Pastor James J. Barker

Text: MATTHEW 1:18-25


  1. I was reading a sermon some nights ago and was surprised by a statement the preacher made. He said: "A few birthdays attract national significance like Abraham Lincoln’s on February 12th and George Washington’s on February 22nd."
  2. Immediately I turned to the front page to find out when the sermon was written. Sure enough, it was written in 1964. Back then these were indeed big days but today they are seldom noticed. Most people have combined the two birthdays into "Presidents Day."
  3. At any rate, let me continue the preacher’s quote. "But one birthday that receives international recognition, at least where civilization has gone, is that of Jesus Christ. The reason we commemorate a famous person’s birthday is not because there is anything so outstanding about his birth, but rather because his accomplishments in life were noteworthy. Nothing significant occurred at the birth of Lincoln or Washington. It was their achievements during their lifetime that makes us wish to signalize their birthdays. But when we consider Jesus Christ, we see that not only was He unusual in life, but also that He was unusual in birth. The birthday of Christ is remembered on its own intrinsic worth. So we ask the question, ‘What’s so unusual about the birth of Christ?’" (Leslie B. Flynn, Christmas Messages.)
  4. Pastor Flynn pointed out seven outstanding things about the birth of Christ.



    1. Our Lord’s birth was a miraculous birth because His was a virgin birth. No other man was ever born without an earthly father (Matt.1:18-25; Luke 1:30-35).
    2. If you read carefully the genealogy in Matthew 1, you see over and over the word "begat" (1:1:2,3,4, etc.). But you notice that Joseph did not begat Jesus (1:16).
    3. Our Lord had to be born of a woman because He had to be human in order to be our Saviour. But He also had to be born of a virgin in order to be our sinless Saviour.



    1. Our Lord’s virgin birth is just the first of many OT prophecies that were fulfilled on that first Christmas day 2,000 years ago (Isaiah 7:14; cf. Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2).
    2. Later on, many other OT prophecies would be fulfilled in the life of Christ.
    • His betrayal
    • His crucifixion
    • that men would gamble for His clothes
    • He was buried in a rich man’s tomb
    • His resurrection
    1. Any reasonable person, whether Jew or Gentile, who studies the evidence, would have to be convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.



    1. So far we have seen that everything about the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was unusual – He was born to a virgin in fulfillment of OT prophecies that were written over 700 years before His birth. Here is another unusual factor about Christ’s birth that sets Him apart from all men – He was born without sin. His was a holy birth.
    2. Every other baby born into this world is born with a sinful nature. David wrote, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5).
    3. And David also wrote, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (Psalm 58:3).
    4. The apostle Paul wrote, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
    5. Every baby that has ever been born is born with a sinful nature. Go out and buy a newspaper, and look at the photographs of some of the vicious psychopaths who rape and torture and kill with no remorse. Consider this: there was once a time when those villains were cute little babies sitting on the mother’s knee or playing in their playpen.
    6. Go into the nursery and look at the sweet little babies. Some day they will be lying and disobeying their parents. And if mom and dad are not careful they may start doing things far worse than that. Why? Because they are all born sinners.
    7. But 2,000 years ago, when those shepherds looked into the face of the baby Jesus they were looking at a child who would never sin. They were looking at God manifest in the flesh (Emmanuel, Matthew 1:23). This was a baby who was not born with a sinful nature.
    8. Our Lord said, "Who convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:46) and of course there was none.
    9. The Bible says: "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin" (I John 3:5).
    10. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
    11. The apostle Paul said, "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).
    12. Peter said that Christ "hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust" (I Peter 3:18).
    13. So we see our Lord’s birth was a virgin birth, a prophesied birth, and a holy and sinless birth.



