Reading For Wednesday Luke 2:1-40
Luke, the historian, gives us a tremendous amount of details surrounding the birth of Christ. The sovereign God used the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus to issue a decree to bring the chosen family for his son to a prophetic place; that is Bethlehem. God ordered that fullness of time would include the time for Mary to give birth. This family found themselves celebrating the birth of their first child while out of town in an occupied territory inside a stable. A rented stable is a most unlikely place to locate the son of God. The miraculous event would be announced to shepherds first. Isn’t it interesting that when God chose to announce the birth of the Messiah to the world, he didn’t inform the wealthy political leaders of the day? Instead, God chose to tell shepherds that were tending their flocks nearby. It is likely that the sheep being tending were the ones that were used in temple sacrifices. These shepherds of would have been considered a lower class of people. Notice the activity of angels concerning God visiting his people. Angels announced births to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and now these lowly shepherds. This angel also gave the familiar admonition to frightened humans, "Don't be afraid." Christ is here, and this will be the sign that will confirm these words, you find a baby in a manger. The announcement was followed by the host of heaven praising God.
The angelic host went away into heaven, but the shepherds were eager to search out this wonderful word that God had given to them. They quickly made their way to find Mary, Joseph, and the baby. Imagine their words and their faces as they explain to these new parents the wondrous news that God had shared with them in such an amazing way. Everyone that heard the words of the shepherds wondered what to make of all this miraculous activity, but Mary had these things etched in her memory, and she pondered every facet. These new parents obeyed the Lord and followed his command to call him Jesus. You can see that from the very beginning of his life, Jesus was dedicated to the commandments of God. Even as a baby, he was submitted to the requirements of the Old Testament law. Eight days after giving birth, it was necessary for a woman to go to the temple for the rite of purification because after childbirth a woman was considered to be ceremonially unclean. Sin-offerings were also required. The use of a Turtledove tells us something about the poverty of Jesus’ life. He was born into humble circumstances. Jesus, as the firstborn male child, was consecrated to God.
A righteous man named Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing God's salvation directed him to the temple at the time of Jesus' dedication. He blessed God and spoke words over the baby that caused his parents to marvel at all that had been said. Simeon then turned and blessed Mary and Joseph as well. An elderly prophetess named Anna, who made a regular habit of faithful worship came and spoke over the child. When Mary and Joseph had fulfilled the righteous demands of the law concerning their newborn, they returned home. Jesus grew in strength and wisdom while enjoying the favor of the Lord.
Things To Consider:
- How do the details of this birth account shed light on the sovereignty of God?
- Do you find the way God chose to introduce Jesus to the world surprising? Why or why not?
- What do the angelic witness and the sign given tell us about God's declaration concerning his son?
- Why is the testimony of Simeon and Anna significant?
- What do we learn about Mary and Joseph by the way they seek to fulfill the righteous demands of the law?
- Do you think Jesus found it difficult to obey his parents? Why or why not?