Luke 2.1-20 The Arrival.doc
Intro: I love the introduction that M. Lucado gives in his book God Came Near He writes :
Christianity in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. Christian service, in its purest form is nothing more than imitating him who we see. To see His majesty & to imitate him, that is the sum of Christianity.
Peter declared in 2Pet. 1:16 that he and the others Apostles were eye witnesses of His majesty. Lucado adds concerning His Coming - majesty
His majesty . The emperor of Judah . The soaring eagle of eternity . The noble admiral of the kingdom. All the splendor of heaven revealed in a human body. For a period ever so brief, the doors to the throne room were opened & God came near. His majesty was seen . Heaven touched the earth .
Something happens to the person who has witnessed His majesty . One glimpse of the king & you are consumed w/ a desire to see more of Him & to say more about Him. SO TRUE!!!!!!
Today in this passage we are looking at the arrival of the King!
- God coming near - God entering flesh & concealing His glory in a human body.
- As we look at this familiar story - ( the Christmas story - my prayer is that we might be filled w/ a new sense of wonder .
- That our hearts might be stirred a fresh - by this desire to see His majesty -
C) Might better understand what means - God came near ! PRAY
There are 6 main things that I want us to see in looking at this story
1st The time of His Coming & the condition of menís hearts
- And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
- These were the days when the Roman empire was being formed. Originally the Roman empire was ruled by several generals,
- but gradually the power began more, and more to be invested into one man, until finally Octavianus gained control.
- He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar who was His uncle.. So when he came into power - he adopted the title of Caesar .
- When finally he was able to gain control, over all of the empire, the Roman senate determined to give him some title,
- they first suggested that they call him" the king of Rome." And he rejected that title.Too many Kings -
- Then the said, " we'll call you the dictator of Rome." And he didn't like that either - ( dictators didnít last long)
E) They finally they came up this title," Augustus," which means of the god's. He said, I like that.
And so he was called Caesar Augustus. This man was the most powerful man on the face of the earth. at this time. / Think of the power
- ./ Here is a guy sitting in Rome. Gradually he has gained this position of power, until he is able to issue a degree,
- and immediately the whole world must bow./ There is no one to appeal to.
- Think of it /One man makes a degree, the whole world must bow to that degree.
1) Reason was Rome had beat the world into submission.
- There was peace in the world at that time only because Rome was such a powerful ruling force that no man dared to say that his life was his own.
- Every man was a slave to Rome. A World ruled by one man.
- Taxes were high, unemployment was high, morals were slipping lower & Lower , and the military state was in control.
- Men were burden oppressed discouraged & sinking deeper & deeper into sin & wickedness -led by the Roman example .
So that was the condition of society during that time - and the condition of menís hearts .
2nd thing that we want to note is How God moved to fulfill prophecy.
- See 700 yrs before this time the Prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Beth.
- Joseph & Mary were living in Naz. - and no woman in her 9th month is going to willingly travel 80 miles to Beth. On the back of a donkey.
- So what does the Lord do - he puts it in the heart of this power hungry egostitical emperor to declare a tax
- Requiring everyone to go to the place of their birth to be registered.
- Augustus thought he was so powerful - but in reality in this case he was merely a puppet in the hands of God.
- Used to fulfill the word of God - prophesied 700 yrs earlier by Micah
- A.T. Pierson used to say, "History is His story," and President James A. Garfield called history "the unrolled scroll of prophecy."
- Jer. 1:12 "I am watching over My word to perform it," promises the
3rd thing we want to note is in v. 7 It says there at the end of the verse that - there was no room in the Inn.
- Because of the huge influx of people who were in Beth. To register the city was busting at the seems .
- There were people going every which way and by the time - that Joseph & married arrived there was no room.
- Amazing - God sends His son to the earth - The greatest moment in History up to this time is about to happen. And there is no room
C) Now Bethlehem means house of bread !
The name in & of itself speaks of nourishment & satisfaction !
- Think of a bakery filled w/ many fine breads & pastries ! Endless
supply ! My dad worked for a Bakery - always plenty of Bread !
- But on that first Christmas morning Beth. Did not resemble a place of satisfaction & contentment ! Place where ones hunger could get filled
- Didnít resemble a Place of refreshment & joy / or nourishment !
Cc) People in the House of Bread were Hungry ! They were discontented
- Their lives had been interrupted by this decree to be registered
- People had to stop what they were doing & make these long journeys to the city where they were born .
- And people had come from all over the region to Beth. In order to be registered and fulfill the wishes of Caesar !
