Originally scheduled for December 25
Three of the gospel writers detail the birth of Jesus. In
Matthew’s view, we see a local version of this birth, written
particularly for Jewish readers. Luke expands this view to make it
understandable to everyone else on the planet. John takes the point
even further, giving us a cosmological view.
Matthew, as stated,
speaks to a Jewish audience and is particularly concerned with
showing the connection of the birth of Jesus to the Old Testament.
We see this in these things:
He gives us a detailed genealogy back to Abraham. This is to show
his readers that Jesus is by birth entitled to be considered as a
King of Israel, a descendent both of Abraham and of David.
In so doing, he also gives evidence that Jesus is fully human — not
someone who just stepped out of a flying saucer.
He also makes it clear that Joseph is not the biological father of
Jesus, thus showing is that the prophecy of the virgin birth has
Luke gives us a much more global view. He writes
to the Gentiles, that is, the rest of us who are not Jewish. He is a
thorough researcher, being a doctor by trade and writes in a
thoroughly academic way. He is also the traveling companion of Paul.
As such, he had the opportunity to meet the apostles in person and
of course the opportunity to interview Mary. He gives us the facts
in such detail, unclouded by genealogy.
John, by far the most
philosophical writer of the Bible, expanded beyond planet Earth. He
identifies Jesus in these ways:
Christ is the creator. Everything in the universe that exists is due
to his work; he is the agent of creation.
Christ is the source of life, biological life. You and I borrowed
the idea of living from him.
He is also “the Light.” In the philosophical sense, he is the source
of all illumination.
Taken together, these three writers describe
the Christ. He is fully God and therefore is sinless. He is fully
man therefore an acceptable sacrifice. That was his purpose in
coming: the atonement. Out of his great love for us he came to die
so that we might be saved and have eternal life. This is what we
remember every time we take communion. As you do so this morning,
reflect on the fact that without the incarnation — Christmas — there
is no death, burial or resurrection — Easter. As you take the bread
and cup, remember what he did out of his great love for you.
Approach him with a pure heart and a grateful attitude. The babe in
the manger became the sacrifice who purchased your salvation.