“Now, the birth of Jesus came about in this way…” (Matthew 1:18).
You like mysteries? Try to figure out how those two lists of ancestors works out for the lineage of Jesus. If you finally give up, then (and only then) go to a commentary written by a Bible-believing scholar. Your church library probably has several.
You are a history student? Then check out Luke 2:1-3 where “the beloved physician” gives the historical setting for the birth of our Lord. Then, move up one chapter and see how Luke does the same thing for the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry some three decades later.
You love conspiracies? (There’s a lot of that going around today. Is Elvis really dead? Who shot JFK? Was General Patton murdered?) Then, check out King Herod in Matthew chapter 2 and notice his murderous rampage against anyone who appears to be a threat, even little babies. Sheesh. What a monster. And notice how the Lord Jesus sent the Magi with funds (“gold”) to finance the trip of the little Holy Family to Egypt, just ahead of Herod’s legions. They slipped away just in time.
You are a woman and you love babies? (I’m a man and I love babies. But concerning the pregnancy/birth process, we men are on the outside looking in.) Then, do not miss the entire first chapter of Luke. It begins with the announcement/birth of John the Baptist and moves seamlessly into the announcement and birth of his cousin, the Lord Jesus. It’s pretty special. Your heart goes out to Mary.
You love old people or (ahem) happen to be one yourself? Don’t miss Simeon and Anna in Luke 2 Simeon had been told a secret by the Holy Spirit, that he would live to see the Messiah. Then, as Mary and Joseph entered the temple for His dedication, the Holy Spirit nudged him. “All right, Simeon. You’re on! This is the moment you have lived for!” Who among us does not resonate with pleasure at his exclamation, “Now, Lord, you can call me home! I’ve seen it all!” The blessed Anna, on the other hand, just seems to have been in the right place at the right time.
Do you love Bible prophecy? It’s throughout this wonderful story. In Matthew 1:22-23, we have the connection of “Jesus” with the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. And in Matthew 2:5, the theologians advise King Herod that according to Micah 5:2 the Christ will be born in Bethlehem. Or see how the song of Mary (Luke 1:46ff) shows her acquaintance with Psalm 18.
Are you a guy who loves doing macho things like going on sudden fishing/hunting trips or mission excursions to difficult parts of the world? Then, take a look at the Magi of Matthew 2. If ever there was a “guy thing” in Scripture, this is it. A group of men in some distant eastern country who were studying the heavens came to the conclusion—no one is sure how—that “the King of the Jews” was to be born in this tiny kingdom. And they decided to come and see for themselves! These men put their lives on hold, convinced their wives they would be home in time for the children’s birthdays, and at great expense and incredible hardship started out on a trek to (don’t miss this!) follow a star! Meanwhile, back at home, you can imagine how the wives are taking this. We shake our heads at the daring of these men and so admire how God used them. (And can you imagine the stories they had to tell on their return!)
Are you a nobody wondering how God could ever use a cipher like you? You have come to the right place, my friend. Check out Luke 1:26ff where the angel Gabriel informs Mary of Nazareth that God has chosen her for hazardous duty. Her responses come down to variations of “Who me?” And do not miss her song, recorded in Luke 1:40-55, which reeks of praise to God for choosing to bless the lowly and the nobodies.