Mar. 16, 2018

There has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:1-35 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

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.

21 And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 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. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,  31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”


It may seem odd to meditate and reflect about Jesus birth at the time when we are preparing to meditate on His death on the cross and His resurrection. In Revelation 1:8 it says “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  God the Father and Jesus His Son, our Lord are not locked into finite time as we are. One day is no different than others. Although Jesus was born, a baby, in the humblest of circumstances, the angels in today’s text said:   “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.”    The angels did not use the name Jesus, not because they did not know His human name, but rather because they were speaking not of a baby or even of the man He would become; they were speaking of what He was in heaven,  what He would be on earth and forever. Jesus was born a Savior, Christ, the Anointed One. Jesus was born as Lord and King.   A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.

It is not wrong for us to meditate on and celebrate Jesus birth. It is good that in the coming weeks we, as believers will focus on the last days of Jesus life as a man. We will celebrate His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We will meditate on the New Covenant He established when He shared the last Passover meal with His closest friends and disciples. We will sympathize and empathize with Him, feeling the hurt of rejection and betrayal as even those closest friends abandoned Him and the whole world turned against Him. We will watch as He suffers in agony, first beaten then crucified on the cross. Although He was born a baby, lived as a man and even though He was always Lord, it was for this reason that Jesus, the Christ came, that He would suffer and die for our sins. Jesus established that New Covenant, the forgiveness of sins there on the cross. Long before Jesus was born as a baby, Isaiah the prophet spoke of Him in the past tense, as if what would be already was, saying:  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.    Our healing, we are healed, is present and future tense.  All that Jesus came to do, our redemption from sin, our reconciliation to God and our restoration, our healing was accomplished on the cross. In John 19:30 Jesus said:  “It is finished.”

While it was finished in that day and in that moment in time, that was not the end. After Jesus was laid in a tomb, He was raised from death and the grave. This too we will celebrate. The resurrection of Christ is the seal of validation on the Covenant He established. Much of what He said might have died with Him, as empty unfulfilled words and promises if He had remained in the grave. Instead it is the grave that is empty and all of His promises are fulfilled.  It is important that when we think of and speak of the resurrection that we understand that Jesus was raised from death and the grave, but even more He is Risen! It is not what He was. It is what He is. Every day, as we meditate on Jesus, whether the baby born in a stable, the man who lived to show us how to live, or the Savior who suffered and died so we could live, we should remember that He is: “The Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”    Some in the world are offended when we speak of and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Many are offended by the cross where He suffered and died for the sins of the world. Many refuse to believe that if indeed He lived, He was raised from death and that He is risen. Even we, who believe, cannot fully understand and comprehend how eternity and the and the eternal Christ fits into our finite time, how what was and is and is to come corresponds to our time. This much we do know, while indeed Jesus was born as a baby. He lived as a man. He died as a Savior and He is risen as Lord. In all those things, He was and is eternally the Almighty. He was and is and always will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When He is to come again in our finite time it will not be as a baby or even as a man. It will not be as a teacher, or to die for sin. When the one who is to come, does indeed come again, it will be as a conquering king.

Each and every day, no matter what season or time we are in, we should remember and celebrate, we should declare the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Thank You Jesus, born as Savior and Christ the Lord. Thank You for the way You lived as an example of how we too should live. Thank You for dying for our sins that we could be redeemed, reconciled and restored. Praise be to You that death and the grave could not hold You, that You rose from the grave and that You are risen. Thank You that You are coming again. Praise be to You, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.   Amen.