No, it is not December already. Once a year much of the religious world around us celebrates the birth of Christ. However, there are no instructions in the Bible to keep one day a year as a religious holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ. There is however, great reason for us to always rejoice for the birth of Jesus. Matthew and Luke both record a small amount about the birth of Christ, Luke revealing a bit more than Matthew. We wish to note from the first eleven verses of Matthew chapter two, five reasons to rejoice at the birth of Jesus. Our points may not be in the order of the verses, but rather in an order of progression.
First, there is reason to rejoice for the birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of many of the Old Testament prophecies. Notice when asked concerning where the Christ should be born, the chief priest and scribes went to the right place, the Old Testament scriptures. They quoted from Micah 5:2 concerning Christ being born in Bethlehem in the land of Judah (verses 5-6). Later Jesus instructed the Jews saying, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). After His death, burial and resurrection Jesus spoke with the two men on the road to Emmaus, and the scripture says that, “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Indeed, Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Christ.
A second great reason of rejoice for that day was in that it was a King that had been born. The wise men who came to Jerusalem asked, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”. (Matt. 2:2). The apostle Paul said of Him, “Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords” (I Tim. 6:15). Prior to His crucifixion, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I unto the world…” (John. 18:37). Though some today look for Him to come and sit upon a physical throne in Jerusalem such as did David, it was never God’s intention for Jesus to sit on a physical throne, but on a spiritual one. Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). In answer to the Pharisees who asked Jesus when the kingdom of God should come, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). Our King has been crowned and He sits and rules now.
The last point leads directly to this third. The scripture quoted from Micah said that Jesus would be a “…Governor, that shall rule my people Israel” (Matt. 2:6). Jesus has all authority! Peter applied the quotation of scripture from Deuteronomy chapter eighteen to Christ saying, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:22). While on the mount of transfiguration, Peter, James and John heard God speak from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). Jesus stated just prior to His ascension back into heaven, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). Understanding that Jesus is “King of kings and Lord of lords” and that He is the ruler of God’s people, it is reasonable that Jesus asked the question Himself, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
We note from verse eleven of Matthew two, that when those wise men saw Jesus, they therefore offered their best. “They opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh”. They recognized that the King is to be offered nothing but the best that one has to give, not the leftovers. This is true in one’s giving of their financial means, but much more that just that. King David once said, “…neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (II Sam. 24:24). He understood that sacrifice was needed in order to please God. Whether it be money, time, talents or whatever one has to offer, be sure to give your best. Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).
We will close with the statement concerning the wise men, “…they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matt. 2:10). When the Ethiopian learned of Christ and obeyed His commands, the text then says, “…and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). We truly have reason to rejoice!
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]