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12-25-22 It’s a Miracle!

It’s a Miracle! (Matthew 1:18-23)

David Peterson / General

Christmas; Forgiveness / Matthew 1:18–23

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: The virgin birth is a beautiful and tremendous miracle, but it is not THE miracle of Christmas. THE miracle announced by the angel is the forgiveness of our sins.


In 1224, inspired by the sight of shepherds tending their flocks in the moonlight, St. Francis of Assisi asked a wealthy friend from Greccio, Italy, to help him construct a live manger scene (the first ever). The idea caught on. By the 15th century, nativity scenes proliferated in monasteries and churches throughout southern Europe. Today, perhaps the finest collection of miniature nativity scenes in the world is found in Munich’s National Museum of Bavaria where more than 200 are displayed.

Source: Nan Bauroth in Christmas: An Annual Treasury (Vol. 66, Augsburg). Christian Reader, Vol. 34.

I. A Miraculous Birth and yet not THE miracle (Matt. 1:18-19)

1. Joseph was no fool. Usually, the simplest answer is the right answer.

2. Joseph was given a reason to believe Mary. The angel spoke from within a context.

3. We’ve been given a reason to believe.

II. THE miracle is Salvation from Sin (Matt. 1:21)

1. Our natural reaction is just the opposite. Forgiving sins seems easy but it’s not.

2. Sin doesn’t just go away; God doesn’t just give way.

a. Our Guilt shows our need

It is indeed amazing that in as fundamentally irreligious a culture as ours, the sense of guilt should be so widespread and deeply-rooted as it is.—Erich Fromm, psychologist

Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., p. 363). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

b. It’s a Wonderful Life shows us why

3. Something had to happen.

64. Whereby did Christ accomplish our redemption?

Christ accomplished our redemption by his suffering and death, in which he endured, in our stead, the wrath of God against sin, thereby redeeming us from sin, satan, and death.

“There can be no ultimate reconciliation of a race to a holy God without atonement. God’s moral order demands atonement wherever moral ideas are taken with final seriousness; and man’s conscience re-echoes the demand” (p. 137).

“Do let us take the holiness of God centrally and seriously, not as an attitude isolated and magnified, but as God’s very essence and nature, changeless and inexorable. The holiness of God is a deeper revelation in the cross than his love; for it is what gives his love divine value. And it is meaningless without judgment. The one thing he could not do was simply to wipe the slate and write off the loss. He must either inflict punishment or assume it. And he chose the latter course, as honouring the law while saving the guilty. He took his own judgment” (pp. 205–6).

SOURCE: P. T. Forsyth, The Cruciality of the Cross (Hodder and Stoughton, 1909).

III. The Virgin Birth Serves this Miracle (Matt. 1:22-23)

1. The prophets said it must be this way.

In answer to the question, whether the virgin birth has doctrinal significance, it may be said that it would be inconceivable that God should cause Christ to be born in such an extraordinary manner, if it did not serve some purpose.

Berkhof, L. (1938). Systematic theology (p. 336). Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co.


Your only Son no sin to hide

But You have sent Him from Your side

To walk upon this guilty sod

And to become the Lamb of God

Your gift of love they crucified

They laughed and scorned Him as he died

The humble King they named a fraud

And sacrificed the Lamb of God

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God

I love the Holy Lamb of God

Oh wash me in His precious Blood

My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God

I was so lost I should have died

But You have brought me to Your side

To be led by Your staff and rod

And to be called a lamb of God

Songwriter: Twila Paris



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