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Lesson # Luke 2:1-7
Study Material - Luke 2:1-7
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1 Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
We will catch up with John the Baptist again in chapter 3. But for now we will move through the birth and growth sequence of Jesus Christ in chapter 2 of Luke. Then we will follow the four gospels simultaneously through the ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ.
'In those days...'. This refers to the time of Christ's birth obviously, but more than that, it refers to the present leadership of Rome over the district of Judea. Gen. 49:10 prophesies that the savior will come when the scepter leaves Judah.
Now is that time. These were the days of Augustus Caesar. The Roman empire has stretched to its greatest possibility, from Parthia to Britain. Judea was a province of the Roman Empire, and was required to pay taxes to Rome. Jerusalem had been taken by General Pompey only a few decades earlier and the rule of the state was reduced more and more until the current day when Quirinius the Roman governor ruled the entire Syrian area. And this was the first tax count for Rome. Therefore the scepter had vanished from Judah, and thus the time was right for the birth of Christ as foretold. Of course the pregnancy came first and it came at this time. We have already studied king Herod's role from Matthew so we won't review it again here. Suffice to say though the rulership had vanished and 'in those days' was the time foretold by Daniel when Christ should be born.
The time was set, and the place, Mic. 5:2, in Bethelehem. Everyone who knew of it whether before or after the fact agreed on the place, Matt. 2:5-6 and John 7:42. When Herod inquired as to the place, Bethlehem was reported. Bethlehem means the 'city of bread'. Christ is the bread of heaven, the bread of life. It is the city of David, and Christ is of the line of David through the seed of the woman Mary, and indirectly through her husband Joseph, though Joseph's seed was not used. Both parents came down from David but in separate lines, Solomon and Nathan.
Now Mary was in Nazareth, but through the actions of Rome, the decree went out to call all peoples back to their city of ancestry for the tax census. God did not cause this, but God saw this when he viewed all events of history from his omniscience in eternity past. We cannot fool God because he knows of all events long before they will happen.
It is interesting that the Jewish peoples kept extensive accounts of their ancestry and records of tribes and relations to tribe membership, but unfortunately they lost the purpose of the existence of the tribes and nation, which was the means of bringing the savior into this world. They lost the reality, but kept the shadow of their rituals. Isa. 49:7, Jesus because of these extensive records became the 'servant of rulers' when he was born in the records of the Roman Empire census. Thus another tidbit, although a very tiny one comes to pass.
Jesus was born of a very poor couple. They could not afford a room at the inn, but were made comfortable in and Jesus lay in a manger. This was free rent in effect. Though Jesus was first born and the son entitled to the inheritance and the double portion as was the custom, His inheritance was poverty, the owner of nothing, with no foreseeable future. This is our destiny without God in our lives. Despite our station in this world, if God is absent in our life then eternity has nothing in store for us. Without Christ and salvation there is eternal condemnation and the lake of fire. Some fools might even get cocky and go along with the movies and boast that they will go to Hell and shovel coal. Wrong perception of that place. Better to set the oven on 'clean cycle' and ride inside it forever, and never die. Those ovens get pretty hot. But that is even understating the lake of fire. Probably swimming in the sun is closer to the reality of Hell.
He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. These are not infant clothes, but death clothes. The clothes that a bead body is wrapped in before it is placed in a grave. And these were Christ's first clothes following birth, because that was his purpose for coming into the world, His destiny of the Cross. Now the 'ancient of days' was now an infant among mankind and in the most helpless of states. The infant child of poor parents. There was no one to help the mother in her hour of distress in child birth. No friend. They looked for a room and found none. They were on a journey not to stay permanently, but temporarily. So Christ was on a journey in His first advent. This was not to be the permanent stay, but the temporary visit to accomplish the task of the Cross.
If Joseph and Mary had been rich, room probably would have been made for them, but they were poor, therefore the stable was their place of staying. Mary was pregnant prior to marriage, and therefore the subject of worldly scorn and contempt. Jesus therefore was rejected by His own. Scorned and rejected and sent to lay where the cattle and sheep lay for the night. This was the first night of his arrival on earth.
No one to meet Him. No one to celebrate His arrival. The God of the universe, the creator of all things, He who walked with Adam and parted the sea, now lay in a manger wrapped in torn old death clothes, because there was nothing better offered to him from this world.
This is the circumstance of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. God and coequal with the Father and the Spirit, and man and coequal with man. And therefore the perfect mediator between God and man to bring about a reconciliation of the differences between them both.
Though all was quiet in the stable. There was great celebration in the universe. Millions upon millions of angels were watching these events unfold. The strategic victory of God against Satan was very near now. And that was to be the Cross, which Satan could not prevent even though he tried.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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