I apologize for the audio quality. I accidentally left the recorder on mic instead of using the inputs from the microphone and it turned out really muddy.
This Christmas lesson is taught each year and you will find the other recordings of this lesson each year is much clearer
Theme: The Christmas story
Verses covered: Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-7
Note for the teacher.
The time of the birth of John reveals the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. John was born around six months prior to the Lord Jesus. The course of Zacharias occurred on the eighth lot of the year (1 Chron. 24:10), which ended in the third month or June/July. After his allotted time Elisabeth conceived and gave birth around the beginning of the New Year (March/April). Six months later the Lord Jesus was born on or about the feast of tabernacles (Zech. 14:16-19). The feast of tabernacles (Lev. 23:34) was like a harvest feast or a Thanksgiving Day. It provided rest and refreshment from the harvest and thanksgiving to God for the blessings of the harvest (Deut. 8:7-20). The feast of tabernacles will be honored for eternity to commemorate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Second Coming.
We know the Lord Jesus did not come to earth on December 25, but we are thankful for the season where we celebrate that our Creator would come to give His life for His creation.
The angel was sent to unto a city in Galilee (v26) Galilee was the northern part of Israel. The city was Nazareth. Nazareth was considered a ghetto city. (John 1:46)
Galilee was looked down upon by the Jews, especially in the Jerusalem area. Many Jews had been taken out of Galilee many years ago by the Assyrians (2 Kings 15:29) The Gentile Assyrians then moved in and settled there. (2Kings 17:24) The resulting population was half Jew and half Gentile. People that had both Jewish and Gentile parents were known as the Samaritans. Although Galilee contained many Jews, there was a large Gentile influence. It was often a lawless place as revealed by their desire and almost successful attempt to kill Jesus when He was here in Luke 4. The Jews in Jerusalem would mock Galilee by saying, “There is no priest among the Galileans”. They considered the Galileans uneducated and inferior. (Isaiah 53:2 is interesting because it describes His beginning on earth as a root coming out of dry ground)
The Bible states that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Christ. (v27) Mary confirms this with her own testimony. (v34) God had foretold that this would be the case (Is 7:14). God restated this verse in Mathew 1:22-23. Mathew 1:16 is careful not to call Joseph the father of Christ. To deny the virgin birth is to call Mary, Mathew, and God liars. Jesus was made of a woman, not of a man and woman (Gal 4:4)
We receive our “nature” from our fathers. (John 8:44, 48+49) When we are “born again” we receive God’s spiritual nature (2 Peter 1:4, 1 John 3:9+10). The blood of the father runs through the blood of the child. This is why the genealogies in the Bible always say, “… The son of (the father’s name)”. This is why there is always a blood test done on the child to see who the father is in the legal and medical world. The Virgin Birth is important because it teaches that the blood that Jesus shed on the cross was God’s blood (Acts 20:28). No one could be an offering for sin if He had sin Himself. Jesus would have to be the Son of God. This was not a physical relationship between God and Mary. (v35) The Holy Ghost would come upon her (the Holy Spirit does not have a physical body) and the “power” of the Highest would overshadow her. This could be similar to the glory of God resting upon the tabernacle and temple. In this way, Jesus could be completely human, yet remain God.
Mary was blessed among women (v28) WHAT WOULD THIS INDICATE ABOUT HER? She was still one of the women. Not “above”. She was a very special lady but no different than any one else. As a matter of fact, Mary magnifies the Lord for what is happening (v46), and was the first to call Jesus her “Savior”. (v47) The angel never describes her as sinless. The angel did not say that she was “full of grace” and would be a source of help with God for others. Rather, she was a recipient of grace from God. The wise men chose to worship Jesus when they saw them. (Mathew 2:11) Mary was not the only woman that God called “blessed” in the Bible. Jael was called blessed in Judges 5:24 and when someone tried to exalt Mary, Jesus lifted obedience higher in Luke 11:27-28.
