The following is a very popular blog series that was originally posted in 2011. In this series we took a verse by verse look at the Christmas Story. For those new to SIH blog may you enjoy this visit to the Biblical account of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For those who are long time followers of SIH blog, may these truths be renewed in your hearts and minds. ———————————————————-
Here is part #3 of our series on Christ’s birth from Luke.
Part #1 – Luke 1:26-38
Part #2 – Luke 1:39-56
Part #3 – Luke 2:1-20
Part #4 – Luke 2:21-40
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
Caesar Augustus was the ruler of the Roman Empire. Israel was a part of that empire. Augustus desired to tax the people of Israel, but before he levied the tax upon them, he wanted to count them. Every male head of the family was to return to his ancestral hometown, with his family, to be counted in the taxation census.
Cyrenius was the Roman ruler over the area of Syria, just as Herod was the Roman ruler over the area of Israel.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Joseph, out of necessity, returned to his hometown of Bethlehem, bringing with him his pregnant wife Mary. King David was from Bethlehem, and Joseph was a descendent of David.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
During their stay in Bethlehem, Mary gives birth to the Christ. Die to the great number of people ascending upon Bethlehem (all the male descendants of King David) there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
The shepherds had their flocks in the field overnight. In Israel, the night temperature was warm enough to keep the flocks in the field only in late spring through early fall (approx. May-Sept). Probably, the time of Christ’s birth was not in late December, but much earlier in the year.
Why, then, do we observe His birth in late December? This is simply a tradition of man that is not sanctioned by God. The Catholic church began to celebrate His birth at this time of year to try to attract the Pagan worshippers who were observing the winter solstice at this time of year.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
The angel of the Lord (perhaps Gabriel) appeared to the shepherds and delivered to them a message from the Lord. God’s presence (the person of the Holy Spirit) was clearly seen among the shepherds as they were given this message. This same Holy Spirit enabled them to understand and submit to the coming of Christ.
The angel’s message was a joyous message telling of the coming of the Messiah, Christ the Lord.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
After the angels leave, the shepherds decide to make the trip to Bethlehem to see the baby Messiah.
Again, notice the faith of the shepherds willing to make this trip based on no proof except God’s message to them. They did not doubt the message, they said “let us now go… and see this thing…”. They did not say “let’s go and see if the message is true.”
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
After visiting the child, they next began to tell others about Him. In the same way, we first must hear the word of God, and then come to the Savior; and once we meet the Savior, we then are to tell others about Him.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
The message of shepherds was met with amazement by their listeners. Mary, however, reflected on the message of the angels, all the events that had taken place, and the message of the shepherds. Her faith allowed her to accept all these things without astonishment and unbelief.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
The shepherds continued to tell of their experiences to all who would hear them.
We will conclude our study from the book of Luke in the next blog entry: Luke 2:21-40
May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”