To Us a Child is Born – To Us a Son is Given
Wrapped up in these two phrases from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament is all the mystery of the Christ-child. “To us a child is born, to us a son is given.” This explains the why of Bethlehem. It announces the necessity of the virgin birth.
Why would the leader of a spiritual movement select a small, obscure town as a starting place? Why not the historically important city of kings and prophets? Why the town of shepherds and not the city of power and spiritual activity—the site of the impressive temple and its ritual?
We begin our search into the meaning of these two phrases with some questions:
1. The grandmother of which famous king of Israel was married in Bethlehem? (Ruth 4:11-17)
2. Where was this king born and raised? (I Samuel 16:1, 11-13)
3. Growing up, what did this king do? (I Samuel 17:121-17)
4. What unusual action by the Roman Emperor brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem? (Luke 2:1-5)
5. How did the chief priests and religious leaders in Jerusalem know that
Bethlehem was important in the coming of the Messiah? (Matthew 2:1-6).
6. There were various opinions about Jesus. In general, what did people know about the Messiah? (John 7:40-44)
7. List some things about the coming Messiah that Micah the prophet had
written earlier. (Micah 5:2-5)
8. What was God’s promise to King Solomon? (II Chronicles 7:17, 18)
9. Based on these verses, why was it important for the Christ-child to be born in Bethlehem?
Why the Virgin Birth?
The virgin birth is difficult to understand. Wouldn’t Jesus’ birth receive wider acceptance without it? Wouldn’t it seem more natural, humanly speaking? But were there Divine purposes behind Bethlehem and the virgin birth?
Earlier we noted that only two Gospels, Matthew and Luke, have an account of the birth of Jesus. Another Gospel, however, talks about the coming of Jesus into the world. Let’s return to the Gospel of John.
1. List the things that John wrote about the “Word” or Messiah (John 1:1-4)
2. When the “Word became human” (1:14) what did people see?
3. What did John the Baptist say when he saw Jesus (John 1:29, 30)
The Child and the Son
To conclude our Christmas study, we come to the reason for Christ’s coming into the world. We have been that angels, prophets, priests, shepherds and even the Roman Government became aware of the birth of this special Child. Our calendar itself is a reflection of Jesus’ birth. Yet, more is at stake. The reason for His birth and life and death compels an examination.
1. The angel announced to Mary that she would have a child. (Luke 1;26-35)
A. As a child of Mary, Jesus was fulfilling the promise to King ________________.
B. As the offspring of God’s Holy Spirit, Jesus was the Son of ________________.
2. As we looked at Jesus’ ancestry (Matthew 1 and Luke 3), if Jesus were only the child of Joseph and Mary, what would have happened to David’s royal line?
3. Salvation through Jesus is possible because (Hebrews 7:21-25):
A. _____________________ B. ____________________ C _____________________
4. If Jesus were only the child of Joseph and Mary, what would happen to the promise of eternal life (John 3:16, 17). _________________________________________________
Gifts to Think About
Through our study, we see that this Christmas time we have important things to be thankful for, to think about and to do. Read the following verse and list some things that came to your mind.
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work n us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20, 21)
At this Christmas time, I can:
Think about: ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ _________________________ _______________________ _________________________
Thank God for: ______________________ ________________________ ______________________ _________________________ ______________________ _________________________
Plan for and do: __________________________________________________________
O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie;
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given?
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
Oh, Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend on us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels,
The great glad tidings tell;
Oh come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord, Emmanuel.