The challenge: give a talk on the birth of Christ as the fulfilment of prophecy. Oh, and keep it to 5 minutes

I was asked to talk on this topic for a carol service at the local sheltered housing complex just before Christmas. What a great subject! But, how to do it justice in ‘about 5 minutes’? Give me an hour, and no problem. But a mere 300 seconds? That’s hard!

And how in that short time do I weave in not just the good news of Christ crucified for sinners and raised from the dead, but also the reason for that gospel — our failure to keep God’s law? After all, there’s no sense in talking about the Saviour unless you first explain what we all need to be saved from — the just wrath of a holy and righteous God that we each have earned by our sin.

Could I do all this in a way that would make sense to people present who had little or no Bible knowledge and somehow also keep the interest of those that have been studying their Bibles for more years than I have lived?

I enjoy a challenge (sometimes, at least). So I eagerly accepted. And then spent the best part of three solid days preparing. Here’s the result.

Ok, so I biffed it. It’s 9 minutes*, not 5. What would you have left out that I kept in? And what would you have included that I left out? Leave a comment to let me know! And I subsequently noticed that I’ve made at least one minor error of fact. Can you spot it?

Incidentally, the wider text for the evening as a whole was Matthew 1:18–25 (quoted here from the NKJV):

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

  • I requested prior special dispensation for running over time, and it was generously given. And I reckon that I was probably closer to 8 on the night — I made the above recording independently after the event.