Little Emma came running out of Bible class to her waiting Mother triumphantly waving a picture that she had drawn shouting, “Mommy! Mommy! My teacher says I drew the most unusual picture she has ever seen!”
The mother took the picture from her little Emma’s hands. Studied it for a moment. And agreed with the teacher.
“What were you studying?’ She asked.
“The birth of Jesus” Emma replied.
“This is wonderfully drawn, but why do you have all of the people riding in the back of an airplane?” The mother gently asked.
“It’s the flight to Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment
“Oh” the mother said cautiously “Well, who is the mean-looking man at the front?”
“That’s Pontius the Pilot,” she said now visually impatient.
And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby” the mother volunteered. And studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is the fat man sitting behind Mary?”
The little girl sighed. “Can’t you tell? That’s Round John Virgin!”
Like little Emma, it’s possible to hear the thrilling narrative of Jesus’ birth, but miss or misunderstand some of the key elements. We can see replicas of the manger scene. Look at pictures of the Christ child. Hear songs about his birth. Yet, not really see Him who is God.
In one of the great verses of the Bible the prophet Isaiah who lived over 700 years before Jesus was born issued this prophetic utterance. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14).
Sadly some modern day theologians and Bible commentators try to explain away the Bible doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus. One version even translates “virgin” as young woman. One well known commentator even had the audacity to write, “This is a doctrine which presents us with many difficulties; and our Church does not compel us to accept it in the literal and the physical sense. This is one of the doctrines on which the Church says that we have full liberty to come to our own conclusion.”
Here’s the clear and unmistakable conclusion of the inspired Bible writer, Matthew.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt 1:18-24)
Dr. Luke also confirms that Mary was a virgin. When Mary questioned the angelic announcement, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel affirmed, “nothing will be impossible with God” (LK. 1:26-37).
Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy was accurate. And it was fulfilled in the first century in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Those who celebrate Jesus as just a good man, a great teacher, a moral reformer, or one of many founders of a world religion, miss the point. And they miss it badly.
Jesus was a common name of the day and was chosen by God. It speaks to his humanity. He was a man. He experienced the thoughts, trials, and temptations that we encounter. But the man means “Savior.” He came to “seek and save the lost.” To save us from our sins.
“Christ” was His title. It means “the anointed one.” It is the Hebrew equivalent of Messiah. 184 times in the New Testament he is identified as “Jesus Christ.” His disciples understood He was the Christ. Unbelievers came to know it. He admitted it. And the apostolic ambassadors boldly proclaimed it. He is the “Lord of glory.” The “King of kings.” “The blessed and only potentate.”
But “Immanuel” describes who He is–“God with us.” Jesus is the Son of God. The Creator came down. Lived among men. And while He arose again from the dead to ascend to the Father, He is with us always.
The Bible picture of Jesus differs from the misconceptions of those who only offer lip service to baby Jesus.
He calls us to come to Him. He is the only way to the Father. The embodiment of Truth. And life and light to all humanity.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman