Peter was preaching the Gospel which began with the birth of Christ. Foretold for thousands of years throughout the Old Testament by prophets, priests and kings, the virgin birth of Christ was the fulfillment of prophecy. For those who knew the Scriptures, this event was a fulfillment of all that they had been taught with regard to the coming Messiah (Anointed One). The place and manner of His birth had long been prophesied by Jews and by Gentiles alike. His birth caused kings to fear, wise men to rejoice and angels to sing.
From humble beginnings, this unique Person of the universe grew to manhood and began an amazing journey. Part of His journey from age thirty to age thirty-three was recorded for us by four of His followers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We are very fortunate to have been given this record. It is this record of Christ (Anointed One) that not only teaches us how we are to treat one another; it also records the greatest love story of all time. (Genesis 3:15; II Samuel 7:5-17; Isaiah 7:14)
This love story is between the Creator of the universe, Jesus Christ and His creations, mankind. “Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friends.” Because of His great love, Jesus Christ laid down His life for you and me. The Christmas story is the beginning. However, the story of Christ’s death on the Cross is not the end. Not willing that anyone would perish and spend eternity separated from God, Jesus Christ voluntarily became our sin-bearer.
The sin-bearer is described in detail in the Book of Ruth as the kinsman redeemer. The kinsman redeemer had to meet certain requirements by Jewish law in order to redeem or buy back a relative from slavery or servitude. The requirements for this kinsman redeemer were: he had to be a relative, he had to be able monetarily to pay the price of redemption and he had to be willing to pay the ransom price. In the Book of Ruth, we see Boaz fulfill all of these requirements and redeem Ruth. Boaz is the perfect type of Christ, our kinsman redeemer. It is Christ Who has met the purchase price for our salvation, as a willing sacrifice for our sin. Christ is related to mankind, the only Person Who could meet the price for our ransom and He willingly sacrificed Himself on our behalf. Therefore, Jesus Christ met all the requirements of a kinsman redeemer and purchased us from the slave market of sin. (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; I Timothy 2:6)
The historical record of the birth of Christ is well documented both Biblically and secularly. Most of us are familiar with the story. However, many are not familiar with the doctrine of the birth of Christ and its impact upon the world. It is safe to say that no other person in history has changed the world in the way that Jesus of Nazareth changed it. (Matthew 1:18-25; Isaiah 7:14)
Jesus Christ is the unique Person of the universe. He is the only person in history to be both fully God and fully man. The term for this unique union is Hypostatic Union and is derived from the Greek word “hupostatis”meaning same essence. In the case of Christ He is both divine and human essence in one Person, forever. He is the God-Man. (Hebrews 1:3) Christ was born without a sin nature (no human father). He is superior to man because He is God. He is superior to sinful humanity because He is sinless. Even though His two natures are united in one Person, they retain their separate identities. The attributes of one do not belong to the other. Deity remains deity and humanity remains humanity.
Without a sin nature, without Adam’s original sin and without personal sin, Jesus Christ is the only person in history qualified to go to the Cross and pay the penalty for sin. Christ also had to be human in order to be our prototype. He lived an impeccable (sinless) life in God’s power system (the control of God the Holy Spirit), the same system that is available to us as believers. (Timothy 2:5)
The plan, formulated in eternity past, called for a sin-bearer to “bridge” the gap between God and man. This sin-bearer had to be uniquely qualified, however. He had to have no sin of his own, he had to be equal with both parties involved and he had to be willing to bear the sin of the entire human race. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, agreed to execute the plan. Therefore, Jesus Christ became a man, lived a sinless life and became our sin-bearer. (Romans 5:8; II Corinthians 5:21)
It was necessary for Jesus Christ to become humanity in order to die physically, so that we, like Him, could have a resurrection body and conquer death. It was necessary for Jesus Christ to become a human being in order to be the mediator between God and mankind (a mediator must have an affinity with both parties). It was necessary for Jesus Christ to become a human being in order that He could be our High Priest. And, as we have seen, Christ had to become a man in order to fulfill the Davidic Covenant.
God prepared a person to be the mother of the humanity of Christ, Mary. Mary was a wonderful Jewish believer and especially chosen by God to give birth to the Messiah. Mary was the mother of the humanity of Christ, not the “Mother of God.” God also prepared a man to take care of His Son while He was growing up, Joseph. Joseph like Mary was a Jewish believer and a person of integrity. (Matthew 1:18-25) Though Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus Christ, he was the father (guardian) of Christ while He was growing up. We can only conjecture as to Joseph’s role in the earlier training of Jesus, as we are not given a great deal of information about Christ’s youth. We do, however, see Jesus at the age of twelve in the Temple.
