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Visit eBay.com for terms. And we continue with our American stories and with some of our Christmas season programming. And our next story comes to us from the founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church, Dr. David Jeremiah.
And every morning at 6 a.m. he's my teacher. I'm a Christian. And, well, 64% of Americans are Christians. And this story is for you and for anybody else interested in why we celebrate Christmas and why the nativity. It was a terrific book written by David Jeremiah in 2006, and it has now been adapted into a terrific film that's available for free to stream. Just type in why the nativity on your browser or go to davidjeremiah.org and watch it with your family. And now here is Dr. David Jeremiah to tell the story of the nativity and to answer the question and many questions around the birth of Jesus.
You know, we celebrate Christmas now, but most people don't know what Christmas is about. So I decided to write a book and answer a lot of questions that people had. And we started out it was going to be 11 questions, then it was going to be 15, and then it became 25. And these are key questions like why Mary and why Joseph and where do they all fit into the story. So one of the questions we talk about in the beginning of the book is why did God become a man?
And the answer to that is really so much a part of the heart of the story. He did that because of his love. He had to reach man, and the only way he could reach man was to become a man himself. So he sent his own son Jesus Christ to become a person. The Bible says he tasted flesh, and at Christmas time we celebrate that, Jesus being born into humanity.
And I always like to say it to people because sometimes people don't really understand it. He didn't become a man then. He didn't become a person. Jesus has always been, and he always will be. There never was a time when he was not, and there never will be a time when he ceases to be. But in that moment he came, and he came through the birth canal of his mother Mary and became a human being so that in his humanity he could reach down to man, and in his divinity he could reach up to God. And one day on a cross outside of the city of Jerusalem he hung there as the God-man and as the man-God and paid the penalty for the sin of all of us. A truly remarkable story that not duplicated anywhere else, and it is so amazing.
It had to be God because nobody else would ever have come up with that. Nazareth was an interesting place. Actually, I've had the privilege to talk about Nazareth before, and I've actually been to Nazareth on maybe five times, and that's the place where Jesus grew up as a carpenter.
When we were building the set for our movie that we did, we built the set so if you walk into the set this way it's Bethlehem, and if you walk into it the other way it's Nazareth. It was the place where Jesus grew up. He was the carpenter's son. There he learned to work. There he learned to be a godly son. The attitude was, can anything good come out of Nazareth?
Well, something did come out of Nazareth pretty good, and that was the Lord God. Why Mary is a really good question to ask. Why would she be chosen? I'm sure she asked that question. I think about Mark Lowry's song, Mary Did You Know?
Did you know this was going to happen? Obviously she didn't. Sometimes, we think she's 30 or 35, she was 15 maybe, 16, a very young child. When the angels came and told her that she was to be the mother of Jesus, she was stunned. In the Old Testament, they looked for the Messiah and many young women thought maybe they would be the mother of the Messiah because they were looking for the Messiah.
Well, Mary wasn't looking for it and it happened to her. The angel said she would be the mother of Jesus. I always have been struck by the fact that something as dramatic as that happened to her, and her response was, be it unto me according to your word. I wish I had that kind of submission to the Lord. Her submission to the Lord is amazing. She was God's choice and she was the perfect choice. I have a whole message about why Joseph, and the message is the forgotten man of Christmas.
That's the name of the message. Because he comes on the scene for a period of time and then he disappears and you never hear another word about him. But he was the man that God chose to be the earthly father of Jesus as he was growing up. The Bible describes him as a good man and a godly man, certainly as surprised as Mary was when he got the message. But I think the thing that to me is most critical about him was his faith endured a great challenge and that was the challenge of Mary's pregnancy. In our film we show the disappointment that he had when he found out that she was with child.
She came back from Elizabeth's house and she was pregnant. He couldn't figure that out. Nobody had told him that. I think in the film we have him going away for a little bit, but he comes back and he settles in to being the person God asked him to be. That was the human father, the surrogate father, if you will, of Jesus Christ. Why did Jesus come when he came? The Bible says he came in the fullness of time. I don't know if you've ever seen that verse, in the fullness of time he came.
What does that mean? Well, I think it means exactly the right time. First of all, it's interesting if you study history. The Romans had just paved the way with their roads to all of the various regions of that particular part of the world.
Greek had become more and more common as a language, so now you have transportation and communication coming together. The message of the Gospel could travel quickly to all points of the world, just at the right time. I think about that as we have gone through what we've gone through here in our own country and all the stuff that goes on, and how awful things have been in some cases with crime and all of that. That was sort of like what it was when Jesus came. It wasn't a good time. It was a time they needed a Redeemer. They needed a Christ. They needed Jesus at that time.
