Sermon: The Birth of the King (Matthew 1&2)

 

The Birth of King Jesus

Matthew 1:18-2:12 (ESV) 

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  [19] And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  [20] But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  [21] She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  [22] All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

  [23] “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

        and they shall call his name Immanuel”

        (which means, God with us).  [24] When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,  [25] but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 2:1-12 (ESV) 

    Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,  [2] saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  [3] When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;  [4] and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  [5] They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

 

    [6] ” ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

        are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

    for from you shall come a ruler

        who will shepherd my people Israel.’ “

 

    [7] Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  [8] And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  [9] After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  [10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  [11] And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  [12] And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

So ends the reading of God’s Holy Word, may He add His blessing.

 

1. Jesus’ Nature (1:18)

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 

The reality of this verse is extremely important. Mary was noticeably pregnant.  There was no hiding the fact that she was with child.  However, there was a problem.  She had never had relations with a man before.  Matthew makes it very clear that this child was not Joseph’s because all this happened before they came together.  Mathew goes on to give us the reality of her pregnancy.  She was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 

This is what is known as the virgin birth.  If we take away the virgin birth, we have taken away salvation. Why? There have been only two men created by the Holy Spirit in this sense. The first man created came about in a different way as well.

Genesis 2:7 (ESV) 

    Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Adam was not the product of his parents physical relationship or normal procreation…he was created by God in a different sense.  Jesus is the only other man ever created in the similar way… When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit created within Mary a child. Jesus was born like any other child but was not conceived like any other child.

Satan came along and lied to Adam and Eve. He said that if they were to eat of the forbidden fruit that they would not die. The second they ate they did die. They were still breathing but they died a spiritual death.

Genesis 2:15-17 (ESV) 

    The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. [16] And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,  [17] but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Genesis 3:4 (ESV) 

    But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

That day Adam and Eve died the spiritual death that God promised should they sin by disobeying. Sin had entered the world and things would never be the same.

Romans 6:23 (ESV) 

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Not only did Adam and Eve die spiritually that day but every person who has ever been born on planet earth except Jesus has been born in the same condition as Adam and Eve after they sinned. Every person born is born dead spiritually.

Ephes. 2:1-3 (ESV) 

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 

    [2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- [3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 

Paul also wrote,

1 Cor. 15:22 (ESV) 

    For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 

Paul could only make this statement because of the virgin birth. Jesus Christ is the only man ever born who is not “In Adam” and not under the curse of death like all other people including you and me. Why is Christ the only way to God?

John 14:6 (ESV) 

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

Also, Jesus is the only man that’s ever been born alive spiritually. He’s the only one who could relate to God. All others are born dead.

There have only been two men that have ever walked the earth without sin, Adam at first until he did sin and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who never sinned at all.  Jesus Christ is the only man who qualified to die for the sin of others because every other human was already dead in sin.  

The virgin birth is all about Christ being born as a result of God’s creation not of man’s procreation.

2 Cor. 5:21 (ESV) 

    For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

This is also why in Romans 5 Paul calls Jesus the “Second Adam” or “Second Man”. All who are in Adam die (which is everyone), all who are in Christ shall live (which is not everyone but only those whom God calls).

2. Jesus’ Name (1:21 & 1:23)

[21] She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”…and they shall call his name Immanuel  (which means, God with us).

The name Jesus tells us what He will do. The name Immanuel tells us who He is. The name Jesus means Savior or God is my salvation. It’s a translated version of the name Joshua.

Emmanuel- means God with us. Matthew is declaring the king to be God and Savior.

If we are to see Christ correctly we must see Him as Savior and God.

With this proclamation the angel makes the purpose of Christ’s coming clear…He will save His people from their sins. Many see this as referring to Psalm 130 He himself [the Lord] will redeem Israel from their sins.

I don’t think we need to overemphasize this, however, it should be mentioned.  Jesus came to save His people from their sin.  He didn’t come to save the world from sin, even though He could have should He have chosen to.

