Summary: A sermon on the response to Jesus coming.
"We're Glad You Came"
CONSIDER AGAIN CHRISTMAS
When Pope Julius I authorized December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today.
When Professor Charles Follen lit candles on the first Christmas tree in America in 1832, who would have ever thought that the decorations would become as elaborate as they are today.
It is a long time since 1832, longer still from 353, longer still from that dark night brightened by a special star in which Jesus the king was born. Yet, as we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause, and in the midst of all the excitement and elaborate decorations and expensive commercialization which surround Christmas today, to consider again the event of Christmas and the person whose birth we celebrate.
SOURCE: Brian L. Harbour, James W. Cox, The Minister's Manual: 1994, San Fransico: Harper Collins, 1993, p. 254. http://www.sermons.org/christmas5.html
The title of our choir presentation this year is "We're Glad You Came" and let me say that we are so thrilled to have you in this special service this morning at First Church. Our prayers have been for God to bless all those who come and we trust that that is the case with you today.
I've had a couple of months to think about this title and the thought came to me that not everyone was glad that Jesus came. As a matter of fact there were many who were sad Jesus came and the same is true today. Let's look at some folks who were sad that Jesus came...
I. Those who were sad Jesus came
a. The rulers of the Jews
In Matthew chapter 2 we learn that King Herod was not glad that Jesus came. He was a Jew who was appointed by the Romans to govern his people.
Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
b. The religious establishment
In Matthew 12 and 26 we see the response of the scribes and the Pharisees to Jesus when he healed a man on the Sabbath...He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Matthew 12:14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
Matthew 26:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
Mat 26:4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
c. The Roman government
In Matthew 27 we see the response of the Roman authorities to Jesus. I can assure that Pilate was not glad to see Jesus. The Jews were a constant source of aggravation to him and he was not happy to have to deal with this case of an itinerant preacher. Pilate ultimately condemns Jesus and turns him over to be executed.
Matthew 27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,