Today as we come into the Christmas season, we are beginning a new message series entitled “Jesus the King.” If you look closely at our series picture you will see that all 66 books of the Bible are written into the name Jesus. This is not just a clever gimmick. All Scripture speaks of Jesus in one way or another. Jesus is the central figure of the Bible. After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were discouraged and disappointed with the death of Jesus on the cross and didn’t recognize Him.
Luke 24:25-27 (ESV) And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
So Jesus went through the Old Testament explaining to those disciples what the Scripture said about Himself. All of Scripture, including the Old Testament, speaks of Jesus the Messiah, the coming King.
Today, our message is entitled “Worship the King.” We’ll be looking at the Christmas story found in Luke 2. The baby born in a manager was born to be a King. Jesus didn’t come into existence at His conception and birth, as you and I do. Jesus has eternally existed as the third person of the trinity.
Philippians 2:6-7 (ESV) who, though he [Jesus] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Jesus, laid down His power and glory to be born in a manger, an animal feeding trough, in a dark, smelly animal stable. He went through a life of persecution and suffering and died a cruel death on the cross. He came as a suffering servant, to save the sinners that He had created. Yet, as the Old Testament had predicted, He rose from the dead and ascended back into the glory of heaven. One day He return to the earth, but not as a baby.
Revelation 19:11, 16 (ESV) Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. … On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus is the one seated on the white horse, who will come again as King of kings and Lord of lords. Today, we’re going to talk about how we should respond to the birth of baby Jesus, born to be King.
Luke 2:8 (ESV) And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke is the Gospel that tells the story of the shepherds visiting the baby Jesus. In those days, shepherds were considered very low on the social status ladder. Who would want a job where you had to stay up at night protecting your sheep from robbers, thieves and wolves? Not only were the working conditions harsh, there were legitimate dangers as a shepherd. Yet, it was to lowly shepherds that God first announced the birth of His Son.
Luke 2:9-10 (ESV) And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
As the shepherds were sleepily watching their flocks on a dark night, suddenly the heavens were opened and a mighty arch angel descended on a brilliant beam of light. The shepherds were startled and feared for their very lives. But the angel began to speak to them, as angels are trained, and said Fear not. Rather then bringing some sort of judgement from God, the angel was bringing good news that would fill them with joy, not fear. This good news would not just be for the shepherds, it would not just be for the Jews, but it would be for all people. What was the good news that would bring great joy? The shepherds would have an opportunity to …
Luke 2:11-12 (ESV) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
The angel announced that that very day, a baby had been born in Bethlehem, the city of David. And this baby was no ordinary baby, for the angel gave the baby three titles. The first title was Savior. Jesus was the one who would save from their sins, those who believe in Him. That is a cause for rejoicing with great joy. The next title was Christ, which in the Greek means Messiah. This baby was the Messiah promised by the Old Testament prophets. The one that had been longed for for centuries. Finally, the baby would be the Lord, kurios in the Greek. Kurios means master, owner or Lord. In the Old Testament, God was the Lord.
This Christmas season, in the hustle and bustle of Christmas cookies, gifts, cards and parties, make time to worship the one who was born as a baby 2000 years ago. Be sure to worship with your church family the last two Sundays in 2017. And take some time with your family before opening the gifts, to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and to worship the Savior King who was born in that manger.
