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Luke 2:1-21: The Blessing of Glorification Print E-mail
Christmas Season
Sunday, 24 December 2017

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I have been reading the book of Revelation this week to finish up my Bible Reading Plan for 2017. Apparently others have been following the same plan. Russell Moore wrote about doing the same thing a couple of years ago. He writes: “We must remember that ultimately we will not coo over (Jesus) in a cradle beneath us, but give an account to him as our sovereign Judge and give glory to him as our sovereign King.” Although it might seem odd for us to be thinking about Revelation and judgement during the season, it is entirely appropriate. In fact, even as we look at Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, we can see reasons to be thinking about His return. Let’s walk through that together this morning.

The First Advent of Jesus (from the Gospel of Luke):

The Humble Birth (v. 1-7):

The circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth are largely impacted by the whims of an earthly king, namely Caesar Augustus. He wanted to tax the people and in order to do so everyone needed to be registered in his own town. This is why Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem and the earthly reason why Jesus was born there. Of course, we know that more is going on here. The prophet Micah had said that Jesus would be born in David’s city (see Micah 5:2) and God in His providence made this happen.

Yet, notice the humility in verses 6-7. Jesus spent his first night on the earth in a smelly manger because the town was full of people to register to pay taxes to a wicked ruler. The humility of it all is striking. Of course, the return of Jesus will not be like this. ‘Next time there will be no manger. Next time there will be no hay. Next time He’s coming back on a cloud with a shout! And no one’s going to get in His way!’ This is one of the great contrasts between the two advents of Christ: one is marked by humility and submission, the other will be marked by power and authority.

The Glorious Announcement (v. 8-14):

Everyone is into finding creative ways to announce their pregnancy or reveal the gender of their baby. The other night we heard what sounded like gunshots outside our house and before we called the police found out that someone was having a ‘gender reveal’ party in our neighborhood. I guess that is one way to announce if your baby is going to be a boy or girl. But no matter how creative or awe inspiring a couple gets, no one will ever top the announcement made at Jesus’ birth!

It begins with glory and fear. Look at verses 8-9. Once again we see the appropriate response to the appearance of an angel: they were filled with fear. This is a display of glory and power. The angel’s appearance was awe-inspiring. It filled the shepherds with fear.

But the announcement is even greater than the appearance. Look at verses 10-12. Good news of great joy for all the people. Now that is a good announcement! And what is this good news of great joy that will be for all people? A Savior has been born in Bethlehem! A Savior! This is no ordinary child. This is Christ the Lord! The Bible teaches us that men are desperate for help because of our sin. We have all gone on our own way and rebelled against God. Our only hope for forgiveness is if God sends us a Savior, One who can redeem us from our sins. The angel is telling these shepherds that Jesus is the Savior. Good news indeed!

And just so the shepherds get the impact of what is happening, the Lord sends a multitude of the heavenly host to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Look at verses 13-14. This baby is a reason for us to glory in God! The plan that is unfolding is worthy of singing and praise. Through faith in Jesus, God will be pleased with man. Since He will pay for their sins and the cross and rise victoriously from the grave, they can now live for God’s glory. They can join in the chorus: ‘Glory to God in the highest!’

The Urgent Message (v. 15-21):

The first ones to tell others about this glorious birth announcement are the shepherds. And they are a good model to us. Look at verses 15-21. The shepherds waste no time in going to see the baby. And when they get there they tell the others about what the angels had announced. They tell them that this baby is going to be the Savior. And when they left they could not help but praise and glorify God for all that they had seen.

Our response should be the same! We should tell the message to others and glorify God for the birth of Jesus. This should be our response to the first advent. Jesus has come to be our Savior and He has come to save all those who turn from their sins and believe in Him. Like the shepherds, we should be urgent with that good news!

Conclusion:
Jesus came the first time to be our Savior. He came to live a perfect life, die on the cross for our sins, and be raised from the dead for our justification. He came the first time to prepare us for His second coming. When He returns, there will only be two responses: fear of judgment or hope of salvation. We should spend time every Christmas remembering that just as Jesus came the first time, He is coming again. And the only way to be prepared for His return is to turn from our sins and believe in what He did the first time He came. I pray that you are ready for the return of Jesus this Christmas. I pray that you have turned from your sins and trusted in Jesus as your Savior. If not, then do that today. The blessing that we are celebrating today is the blessing of glorification. Because Jesus came to be our Savior, we have hope for His return to take us home to be with Him forever. He has promised us immeasurable riches, for He has promised us Himself! As we remember His birth today, may we also long for His future return. Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 January 2018 )

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