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Date: 20 December, 2018
Text: Luke 2:22-40
Title: Who's Birth Are We Celebrating?
Have you ever said, "I am in the presence of greatness?" Someone you thought you knew has an attribute of which you knew nothing about. You feel almost like you didn't really know them and now your eyes have been opened.
(I shared the story earlier this year shared by a policeman who was walking with the queen near Balmoral with a head scarf and tweeds.) They met some American tourists.
She played along when the American tourists asked: 'Do you live round here,' simply replying that she had a house nearby.
And when asked if she had met the Queen, she simply gestured to her companion and said: 'No, but he has,' according to the policeman.
The Queen was completely unrecognisable to the tourists, who would have been more used to seeing the monarch in a bright array of colourful suits and hats.
exp. They talked with the queen and had no idea they were in the presence of greatness.
Many people in Jesus day had no idea that he was great. As he grew up they would struggle to believe that they were in the presence of greatness.
John 6:42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
Matthew 13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
exp. They would crucify him because they so rejected WHO HE WAS.
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Other's knew that Jesus was incredibly special.
John the Baptist
Matthew 3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Joh 1:27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
Mat 8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
December 25th - Christmas Day - is set aside to celebrate the birthday of a man who lived and died (and rose again) 2,000 years ago. This is not his actual birthday. He was likely born in the Spring as seen by the shepherds watching their flocks in the fields by night.
Message this morning - IF YOU WOULD HONOUR HIM AS YOU OUGHT - YOU NEED TO KNOW WHO'S BIRTH YOU ARE CELEBRATING. Would you be suprised by the greatness of this little infant Jesus? Don't let this Christmas go by without reflecting on the person of Jesus?
Who's birth are we celebrating. (LUKE 2:22-40)
YOU celebrate the birth of Jesus - the Son of man.
exp. Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of man.
Mat 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
Mat 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Mat 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Mat 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Mat 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Mat 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
exp. Jesus referring to himself this way is recorded 27 more times in the book of Matthew.
exp. This term emphasises the humanity of Jesus. (Incranation - taking of flesh by God.)
A. His mum, Mary, had to be ceremonially purified after His birth.
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
exp. A jewish woman waited 40 days after giving birth to a son before coming to the temple to be ceremonially purified.
B. He had to be presented to God and redeemed.
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
exp. The law said that firstborn sons were to be given to God to be the priests.
2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
exp. God later chose the tribe of Levi to be the priests. Firstborn sons were redeemed (bought back) to the family for the cost of 5 shekels.
C. His family was poor.
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
exp. The sacrifice intended was a lamb. However, a poor family could bring either of these pair of birds. The birth of Jesus in a stable shows not just the lack of space in the city but also the poverty of Mary and Joseph.
exp. Jesus became an infant human and grew to adulthood in the same world in which you and I live and breathe.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
app. We celebrate this Christmas - Jesus - the Son of Man. Our sympathetic high priest who knows the struggles and temptations of life in human flesh.
II. YOU celebrate the birth of Jesus - the consolation of Israel.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
exp. Jesus was going to console the hearts of Jewish men and women who had been faithful to God. These godly preachers of old had stood up for God and His glory - at times feeling like they were facing a losing battle. VICTORY SEEMED DISTANT.
Exodus 17:2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?
3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
Numbers 11:11 And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?
12 Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?
13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
1 Kings 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
(Fast forward to v.9)
9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
note: But, the game changer had been born and the consolation had come.
ill. The transfiguration of Jesus -
Luke 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
exp. These men Living in Glory rejoiced to see the day of the Lord Jesus - the consolation of their people.
31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
app. The game changer, Jesus, was born. They were talking about His coming victory.
That wee babe would crush the Serpant's head and win the decisive victory fulfilling God's promise to Abraham, David and their descendants - the Jews.
Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
exp. Simeon was watching for this Messiah (promised one). He would identify Him as the Christ! His heart would welcome this consolation from God!
III. YOU celebrate the birth of Jesus - the Christ child.
def. Christ is the greek word, Messiah.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
exp. Simeon is a truly spiritual man.