But it was perfect because he came into the world at the right time. Well, Bethlehem is a really interesting story. Why Bethlehem? The word Bethlehem means house of bread, and it was the place where the bread of life was born.
It's a very special place because there are some other famous Rachels buried there, and it's about a few miles from Jerusalem. I've been in Bethlehem, but this was the prophecy. Out of you shall come he who is to come forth, Bethlehem of Ephrata. It was the prophecy that made Bethlehem so special. Interestingly enough, when the prophet was making that prophecy, Bethlehem was not really in existence, but it became the answer to the prophecy. And there are two Bethlehams. There's Bethlehem and Bethlehem at Ephrata. He came to the right one.
He showed up at the right place. When you ask ourselves why there was no room in the inn, I think we have to kind of put ourselves in that situation. We read the Christmas story through our Christian eyes, and we don't read it through the eyes of the culture in which he was born. People in Bethlehem, apart from some divine revelation, would have had no idea what was going on. Who was this mother?
Who was this person? Bottom line, it was census time in Bethlehem. There was no room anywhere for anybody. I don't think they were singling out Jesus. They just had no room. And when he came to the door and they didn't have any room and ultimately gave him a place where he could be born, that was a gracious thing for him to do because there wasn't room anyplace else. And it wasn't, hey, we're not going to let Jesus in here. They didn't know who he was.
They didn't have a clue who he was. And it became a wonderful story because just as they had no room for Jesus in the inn, so many people today don't have any room for Jesus at all, whether it's Christmas or Easter or any time. And I can speak about that because I'm a pastor, and I know what that's like. And when we come back, more from Dr. David Jeremiah, the film, the book, Why the Nativity, here on Our American Stories. And we return to Our American Stories and to Dr. David Jeremiah and his conversation about his film and book, Why the Nativity.
Let's pick up where we last left off. Why was Jesus born in a stable? The stable to me is a picture that Jesus wanted people to know that he came for all men, not just for the hierarchy, not for the aristocrats. In fact, this is an amazing thing that he was first worshiped by a group of shepherds who were the outcasts of that culture. And to be born in a manger was to state the very obvious fact that he had come for all people. And if he came for the shepherds and he was born in a manger, he came for you. One of the big arguments that comes around Christmastime is the argument of the virgin birth. Why was Jesus born of a virgin? Why was it important for him to be born of a virgin? Because he was God. He had to come into this world and not lose his holiness. So when he came through a virgin without the male involved in the birth process, he preserved his holiness. He came and he could become at that particular time 100% God and 100% man.
And Mary had never known a man. I remember there was a funny little story about that. I had some books some years ago that actually was a little New Testament I had written, worked on to make available to people.
My grandchildren were pretty young at the time, twins. And they came in and they said, hey, Poppy, can we have one of these? And I said, yeah, but you've got to promise me you'll read it. And they said, what do you mean? I said, it starts with Matthew.
I want you to read Matthew this week and tell me you read it. So about halfway through the week I get a call from their mom and they said, okay, okay, you answer this one. Bradley came and said, hey, Mom, if Mary and Joseph never even knew each other, how could they have a baby?
I said, well, tell them to ask their father. So the whole thing about the virgin birth is the key. It preserves the deity of Jesus Christ. And I want to tell you why I know it's true.
I remember reading this story and how it helps me so much to know it's true. When Mary was standing at the foot of the cross and they were getting ready to crucify her son, they were getting ready to crucify her son because he claimed to be God. And they said he was a blasphemer. Mary could have spoken up and said, no, he's not God. I remember the night he was conceived.
He is not God. But she never did that. She watched her son die on the cross because she knew that what the Bible says about him was true.
And to me, you don't need any other argument for the virgin birth of Christ than that one. You know, I've gotten a little bit involved in the shepherd story. Why the shepherds? Because if you had, I mean, I just got off a phone call with somebody a few minutes ago, and I'm asking him to help us promote this film.
And he asked me this question. If I gave you the keys to this network, where would you want to put this show? Only nobody does that. And I think about that with the shepherds. If I gave you the key to who you want to have received the gospel at first, who would you want? It wouldn't be the shepherds. You know, when the shepherds, when the Israeli people were shepherds, they weren't even allowed to live with other people. They were the outcasts. They had no credibility. They couldn't go to the temple.
They weren't allowed in the temple. Shepherds were the lowest of the low. And yet it was to the shepherds that Jesus first revealed himself. As if once again to say, no matter who you are, no matter what you've done, no matter how far you feel you are away from God, think of the shepherds. They're the picture of God's willingness.
