Making a New Beginning

KEY VERSE: “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” —Matthew 1:21


NEARLY two thousand years ago, about October 1st, Jesus, the world’s Savior, was born. It was toward the end of December of the preceding year that the angel, Gabriel, announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of this promised one. The angel said, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”—Luke 1:26-33

Naturally Mary was astonished to hear this announcement, and inquired of the angel how it could be, “seeing I know not a man?” The angel explained, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”—Luke 1:34,35

Prior to Jesus’ birth an angel communicated with Joseph, Mary’s husband, in a dream, and explained the situation to him. The angel said to Joseph, “Thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:20,21) Then follows the explanation, ‘Now all of this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted is, God with us.”—Matt. 1:20,23

This promise of long-standing from Isaiah 7:14 is presented on an interesting background. Enemies of Israel were attempting to destroy Jerusalem, but the Lord would not permit this. He promised, instead, that those who were then plotting against the house of David would themselves be destroyed. Then, out of this local scene came the long-range prophecy of the birth of the Messiah. This was to be a sign that God had not forgotten his people; that all his promises would be fulfilled in his own due time and way.

The following captivity of the Israelites, and the subsequent vassal status of the nation should have taught the people that without God’s help the messianic cause was lost. And when God’s due time came for the Messiah to be born, how wonderfully the Lord impressed upon all concerned that this was indeed something HE was bringing about. In the first place there was the case of a virgin conceiving—a miracle, a sign that God was intervening to carry out his purposes.

Much that happened in connection with the birth of the Messiah was calculated to build up this same thought in the minds of those concerned. Mary did not casually discover that she was to become a mother, and left to wonder how it came about. Instead, the angel, Gabriel, was sent to announce to her the important role she was to have in the outworking of the divine plan. Later, angels announced the birth of the Messiah, and sang glory to God in the highest, affirming that this expression of God’s goodwill toward men would lead to peace on earth. Yes, it was the Lord who was working—working to accomplish his plans, not the plans of men.

Throughout, God was teaching his people lessons, one of the important ones being that the blessings which he had promised through a coming “seed” could not be realized by human efforts; that there must, and would be, divine intervention in the affairs of men to fulfill his promises. God began early to teach this lesson. Note the experience of Abraham and Sarah in connection with the birth of Isaac. Isaac’s birth was a miracle because so much time had elapsed that the parents were past the age of having children; besides, Sarah was barren to start with. Angels were sent to affirm his coming and to emphasize the fact that God would cause it to happen.

When the time came for Jesus to be born, the holy angels were again used, one of them making the announcement of his birth to a group of humble shepherds. The record of this is ever new and refreshing: “Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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