The Birth of Jesus
The theme we are looking at is following Jesus. I thought it might be helpful to look at the circumstances of his birth, before we look at other aspects of his life and teaching.
As we all know, Jesus was God’s only Son and God had a very special plan for him. He had a great love and interest in His Son, who would undertake a great task that would benefit all men, by showing them what his Father was like.
Circumstances and position, from man’s perspective, can have a huge bearing on a persons life.
From a psychological view point, there are two factors that influence us. These are called Nature and Nurture. Nature means the abilities and attributes that we are born with. Nurture, on the other hand, refers to the kind of environment, love and education that we grow up with.
Jesus, as God’s Son, received from his Father a quick mind and was able, from a very young age, to absorb his Father’s ideas (Isa 11:1-2). This was a benefit, but an essential one, for the work that he was to do. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17).
However, being the Son of God did not come with the prestige we might feel would have been appropriate.
His Father, in His wisdom, knew that through his mother Jesus would inherit feelings and desires that would in common with all men, leading him to temptation. This would be especially difficult with the honour that would come to him through the miracles he was to perform. Pride would be something that he would have to overcome. Therefore, his birth was to be the humblest, not the grandest. This gave Jesus a quiet upbringing and space to prepare and focus on the great work ahead. His only mission was to save man from death, not to be caught up in things that might lead down a path of self-glory.
All past and future Kings are born to a noble birth, recognised by the culture and traditions of that country. Jesus himself said that he was born to be King (John 18:37). However, the circumstances of his humble birth in a manger for animals was unacceptable to the rulers of his day.
The fact that he was conceived before his mother was married was also a great problem to their acceptance of him. This was used against him as he became popular with the ordinary people, who were amazed at his teaching, his love and his care for others.
There is comfort for us as followers of Jesus. God does not see things as man sees them. Even Mary endured much so that this child would be given every help to not be puffed up with pride. His role was to become truly great. He was born to be the Saviour of the world.
We can learn so much from this. If God saw it as fitting to give His only Son the lowliest of births, with stigma attached, then we can see that He also chooses men and women to follow His Son who are not great in their own eyes and do not boast of their circumstances. People who look for guidance and help each day to follow humbly in the footsteps of their Lord and Master.