Mary was troubled at the saying (v29) She was not sure what manner of salutation this should be. HOW DID YOU RESPOND TO: when you first heard of salvation, baptism, tithing, prayer, and God’s will for our lives. Often, our first reaction is to be afraid. Mary was afraid (v30) This is normal, but God will lead the way. Mary’s faith had to be strong but her fear was because if she was found pregnant without a husband it would mean exile or stoning based upon the leadership’s decision. It was a supernatural appearance that would have a scared any one of us but Mary was concerned about the legal ramifications.
Mary had found favor with God (v30) To “find” favor indicates that she was looking for it. I think that she had been searching for God’s leading and for His plan for her life. When we seek, we shall find. Again, God already knows what He wants to do with us.
His name was to be called Jesus. (v31) Jesus means “the Lord saves” or “Jehovah is salvation”. This theme was carried through out the birth of Christ. (Luke 1: 47, 2:30 +38) The purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to save sinners! (Luke 5:32) This is the big purpose behind it all.
He was to be called the Son of the Highest and the Son of God. (v32+35) Notice that he is not a son but the Son. This separates Him from the rest of God’s children. He is the only begotten Son (John 3:16) Notice that God is called the “Highest” (v35) In the old testament, God is called the Highest. (Psalm 18:13) Calling Him the Son of the Highest makes Him equal with God. The angel also calls Him “holy”, therefore He is not like men, but God (v35)
WHEN DID JESUS’ LIFE BEGIN? (verse 3 indicates that Jesus was the One that created the world) Jesus did not begin His life at His conception (John1:1-3, 14) “with” means that He was a separate person but had a relationship with the Father. “Was” indicates that He was deity. God uses “Word” to describe Jesus because as the Bible is God’s written word to reveal God to man, Jesus in person is a revealing of God to mankind. (v5 He is light) He always was God, but became human flesh to fulfill a special mission. (Micah 5:2; Phil 2:5-8)
The Lord (Father) would give Him the throne of David forever (v32) God had promised David’s “house” (lineage or descendants) the throne forever over the kingdom of Israel. (2 Samuel 7:16, 1 Chron 17:11-14) Jesus will fulfill this prediction (Is 9:6-7, Dan 2:44, 7:14) To reign over the house of Jacob means that He will be the king of the Jews forever. This will start at the Millennium and never end. The fact that He will reign forever also clearly indicates that this is God himself.
The miracle was not the birth of Christ but the *conception (35) God would confine Himself to a human body. It does not seem that Mary was surprised that the time for the Messiah had come. Daniel 9:25-26 predicted the exact time. She just seemed surprised that she was the one chosen.
Mary saw herself as the handmaid of the Lord (v38) HOW DID MARY VIEW HERSELF? Handmaid means servant. She had a unique calling and her reply was for it to be according to God’s word. She accepted the will of God and any difficulty that would come as a result. Notice that this task was not done without her willingness. Remember that she risked losing her future husband Joseph. (Mathew 1:18-20) WHAT WAS THE PENALTY FOR IMMORAL BEHAVIOR? Death by stoning was the penalty for those committing fornication. What dedication to God’s will! All of us should yield to God’s special plan for our lives.
Luke 2:1-7 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Caesar Augustus decreed that all the world should be taxed (v1) God uses government to accomplish His will. Caesar was to be used to fulfill the scriptures. The Roman government would send officials to each land, assess the value of each property, verify legal ownership, and then hold the owners responsible for taxes. Only those that were present, and were taxed could retain ownership of their land. This is why everyone had to be on site. This is how they ended up in Bethlehem at the right time.
The Savior must be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).The Jews understood this.(Mathew 2: 4-6, John 7:40-42)
Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth (v4) They went back to the home of their ancestors to register for taxation The trip was at least 75 miles. WOULD THIS TRIP BE AN EASY ONE FOR THEM? WHY? God used Caesar to perform His perfect plan.
