Surely Luke 2 is the most widely-known chapter in the Bible because it tells the story of Christmas. And yet we are going to be seeing it in some profound and perhaps unfamiliar ways as we come to grips with its great truth. Two thousand years ago the Creator of the universe, the eternal God, entered human society as a baby. God put on humanity.
It was a night like any other night but it wasn't a child like any other child. This child was the Lord Jesus Christ, God and man became one. This birth was so monumental that it became the high point of history, the apex. All history before this birth is B.C., Before Christ. All history since is A.D., Anno Domini, Latin for "the year of our Lord."
Let us look at Luke 2:7, “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.” Christmas initially meant "no vacancy" to Joseph and Mary, and that was all the more severe since Mary was about to deliver a baby.
This young couple, had journeyed about eighty-five to ninety miles from their home in Nazareth. She was nine months pregnant, and in a matter of a few days ready to deliver a baby, and no place to stay in Bethlehem. No relatives waiting with a warm home. And it was pretty cold as it was late fall or early winter.
The true meaning of the birth of God in human form is now treated trivially, surpassed by all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. But Jesus is the Savior of the world. He is coming as the Messiah to Israel first. But then He is coming as the Savior for every individual person who puts their trust in Him.
All of this is part of the perfect plan of God, providentially getting this couple exactly where they need to be because the Messiah was a son of David and was to be born in the city of David, so says the prophet. In order to fulfill that prophecy, that couple had to be there and God worked through the decree of Caesar Augustus for a census to accomplish that.
Micah 5:2 says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me, the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Micah prophesied this 700 years before the birth of Messiah, the eternal being. Bethlehem is also where David was born.
In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, Immanuel, the God of eternity stepped into time and space. And God announced through the angel Gabriel, that the Son will be called the Son of the Most High. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and His kingdom will have no end.
And the angel said to Mary in Luke 1:35, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God." In other words, it's going to be a miraculous conception. God is going to plant life in you without a man. You are going to be a mother, even though you are still a virgin.
The Lord of omnipresence was initially confined to a body of a baby. That little life grew up to become the sinless Lord Jesus Christ. And the angel Gabriel told the people that God had arranged everything and this has been predicted in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.
Sadly it is common knowledge, that the world has largely rejected Him. The nation Israel in general has rejected Him. And among all the people that need a Savior, few have believed in Him and been saved. That stable in Bethlehem was a metaphor for our sin and our wretchedness.
But it is also a picture of our heart. When Jesus knocks on the door of a person’s heart, I wonder why God would want to come in. Jeremiah described the human heart in Jeremiah 17:9 as, “deceitful above all things.” No matter how much we try to cover it up, in God’s eyes, our heart too is full of deceit and malice just like that unclean stable.
John 1:10-11 says, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” He came to save sinners, but the Jews did not believe that He was the Messiah. He came down from heaven to earth to give all of us a chance to believe in Him as our Savior.
When Adam and Eve committed the first sin, God took a lamb and slew it. From the beginning of man, God has made it plain that only with the shedding of blood there is remission of sin, and forgiveness of evil (Hebrews 9:22). John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). So that is another reason He was born in a stable.
Christ is the Lamb that was going to be sacrificed on the cross for us, taking our place and receiving our punishment, so that forgiveness of sin might be justly and freely offered. It was not by chance that Mary and Joseph could not find room in the inn when they arrived in Bethlehem. Their coming to a manger in a stable was all according to God’s foreknowledge and plan.
God’s plan was that Jesus, who is our sinless Lord, would come into the world full of sin. A world that resented His ministry. And God calls us all to believe in Jesus and to follow His example to witness in this world, to serve and to love people who are more interested in the world than in salvation. But we often are like the inn keeper who has no place for Jesus and no time for Him.
But while we rejected Him, God showed His love by sending His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to teach us and give us an example of what we should do and how we should live. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
By the shedding of His blood, Jesus paid the price for our sins and thereby redeeming us, then He rose from the dead and returned to heaven. But He now continues to offer that free gift of salvation to all who believe in Him. Just contemplate what that means, Christ will forgive all your sins, past, present and future and you will spent eternity with Him in heaven.
You may think you are not good enough, that there is too much wrong in your life. Maybe you feel that your sins are too big for God to forgive. Maybe you are in jail for life and you feel there is no hope. But no matter what you have done, our creator God, who loves us so much that He is willing to sacrifice Himself, can and will save anybody who believes in Him and repents, Amen?
If you truly believe that in your heart, pray with me this short prayer, “Oh heavenly Father, come into my heart and forgive my sin. I know that I am a sinner. I want You to cleanse me and I know that You died for me on the cross and that You paid the penalty for my sins. Thank you so much for your grace and mercy, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
If you prayed that sincerely, God says you have stepped from darkness into light. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Praise the Lord.