It is to Give Us Peace

“The story is told of a woman walking along the beach when she stumbled upon a Genie’s lamp. She picked it up and rubbed it, and lo-and-behold a Genie appeared. The amazed woman asked if she got three wishes.

The Genie said, “Nope, I can only grant you one wish. So, what’ll it be?”

The woman didn’t hesitate. She said,

“I want peace in the Middle East. See this map? I want these countries to stop fighting with each other.”

The Genie looked at the map and exclaimed,

“Gadzooks, Lady! These countries have been at war for thousands of years. I’m out of shape after being in a bottle for centuries. I’m good but not THAT good! I don’t think it can be done. Make another wish. ”

The woman thought for a minute and said,

“Well, I’ve never been able to find the right man. You know, one that’s considerate and fun, likes to cook and helps with the house cleaning, is good in bed and gets along with my family, doesn’t watch sports all the time, and is faithful. That’s what I wish for — a good mate.”

The Genie let out a long sigh, shook his head and said,

“Let me see that map again!”

The angels said, “’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased’” (Lk. 2:14)! Jesus’ birth brings peace to us. The word “peace” (eirene) refers to the “sum of all blessings associated with the coming of the Messiah.” (Marshall) It is both international and individual. Internationally, the Messiah brings peace to His people after He has won the war against their enemies (Isa. 9:1-7). Individually, the Messiah brings peace to you if you believe in Him as your personal Savior and Lord.

Christmas brings the good news of peace. Peter said that the “good news of peace” is “through Jesus Christ . . . To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:36, 43). The good news of peace through Christ brings forgiveness through Christ. Forgiveness is received by faith in Christ—“everyone who believes in him.” If you believe in Christ as your personal Savior, you will receive forgiveness of sins and peace with God.

This peace is for “those with whom he is pleased” (v. 14). The word “pleased” (eudokia) means “favor, good pleasure” (Gingrich). “It corresponds to Hebrew rāṣôn, used of the will of God (Pss. 51:18 (50:20); 89:17 (88:18); 106:4 (105:4)). . . The phrase means ‘those upon whom God’s will/favour rests’ . . .” (Marshall) Jesus’ birth brings peace to those with whom God is pleased. God’s peace is for those who receive God’s favor.

Whom is God pleased? Who receives God favor? Everyone who believes in Christ receives God’s favor. God calls on everyone now to believe in Christ and to receive His forgiveness and peace in Christ (Acts 10:43; 2 Pet. 3:9). Bruce Larson wrote, “If you are able to receive what God wants to give, the message of peace is for you. . . It is available for all, and when and if we receive what God wants to give us, we have peace.”[1]

God is pleased with anyone who repents his sin and trusts Christ. Have you trusted Christ as your personal Savior? Then in Christ, God is pleased with you. In Christ, God’s favor is upon you.

[1]Larson, Bruce ; Ogilvie, Lloyd J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 26 : Luke. Nashville, Tennessee : Thomas Nelson Inc, 1983 (The Preacher’s Commentary Series 26), S. 50


It is to Glorify God in the Highest

The angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Lk. 2:14)! Jesus’ birth gives glory to God in the highest. The noun “glory” (doxa) speaks of “God’s good reputation.” (Nolland) “For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you . . . For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another” (Isa. 48:9, 11). When the angels said, “glory to God,” they were giving recognition of the glory and majesty of God. (Marshall) They were saying that all glory and praise belongs to God. God already possesses all the glory and majesty of being God. Thus, giving “glory” to God is magnifying the reputation of God. To praise God is to increase the recognition of the glory of God. To glorify God is to increase the appreciation of His glory.

Now the angels glorified God “in the highest.” The “highest” (hupsistos) refers to heaven. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest” (Lk. 19:38)! “Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens” (Ps. 71:19). The angels are saying, “Glory to God in the highest place, in heaven.”

The glory of God is glorified and magnified more in heaven. The hosts of heaven are praising God for the birth of Jesus. Thus, Jesus’ birth glorifies God in heaven.

