The Greatest Story Ever Told
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
Stories are what make the world go round. They communicate knowledge and build trust. They speak of life and death and love and hope. They are powerful and at times exciting, but can they be regarded as reliable and trustworthy? It has been said, ‘Telling our stories is at the core of human communication and they shape who we are and how we understand and interact with others’.
However, stories – some people say, are by implication a mixture of true events, myth and imagination but this is true only of fairytales and fiction. But what about true facts such as, your love letters and your Birth Certificate with details about your parents and d.o.b.? Yes, and what about the Christmas story?
Telling that story may be the most important gift of all that parents can give to their children because it comes from God who cannot lie. The Bible is God speaking to us in a way that is clear and understandable.
Believing the Christmas Story is the way to know God through Jesus Christ His Incarnate Son. The Bible records that story which speaks to us about personal forgiveness and peace with God our Creator.
God has given a written record of the life and death of His Son who came into the world – born of a virgin – to bring us hope and show us the love and grace of God promised in Jesus Christ forever.
The apostolic witnesses who wrote the Bible have recorded Christ’s Story, the ancient scribes have preserved it and now modern publishers have printed it for us to read in our own languages so we can believe that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16);
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
‘The greatest story ever told’ is the best of stories and the most powerful. It is c.2,025 years old (Herod the Great who died in c.4 B.C.) since Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem in Judea, yet, no other birth; of man or woman; or of a general, or a king, or of a queen, or any other person, has impacted human history like Jesus Christ – God’s Son – the Savior who become man by the virgin birth.
The Person that the Old Testament prophets spoke of was the Messiah-to-come. He was to descend from the Tribe of Judah and the house of King David as Jesus of Nazareth.
Thus, Jesus’ greatness is seen in the heralding of His promised coming by these holy men. Even more remarkable were the signs that accompanied His birth: the star in the east and the sign of the virgin birth. These were evidences that Jesus’ was the Son of God Incarnate.
- “Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Lk. 1:10-12)
‘The greatest story ever told’ is the story of God becoming man in order to save us as a result of Jesus’s death on Calvary. This was recognized early on in apostolic times,
- “The objects dear to me are Jesus Christ, His cross, His death, His resurrection, and the faith which is in Him, through which I seek to be justified” (Ignatius: c.40-martyred 107A.D.)
- “He alone became the Son of Man, in order that we might become through Him sons of God” (Augustine of Hippo)
- “The Word of God, Jesus Christ, out of His boundless love, became what we are, that He might make us what he is” (Irenaeus c.130-Martyred 202 A.D.)
We see that from the beginning of the Christian era – the Apostles, saints and their successors recognizing that the Messiah, in the person of Jesus Christ’ advent into human (terrestrial) time was what was foretold. Christ’ would be sent from God (Gen. 3 & Isa. 7 & 9 and in numerous other texts also) in fulfilment of God’s plan of redemption. He was not sent to build an earthly kingdom but to reconcile God to man i.e. to be the atonement for our sins (1 John 2:1 & 2). He came to restore paradise through His death and suffering on the Cross.
The Scriptures also teach that Jesus Christ will come again a second time in the future then every eye will see him; then no one will doubt and all will know the truth of the Gospel. However, by then it will be too late as on the Judgment Day the door of salvation will be closed.
Today is the day of salvation! Today you must choose. The Christmas Story of the birth of Jesus Christ has been written down that YOU might believe and be right with God.
A Hymn writer has put His-story into verse:
Child in a manger infant of Mary,
outcast and stranger, Lord of all!
Child who inherits all our transgressions,
all our demerits on Him fall.
Prophets foretold Him, infant of wonder,
angels behold him on his throne:
worthy our Savior of all our praises;
happy for ever are His own.
Rev Ian S McNaughton is presently serving as the Vice-Chairman of Barnabas Fund in the UK.
LUMO Photo taken from FreeBibleimages.org
For Other Articles by Rev Ian S McNaughton
Suffering in the Book of Job - Part 2