Journal – December 20, 2020
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
CHRIST BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in amanger, because there was no room for them in the inn.8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! 15So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Here in these 18 verses we have the story of the birth of the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of this for a moment, every birth of a living child is a marvelous event, it brings into being a soul that will never die. But since the world began there was never a birth so marvelous and unique as the birth of Christ. Mary was a virgin; the Holy Spirit had placed the seed within her. God is manifest in the flesh, a miracle, it opens the door to eternal life.
We find God’s overruling providence had this Roman emperor make a decree that all the world should be registered, His Son was to be born in Bethlehem of Judah. The scepter has departed from Judah, and Shiloh has come (Genesis 49:10). The Jews were being taxed by the Romans and strangers ruled over them. Messiah has come (Micah 5:2). Mary lived in Nazareth of Galilee, but Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, that’s 90 miles away. So, the Roman emperor makes a decree and Christ is born according to the Scriptures. God rules in all things in heaven and on earth, He turns the hearts of kings just as He will. This mighty emperor never thought he was just an instrument God used to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary were of the house and linage of David, and there shall be a Root of Jesse, Messiah is born. Believer, it is a fact in itself that should give you great peace, there are no problems for God, He wills a matter and it is accomplished. God also controlled COVID-19 coming to America, and the rest of the world and its impact on all the nations.
Now after the pregnant Virgin had walked these 90 miles all the way from northern Galilee to southern Judah, there was no place for her to rest in the inn. Her time of delivery has come, and Christ was not laid in a prepared cradle but in an animal feeding trough the Bread of life. Do you not see the condescension of Christ? This speaks of the life He would live, as the poorest of men, foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20). A love that passes our knowledge, the Son of God born in a stable, a cave, underneath the inn. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). God-Man is born, rejoice! For He is our Savior!!!
Now we read in these verses how the birth of the Lord Jesus was first announced to the children of men. When a king’s son is born into the world all his subjects rejoice with loud shouts and reveling. But when the Prince of Peace was born, it was at night without any pomp and show. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. It was not to the religious leaders or civil rulers of that day that the announcement was made, but to shepherds watching over their flocks at night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Have you ever seen an angel? No, neither have I, but I have experienced their presence preserving my life and enabling me to accomplish tasks that were to great for me. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. Think of it, as you read the Scriptures, you will find that God called working men to enjoy fellowship with Him. Moses was keeping sheep when he saw the bush that was burning and not consumed, Gideon was threshing wheat trying to keep from being seen by the Midianites, Elisha was plowing the land, and David was tending the sheep when Samuel told Jesse, send and bring him. David had been a shepherd of sheep as a teenager, God was preparing him to be king of Israel. Not to the Scribes, the Pharisees, or Sadducees, nor members of the Sanhedrin did these angels appear, but to lowly shepherds watching over sheep. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” The angels are announcing peace, meaning the Messiah’s peace leading to salvation, and goodwill among men is pleasure produced by salvation, or God’s pleasure in men. What a message the angelic host gave to these shepherds. They brought good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. Now we should notice that it was angels that first praised God when Christ was born. These were angels that had never sinned and had no need of a Savior, angels who had not fallen and required no redeemer and no atoning blood. We see here what good servants the angels are; all that their heavenly Master does pleases and interests them. We also see what clear knowledge they have. They saw Adam fall in the garden and what misery sin brought into God’s creation. They know the blessedness of heaven and the privilege of an open door into it. But it shows us the deep love and compassion which angels have towards lost man. They rejoice in the glorious fact of many souls being saved and seeing brands plucked from the burning.
What a message these shepherds had received, when the angelic host left and went back to heaven, the shepherds decided, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” It appears the shepherds were so amazed at what they had just experienced, they just left the sheep and went to Bethlehem. They had been told the Baby would be found in a stable lying in a manger, so there was no trouble in finding where Jesus lay sleeping. The Scripture says they made haste to see this thing the Lord had made known to them. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. The spiritual darkness that had covered the earth for thousands of years was about to be rolled away. The way to pardon and peace with God was about to made manifest. Liberty was about to be proclaimed to the captives along with recovering of sight to the blind. The great truth was about to be proclaimed that God could be just and the ungodly justified because Christ’s satisfaction to God’s broken law and payment of His people’s sin, the debt is fully satisfied. The ungodly can be justified by God’s marvelous grace. Salvation was not to be seen in the slaying of animals; the true Lamb of God was born. No more types and figures and when Jesus was brought to present Him in the temple, Simeon took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.
Now when the shepherds had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. We see the faith of these shepherds, when they found everything as it had been told them they went and announced it, those that heard the truth they preached marveled at those things they were told. But 30 years later no one remembered that Messiah had been born in Bethlehem. Our Lord grew up into manhood, but everyone doubted that He was the Christ—where was all His glory, when is He going to remove the Romans and set up the throne of David? God does not perform according to the whims of some proud religionists! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!