Luke 2:1-35, Matthew 2

CELEBRITY BIRTH, 5/8/05

Life of Christ #3

 

Today when celebrities and famous people have children it makes headlines.

When Jesus was born there were no newspapers, radios, computers, internet, or televisions.

And his parents were certainly not celebrities. They were just a poor carpenter and a peasant teenage girl who were committed to God.

 

His parents were not celebrities, but Jesus couldn’t help but be a celebrity.  As the very Son of God, He made an impact from his conception through to his birth, death, resurrection, and ascension.

 

When Jesus, the Son of God was born, there were reactions to the birth of this celebrity.  We begin in Luke 2.

 

CAESAR PREPARED

 

Vss. 1-5 - God used the emperor of the huge Roman Empire to prepare for the proper birth of the Lord Jesus.

It is safe to say that Caesar Augustus never heard of the Lord Jesus, but God moved in Caesar Augustus’ heart in order to insure that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.

 

Because Joseph was “of the house and lineage of David”, he was required to go to Bethlehem, the hometown of his family to register for taxation.

 

Augustus made this decree at just the right time so that Joseph needed to travel to Bethlehem just before the birth of Jesus.

Jesus needed to be born in Bethlehem because that is what God promised. Micah 5:2

 

When God puts something in the heart of an individual to do it, they will do it. 

When God plans for something to happen, it will happen no matter how impossible it may appear.

 

Isaiah 46:11 - …yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

 

If, at the prompt of God, Caesar Augustus, unwittingly planned for the birth of Jesus in Bethehem, how much do you think God can accomplish in the hearts of people and in difficult situations?

 

God can work to solve any problem and influence the hearts of men for the good and the right.

Why doesn’t he do more?

He is waiting for us to ask. John 14:13-14

 

God is capable of doing great things, but He has decided to act very often in answer to the prayers of His children!   

 

ANGELS PROCLAIMED

 

Vss. 6-7 – Joseph and Mary were not the only ones traveling.  Others had to register too.  It was a busy time, and logical that the local inn was jammed.

 

So, out to the stable they went.  A humble beginning on earth for the one is the Son of God.

He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, long pieces of cloth wrapped fairly tightly around the child.  They would make the baby feel secure.

 

Vs. 8 – Meanwhile out in a field, maybe a mile or two away from the city was a group of shepherds, men low in social status.  Men, who because they were shepherds, were not trusted.  Men, who although they as a group were not liked or trusted, still could have been Godly men. 

 

Vss. 9-10 – When I know I have good news, I find it hard to remain silent.  It might be good news about something in my family, or something in my life, or something in the church. When it’s good news, I have a tendency to want to share it.

 

God is like that.

There was good news to tell about the birth of us Son, and He decided to share it with these humble shepherds.

 

The shepherds were “scared stiff” or “scared to death”, and we would be to if an angel appeared to us in the blinding brightness of God’s glory.

 

“Fear not” was a proper encouragement.

When God does something great we often fear because we don’t understand it.

 

This was not a time to fear, but a time of “Good tidings of great joy”.  The shepherds had reason to rejoice.

And the good tidings of great joy were not just for the shepherds or the Jews, it was all people.

It was good tidings of great joy for all people, because all people can have a Savior!

Christ came to die for all, no matter what your ethnic or religious background.

 

Vs. 11 - Notice that Jesus is described in three ways.

 

·        JESUS IS SAVIOR

 

We are sinners.

Our sins make us unfit for Heaven.

Our sins make us candidates for eternal judgment from a righteous and holy God.

But Jesus came to be our Savior, the one who took the punishment that we deserved and He didn’t deserve. 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

·        JESUS IS CHRIST

 

Christ is the “anointed one”, Israel’s Messiah.

This is a tremendous promise, for Israel had been waiting for the deliverer, God’s chosen.

He delivered from sin the first time He came.

He will deliver from Israel’s national bondage when He returns to earth.

 

·        JESUS IS LORD

 

As Lord, Jesus is God.

As Lord, Jesus is boss.

As Lord, Jesus has every right to tell you and I what to do, although we often don’t like that one bit.

John 13:13, Luke 6:46,

 

In our heads we know Jesus is Lord.

