Record of the coming of Christ
Luke 2:1-14; BCBC/IOUC; 7/27/2021; Rev. Paul Wang
According to the prophecy, Christ came to the world as a man. Luke is a doctor and a scholar. His records are quite historian-like, rigorous, objective and impeccable. Luke has a very responsible record about the incarnation and being born to the world of Christ. Let’s look at the first point:
The arrival of Christ coincided with the initial establishment of the Roman Empire. Caesar (Caesar), the general of the Roman Republic, became a lifelong dictator, symbolizing the end of the republic. In 27 BC, Octavian became Agustus (Augustus), symbolizing the beginning of the Roman Empire. The birth of Christ was born in this historical background. First of all, the world is registered. The registration in the Bible says that it is just like our census today. Judging from historical records, the earliest record of the census of Rome is about the sixth century BC. That is, we are still contending for dominance in the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. People have already started a census. At first it was limited to the city of Rome, but it was expanded to the entire region of Italy about the third century before Christ. The census was extended to the entire empire until the governor of Caesar Agus mentioned in the scriptures took power. The birth of Christ and being recorded by the world is closely related to this census event.
Second, the first census. This is Luke’s prudence in acting. It not only satisfies the rigorous scholarship, but also conforms to the principle of two witnesses in the Bible. Quiritius is a historical figure. He was once the governor of Syria. Whether he was the governor once or twice, there is no way to verify. However, the Roman Empire generally conducts a census every fourteen years, and what is recorded in Acts 5:37 should be at least the third national census. In retrospect, the year Jesus was born should be the first national census of the Roman Empire. Although the items of the census were very comprehensive at that time, it included farmers, laborers, soldiers, weavers, doctors, blacksmiths, gardeners, stonemasons, coachmen and their families.
Finally, everyone went to their own town to register. After all, it was more than two thousand years ago, And everyone went to their own town to register. (Luke 2:3) The Israelites are divided into tribes. Joseph belongs to the family of David. Of course, he must go from Galilee to Bethlehem, which is the city of David. God used the emperor of the Gentiles to promote his salvation plan, leading Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus. Why must be born in Bethlehem? Because the Bible used to prophesy by the prophet Micah, he says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Let’s see the second point：
When the scripture comes here, it has passed the part of the conception by the Holy Spirit. What the Holy Spirit said to Mary and Joseph made them decide that no matter what the way forward, they must walk the way of heaven. Now they have come to Bethlehem and are ready to give birth. First of all, the delivery date is up. When the time of God was satisfied, Christ chose Bethlehem and the virgin Mary, who was born during the first nationwide census of the Roman emperor. Isaiah’s testimony to this“ The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)” In fact, the prophecy about the birth of Christ in Israel was made by the prophet Balaam. He is not an Israeli. The King of Moab asked him to curse the Israelis, but he in turn blessed the Israelis. It also predicted that Christ would be born in Israel, which is really amazing!
Secondly, being born in the manger. Christ was born, why not choose to be in the palace? At least it should be a good hotel, agree? From the perspective of Joseph and Mary, the most incomprehensible is the two of them. Conceived By the Holy Spirit , the angels revealed, there is nothing to say. But I’m conceived with the birth of God, can’t I be treated kindly? Isn’t there even a hotel? Who has this ability? They knew this was from God, so they chose to be silent! I guess they didn’t get the answer all their lives, and didn’t know the reason until they passed away to meet the Lord. Paul said that Christ Jesus is: “rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” In this way, it is not surprising to choose to be born in a manger.
Finally, God and men testify together. Luke cares about the details, he said： “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. ” This was a testimony that everyone in the local area understood what it meant when they heard it, right? What do these shepherds in the wilderness have to do with the birth of Jesus? At this time, God himself appeared on the scene. He sent messengers to the shepherd’s side to shine. Please note that light is shining from all sides. The shepherds had never seen such a scene, and of course they would feel scared. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I have good news. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. God and men witnessed the historical moment of Christ’s birth! Let’s look at the third point:
Christ became flesh and came into the world as a man. In addition to the prophecies of the Old Testament, He also gave many witnesses in the process of the coming of the New Testament. First, witness the Beatitudes. God provided abundant testimony for the birth of Christ. One is the testimony of the angel Gabriel when he appeared to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). The second is the testimony of the Lord’s messenger to Joseph in a dream (Matthew 1:18-25). The third is the testimony of Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth for Mary under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:39-45). The fourth is Mary’s own testimony under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:46-55).The fifth is the testimony the angel gave to the shepherd. Sixth is the testimony of Simeon, the Lord’s holy servant. Seventh is the testimony of the prophet Anna. Eighth is the testimony given by doctors of the East.（Luke 2:8-20, 22-38 Matthew 2:1-12）
Secondly, a sign. I am a person who likes to pay attention to details. I found that Christ was born in Bethlehem which also left details: “ This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.” This sign includes three things: a baby, wrapped in a cloth, lying in a manger, none of which is indispensable. In fact, Luke left another mark, that is, Luke’s genealogy, which is based on the matrilineal genealogy of Maria. This is also very peculiar, because Jewish genealogies are usually patrilineal genealogies. Luke’s genealogy has become a special mark instead. This is the mark left by God the Father for his only beloved Son incarnate and descended into the world.
Finally, the angel choir. This is also a detailed description. Perhaps this is the first time in history that God has sent a choir from heaven to the earth to sing praises. This is not only a historical record, but also a trace of the unity of God and men. What do these angel choirs come to the earth to sing? Luke has seen and even recorded the poetry of the angel’s hymn book: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” It can be said that the worship and praise of the New Testament church also began from this.
Okay, thank the Lord! We will stop here for the sermon “record of the coming of Christ”. God uses the census, population birth, and population testimony under the Roman emperor to make us know that Christ will be born as a man when God is fulfilled. May the glory be to God and peace to those who please Him!
Let us pray……