An explosive Truth arrived on earth 2 millenniums ago. It is NOT a fable, or a story, but it is a fact. Our holy God made a Way for us to spend eternity in heaven with Him. He manifested Himself as a baby named Jesus. When Jesus arrived as a baby, His birth was the very definition of humility. He was born to an unwed mother in a stable in Bethlehem. His birth was announced to a few shepherds, but it was otherwise quiet. Jesus was born, He lived as the Way God intended. His birth 2,000 years ago is the Truth that we celebrate around the globe each Christmas. Jesus is the Light of the world. “ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
In 2018 a group from our local church travelled to Israel and our luggage was checked daily to see if there were any explosives tucked away. As anyone who has traveled to the Mideast knows, Israel is and has been the smallest parcel of earth that has been fought over for centuries. The absolute best gift ever given to this world came wrapped in narrow bands of cloth. Our Christmas gift from God is our salvation and the indwelt, never departing from us, Holy Spirit. This explosive Truth cannot be erased or suppressed. Over 2,000 years ago, the earth experienced the greatest explosion in all of history. It may have been a “silent night” for most people, but it was a night that changed the world forever. The power of God is more explosive than dynamite, any missile, or nuclear blast. Paul said that the good news about Jesus Christ, is “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 That word “power” in the original language is dunamis—from which we get our word “dynamite.” No human mind can totally grasp the sheer world-shaking power that was released on that first Christmas. The infant boy born through a virgin is what changed all that was B.C. (Before Christ) to A.D. In Latin, (Anno Domini) means “in the year of the Lord”. Jesus is the Lord of all, He is not one of many gods, He is God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Jesus is the King of kings, the Prince of peace, and our final righteous Judge. Christmas is the greatest Truth ever revealed! The fact that God walked the earth as a sinless man who spoke “as if it already were” when He called Peter a rock when Peter was still a wretched, fish smelling mess. The power of the twinkling lights at Christmas should remind us all that absolutely nothing is impossible with God.
In the gospel of Luke, the story of a young virgin named Mary began near the Sea of Galilee in a city called Nazareth. Going about her regular tasks on what seemed an ordinary day, she suddenly found herself face to face with a powerful, radiant angel. Gabriel said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” He then described something that would happen to Mary—something that has never happened to anyone before or since. She would have a son, even though she had never slept with a man.
“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” Luke 1:30-31-37 Mary asked “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Gabriel answered: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God… For with God nothing will be impossible” The Lord hand-picked this young teen to fulfill a Bible prophecy over 7 centuries old. In the book of Isaiah, the Lord told King Ahaz, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14 (God with us)
Mary probably knew about Isaiah’s prophecy, but —even in her wildest dreams—Mary probably never imagined that she would become that virgin! Yet God chose this unknown, uneducated, humble small-town girl (perhaps as young as 14) to bring about the most significant event in human history. In today’s culture, this powerful Truth shines brighter even in the midst of the boldest attempted cover up in the history of time. The world may sprinkle shimmering glitter on the story of Christmas, or use colored lights to lure shoppers, while ringing sleigh bells to signify that Santa Claus and his reindeer are thundering through the snowflakes that God created. But then there is the TRUTH that trumps their story! The first Christmas wasn’t pretty. Pregnant Mary rode miles on the back of a donkey, perhaps shaking in birth pains. The powerful birth of Jesus, in a humble crib of hay among feeding animals, in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, has supernaturally changed the lives of thousands who BELIEVE in JESUS.
Las Vegas is known today as “sin city.” But 2,000 years ago, Nazareth in Israel was equally sinful as they worshipped idols instead of God. Gabriel followed God’s order to step into Nazareth to speak to a child about the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world. The blazing presence of God made Himself known in a barn among goats. Nazareth was an insignificant town—possibly only 20,000 people—that was known for its corruption and wickedness. In later years, one of Jesus’ disciples would ask, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” The scroll scholars of the day expected their Messiah to arrive in a chariot with a gold crown upon his head. Nazareth was one of those places “on the way to somewhere else.” It was also overrun with Roman soldiers, who built their pagan temples there. So Mary was a nobody living in a nothing town in the middle of nowhere. Romans 16:25-27 “Now to Him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
At times most of us tend to allow our emotions to override the Truth, that we are nobody significant, untalented and unworthy that God would use us to build His kingdom. But then there is God, and He gives us faith to believe the Truth, the Way, and the Life of Christ Jesus our Savior. The good news—is highlighted repeatedly in the Bible. For His own reasons, God goes out of His way to call ordinary people like Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Amos, Elijah, Noah, Jeremiah, Job, Peter, Esther and Mary to give their testimony about what God has accomplished through people who stutter, who question, who doubt, and who try to hide from God in fear. Elijah ran and hid in fear after God used him to destroy the idols of Baal.
Mary was surprised that God would send an angel to her humble hut in Nazareth—and even more stunned that He would call her to be His choice to birth the Son of God. In Luke’s account, it says that she was troubled by this encounter with the Gabriel. The word troubled can mean “disturbed or confused, resulting in a failure to function.” She was probably thinking, “Why would he say this? I’ve done nothing to merit this! Why me?” Young, immature Mary may have felt overwhelmed, but she was also a godly girl. And as difficult as it might have been for her to comprehend in that moment, she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” Luke 1:38 NLT Willingness is all it takes for God to use any of us. It happens when we say, “Lord, I don’t know how You could use someone like me, in a place like this and at a time like this, with all the stuff going on in my life, but here I am. I’m available. Use me to touch someone’s life for Thy glory! Give me the words to speak, the patience, compassion and the winsome hospitality that it may require to draw people to Jesus.”
It was NOT easy for Mary—or for Joseph. People gossiped about the immorality of getting pregnant before marriage. There must have been whispers, sneers, and laughter as she walked about Nazareth. The persecution of slander hurts, but Mary knew what truly happened and thought whatever was pure, lovely and true and stood on her faith in God! “I am willing to do whatever God wants.” Our God is bigger than any sickness, any pandemic, or any world leader. What seems insurmountable to us when we are weak, is when God shares His strength to cry out for more faith. Gabriel’s words cut right through any circumstances or complexities that may block the path God has for us. “With God, nothing will be impossible.” When Jesus comes again, the whole world will know: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.” Revelation 1:7 It will be a “glorious appearing.” Titus 2:3 Before He was crucified, Jesus Himself said we will see the Son of Man “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30 Young Mary knew the child she carried was special, but she did not know exactly when He would be born. Likewise, we do know His Second Coming will be unexpected by most, and no person knows the exact date or hour: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:44 As promised in Scripture, Jesus will return and it is wise to be ready.
Original message of hope by Pastor Jimmy Evans, expanded with pictures and summarized by Barbara Hoyle. Pray to receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Reach Out