TODAY'S WORD FOR Monday, December 23, 2019:
The celebration of the birth of Jesus.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
Christmas is still two days from now but we want to spend some time this year reviewing what we believe is one of the two greatest events in history, the birth of God’s Son Jesus.
The other event is the resurrection of our Lord which we celebrate on Easter Sunday.
There were some unusual events that happened in the world when Jesus was born. These events had a dramatic effect on history.
Way back in the book of Genesis, Jacob gave us a prophecy of the birth of Jesus. In Genesis 49:10 Jacob said, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (the Messiah) come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be."
When Jesus was born this prophecy was being fulfilled. God’s chosen people had turned away from God and the scepter of rule had departed from Judea and they were now under the rule of Rome with Caesar Augustus reigning as emperor. Cyrenius was governor of Syria and Judea was part of the province of Syria. Herod was now King of Judea. So, you see that a foreign, alien power, now ruled over Judea.
With the birth of Jesus, the prophecy of The Messiah coming was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the Messiah (Shiloh) and His coming into the world not only fulfilled prophecy but was surrounded by some of the most unusual events.
One of these unusual events was the unexpected taxation. It had been prophesied that Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem and this scripture had to be fulfilled. Joseph and Mary lived in Galilee and as the scripture says, "Mary was now great with child." The taxation happened just at the right time and in such a way that Mary and Joseph needed to return to Bethlehem the city of the family ancestry to register and pay taxes. God was controlling these events so that all things worked so that He might fulfill His promise to send the Savior into the world.
Joseph and Mary were both descendants of David so the taxation forced Joseph to take Mary and to go to Bethlehem. The city of Bethlehem was prophesied to be the city of the Messiah's birth. The taxation led to the fulfillment of Scripture. Without the taxation decree Joseph and Mary would certainly have not had any reason to make such a long difficult journey of more than 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, especially with a baby on the verge of being born.
The Scribes understood where Jesus the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:5-6). The common people understood where Jesus was to be born (John 7:42).
The prophets in the Old Testament had prophesied that the Messiah would come through the line of David (Isaiah 9:7). David had been born in Bethlehem therefore it was necessary for Jesus the Son of David to be born there to fulfill scripture. The "Son of David" was the most common Messianic title used to refer to Jesus in His day. And finally, the scripture prophesied that Bethlehem would be the exact place where the Messiah would be born.
God always does what He says He will do. Jesus' birth came about in the exact manner God said it would. Those in power may think they control what happens in this world, but God is able and will intervene in the affairs of even the most powerful to execute His will and purpose in this world.
How can we not only be amazed but also have our hearts blessed when we consider how God miraculously worked out His plan of Salvation for us? Caesar Augustus could never have imagined that he played a role in fulfilling prophecy concerning Christ our Messiah.
Our memory verse for this week is found in Luke 2:13-14.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
Help me today to realize the significance of how God prepared the world for the birth of Jesus. Thank You that I serve a miracle working God and may this Christmas season be a time of miracles in my life as well as in the lives of my family.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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