Christmas and the Gospel Message
(Ver 1.1) I am praying that all of my friends, subscribers and readers have an extremely blessed Christ Centered time of Celebration for the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this year of 2018. We too often lose the primary focus for the reason for this time of year. We give God the praise and the glory for what He has done for us in Jesus Christ coming to the earth throughout the entire year, But, I just want to give Him a well-deserved special emphasis of praise for being born here on this planet nearly 2000 years ago.
Today I want to share a quick lesson on Christmas. One of the main reasons that I am writing this lesson is to help eliminate a type of religious ignorance for why Christians should celebrate the Birth of Jesus on December 25 every year. No, we do not know that He was born on this date. No one can prove that He was born then or not born then, but that is really not the reason we celebrate. If you would like to celebrate on a different day or not at all that is your choice. But, as a body of believers I commend the person that set a specific time for celebration of this glorious event. Even though this day has been commercialized and fought over to be removed we should walk in love and be happy to share Christ with others through His great Grace and love.
Someone was trying to tell me in one of my recent Bible lessons that I was wrong by saying Jesus went around the earth in person preaching the Gospel to people. They further tried to say that since Jesus had not yet been crucified and died to pay the penalty for our sins the Gospel was clearly not available to be preached to anyone. I believe that it is sad for anyone to think this way. That is not what the Bible says at all. Today I am going to share how the Gospel was preached 2000 years ago when Jesus walked the face of the earth and before He died. Then we will explore how God shared this news even way beyond Jesus came and how it was preached to people over 4000 years ago.
The Gospel in the Old Testament
We will begin with a verse that is written in the Book of Galatians that reveals the Gospel was preached to Abraham 2000 years before Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Please read this verse and learn what God calls the Gospel:
Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
The Greek word that I wish to focus on is the word G4283. It was translated as “preached before the Gospel” in this verse. This Greek word is a compound of two other Greek words G2097 and G4253. The first word to consider is G2097 and this is the Greek word that literally means to announce good news and it is often translated as the Gospel in the New Testament. The second Greek word G4253 that is being connected to this present tense Gospel preaching or announcement of good news verb is one that simply means “fore” or “before” in time relationship to the present. God is very clearly stating that the “Gospel was preached before” to a man named Abraham specifically. Wow, I didn’t think Jesus had died yet but still God says this was the Gospel being preached. How can this be? What was it that God said was the Gospel?
God answers these questions by informing us “That He would justify the heathen through faith”. The Greek word G1484 that was translated as “heathen” simply means “a race”, “a nation” and “Gentiles”. God is declaring the method of salvation by faith for ALL HUMANS way back to Abraham and Jesus was not even born, lived, died or raised from the dead. Isn’t that amazing? God is looking down the corridor of time forward to something that was to be accomplished in the future and preaching it like it was already a done deal. Praise God!
- GOD Preached the Gospel Good News to People that Jesus was Coming before He came.
The Gospel in the Birth of Christ Jesus
Many people know the Christmas Story but I’ll provide some new details that may have been overlooked about the Gospel being declared in time of His birth. We will begin by reading in Luke 2 starting at verse 10. Before this verse we should already know that Jesus had been born in a manager in the small town of Bethlehem. An angel was sent to shepherds a short distance from the manager with a powerful message. Let’s read it:
Luk 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luk 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luk 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luk 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Isn’t God awesome? A messenger angel was sent to shepherds to tell them of the birth of the future sacrifice LAMB of GOD! Please notice the words written in verse 10 “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings”. Guess what the Greek word is that was translated as “Good Tidings”. This is again the Greek Word G2097 that is often translated as the Gospel. Who did the angels say that this Gospel message was for? The angel said it was for “ALL PEOPLE”. Isn’t that the beginning of the same Gospel that was spoken to Abraham? The angel continues the Gospel by saying “In the city of David is born a savior which is Christ the LORD”. Christ is the Hebrew word Messiah and it simply means anointed one. LORD is a key Hebrew word because this is JEHOVAH a name for the God of all creation. The angel was announcing to all mankind that God had come to the earth in the flesh and this was the GOSPEL! It was too Good to be True News. The angels in the heavens immediately break out in joyous celebration speaking praises to God and blessings of peace and goodwill to all men. Wow, I am in awe of God’s love for us to do this for me.
- When Jesus was born God preached the Gospel Good News that He was here.
Jesus Preaches in the Flesh the Gospel on Earth
I could give more scriptures to this lesson but it is my desire to keep it short and to the point. Did Jesus, when He walked the face of the earth in the flesh before He died preach the Gospel to people? The Bible says that He did. Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke 8 this time and begin to read in verse 1:
Luk 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
The KJV translators had another problem with determining the correct word to be included in this verse. They choose “glad tidings” but again this is the Greek Word 2097 that is most often translated as “the Gospel”. Therefore we learn from the word chosen by God in the scriptures that Jesus preached the Gospel before He died. What I find amazing about this is that in this verse Jesus is described to go to EVERY city and village to preach the Gospel to the people living on the earth before He had died, was raised from the dead and ascended back into heaven. Jesus in person was announcing such great news to them that they clearly did not understand it as many today also fail to believe in Him.
- God Preached and declared the Gospel Good News in Person that He was the promised one that everyone was looking for to come.
The death of Jesus on a cross followed by His resurrection from the dead 3 days later could have never occurred except that He was first born into this world. God initiated a process by declaring what would happen before it happened and then worked through human people on the earth to bring it to pass. Abraham cooperated, David cooperated, Mary cooperated, Joseph cooperated and many, many others. Jesus came to die and pay the penalty for all of our sins but to accomplish this He had to be born of a virgin and live 33 ½ years on the earth and then cooperate to lay down His life in such a great display of humility that I struggle to understand fully how He loved us that much to do that.
I pray again that you will be blessed this Christmas and go and spend time in His Word understanding How much He loved us to do what He did by being born in Bethlehem to be laid in a feeding trough. I love you all and I appreciate your time in reading this blog of Bible studies. Spend time with your loved ones to celebrate Jesus and tell them about the God that came to die for them. God Bless you all.