Day: Wed, 25 Dec2013

What Child Is This?

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While Shepherds Watched Their Flock By Night

Luke 2: 8-19 (KJV)

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

The year is 2013. The date is 25 December – Christmas Day. Once again, the hearts and minds of people are focused upon those wonderful events that took place in the little town of Bethlehem during the night of miracles that occurred over 2000 years ago. It was on that night of nights that a tiny baby boy was born. However, the world should carefully note that this was no ordinary baby. Little did the world know or realize that this One who was born in the City of David on that holy night would change the course of the world forever. He would heal the sick, raise the dead, cause the lame to walk, open the ears of the deaf, give sight to the blind, walk on water, perform miracles, calm the storms by speaking to them, make fishers of men, set captives free, and willing give His life as sin’s final sacrifice that all might be saved and one day return home to live with the Father.

One of the hymns that are frequently sung during this season of the year is “What Child Is This?” Wise men down through the ages have sought to find an answer to this very important question. Some people called Him the son of David. Others called Him the son of Joseph. The Scriptures call Him the son of David, the son of Mary, the son of man, the Son of God.

First, as the son of David, He was the Sovereign child. In Luke 1:31-33 we read these words,

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

This tiny little baby who lay in the Bethlehem manger was the rightful King. He was not born to some day become the king. He was born KING! And not just an ordinary king, but, the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. President Ezra Taft Benson once stated,

Jesus Christ is the Lord God Omnipotent. (see Mosiah 3:5.) He was chosen before He was born. He was the all-powerful Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is the source of life and light to all things. His word is the law by which all things are governed in the universe. All things created and made by Him are subject to His infinite power (Ensign, November 1963, p.6).

Not only is He the rightful KING, but He is also considered by some to be the rejected KING. We read about the failed plot of Herod the king to destroy the Christ-child as recorded in Matthew 2:1-16:

Matthew 2:1-16

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. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, and thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

Throughout His humble earthly life He was despised and rejected by people from all walks of life, and He still continues to be rejected by people today. The world says that there are too many other things to be concerned with and so it tries to eliminate Christ from any aspect of daily life. Some even go so far as to say that there is no room for Christ in this modern, technological, self-sufficient, fast-paced world in which we live. Thus, they feel that we no longer need His law, His love, or His sacrifice for us. Are we among those who have no room for Him in their busy lives? Do we find ourselves not needing to stand on His promises because we feel that we are doing fairly well without Him? Do we find that there is no time to do things His way because we much prefer to do things our own way? I pray that it may never be so in any of our lives.

Not only is He the rightful King and the rejected King by some, but He is also the soon returning KING. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 we are taught,

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Second, as the son of Mary, He was the supernatural child. The birth was seemingly impossible, however, the birth of the Christ-child was the fulfillment of the prophecy given by the prophet Isaiah as we read in Isaiah 7:14-15,

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, Herod, angels, Satan, and our Heavenly father, also steadfastly investigated the birth. Without a doubt, this birth was supremely important.

Third, as the son of man, He was the servant child. The Scriptures teach us in Philippians 2:5-8,

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

As the servant child, the Lord Jesus Christ experienced the problems of the flesh. He experienced physical weariness, hunger, thirst, and physical pain. Yet, in all of this, He never sinned! In all that He did, He submitted to the will of the Father and set the example for us to follow through His obedience, patience and ministry to others.

Fourth, as the Son of God, He is the Savior child. Read and ponder the words of John 3:16-17,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

As the Son of God He was the only sinless man who ever lived. He was the only sacrifice that could take away sins. He is the Christ – the Messiah – the Redeemer – the Savior of the world!

Concerning the Christ, President Gordon B. Hinckley stated,

How wondrous is the story of the great Creator, the mighty Jehovah, who condescended to come to the earth as the babe born in Bethlehem of Judea, who walked the dusty paths of Palestine teaching and healing and blessing, who gave His life on Calvary’s painful cross, and who rose from Joseph’s tomb, appearing to many on two continents – the resurrected Lord whom we read about in the testament of the Old World, the Bible, and in the testament of the New World, the Book of Mormon, as well as the word of modern revelation. We have read these, and the Spirit has borne witness in our hearts so that we too can testify that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life, and that he that liveth and believeth in Him shall never die (see John 11:25-26) (Ensign, Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Empty Tomb Bore Testimony,” May 1988, p.66).

I conclude my remarks by sharing with you an essay on the Life of Jesus Christ that I came across some time ago that helps to put the period in place to all that I have endeavored to say in this treatise. The essay is entitled “One Solitary Life”:

One Solitary Life

Jesus Christ

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

As we gather together with friends and loved ones during this joyous holiday season, may we be ever mindful that Christmas is not about the beautiful Christmas decorations that we see. Christmas is not even about the beautifully wrapped packages under the tree. No, Christmas is about giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for His precious gift to the world on that very first Christmas morning – the gift of His Only Begotten Son – He who was born KING – the Messiah – the Savior of the world – Jesus the Christ – THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL. May God bless us, everyone, is my humble prayer. In the Sacred name of Him of whom saints and angels sing – He who is the Life and the Light of the world – even the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Mosiah 3:5 (Book of Mormon)

For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.