Summary: We love power in all its forms. But amazingly, when God set out to save the world, He sent His Son in abject weakness. Could it be that this is His typical approach?
Passage: Luke 2:1-7
Intro: We live in a world in love with power.
1. we cheer for the teams who can dominate their opponent.
2. we idolize the strong, the wealthy, the winners.
3. and frankly, we find ourselves a little conflicted with how God has chosen to manifest Himself to the sinful world.
4. in human terms, there is only one word to describe how God has gone about saving the world from sin.
5. that word is “weakness”
6. look with me at Luke 2:1-7 and discover the theme that runs through God’s Word…the theme of God’s power being displayed in human weakness.
7. the incarnation of Jesus Christ is a story dripping with human weakness, but bursting with divine power.
I. Political Weakness
1. Caesar Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, and the first real emperor of the established Roman empire.
2. completely dominated the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea
PP Map of the Roman Empire.
3. Augustus was a refiner, a solidifier, and brought the well known Pax Romana
4. but of course, as was expected, his position brought him to great power.
5. imagine being able to, by decree, force every person under your rule to pay an amount determined by you.
Il) America’s “war for independence” began as a response to “taxation without representation”
6. and in addition to this empire wide taxation, each person had to return to his ancestral home to register.
Il) no electronic filing, not even snail mail!
7. want to compare strength to weakness? The taxed and the taxer!
8. Jesus was born as one of many infants born to an oppressed people without even the privilege of being a citizen of the empire that ruled them.
9. he had no legal “rights”, as His crucifixion proved.
10. politically powerless, even though His Father is the one who sets rulers up and then removes them from power.
11. we must not miss the critical fact that when God sent Jesus to save the people of the world, He bestowed on him absolutely no political power.
12. just the opposite; He made him a member of an oppressed, powerless, politically insignificant minority.
Il) this weeks ruling in Pennsylvania against the slightest hint that a Supreme Being may have had a hand in creation. It has reinforced in some the realization that if we don’t glorify God as creator, no one will!
13. we should not be surprised when God continues in the same vein today.
II. Economic Weakness
1. both Mary and Joseph were of the line and family of David.
2. as a woman married to Joseph, she would go with him to Bethlehem to be registered for the family taxation.
3. V4-5…”he belonged”…”he went there”
4. David’s family had once been one of fabulous wealth, especially under King Solomon
PP) I Kings 10:14-15, 10:27
5. this is 23 metric tons of gold = an annual income of $369,736,500
6. needless to say, after 1000 years, the family fortunes had experienced a reversal.
7. these “heirs” of David and Solomon were flat broke.
Il) Jan’s maiden name is Macy, and yes, the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade” ones. We are still waiting for our check.
8. arrived in Bethlehem, inn was filled
with people who had more money than they did.
Il) in crisis, prices rise. “Price gouging”
9. the “feeding trough” was either a “sympathy accommodation” or the only port in a storm
10. later on, Mary and Joseph gave the smallest acceptable sacrifice for Mary’s purification and Jesus’ “first born redemption”.
11. we really love money and what we think it can do for us.
12. frankly, the history of God’s redemptive plan is based on the faithful sacrifice of people who are “economically challenged”
13. we are dependent on the provision of God, and that is a good place to be.
14. depend on God, who delights in working through weakness
III. Physical Weakness
1. there are few things more helpless in all creation than a human newborn.
Il) newborn colt or deer on its wobbly legs in a few hours, but human infant…(read article on development)
2. certainly the Creator of the Universe would send a mighty army, or at least an imposing physical specimen!
3. there is a principle here that we must not miss!
4. what impresses humans does not impress God, and the way we would go about doing a task is rarely the path that God chooses.
5. God has consistently chosen human weakness as the path for His grace.
6. the apostle Paul was frustrated by his physical weakness, his “thorn in the flesh”
7. God’s response?
8. God has consistently chosen human weakness to display his power.
9. there is in Scripture, from the infertility of Sarah to the virgin conception of Mary a thread of human inability that God answered with His infinite power.