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Luke 2:7, 34-35

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I love this time of year.
I think it’s starting actually earlier and earlier, but I love this time of year.
There are some really distinct things about this time of year,
that prey on those areas of fond memories in our minds and in our hearts.
I’m 41 but I can remember going to Christmas services with Niki and her family.
And then we would go out and look at Christmas lights afterwards
and then get home.
Her dad would have these jumbo shrimp and we’d all sit around and talk.
Then you get a bit older and all that this time of the year affords,
it all kind of comes around full circle.
But, listen, we cannot deny that there is a cultural shift around this time of of the year.
Something happens in a cross culture fashion.
Even lost people, no matter the music genre a person listens to.
Whether you like folk stuff, rap stuff, hip hop stuff, rock-n-roll stuff or easy listening,
wherever you are, in the scope of things,
in the scope of things,
this time of year (all of a sudden) everybody’s radio programming shifts.
There’s lights on houses, there’s fake deer in the neighborhoods.
Chandler, M. (2007). Christmas. In Matt Chandler Sermon Archive (). Village Church.
There are all sorts of things that begin to occur that happen at no other time.
The house changes and even the food we eat shifts.
I mean all of a sudden we’re eating food that you don’t eat any other time of the year.
Nobody on Thursday night goes,
“Candied yams. That’s what we’re having tonight.
We’re going to get yams and put marshmallows on the.
Green bean casserole! We’re smoking a ham, it’s Tuesday.”
Nobody does that.
There are certain things that we eat this time of year that really
throughout the rest of the year
we probably don’t get near them.
And so you’ve got the presents and the trees and yards decorated and food and music that makes us nostalgic.
You’ve got all these thing that start happening.
It’s one of the weirdest shifts culturally that we have.
And I love every bit of it (except the traffic in Mereville). I really do.
But here’s my fear, and it’s not a Christmas fear to be honest with you, it’s just a consistent fear that I have for us.
And my fear is that for
all the tinsel in the trees, for
all the presents and the pomp, for
all these lights and family coming in and
Chandler, M. (2007). Christmas. In Matt Chandler Sermon Archive (). Village Church.
food to be eaten, for
all this stuff that we’ve got going on,
for all the shadows, if we’re not careful, then we’re going to miss the form.
And if you see the shadows but miss the form, then when everything’s said and done,
you’ve got Tuesday afternoon.
You’ll have more trash than normal,
you’ll have a little more debt than normal and
You’ll have more trash than normal, you’ll have a little more debt than normal and you’ll have a dirtier house than normal.
you’ll have a dirtier house than normal.
But besides that, that will be just what you have.
If you empty this thing of depth and
you stay on the surface, as the rest of our culture does,
because the culture has no real room for Jesus.
This speaks right into a text of Scripture from ’m going t read a extremely familiar verse and a couple of very unfamiliar verses.
7 "Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” ()
Then the unfamiliar verses: 34 "Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed—35 "and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”” ()
It’s an important part of the teaching of the Christmas accounts.
It’s a very important part of what the Bible teaches about Christmas, and
it’s seldom brought out and looked at in an undiluted form
the way I want to do this morning.
People seldom look at the full account because it seems like a downer,
even though it isn’t.
That is, the Christmas story tells us Jesus Christ came to be rejected.
Everything about this chapter in Luke is foreshadowing.
Luke is not simply a reporter, though
he’s certainly telling us accurate things about how Jesus was born.
He’s also a teacher, and he’s showing us Jesus Christ came to be rejected.
So on the one hand, you have this very famous place I mentioned.
It says, "While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” ()
Why does Luke bring that out? He’s shut out.
Here’s Jesus Christ at the very beginning, shut out.
Doors barred. Manger. Out in the cold. No room.
Then we read again 34 "Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed—35 "and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”” ()
Jesus came to be rejected.
Jesus came to get people mad at Him.
Jesus came to reveal hearts and have people speak against Him.
Jesus came to be barred.
Jesus came to be shut out.
Jesus came to be rejected. Why?
It wasn’t because He loves rejection.
There are people who look for rejection, and the reason they seek rejection is it makes them feel important.
He wasn’t seeking rejection but He came knowing He was going to be rejected.
I would argue, that if you don’t understand why He was rejected and
the implications of that rejection,
then you don’t understand Christmas.
You will just know the lights, tinsel, rain deer, cards, and candied yams!
Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
You will just know the shadow and not the substance. [slow]
Let me say that the first reason that Jesus experienced rejections is because of:

The Superficiality of the world.

Jesus didn’t meet the superficial standards of the world to be the Messiah.
7 "Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” ()
“laid Him in a manger”. That is a food trough.
That shows that Jesus came from the wrong side of the tracks.
When you get to the place where he is presented for circumcision,
the offering Joseph and Mary give is two pigeons, two doves, two birds.
That was the offering that was, by the Jewish law, offered up by the very poorest of all people,
which means Joseph and Mary were poor people.
Jesus was a carpenter.
Jesus did not look like what the world would say a leader, a messiah should possibly be.
All they knew about Jesus is this is not leadership material.
Illegitimate kid.
Poor family.
Wrong side of the tracks.
Father died young.
Raised by his mother.
No connections.
Socially marginal.
Beyond that, we’re told he was unhandsome.
You know in ? “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected …”
That’s what says.
He was not pretty.
He was not good-looking.
Here’s why He goes completely against what the world says.
What is a celebrity today? What has a celebrity always been?
A celebrity is somebody who’s real pulled together-looking on the outside, even if on the inside they’re a wreck.
The important thing is
Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
we need God, we all know we should be obeying God, we all know we’re sinners and, therefore, we need God, but the way in which all human beings deal with that is we have this engine of self-justification deep in our hearts.
Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
on the outside they’re together.
On the outside they’re beautiful.
On the outside they’re beautiful.
On the outside they’re talented.
On the outside they’re talented.
It doesn’t matter that they’re a mess on the inside.
So Jesus is rejected because of shallowness of this world.
Then there’s

The Threatening nature of His truth.

Look at 35 "and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” ()
This is more serious now.
What this means is, is that Jesus Christ showed people who they were,
and they didn’t like it.
Everybody knows that
we need God, we all know
we should be obeying God, we all know
we’re sinners and, therefore, we need God, but
the way in which all human beings deal with that
is we have this engine of self-justification deep in our hearts.
That engine wants so desperately to think we’re okay, and
therefore, it suppresses the truth.
It does not want to know about God.
It doesn’t want to know what God requires.
It doesn’t want to hear we need God.
It doesn’t want to hear the grace of God.
It doesn’t want to hear that there’s anything wrong with us.
Anything that makes it hard for them to suppress the truth gets them very mad.
That’s the reason why when Jesus Christ came along they hated him.
It got very difficult for them to hold down the truth, to deny the fact that they needed God.
If you’re anything like Jesus Christ, you’re going to get the same kind of rejection.
Certainly that’s what Christmas is all about.
What about the slaughter of the innocents ()?
Immediately, Jesus Christ comes into the world and they’re after Him.
Herod did not want to be reminded he was not the supreme king.
When Jesus Christ comes along, he says, “This reminds me I’m not the real king. I will kill him.”
Don’t you realize when Jesus Christ comes to anybody, Jesus is saying,
“You’re not the real king,” and we all get mad, just like Herod?
We all want to slaughter Him.
Any human being who is so united and inline with Jesus
you remind people of the same things Jesus reminded them of,
you’re going to get rejection too.
Jesus Christ came knowing He’d violate the world’s standards and be rejected, and
knowing he would intimidate people because the truth would threaten them.
He came anyway because of

The Substitutionary Character of His work.

