The New Testament account about the birth of Christ is clearly the basis for the Church’s celebration of recognizing the birth of Jesus Christ. Every year we watch our children, after several seasonal weeks of rehearsal, reenact the significant parts of the nativity scene including the angelic announcement, the three wise men, the shepherds, and the inn at Bethlehem. And, we rejoice at the remembrance for what God did.
But, there is more for the celebration of the Messiah’s birth that we all too often stop short of considering. Other relevant reasons for celebrating His birth are found in the messages of the Old Testament prophets. Micah chapter five is an example.
It is there that we read Micah’s message about the Messiah. The prophet was given distinct insight to the birth of Jesus Christ and the spiritual implications of that expected birth. He referred to “the one who shall come forth for me, the one who is to be ruler…” The things he points out what the Messiah would be are worthy of our consideration.
First of all Micah points out that the Messiah would / will “stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord.” This is one of those verses which stipulate Jesus Christ coming as a shepherd. For the most part, people previously looked to the coming of a Messiah that would wage war, and force people into spiritual submission. But, that was not the plan of God.
The Lord did not want to engage in “whomping up” on everyone. Rather, His plan has been to communicate the love and care of God for people. That is how people are best served, and how people best respond to God. I am glad God has shown to us that He loves you and me. I am glad we have a Savior that is compassionate and providential. It provides basic reasons for developing a strong relationship on spiritual grounds.
Second, Micah declares that the Messiah shall “be the peace.” Jesus Christ ushered into the world the best opportunity and environment for peace. He is the source of true peace for the nations. He is the true source of peace for the hearts of men. He is the true source of peace for families. Jesus Christ made it sure that He would give His peace.
If we do not have the peace of God and peace with God through Jesus Christ we do not have much. Remember the declaration of the angels to the shepherd about there being peace on earth. There was no peace till Jesus Christ was born. I thank God for the peace brought to us by the birth of the promised Messiah.
This goes hand-in-glove with Micah’s reference “He shall deliver us from the Assyrian.” By Micah’s time, the dominance of the Assyrian had come and gone. The same was true by the time the Messiah was born. But, “the Assyrian” came to refer to whomever or whatever would seek to assert themselves over the people at large.
The backdrop for this message from Micah is one that gave hope to a people who had no hope. There will always be conditions from which evil will rise. But, despite the world’s propensity for evil, the Messiah provides deliverance.
Evil may rise in the world, but our Messiah provides deliverance. The devil may try to stir evil in your life, but the Messiah is present to provide deliverance. It is truly an assurance about Jesus Christ that gives us meaningful hope. I like having such hope.
A final relevant reason to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as given by Prophet Micah: the Messiah, according to Micah, will “cut off” certain things: “horses, cities, sorceries, and idols” are mentioned. In so many terms, this is to say that the Messiah will make needful cultural changes that are bad for society and that go against the grain of God’s will.
We should take to heart the importance of spiritual changes and practices that are right and good. The Messiah of God was given to communicate that understanding.
Ultimately, we may celebrate the Messiah for His unique objectives and purposes. Micah gives us additional reasons that are most relevant.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.