- Bethlehem was a city was packed w/ people, who were no doubt upset about this inconvenience ! Burdened
- And there was no room & no time for this woman who was w/ Child & this baby who was about to be born.
- Really This event was Sort of a precursor of His entire life.
He was despised & rejected of men!!!
In fact I think the scene bears a good resemblance to what we see in our own community today / what we see in society today !
- We are a people who fill our lives w/ a great deal of activity & action / but so often there is little substance ! ( Not much matter in eternity)
- People stay just busy enough that they wonít have to confront the void that they feel inside ! The unsatisfaction they feel in their hearts !
- So their lives are filled w/ activity as a distraction ! -
- Sometimes it is our jobís that demand so much time or so we think - often times it is because we donít no how to say no / when to quit.
1) We have that tendency to long after that which will not fill us !
55:1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you;
6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
- So there in Beth. ,the house of bread God sees disgruntled burdened down unsatisfied humanity
- They thought they were burdened down because of the taxes / & the Romans but God knew the root cause was Sin!
D) Man was under the bondage of a much greater oppression than that which any foreign country could ever bring / under bondage of Sin & oppression of Satan So what does God do?
- He sends His Son the bread of life to come & satisfy the hunger of man ! Bread of life to be born in the House of Bread !
- to break the yoke of oppression of Satan / bondage of sin ! To make available for man the life he is really longing for !
But there was no room ! And even today there are people who refuse to make room for Him
- . They have room and time for just about everything, but Him. It seems that He is still consigned to a position outside of the general society.
- Dina Donohoe a second grade teacher in Canada was asked to direct the Christmas play in their school. - She tells the following story.
But Ralph did not return to his inn as directed.
He stood there watching the sad couple, looking perplexed, with his mouth opened, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filled with tears. Suddenly He cried wait Joseph donít go - YOU CAN HAVE MY ROOM !
Guys that is the right answer - ( Jesus stands today at door knocks)
- Some people only give Jesus a part of their lives - ( Give him some time on Sundays . ) Life is like a pie.
- Paul wrote in Eph.3:17 Jesus really wants to dwell in our hearts through faith- Dwell = be at Home in our hearts .
- Wants you to give Him the whole house - Lord it is yours
- Guys that is what the Christian life is really about - that is when you really start to live - ( Your life - You & Jesus in middle of the Pie.)
- When You say Jesus - have my room - better yet - whole house
Now this Inn keeper in his ignorance didnít respond in that way - see he didnít know who he was dealing w/ ! Donít make same mistake.
- So Godís Son - ended up in a barn which was really a cave
- And we are also told there in v.7 that He was wrapped in swaddling clothes & laid in a manger - really a feeding trough.
- This is the 4th thing I want us to see & note - The significance of the swaddling clothes .
- Swaddling clothes were Linen bands that were wrapped around babies
when they were born.
- But they were also used to wrap the body of Jesus in after He died. It was the same type of Linen - that was used. Grave clothes
- Creates for us an interesting picture.
E) See the soul reason why Jesus came was to die.
Consider that when talking about the lives of men like Buddha Mohammed - Gandhi - all others
Death interrupted their so called ministries . Death destroyed their "ministries"
- They were worried about death - because death ment the end. Death ended their ability to communicate their philosophical truth.
- But the very purpose of Christ coming was to die.
- He came for one reason mainly - to give His life a ransom for sinners.
Again Lucado is insightful as he pears into this scene the baby in the cave resting peaceably in the feeding trough wrapped in grave clothes
He writes :
Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
to touch a leperís open wound,~to wipe a widow's weary tear, to open the eyes of the blind - to make straight the lame ,to claw the ground of Gethsemane.
Your hands, so tiny, so tender, so white-clutched tonight in an infants fist. They arenít destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.
Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.
You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide. You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give. You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.
0 eyes that will see hellís darkest pit and witness her ugly prince ... sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can. Lay still, tiny mouth. Lay still mouth from which eternity will speak.
Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead, that will define grace, that will silence our foolishness.
Rosebud lips--upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you-lay still. And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.
Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.
He came to die - Whole purpose in coming / Joy set before him he endured the cross !!!!!
- For 30 yrs as He grew - He knew thatís why He was here
- 31/2 yrs of His ministry - Not time for SonÖ.. to be glorified.
- John 12 - Now is the time - talks about death .
- Home work - Ex. 34 - Show Glory
Now the 5th thing we want to note this morning is that His birth drew the shepherds from their fields
- 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Shepherds lowest class - thieves - in town things disappeared .
It is thought that these shepherds were perhaps the temple shepherds - who worked for the Priest.