34 "Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed—()
So Christmas, (right?? or Christ coming into this world)
isn’t going to have the exact same effect
upon human souls.
This child is destined to cause the fall of many.
For many, the Lord Himself if a “stumbling stone, a rock of offence”
Which would be proven to be true, not just in Israel but as the centuries continue to pass,
Jesus still continues to stumble people, even religious church members.
Christ would also lead to the rise of many as well.
To come into union with Christ, to be made one with Him who is “THE RESURRECTION”
To be ‘in Christ’ is to so touch life
so fundamentally and
essentially unsinkable
and living,
that the life of Christ instilled or permeated directly and w/out delay
into the soul
that comes to Christ by faith, and then
that attracted soul will be delivered onwards in life
and eventually upwards at death.
Yes Christ, even today is appointed for the fall and rise of humanity.
I mentioned earlier. Let me read from there again,
2 "He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him. 3 "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. 4 "Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 "But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. 6 "We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.” ()
In a nutshell, His rejection is our acceptance.
He didn’t just come to be rejected as an example.
He came to be rejected as a Savior. Do you see this?
His rejection means our acceptance.
He was rejected for our transgressions.
He was our substitute.
That means his rejection has led to our acceptance.
God accepts us because He was rejected.
Simeon says, “He will be a sign that will be opposed.”
Because He is opposed you can receive favor.
Because He’s spoken against, you can be spoken for.
Because He’s spoken against, you can be spoken for.
Because He’s rejected, you can be accepted.
Because He’s rejected, you can be accepted.
Because there’s no room for Him, you
can dwell in the house of the Lord forever. [slow]
I want us to think clearly about what or Who folks are rejecting.
I’m going to read to you an unbelievable statement.
18 "He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,” ()
God’s fullness living inside of Jesus.
In Job you read: 4 "Where were you when I established the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 "Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” ()
8 "Who enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb, 9 "when I made the clouds its garment and total darkness its blanket, 10 "when I determined its boundaries and put its bars and doors in place, 11 "when I declared: “You may come this far, but no farther; your proud waves stop here”? 12 "Have you ever in your life commanded the morning or assigned the dawn its place,” ()
16 "Have you traveled to the sources of the sea or walked in the depths of the oceans?” () 19 "Where is the road to the home of light? Do you know where darkness lives,” ()
Creation is just but the fringe of God’s power!
That means that everything that you can see,
from the stars to
the Grand Canyon,
from mountains to oceans,
all of those are but a fringe,
but a slice of,
but a sliver
of the majesty and glory of God.
I don’t know if you’ve ever stood at the mouth of the Grand Canyon and
let it suck the life out of you. Because it does.
No one feels strong in that moment.
Nobody’s like, “I can bench press three plates.” while standing in front of the Grand Canyon.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the base of some of these mountains...
but all of that, the might of it all, the
size of it all, the
majesty of it all,
according to the Scripture, is fringes, nothing, tiny, unworthy to be compared.
But the Scriptures say that all the fullness of that majesty dwelt in Christ, in Jesus, in this baby.
You think of the book of Revelation.
Chandler, M. (2007). Christmas. In Matt Chandler Sermon Archive (). Village Church.
"He had seven stars in his right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth, and his face was shining like the sun at full strength.” ()
Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God.
And in His right hand He held the seven stars
(which were symbolic of the seven churches)
in the seven largest cities in the ancient world.
And that’s what they are in his right hand,
they’re kind of play things to Him, toy things to Him.
These immense cities that we would say,
“Oh, look how big they are. Look how mighty they are.”
They, all seven of them, are sitting in His right hand.
Look how mighty they are.” They’re all seven of them sitting in His right hand.
They’re like a yo-yo to Him.
And so it says in this one, to further this illustration of
the majesty of God dwelling in Jesus, it says
He shone like the sun at full strength.
I really try to take a day off during the week.
And my normal routine is that on the night before my day off,
I’ll load the coffee pot, to get it ready.
For whatever reason, we have not caught up to technology in the Gilbert house,
so I don’t have one that I can program,
it’s pretty ridiculous, I actually have to push a button!
I actually have to push a button!
So I get the coffee ready to go.
I always wake up when it’s still dark, then I walk into the kitchen, start the coffee,
Chandler, M. (2007). Christmas. In Matt Chandler Sermon Archive (). Village Church.

Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. And in His right hand He held the seven stars which were symbolic of the seven churches in the seven largest cities in the ancient world. And that’s what they are in his right hand, they’re kind of play things to Him, toy things to Him. These immense cities that we would say, “Oh, look how big they are. Look how mighty they are.” They’re all seven of them sitting in His right hand. They’re like a yo-yo to Him. And so it says in this one, to further this illustration of the majesty of God dwelling in Jesus, it says He shone like the sun at full strength.

