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Did Mary Know?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2021 1:30 pm

Did Mary Know?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 24, 2021 1:30 pm

Episode 866 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. Was Jesus actually born on Christmas Day? I have heard theories that he was born sometime in October.

2. Do you know that Christmas song, “Mary did you know?” I know some people make fun of that song, but I thought that that question was pretty good. In Luke 1 it doesn’t quite seem to allude to the fact that Mary knew her son was going to bear the sin of his people. So, did she know or was it a surprise to her?

3. Is it ok to tell my kids that Santa is real?

4. Does the Bible command or forbid us to celebrate traditions like Christmas? I have heard both views from various churches. I know Catholics are big on celebrating Christmas and I have heard some protestant groups and even Jehovah’s Witnesses say that we shouldn’t.

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This new episode of CORE Christianity was pre-recorded. So did Mary know? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity.

Well, hi there and Merry Christmas. I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Here's our phone number. If you want to call us or leave a voicemail, it's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Realize you might not want to call on Christmas Eve or Christmas weekend, but feel free to call us next week. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, and you can email us anytime with any question at all at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, first up today, Adriel, I have to say to you, given that it's, you know, tomorrow's Christmas, are there any particular Christmas traditions?

You've got five little ones at your house. Any things that you and your wife do on an annual basis to celebrate the Lord's birth? Yeah, well, to celebrate the Lord's birth, you know, we go to church and we worship and we read the gospel account. That's actually something we typically do.

We'll read the gospel account to the children. And then just more general, around this time of the year, we typically will walk to one of those Christmas tree lots that's nearby our house, and we'll pick up an overpriced tree that's around six feet because I don't want to spend any more than that. Yeah, and you know, I'll carry the tree, the six-footer, I mean, we'll just walk it home because, you know, that's not too far from where I live. And so we'll, you know, have this train of kids behind us, and I got the tree, and we walk it home and we decorate it and we listen to Mariah Carey Christmas songs and eat, you know, Christmas cookies and drink hot chocolate and just have a great time. So we do that about every year, and that's one tradition.

How about you? What kind of traditions do you guys have? Well, I was thinking of the Christmas tree one, and for years living in Minnesota, we actually have gone out and picked our own Christmas tree at Christmas tree farms, but you've got to remember, in Minnesota, in December, it's cold, and there's snow on the ground. So what we have to do is we take our four-wheel-drive vehicle and we pull up into the farm, which is, you know, usually has quite a bit of snow on the ground, and we're all bundled up. I've got my chainsaw, I've got all my stuff, and in order to get the tree usually from the lot, from where we pick it, and my wife has to, by the way, find the perfect tree, so I'm like, well, that one really looks nice.

No, it's not quite full on the left side. No, the top is slightly to the right, and so after about 50 trees that she doesn't like, we find the one that she does like, and then it's dad's job to chop it down, and before I would just use a handsaw, and then I'd you know, until I get it, and then it would fall over. Then we had to put it on a sled to get it to the car, so I would give my daughter, who's 16, the job of pulling the sled with the tree. I'd help her a little bit, but she loved that. She loved to pull the sled, and then we put it into the Honda Pilot and bring it home and get the snow off of it. That sounds like if I lived there, I would lose a limb, you know, trying to go and pick a Christmas tree.

Like, yeah, I don't know that I've operated a chainsaw before. Pastors, you know, Bible guys like me, I guess that's an excuse, but now the big question is, and I know that this is on everyone's mind, can a fake Christmas tree be pleasing to the Lord, you know, because it doesn't have the smell. Or you can use the scent stuff on it. That's an abomination, I think.

I don't know, but everybody's sort of switching over. I'm still holding on to the real-deal Christmas tree. Okay, so you and my wife are on the same page there. She would never in a million years ever, and you know, they're looking so beautiful now. You look at these fake ones. They're more beautiful than the real ones at times. They're just, I mean, you walk up and you go, is it real? Is it fake?

But she said that would be a total abomination to her. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. He comes in a form that just, you know, it just deceives everyone, and so there's a lot to be on the lookout for, Bill. All right, well, let's get to a question from one of our listeners. This is actually Patrick who has a YouTube question for us, and he says, Was Jesus actually born on Christmas Day? I've heard some theories that he was actually born in October. Yeah, there are theories out there like that, and there are some people who will say, well, you know, this whole idea of celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25th, that's rooted in, you know, pagan festivals that the Romans had. And I just actually recently heard this.

