No Ordinary Baby

The night Jesus was born, an angel proclaimed good news to some shepherds who were tending flock.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11 NIV)

This is the best news that has ever been proclaimed by any messenger. A Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.

The birth of a baby is usually an event of great joy in itself. A family welcomes its newest member. New life is born, full of potential. At the moment of birth, the baby has done pretty much nothing but give the mother months of nausea, sleeplessness and discomfort. On top of that add the pain of labor and delivery. And yet, that little baby is loved. Few joys in life match the joy a mother and father feel when holding their baby for the first time.

But the birth of this baby is something special. He was not born to follow his earthly dad into the family carpentry business. He was born to be a Savior. He was born to lay down His life for the sins of humanity. He was born to die.

I'm pretty sure when I was born at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie no angel appeared to any shepherds to announce my birth. I grew up as an average human boy in an average home in an average midwest city. I came to put faith in Jesus and have spent nearly 50 years of my adult life as a pastor. (I was appointed on the first Sunday of December of 1973 as pastor to two little United Methodist churches outside Albany, Indiana. So today is actually the 47th anniversary of my becoming a pastor. How time flies.)

Jesus grew up with the fullness of God in Him. He spent most of his adult life as a carpenter, and then after a brief, three-year ministry He died on a Roman cross and was raised from the dead by His Heavenly Father. Jesus came from heaven with a purpose. His purpose was to make redemption for fallen humanity, so we could be forgiven of sin, restored to relationship with God, and given eternal life!

Jesus of Nazareth was no ordinary baby. He was God-in-flesh-and-blood. He existed before the universe was created, and took on a human body to fulfill His mission of redemption. The angel was right. This is good news of great joy!

I hope you will savor this good news. I hope you will not allow the hustle and bustle of Christmas as we celebrate it in America today become all there is to it. I hope you will celebrate the birth - the enfleshment - of the One who was born to redeem us.

The manger where Jesus was laid at His birth points to the Cross and the empty tomb. There has never been a birth like this one. There never will be again. Rejoice with the shepherds at this great good news. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.

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