Chandler, M. (2007). Christmas. In Matt Chandler Sermon Archive (). Village Church.
go and sit in my comfy white chair
for one minute and fifty-two seconds. (1:52)
Then I hear that last drop of coffee go into the pot, and I reach up and turn the lamp on.
I go pour me a cup of coffee, grab my Bible, my journal, a book if I’m in it and
I take it and I sit in the white chair that”s in view of three windows in my home.
And I’ll pray some, read some and I’ll write some. And here’s what starts happening.
The first thing you see is a little bit of light outside and then it goes pink.
Especially this time of year, for whatever reason it starts pink.
And then pink gives way to a pinkish orange.
Then the pink is gone and it’s just orange.
Now, the next thing I see is right above Jim and Lori’s house,
because I live in the neighborhood and you don’t get to see the horizon.
Most of you know exactly what I’m saying.
I see a tiny sliver of basically fire.
Within fifteen minutes of first spotting that,
I’ll have to shift out of my white chair and
onto the bench in our kitchen.
Because even at 6:00–6:30am, the sun coming straight into those windows is too much.
Not at full strength,
not at full power,
not at full heat
but already too much.
This is the Scriptures trying to get across to you and me
the size,
the scope,
the power of Jesus.
Now you see it many times in the New Testament when He does things like
command the wind and the rain and they obey Him or
curse a fig tree and it shrivels up and dies or
curse a fig tree and it shrivels up and dies or
tell a little girl that’s been dead for a day to get up and she listens.
tell a little girl that’s been dead for a day to get up and she listens.
In each one of these instances, people stop walking so close to Him for a little while.
The majesty, the might, the glory, the power of God fully in Jesus.
But here’s where it gets so intriguing.
Powerful things usually have a tendency to struggle with gentleness.
But in Jesus, you have
the fullness of God, you have
the fullness of the majesty of God
purely dwelling in Jesus, but you also have
gentleness,
humility,
meekness,
forgiveness and
love.
Let me illustrate this. In , it says this,
18 "Here is my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 "He will not argue or shout, and no one will hear his voice in the streets. 20 "He will not break a bruised reed, and he will not put out a smoldering wick, until he has led justice to victory.” ()
So this immense, majestic, powerful Jesus wouldn’t break off a bruised reed,
but He would hold it until it was healthy.
He wouldn’t snuff out a wick smoldering
but would cup His hand and breathe on it gently until it relighted.
Here’s the enigma, here’s what’s so hard for us to get our minds around.
In Jesus is absolute sovereignty over heaven and earth and yet
complete obedience,
infinite majesty and infinite meekness,
completely filled with God’s Spirit and yet as a man, utter obedience to God the Father,
the fullness of God dwelling in Christ, majesty and mercy in the same space.
Now listen, this is the gospel.
Jesus is ultimate reality!
He stands behind all things, in all things, through all things.
He stands behind all things, in all things, through all things.
Throughout all the Evangelical language here’s what you get:
Christ is the form that casts all shadows.
We, as God’s children were created for deep things, so please don’t breath the superficial air!
Chandler, M. (2007). Christmas. In Matt Chandler Sermon Archive (). Village Church.
So when you are all reading the Christmas Account together as a family. And you are watching the kids or the grand kids tear into those Christmas barbies or ripping open their Tonka truck (not the plastic sissy kind either, the metal kind) or someone gets a new I Pad or phone, you light a fire and the years of those nostalgic Christmas mornings come flooding in, what if in the middle of all that: watching your daughters face light up with joy and excitement, you remember the words of Jesus in where He says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Now all of a sudden in that moment it’s more than Christmas Barbie, it’s more than the Tonka truck, it’s more than a new sweater, it’s more than a tree and presents. Now all a sudden there’s something deeper, there’s something divine in the room. All of a sudden something so ordinary becomes so spiritual and vital. And for a moment, you catch a gleam of the substance and forget the shadow!!
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