Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 2 Page 12 February 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

The Two Births Of Jesus Christ

By Basil Overton

Some estimate that more than half of the more than five billion people on the earth have never heard of Jesus Christ. Many who live in the United States and many other countries probably find this hard to believe, but it is likely that it is true. Probably, most of those who know about Jesus think about his birth at this time of the year. I wonder how many think about both of his births.

The First Birth Of Jesus Christ

By the first birth of Jesus Christ I mean that he was conceived in the womb of a virgin named Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35). The Bible does not tell us the date of the first birth of Jesus. It does tell us that his birth of a virgin was prophesied by Isaiah about seven centuries before he was born (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23).

Not long before Jesus was born the first time, his mother Mary and Joseph her husband traveled from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room for them in the inn. They were lodged in some sort of barn when Jesus was born because after his birth his first bed was a manger which was a feeding trough for animals. Our Lord, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14) was not born in a regal palace, but in a lowly stable!

While the baby Jesus was lying in a manger, an angel appeared to shepherds who were watching their sheep in a field at night and told them of the birth of Christ the Lord and where they could find him. Then a heavenly host joined that angel and all these angels praised God saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:8-14).

After the angels were gone back to heaven, those shepherds went with haste to that humble stable and found Mary and Joseph, and looked upon the baby Jesus in the manger. Then they went and told others what they had seen (Luke 2:15-18).

Some time later after Joseph and Mary and the baby Jesus were living in a house in Bethlehem, some wise men came from the east into that house and fell down and worshipped the baby Jesus and gave him gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Modern scenes which depict Jesus soon after his birth show him in a manger in the stable and three wise men looking upon him. The Bible does not say how many wise men came and worshipped Jesus, and it does not say they found him in a manger. Instead they found him in a house. The shepherds were the ones who found Jesus in the stable in a manger!

The Second Birth Of Jesus

By the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul wrote the following about Jesus. "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18). The second birth of Jesus Christ was his birth from the grave.

Hebrews 12:23 refers to the "church of the firstborn," but "firstborn" in that text does not refer to Jesus because it is translated from a plural Greek noun that means "the first born ones." The passage refers to those in the church of Christ in Jerusalem. That congregation was the first congregation, because Christ established his church in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost day following his resurrection. They were the first ones born into God's family--the church.

Some ask, "How can Jesus be the firstborn from the dead, since others were raised from the dead before he was?" The Bible tells of others who were raised from the dead before Jesus was. They include the young man whom God enabled Elisha to raise (2 Kings 4); Lazarus whom Jesus raised (John 11); the widow of Nain's son, and the centurion's daughter, both of whom were raised by Jesus (Luke 7). All of these died again, if not, they are getting mighty old!

While preaching in Antioch of Pisidia, the apostle Paul explained how Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. "And we declare unto you the glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the Second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David" (Acts 13:32-34).

Jesus is the firstborn from the dead not to die again. After he was born from the dead, he ascended to heaven and "sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3), and "he ever liveth to make intercession" for all who come unto God by him (Hebrews 7:25). If Jesus had not been born the second time, his first birth would not have availed us anything!

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