John 17:1-10 (ESV) 

    When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,  [2] since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.  [3] And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  [4] i glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.  [5] And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

    [6] “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  [7] Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.  [8] For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.  [9] I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.  [10] All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 

Jesus accomplished His mission to save His people.  Every single person that the Father gives to the Son will be saved.

3. Jesus’ Kingship

Matthew has just declared for us Christ’s nature and name. He is sinless, He is Savior, He is God with us. Now he sets before us different responses that King Jesus brings out in people. Even as early as His birth and a few years later, Jesus stirred up opposition just because of who He was.  Here, Matthew contrasts really three people or groups of people. These responses are seen throughout the Gospel of Matthew and we also see these responses as we confront people with Christ today.

A. Jesus’ Rule Causes Opposition (2:8 & 2:16)

Matthew 2:8 (ESV) 

    And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 

Matthew 2:16 (ESV) 

    Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 

Herod had no intention of coming to Jesus to worship. His only thought was to come to the child to kill Him. King Jesus was a threat to Herod’s throne. His mindset was to eliminate all threats to his kingship.

There are people today, like Herod, who see Christ as a threat to their own kingdom? There are those who have placed themselves on the throne and have declared themselves to be rulers and sovereign over their own destiny. When these people are confronted with the real King they respond in opposition and reject Christ and many times do it very aggressively. Christ reminds them they are not king and are not in control as they would like to think.  Herod was only king because God ordained it to be that way.  No matter how hard he tried, he could never escape the reality that there is One more powerful than he.

B. Jesus’ Rule Causes Indifference (2:4-6)

[4] and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  [5] They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

 

    [6] ” ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

        are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

    for from you shall come a ruler

        who will shepherd my people Israel.’ “

It is most remarkable that when Christ was born and the chief priest and scribes heard the news that they could be so seemingly uncaring. They relayed the news and that was it. They knew the Scriptures and the prophecies but did not know the Lord.

The response to Jesus’ Kingship can be that of indifference. It can be that a religious person can have head knowledge of Christ but no heart knowledge. One can know things about God or the Bible without be affected by it. It seems we see this reaction from the religious people in this passage and we see it today as well.

Does the knowledge of Christ affect you? Has it changed your life? Are you currently being affected by Christ or are you so used to Him that He is not a big deal? When you examine the Scriptures about Christ does your heart soar or is it a trivial matter?  I pray we will never get used to Jesus and when we read about, think about and pray to Him our hearts are warmed and we are affected by His majestic love for His people.

C. Jesus’ Rule Causes Worship (2:10-11)

Matthew 2:10-11 (ESV) 

    When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  [11] And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

The third response was that of humble worship. They fell down and worshiped him.

Their affections were fixed on Christ. No gift was too costly. No price too great. They had finally come to the end of their search. Jesus was now their treasure.

Matthew writes to show the different responses to the announcement of the King.

What is your response to King Jesus? Have you rejected Him like Herod? Have you neglected Him like the scribes and priests? Have you worshipped Him like the Magi?  They came with a purpose.  They searched diligently for the King of Kings and they came prepared.  They brought gifts and were prepared.  This is a challenge for us to come to worship prepared. 

The fact that these foreigners came from far off lands to pay homage to the King is proof that God loves people from all ethnic origins.  When Scripture mentions things like the sins of the world it means that all over the world are people that God has chosen to express His love to.  These wise men from the East were somehow told by God that there would be a special King born and that a star would lead them to Him.

As we think about Christmas I pray we worship the King as the wise men did.  Christmas is not about us receiving presents but about us worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

As we think about Jesus’

Nature-

Name-

And Kingship

Our response should not be that of Herod who was jealous or the scribes who we indifferent.  Our response must be that of the Magi who searched and found the King and then worshipped.

Are you a worshipper of Jesus?

 

 

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