1.) He believed God's promises. (He knew he would not die before seeing the Messiah.)
2.) He followed God's leading. (He came into the temple by the Spirit.)
3.) He understood God's revelation. (He knew when He saw Jesus that this was the Christ.)
ill. Overlooking the valley between Jerusalem and Jericho where Jonathan and his armour bearer wrought a great victory for Israel - a young Jewish couple was sitting there enjoying the sun set. I asked them, have you ever considered Jesus with the claims of the OT?
note: If you are still looking for the Messiah you can stop now.
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
ill. I also got to stand on the Emmaus Road. Where Jesus walked on the day of His resurrection speaking with two men struggling to accept Him as the Christ - not knowing he was the one speaking with them.
24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
app. This wee baby was God's promised deliverer! Praise God! The lamb of God had been born.
IV. YOU celebrate the birth of Jesus - the Saviour for all people.
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
exp. The problem with not having a deliverer is that there would not be deliverance.
ill. It would be like having an altar without a substitute sacrifice.
Gen 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
note: If God didn't provide a lamb - Isaac would have to die in obedience to God's command.
Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
app. You can die for your sin today and go to Hell. Or you can accept God's substitute for your sin. He died to be your Saviour. IF THERE WAS NO BABY JESUS THERE WOULD BE NO SACRIFICE AND NONE WOULD BE SAVED.
V. YOU celebrate the birth of Jesus - who came and is coming again.
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
exp. Simeon saw the two comings of our Lord. In the first he came with Gospel light to the Gentiles. The second coming he would come in glory to reign.
1. Jesus came as gracious light to the world.
Joh 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Joh 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
2. Jesus is coming as awesome King.
Hag 2:7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah 24:17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
18 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
app. This generation more than any other generation OUGHT TO EMBRACE THE LIGHT or they will face the wrath of the King. (Tribulation before His milennial reign.) Wow - what power was in the infant baby who's birth we celebrate!
VI. YOU celebrate the birth of Jesus - the Son of the virgin.
exp. Here we emphasize that Jesus was both God and man.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
exp. The Scripture account is very accurate by not saying, "And His father and His mother marvelled...." Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. He was put into the womb of Mary by the Spirit of God.
Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
app. Impossible - the liberal's say - who like to bind the Almighty with an arm of flesh like their own. The God who breathed life into this world can put Himself into His creation through the womb of a virgin! AMEN! We celebrate the Deity of this son who was born.
VII. YOU celebrate at the birth of Jesus - the sufferer of crucifixion.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
exp. What other human heart knew the suffering that Mary experienced as her son, Jesus, was crucified as a sacrifice for our sin?
hymn: "Born to die upon Calvary - Jesus suffered my sin to forgive."
exp. The grave clothes (swaddling) with which he was robed in his birth and the myrh (embalming spice) given by the Magi - with the words of the Angels "Unto you is born this day in the city of David, the Saviour...." ALL SHOW that Jesus would suffer for our sin!
app. We celebrate AT HIS BIRTH - our sufferer. Without his suffering we could not be forgiven and cleansed. Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
VIII. YOU celebrate the birth of Jesus - the Redeemer.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
note: to redeem is to buy back. It is like giving ransom to kidnappers to purchase the freedom of their victim.
exp. These people were living knowing that their REDEMPTION was incomplete. God had promised to pay for their sin - but it had not yet been paid for. NOW THE REDEEMER WAS BORN.
Joh 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
app. Praise God - Jesus was our redeemer - he paid the price to purchase to liberate us!
You will celebrate the birth of Jesus this week. Do you know the greatness of Jesus?
1.) The Son of man - The humility of Jesus to take on flesh.
2.) The consolation of Israel - The comfort to God's people.
3.) The Christ child (promised deliverer)
4.) The Saviour of all (he wants to be your Saviour)
5.) The one who came and is coming again.
6.) The son of the virgin (God in flesh.)
7.) The one who would suffer for our sin.
8.) The Redeemer (he ransomed us to liberty.)