Dec. 24, 2016

Do not be afraid, or offended Christ has come

Luke 2New American Standard Bible

Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.


The text from Luke 2 will be read millions of times over the next 2 days, in churches around the world, in homes and even included in some of our favorite Christmas shows and movies. In the Charlie Brown Christmas story, when Charlie Brown is so frustrated with the materialism and commercialism of Christmas in society and cries out asking what is Christmas really all about, Linus recites this passage from Luke 2 and says, “and that’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown. Even though this text will be read and heard by millions, there are many who say they are offended by the mention of the birth of Christ. There are many who refute the account of Christ’s birth. They try, with human reasoning and their own logic to dispel the possibility that Jesus could have been born as the Bible says.

The birth of Christ, the coming of the Messiah was predicted in scripture thousands of years before it happened.  Isaiah 9:6-7 says this in reference to His birth:   For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.       And of His death on the cross, for the sins of the world, Isaiah 53:1-6 says:   Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. 
       In all there are over 350 prophetic scriptures regarding the birth, the life and the death of the Messiah, which are fulfilled in Jesus. If anything or anyone in our present modern culture or society was able to accurately predict coming events the way the Bible does, it would be celebrated. Yet the world doubts and is offended by God’s word, by what it says about what was, what is and what will be.

Many people try to make Christmas, or the holiday season about many things or anything but the birth of Christ. For many people Christmas, like many holidays is an opportunity to spend time with friends and family. For others Christmas, like other holidays, is more of an obligation; or even worse, a stark reminder of the dysfunction of their families. I can’t help but to wonder, actually to believe without a doubt, that if more families would focus on the family in that stable those 2000 + years ago, perhaps there would be: “Peace on Earth and Good Will toward Man.”

My hope, my prayer and my declaration today is“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”      Don’t be afraid or offended, Christ the savior was born. You will not find Him though in a manger or a stable. You will not find Him walking among men. He was born as a baby, He lived as a man, He died on the cross as a Savior, but He won’t be found at any of those places today. Jesus Christ is a risen Lord and King. He will be found by all who respond to Him. He says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)     Don’t be afraid, don’t be offended, open the door believe and receive. Jesus is found in the hearts of those who believe.

O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.  Amen