When we couldn't come up to where he was, he came down to where we are. And that's especially true with the shepherds. Well, why the angels? You know, the angels are really involved in Jesus' life.
In fact, if you go through the life of Jesus, you can almost say, these are the important moments in Jesus' life, because angels were there. They were there at his birth. They were there at his baptism. They were there at his temptation in the wilderness.
They're going to be totally involved in his coming again, in the rapture and in the second coming. Angels were there as emissaries from heaven. They were God's messengers. I think they were God's protectors too. God said, I'm going to send Jesus to be the Savior of the world, and you angels, I'm sending you down there to make sure it goes right. Take care of it.
Watch it. They were the messengers. Gabriel and Michael were the only two angels we know about by name in the Bible.
One was the protector, one was the communicator, and God sent them both to be here when Jesus was born. Well, if you ask scientists about the Star of Bethlehem and why it was so important, they'll give you all kinds of scientific reasons why this was a meteor that was out of control or something. But this was God's star. The star was going in the wrong direction scientifically. It was almost like God was defying everything to make sure that his wise men that were coming would not get lost. I don't have a scientific explanation for the star because there is no scientific explanation. It was God's star, and if God made him in the first place, he can move him around any way he wants.
That night, he moved a star to make sure those three guys didn't miss what they set out to do. Well, the wise men represent a whole different... Why the wise men is a good question. They represent a whole different aspect of the culture.
Isn't it interesting? You've got the shepherds over here representing the down and out, and you've got the wise men over here representing the aristocracy. It's almost like God put this pin down here and put this pin down here, and he says, I came for everybody in between. The wise men came, their gifts were special. They represented worship, and unfortunately, they get caught up in the major scenes all over the country, and they didn't come when the major scenes were there.
They came way later. The Bible says Jesus was a young lad when they came, but they gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh, gold for his kingship, frankincense for his suffering, and myrrh, which was a bitter-tasting element that represented his death and his suffering. So the wise men, they're always a beautiful part of the story, and there's not very much written about them except they followed the Lord, and the journey they took wasn't like two days. It was a long journey to get to where Jesus was.
This story of the birth of Jesus, which we celebrate with such exuberance in our culture today, actually is communicated in Luke and in Matthew, and it's referenced in Philippians and a few other places, but the actual story of Christmas, the story of the Nativity, is found in a couple chapters in Luke and one chapter in Matthew. It was prophesied in the Old Testament, as you know, many, many places in the Old Testament. Isaiah prophesied, Micah prophesied it, Jeremiah prophesied it. It was foretold, and then it was experienced, and we have, somebody said, why don't you have more information? We don't need any more information. This is what God said would happen. This is what happened.
Here's the record of it. I can embellish it if you want to. And when you take the story and you go back and get all of the prophecies and put them together, then you have more of a body of work on the Nativity. But the story itself is simple.
It's not hard to understand, and it's miraculous. Have your fun, celebrate, do the things you do, but don't forget, Christmas is about God becoming man, God loving us so much that he left the corridors of heaven to live in the womb of a woman so he could become one of us and go to the cross and pay the penalty for our sin. The redemption story doesn't start at the crucifixion. It starts at Bethlehem because part of the sacrifice of God was the sacrifice of his Son, his only begotten Son, and part of the sacrifice of Jesus was leaving his place in heaven to come down here and walk among us.
There's no way to describe that. And a great job is always by our own Craig Hengler on the editing and production, and a special thanks to Dr. David Jeremiah, and a special thanks to Turning Point Ministries for putting this film together. Again, it's free for all to stream, all through Christmas season and beyond. Type in the words Why the Nativity on your browser or go to davidjeremiah.org. Also, you can check your cable listings. It will be appearing throughout the month.
And again, check TV Guide or wherever you get your cable listings. Why the Nativity, by the way, pick up the book, it's terrific. If you're a Christian, even if you're not, 64% of Americans call themselves Christians. And it's an important story. It's an important date. And we celebrate as we do.
But again, we want to learn why we celebrate and get the stories behind the stories, why the Nativity does that, the book and the film. And Dr. Jeremiah also happens to be my teacher. We don't have a relationship. He's on the television every day at 6 a.m. Central Time, where I live. And he's been teaching me and coaching me for 15 years and doesn't know it. Well, didn't know it until I met him. This is Lee Habib.
Why the Nativity with Dr. David Jeremiah here on Our American Stories. When the world gets in the way of your music, try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you, delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound, so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, sound shape to you.
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