Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
The Christmas story is so powerful. It’s found in both Matthew and Luke.
Luke 2:8-20 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’ 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’ 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
Have you ever read the Christmas story from the Bible? What are some of the differences between what you grew up hearing versus what is actually written?
Some people think it’s all a myth. Yet, it’s a proven fact of History that Jesus was a real person. You don’t have to be a Christian to know that. You just have to be a good historian. There is so much evidence. Anybody who says it’s a myth doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s as crazy as saying Abraham Lincoln was a myth. It’s not just Roman history that documents Jesus’ reality. Even Jewish histories document His life and death. None of them are disputed and none of these were Christian historians.
Jesus was a real person. He had a following. They knew that He did things, miracles. They say His body was stolen, but they verify the fact that He was crucified and died. There are thousands of archeological facts that support Jesus’ life, death, and burial.
Why do you think people want to believe Jesus is a myth? What do people gain by saying that Jesus never existed? What do you believe?
I was born into a Christian family. My dad was military. The worst word growing up was communism. We lived during the cold war. We had bomb drills in school, not just fire drills. At Christmas, my dad wanted all the lights you could get. We loved to drive and look at the lights. We wanted to celebrate Christmas because the atheist and the communist world wanted to get rid of it.
I think we need to celebrate Christmas. We have Biblical precedent to celebrate it. Even the stars declared it. The angels showed up and told the shepherds. Jesus is for kings and shepherds. Jesus is for the rich and the poor and everybody in between. Thank God He came. So it is that the Lord celebrated Christmas with the angels, stars, announcements, and all that transpired that wonderful night and year.
Note: The Bethlehem Star is a free movie on Youtube. Check it out.
The shepherds, if you study this out, you can see the angels said, ‘this shall be a sign unto you,’ specific signs unto the shepherds, a babe in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
How does knowing that Jesus came both for the rich and the poor, the slave and the free, change your life?
In the Jewish writings, the shepherds in Bethlehem watched special lambs meant to be Passover lambs for the following year. There’s a little clue in there, they were in the fields at night. Normal shepherds brought their sheep in at night, but during lambing season, when the baby lambs are born, they stayed out. They were there to protect those little lambs from wolves, vulnerable times for the yew and the lambs. They were to protect and guard the sheep and help in the birthing process. These lambs had to be without spot or injury. They had to be well protected.
When that little lamb was born, they would wrap those lambs in swaddling clothes to protect them during the first few hours of birth so they wouldn’t fall right after birth. They also laid the baby lambs in a manger, this was a specific sign to them. So, when they went to find Mary and Joseph, they found Jesus wrapped up and lying in a manger, just like their little future Passover lambs.
Just as God protected the promise, He will protect you. He is faithful to do all He has promised. How does this knowledge change your life?
The wise men came to bring gifts for a king—gold for kings, frankincense for priests (a frank incense, frank tree, burned for its smell, very expensive), and myrrh, a spice collected for a whole year used to embalm the dead. Those wise men saw Jesus as king, priest, and sacrifice for our sins.
The shepherds understood something by these signs. They were paid to protect their lambs. Those lambs lived one year and then were sacrificed in the temple as Passover lambs. They understood clearly the mission of Jesus as the Savior—Passover Lamb. There is a Savior born in Bethlehem, Christ, the Lord. Christ is a title, Messiah, Savior. Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, this was His identity, not his last name. He was God robed in flesh.
Lord, to the Jews, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord.’ Jesus is God, the only God.
Jesus was identified as to Who He was and what His mission was in coming to earth. Those shepherds were overjoyed knowing that here was the Passover Lamb. What a special night that was at His birth. He is savior who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10)
What is the Biblical Identity of the Jewish Messiah? Who is Jesus, really?
- In Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” A promise was made in the midst of the curse for Adam and Eve’s disobedience. A child was promised to save us from sin right from the beginning. No one understood that women had a seed until the 19th century when finally the female egg was seen under a microscope. This is the Bible telling us and agreeing with science. Genealogies leave women out except in Scripture. The prophecy says a virgin shall conceive. That’s not possible, but it was a fulfillment of prophecy. We are set free by truth. There is a lot of talk about demons, but the nitty-gritty of spiritual warfare is every demon is linked to a lie, a manmade tradition. Jesus responded every time to the devil, ‘It is written…’ The Bible is true and we can trust it. The devil has to back down at God’s Word. He can’t argue against it. Even the devil has to submit to it. It is the highest authority. Find out the lie and find the truth in the Bible. You will get the victory in that.
- Jesus would be the promised seed born of a virgin, Emmanuel—God with us. That should tell us something about His identity. He was more than just human seed, he was also the seed of God. When you literally translate His Word, it means the strong God, or mighty God, with us. He would be humanity and God. Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” God’s name is wonderful. His name is Counsellor, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, all rolled up into one name—Jesus. To be a Muslim, you have to read the Koran in Arabic. Their God speaks only Arabic, even though 80% don’t speak Arabic. Our God speaks every language. He speaks them all because He created them all. This God is for you. The devil speaks lies in all languages too. However, you can say, ‘Jesus’ in any language and the devil trembles. Sin understands it and is washed away, fever understands it and is healed. My God speaks it all. We have a mighty God. So, when we read this verse, it’s so powerful. Isaiah 9:6 brings out that Jesus was a man and the One true God. Stay on the foundation we’ve been given in the Bible. Jesus is both Father and Son. Isaiah 11 says He would be a stem of Jesse, and a branch grows out of his roots. Isaiah 11:2-4 “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” Isaiah 11:10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” He is saying that He is the branch of the lineage of David, but also the root. They did not understand.
Luke 20:41-44 “And He said to them, ‘How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David?’ 42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, 43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ 44 Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”
Who was Jesus, really? If He is God, how does that knowledge change your life?
Jesus responded to their questions with a question. They couldn’t answer. Jesus left them with questions, but somebody heard all that and kept it in his Spirit. Peter couldn’t help himself. On the day of Pentecost, Peter went right there and Acts 2:34-36, he showed that Jesus was both Lord and Christ—Savior and God, Christ the Lord. He is both man and God, seed of woman and seed of God, the very Word of God made flesh. What a powerful declaration of Him! Over and over the prophets speak of Him.
Isaiah 12:1-2 “And in that day you will say: ‘O Lord, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”
God is my salvation. That is Hebrew—Jesus means ‘God is my Salvation’.
Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of [Jesus] salvation.”
Isaiah 40:3-5,9 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of theLord has spoken.’ 9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’”
This is about John the Baptizer. Every prophecy was fulfilled concerning Jesus’ birth. ‘Behold your God.’
1 Tim 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”
What do you need saving from? Is it drugs, alcohol, sickness, stress, financial troubles, relationship issues? Will you allow Jesus to help you? Will you trust Him? Will you get to know Him and do what He tells you to do (He will never go against what He’s already written in the Bible) and watch a miracle happen in your own life?
How could it be this baby born like you and I could be the very God of heaven wrapped in flesh, to live like you and me? He’d never been human before. He was tempted in all points, yet had no sin. He suffered and knows what suffering and hardship are. He’s been there. He was rejected and made fun of. He understands. You don’t have to be afraid of Jesus. No wonder the world rejoiced when it was declared that Jesus was born in a stable, Christ the Lord.
Over and over again we can go through the prophets, His identity is the Lord God, yet a man. How could this be? Yet, it’s true.
1 Cor 15:47 “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.”
Col 2:6 “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,”
Jesus came for shepherds, kings, and you. Will you walk with Him and get to know Him and do things His way? You will never be the same.
This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Missionary Evangelist Monty Showalter.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!