Not Just for “Christians”
Doing the Devos from Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth has faced me again with one of the most destructive, commonly accepted, misconceptions.
Here's a question you can ask your friends at work this week or when you are simply hanging out with friends or family that will get them to think about something that almost everyone believes about Christmas that is a terrible lie.
Who saw Jesus lying in the feed trough in Bethlehem, and then eight days later at his circumcision and dedication in the Temple? Were they Jews or Gentiles?
Luke's text claims that the night Jesus was born and then in the days that followed all those involved in this first Christmas were Jewish. The Gentile wise men, only in Matthew's account (2:11), don't arrive until sometime later. In Luke's narrative everything is about "Israel" (Luke 1:16), "the House of Jacob" (Luke 1:33), "His servant Israel" (Luke 1:54), and "the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25). What's interesting is that we don't even have Gentiles mentioned until Simeon, a godly Jew worshiping at the Temple gathers the baby Jesus in his arms and declares that this child is for "all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to your people Israel" (Luke 2:32).
Take a minute to think about the good characters Luke has introduced us to who took part in Jesus' birth. They've all been good, observant Jews from the godly priest Zechariah and Elizabeth devotedly living according to the Mosaic Law to Mary and Joseph circumcising their firstborn son and offering the small birds as a sacrifice to cover their uncleanness after child birth, exactly as the Pentateuch commanded.
Luke, himself was a Gentile, but he would be the last to discourage Jews from celebrating Hanukkah and remembering their Maccabean history. He would also never shy away from telling his Jewish friends that Jesus was their promised Messiah, the One who fulfills the divine promises to Abraham and David.
All of us this week, Jews and Gentiles, need to carefully read and meditate on Luke's account as he introduces us to John the Baptist, the Messiah's forerunner, and Jesus, the Messiah. All of us need to open our hearts to the claims that Mary's baby is the "Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:32, 35), David's Son (Luke 1:32), the One who rules "over the house of Jacob" (Lk. 1:33), "my Lord" (Lk. 1:43), "a Horn of Salvation" (Luke 1:69), "the Lord" (Luke 1:76), "a Savior, the Messiah, the Lord" (Luke 2:11, 26), and "Israel's Consolation" (Luke 2:25). If Jesus is who Luke says He is, we need to join the shepherds and obey the heavenly command and worship Him.
LORD, two thousand years of history have caused millions of people to erect their separate cultures and religions. This week break through these misconceptions and use Truth Encounter to move all kinds of people, whatever their religion or ethnicity, to read Luke's two chapters on John the Baptist's and Jesus' birth. Open their hearts to the fact that a Middle Eastern Jew born in the days of King Herod is the only Man who can forgive our sins and deliver us from death.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!