The bishop of the Diocese of Lokoja Anglican Communion, The Most Rev’d Emmanuel A.S Egbunu has noted that Christmas event was not a historical accident but was a purposed, planned, promised, and programmed divine intervention.
He stated this during his Christmas sermon at the Cathedral Church of The Holy Trinity, Lokoja in Kogi state of Nigeria.
He noted that it was a deliberate intervention for our good, not an interruption or interference of our good lives.
If we do not grasp this perspective, we may never understand the significance of Christmas.
From the time of the fall of man in Genesis 3, the language of redemption was also heard immediately: (ESV) Gen 3: 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Man was banished from the Garden of Eden and the cordial relationship and fellowship with God was destroyed. Mankind’s condition was aptly described by the Prophet Isaiah: (NIV) Isaiah 53:6a We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
(ESV) Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
DIVINE INTERVENTIONS IN SALVATION HISTORY
God pronounced the death sentence on man, and there was no salvation from anywhere. Kings could not save, unless they were enabled by God. Prophets could not save, unless under God’s mandate; The gods of the nations could not save from God’s hand. Hopelessness and death became man’s story.
God made major interventions in history: the Exodus was a promise fulfilled:
(ESV) Gen 15:13-14 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
It was fulfilled
See (ESV)Jer 25:12-13 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations.
(ESV)Ezra 1:1-5 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:
2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”
5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem.
See also Dan 9:2-3;
The Christmas story includes many prophecies, the most notable being: (ESV) Isaiah 7: 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
(ESV) Isaiah 9: 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
A PROMISE FULFILLED
The birth of Christ was a fulfillment of these divine promises. This is what Matthew brings out in his gospel.
1:22(ESV) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Also Matt 2:5-6,15-17,22-23
God’s purposes and promises never expire. God’s eyes are on his plans. Jesus was born in the fullness of time: (ESV) 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
PROMISES WE CAN HOLD ON TO
At a time like ours in this country and state, we need sure and certain promises to hold on to. Politicians have made their promises of ‘change’ and ‘next level’, etc. We can judge for ourselves. There are people here who may also remember failed promises by parents, friends, spouses, employers, etc. God is a promise-keeping God.
John 14: (ESV) 1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.
God came down to earth to make us fit for Heaven. He came down that we may be lifted up. This world is not our home; there is a better place prepared for us. When you celebrate Christmas without Christ in your life, Satan is celebrating you instead. This Prince of Peace came to give us PEACE WITH GOD.