INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Luke 2.1-20
God gives grace to the humble, not the proud. He reveals Himself to the humble. Christmas is a story of how God reveals Himself to the humble.
Caesar Augustus, who’s birth name was Gaius Octavius, …The Roman Senate then voted new titles on him … … Commander Caesar, Son of the God, the Venerable.” Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Ceasar, who was considered a god by that same Roman Senate. So this Caesar Augustus is considered to be a son of a god.
He climbed his way to power, defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra in battle. So he scratched and clawed his way to power, exalting himself to the status as was supposed of ‘son of god.’
QUESTION: What about the true Son of God?
But Jesus, the true son of God, Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last, the Almighty, humble himself to be born of humble parents, in a humble town, revealed to humble shepherds.
The differences between Caesar Augustus and Jesus of Nazareth, true Son of God, couldn’t be greater. And so it’s fitting that the LORD would choose at this time to send His Son at an apex of the rebellion of man who rise up and defy the living God.
TRANS: The true Son of God’s entrance into the world is an example of His entrance into human hearts today. The Son of God doesn’t come to the politically powerful, the elites, the proud. He is revealed to the humble, even today.
Augustus’ demands to register for taxation come to a humble couple…Joseph and Mary.
Christ revealed to the humble: Joseph and Mary (2:1-7)
They are humble…miserable (pregnant, 4 days-a week, poor, Lev. 12:8 after birth, from Bethlehem [Mic. 5:2]
As one commentator put it, “The baby Mary carried was not a Caesar, a man who would become a god, but a far greater wonder— the true God who had become a man!”
We continue to follow our weary couple into the city limits of Bethlehem.
QUESTION: Did she give birth right away after arriving? How do you know?
Luke 2:6 says, “while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.”
QUESTION: What’s the normal story with verse 7?
But see Luke 22:10-11, “guest room” same word translated ‘inn’ in 2:7. Jesus and His disciples were clearly not looking for a hotel to have the Passover!
Luke used a word for a commercial hotel in Luke 10:34. Why didn’t Luke use that word for a commercial hotel to describe Jesus’ potential birthplace?
Manger=family room, where they kept the cow at night.
TRANS: And so unlike Ceasar Augustus, the Son of God isn’t born to the cultural elite, the political rulers of the age, but to humble parents, in a humble town, laid in a feeding trough.
Clearly an emptying of himself. Son of God from all eternity rose from his glorious splendor and majesty in the heavens, stood at the edge of the universe in unapproachable light…and He races as it were through the uttermost stars into our galaxy and to earth only to be born among the most lowly of people and placed …as my kids say … in a cow’s bowl, a manger.
TRANS: As then, today Christ reveals Himself to the humble. Christ came to those in deep need…today He blesses only those who are “poor in spirit.”
Christ revealed to the humble: Shepherds (2:8-20)
You could imagine the shepherds watching their flock on a clear cold wintry night, huddled around a fire…with the Milky Way galaxy…
READ Luke 2:10–12
the good news
no one is excluded from this good news… it is for “all the people.”
Caesar Augustus called “Savior of the world” and the “bringer of good news.”
Only Jesus can save, is the saviour of humble people like Mary, Joseph, and shepherds.
The sign that the shepherds were given …”This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
The Messiah born among animals and dies among robbers. A most unlikely humble storyline for the Christ.
The shepherds hear it first
But I find it also astonishing that it is shepherds that hear of the good news of the Savior’s birth first.
QUESTION: WHAT status in society did shepherds have in 1st century?… shepherds were the outcasts of society. Only lepers were lower. The Pharisees regarded shepherds as one of those trades that made a person unclean. They were regarded as thieves. They would leave their herds on the other people’s land and steal the produce for their herds.
QUESTION: So why the shepherds? Why not a king, ruler, rich person first? Why tell shepherds first? Can they really be trusted with such good news? How could anybody else believe them? I think part of the point here is that since these are unlikely characters to hear the news first, it actually strengthens the credibility of the story.
TRANS: But as well, when the angels appeared to the shepherds they were saying…
Luke 2:14, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” …so as to remind us that Christ reveals Himself to the lowly.
Which calls to question…how is it that we can have the pleasure of God? What does it take to make God pleased with us?
Just take a look at the story! It’s not to the high and mighty that God reveals Himself, but a lowly couple. It’s not a the high priest of the cultural elite who hear of Jesus’ birth first, it’s lowly shepherds. Lowliness, humility is what pleases God.
Christ revealed to the humble today
1 Corinthians 1:26 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.
Isaiah 66:2 2 “For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.
Hughes, Luke. ↑
The traditional story is Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem the night of Jesus’ birth… Because of the census, the small town has become crowded with people. Joseph seeks to find an appropriate place for Mary to give birth. He inquirers at the local hotel and they are rudely denied access to any rooms because all the rooms are full. The only facility left in the whole town is the stable, a barnlike structure, out back behind the hotel, which, naturally, has a manger to feed the animals. ↑
If you are going to just make up a story about how God came to earth, and you just make it up, why on earth would you put 1st century thieving, unclean shepherds in the story!? You’d never gain a following! What you want to do if you’re going to make it all up is have the angels appear to the high priest or a leader of a synagogue. That way you’d get a following! ↑