It is to Make Us Secure and Satisfied

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (v. 11). Luke uses the title “Lord” to refer to God (Lk. 1:6, 16). Now Luke applies the title “Lord” to Jesus. Luke shows that Jesus is God Himself. The title “Lord” also refers to divine authority. Jesus is Christ the Lord who possesses all authority. Peter says that Jesus is declared both Christ and Lord at His resurrection (Acts 5:36). But Jesus was already called Christ the Lord at His birth. (Stein)

As the Lord, Jesus has all authority over all spiritual forces in heaven and on earth. You don’t need to be afraid against spirits.

As the Lord, Jesus has overcome the world. You don’t need to be afraid of the world of people who oppose us.

As the Lord, Jesus has overcome sin and death. You don’t need to be controlled by sin and defeated by death.

As the Lord, Jesus keeps us secure in His salvation. You will not lose your salvation because Jesus keeps you.

As the Lord, Jesus will rule with all wisdom, might, and peace.

As the Lord, Jesus fills your inner soul with joy and satisfaction. You will experience full satisfaction in Jesus.


It is to Fulfill God’s Promises to Us

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ” (v. 11). The title “Christ” means “one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task; as a title for Jesus, designating him as the Messiah sent from God (see JN 1.41), Christ, (the) Anointed One (MT 1.16).” (Friberg)

God promised an anointed ruler in His covenant with David. In the Davidic covenant, God reaffirms His promise of land to David. “And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more” (2 Sam. 7:10).

Then God promises that David’s son will become king after him.

“Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:11-13).

Based on v. 13, Solomon did build a house for God. But God promises to establish the throne of his kingdom forever. The promise of a “forever kingdom” goes beyond Solomon’s lifetime. Another Son of David shall fulfill this promise of an eternal kingdom. This Son of David is Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed ruler of Israel. As Christ, the anointed king of Israel, Jesus will fulfill this promise. The angel said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:33).

Paul wrote, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you . . . was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Cor. 1:19-20). Did you read that? All the promises of God, including God’s promise to David, find their yes in Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ birth fulfills God’s promises to us!

It is to Save Us From Our Sins

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior” (Lk. 2:11).

I read this letter of a little boy to Santa Claus.

      “Dear Santa, there are three little boys who live at our house. There is Jeffrey; he is two. There is David; he is four. And there is Norman; he is seven. Jeffrey is good some of the time. David is good some of the time. But Norman is good all of the time.

“I am Norman.”[1]

Sometimes we are like Norman. We think that being good will bring the favor of God. You may be a good person, but if you have committed one sin, you offend God. You may go to church every day, but you still sin against God. You may give to the poor, but you will lose your soul because of sin. You need a Savior from your sins.

If our greatest problem is education, God would have sent a teacher. If our greatest problem is money, God would have sent a financier. If our greatest problem is sickness, God would have sent a doctor. But our greatest problem is sin, so God sent a Savior.

Luke calls Jesus “Savior.” As Savior of Israel, Jesus is Leader and Giver of Israel. Luke wrote, “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:21). As Leader and Savior, Jesus grants repentance and forgiveness of sins.

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Only Jesus can save you from your sin. I’m sorry to tell you straight that Mary cannot save you from your sins. The saints cannot save you from you sins. Your church cannot save you from your sins. Only Jesus is Savior of your sins. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Put your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.

Is Jesus your personal Savior today? Have you called on Jesus to save you from your sins? If you’re not sure, call on Jesus and He will save you.

[1] Sermon Illustrations: Christmas. Cited December 23, 2012. Online:

It is to Confirm the Coming of the Messiah

Luke wrote that God will give Jesus the throne of his father David. “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David” (Lk. 1:32). Then Luke points out that Jesus is born in Bethlehem, the city of David. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David” (Lk. 2:11).

Now Micah has prophesied that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Mic. 5:2).

Thus, Luke shows that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfills the prophecy of Micah that the Messiah shall come from Bethlehem.

Jesus’ birth confirms the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah, the ruler of Israel, is born this day in the city of David.

It was an Actual City

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David” (Lk. 2:11). It happened in an actual city. It did not happen in Narnia. It did not happen in Middle Earth. It did not happen in a galaxy far, far away. (Piper) Jesus’ birth happened in the city of David. This city of David is called Bethlehem.