I was speaking to someone on the phone, and they were bringing this up. Now, let me just say this. The day of the birth of Christ, I don't know that we need to fight about that person. I mean, the important thing is that the Son of God was incarnate for us and for our salvation. But from pretty early on in the history of the Church, you have this testimony that Christ was born on December 25th. Now, is there any biblical or exegetical evidence for that? What some people will do is they'll point to the time frame of John the Baptist's birth.

You look in Luke chapter 1, for example, in verse 5, it says, In the days of Herod the king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the division of Abia, and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And so he's serving in this priesthood during a particular time, and people will go back and do the numbers and say, Okay, well, John was probably born, conceived around this time and born around this time, and we know from the Gospels that he was about six months older than Jesus, that he was born six months before Christ was. And so people will do that math, and they'll say, Well, that would put the birth of Christ around the end of December.

So I think that there's a case actually that can be made, but again, I don't know that we need to really focus on that per se. The reality is that he was born and that he came for us and for our salvation. That's what we celebrate. And throughout the history of the Church, actually this is one of the things that early on believers would really fight about, is the proper date of Christmas or the proper date of Easter. And it sort of seems unfortunate when we're going back and forth about the days, if you will, instead of marveling at the reality of what's taken place. And there are still differences with the electives of the Orthodox Christian Church and Easter. I mean, there's differences even today.

Yeah, there are. And so, you know, it's just, I think for us, being charitable and really celebrating the fact that Christ was born, that he rose again from the dead after he atoned for our sins. I mean, that's what it's about. That's what this time of the year, you know, unfortunately for many people, it's sort of turned into just consumerism. But, you know, it's an opportunity for us to stop and reflect and to remember the greatness of God's love for sinners, that he sent his Son into the world and that his Son assumed our humanity so that we might be redeemed. Man, it's awesome. You know, that's what it's all about.

That's majoring in the majors instead of the minors, as you mentioned. And I think there's a danger, you pointed this out a minute ago, even among Christian families, to let the consumerism, getting the perfect gift, the Black Friday sale, the Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, letting those things take precedence over what this holiday, what this day is really all about. Yeah, it's really, I mean, I think we've completely lost sight of it. In our culture, generally speaking, it's something we can't lose sight of as the people of God. We have to, I think, recover, right, these core doctrines of the Christian faith, which is what we're often talking about. And so if this time of the year is an opportunity for us to remember one of those core doctrines, the incarnation, and to think about the beauty, the wonder, the richness of all the theology related to that, then boy, let's take advantage. This is Core Christianity. Well, happy day before Christmas, happy Christmas Eve to you and to your family. Let's go to Emily in Portland, Oregon. Emily, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

Hey guys, Merry Christmas. You know that song, Mary Did You Know, and I know people kind of make fun of it, it's kind of sappy, but I thought the question was actually kind of good. I was wondering, because like in Luke 1, it's not quite clear with the fact that Mary knew that her son was going to bear our sin on the cross. So did she know this ahead of time, or was it a surprise to her?

Yeah, great question. I mean, to what extent did she know? I mean, obviously she has this amazing revelation in Luke chapter 1 verse 34, Mary said to the angel, how will this be since I am a virgin? Because the angel has just told her she's gonna conceive a child, you know, you're gonna call him Jesus, he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, he will reign over the house of Jacob. So I mean, all of these great promises, so she does know something. In her womb, in her belly, is going to be the the king, the heir to the Davidic throne, the Son of God. Jesus, how is this even possible? I'm a virgin.

This doesn't make any sense. And the angel answered her, verse 35, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And as the text continues, you know, this is where you have that great song of praise, the Magnificat of Mary in verse 46 and following, where she says, my soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humblest state of his servant, for behold from now on all generations will call me blessed. And so she does have some understanding. Does she have, you know, a full understanding? We know that Mary was not omniscient, but does she have a full understanding, or is this something that she's just, you know, she's just getting a glimpse of right now through this revelation from the angel?

We can't really speculate. We know that she does know something, and she's praising God because of the knowledge that she does have. And I want to just hone in actually on my favorite verse in this chapter, and one of my favorite verses to meditate upon around this time of the year in verse 35, again, where the angel says, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Now that word, brothers and sisters, overshadow is a very interesting word. In fact, it was used in one place in the Old Testament, in the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint. If you go to the end of the book of Exodus, where the tabernacle has finally been completed in Exodus chapter 40, and we read about the Spirit of God settling on overshadowing the tabernacle, if you will.

