The history follows God's clock.
What should we do first when we're going to take a trip in a train? Of course we'll choose the date and time to depart and pack the things we need. And when it is time to depart, we'll head for the station with our belongings. When we arrive at the station, we can easily see the big clock that tells the exact time so that people can know their departure time. The train will depart at the scheduled time. So, the timetable and a watch are very important things to carry with us on our trip.
Likewise, God has His exact timetable and clock, so His prophecies can become reality, just as He told His people. We can see these facts in Galatians 4:4.
"When the time had fully come, God sent his son,..."(Galatinas 4:4)
This means He sent his begotten son to the world at the right time. God decided to sacrifice His only son, Jesus to the world to restore this world to the happy Garden of Eden it once was. And when the time came, He sent Jesus. This was the timetable that God had announced to man many years before through prophets. Until now this clock has never failed, and everything is being accomplished according to the schedule. But at that time people didn't recognize God's schedule.
The messages from the Angel.
When God's clock pointed to the hour of His arrival, an angel was sent to this world. It was about 2000 years ago. The angel went to the Virgin Mary, who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She loved God and her body and mind were clean and kind.
"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you"(Luke 1:28).
What a surprising visit it was for Mary! She couldn't understand why on earth the angel spoke like this. While she was trembling, the angel said clearly.
"Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God, You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David"(Luke 1: 30-32).
Mary was very surprised to hear this but she had faith about the news and accepted His order humbly.
The Savior was born!
Not long after that, all the people of Judea were ordered to make sure they were counted in a census. Caesar Augustus gave a decree that the entire world should be registered. According to this order, all men should go to the city of their birth and be registered. All the streets and villages were crowded with the people who traveled to their place of birth.
Among them were Joseph, and Mary. They traveled to their hometown, Bethlehem. When they got to near to Bethlehem, it was already dark. Every inn was full, and nobody welcomed untidy-looking Mary and Joseph. They could do nothing about it, so they asked the owner of an inn for a shabby barn, and stayed there that night.
But it was a very special night. The long awaited Christ, the baby Jesus was born that night. It was the Savior, Jesus who the prophecy many years before long said would be born. Jesus, God's begotten Son who is equal with God, left the throne of heaven and the position of commander of the universe and came to this world in the likeness of insignificant man.
There were no clothes or blankets for baby Jesus. So Mary wrapped Jesus in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger. No matter how shabby they looked, they would have to be baby's clothes. Poor baby Jesus!
But there was nothing she could do! The entire universe is God's and all the glory of heaven is His, but why should Jesus have been born in a stable among animals?
It was because of the wonderful plan of salvation of a God who loves all the poor in the world and tries to save them.
The shepherds raised sheep on the hill near the Bethlehem. Watching the stars, they were talking together around a fire.
“When will Savior who was promised come?”
“Well, we have waited for a long time, therefore soon He will come.”
Just then, suddenly the night sky lit up and became as bright as it was in the daylight. And a bright angel descended. The shepherds were so surprised that they trembled in fear, afraid to even look at each other.
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger"(Luke 2:10-12).
The angel spoke loudly and clearly.
Then thousands of angels appeared and praised God.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests"(Luke 2:14).
After a while, the angels' chorus died away gradually, the bright light faded away, and the shepherds ran down the hill in order to see this Baby Jesus. They could meet Baby Jesus who was lying in the manger of the stable inn just like the angel had said.
They worshiped Him sincerely, and the next day the shepherds told the entire story about the Baby Jesus to everyone who they met. But no one cared about that story.
Wise men came from the East.
There were other people who had been waiting for the Messiah just like shepherds of Bethlehem. They were the wise men that studied stars in the Far East. They were well-educated men who had a lot of knowledge. And they were respected in the land. While they had studied about stars and the Bible, they found that the Messiah would come to the earth.
One day, they discovered a strange star. The star was bigger and brighter than any other stars they had ever seen. The wise men were convinced that the star was telling them about the coming of the Messiah. They thought that if they could get to the place where the Messiah was born if they followed the star.
So they prepared gifts for the Messiah and started their journey. They crossed the river, and went over mountains, passed through deserts, and traveled on camels.
At last, the star stopped in Bethlehem, Judea. It was a big city. They thought it would be the place where the Messiah would come. They entered the city, visited the King and said,
"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him"(Matthew 2;2).
But Herod, the King and the people in Jerusalem never knew this fact at all. Herod asked the wise men, “When you meet Jesus, please tell me where he is. I also want to worship him” But there was a trap hidden in his words.
They went on their way, and the star went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. When they entered the barn, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Herod intended to kill the baby Jesus.
Since the King Herod heard from wise men that baby Jesus would be born, he was very worried. “Maybe I can't be King any longer, but if I killed baby Jesus, there would be no problem.” So Herod called a man who knew the Bible well and asked where the King of Jews would be born. He said to Herod,
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel"(Mich 5:2).
He decided to kill the Messiah by killing all babies in Jerusalem. So he ordered, “Kill all the male children in Bethlehem and in that entire region who were two years old and under.”
That night when Joseph fell asleep, the angel appeared and said.
"Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him"(Matthew 2:13).
Joseph got up, held baby Jesus and ran away with Mary. It was a dark night, and the angels watched and guided them. When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.
But Joseph stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod. After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were tring to take the child's life are dead"(Matthew 2:20).
Mary and Joseph went back with Jesus to Nazareth, obeying God's message.
Jesus spent his childhood in Nazareth with his parents. The neighbors could see boy Jesus helping his father or mother.
In his childhood many people loved him, for he was a diligent, honest and cheerful boy. He was a careful, kind and compassionate child. And his mother always taught him about Bible and its lessons about living uprightly.
The Bible says,
"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men"(Luke 2:52).
The Boy Jesus at the Temple
Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. The Passover was very meaningful to all the Jews, since it is the Memorial Day of their freedom from slavery in Egypt.
When he was twelve years old, they went to the Feast, according to the custom. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem with his parents and neighbors looking around at all the mountains and fields.
Jerusalem was very beautiful shining in the evening glow. He realized what the young sheep's death means, how important his duty was.
After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But they didn't know that. Thinking Jesus was with them, they traveled for a day. Then they realized that he was not in their company, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
Jesus realized God's work.
Where was boy Jesus? He was in the temple with the teachers. His parents were very worried and searched for him for three days. Mother Mary scolded him,
"Son, why have you treated us like this? your father and I have been anxiously serching for you"(Luke 2:48).
But he said,
"Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"(Luke 2:49).
With this answer, he included the clear point that he was the Son of God. Even though Mary, his mother had never doubted it, after that moment, she began to believe it with stronger assurance. Jesus returned home with his parents. And spent the rest of his childhood demonstrating the love of God to his family and his neighbors.
Well, in the next section, we will study from chapter 5 to chapter 8. While we're studying those chapters, we can learn what Jesus did.
Enjoy the lessons!