We can learn some things about Mary and Joseph from several statements that were made about them and several statements that they made. In Luke, the angel said that Mary was “highly favored,” that “the Lord was with her” and that she was “blessed among women.” Also in Luke 1:38, Mary confirmed her obedient attitude toward the Lord. Mary was a faithful believer who knew and quoted the Word of God according to Luke 1:46-56.
We can also learn something of Joseph. Matthew 1:19, calls Joseph “a just man.” The Greek word for just is “dikaios” and means righteous. Joseph was a believer who performed righteous acts (acts in accordance with God’s will). Joseph was a man of integrity and he was obedient to the Lord, according to Matthew 1:20-25, 2:19-23. It was into this family of integrity that Jesus Christ was born and was raised. From humble beginnings this unique Person grew to manhood and began an amazing journey. Part of His journey from age thirty to age thirty-three was recorded for us by four of His followers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We are very fortunate to have been given this record. It is this record of Christ (Anointed One) that not only teaches us how we are to treat one another, but it also gives us the greatest love story of all time. The question for you and me as believers in Jesus Christ is “Will this story about the birth of Jesus impact our lives to the point that we will sacrifice everything to know Him and emulate the pattern He set for us as His representatives on earth”? Jesus sacrificed His human life for us, what are we willing to sacrifice for Him? (Genesis 3:15; II Samuel 7:5-17; Isaiah 7:14)
Every Christian is an ambassador for Jesus Christ. The Greek word for ambassador is “presbeuo” and means “eldership, aged or rank.” This makes perfect sense for Christians, since you cannot properly represent Jesus Christ on earth if you are not advancing in the Christian Way of Life. (II Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20) The Royal Ambassadorship of the believer is your visible relationship with others and is the result of (not the means of) your spiritual life (your invisible relationship with God). Just like non-Christian ambassadors, there are effective ambassadors and non-effective ambassadors.
As believers we take our precedence from Jesus Christ. Christ was God’s ambassador on earth. Since Christ has ascended to Heaven, believers are now God’s representatives on earth. With Christ as our standard, the believer, controlled by the Holy Spirit, strives to become an effective ambassador for God. (Hebrews 1:1-9)
The effective ambassador is a blessing to others. God blesses the believer when he has developed capacity to receive blessing. Capacity is developed by the believer-priest as he builds his relationship with God. God never blesses the believer because of his production as an ambassador. This means that the primary responsibility of the royal ambassador is the application of Bible doctrine. (As a priest, the believer is responsible for the perception of Bible doctrine). Divine production is always the result of a right relationship with God, never the means. Before the believer can be an effective ambassador for Christ, he must have a developing spiritual life. If he gets the “cart before the horse,” his ambassadorship becomes legalism or Christian activism (trying to reform the devil’s world). (Matthew 6:33)
It must be pointed out that the priesthood and the ambassadorship of the believer are to work in harmony in order to bring honor to God. Simply having a spiritual life without application is an untested life and having a Christian life without a spiritual life is a wasted life. If we are going to execute the Christian Way of Life effectively, we must do things God’s way. This does not mean that we will always do things the right way 100% of the time. It does however mean that we are utilizing the resources outlined in God’s Word.
As ambassadors for Christ, we have been given the responsibility and the privilege of sharing the good news of the Gospel with others. Often extreme pressure is placed upon believers using false doctrine in order to force them into a certain routine of witnessing. The most common of false doctrines says that a person will go to Hell if you fail to share the Gospel with him. This is not true. God will not let a person go to Hell who wants to know truth, whether or not you speak to that person about salvation. (II Corinthians 5:18-20)
Sharing the Gospel of Christ should be natural and easy without pressure from any source. Your love for God should be all the motivation necessary. God does not want religious nuts running around getting in people’s faces and talking about “Jesus.” More harm than good has been done, in the name of Christ, by misguided and misinformed Christians. If you want to be an effective witness for Christ (and you should), you need to learn how to share the Gospel clearly and effectively. During this season of giving, let’s all agree to let someone about God’s greatest gift to mankind – His Son Jesus Christ. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends!
Being an effective witness for Christ begins with being an effective Christian. Since you are the best Christian that someone knows, it should encourage you to set an example of a Christ-like attitude and Christ-like actions. Failure to do so will limit your effectiveness as a witness for Christ. However, no one ever accepted Christ as Savior by observation. It is therefore our responsibility to verbally share the Gospel when the opportunity presents itself. The Bible says that we are to be ready always to give reason for the hope that is in us. (Romans 14:21; I Corinthians 6:12, 8:13; Galatians 5:13; I Thessalonians 5:22; Titus 3:8)