Why? Because God had made his dwelling place there. God is, he's in the house, he's in the building, and the Spirit of God overshadows the tabernacle. It's this great moment in redemptive history, and here the angel says to Mary, the Spirit of God is going to overshadow your womb, you.

Wow. Now what does that mean? That means that God is entering the house, that God himself is assuming humanity from your womb.

Now did she understand all of that? We're not sure, but we do know that she recognizes that God is intervening in history, delivering his people in this magnificent way, and she says, my soul magnifies the Lord. So beautiful, and really neat to see how the scripture just is sort of woven together like that. You get one verse in Luke, chapter 1, verse 35, and how it ties all the way back to something we see at the end of Exodus chapter 40, revealing to us more clearly the identity of Jesus.

You know it's verses like that, Adriel, and we've talked about this a lot. There are those in our culture who will say Jesus was a great teacher, he was a wonderful prophet, he was a good man, he's a moral leader we should follow, but they deny his divinity, and we just see throughout Scripture these amazing, I mean you even mentioned a lot of times the foreshadowing, the types and shadows we see in the Old Testament. Jesus was God, fully God, fully man. Absolutely, yeah, and it's clear, I mean that the deeper we go into the Scriptures, the more and more we see that, but you don't even have to go that deep. I mean John 1, 1, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. It's like, it's, it's, when people say Jesus never claimed to be God, they just need to keep reading. John 8 58, you know, Jesus says before Abraham was, I am, he's identifying himself as the Lord, Yahweh. And the Pharisees knew exactly what he was talking about there.

They picked up stones to throw at him because they were so angry that anyone would make these kinds of claims, and so yeah, you just, just open the text, read it, and receive it. Yeah, it's, it's so, it's so important for us. Amen. This time of year, to be digging into God's Word and really understanding if you have not fully understood who Jesus is and what he did for you, and then to share that message with others, what a great time of year this is to do that. By the way, because many churches are having special Christmas services this weekend, why not invite a friend or neighbor who's never been to church to attend church with you, and chances are they will say yes. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Now, as we come up to the end of the year, we want to do something that we normally don't do, but it's important for us to mention that our ministry here at Core Christianity is fully supported by you, our listeners.

We don't receive money from a particular denomination or a particular church or the government. We rely on our listeners to keep this show going, and if you've listened to this program over the past year and you felt it's been helpful in your spiritual growth, we'd ask you to consider making a one-time, year-end gift. Yeah, yeah. We are so grateful to be able to do this. What a joy it is to get on and talk about the things of the Lord, to open up the scriptures together, and we can't do it without your support. And so as we get to the end of the year, would you consider, if you've been blessed by Core Christianity, making a one-time gift? We're grateful for your generous gifts, your donations, which help us to continue to share the good news of Jesus, that he came, that he lived the perfect life for us, and that he suffered for our sins, rose again from the dead. These truths that we know the world desperately needs to hear, your helping us to communicate these truths to the world. And so again, thank you for your generosity, and as we get to the end of the year, please consider making a one-time gift to our ministry, going to corechristianity.com slash donations.

You can do that right now or sometime next week if you want to do it before the end of the calendar year, corechristianity.com forward slash donate to actually make a year-end gift. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Now a heads up, this next question we received has to do with Santa Claus, so if you have little kids in the room, you might want to occupy them elsewhere, because this is a good question that we received from one of our listeners named Pam. Hi Pastor Adriel, I love your show. I just had a cool question for you. I have some younger kids, and I have some other Christian friends, and they say that they let their kids believe for now that Santa is real, and I think that that can't be right according to the Word of God, so if you could just clear that up for me or give me some advice that I can say to my friends.

Thank you. Well Pam, I've heard, I know that there are differences of opinion within the church. We talk about the matters of personal conscience and liberty from time to time on this broadcast. If you're talking to your kids about Santa Claus in a way that's deifying him and it's this sort of thing that is unhealthy, I would say yeah, that's not good. If it's a family tradition, a game that you guys do where you talk about getting presents from Santa Claus personally, I don't have an issue with that.

I don't think it's that big of a deal. Now Bill, I don't know about, did you guys do the whole Santa Claus thing with your kids? We kind of did it. They still believe in Santa Claus. Yeah, we kind of did it in a way.

