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The Birth of Jesus

I. Introduction
A. Only Luke and Matthew – but still a lot (150 verses)
1. Very little in common
B. Tell story
1. Jerusalem: Gabriel speaks to Zacharias in the temple, silences his tongue
2. Nazareth: Gabriel speaks to the virgin Mary
3. Hill country of Judea: Mary visits Elizabeth (3 months) / John is born and named
4. Nazareth: Mary returns home, Joseph finds out she is pregnant
5. Bethlehem: census, birth, shepherds/angels
6. Jerusalem: Simeon and Anna
7. Magi from the east: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, back home
8. Joseph moves his family to Egypt until Herod dies, the slaughter of the innocents
II. Observation: God is active in the story
A. Miracles
1. Silenced tongue
2. Barren birth
3. Virgin birth
4. Baby leaping in womb
5. Star
B. Prophecies
1. Zacharias
2. Elizabeth
3. John’s leap
4. Mary
5. Simeon
6. Anna
C. Divine announcements
1. Zacharias
2. Mary
3. Elizabeth
4. Joseph
5. Shepherds
6. Wise men
7. Simeon
8. Anna
D. Angels: God’s special ambassadors, His special emissaries (31 in Luke)
1. Gabriel (2)
2. Joseph in a dream (3)
3. One spoke to the shepherds
4. Multitude of the heavenly host
E. Dreams from the Lord
1. Joseph (4)
2. Magi (1)
F. God is in this. The story is dripping with God’s presence; it is crammed full of God’s activity.
1. Why at one point when Mary arrives at Elizabeth’s house, every single thing that happens is God. He makes the baby John leap for joy in his mother’s womb in the presence of the Lord, who is in the womb of Mary. Then He opens Elizabeth’s mouth and she prophesies. Then He opens Mary’s mouth and she prophesies.
2. Not only an inspired utterance, but an inspired conversation!
G. Why so much divine activity? Pointing to Jesus
1. The purpose of miracles - “This is from ME!”
2. This is the One you’ve been waiting for. This is the One you need. This is the One who fulfills your every dream and satisfies your every longing.
3. His whole life was full of pointers. One time God actually spoke out of heaven to point to Jesus. (E.g. Mark 9:7) “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him.”
III. Application
A. God is still pointing us to Jesus today. That’s why we have these stories in this book in our own language.
1. Stop all your busy thoughts and listen to Him. Stop all your ranting and raving and listen to Him. Stop all your grumbling and complaining and listen to Him. Stop all your fretting and listen to Him.
2. Listen to Him in times of pain. Listen to Him in times of anxiety. Listen to Him in times of conflict. Listen to Him when you are feeling overwhelmed.
3. Worship Him. Follow Him. Abide in Him. Rest in Him. Remember Him. Trust in Him. Go to Him. Draw near to Him. Yield to Him.
4. We want to go this direction and that. God says, “Follow My Son.” We want to listen to this person and that. God says, “Listen to My Son!”
5. Our need is always to be pointed to Jesus.
B. Adam had to name the animals. And as he did so, he noticed that they came in pairs, male and female.
1. And he realized that he was alone. And among all those animals he couldn't find any that really seemed to fit him, to qualify for a partner.
2. Then God made Eve and brought her to Adam. And as soon as he set eyes upon her (and they must have grown twice as big at that moment), everything changed.
3. Suddenly he understood. Suddenly it was laughable that he had spent the whole day looking over giraffes and hyenas and porcupines and skunks and hippos for a partner.
4. Suddenly the fulfillment of all the yearnings he ever had and many that had not yet surfaced was standing in front of him.
C. This is the way it is with the glory of Christ.
1. Once we are confronted with it, the whole world makes sense...
a. ...the things we thought were important seem ridiculously trivial
b. ...the whole world seems aglow with hope and purpose and meaning
2. Suddenly that which a minute before seems ordinary and mundane looks almost magical through eyes which have been enlivened with God's glory.
3. When we see the glory of God we see everything else for what it really is, we realize that everything else is just stuff.
D. His birth is not just another Bible Story.
1. His birth is not just a mechanism to bring some cheer into the lives of men.
2. His birth unlocks the meaning of the universe.
3. His birth unlocks the meaning of our existence.
4. His birth unlocks the meaning of today,
a. His birth unlocks the meaning of going home tonight and getting up in the morning,
b. His birth unlocks the meaning of getting sick and of going to work,
c. and getting married, and raising children, and growing old and dying and living and everything!