Faithlife Sermons

The Most Incredible Event of All Time

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The birth of Jesus for the most part was obscurred to the world, and still is today.

Notes & Transcripts
rAs we ponder this most sacred scene, I can’t help but point out the significance between the Royal family and the Shepherds that were out that night.
We find that circumstances beyond their control bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem that day, a decree from Caesar Augustus that a census of all the people in the world should be taken, and that everyone was to return to their place of birth. We also find that in the middle of this epic scene, life still continues on and some Shepherds are on the night watch guarding their sheep in the nearby hills.
These unlikely participants have much in common with each other:
For one thing -
both are marginalized Socially - Mary and Joseph by the scandal of Mary’s untimely pregnancy, and the Shepherds by their status amongst the people of the land, “those stinking shepherds”!
They also -
both are marginalized Economically - Joseph a carpenter squeezing out a living amongst the less affluent, certified by the sacrifice of two doves at Jesus’ circumcision 8 days later (the appropriation for the poor rather than two lambs). And, the shepherds who despite the business of sacrificial lambs, a commodity in Israel, were disenfranchised by the corruption within the Temple practices by the Sanhedrin.
And lastly -
both would claim the blessed visit by an Angel of God.
But as we examine this more closely, there is something more perplexing.
Why would God choose these circumstances and people for the most incredible event of all time?
Especially when we consider that even now after 2000 years, it is still -

I. Obscured by Sanitization.

It is well understood that the Bible has been translated into numerous languages as well as the English vernacular many times over.
There are also those today who say there is no need for more translations as we have the one perfect English translation the KJV translated in 1611, with it’s revisions of 1769.
But, the problem with this thinking is that, the language of the Bible no longer reads in the vernacular, as the Koine Greek text of the N.T. was to the masses of the first century.
In other words, First century Christians were hearing God’s word in the everyday expression of their conversational language.
Yet, even using the original Greek text today, as the Greek Orthodox Church does, no longer reads in their vernacular. The Koine Greek is Archaic to the modern Greek speaking Christian.
I’m not advocating dumbing it down, but that the change in language demands better translations.
In other words, First century Christians were hearing God’s word in the everyday expression of their conversational language.
And they did a good job, but time proved that we would need other translations to contextualize the scriptures somewhat for us.
And so modern translations have their place of helping to understand the scriptures better.
Now, why am I saying all this? Because even with all the modern translations there is still a disconnect from the context of the scripture.
Simply reading the scripture of the birth of Jesus without applying it contextually, sanitizes the application, obscuring it among the masses today.
The story must be relevant to every generation, and with a little imagination, one could put it in a way that drives the context of the scripture to the heart of the listener. This is the work of the Pastor!
“And there were some Waste Management crews emptying dumpsters that night, when an angel appeared to them, with a great light shinning around them, saying, Hey guys, I know you’re afraid but don’t wet your pants, I’ve come to bring you, and all people some exciting news! For there has been born today, in a tent city behind Walmart in Gardner a Savior, He’s the king of the universe who has come to save people from their sins. Now go and see this Incredible sight.”
This Crude yet effective translation just de-sanitized the event of the birth of Christ.
B. The story
Because, the ugliness of the conditions and baseness of the people has been exposed in your minds.
Whatever sanitary picture you imagined of that night in Bethlehem, no matter what Christmas Card picture you held to, has just been adulterated by the very realness of Jesus’ birth.
So for the majority of people thinking about who this baby is, there’s a disconnect and sort of a fairy tale status to Him.

II. Obscured by Social Rank.

In our culture of bling, glamour, and spotlight, we don’t gravitate toward the lowly or the meek, or the humble, or the poor.
People have a hard time relating to Jesus, because He is not the superstar they want Him to be.
Which was evidenced in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” of the 1970’s. The last scene tells all, as the cast of actors gets on the bus to leave with Jesus hanging on a cross. the only emotion exhibited by the crew is pity. He didn’t live up to their expectations!
We don’t want to embrace what He is earthly, nor His Social status, or His call to giving and self abasement!
We want a Jesus who makes us feel good about ourselves, doesn’t judge us, and wants us to have everything the world can offer!
If we the church, pander to this desire, we will make Him and His wonderful birth even more obscure!
We need to be people who can shine when there’s nothing earthly to shine about.
We need to not get sucked into the vortex of materialism.
We must be like Jesus, here on earth.
If we have been brought into a relationship with one

III. Obscured by Prejudice.

You can’t get around this. Jesus was a Jew!
That term carried as much a burden then as it does today!
The Jews were God’s chosen people, not because of social status or brilliance, or riches or good looks, but simply because God decided that one man Abraham would father this great nation of people.
They were hard hearted and stubborn people. Often failing to live by the grace God bestowed on them.
They are just as marginalized today and hated by so many!
But then again so are we, Christians who have been called into this covenant in Christ.
We also share a Judeo Christian heritage!
At this point, I must ask this question:
If we have been brought into a relationship with one who is hated by prejudice, how can we engage in prejudice?
So back to my question:
Why did God choose these circumstances and people to experience the Most incredible Event of All Time?
Because He wants no distractions or incentives to the main reason of all - He wants helpless people who need a Savior!
And so, He also does not need us to provide entertainment, incentives, bribery, or any other scheme to bring people to the cross, He only needs us, the sanitary engineers of the world to tell everyone of His greatness!
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