‘What Child Is This?’
“And it came to pass in those days” (Luke 2:1). In those days, Gaius Caesar Octavianus Augustus was the first Roman Emperor. He was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar and was hailed as the “prince of peace” for ushering in the Pax Romona – the peace of Rome. The Roman senate declared him “Perpetual Emperator” which meant “sovereign eternal ruler of the world.” He was given the title “Augustus” which means “exalted one.” They built statues of him throughout the empire. Cities were named for him. He was worshiped as a god.
“In those days,” Herod the Great ruled the province of Judea as a puppet king of Rome. His official title was “King of the Jews.” In those days Caesar Augustus reclined in regal splendor. Herod rested in one of his royal palaces. But what child is this in a feed trough down in Bethlehem?
This Child is the “Son” (Luke 2:7)—Son of Man and Son of God. Stepping down from the unimaginable majesty of paradise to a Bethlehem stable, the infinite Creator became an infant child—Immanuel, God with us! Yahweh the Most High God did not choose a mansion, but a manger—a cattle feed trough. He wasn’t encompassed by celestial glory, but wrapped in swaddling clothes.
We needed Him, and He came. We needed His light, because we walked in darkness. We needed His love, because our souls were dead. We needed His life, because sin had destroyed us. We needed His lordship, because we were sheep gone astray.
Every year, there are those “must have” Christmas gifts. Do you remember the Cabbage Patch Doll? It was the hot seller of 1983. In 1985, the Pound Puppy, 1989—Game Boy,1995—Beanie Baby,1996—Tickle Me Elmo, 2002—iPod, 2006—Wii, 2010—Kindle, 2011—Angry Birds Board Game, 2013—Doc McStuffins Doll, 2015—Sing Along Elsa Doll from Frozen, and for 2016 Hatchimals are inciting desperate and delirious shoppers all over the free world.
When a certain gift is a hot seller, it is hard to find. People will stand in long lines, camp out on curbs, brave arctic temps, and literally run over each other to get that special gift. Jesus is not hard to find. He came to find and be found, to seek and to save.
What child is this? This Child is the “Savior” (Luke 2:11) He is a Personal Savior—”Born unto you.” God is a person. He takes sin personally. And He has personally come to redeem us. He is a Powerful Savior—”Christ the Lord.” The starlight cast a shadow of a cross that night in the city of David. We needed His grace, and He brought it. We needed His forgiveness, and He gave it. We needed His blood, and He shed it.
The world did not then nor does it now need another religion, more philosophy, or ideology. The world needs a savior—THE Savior, Jesus Christ!
What Child is this? This Child is the “Sign” (Luke 2:12) Many people were asking for a sign. THE sign of signs has appeared. There is no greater sign of God’s love than the gift in the manger. He is the sign of the New Covenant, the sign of God’s unfailing love, and plan of redemption. The true Prince of Peace has come, the true King is here.
What child is this? “You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). What child is this to you? He is the Savior. Is He your Savior? He is Lord. Is He your Lord?
Garland Boyd is pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Brookhaven. He can be reached at 601-833-6760.