Join me as I take a walk through the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John, (aka the “Gospels”) in a Chronological Order and try to grow closer to, and learn more about Jesus. Feel free to go back and read the INTRO ABOUT THIS SERIES to understand where all this came from for me.
So today some friends of mine back in Virginia have just experienced the arrival of their new lil baby boy (in fact I got a text from them as I was writing this post – baby Isaac has arrived and both he and mom are healthy and doing well – PRAISE THE LORD) – I find this pretty ironic since today’s passage is about a story of a young couple expecting the birth of their first lil baby boy as well! We will be looking at Luke 2:1-20 and the story of Baby Jesus!
Luke (being a physician and writing from an angle of giving proof to his readers that this whole story is true) gives us a lot of historical detail and background. It is here that we find out the reason Joseph & Mary (who was WAY PREGGO at this point) had to travel from their hometown of Nazareth to the city of Bethlehem (which fulfilled some Old Testament prophecy of where Jesus was to be born). They went there because a decree had been ordered by the Roman rulers that there needed to be a census taken, and everyone had to head back to their own hometown to be registered – since Joseph was in the line of David, he had to go back to Bethlehem.
Man what a crazy scene this would have been – Joseph leading Mary – who was in the final days of pregnancy – for the approximate 70-80 miles that it was from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Then they arrive and we find from vs. 7 that there was no room for them in the inn – so they settled for an animal stable. Talk about a big ole fat “WELCOME TO OUR WORLD SON OF GOD” – nothing says “Kingly” like being born in a stable, wrapped in some pieces of cloth and put to sleep in a manger (aka animal feeding trough), but this is exactly what we find happening in this story.
Some distance away some other craziness was going on – some shepherds (oh how the cool irony continues that shepherds were the first to be told of the good news – and later Jesus would be consider the GREAT SHEPHERD, one who cares for His flock/sheep). These guys are just sitting around doing their thing – which I wonder if it was anything like what shepherds do nowadays with mad technology – WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN, Angels showed up to tell them the great news. I love it that vs. 10 says the angel told them “Do not be afraid” ha ha ha I’m sure afraid was the understatement of the year – there may have been some soiled robes going on in that gang.
In vs. 12 the angel told the shepherds that a sign of indication would be that this baby boy would be “wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (so I’m guessing that was the normal everyday routine then???) Then a HUGE choir of angels showed up – did a lil mini-concert for the fellas and then were gone.
So the shepherds figured that they had to go check out this scene and they headed to the city. Then I love what took place next – we find out that the shepherds became the FIRST EVER EVANGELISTS! Check out verses 17-20:
17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
They went and told anyone & everyone what they had seen and heard – and people were AMAZED, not hard to believe that aspect – I mean this is a pretty crazy story! They not only told others, but they gave God all the praise & glory for what had taken place – man what a pretty cool scene going on here.
This passage had a new light shed on it when I travelled to India back in 2006 – myself and some other minister friends went to work with a group called Central India Christian Mission. They were hosting a huge youth conference and we were invited to help lead & teach at some of the sessions.
While there we heard about a massive movement of people coming to know Christ that was happening in some areas there in India. Basically there is this “class” of people (in India the class or caste system is huge and is a very strict thing) In this setup there is a class of shepherds that are sort of on the lower wrung of the ladder. They are considered untouchables. The crazy thing is that this is where the movement for Christ had begun. The missionaries there were intrigued by this and went to meet some of the leaders and to find out how & why this was taking place. When they met with the leaders of this group (by the way this class of people is one of the larger ones in all of the caste system and could be a major key in a spiritual revolution for these people) they asked how they had come to know about Jesus and what was going on. As the story unfolded the missionaries found out that some people from a church in the area had reached out to this shepherd class – (these untouchables that people were not supposed to talk and hang out with) and told them about Jesus. HERE IS THE REALLY COOL PART
The church people shared with the shepherd’s the story of Jesus’ birth – and they told them that the ANGELS came directly to the shepherds of that day and time – told them FIRST about Jesus – and then that God used those shepherds to PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS of Jesus’ birth. This group of modern day Indian Shepherds were amazed (“amazed at what they heard” – sound familiar?) and got excited. They wanted to know more about this God who cared about them and loved them and would not see them as outcast or sub-human. They wanted to know more about this story that had used Shepherds as the main storytellers so many years ago.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT? WHAT AN AMAZING NEW LIGHT WAS SHINED ON THIS PASSAGE FOR ME!
God’s word is powerful – and it does change lives – it is not simply a “cute little book of stories” about a lil Baby named Jesus which no longer applies to our world today. So I am excited and encouraged once again by the newness of the story of this lil Savior – Baby Jesus!
Thanks God for being SO WISE as to know how this story would continue to affect people for thousands of years and throughout many countries!