No, they're 18, 16, and 14. I hope not, but we actually brought in a historical event. We talked about Saint Nick, the real Saint Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra in Turkey, and that's where Saint Nick came from. That's where Saint Nicholas, then Santa Claus, this man who was a Christian, who was a believer, follower of Jesus Christ, and incredibly generous to the poor, and so we say that's when we talk about Santa Claus, we get kind of rid of the magical stuff, but we talk about what he stands for, goodness and kindness and generosity. Yeah, so I mean the question is not did Saint Nick exist?

Is he real? I mean we could say yeah, he is, and there's actually some some neat things we could learn from from his example, which is why you have the traditions that we have today. So I like that. I like that approach, Bill, being able to have that that conversation. It's neat because especially as we've been talking about how things can become so wrapped up in consumerism and greed and all these other things, you know, having examples of charity and love and caring for the poor. Boy, what if we recovered that around Christmas time, and that was the sort of tradition that characterized us as believers, and in particular in our own families. Like what if every year this was a time where we knew we were gonna give, and our kids knew that's what this was about. I think that's a beautiful thing, but again, just in terms of Pam's questions, I don't think that I would say, you know, to someone who was in my church, and you know they were doing the Christmas thing, and they were talking to their kids about Santa Claus, and I don't know that I'd say, how dare you, you liar. You know, we're gonna bring you up on charges in the church for, you know, breaking God's law. No, I mean, I don't think we have to go that far. Yeah, yeah, and so I appreciate that question.

You know, Bill, we've been talking about majoring on the majors and not majoring on the minors. I think there's a major that we have not gotten to yet, and that is just your favorite Christmas meal, because this is an important thing around this time of the year, and I'm curious to know what's the dish in the Meyer household. Well, we always, I mean, okay, Thanksgiving is turkey, and Christmas is typically ham, but sometimes we'll do the turkey at Christmas time, but my wife is a pie expert, and so she will make, she will often make three or four different types of pies at Christmas time, which means leftovers for the following week. So, and I, by the way, make a mean cobbler.

Oh boy. I can do the apple cobbler, I can do peach cobbler, I can do the cranberry, which the holidays, it's the cranberry apple cobbler, and I'm good at that. Can I make a confession? Yes.

One Thanksgiving when I was in college, I ate an entire key lime pie, and I've repented since, but this is, you have to be careful around the holidays, brothers and sisters, because there's just so much, I mean, sounds like Bill's gonna have five pies on his hand here shortly. I have three teenagers at home, so they'll help with that. Okay, yeah, one for every person in the family. That's pretty much the way it goes. Wonderful, wonderful. I guess we have time for one more question.

This one's from Marjorie, ties in with a lot of what we've been talking about. Does the Bible command or forbid us to celebrate traditions like Christmas? I've heard both views from various churches. I know Catholics are big on celebrating Christmas, and I've heard some Protestant groups and even Jehovah's Witnesses say that we shouldn't. Yeah, no, the Bible does not command us to celebrate Christmas as some sort of, you know, holy day, and so, I mean, that's just a real simple answer. I think there's wisdom here, you know, just in terms of churches as they're thinking through what they're going to preach about, you know, throughout the year. I typically will do a Christmas message around this time of the year so that the people who are coming, you know, for Christmas or Easter will hear a message about the incarnation or about the resurrection of the dead, and so, but there's not an issue where we need to bind people's consciences and say, well, this is a part of, you know, God's law, divine worship. We know, according to the New Covenant, that it isn't, that God hasn't given us a bunch of these days to celebrate and prescribe the specific ways in which we're supposed to observe Christmas. You know, you go on the first day of December to cut down a Christmas tree, and then you know there's nothing like that in the scriptures. It does say you're supposed to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Yeah, oh, I forgot about that verse, Bill.

Thank you for bringing that up. Well, Linus quotes the Bible. Yeah, that's, yeah, there you go. But, so I would say there's, there's freedom here.

There's freedom here for us to be able to enjoy this time with our families and let's, as we enjoy our freedom, not get swept away by the flood of consumerism and all the things that we've been talking about already, not get swept away with the tinsel and the glitter and all that stuff. Boy, let's be swept away by the gospel, by the love of God for sinners, by the fact that he sent his son into the world to redeem us, and, and God loved us so much, brothers and sisters, that he didn't do it from afar. He didn't, he didn't rescue us by putting gloves on and then just sort of reaching out that, you know, didn't want to touch us, didn't want to get too close.

No, he assumed our humanity. He came, Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came and walked among us. That's, that's something that we should praise the Lord for today and every day of our lives. Merry Christmas. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-The-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 07:48:11 / 2023-07-05 07:58:28 / 10

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