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What Child Is This?

Antonio da Correggio, The Holy Night (PD)
And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord,was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!

When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.
-Luke 2:4-20 (HCSB)

What child is this?  That is the question that the Christmas story asks.  Remember the Charlie Brown Christmas show?  In it, one of the characters reads the story.  Millions of people who watched that show each year and on video hear the familiar story.

The story is that an angel visited these shepherds with a message of what just happened and they went and saw, then told everyone they could, what they saw.

The key verse, in the story of the shepherds who see baby Jesus in Luke 2, is verse 11, that is stated in the NIV as,“Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” This answers the question, “What child is this?”

Son of David

The town of David is Bethlehem. In Micah 5:2, it says that Messiah will come out of Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census, because Joseph was from the line of David and Bethlehem is where David was born.

Joseph’s home was in Nazareth, a three-day trip from Bethlehem. We know, from Luke, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the Jewish leaders who studied the scriptures knew about Micah 5:2, but they did not know Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The shepherds knew and told everyone, when it happened, but the news never got to or was not heard, by the Jewish authorities.

There was an ongoing issue with people having prejudice against Jesus, because he was from Galilee (John 7:41, 52) and Nazareth (Jn. 1:46). Jesus was rightfully referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, but we and the shepherds know that he was born in Bethlehem.

Savior

Next, we know that this child is a Savior. This word means, “The one who saves and delivers, heals and makes whole”. A Savior also protects and preserves you. That’s the “whole package” of Savior. That’s who this child is.

Christ

This child also is Christ. That means “anointed”. He is “The Anointed One”. Messiah is the anointed. Christ is Greek for Messiah. The word Messiah is only in the OT twice in Daniel (9:25-6), but the Hebrew word, translated Messiah, is translated anointed, dozens of other times, in the OT.

David refers to Saul as, “God’s anointed”, because Saul was. The King is the anointed, ruler, and the one who has authority and dominion. So, that is what Christ means.

The child born in Bethlehem is The Anointed One. When we get that, we have to make a choice to yield to and come under his rulership.

Lord

And he is not just a king, like Saul or David, but he is God’s King and the Lord. “Christ the Lord” is a unique title just for Jesus. There are anointed ones, even king Saul was one of these. And there are lords. Like in the twelve days of Christmas song. But there is only one, “The Lord”.

Remember the psalm where David wrote, “The Lord said to my Lord”? In that psalm, David is looking at God and Christ. Both are Lord, “The Lord”, and “My Lord” (Psalm 110). At the end of Matthew 22, Jesus gave a gathering of Pharisees a lesson on how Christ is Lord.

What child is this to you?

The answer to the question, “What child is this?”, is that he is the Lord, God. He is your savior and the Lord. He is not a commodity of a force or a power to be used; but a person, The King and The Lord, who saved us and we are to bow to and follow.

He is also the greatest gift ever given and we get to receive him and respond by giving our whole lives to him and at his service. He is our inheritance and our children’s inheritance. The whole goal of Christian parenting is to bring our children, just as the angel brought the shepherds, to Jesus, and to teach them that he is Savior and Christ the Lord.

The Gospel

This child is Savior and Lord. He really saves. He takes sin away, cleansing it and purging it out of our lives. He heals us too. He makes us whole and delivers us.

Salvation is not an intellectual exercise, where you learn the lesson; but a life-transforming experience. Jesus changes lives. When he saves you, he renews you, regenerates you, and gives you a whole new life.

The Gospel is also that he is Christ and Lord. The language that says, “make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior”, can give us the mistaken idea that the gift of God, in him, is a commodity. The more correct or Biblical idea is that He is Lord – He has come to save us and make us his subjects and his subjects get to become children of God and disciples (learners) of Christ. These are not options, like when you buy a car or get your kitchen remolded.

The message of Christ’s advent is savior in every dimension of salvation (wholeness, healing, and deliverance) and he is king, God’s King, and he is the Lord. Being God’s Son, even though he came into this world through a woman and as a man, he is the pre-existent only Son of God, which makes him the Lord.

With that on the table, we bow and receive his Lordship and Kingship and give our lives to him. The gift and the demands go together, as a whole package. We call this the gospel of the kingdom.

Some “Christians” have never been saved nor received Christ as Lord. When this lightning strikes in your life, you get to be saved (cleansing and purging of sin, healing of body, soul, and spirit; and deliverance) and make Jesus the Lord and the King of your life.

Who this child is, is about to be discovered by many people.

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