovering the Bible Challenge. This week is “Who is Jesus?” Knowing the answers (note the plural) to this question, will help us know Jesus and maybe even meet him in a new and impactful way. After all, Jesus is so many things to so many of us.
For today, we’re at Jesus’ birth. The birth of our king! If this was the very first introduction you had to Jesus, you would meet his mother, Mary, who appears to have gotten pregnant before she was married. She is only “engaged” to Joseph. A few verses later, we see how the angel explains how Mary can become pregnant and still be a virgin. Joseph was simply chosen to be Jesus’ earthly father.
Jesus is also a spectacular infant! The angel gleefully proclaimed about Jesus, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” That is a big deal, and there’s beauty in the fact that the lowly shepherds were first to hear. It as if God wanted to silently slip into the world unnoticed. No fanfare except the angelic appearance (which to me is significant)!
This was good news meant to bring great joy to the people. The Messiah they had been waiting for had arrived. Today, I and countless believers eagerly await Jesus’ return (but that’s a whole different promise to reflect and rejoice upon.)
We can learn a lot from the shepherds, too. They weren’t afraid to go see what all the fuss was about. And even more impressive was they didn’t intend to keep this all a secret. What would you have done with such information? Guess what? You have the same message. While it isn’t happening this very moment, it DID happen. It’s part of God’s beautiful love story of which we’re a part.
What about being Jesus’ mom? Jesus would have grown up like any other human boy. Scraped knees, losing his first tooth, sibling rivalry, etc. Imagine knowing that one of your sons belonged to God like none other and that this one son would go on to save the world. (I’m getting a little ahead of our text here.)
Sometimes, as a woman or mom myself, I wonder what it would have been like for Mary. For Jesus, she would have had the love of a mother plus the love of her God. That’s a lot of love!
I think it would be great for us all to be thinking about how we would introduce Jesus to our friends. This theme of “Who is Jesus” will give us a glimpse into a few key passages that help introduce Jesus to us.
We may have a good relationship with him already and these readings will reaffirm our desire to build that relationship deeper. How does getting closer to Jesus happen best for you? Prayer. Worship. Nature. Journaling.
Jesus was his name even before he was conceived. That verse really struck me today. Many times, parents have a name picked out before conception. I secretly had names for my children picked out when I was “playing house” with my friends in our basement as a kid. Did I eventually use those names? No. But Jesus’ name was that important. The name Jesus comes from the Hebrew Yehoshua, meaning the LORD delivers or rescues. The Messiah was to be the anointed deliverer!
Even Jesus’ name has power. It proclaims what Jesus stands for and who he is. He is the Messiah, just like the angel said. Take some time to again focus on the miracle that happened when God became one of us.
Let’s pray. Father, thank you for including me in your story of love and redemption. I marvel at how your plans are always so perfectly orchestrated even if I don’t understand why you chose shepherds or a manger. Give me the same faith and obedience you have given to servants like Mary and Joseph. I long to grow closer to you every day, Lord. In Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.