Friday, December 18, 2015
A Story of Faith
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him 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,[f] 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 conceive and 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 did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25
How long since you read these verses with a keen focus on their relation to the rest of the New Testament? Yes, it's a beautiful story of the birth of Jesus. Coupled with Luke telling the story in Luke 2, this serves as the beginning of the Christ-child coming to live among fleshly humans.
Another question.....Do you believe the story? It's difficult to explain the details, especially to children, without getting into some PG rated explanations. After all, we know what goes through our minds when we hear of an unmarried, pregnant woman. And now, in the plans of God, he has chosen Mary, not married, but pledged to Joseph, to carry the child and give birth to Jesus in the normal way of delivering babies. Can we fathom such a story, believe that it happened just that way, and fashion our lives of faith in Jesus as God's Son?
There are many scholars in our world today which proclaim the story is a myth. They cry "foul" when it comes to accepting the concept of the virgin birth. Add to that the suspicious attitude of our world in this day and age, and it's no wonder people have a hard time believing such a story.
We touched on the answer above, but let's expand a bit. For the Christian, it's our faith that leads us to believe in the virgin birth. Our faith that the child born in Bethlehem, the child that grew into the man who spoke like no other, the man who called men to follow him, the man who performed miracles and told stories in parables, the man who was executed on a cross, buried, and lives again, that's the man we follow by faith.
I did not see any of those events happen. I wasn't there so I cannot be an eye witness. But I join with a multitude of Christians worldwide in believing these things about Jesus, the Son of God, and his mission of love and redemption. My faith is all I have when it comes to believing the virgin birth, but it is by faith I believe it, just as if I had been present in that stable in Bethlehem.
In our world of doubt, especially during this Christmas season, may those of us who profess faith in Jesus, demonstrate that faith to others by our love, our example, and especially by our willingness to share the gospel story.