Message on Sunday, December 29, 2019: Mount View Baptist Church Kingston, Jamaica
The Christmas Story told by the Gospels is different from the detailed stories told by all four Gospels of the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark begins with the Baptism of Jesus. The Gospel of John speaks of the meaning of the entry of Jesus into human history but does not describe His birth. Mathew and Luke recount the birth of Jesus but do not tell sentimental stories commonly recited at Christmas.
The Message combines the accounts of the birth of Jesus told in Gospels of Mathew and Luke and where Jesus is today as told by John in the Book of Revelation. Mathew gives the exact ethnographic, geographic, economic, historical, and geopolitical coordinates of the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born after His Jewish parents had journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem in Judea to pay taxes. This happened when Herod was King of Judea, Cyrenius was Governor of Syria, and Caesar Augustus was Emperor of Rome. Jesus was born in common human circumstances when the powerful issue decrees that interrupt the regular lives of ordinary people, even those far away.
The Gospel of Luke tells of the night when Jesus was born. Heaven conducted a glorious angelic Open-Air Evangelistic Service when started with the Message: Christ the Savior of the World is born. The service ended with Praise and Worship. The congregation of shepherds left and immediately acted in accordance with the Message. What a service!
Why a congregation of shepherds? For centuries shepherds of Bethlehem had bred, nurtured, and supplied lambs without blemish that was sacrificed on the Altar in the Temple. Jehovah decided that shepherds of Bethlehem would be the first to be told that the Lamb of God was born. Announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ was first made to lowly shepherds because their location and occupation were aligned to Divine purpose. God’s reasoning is different and the timing perfect.
Gospel of Mathew tells of Eastern Gentiles scholars schooled in the scientific study of stars. They followed a star that signaled the birth of the King of the Jews. They diverted to Jerusalem with a question, where is He? Certainly, Jerusalem would know. General ignorance included Herod. He asked the priests and the religious scholars, publicly. They had sound book learning that Messiah would come from Bethlehem of Judea but no news of His birth nor curiosity to finding out. Privately, Herod the Insincere encouraged the foreign scientists to find out and tell him so that he could worship the infant King. What a joke!
Led by the star the Gentile scientists found the infant Jesus. They worshipped Him as King, Priest, and Savior. They gave gold for the King, frankincense for the Priest, and myrrh for the Savior. They went back to their country another way. Anyone who finds Jesus worships Him and acknowledges Him appropriately cannot go back the same way. Meeting Jesus is a transforming experience. We go back into our countries and occupations but not in the same way.
John in the first three chapters of Revelation, tells us that today Jesus is in the midst of His Churches. Jesus sends a message to Churches in the seven conditions of Churches throughout the ages. All messages begin with I know followed by instructions consistent with what He knows.
Lets us celebrate Christmas focusing on the Risen Lord who knows where we are, what we are doing, and what we need to do.