Sermons

Summary: THIS SERMON EXAMINE SOME OF THE MIRACLES OF CHRISTMAS AND THEIR MEANING FOR US.

MIRACLES OF CHRISTMAS

LUKE 2:10-20

THE CHRISTMAS NARRATIVES ARE A COLLECTION OF EVENTS THAT SPEAK OF JESUS BIRTH, AS RECORDED IN THE BOOKS OF MATTHEW AND LUKE. MARK AND JOHN ACTUALLY START WITH JESUS’ PUBLIC MINISTRY AND DO NOT INCLUDE THE BIRTH NARRATIVES AT ALL.

NEITHER MATTHEW NOR LUKE GIVE US A COMPLETE ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS SURROUNDING CHRIST’S BIRTH, BUT WE CAN GET A MORE COMPLETE ACCOUNT WHEN WE STUDY THEM AS ONE UNIT.

LUKE MAKES A MORE DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO AND THE ACTUAL BIRTH OF JESUS. IT WAS HIS INTENT TO GIVE AN ORDERLY WELL RESEARCHED ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST.

LUKE 1:1-4:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

LUKE STARTS HIS BIRTH NARRATIVES BY DESCRIBING THE MIRACLES SURROUNDING THE BIRTH OF JOHN WHO WAS THE FORERUNNER OF JESUS. HE GOES INTO GREAT DETAIL DESCRIBING THE ANGEL’S VISIT TO MARY AND MARY’S SONG OF PRAISE, BUT SPENDS LITTLE TIME TALKING ABOUT JOSEPH.

MATTHEW’S ACCOUNT DEALS MUCH MORE WITH THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, AND THE EVENTS FOLLOWING HIS BIRTH. MATTHEW LISTS A DETAILED GENEOLOGY FOR CHRIST, SHOWING HOW BOTH MARY AND JOSEPH COME FROM THE LINE OF DAVID, AND AN EVEN DIVISION INTO THREE EQUAL GROUPS OF FOURTEEN FROM THE TIME OF ABRAHAM TO THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH, BUT ONLY LISTING HIS MOTHER IN THE GENEOLOGY.

MATTHEW SEEKS TO SHOW JESUS AS THE FULFILLMENT OF ISRAEL’S STORY. HE HIGHLIGHTS JESUS AS THE NEW KING DAVID WITH HIS BIRTHPLACE IN BETHLEHEM, AND THE WHOLE ACCOUNT IS LITTERED WITH REFERENCES TO THE OLD TESTAMENT AND JESUS’ JEWISH ROOTS.

THE MAGI’S VISIT SHOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF JESUS AND HIS PROMINENCE AS THE |KING OF THE JEWS. MORE ABOUT THAT THOUGH TOMORROW NIGHT.

MOST COMMENTATORS AGREE THAT THE AUTHORS DID NOT HAVE A CHANCE TO READ EACH OTHERS WORK, AND SO AS A RESULT THERE ARE SOME AREAS WE ARE NOT CERTAIN ABOUT, BUT THESE AREAS ARE NOT MAJOR AND DEAL JUST WITH TIMING RATHER THAN SUBSTANCE.

THE MIRACLES OF CHRISTMAS WITH THE EXCEPTIONS OF ELIZABETH AND MARY’S CONCEPTION DEAL WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING JESUS’ BIRTH. THE FIRST CHRISTMAS WAS ACUTALLY A VERY BAD DAY FOR MARY AND JOSEPH. MARY HAD TO ENDURE A LONG TRIP WHILE BEING JUST ABOUT READY TO DELIVER, GO TO A PLACE WHERE THERE WAS NO ROOM AVAILABLE TO HAVE HER BABY IN, AND HER BIRTH PROCESS WAS JUST AS NATURAL AS ANY MOTHER’S WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION. MARY AND JOSEPH MAY HAVE CELEBRATED JESUS’ BIRTHDAY, BUT THEY DID NOT CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS LIKE YOU AND I DO.

COMBINING THE TWO ACCOUNTS WE COME UP WITH THIS ORDER OF EVENTS.

FIRST THERE ARE THE ANGELIC APPEARANCES TO ZECHARIAH, JOSEPH AND MARY. NEXT COMES THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, AND THE PREGNANCY OF MARY. THE ROMAN CENSUS WOULD BE THE NEXT EVENT DRAWING MARY AND JOSEPH TO BETHLEHEM. MARY THEN GIVES BIRTH TO JESUS. THE ANGELS APPEAR TO THE SHEPHERDS WHO GO INTO BETHLEHEM TO SEE THE CHILD.

THEN ON THE EIGHTH DAY THE BABY JESUS IS TAKEN TO THE TEMPLE TO FULFILL THE RIGHTS OF THE LAW. IT IS HERE THAT HE MEETS SIMEON AND ANNA.

MARY AND JOSEPH SET UP RESIDENCE IN BETHLEHEM, AND FOR A PERIOD OF SEVERAL MONTHS EVERYTHING IS QUIET. THEN THE MAGI COME TO THE HOUSE AND WORSHIP JESUS. HEROD SEEKS TO LEARN FROM THEM WHERE JESUS IS, BUT THEY ARE WARNED NOT TO RETURN TO HEROD SO THEY RETURN HOME BY A DIFFERENT ROUTE. HEROD ANGERED BY THIS GIVES THE ORDER THAT ALL HEBREW MALES LIVING IN BETHLEHEM UNDER THE AGE OF TWO ARE TO BE KILLED.

JOSEPH IS WARNED BY AN ANGEL TO FLEE TO EGYPT WHICH HE DOES UNTIL HEROD IS DEAD. UPON RETURNING JOSEPH AND MARY MAKE THEIR HOME IN NAZARETH TO FULFILL PROPHECY CONCERNING CHRIST.

THE NATIVITY SCENES THAT WE SEE ARE ACCURATE IN THAT THEY DISPLAY ALL OF THE MAJOR CHARACTERS OF THE CHRISTMAS STORY, BUT IT DEPICTS WHAT HAPPENED OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL MONTHS, NOT ONE NIGHT IN BETHLEHEM.

LUKES ACCOUNT DEALS WITH JESUS BIRTH AS IT INVOLVES THE SHEPHERDS, AND JESUS’ BIRTHPLACE OF BETHLEHEM. WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THREE SPECIFIC EVENTS THAT I HAVE CHOSEN TO CALL MIRACLES AS THEY ALL REQUIRED GOD’S INTERVENTION IN THE NORMAL ORDER OF THINGS:

1. THE BIRTH TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

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