Let’s start at the very beginning - a very good place to start!
Matthew, Luke and John each begin their Gospels with an account of the birth of Jesus. Matthew and Luke give us a wealth of detail about the conception and birth of Jesus as a human baby into this world. Word Online treats each detail of the birth narratives as amazing historical events, and asks questions like: What does the virgin birth mean and how important is it? (Series 1: Episode 5) Was Jesus really born in a stable? (Series 1: Episode 9) Who were the wise men and where did they come from? (Series 1: Episode 11)
Have you ever considered the genealogy of Jesus and what it reveals? It was very important to the Jewish people to trace their connections back to Abraham. Series 1: Episode 3, reveals that Jesus' birth line is not only traced back to Abraham but also to David. The son of Abraham makes him Jewish. The son of David is critical in terms of the prophecies given to David as king of Israel. . When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her of the birth of Jesus, he said: ‘The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David’. Luke 1:32. The genealogy is important in identifying Jesus' place in Jewish history, and also his place in prophetic history.
However, it’s John who starts his Gospel with the words: ‘In the beginning.’ John establishes the fact that the divine Jesus was present at the beginning of creation.
In Series 1: Episode 2, Martin Charlesworth describes the opening verses of John’s Gospel:
‘It is a magnificent piece of writing and carries in it a wonderful explanation of who Jesus is - what sort of person is Jesus? Where did he come from? In what sense is he God? In what sense is he, man? How do those two things fit together? John has all these things in mind, as he introduces the story of Jesus in his absolutely unique and magnificent way.’
This Christmastime, let’s not forget who Jesus really is. He is God, present with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit before the creation of the world yet ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ (John 1:14) Jesus is also ‘Emmanuel - God with us.’ (Matthew 1:23) in the present and future.
Why not explore the whole of Series 1 and dig deeper into the meaning of Christmas?