    1. The word "manifested" assumes the fact of pre-existence – "God was manifested in the flesh" (I Timothy 3:16).
    2. You will recall our Lord said to the Pharisees, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am" (John 8:58). Not "I was," but "I am."
    3. "Then they took up stones to cast at Him…" (John 8:59). Why? Because they understood what our Lord was saying – He is the eternal Son of God.
    4. There are many Scriptures which affirm the pre-existence of Christ. "In the beginning was the Word…" (John 1:1).
    5. His birth was like no other. The Ancient of Days became the babe in the manger.



    1. One of my favorite Christmas carols is Charles Wesley’s grand old Christmas carol – "Hark the herald angels sing – glory to the newborn king."
    2. You will recall what the angel Gabriel said to Mary? "The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David" (Luke 1:32,33; cf. Isaiah 9:6).
    3. As a matter of fact, our Lord was descended from King David on both Mary’s side and Joseph’s side.
    4. And you will remember what the wise men said when they arrived from the east – "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2). His was a royal birth.



    1. Speaking of the wise men, consider their story! They traveled all the way from the east (Persia?) following a star (Matthew 2:1-12). I realize that there are unbelievers who scoff at all of this. But up in heaven we will rejoice with the wise men. We will gather around the throne worshipping the Lord of lords and King of kings. But where will the scoffers be? The scoffers will be tormented in the lake of fire and brimstone with all the other impenitent sinners.
    2. And when we consider how wonderful our Lord’s birth was, think of the angelic host, praising God, and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).
    3. I have some beautiful Christmas music – Handel’s Messiah, "The First Noel," "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," etc. – but can any of this compare to that first Christmas when the shepherds looked up into the sky and heard the angels praising God!? What majestic sights and sounds! What a night those shepherds had!
    4. Oh, our Lord’s birth was a wondrous birth.



    1. The birth of our Lord was like no other in that He was born to die. He came into this world for one specific purpose and that was to die on the cross for our sins. The Bible says, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (I Timothy 1:15).
    2. Very little is said about the childhood of our Lord. We see Him in the temple when He was twelve years old, and that is it (Luke 2:41-52).
    3. It was at the age of 30 that He began His public ministry. And even most of this was in the shadow of the cross. The big emphasis of the NT is not the birth of Christ, nor is it the life of Christ.
    4. The emphasis in the NT is the death of Christ. This is what is prominent throughout the entire Bible.
    5. The OT is filled with animal sacrifices, including Passover lambs, goats on the Day of Atonement, and many pictures and types of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born to die upon the cross.
    6. One thousand years before Calvary, David wrote these familiar words: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1).
    7. And seven hundred years before the cross, the prophet Isaiah said, "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).
    8. And then, three short years before the cross, John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
    9. After our Lord was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead, the apostle Paul said, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (I Corinthians 2:2).
    10. But this aspect of Christmas is completely ignored by the world. It does not fit in with their worldly festivities. If a person brings it up at the office Christmas party, people get upset. They say, "Let’s just have a good old time and forget all this talk about Jesus dying for sinners, and the blood of Christ, and judgment for sin, and salvation, and atonement, etc."
    11. But sinners are not saved by a baby in a manger. They can only be saved by a Saviour who died on the cross.
    12. Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King:
      Peace on earth, and mercy mild: GOD AND SINNERS RECONCILED."
    13. And how can wicked, rebellious sinners be reconciled to a holy God? Only by the blood of the cross (Colossians 1:20).


  1. Do you believe that Christ was born in a human body in order to die on the cross for your sins? The other day I attended a nice Christian pre-school Christmas program. The Gospel was clearly presented, plenty of Scripture verses were quoted, the preacher preached a good Gospel message. And yet as I sat there and looked around at the room full of people, I wondered, "How many here really understand the Gospel?"
  2. My friend, if you have not understood the Gospel, or believed the Gospel – you are missing the true meaning of Christmas. All of the pageantry, and Christmas programs, and Christmas carols, and pretty gifts and merrymaking are meaningless and without real significance if the Gospel is left out.
  3. But if you see beyond the manger to the cross; if you can see why Christ came into the world, and if you can believe that He died in order that you might receive eternal life, then you can saved today.

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