12/25/12. Luke 2:1-14. GOOD NEWS CAUSING GREAT JOY FOR ALL-my devotional

12/25/12. Luke 2:1-14. GOOD NEWS CAUSING GREAT JOY FOR ALL-my devotional


Luke 2:1-14                                                                                        Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Key Verse: 2:11                                                                                  Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

    Dear Lord heavenly Father, thank you for this Christmas time. Thank you that we can stop and think about what is truly important. It is not all about what we can receive, but it about Jesus and his great love for us. We can stop and connect to what is truly important in life. For all those who are hurting inside because of loss of life in their families, I pray for healing and joy and peace to come into their hearts. For all missionaries, I pray that the love and the grace of God may fill their hearts as they reach out to the people around them. Lord, help me to dig deep and discover the true meaning of Christmas through this passage. Amen!

Part 1: A Manger For a Throne (1-7).

Verses 1-7, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place whileQuirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

Caesar Augustus’ decree put everyone into a frenzy. But just as God planned, it caused Jesus to be born in Bethlehem as prophesied. Mt 2:5-6 reads, “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Everything happens according to God’s plan.

Jesus was born in an unsanitary horse’s stall because there was no room in the inn for them. From this first part, we can see the suffering of the people in the time of Jesus. A couple, in full term of pregnancy, had to travel long distances in order to please the occupying forces of Rome. They were uncomfortable and the stress could have caused Mary to give birth pre-maturely on the road. Not only that, they had to leave work and suffer loss of income. Their lives were interrupted. How insensitive, was the world to their needs.

The world today is very insensitive to our needs. The world and the prince of this world (the devil), just doesn’t care. As long as we have money and bolster and maintain the trends of the world, the devil leaves us alone. But as soon as we have no money, and no longer want to live as the world lives, then we become harassed. Can we change this? In some ways and some ways not. Mary and Joseph still had to go to their home town. They still had to endure suffering. But they could find comfort and strength knowing that it was the will of God. It all has to do if we can see God working in our situations.

God was working in their situation. There was a prophecy saying that the savior needed to be born in Bethlehem. Somehow Jesus needed to be born in Bethlehem and this is how God was doing it. God is always at work fulfilling his will in this world. We may not know how he is working, but he is. He is opening wide the Middle East. He is working in the hearts of people around the world. He has even made John a missionary to a “stan” nation. He is helping Julie and I to find our place in the KBC church. We are growing to be a blessing. It is all part of God’s plan. All of the tears that have flowed from my eyes over the last year have been part of God’s plan to make a break through in my life and family and ministry.

Rome had a lot of power in those days. When Caesar made a decree the whole Roman world moved. Caesar’s power looks impressive compared with the poor and helpless baby Jesus and his parents. But the reality was different. The life of God and the hope of the world was in the manger. This baby was God’s appointed King.

The baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger was humble and unusual, but it was God’s sign. We need to have spiritual eyes to see how God is working. We need to stop looking at the grandiose things of the world, thinking that God is working and dwelling in those things. The Jews felt that God dwelt in the Temple, but the Temple was destroyed. God was not homeless. The Byzantines felt that God dwelt in the magnificent, St Sophia in Istanbul. But it was lost to the Muslims, but the God of the Bible was not homeless. Millions may think that God dwells in the massive cathedrals in Europe. But they have emptied out, but God is still dwelling in the hearts of his people. Americans may feel that God is more present in the mega churches. He is there, yes, but many are also discovering the truth of Jesus’ words, “Where two or three gather in my name, there shall I be.” (Matt 18:20) I need to look for and find Jesus in the small things of life…in the small gatherings of believers… in the small town of DeKalb…in the small works of God in my family member’s hearts. I need to see Jesus at work among the lay workers in the church who have no formal theological education. I need to rejoice when I see one soul coming to Jesus. There is Jesus in a believer’s blog and face book posting. There is Jesus in our singing at a nursing home on Christmas day.  I saw Jesus in the small gathering or people at the candlelight service at DeKalb Christian Church. Lord, open my eyes to see your glory all around me.

Part 2: Angelic News To Shepherds (8-14).

Verses 8-14, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

A glorious angel announced Jesus’ birth to shepherds nearby tending their sheep. We would think that the angels would announce the birth of the Savior in the hallowed halls of the Rabbinic college. But he came to very ordinary people of low social position. God did this when he called one old man, Abram, in Genesis 12. Jesus did this when he called his 12 discples. God is still doing this. He called me when I was a student in Community College. I was a hedonist who had no authority and didn’t make much of difference in this world as I ensured the quality of pasta in a pasta factory and partied a lot. I was on a fruitless course. I was weak and had no power. No influence. No hope. But Jesus came to me. He announced his presence in my heart. He called me to proclaim the Gospel. Who I am that I could receive such grace? Who am I that I should be called into God’s family to proclaim the Gospel? God is still revealing himself to modern day “shepherds”. We need to respect all who God calls and support the work of God in their lives.

It was good news that would cause great joy for all the people. That day in Bethlehem, the Savior was born. He is the Messiah, the Lord. God sent him to bring salvation from sin, eternal life, and the kingdom of God to all who trust him. There is good news of great joy in Christ. For me it is the salvation that Jesus brings. I spent much of the year of 2012 in depression and sorrow. But Jesus helped me to let go and let God. The greatest advice came from Pastor Teddy, who said, “You did your best for 18 years to shepherd your family. God knows and accepts that. Now entrust everything to God.” That is the best advice. The Family Life: Weekend to Remember presented the gospel in such a way that Julie and I could start a new course in our marriage. I could entrust everything to God’s care. Jesus freed my heart and helped me to find a new way to minister to my family and others.  I could now give my heart to Jesus and serve him in new ways that fit to my family and present situation. Praise God. Only Jesus could free my heart and set me on a new course of life.

A chorus of angels joined in: Jesus’ coming means glory to God in the highest heaven and peace to those on whom God’s favor rests. God brings peace. Oh this world needs peace. There is so much loneliness and isolation and depression in peoples’ hearts. They are in a hopeless situation, like a person who is floating in the ocean with their heads bobbing just above the waves. They need to go beyond just surviving. They need to see Jesus. They need to make a new start in the Lord and find his deliverance. They need to find the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding.

Prayer: Lord, help me to see your work in  Jesus’ humble circumstances.. Give me eyes to see things as they really are so that I may not envy Caesar. Let me see the humble sign of your hand at work and rejoice.

One Word: A Savior has been born to you




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