Good News of Great Joy
Luke 2:1, “1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.”
- The life of Jesus is surrounded in culture and community.
- Luke doesn’t come from a religious background. Luke didn’t grow up reading the Bible, Luke didn’t grow up going to church, and Luke didn’t walk with Jesus personally.
- If you look at Luke 1, verses 1-4 we see Luke describe himself as an investigative reporter who is tracking down eyewitness testimony from men and women who walked with Jesus, saw Jesus, touched Jesus, and corroborating their story. Luke wants to determine if this life of Jesus is true.
When you are reading the Gospel of Luke you are reading from someone who is concerned with the details and facts. You are reading someone who has asked the hard questions, “Are these claims about Jesus true?” Did Jesus really perform miracles? Is Jesus really God in the flesh? “ You are reading someone who is wanting to know, “Is the life of Jesus true?”
Luke 2:2-3, “2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.”
- In verses 2-3 we see real historical events being written down. Syria is a real location that exists in the world today. Quirinius is a real governor. The census is a real government event, and the life of Jesus is taking place smack dab in the middle of, not Hogwarts, but real historically recorded events.
- As literature the Gospel of Luke is referred to as historical narrative literature.
- When people suggest the Gospel of Luke is just a made up story that is called Historical Fiction, and that type of literature didn’t even exist in the first century.
- Even in the Iliad, which is really poetry, it is being written beyond any living memory. Nobody could verify Achilies or Odyseus because it was too long ago.
- Luke is writing about real historical events in Syria, with Augustus, and it isn’t anywhere near stoires like King Arthur, Robinhood, or the Legends of Zelda, because that type of literature wasn’t even being written in Luke’s day.
Luke 2:4-5, “4 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, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child."
- In verses 4 and 5 we meet Joseph and Mary, and Joseph is a blue-collar carpenter, Mary is a teenage girl, and we need to remember these are regular people.
- Today we have sensationalized this story around Christmas, but we need to remember these are regular people walking to Bethlehem, which is about 50 miles, like walking from Austin to Waco, and at the end of verse 5 we see Mary is with child. Not impressive.
Luke 2:6-7, “6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 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.”
- The purpose of verses 6-7 is to draw out the life of Jesus beginning in a place of humility. Write that in your notes. Jesus story doesn’t begin with prestige and power. Jesus story doesn’t begin with wealth and position. Jesus story begins with humility and simplicity.
- Joseph and Mary show up in Bethlehem and they don’t have the money, or the relational connections in their hometown to secure a safe place for their son to be born, and as a result Jesus, the Son of the Most High, who will reign on the throne of David forever, is born in a manger.
- There is no VIP access, there’s no bumped up for first class, there’s no turn down service with a mint on a pillow. There’s a manger.
- Matthew 8 says, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” because from the very beginning the life of Jesus is set up to be available to all people.
- It doesn’t matter what economic background you come form, moral background, ethnical background, social background, or educational background. The life of Jesus begins in the most humble of ways possible so that anyone can respond to Jesus and believe in Jesus. Here’s an example. Look at verses 8-9: (SLIDE)
Luke 2:8-9, “8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.”
- In verses 8 and 9 the focus of Luke 2 transitions to the shepherds. Working as a shepherd was not a glamorous job. People didn’t grow up thinking, “One day I am going to hang out with sheep all day.” It is messy taking care of sheep all day. It is boring walking with sheep all day, and these shepherds are just ordinary people.
- In verse 9 we see the “angel of the Lord” stand before the shepherds, the “glory of the Lord” shine around the shepherds” and the shepherds are “terribly frightened” because in this moment these shepherds are being exposed.
- This is the gospel. This is the hope of Jesus. This is what makes the life Jesus so powerful. We don’t need another fantasy story. We don’t need more Iron Man’s and Captain America’s that we can fail to live up to. We don’t need more examples of trying to be better people. We need the glory of God.
The story of Jesus is not our role is to try really hard and then Jesus helps us. We can’t. The story of Jesus is that Jesus is glorious.
When we are in conversations with other people about current events it isn’t that we need to spin the story, be charismatic, win them over. We need to point people to the glory of God made known in Jesus Christ.
Luke 2:10-14, “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.”
- There is a baby wrapped in clothes, lying in a manger, and that baby is Savior, Christ, and Lord. He is “Savior” because only He can to rescue us from our limitations.
- He is “Christ” because He is filling the OT promises, and He is “Lord” because He is in control at all things, even as a baby lying in a manger.
- If you keep reading Luke 2 the shepherds make their way Bethlehem and the shepherds are in awe. In verse 9 the shepherds are filled with fear, and yet when the shepherds look upon Jesus they run out the door praising God. Look to Jesus!
- Look to the righteousness of God revealed from heaven in Jesus. Look to the One born in the manger who is available to all people. Look to the One who people said, “We couldn’t find anything wrong with Him.”
That’s why we want to show up on Sunday mornings, that’s why we want to show up to groups, that’s why we want to deepen our relationships with one another, that’s why we want to open God’s Word every day; we want to see Jesus. We want to be in awe of Jesus. We want to run to spend time with Jesus because He is glorious.
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