The time came (Luke 2 v 1-7)
Most parents-to-be today pack an overnight bag and work out the quickest route to the hospital, to keep the great arrival as straightforward and stress-free as possible. The details of the Christmas story are so wellknown to us that it’s easy to miss the traumatic nature of the greatest of all arrivals…
• Imagine you knew nothing of the first Christmas. If Mary’s baby is God’s Christ, how and where might you expect Him to be born?
Read Luke 2:1
• What factors make this birth so difficult?
• Who attends this king’s birth?
• What is hugely anticlimactic about the coming of “the Son of the Most High”?
What remarkable humility of God! Not only was He willing to live among His creatures in His creation; He was prepared to be born in uncomfortable surroundings, without any pomp or ceremony; without anyone really noticing. He doesn’t only know what it is to be human; He knows what it is to be an unnoticed, average human.
But even in this anonymous arrival, God’s hand is at work…
• Where is Jesus born (v 4-6)?
• Why are Joseph and Mary there (v 1-3)?
What power! With a single stroke of a pen, this emperor can dictate the movement of countless people. Rome takes no account of pregnancy or inconvenience. Caesar speaks; Joseph and Mary move.
Read Micah 5:2
• Who does God promise will come from Bethlehem (v 2)?
• What will he do, and what will life be like for his people (v 4-5a)?
Lying behind the hand of Caesar ordering this tax census, a greater hand is arranging things according to a larger plan. A greater emperor even than the Roman one is in charge: and Jesus is born, not because of decisions made in Rome, but
because of decisions made in heaven.
Caesar Augustus encouraged his people to worship him as a god. By the time Luke wrote his historical Gospel, Christians were beginning to come under pressure to deny Jesus as Christ and bow down to the emperor.
Luke wants his readers to see that God’s Christ isn’t a normal king. He wasn’t born like a king; He won’t live like a king; He certainly won’t die like one. But He’s still God’s promised King.
• How would this passage have encouraged Christians in Luke’s day?
• What in the world today are you tempted to worship as more powerful than Jesus?
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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