Lesson 16 - God Sends the Savior

    Suggested Bible Reading: Luke Chapters 1-2

    The Fulfillment of a Long Awaited Promise

    The Son of God was born into this world at precisely the perfect time in history. The Bible says in Galatians 4:4, that God sent His Son, when the ‘fulness of the time’ was come. Truly, this was the case with the birth of Jesus Christ, in every sense of the expression! His birth was at the perfect time, because it was ordained of God eternally. His birth was at the perfect time, historically, as seen by the incredible impact He made on the world. His birth was at the perfect time, prophetically, as seen in His perfect fulfillment of numerous prophecies. His birth was at the perfect time, spiritually, for the remnant in the nation of Israel who were ready to receive the Savior, Luke 2:25.

    The last prophet to speak for God, who was recorded in the Old Testament, was a man by the name of Malachi. He reminded the Jews that God's promised Savior would come to save them. He also told them that before the Savior came, God would send another prophet. The work of this prophet would be to teach the people so they would be ready for the coming Savior. After Malachi, however, four hundred years passed during which God did not speak through any prophet. This period of time is known as the "silent years.”

    After the silent years were finished, God was ready to do what He first promised in the Garden of Eden. He was ready to send the Savior. It had now been about 4,000 years since God first promised to Adam and Eve that He would send a Savior, and God was now finally ready to do what He said. God never forgets His promises, nor is He ever late! God always keeps His Word right on time. We are now going to begin our study in the New Testament with an elderly Jewish couple who believed God and were waiting for the birth of the Savior.

    The Message from the Angel

    The Bible says in Luke 1:5-6, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Zacharias and Elisabeth were now old and they were never able to have children. Zacharias was one of the priests in the temple at Jerusalem. One day while he was doing his work, an angel was sent from God to tell him an important message. God promised elderly Zacharias that he would have a son and must name him John. John was going to be the last prophet to prepare the people for the coming Savior. The angel called the coming Savior "the Lord.” In other words, the coming Savior was God himself.

    A few weeks later, God sent another angel to tell a virgin named Mary that God had chosen her to be the mother of the coming Savior. His name was to be called Jesus, which means Savior. God loved the whole world and he wanted sinners to be delivered from the punishment they deserved. The Savior had to be a human just as we are, except he must be sinless to deliver us from Satan and sin. So in order for God's plan about the Savior to be fulfilled, God had to be born as a human being. God chose Mary to be the mother of the Savior. Mary's son would be both God and man in one body. Jesus would be fully God and fully man.

    The Bible says in Luke 1:34-35, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Jesus would be born sinless because he would be born without a human father. No descendant of Adam is holy and righteous. Every person in the world inherits the sin nature of Adam, at the time of conception, from their earthly father. If Mary were not a virgin, the birth of Jesus would have just been a "normal" birth. If Mary were not a virgin, Jesus would have inherited the sin nature of Joseph, his step-father. If Mary were not a virgin, you and I could have no hope of redemption. It is humanly impossible for a virgin to have a child, but with God all things are possible! God created Adam out of the dust of the ground, and therefore, it was not difficult for God to give this child to Mary without a human father.

    The Savior for whom John was to prepare the way was to be God himself. No ordinary man could deliver us from Satan, sin, and death. Who delivered Noah and his family from the flood? Who delivered Isaac from death and provided a ram to die in his place? Who delivered Lot from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Who delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt? The Lord God alone is the great Savior, who would make it possible for us to come to God.

    Mary, who was to be Jesus' mother, had already been promised to be married to a man called Joseph. Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, and Joseph knew that he was not the father of this baby. According to Jewish law, Joseph could have Mary killed for being pregnant with a child that was not Joseph's. However, Joseph loved Mary, and so he decided to break off their engagement quietly. God was not going to allow Joseph to separate from Mary. Joseph was a good man who trusted in God. He, too, was a sinner, but he came to God in the way God had provided. God wanted Joseph to take Mary as his wife so Jesus would also have a good earthly father. God sent his angel to tell Joseph the truth about Mary. She had not been unfaithful to Joseph, but she was still a virgin.

    The Bible says in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The prophets said the Savior would be born of a virgin. Jesus was born into this world to save sinners from God's punishment. He came to save all those who agree with God that they are sinners needing a Savior. Immanuel means God with us. This means that God himself would come to earth to be born as a child and live with people in this world. Jesus was born in Bethlehem just as the prophets of God said many years earlier.

    The Childhood of Jesus Christ

    The Bible says in Matthew 2:1-3, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Herod, just like the Egyptian Pharaoh during the time of Moses, did not want anyone to rule over him. Herod was afraid that he would lose his position as king when this baby grew up to be a man. The wise men found the baby Jesus with his mother and worshipped him and gave him presents. God warned the wise men not to return to Herod, because Herod wanted to know where he was so he could kill him. They went back to their country by a different way. God also told Joseph to take Jesus to Egypt where he would be safe from Herod's plan to destroy him. Jesus was taken to Egypt just as the prophets said many hundreds of years before. When Herod was dead, God sent one of his angels to tell Joseph to take Mary and Jesus back into the land of Israel. They settled in the northern part of Israel in a city called Nazareth.

    The Bible says in Luke 2:40, 52, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Jesus grew from a baby into a strong and wise man. He never sinned because he was not born with a sin nature. He grew into manhood in a human body. Even though Jesus was God, he was also a real human being. The Savior was 100% God and 100% man in one body. He was God so that he could reveal God to us. He was a man so that He could die in our place as the perfect sacrifice.

    Study Questions

    1. The birth of Jesus was at the perfect time eternally, , , and spiritually.
    2. God sometimes forgets to keep His promises.
    3. John the Baptist was born in order to …
    4. The name ‘Jesus’ means …
    5. Do you need a Savior? If yes, please explain why you need a Savior. If no, please explain why you don’t need a Savior. .
    6. Jesus was really born of a virgin by the miracle power of God.
    7. Jesus was …
    8. Every person in the world inherits the nature of Adam, at the time of , from their earthly .
    9. What powerful ruler tried to kill Jesus when He was still a baby?
    10. Jesus was a real human being, so that He could in our place as the perfect .

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