Joseph was of the house and lineage of David (v4) Naomi and Elimilech were from Bethlehem in the province of Judah (Ruth 1:2) Boaz bought Elimilech’s inheritance when there was no other male heir. Boaz was the father of Obed, who fathered Jesse who had a son named David. (Mathew 1:5+6) So, David’s lineage went back to Bethlehem. As David was born in Bethlehem, so must the future king.
Jesus was Mary’s “first born” son (v7) The Bible specifies this because she had other children with Joseph after Jesus was born. (Mathew 12: 46, 13:55-56) (Psalm 69:8) James, (the writer of the book of James) was Jesus’ half brother (Galatians 1:19) and Pastor in the church of Jerusalem (Acts 15: 2+13) Jesus’ other half brother was Jude, who wrote the book of Jude (Jude 1)
There was no room in the inn. (v7) What were they so filled with that they had no room for God and His Savior? Even since the beginning, people think that they have no room. They were too busy to notice that they let the most important thing pass by.
Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger (7) I think that God was vague on purpose. A manger was not a cute wood dwelling that smelled of freshly cut straw. Most of the time a manger was a muddy, temporary place to keep animals that smelled like manure. Can you imagine Joseph’s fears as he helped his wife give birth in such a filthy place? This building would have been destroyed over the years. God wants “heart” worship, not “place” worship. (John 4:21-23)
The angel did not announce that this Baby Jesus would change the course of human history. That is incidental. The angel does not mention the art, literature, the education, the benevolence of the whole world will be colored, influenced and formed by this same Baby Jesus. The angel does not mention that slavery will tend to disappear, that single wife homes will take the place of plural wives, that schools, hospitals, and orphanages and relief programs from around the world will flow forth from the influence of the Child born that day in Bethlehem. All these are incidental to the one great reason and end. The Lord Jesus came to be a Saviour.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; …. she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. …and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Luke 2:8-14 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
As soon as the angel announced the birth of the Saviour, God tells us that immediately the skies were filled angels praising God and shouting that man could have peace with God, and that God’s good will was toward them and now available. I am not sure what the shepherds tune was that they were humming or chanting or singing on the way to the manger but the message of the angel and the praise of the heavenly host was fresh on their mind.
The wise men were wise because they did not let their education and knowledge stop them from seeking the Saviour. Yes, they came many months after the birth of Christ, and, “Yes,” there were more than three, but their journey started when the star appeared. May we in this season be inspired to seek Him at all costs. May we desire to see and look-upon, the one who was born to die.
If He was Jesus in the cradle, what is He now that He is exalted in the highest heavens?
As Emmanuel, God with us, His very Incarnation made Him Jesus, the Savior of men; but what shall we say of Him now that, in addition to His Incarnation, we have His Atonement, His Resurrection, and, to crown all, His Ascension.
If in the arms of His mother He was the Savior, what is He now that He sitteth upon the throne of God?
If wrapped in swaddling clothes He was Jesus, the Savior, what is He now that the heavens have received Him?
If in the workshop of Nazareth, and sitting in the temple among the doctors, He was Jesus, the Savior, what is He now that His infancy and childhood are over, and He is exalted far above all principalities and powers?
If He was Jesus when on the cross, presenting Himself as an offering for His people, what is He now that He hath by one sacrifice perfected forever them that are saved?
THERE was no hope for any sinner unless the Son of God Himself should save him. But God’s Word says, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;” There is one thing that I as a trembling sinner can be sure of; it is this, — the Christ of God, did not come to deny the fact of human sin, or to spread a philosophy which might make sin seem harmless; or to define it as a mere mistake, or perhaps as a calamity, but as a hell-deserving crime. Jesus Christ did not come into the world to help you to forget your sin. He has not come to give you a cloak with which to cover it. He has not appeared that He may so strengthen your minds that you may learn to laugh at your iniquities. He has come, to give you a real deliverance from sin by putting it away. Jesus left Heaven and all its splendor to rescue a sinner like me.