God's Answer to our Problem

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
--Isaiah 55:8-9

People have a problem; you may say to me that people have many problems. This is true, but next to this problem all other problems seem to be nothing. This problem is what are we going to say to God on that last great day—that day when everyone, both good and bad, will come back to life and stand before God to be judged. On that day he will welcome some people into heaven and send some people to hell. The problem that each of us face is how to be judged right and be welcomed into heaven.

Some people try to avoid this problem by saying that death is the end of life or by saying that there will be no hell. But make-believe answers like these never really solved any problems. Some people think they can be good enough to make up for their sins. They are just fooling themselves; they aren't fooling anybody else. Nobody can be that good. But when people didn't have the answer to the problem, God did. But god's answer wasn't anything like what men had thought up. God sent his only Son to die in our place. He became a man and died, so that our sins could be forgiven if we would put our trust in him.

And this is how he was born a human being. In the north part of the country that is now known as Israel, there was a small town named Nazareth. Two thousand years ago it was not very important. It is not even mentioned in the Old Testament. In that town there was a Jewish carpenter named Joseph. He was a poor man, but true happiness does not consist in how much a man has. He was engaged to be married to a young girl named Mary. She was a virgin, that is, she had never had sex with a man.

One day before they were married an angel appeared to Mary and said, "Hello, favored one! The Lord is with you." Mary was upset and wondered what he meant by this. Then the angel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor in God's sight. Look! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. And you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the authority of King David, his ancestor. He will be king over the people of Jacob forever and his kingdom will never end."

Mary said to the angel, "How will this happen, since I am not having sex with any man?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you and the power of the Most High will cover you. That is why the holy child will also be called the Son of God. Look! Elizabeth your relative is pregnant with a son in her old age. This woman who they said could not have a baby is six months pregnant! Nothing is impossible for God!"

Then Mary aid, "I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen to me as you said." And the angel left her. Then Mary left to visit her relative Elizabeth who lived in a town many miles south of there. She was gone three months, and when she returned everyone could see she that she was pregnant. The man she was going to marry, Joseph, did not know that the child was created in her womb by God through a miracle. He thought she had been having sex with someone and he decided not to marry her. Then an angel came to Joseph in a dream. The angel said, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary As your wife. The Baby that is in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." So Joseph married Mary, but he did not have sex with her until after she gave birth to the Son.

Now the child was not born in Nazareth. For about this time the Roman government had everyone register in a census. Everyone had to go to the town of his ancestor to register, and so Joseph and Mary went south to Bethlehem, the town of their former king David. While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby. There were no rooms left in the hotel, so Mary wrapped the baby in strips of cloth and laid him in a box that sheep ate straw out of.

That night, some shepherds were in the fields near there watching their sheep. An angel appeared to them and said, "Don't be afraid, because I am telling you some good news that will bring great joy to all the people. Today a savior is born for you in the city of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: you will find a Baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feed box." Then suddenly there was with that angel a whole army of angels. They were praising God and saying, "Giving glory to God in the highest, and on earth let there be peace among people who please God." When the angels left, the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feed box.

That night was the beginning of the greatest event the world has ever known. But not many people knew about it at first—only a poor carpenter and his wife and some shepherds who had to stay out all night with their sheep. It was not the way that a man would have done it; God does things different from man—He does them right. The shepherds left their sheep that night to see the newborn Lamb of God, who would be sacrificed for the sins of people throughout the whole world.

When the child was a week old, he was given the name that the angel had said, Jesus—the name that through the ages has become more important than any other name—the name that means "Savior."

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Last updated on February 16, 2023
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