6 He is not here, but is risen! — Luke 24: 6a NKJV
The swaddling cloths are gone! The burial cloths are laid aside! Now, we see the real gift, unwrapped and resurrected! Now, we can understand the reason for the celebration of His birth. A birth that would have gone unnoticed if not for His death and Resurrection. Unto us a Son is given, a Son who was obedient unto death on a cross that you and I might have eternal life. He was born in a lowly station of life, but now He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords with total authority over all creation. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord!
Rejoice! for He is risen!
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. — Matt 28:9 NKJV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. 6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” — Romans 9:5-9 NIV
The promise that God made to His friend, Abraham, was fulfilled. Abraham did become the Father of many nations through his first two sons, Ishmael was the frist born, a child concieved with Hagar ten years after the promise. It was another 13-14 years later before Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah. It was sixty years later when Jacob (Israel) and Esau were born to Isaac and Rebekah. It was through Jacob that we trace the lineage of Jesus Christ. This promise was very slow in being fulfilled, but it was confirmed over and over throughout the Old Testament. Though Abraham did become the Father of many nations, the promise was not made regarding the physical descendants but, rather to the Spiritual descendants through One person. It was not to the “seeds” of Abram but to the “Seed” of Abraham. That Seed is Jesus Christ.
16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. — Galatians 3:16 NIV
In His own words, Jesus told us that He came to seek and to save the lost.
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:9,10 NIV
Jesus also said:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. — John 3:16, 17 NIV
It is for these reasons that all nations, tribes and kindreds can join in the celebration of the birth of Chirst. We have been commissioned by Christ to go tell “the old, old story that we have loved so long.”
14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. — Hebrews 7:14-18 NIV
Under the Old Testament law, the priest had to be a member of the Levite tribe. No one else was allowed to serve in the temple and/or offer the sacrifices that were required. Jesus was a member of the tribe of Judah. This was one of the issues that the Jewish religious leaders had with Him. But knowing the Old Testament, they should have realized that a new order would be established and the eternal priest would come from the tribe of Judah.
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. — Genesis 49:10 NIV
This new order would begin when the law had been fulfilled and Jesus did just that. He fulfilled the law and established a covenant of mercy and grace. The old law was weak and served only to show us that we needed a Redeemer. We could never live the life of perfection that it required. So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to fulfill that law. His death and resurrection would usher in a whole new way of coming close to God. Earthly priests were no longer needed as we now could speak directly to God on our own behalf. Having a living God and a resurrected Jesus to worship is the defining difference in Christianity and worldly religions. It is why Chrisitanity offers the only hope for an eternity with Jesus. No religion offers the hope that we have as Christians and that is the real Christmas message that we need to be telling every day. It started with the birth of a baby in Behtlehem, it continued with the disciples and apostles and has been handed down to us to continue telling the old, old story. A story that is just as alive and vibrant today as it was when Jesus walked on the face of the earth. A light shone in the darkness then and has continued and will continue to shine throughout eternity. Our lifestyles should be mirrors that reflect that light every day, not just at this time of the year.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. — 1 Peter 1:10-12 NIV
When the Holy Spirit would come upon the Old Testament prophets, they would prophesy about the coming Messiah, His suffering, His resurrection and the magnificence of His glory. How their hearts must have longed for the day that He would come, But it was revealed to them, that they would not see it with their eyes. Even the angels longed to look into the mystery of this plan of salvation. But only hints and shadows would be revealed to each prophet, that the comeplete plan would be kept a mystery until the exact time that God chose to reveal more of it. God had a reason for not revealing the whole mystery any earlier than He did. If satan had been aware of God’s plan, the crucifixion would never have taken place.
7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. — 1 Cor. 2:7, 8 NIV
The revelations that the Holy Spirit was giving them were for our benefit that we might understand the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises. It is also a lesson to us that there is a reason that God sometimes delays the answer to our prayers. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. The eternal God has planned eternity and knows exactly when we to give us the things we need. Just as the Old Testament prophets prophesied and longed for the first appearance of the Messiah, we should be longing for and telling the world that Jesus is coming again. Just as Ezekiel (read Ezekiel 33) and the other prophets were the “watchmen on the wall” to spread the warning, so are we the modern day watchmen. We are to just keep telling the “Old, Old Story” until Jesus comes back!