Luke 2:13 (ESV) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
One angel was not enough to announce the birth of a king, so God sent a multitude of angels to join the first angel. This angel choir burst into song praising God for His magnificent plan. By now, the poor shepherds did not know what to expect next. I suspect that they were over awed by witnessing this vision of a heavenly choir. It was something that had never experienced before and would not experience again, this side of heaven. The angels had a message to bring, which was …
Luke 2:14 (ESV) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
First of all, the angel choir gave glory to God in the highest heaven, where He is praised continually, night and day. Heaven was rejoicing in the birth of the Son. Then the angels announced that on earth, God was bringing peace, not to all men, but to those men with whom God is pleased. Which men is God pleased with? Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. So God is pleased by those who put their faith and trust in Him and in His Son. That faith results in the forgiveness of our sins and changes us from being God’s enemies to being His children. Jesus is bringing peace between God and man. Peace comes to those who please God by putting their faith in Him and …
Luke 2:15 (ESV) When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Back in verse 12, the angels had given the shepherds a sign as to the identity of the baby they were praising God for. The sign would be that the baby would be wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manager. This was an unusual sign, for mothers did not normally put their infants in the hay of an animal feeding trough. Clearly, the angels were giving instructions for the shepherds to go see this baby whom heaven was praising God for. The shepherds did not need much convincing, but left their sheep behind and traveled to Bethlehem to see what had been told them. Notice that the shepherds indicate that God, the Lord, had spoken to them through the angels. The word for Lord here, kurios, is the same word used to describe Jesus as Christ the Lord, by the angels.
The blessings of the birth of a Savior 2000 years ago do not come to every person on this planet. Although, those blessings are available to all, only those who please God through faith and obedience will benefit from the peace that Jesus brought to this earth. Do you know any in your life, whether friends, relatives or neighbors, who do not have God’s peace in their lives? If so, ask God for opportunities to share with them how Jesus came to bring peace to those who please God. In your bulletins is an invite card for our Christmas message series, Jesus the King. Use them to invite those who are far from God. Not only do we worship the peace bringing God, we can learn to …
Luke 2:16-17 (ESV) And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
The shepherds didn’t waste any time and apparently left their flocks in the fields. They traveled a short distance to Bethlehem and quickly found Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Jesus was lying in a manger, just as the angels had told them. The shepherds then told Mary and Joseph the entire story of the angelic encounter they had just had. In particular, they told this young couple, that their baby would be the Savior, Christ the Lord. Of course, the visit from the shepherds was another confirmation to Mary and Joseph, that their son Jesus, was no ordinary baby. He was and is Christ the Lord. Although not stated in the text, I believe that the shepherds bowed and worshipped the baby born to be King. They learned to …
Luke 2:18 (ESV) And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
Obviously, the shepherds did not just tell Mary and Joseph about the angelic visit and the angelic message. After leaving Mary and Joseph, the shepherds excitedly told everyone they came into contact with their awesome story. The response of the people was not ridicule but wonder. You see, it was not just one shepherd, but a whole group of shepherds had heard and experienced the same thing. Not only had they seen and heard the angels, they had confirmed the angelic sign by finding the baby Jesus in a manger. From His very birth, Jesus inspired wonder in all who opened their heart to Him.
Luke 2:19-20 (ESV) But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Mary treasured or keep thinking over the events of that night in her heart. She knew that she had been chosen for an unusual and privileged destiny. The events of the birth and the shepherds were now confirming the messages she had heard from her own angelic visit. And what happened with the shepherds? They finally returned to their flocks, but they were changed men. They returned praising God for everything they had seen that wondrous night. They would never forget it as long as they lived.
As 2017 is coming to a close and the new year 2018 is just a few weeks away, it’s a good time to reflect on the good things that God has done in your life this past year. Just as Mary treasured and pondered on the things that God had done and said, so should we. It’s easy to forget the good things and just focus on upcoming problems or issues. Yet, as believers, we can encourage ourselves and one another by remembering the good gifts that God has blessed us with. Remember and give thanks to God for what He has done. As we treasure and ponder on what God has done in the past, it builds our faith and encourages us for the future.
Today, we’ve looked at the familiar but profound story of the shepherds seeing heaven opened and going to worship the new-born king, Jesus. This Christmas, God would have us be thankful for the Savior that was born 2000 years ago. May we take time to worship Him, who lives in heaven as King of Kings. Not only did He make a way for us to be saved, He brought us peace with God. As we focus on and worship King Jesus, let God open your heart to once again experience the wonder of what He did for us. May we remember the awesome King that was born that first Christmas.