The Christmas Story in the Four Gospels

Andrew Fountain
Sun, 2022-12-18
  • The 4 Gospels all report Jesus’s birth story very differently, yet they fit together perfectly.
  • Seeing this increases our faith that it is real history, not myth.
  • But underneath that there is a deeper challenge waiting for us.
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Sermon Slides - The Christmas Story in the Four Gospels

Week 1: Prophecies
and Preparations
for Jesus’s Coming

  1. Preparation of the World
  2. Prophecies from Genesis to Malachi
  3. Focus on Isaiah

Week 2: God Takes a Human Body

  1. The Messy Line of Jesus
  2. Historical setting of the world Jesus was born into
  3. The Reason why God took on a human body

Week 3: John’s teaching in 5 Steps

5. Now Jesus sends us!
4. So we need to depend totally on Jesus
3. Jesus totally depended on power “from above”
2. We must be born “from above”
1. Jesus came “from above”

Goal for today

To feel ourselves what they felt
when they heard the announcements about Jesus,
and to be challenged to respond in our hearts.

The Christmas Story in the Four Gospels

  1. Fitting together the story in the 4 Gospels
  2. A Closer look at Luke’s Account
  3. How it speaks to us right now

1. Fitting together the story in the 4 Gospels

The Four Gospels

Matt Mark Luke John Event
    Mary becomes pregnant
      John the Baptist’s birth
  Jesus born
      Simeon & Anna at the temple
      Wise Men Visit
& Escape to Egypt
John baptizes Jesus

Timeline of the Gospels

age Matt Mark Luke John  
→ 0 1:1–17   1:1–4
Genealogy / Theology / Introduction
-15mo     1:5–23   Angel appears to John the Baptist’s father Zechariah
-15mo     1:24–25   Elizabeth becomes pregnant with John
-9mo     1:26–38   Angel Gabriel visits Mary and tells her she will become pregnant with Jesus
-9mo 1:18–24       Mary becomes pregnant and Joseph has an angelic visit
-8mo     1:39–45   Pregnant Mary visits Pregnant Elizabeth
-8mo     1:46–56   Mary sings a song of praise
-6mo     1:57–66   John the Baptist is born
-6mo     1:67–80   His father, Zechariah brings a prophecy
-7d     2:1–5   Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem because of the decree
0 1:25   2:6–7 1:9–14 Jesus born
0     2:8–20   Angels appear to shepherds who visit baby Jesus in the manger
7d     2:21–24   Jesus circumcised on the 8th day
40d     2:25–38   Taken to the temple where Simeon and Anna prophecy
> 40d 2:1–12       Visit from the Magi
> 40d 2:13–15       Flight to Egypt
> 40d 2:16–18       Murder of all the male children
< 2yrs 2:19–23   2:39–40   The family returns to Nazareth
< 30yrs 3:1–12 1:1–8 3:1–20 1:19–28 John the Baptist starts preaching
30yrs 3:13–17 1:9–11 3:21–22 1:29–34 Jesus is baptized

The Christmas Story in the Four Gospels

  1. Fitting together the story in the 4 Gospels
  2. A Closer look at Luke’s Account
  3. How it speaks to us right now

2. A Closer look at Luke’s Account

Luke 1 & 2

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

  1. In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
  2. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
  3. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
  4. Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,
  5. according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
  6. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
  7. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
  8. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
  9. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
  10. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,
  11. for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
  12. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,
  13. and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
  14. And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
  15. And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
  16. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”
  17. And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple.
  18. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute.
  19. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
  20. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying,
  21. “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Angel appears to Mary

  1. In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
  2. to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
  3. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!
  4. But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
  5. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
  6. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
  7. 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,
  8. and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
  9. And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
  10. And the angel answered her, “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.
  11. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
  12. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
  13. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

  1. In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah,
  2. and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
  3. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
  4. and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
  5. And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
  6. For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
  7. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

  1. And Mary said,
      “My soul magnifies the Lord,
  2.   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
  3. for he has looked on the humble position of his servant.
      For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed
  4. for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
      and holy is his name.
  5. And his mercy is for those who fear him
      from generation to generation.
  6. He has shown strength with his arm;
      he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
  7. He has brought down the mighty from their thrones
      and exalted those of humble position;
  8. He has filled the hungry with good things,
      and the rich he has sent away empty.
  9. He has helped his servant Israel,
      in remembrance of his mercy,
  10. as he spoke to our fathers,
      to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
  11. And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

The Birth of John the Baptist

  1. Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.
  2. And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called.
  3. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered.
  4. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
  5. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea,
  6. and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

  1. And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
  2. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
      for he has visited and redeemed his people
  3. and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
      in the house of his servant David,
  4. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
      for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
  5. to give knowledge of salvation to his people
      in the forgiveness of their sins,
  6. because of the tender mercy of our God,
      whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
  7. to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
      to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
  8. And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Jesus is Born

  1. In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
  2. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
  3. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.
  4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
  5. to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
  6. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
  7. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

  1. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
  2. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
  3. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
  4. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
  5. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
  6. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
  7. “Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
  8. When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
  9. And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
  10. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
  11. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
  12. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
  13. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
  14. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus Presented at the Temple

  1. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
  2. Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
  3. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
  4. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,
  5. he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
  6. “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
      according to your word;
  7. for my eyes have seen your salvation
  8.   that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
  9. a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
      and for glory to your people Israel.”
  10. And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.
  11. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed
  12. (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
  13. And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin,
  14. and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
  15. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.


3. How it speaks to us right now

  • Underneath there is a deeper challenge waiting for us.

Updated on 2022-12-18 by Andrew Fountain