It has been said that the true measure of a person is the impact that they have on others. What will we discover if we apply this concept to Jesus’ initial impact; namely His birth? Perhaps the following will help to provide the answer.
Mary, the biological mother of Jesus, while finding herself upon the horns of a dilemma (being pregnant out of wedlock) considered herself blessed to be chosen. She praised God heartily saying, “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior…For He who is mighty has done great things for me…” (Luke 1:46-49).
While Joseph proved to be quite thoughtful and considerate toward Mary, it took a visit from an angel to get him on side. He had opted for what is roughly equivalent to an annulment rather than putting Mary to public shame and punitive measures. Joseph, though initially and understandably confused and wounded, somehow got over the injury and obediently followed God by, “…doing as the angel of the Lord commanded him…” (Matthew 1:24).
The shepherds were moved to worship. After they encountered Jesus as a newborn baby they, “…returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen…” (Luke 2:20).
The wisemen looked for Him, and when they found Him, “…they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11, 12).
A godly priest and an aged prophetess, Simeon and Anna respectively, upon seeing Jesus, blessed and gave thanks to God (Luke 2:28 & 38).
A host of angels in Luke 2:14 praised God enthusiastically proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Well, to be fair, not everyone was pleased at the prospect of the coming of Jesus. In between the Shepherds’ finding the newborn and the wisemen gifting the young child, King Herod the Great (who, according to available historical records, was probably an insecure, megalomaniacal psychotic) was threatened at the promise of a messiah.
His response, recorded in Matthew 2:16-18, was to issue an edict resulting in the genocide of all male children in Bethlehem (approximately 30 – 50) under the age of 2.
For the most part Jesus’ birth resulted in the giving of thanks and worship of God. In the bigger picture Jesus’ coming impacted education, governments, science, art, music, literature and even our dating system. His impact was and continues to be profound.
But what impact has He had upon you?
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church