Summary: “Jesus was a Somebody who became like us as a Nobody so that He might save anybody that trusts Christ as Savior and make us somebody for God.”
WHEN A SOMEBODY BECOMES A NOBODY--Luke 2:1-20
Proposition: “Jesus was a Somebody who became like us as a Nobody so that He might save anybody that trusts Christ as Savior and make us somebody for God.”
Objective: My purpose is to show that God’s Son became a nobody so that He can save anybody who trusts Him and become a somebody in the kingdom of God.
Illus: There was a man who worked for the Post Office, whose job it was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses. One day, a letter came to his desk addressed in shaky handwriting to God. He thought he should open it to see what it was about. He opened it and read: Dear God, I am an 93-year-old widow, living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension check. Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with. I have no family to turn to, and you are my only hope. Can you please help me? Sincerely, Edna
The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to his fellow workers. Each of them dug into their wallets and came up with a few dollars. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman. The rest of the day, all of the workers felt a warm glow for the kind thing they had done. Christmas came and went. A few days later another letter came from the old lady to God. All of the workers gathered around while the letter was opened. It read: Dear God, How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. By the way, there was $4 missing. I think it must have been those thieves at the Post Office. Sincerely, Edna
In the Roman empire censuses were taken every fourteen years for assessing taxation and ascertaining who were eligible for compulsory military service. Joseph and Mary traveled eighty miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This was a most inconvenient time and a physical ordeal for Mary since her baby was due any day now! Also, Bethlehem was overcrowded. They had to settle for the most primitive of accommoda-tions -- an open stall for animals. The Lord descended not in pomp and majesty befitting a King, but in meekness and lowliness like a “nobody” to show us the way of perfect love. The only room for Jesus was the cross He came to bear for our sins. In Jesus lowly birth we see the foreshadowing of the greatest sacrifice God would make for our sake when His only begotten Son willingly embraced death on the cross for our salvation.
I. THE DECREE FOR EVERYBODY (vvs. 1-5) “A decree went out from Caesar Augustus”—He was the great nephew, adopted son & primary heir of Julius Caesar who ruled as the 1st of the Roman emperors from 20 BC to 34 AD. Augustus (“exalted one”) Caesar was ruling, but God was in charge, for He used Caesar’s edict to move Mary & Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfill His Word.
1. A command (vvs. 1) “A decree” (word for dogma)—means a “law or ordinance”—an opinion expressed with authority. It was an official order with all the power of Rome, mightiest nation in the world. It was more a census, than a taxing, though taxing generally followed and was based on the census. This word is very old and common. It means to write or copy off for the public records, to register. Rome took a census every fourteen years for both military and tax purposes, and each Jewish male had to return to the city of his fathers to record his name, occupation, property, and family. “This census first took place”—Quirinius served as a high Roman official in the Near East from at least 12 BC to 9 AD.
2. A condition (v. 3) “Everyone to his own city”—Bethlehem originally belonged to the Canaanites & was dedicated to the god of war. The city’s name meant “the house or sanctuary city of Lahum.” “Lahum” was the god of war. Later, the Jews revocalized this name to make it read “lehem” which means “bread” “house of bread.” They went to their native city (place of tribal origin) as this is where the family records were kept. It was the Jewish custom to enroll by tribes and families. Joseph was of the family of David, and would have to be enrolled where that family had its landed inheritance.