In our heads we know that every knee is going to bow to Jesus. Philippians 2:10-11

 

But Jesus isn’t Lord in our hearts unless we do what He says!   

We call Jesus “Lord” all that we want, but unless we obey Him, He is not our Lord.

 

Vss. 12-14 – The angel tells the shepherds where to find Jesus and then there is a heavenly choir of tremendous magnitude, and I’m sure of volume that appears giving glory to God at the birth of His Son.

 

PROPHETS PREDICTED

 

Vss. 21-23 – Mary and Joseph did all that was right

                     according to the Jewish law.

 

They did what they were instructed to do.

As they were obeying the law, by bringing Jesus to the temple, a very unusual thing happened.

Two “prophets”, a man and a woman Simeon and Anna were involved in predicting things concerning the Lord Jesus.

Because we know more of what Simeon said, let’s consider him for a moment.

 

Vs. 25 – We need more people like Simeon today.

·        He was just or righteous before men.  He acted rightly towards others.

·        He was devout. He was dedicated to God.  He was careful, serious about the things of God.

·        He was looking for the consolation of Israel, for the coming Messiah.

·        The Holy Spirit was upon Him, controlling his life.

 

Vs. 26 – He was promised through God’s Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.

 

Vss. 27-28 – Simeon was guided on the right day to the right place, to the right child by the Holy Spirit.

 

Vs. 29 – Simeon was totally satisfied when He saw Jesus!

He was now ready to go “home” after what was undoubtedly a long life!

Vs. 30 – Simeon was satisfied because he had seen the Lord’s salvation.  And remember that this salvation was in a person, not in trying to be good in our own power.

May we learn this kind of satisfaction, no matter how long our lives are!

If we know Jesus as Savior, we’ve seen the Lord Jesus. We’ve seen God’s salvation. Let’s be totally satisfied.

 

Vs. 31 – The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is for all people!

Vs. 32 – The Gospel gives light to the Gentiles and glory to Israel.  All of Israel’s hope is found in Jesus. All of the Gentiles’ light is found in Jesus.

 

Vss 33-34 – Many fell in Israel because of the Lord Jesus.

They failed to believe in Christ and were condemned.

Many rose in Israel because of Jesus. They believed in Him and even though they were sinners, they rose to eternal life.

 

And so it is today throughout the whole world.  Every person either rises or falls according to their faith in Christ. 1 John 5:12

1 John 5:12 - He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

 

Vs. 34 – Jesus was a sign from God.

But many spoke against Him. They rejected Him.

They followed up their words with actions.

They crucified Him.

 

Vs. 35 - Simeon warned Mary.

A large sword would pierce Mary’s heart. 

It was the pain of witnessing her own son’s persecution.

A person’s outward attitude toward Jesus reveals the condition of their hearts.

 

WISE MEN PURSUED

 

Turn please turn to Matthew 2.

 

Vss. 1-2 - So who were the wise men?

 

ê    We know very little about them. 

ê    They have been known as the “three kings”, but we do not know that they were kings.

ê    We do not even know that there were three of them.  The idea of there being three wise men comes from the fact that they brought three gifts.

ê    The word used for wise men is actually “magi”, the word from which we get the word, magic.  They were specialists in astronomy.

 

Evidently God spoke to them through the stars that the Lord Jesus would be born.  Having seen “His star”, they came to find Him.

 

I want you to note 3 things about these wise men. These are things we can learn from them.

 

1.     THEY WERE PERSISTENT

They didn’t give up until they had seen the Messiah.

They had traveled many miles.

They had to deal with “red tape” in Herod’s court.

Sometimes they saw the star, sometimes they didn’t.

They plodded on!

God wants us to be persistent in our desire to know God better and to serve Him. Psalm 27:8

 

2.     THEY HAD A PURPOSE

They’re purpose was to worship Him. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

 

3.     THEY BROUGHT PRESENTS

 

Vs. 11 - Gold – Because He is king

He deserves our gold, our money, because He is king.

Frankincense – Incense – Psalm 141:2

Symbolic of our prayers going up to God

Myrrh – Used for embalming the dead. Representative of His death for us, and our willing sacrifice for Him. Luke 9:23

 

 

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