- because they offered a lamb every morning and every evening, for the sacrifices, they had their own temple shepherds
- These shepherds kept the lambs for the temple sacrifices, and it is possible that these shepherds were those who were in the field that night
D)if so, it is kind of significant, that these guys who took care of the lambs sacrificed in the temple were the first once to see the lamb of God, who was to take away the sins of the world.
Angels announcement - 200 yrs practicing
What I really want us to note though is found in v. 15-17 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
The verb found in Luke 2:16 means "found after a search."
- The shepherds knew what to look for: a newborn Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And they found Him!
- And when they did They worshiped Him and marveled at Godís grace and goodness and the miracle He had revealed to them.
- These shepherds are good examples for us to imitate today.
- They received by faith the message God sent them and then responded with immediate obedience. ( Lets go)
- After finding the Baby, they worshipped Him & Marveled at the grace of God that had been shown to them.
- That is a good thing for us to ponder today - Do you still marvel at the grace of God - that has been shown to you.
- Are you still blown away to the point of worship & Praise when you consider the undeserved favor that God has shown You.
- GRACE = Godís riches at ÖÖ expense !
Are you amazed at the wealth that is yours spiritually because of what Christ has done for you !
- A poor woman who had a hard struggle to make ends meet, and knew what it meant to be w/out food, was taken on an outing to the seaside.
It was her first time to ever see the ocean. She was delighted with the scene. As she looked out over the vast expanse of waters, tears filled her eyes and she exclaimed, "Thank God for a sight of something there is enough of!"
- That is how it is with the soul when it gets a vision of the infinite fullness of God's grace in Christ.
- His grace is quite enough for the soul's every need.
- So first we see that they worshipped & marveled because of Godís grace
The 2nd thing we want to note about these shepherds that is an example to us is that they reported the good news to others,
- They went "glorifying and praising God."- just like the Angels who appeared to them. Glad tidings of great Joy.
- They shared openly & w/ Joy the grace of God that had been revealed to them in Christ.
1) Guys the grace we have received is the grace that we need to share!
Quote from Wiersbe - Telling others about the Savior is a solemn obligation as well as a great privilege, and we who are believers must be faithful.
The 6th and final thing that we want to make note of today is the Pronouncement of the Angels
A) "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
- V. 14 is the first Christmas Carol - composed by God and sung by Angels
- Love to have a CD of that one.
C) They begin by praising God - the giver of the gift - Then move to describing the results of the gift. Peace
- The Jewish word shalom (peace) means much more than a truce in the battles of life.
- It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness. It has to do more with character than circumstances.
- Because Christ has come Peace is now available - Peace w/ God/
Also - Peace from the guilt .
Some of you might recall that in 1989 A new product called "Disposable Guilt Bags" appeared in the marketplace.
A)It consisted of a set of ten ordinary brown bags on which were printed the following instructions: "Place the bag securely over your mouth, take a deep breath and blow all your guilt out, then dispose of the bag immediately."
B) The wonder of this is that the Associated Press reported that 2500 kits had been quickly sold at $2.50 per kit.
- People want to know how they can get rid of the guilt - how they can experience the peace in their lives they long for.
- The answer is in Jesus the Babe born in Beth. - Bread of Life
Now The next thing the Angels did was they gave the conditions of receiving that Peace.
- The Phrase and good will toward men -is Literally translated "peace to men of good will," or "peace among men with whom He is pleased."
- Peace to men who are in Godís will ! It is a statement of theology !
- How are we in Godís will ? Turn to John 6
After feeding 5000
v.27"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
- This is the will of God - believe on Him !
- Not do this or do that - Just believe on Jesus!
- Then they go into this little thing about Moses & the manna -
and Jesus responds in v. 32
"Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
36 "But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
38"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
39 "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
40"And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
You Want to enter into the will of God today - Open your Heart to Jesus!
- Whether you are like these confused people who had not yet received Christ - yet were searching for meaning & fulfillment
- Or like the person we were describing a few minutes ago - Christ is only a part of your life - small part - little closet -
1) Give Him Your whole heart today - you will not be disappointed / Result Peace !
- Forgive your sins - take away your fears - give you peace w/ God
- Peace w/ in your Heart - peace from the guilt. He will do for you what
blowing in a bag & no one else can do.
There is nothing on this earth powerful enough in itself to dispose of our guilt. We cannot fix ourselves, which is what many of us are trying to do.
D) That which makes it possible to be forgiven, to be cleansed, to be healed, that which makes it possible for us to receive our life back again, fresh and clean and new, is the power of God's Grace in the Cross of Jesus Christ.