Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part VI: Clarifying How Christ's Birth Revealed Him To Be The World's Savior
(Luke 2:1-20)
  1. Introduction
    1. Not only did Luke show how events relating to the birth of Christ's forerunner before Jesus' birth show Jesus would be the world's Savior, Christ's birth itself supplies priceless evidence to that same end, for it was obviously absent any alleged false messianic ambition that the Infant Jesus could Himself author!
    2. Thus, we view Christ's birth for insight into objective evidences of His identity as the Savior of the world:
  2. Clarifying How Christ's Birth Revealed Him To Be The World's Savior, Luke 2:1-20.
    1. From man's viewpoint, the birth of Jesus Christ occurred the way it did in part due to the sovereign will of the great Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, Luke 2:1-6:
      1. From man's view, a decree by the great Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world was to be registered to prepare for taxation led Mary and Joseph to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Luke 2:1-5a NIV:
        1. Augustus had ended the civil wars that had long plagued the Empire, so he sought to organize it, including registering it for taxation, cf. Norval Geldenhuys, Luke (NICNT), 1979, p. 99; Luke 2:1-2.
        2. The great Augustus also tried to cooperate with the customs of the people he ruled to foster peace, so he yielded to the Jews' wish to be enrolled after their fathers' ancestries, necessitating the travel of Joseph and Mary to their ancestor's home of Bethlehem, the city of David, Ibid., p. 100; Lk. 2:3-5a.
      2. From man's view, Jesus' birth only happened to coincide with His mother's stay in Bethlehem, 2:5b-6.
    2. Also, from man's viewpoint, the impoverished condition of Christ's birth in a stable with a manger for a crib occurred due to the selfish heartlessness of a godless society at the time, Luke 2:7.
    3. However, Luke's report of the appearance of the heavenly angels to lowly shepherds in Bethlehem's fields shows how the God of heaven had sovereignly superintended even the actions of the Roman emperor and Bethlehem's throngs to introduce His Savior of the world to mankind (as follows), Luke 2:8-20:
      1. The angel of the Lord appeared to lowly shepherds, the lowliest of the people of Israel, with a message for all of Israel's people, Luke 2:8-10. In this way the God of heaven could demonstrate His will that His Son's birth was for all men, be they of the lowliest station in life, or any other higher station!
      2. His announcement that Messiah's birth occurred in the city of David shows that even Caesar Augustus' registration and desire to heed Jewish customs that led Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for Christ's birth was under the God of heaven's directive so that His Son might be born the City of David, the man through whom Israel's long-anticipated Messianic King was to come, Luke 2:11a with Luke 1:32.
      3. The angel told the shepherds this Child was the Savior, Messiah ("Christ") and Lord, naming His roles in saving man from sin, and ruling on David's throne as God-come-in-the-flesh, Luke 2:11b.
      4. Christ's birth in a stable with a manger for a crib forced by the selfish throngs of Bethlehem also fit God's will that the shepherds might identify the Infant by signals typical of no other infant, L uke 2:12.
      5. The appearance and words of the angelic throng revealed the sovereignty of God over Caesar, 2:13-14:
        1. Epictetus, a first century A. D. pagan thinker, wrote that though Augustus gave peace from war, he did not give "'peace of heart, for which man yearns more that even for outward peace,'" Ibid., p. 112.
        2. However, the angels announced the God of heaven gave peace of heart on earth to those with whom He was pleased (those who came into right relationship with Him, Romans 5:1), Luke 2:14 NIV.
      6. The discovery of the Messiah and God as the angels had predicted joyfully confirmed to the shepherds, Mary and the people of the area that this Baby was none other than the Savior, Messiah and God who would give peace on earth to men as the heavenly God's Son come to earth, Luke 2:15-20.
Lesson: The message of the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem in the context of their history and culture revealed the Infant Jesus was the Lord of heaven's Messiah, Savior and God Incarnate born for the benefit of the entire human race. Thus, even at His birth when He was humanly powerless to fabricate such evidences, Jesus was bountifully testified to be God's Savior of the world.

Application: May we trust in the Babe in the manger to have peace on earth with the God of heaven!