Summary: This message focuses on Luke 2:6-7 and the unanswered questions that Mary and Joseph must have had as they end up in with no decent place to stay when the baby comes. How could God be with them and she have to put the baby in a manger?
SOME OF MARY AND JOSEPH'S QUESTIONS: “God, why have the birth so far from home?” “God, why didn’t You provide a place for us to stay?” “God, how can this be the place for the miracle child to be born?”
- Luke 2:6-7.
- I’m sure when the angel visited Mary and told her that she’d be carrying this miracle child, she didn’t expect to end up giving birth in a stable somewhere. I’m sur when Joseph was told by the angel that this was all of God that He didn’t think He’d end up being the midwife when they were in a distant town for the baby’s birth.
- Almost certainly Mary and Joseph were left with questions when it came to the birth of Jesus. Questions like I’ve shared above.
- We all struggle with times in our lives when we are left with unanswered questions. Some might think the problem is unique to us, but the reality is that people in the Bible dealt with the same thing. There are multiple examples we could cite, but Mary and Joseph are standing right in front of us.
GOD DIDN'T ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS: God often gives us a sign that we are going in the right direction even though we may not know why that is the direction.
- Luke 2:8-20.
- Although Mary and Joseph would have undoubtedly had many questions, God doesn’t give them direct answers to those questions. But the Bible does tell us what He did give them.
- After this most famous Christmas passage (2:1-7), Luke immediately transitions to the story of the shepherds and the angels visiting them. It’s an interesting interaction and there are several sermons there, but I’m only interested this morning in what the angels visiting the shepherds meant for Mary and Joseph.
- Look with me at 2:15-16. After the angels left, the shepherds hurried off to find this baby. This is important: think of what the arrival of the shepherds on this night of Jesus’ birth meant to Mary and Joseph. They were likely there in the barn/stable/cave, wondering if they’d missed God’s plan and holding all these unanswered questions. Then, unexpectedly, the shepherds show up, worshiping the baby and sharing a wild story of a host of angels appearing to them in the field.
- Notice that this did not answer any of their heretofore unanswered questions. But it did give them a clear sign that they were going in the right direction. It gave them confidence that God had not abandoned them. It let them know they were where they were supposed to be, even though they didn’t know why that’s where they were supposed to be.
- Also, a brief side note: it was only the shepherds that provided this. The wise men did not visit Jesus on the night of His birth. It was over a year later and in Nazareth that the Magi bowed to the Christ.
- I can think in my own life of times this has happened, although one stands out.
- Without getting into all the details, I was working on a big project for God, one that I thought had great potential. When it began to become clear that this project was not going to succeed, I had lots of questions, most of which were (and remain) unanswered. “Why aren’t You blessing this work?” “Why did You open up doors for this if it’s not going to prosper?”
- And yet, even as the project came to a close, there were signs of God’s provision along the way. Amazing things happened to allow everything to finish up in a proper way. New doors very clearly opened up. Those were signs along the way. It made it clear to me that this was the way that God was leading, even though I had no idea why that’s where He was leading.
- I still have my unanswered questions about that project. I wish I could tell you that now in hindsight everything makes sense, but it doesn’t. The unanswered questions linger, and yet it is also true that the signposts leading in that new direction are also definitely from God.
DID GOD HAVE ANSWERS? Yes.
- Although Mary and Joseph didn't know the answers, God did have answers to their concerns.
- Let’s look back at the three questions I opened with:
a. “God, why have the birth so far from home?”
- Micah 5:2.
- The answer was that it had been prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem. Although it was obviously a great inconvenience for them, it has served as a point of encouragement for Christians for two millennia now to see how God orchestrated the birth of His Son to fulfill that ancient prediction. It was not Mary and Joseph consciously saying, “Well, the Messiah is supposed to be born in Bethlehem so I guess we need to get there and hang out until the baby is born.” God used a Roman ruler’s census to get the couple to that town. Further, He made sure that the hometown of the baby’s earthly father was one that would line out these details.