10 Things About the Christmas Story You May Have Missed
- Monday, December 13, 2010
Angels in the outdoors and Herod's soldiers entering homes to crush the skulls of infants.
The battle was joined and has raged ever since.
Readers wishing to explore this further should google "How God Fooled Satan at Christmas," my article on this subject.
5. Head knowledge is not sufficient.
In Matthew 2:3, all Jerusalem was abuzz with talk about the foreign visitors who had arrived in town, naively inquiring at every service station and convenience store, "Well? Where is He? Where is the One born King of the Jews?"
They figured that this wonderful news would be the talk of the city. Instead, no one else seemed to know anything about it.
Then, when Herod called the religious leaders to ask where the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:4), these doctors of theology informed him that the Old Testament prophet Micah had said Bethlehem was the place.
What we wonder is why they didn't go to Bethlehem. It's not like it was in the next hemisphere. Bethlehem lies some 5 miles south of Jerusalem, an easy walk for a healthy person.
The clear conclusion is that these religious leaders had the Bible knowledge but no real interest in God or the promise of Scripture.
6. The prosperity gospel stumbles at this story.
Mary and Joseph are poor. There is not a word in the text to indicate otherwise.
When they presented their Baby in the temple for the prescribed dedication of the first-born, unable to afford a lamb for an offering, the young parents gave a couple of birds (Luke 2:24; based on Leviticus 12:2).
7. The gold from the Magi had a very practical purpose.
Immediately after Matthew tells of the visit of the visitors from the East and their wonderful gifts, he tells how the Lord's angel spoke to Joseph in a dream, informing him that Herod was on a killing jag and he should take the family to Egypt.
Doubtless, the gold was provided by the Lord to finance this unexpected trip.
8. Notice the crossing of human lines and barriers in this story.
We have the young and the old (Mary, Joseph, the Baby, and Simeon and Anna in the temple. Luke 2).
We have the rich and the poor (the Magi and the young family. Matthew 2).
We have the Jews and the Gentiles (the Magi were the non-Jews).
We have the highest (angels) and the lowest (shepherds).
This wonderful story is clearly for "whosoever" and "all the world," as John 3:16 informs us.
9. Telling the story is a privilege.
It would appear that Mary and Joseph's account of the angels' appearances were so personal--and so unbelievable--that they either told no one at first or very few people.
The shepherds heard the message from the angels, left those miserable sheep to fend for themselves and raced into Bethlehem to see the Christ-child, then went out and told everyone what they had heard and seen.
Poor Zacharias. After questioning the angel inside the Temple (Luke 1), he was not allowed to tell what he had heard and seen until his son John was born.
Telling others of Jesus is a privilege many of us take for granted.
I think of the leper in Mark 1 whom Jesus healed. Then, the Lord instructed him to show himself to the priest and do what Moses commanded, but to otherwise keep the news to himself. However, he was just not able to do that. He went out and began to "blaze abroad" the matter.
Jesus tells you and me to tell everyone and we go home and sit down. Something is way wrong here.
10. Jesus did no miracles in His boyhood.
By all reports from Luke 2, Jesus had a normal childhood in Nazareth. In fact, John 2:1 informs us that the turning of water to wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee was His first miracle.
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