Summary: God began a "grand invasion" of the world 2000 years ago with the birth of Christ, and He wants to invade the hearts of people, as well.
Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke Chapter 2 because Linus [ph 0:00:42.9] just read the first 14 verses of Luke Chapter 2. We’re going to pick up the story, the story of the Birth of Jesus in verse 15. And also turn to Revelation Chapter 12 if you want because I’m going to go to that. We’re going to read the entire chapter in just a moment. But the title of this talk this morning is ‘The Grand Invasion.” The Grand Invasion; and I’ll tell you I only have one really objective; one goal this morning. And that’s this; I want us, as a group of people, to recapture our awe of Christmas.
In the last 50 years especially of American history, we have reduced Christmas down to a cheap set of Nativity plastic figurines, to commercialism, to buying gifts; buying extravagant gifts. The rest of the world watches on as we go into this long season of just pure indulgence, greed, or overindulgence. And yet somewhere along the way we’ve lost the message of what really happened that night when the baby Jesus was born from the Virgin Mary.
It was a sweet moment. I mean, all the pictures that we see of the young Mary holding the fragile little Baby Jesus; both of them with little halos over their heads. It was a sweet moment. But something else far more powerful was happening in the unseen realm around them, that I want to draw you retention to this morning because it plays a big role in the way we’re living, to what’s happening with us today. I do believe the Incarnation; the infinite God coming into a finite human body and entering the world through a natural birth, placed in a manger surrounded by shepherds, is the greatest miracle in the Bible. That God would leave the heaven and come as our salvation, our redemption, but choose to do it through coming in as a baby, taking on human flesh while not giving up any of His deity, is the greatest miracle in scripture.
Well I think somewhere a long the way, we’ve lost the awe, the wonder, the mystery of it. And so I want to pick up today in Luke Chapter 2 in verse 15. At this point, a group of shepherds are out in the field guarding the sheep and an angel appears to them. And just like every other time an angel appears to a human being in scripture, they’re afraid, they’re terrified that this angelic host, this angelic beings would come. And not only would it appear to them, but this angel would have a conversation with them, and then gives them very specific instructions, “Go into the town of Bethlehem and find the baby that’s in the manger.”
Now it’s important — we’ve made the manger some kind of religious relic. In fact there are people who construct mangers and they worship at these mangers. They come and pray at these mangers when there’s nothing – that was not the point of the baby being in the manger. The point was, “Hey, there are a lot of babies in Bethlehem.” So the angel’s saying to the shepherds, “Look there’s a lot of newborn babies right now in Bethlehem, but the one you’re looking for is going to be in a nasty manger. That’s the way to tell if that’s the baby you’re looking for. But somehow we’ve made the manger the focus of that when it’s what was inside the manger that was important.
Let’s pick it up here, it says in verse 15, When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that’s happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger, just as the angel had said. And when they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told. So the shepherds had this angelic encounter but this was not the only angelic encounter in the story of the birth of Jesus.
In fact, there were six different angelic interactions with human beings in the telling of the story. Luke tells about three of them and Matthew tells about three of them. In my opinion, it was not just an opinion I think it’s fact, that this was the most concentrated account of angels coming into the natural realm of human beings in the Bible. Nowhere else in the Bible are there this many angelic visitations in a short period of time. Something was happening in the heavenly realms around them. Something was happening in the unseen realm that I think it is important for us to know. There’s a reason why so many angels came. And these angels came for various reasons.