04 Luke 2.1-52
The 5 Voices
v If you have spent any time in the church at all
Ø This text is familiar to you
§ This birth narrative is read every Christmas season
· I will always associate this text to our Christmas eve tradition growing up
¨ It was read to us before we went up to our rooms for the night
v Perhaps you have heard more than your share of sermons preached from this text
Ø Focusing on the birth of the baby Jesus
Ø Focusing on the Shepherds
Ø Focusing on Simeon and Anna
Ø Focusing on Jesus as a boy
v Today, I would like for us together to look at the 5 voices that we hear in this text…
Ø The first voice we hear is…
The Voice of Caesar Augustus
v READ 2:1-3
v Here we are, 6 months after the birth of John the Baptist
Ø Augustus issues a decree to count all the people in his kingdom
Ø Joseph & Mary travel to Bethlehem to register
Ø While there Mary went into labor
§ There were no inns as the song tells us
· Hospitality was taken care of by the elders
¨ That is why that is a prerequisite of being an elder in 1 Tim 3:2
v So Mary was relegated to a barn
v Mary gave birth to the savior of the entire world in a barn
Ø What humble beginnings for the king of all creation, the ruler of heaven and earth, listen to how Col 1:15 described Him…
§ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
v This little baby was, is as the Nicene Creed states...
Ø God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God
v What humble beginnings…
Ø The God who cannot be contained by the heavens
§ Contained within a little ramshackle barn
Ø The same God who calls the heavens his throne and the earth His footstool
§ Isa 66:1
· Contained within a little “feed trough” for cows
v What Humble beginnings…
Ø The Lord of Lord and king of kings not born in the grand halls of a palace full of gold and precious gems
§ But born in a mud and wood hovel full of smelly animals
v What humble beginnings…
Ø His birth was not heralded to the neighboring kings and visiting dignitaries
§ The angel came to declare the most important birth in the history of the world not to the proud, but the humble
· To the lowliest of people
¨ To the shepherds
v And isn’t that always who Jesus reveals himself to
Ø To the humble
§ I don’t care if you are a CEO, the President, or emperor
· When you come before the Lord it is always with your hat in your hand
v And when you give your life to the Lord…
Ø It is never with pride, arrogance or self-importance
§ But with a humble and contrite heart
· Lk 11:14
¨ For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
v And it is to the lowly, humble shepherds that the second voice speaks…
2:8-21 ~ The Angelic Voice
v An angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds and says…
Ø READ V. 10-11
v The angel tells us three very important things about this child…
Ø He is…
· This is a powerful descriptor of who this child is!
¨ Used 9,000x in OT for the name of God
Ø The word here is the Greek form of the word Yahweh
§ “YHWH” ~ The Tetragrammaton
· Jews revered the name of God so highly that they would not even write it
¨ Name means “the one who is, the absolute and unchangeable one”
¨ This is a declaration of who this child really is
The angels also declare that this child is…
· The “anointed one”
¨ Anointing in the Scriptures always denotes a special task
Ø Prophets, Priests and Kings were anointed
§ Elisha was anointed (1 Kings 19:16)
§ Aaron was anointed as the first priest (Ex 40:13-15)
§ Samuel anointed both Saul and then David to be king
· And Jesus was the one person that came to fulfill each of those anointings in one person
¨ He is our Prophet
Ø In that he came to speak the very words of God
§ For he was the very word of God
· John 1:1, 14 ~ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us
¨ He is our Priest
Ø READ Heb 9:11-15
¨ and He is our King
Ø In that He has defeated our enemy for us and rules over us
§ And we have to realize…We are not our own!
· We are bought with a price
¨ Ransomed as Hebrews puts it
§ And as Paul states in 1 Cor 6:20
· You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body
v And Jesus was anointed for a very special task…
§ To be our Savior
· This is the only time in the Synoptic Gospels that Jesus is referred to in this way!
¨ Jesus came to save us from our sinfulness
A little boy came running into the house after playing outside. His mother stopped him and asked what was on his right hand. He replied, "Oh, just a little mud." His mother then asked if he was planning on getting it off his hand. He thought for a moment and said, "Sure, Mom. I'll just wipe it off with my other hand." There was only one problem with the plan, one dirty hand plus one clean hand equals two dirty hands.
Many people are like that little boy, they see the evil and wrongs in their life and think they can make themselves clean by bringing the good in their life to bear on the bad. But it doesn't work that way. We all need a way to be made morally and spiritually clean, and we will never succeed in doing it ourselves. The only solution is to be found in the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from all of our sins
v The third voice we hear in our passage is that of Simeon
2:22-35 ~ The Inspired Voice
v As upright Jews, the text tells us that Mary and Joseph did three things…
READ V 21-24
v It is while they are on their way to present Jesus that they meet Simeon
Ø Who at once recognized the infant for who he really is
§ And bursts out into song
READ V. 29-32
Ø In this song we find that God has done something that He is always doing with us…
§ Fulfilling His Promises
· In v. 26, we read that the Holy Spirit had promised Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Christ child
Booker T. Washington describes meeting an ex-slave from Virginia in his book Up from Slavery:
I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was permitted to work wherever and he pleased.
Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some 300 dollars.
Understanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man still traveled back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands.
In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and he never broke his word.
Ø The God we serve is a God of His Word
§ The Lord has given us many promises of
· Daily Bread
· Help in times of trouble
· Wisdom if we ask for it
· Forgiveness of our sins
· Guidance in decision-making
· Eternal Life
· And many more!
Ø And He will make good on every one of them…with interest!
v Simeon is described in out text as “Waiting for the consolation of Israel”
Ø He is an important example to each and every one of us …
§ Simeon longed for the first advent
· Longing for the fulfillment of the promise God gave him
v We are to long also…for the second advent, for the second coming
Ø RQ: But do we???
§ Jesus gave us the sacrament of communion to constantly remind us
· 1 Cor 11:22
¨ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Ø We are to look forward, to long for that day when Christ will return
· Peter reminds the Christians of the Day of the Lord that they should look forward to the second coming…
Ø 2 Peter 3:11 & 13
§ You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming…But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
· In the 2nd coming he will bring heaven back to earth
¨ That is what the picture tells us of the New Jerusalem coming down to earth in Hebrews and Revelation
Ø We are to be heavenly minded people!
§ Not so much that we are no earthly good
Ø Longing for Christ’s return and heaven’s instillation here on earth…
§ 1) Keeps us focused
· CS Lewis wrote
¨ If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most in the present world are precisely those who thought most of the next
Ø Also, longing for Chris’s return and heaven’s instillation here on earth…
§ 2) Encourages us
In the heart of every winter, just when it seems the cold and snow of Maine will never end, the garden catalogs begin arriving. They have pictures of gorgeous gardens in full bloom on warm sunny days. If you are a person that gardens, you pores over the pages spending time planning your next year’s plantings make lists of new flowers you would like to try and new varieties of vegetables to plant. And sure enough, the springtime comes, the soil warms up, and all of creation comes back to life. It's the anticipation of the Springtime that gets us through the winter. And it's the anticipation of Heaven that moves us victoriously through the overcast days and years on earth.
The 4th voice we here in this pericope is that of Anna…
2:36-42 ~ The Prophetic Voice
Ø Anna is a prophetess
v And Anna gives us a great example of what we are to do with the knowledge of the savior…
READ v. 38
v She Prophesied!
Ø She spoke forth and told people about the incarnate Word
§ She shared Jesus with those in the temple that day
· Anna is the first evangelist we meet in the NT!
v And she gives us a great example of what we are to do with the knowledge we have
Ø Share It!
v Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ)
Although I have shared Christ personally with many thousands of people through the years, I am a rather reserved person and I do not always find it easy to witness. But I have made this my practice, and I urge you to do the same: Assume that whenever you are alone with a person for more than a few minutes, you are there by divine appointment to explain to that person the love and forgiveness he can know through faith in Jesus Christ.
v But so many people say…
Ø Not me, what can I say, I don’t know a lot, I cannot defend my faith, What difference can I make
§ There is a saying that Anna certainly acted out and that we should live by…
· I’m just a nobody telling anybody about somebody who can save anybody
The last voice we hear in our text is that of Jesus Himself…
2:43-52 ~ The Voice of God
v Here we are now 12 years later
Ø Joseph and Mary are viewed as law abiding Jews again
§ Traveling to Jerusalem on one of the 3 great pilgrimage feasts…
v After it is over, the caravan moves out
Ø Jesus stays behind
§ Found 3 days later in the temple discussing theology with the teachers
v Mary says to Jesus
Ø V. 48 ~ Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
v Jesus replies
Ø V. 49 ~ “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?
v RQ: Do you notice what Jesus is doing here so delicately?
Ø He is making a definite statement about who he is
§ Mary says “your father and I have been searching for you”
· Jesus turns that on its ear and tells them who’s son he really is
¨ “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house”
Ø Jesus is declaring, perhaps for the first time publicly, who He is…
§ The son of God
· God incarnate
v And look at the reaction of His parents
Ø V. 50 ~ But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
§ Even though Mary and Joseph were visited by angels
§ Even though Mary gave birth when she was a virgin
· They did not understand who this child was
v And that is the reaction that Jesus continually got to His claim of Being God incarnate
Ø even His disciples fully understood who He was.
§ Because it was so hard to get past His humanity
v And that is the reaction that Jesus continues to get today…
Ø He is only a man!
A man was shown a red glass bottle and asked what he thought was in the bottle. He replied in succession, "Wine? Brandy? Whiskey?" When told it was full of milk, he could not believe it until he saw the milk poured out. What he hadn't known, of course, was that the bottle was made of red glass, and its redness hid the color of the milk it contained.
So it was and is with the Lord's humanity. Men saw him tired, hungry, suffering, weeping, and thought he was only man.
It was not until the milk of His humanity was poured out on that hill of Calvary and He rose from the dead three days later that His divinity was unmistakable
v That is why the focus of our faith is on the dead, burial and resurrection
Ø Paul wrote:
§ I pass this on to you as of first importance…