Monday, October 26, 2009

10/27=- Luke 2:1-7 Birth of Christ

(Sheep Cave in Bethlehem traditionally place of birth of Christ)

10/27- Luke 2:1- 7

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Calvin abridged: Luke relates how Christ was born in Bethlehem. First he sets aside the idea that he contrived to make it up, by saying that they returned home according to their family and tribe. Mary did not intentionally go to Bethlehem to have the child born there, but their purpose was to obey the edict of Augustus. They were led like blind persons, by the hand of God, to the place where Christ must be born. This would appear to the irreligious (like everything else to them) to be by accident or Fortune. But we must not look only the events themselves. We also must look to the prediction of the prophet many centuries before (Micah 5:2). A comparison will clearly show it to have been accomplished by the wonderful Providence of God, that Augustus’ edict to go to Bethlehem was at that very point in time. Thus we see that the holy servants of God, even if they are unconscious where they are going, still keep to the right path because God directs their steps. God even uses tyrants who were subjugating his people to accomplish his ends. Thus the governor who made this decree of Augustus’ known was a herald of God to Mary- calling her to his appointed place. So God employs wicked tyranny for the redemption of His people. Eusebius says that this registration was an edict by the Senate, but I don’t know what his sources are for saying this. 7- No room for them in the inn. We see here the great poverty of Joseph, the tyranny that made him bring his wife with him in such a poor state. It is probably true that those who descended from the former royal family of David were treated even harsher than the rest. We see what sort of beginning the Son of God had, and in what cradle he was placed. His condition at birth was because he decided to empty himself for our sakes (Phil. 2:7). When he was thrown into a stable, placed in a manger, and a lodging refused him, it was that heaven might be opened to us- not as a temporary lodging, but as our eternal country and inheritance, and that angels might receive us into their house.

Thoughts: Joseph was not a rebel against Rome. He was a powerless, humble carpenter, whose care for his wife meant he had to bring her with him. He went to Bethlehem not knowing he was going to fulfill a prophecy of the King of kings, but thinking he was fulfilling a tyrannical edict from an empire a thousand miles away. Political power has the illusion of accomplishing great good or evil. Many panic over the great power of the United States congress or presidency. But God is in control. The Prince of Peace still gives us peace though worldly powers have great strength.

Prayer: Give us grace to believe in your grace and power Lord. So often we are overwhelmed by human ability and power. Help us to believe your grace – that shows in your coming down to earth for us.

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