Christmas past awaits a glorious future

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Ever notice how prophecies about Jesus’ birth has two parts?

For example, when the angel Gabriel announced the virgin birth to Mary, he said,
You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. (Luke 1:32)

That prophecy came true on Christmas day. However, the angel, in the same breath, also told Mary about a glorious future for the Christmas child that has yet to be fulfilled: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:33)

Christmas has two parts.

Look at the Christmas prophecy of Micah 5:2:

 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”

Sure enough, the Jesus Messiah was born in Bethlehem. Even the Jewish religious leaders knew Messiah would be born in that small village. That’s what they told King Herod when he summoned them for advice about where the Messiah would be born. (Matthew 2:3-6)

But, Jesus has not become the “ruler over Israel” has He? Nope. Christmas has two parts. One part literally fulfilled the day Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The second part of Christmas will likewise be literally fulfilled when He comes back to earth.

Consider one other Christmas prophecy in Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew tells us that Jesus fulfilled that prophecy (Matthew 4:12-16). Isaiah 9:6 goes on to tell us more about Jesus “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” That makes for a lovely Christmas card verse. But, the verse goes on the second part “…Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne…” (v. 7). Christmas past awaits a glorious future: The Majestic Christ Jesus, reigning over the world from David’s throne in Jerusalem.

On the day we call Palm Sunday Jesus clearly made that statement that He is the Messiah. He deliberately prearranged for a donkey to be available for His ride into the Holy City, fulfilling the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 9:9:

 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

But the remaining part of that prophecy in Zechariah 9:10 awaits the glorious future of Christmas’ second reality:
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the war-horses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

The Messiah will rule “to the ends of the earth”! This is the prophecy that Jesus staged to claim His identity as the One who “will proclaim peace to the nations.”

The Jews along the route of that amazing Palm Sunday processional to the Temple welcomed Jesus as their Messiah, and sang part of the Messianic Psalm 118:

 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:10)

This is the same Messianic Psalm that Jesus applied to Himself two days after His “Triumphal Entry.” When the religious leaders challenged His authority over the Temple, He cited Psalm 118: 22:

 “The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

It is obvious that Jesus believed He was the One who was fulfilling the prophecies about the Messiah. When He rode into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday, He saw what might have been if Israel had accepted Him; but He knew the nation of Israel would reject Him as Messiah and prophesied the consequences the nation would suffer when Rome ended the nation in 70AD. “As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes….you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.’” (Luke 19:41ff) Doesn’t He sound like the Messiah who could have changed the world from David’s throne right then?

Christmas has two parts for sure. The first part is when Jesus first came as a baby; the second part will be when Jesus comes as the King. “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:26,27)

How can we celebrate Christmas as if it were just a past event? Let us celebrate Christmas looking forward to our Savior’s return as the prophesied Messiah who will rule this planet. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus, born in a manger, King of the Universe.

For His glory,
Pastor Mike