Summary: The fourth and final sermon in a Christmas sermon series
The Wise Still Seek, the World Still Hates, and God Still Saves
Text: Matthew 2:1-23
By: Ken McKinley
We know from our text that Jesus wasn’t born in the year “Zero”. He was probably born around 6 or 5 B.C. we know this because Herod was still king when Jesus was born and Herod died in March or April of 4 B.C. Our modern calendar was developed by Dionysius Exiguus, his calculations are off by 5 or 6 years. And we know that Jesus was about 2 years old when Herod ordered the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem, which happened just before he died. We also know that his Herod’s son, Herod Antipas ruled Galilee from 4 B.C. to 39 A.D. Now sometimes people will use these historical facts and try to dispute the Gospel accounts of Christmas, but they’re missing some facts themselves. The Gospel writers never gave any dates, they gave events, and the events that they write about line up perfectly with the historical account. It was Dionysius Exiguus (which by the way means Dennis the Short) who made the mistake when he created our modern calendar, about 500 years after the birth of Jesus.
Over the past three Sunday’s we’ve looked at the Christmas story. We looked at how Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem for Augustus’ census; we’ve looked at how there was no room at the inn and so Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger, we’ve looked at how the angelic host announced His birth to the shepherds in the field.
But the story of Jesus doesn’t end with Him lying in a manger.
Turn with me to Luke 2:21-38 (Read).
Jesus was circumcised 8 days later according to the command of God given in Genesis 17:12 and according to the Law given in Leviticus 12:3. It was at that time that He was given the name Jesus, the name that the angel told Mary she should name Him. Mary herself had to be pronounced clean by the priests, in accordance with the Law, just like every other Jewish mother. And then she presented Jesus to the Lord. That’s important because these earthly parents of Jesus observed all the requirements of the Law.
Then Luke introduces us to two people, Simeon and Anna. They were both devout believers and were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. So Simeon blessed God and then gave a prophecy to Mary concerning both Jesus and herself. He said Jesus is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel. Many people were looking for a political savior, a physical king who would help them throw off the yoke of Roman bondage. To the people like that, Jesus would result in their “fall,” to the Pharisees, those legalistic religious leaders, who had twisted the Scriptures in so many ways over the years, Jesus would result in their “falling.” But Simeon also said that Jesus was destined for the “rising” of many as well.
Now; like the Scriptures say, this was 8 days after Jesus was born, and Mary and Joseph were taken aback by this, but what they didn’t know is that God was bringing another surprise their way, let’s look at our text again (Read vss. 1-7).