Luke wrote, “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David (v. 4). Bethlehem is a “town in Judea 7 kilometers or about 4.5 miles south of Jerusalem.” (Friberg) Bethlehem is the city of David because David came from Bethlehem. David was born and bred in Bethlehem. His father, Jesse, was also from Bethlehem (2 Sam 5:7, 9; 6:10, 12, 16).

The first Christmas happened in the city of Bethlehem.

Jesus Christ is Immanuel—Truly God and Truly Human

immanuel-god-with-us-behold-the-virgin-shall-conceive-and-bear-a-sonand-they-shall-call-his-name-immanuel-which-means-god-with-us-matthew-1-23-esvLook with me in Matt. 1:23, “they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” Matthew translates the name, Immanuel, for us, I think, for one reason. He wants to identify both the essence and work of Christ.

Who is Jesus Christ? He is Immanu-el—God with us. In Hebrew, the word, “immanu” means, “with us.” That is the humanity of Christ. The word, “el,” means, God. That is the deity of Christ (from the Latin, deitas, “divine nature”). Matthew is telling us that Jesus is truly God. But this God is also with us. Because this God is with us, Jesus therefore is truly human.

Last night, I read these funny letters to God from small kids.

   “Dear God, Are you a ninja? Is that why I can’t see you? Jacob”

    “Dear God, Instead of having people die and having to make new ones, why don’t you just keep the ones you got now? Jane”

    “Dear God, I am Amearican. What are you? Robert”

    “Dear God, Mommy says all babies cry, but I don’t think baby Jesus did. You must know the answer so please write back. We have a bet. Angelina”

    “Dear God, I think about you sometimes even when I’m not praying. Elliott”

    “Dear God, Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest. Tom L.”

    In the context of Jesus’ birth, “God with us” means, God now born. But in the context of salvation history, it means, God our Savior. God can only be with us by becoming one like us—a human. The only way to be human is to be born as a human. That is what God did.

If you were an alien, a Martian, you just cannot land on earth, take the form of a human body, and call yourself a human. You might look like a human being. But you are still an alien. The only way to be a human is to be born a human being. That is what God did.

Because of the birth of Jesus, he is thus called, Immanuel—God with us. That is what’s amazing about Jesus. He is God with us—in human form.

Thus, according to Matthew, this Jesus is truly God and truly man. He is the Savior God. He is also the human Savior.

This God left the splendor of his glory in heaven, came to earth, and became a little baby. I remember that old song, “He left the splendor of heaven, knowing his destiny. ‘Twas a lonely hill of Golgotha. There to lay down his life for me.” This God chose to be God with us. He chose to be born of a virgin. He fulfilled the prophecy by becoming a son of David.   He was born of shamed parents, to a world that does not welcome him. He abandoned his power in heaven for the love of unworthy sinners. Ultimately, He came to be with us in order to die for us, for our sins.

Jesus, the Crown Prince of glory, came from heaven to earth, to sit where you sit, to feel what you feel, and to embrace the pain in your life. Of all the religions of the world, only Christianity proclaims a God who chose to embrace the pain of people,[1] to save them from their sins. That is why broken people, oppressed people, imprisoned people, people in pain, and people in sin, can find in Jesus Christ, a true Savior, for he is the true God and true man—Immanuel, God with us.

Are you broken? Are you oppressed? Are you suffering in sin?

You might say, “Pastor, I’m okay.” No, we are all not okay. Sin has damaged our souls, our thoughts, our being, our world. We need the grace of God. That grace is found in Jesus Christ.   

Call on the Lord Jesus today. As God, he knows you. As man, he understands your pain. He will save you from your sin.

[1] Keener, Matthew, __.

Jesus Christ is the True Savior in Fulfillment of the Prophetic Scripture

Matthew writes that this is how the birth of Jesus took place. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18). Betrothal happens one year before marriage. In Jewish law, betrothal is more binding than an engagement. If you are betrothed, you are called a husband. To break a betrothal, you file a divorce.

Here is the bad news for Joseph. Long before Joseph touched her, Mary was already pregnant. The worst thing is that this baby is not his baby!

Joseph could not accept Mary as his betrothed wife. In Deut. 22:23-24, a betrothed woman caught in adultery shall receive the death penalty.

