Summary: The Incarnation Tells Us: God Works Behind Ordinary Events to fulfill his Purposes
The Incarnation Tells Us:
God Works Behind Ordinary Events to fulfill his Purposes
We are in the second week of a four week series on the “What the incarnation tells us.” Last week we saw that the incarnation tells us that God is on a mission: God is radically committed to winning people to himself. Today we see that the incarnation tells us that God works behind ordinary events to fulfill his purposes.
A common theme I hear from many of us is desiring to see God move more in our lives and wanting to make a difference with our lives. My response is always the same, start reaching out to others because God normally works in and through the ordinary circumstances of life. God is always working we will never see it unless we understand that God normally works through ordinary events and circumstances.
Andy Stanley makes the statement in his book “Visioneering”, “We don’t need to pray for more miracles, we just need to be more sensitive to the opportunities that God brings our way.” As followers of Christ we are agents of the kingdom, and we carry the power of the kingdom with us. We have the potential to influence everyone we encounter if we will believe that God works through ordinary things - my words, my actions, my attitudes, my prayers, etc. We need to rediscover what it means to be the church.
1. God was working behind ordinary events to fulfill prophecy (vs. 1-5)
We saw last week how God wields the universe, history, governments, and people to accomplish his purposes. Today I want us to focus for a moment on the census decreed by Caesar Augustus. Luke wants us to see that this ordinary event in history is by divine design to accomplish his purpose. God uses human agents, in this case Caesar Agustus, as God’s means to accomplish God’s own ends. He wanted to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem and he used an earthly king exercising his own will to accomplish it. The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. The word stream refers to a channel that a farmer digs for irrigation. Just as the farmer channels irrigation ditches where he wants them so that they will do the most good so the LORD does with the heart of the king. God moves the heart of a government official to get Mary to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus to fulfill a prophecy that was given centuries earlier by the prophet Micah.
This event tells us that nothing is impossible for our god; nothing too hard.
2. God was working through ordinary circumstances to bring for the Kingdom (6-7)
While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem they stayed with relatives. The tradition of them attempting to stay at an inn comes from a mistranslation of the Greek word here. It is translated two others places as guest room; the Greek word for inn as used in Luke 10:34 is different. All of Joseph’s relatives would be coming to Bethlehem for the census and would stay with extended family. So where Joseph and Mary were staying was quite crowded and when it came time for Mary to give birth the guest room was full of relatives so Mary gave birth in a more secluded part of the house and then placed the baby Jesus in the manger. The manger was part of the dwelling; it was carved from stone and usually held food for animals.
So King Jesus is born with no royalty, no fanfare, in humble surroundings. The kingdom came in a veiled way with very few knowing about it. Jesus came to his own and his own did not receive him. Yet the kingdom came, it advanced and it is still advancing to this day. Behind these ordinary events was no ordinary event; God became flesh. God loves to use ordinary people, ordinary circumstances to accomplish his purposes because it displays his power. We do not have to be super heroes of the faith to have purpose and meaning and significance. If we will live life with the reality that God is always working we will begin to see his working and then participate with him. God is always using ordinary things to accomplish his purposes: Adam was made from dust; Eve was made from a rib; Moses encountered God in a burning bush; Moses defeated Pharaoh and parted the red sea with a staff; God fed Elijah through ravens; Jesus healed blind eyes with mud made from spit and dirt; and Jesus left his message with twelve ordinary men. Do you see a common theme? God works through the ordinary to accomplish the extra ordinary.