Summary: The birth of Jesus has brought hope to millions. Let us examine as Luke tells us about the birth of hope.
Intro: A common passage used at Christmas, our text tells us about the birth of Jesus Christ, and His birth has brought hope to millions.
Let us see the events that transpired leading up to the His birth.
As we see this passage, we will see God's plan unfolding, perfect, timely, and with all of us in mind.
What happened as Jesus was born?
1. There was a Decree (1-2)
A. As God had promised the coming of His Son, so God's plan unfolded by the decree of an infidel. God's power is unchallenged by man, God uses many means to bring about His will, and even here, God uses a man who even denied His existence to make a decree that would fulfill foretold prophecy. Caesar Augustus would rule for 40 years, he was the first emperor of Rome, and he was the grandnephew of Julius Caesar. His decree would unfold into a census, sending many Jewish people back to the home of their original founder. Caesar Augustus made the decree, but had no idea that his action would bring a young couple into light and the fulfillment of prophecy into the mind and hearts of millions, yet to come (1).
B. Although challenged by unbelievers and higher critics of scripture, Cyrenius also known as Quarenius, was the military governor of Syria during the time around 8 B.C. During this time in Rome all areas were ruled by a grouping of three leaders to each province. There was a Political governor, an Economic governor, and a Military governor. Either unknown to liberal scholars or an outright denial of scriptures, Cyrenius was the military leader of the time, and since he was not a leader in political or economic matters, he is not mentioned in some of the historical records of the time. Despite this, the scriptures are still true, and God is never wrong (2).
2. There was a Journey (3-5).
A. By the decree of Caesar Augustus, every citizen would return to city of the origin of their family lineage (3).
B. Also effected by this decree was a young man by the name of Joseph, whose name means "He adds". This young man was faithful to God, was living in the province of Galilee, in the city of Nazareth. He had just become engaged to a young lady by the name of Mary, and was planning a life of bliss, when this decree changed the course of his life. He also had just found out that his newly espoused wife was pregnant. God dispatched an angel who told Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful to him, and that the child she was carrying was indeed the Son of God (Matthew 1:18-21). The journey that they both were to take would lead them to the little town of Bethlehem, where King David had also been born. He being recognized as the leader of the tribe of Judah, it was thus that Joseph and Mary, both of the house and lineage of David would take this journey of some 65 miles (4-5).
3. There was a Birth (6-7).
A. Arriving at Bethlehem, we know that Joseph and Mary could find no room in the city, and they were sent to a stable. During the time they were there, Mary now coming to the conclusion of her pregnancy, gave birth to her child. Jesus now being born in Bethlehem fulfilled the prophecy of Michah 5:2, and also His birth being of a virgin fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (6).
B. After giving birth to her firstborn son, she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and then laid Him in a feeding trough used for the animals. Swaddling clothes, were strips of cloth, dipped in spices, used to wrap a body upon death. Especially when traveling all devout Jews would carry their burial shroud, or these bands. Having nothing more in her possession, Mary wrapped the baby Jesus in her own burial shroud in order to keep Him warm (7).
4. There was an Announcement (8-14).
A. At the time of the birth of Jesus, there were shepherds in the field watching their flocks during the night (8).
B. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared before them, and the glory of the Lord brightly shined around them, and they were very afraid (9).
C. The angel announced to them that they should not be afraid, that he was there to tell them great news, which would bring joy to everyone (10).
D. The angel then proceeded to tell them that in the city of David, a Saviour had been born, Christ the Lord. Christ being the term "the anointed" or a reference to the fact that this child being born was not just one of many deliverers, but was indeed the Messiah, promised to the people for deliverance from sin (Matthew 1:21) (11).