If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst (Deut. 22:23-24).

That is the law of the Lord. You see, God wants you to reserve sex until you get married. You should not touch each other before you get married.

God’s Word calls Joseph a “just man,” a righteous man. (READ v. 19) He was a man who obeyed the law of Moses faithfully. Joseph was probably around 18 or 20 years old at this time.[1] But he obeyed God as a young man.

Guys listen! Being a just man, Joseph did not touch Mary. You should not also touch your girlfriend, who is not yet your wife. The right thing to do is to not touch a girl. Follow the example of Joseph. Do not have sex with a girl who is not your wife. That is the law of the Lord. If you do not touch a girl, you are a just man, a righteous man. If you honor God by obeying His law, God shall honor you.

But Mary is now pregnant. Hence, Joseph suspected that Mary must have committed adultery. Joseph knew that under the law, Mary can no longer marry him. Joseph must divorce her.[2] His decision was not out of anger, but out of obedience to God.

Also, Matthew says that Joseph was “unwilling to put her to shame.” “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:19). I looked into the word, “unwilling” (Gk. thelo). It means, “wish, desire, want.” (Gingrich) Joseph was not wishing to shame Mary for her pregnancy. Mary will be accused of adultery. Mary will be shamed before society. Mary will be scandalized.   Joseph did not want that to happen to Mary. So Joseph resolved to divorce her “quietly” (v. 19). The adverb, “quietly” (Gk. lathra) means, “secretly.” (Gingrich)

But, and there’s a big “but” in v. 20.

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:20-21).

Joseph was still thinking about how Mary got pregnant, how he did not want to shame her, and about his plan to divorce her. He was thinking these things until he fell asleep. While sleeping, he had a dream. In that dream, an angel appeared to him. In the middle of Joseph’s troubled thoughts, God sent an angel.

Brothers and sisters, you might be in the middle of a big problem. You might be in the middle of a big confusion. You might be in the middle of a big challenge. But in the middle of it, God is there. In the middle of it, God shall come in. He will guide you to make the right decision.

What did the angel tell Joseph? “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife” (Matt. 1:20). Joseph, don’t be afraid, for the baby is from the Holy Spirit.  

What are you afraid of today? Are you afraid of something that you do not understand? Are you afraid of something that might happen to you? Are you afraid of something that might destroy you? Brothers and sisters, that might be something from God. God shall see you through.

Then the angel said in v. 21, “You, Joseph, shall have a big role. You shall call his name, Jesus.” Notice that it is God who called Joseph. It is God who gave the name, Jesus, to Joseph. In vv. 24-25, we find that Joseph obeyed God. By this act of Joseph, Jesus is placed in the family line of David.

Then in v. 22, Matthew says that it all took place to fulfill prophecy. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’” (Matt. 1:22-23). Who then is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is the true Messiah by a miraculous act of God. Jesus Christ is the true Savior in fulfillment of the OT prophecy.

[1] Craig S. Keener, Matthew (IVPNTCS; ed. Grant Osborne; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1997), ___.

[2] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew (PNTC; ed. D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 28.

The Son of David by An Act of God

We noted earlier that Jesus Christ is the son of David by an act of Joseph, the son of David. In v. 21, the angel told Joseph that he shall call his name, Jesus. In Joseph’s day, the mother usually gives the baby a name. But this time, the angel tells Joseph to call his name, Jesus. In v. 25, Matthew writes that Joseph indeed did just that. Matthew is saying that by giving the baby the name, Jesus, Joseph in effect makes Jesus a son of David. Thus, Jesus Christ is the son of David by an act of Joseph.

But here in vv. 16, 18, and 20, Jesus Christ is the son of David, the Messiah by an act of God—the miraculous conception of Mary. Thus, Jesus Christ is the son of David by a miracle of God.

D. Patte explains that a son of David is not merely biological. A son of Abraham is one whose origin is from God. Matt. 3:9, “And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” Here we see that a son of Abraham need not be a biological son. God can raise up a child of Abraham by an act of God. Thus, in the miraculous conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, Matthew presents Jesus Christ as the son of David by an act of God.