Rejoice In God’s Gift
Luke 2;1-20 Dec.25 2011
In this chapter, we have an account of the birth and infancy of our Lord Jesus: having had notice of his conception, and of the birth and infancy of his forerunner, in the former chapter. The First-begotten is here brought into the world; let us go meet him with our hosannas, blessed is he that cometh. Here is, I. The place and other circumstances of his birth, which proved him to be the true Messiah, and such a one as we needed, but not such a one as the Jews expected . II. The notifying of his birth to the shepherds in that neighbourhood by an angel, the song of praise which the angels sung upon that occasion, and the spreading of the report of it by the shepherds . III. The circumcision of Christ, and the naming of him . IV. The presenting of him in the temple . V. The testimonies of Simeon, and Anna the prophetess, concerning him . VI. Christ’s growth and capacity . VIII. His observing the passover at twelve years old, and his disputing with the doctors in the temple . And this, with what we have met with (Mt. 1 and 2), is all we have concerning our Lord Jesus, till he entered upon his public work in the thirtieth year of his age.
1. The birth of Christ. (Luke 2:1-7)
Luke 2:1 Just at this time an edict was issued by Caesar Augustus for the registration of the whole Empire. 2 It was the first registration made during the governorship of Quirinius in Syria; 3 and all went to be registered—every one to the town to which he belonged. 4 So Joseph went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to David’s town of Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to have himself registered together with Mary, who was betrothed to him and was with child. 6 But while they were there, her full time came, 7 and she gave birth to her first-born son, and wrapped Him round, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law. The circumstances of his birth were very mean. Christ was born at an inn; he came into the world to sojourn here for awhile, as at an inn, and to teach us to do likewise. We are become by sin like an outcast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one was Christ. He well knew how unwilling we are to be meanly lodged, clothed, or fed; how we desire to have our children decorated and indulged; how apt the poor are to envy the rich, and how prone the rich to disdain the poor. But when we by faith view the Son of God being made man and lying in a manger, our vanity, ambition, and envy are checked. We cannot, with this object rightly before us, seek great things for ourselves or our children.
2, It is made known to the shepherds.
Luke 2: 8 Now there were shepherds in the same part of the country, keeping watch over their sheep by night in the open fields, 9 when suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them; and they were filled with terror. 10 But the angel said to them, “Put away all fear; for I am bringing you good news of great joy—joy for all the People. 11 For a Savior who is the Anointed Lord is born to you to-day, in the town of David. 12 And this is the token for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”13 And immediately there was with the angel a multitude of the army of Heaven praising God and saying, 14 “Glory be to God in the highest Heavens, And on earth peace among men who please Him!”15 Then, as soon as the angels had left them and returned to Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go over as far as Bethlehem and see this that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”16 So they made haste and came and found Mary and Joseph, with the babe lying in the manger. 17 And when they saw the child, they told what had been said to them about Him; 18 and all who listened were astonished at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, often dwelling on them in her mind. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen in accordance with the announcement made to them.
Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest. God’s good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. God’s goodwill in sending the Messiah, brought peace into this lower world. Peace is here put for all that good which flows to us from Christ’s taking our nature upon him. This is a faithful saying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and well worthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men, is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth. The shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. They were satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child, that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefully observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited to enliven her holy affections. We should be more delivered from errors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder these things in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that to us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be glad tidings to all.
Luke’s clear, straightforward telling of the story of Jesus’ birth anchors the events in history and links them to prophecy. God uses an emperor’s decree to guide a Galilean couple to Bethlehem , so the Messiah might be born in David’s hometown, the locale of His predicted birth (Micah 5:2 ). Ecstatic choirs of angels share the news of His birth with local shepherds , who find and worship the Christ Child . Jesus is circumcised , and when He is brought to the temple some 40 days later His identity is revealed to a man named Simon and a prophetess named Anna . Luke skips over Jesus’ early childhood, but does tell of a visit to the temple when Jesus was twelve, at which He stunned teachers of the Law with His insights . Still, Jesus lived a normal childhood in a typical Jewish home, respecting His parents and winning the respect of all .