Luke 2:8 and 16
I am going to test you if you were reading today’s Scripture carefully.
Who came to visit Jesus Christ? Where was he laid?
Matthew and Luke are telling two different stories.
By looking at two different stories, we are going to learn that Jesus came not just for a particular group of people but for everyone.
Let’s look at Matthew.
Where was Jesus laid? Not in a manger.
Today’s Scripture says, “On entering a house.”
Jesus was born in a house in Matthew’s version.
When Jesus was born, who followed the star to worship him?
Not the shepherds but three wise men from the east.
They were known to be scientists or astronomers.
They were intelligent people, highly educated and probably lived abundant lives.
They are the ones who don’t seem to need a king or messiah.
They were probably fine without Christ.
But the three wise men know what the birth of Jesus means.
But they still came and worshiped Christ
because salvation does not depend on how much knowledge or wealth they have.
When they came, they presented three offerings and each tells us about Christ.
What are the gifts they brought?
1. Gold that represents Jesus’ loyalty, as King
2. Frankincense that is used for sacrificial offerings and represents that
1) he is both the High Priest, or Mediator between God and us, and 2) the Lamb that he will die for us
3. Myrrh is oil and represents anointment of Messiah.
The three wise men represent all nations, and their visit fulfilled Old Testament prophecy that all nations will come and worship the King and the King will rescue all people.
Then, Luke tells us a different story.
Who came to worship Jesus?
A group of shepherds, who are out in the fields at night, keeping an eye on the flocks.
Where was he laid? In a manger.
Luke was very intentional in writing his version of Jesus' nativity.
By including the shepherds and manger in his story, he tells us that Jesus came down for all of us, even sinners.
Shepherds were a dishonorable job. It has to do with the hardships associated with the title.
Intense heat during the day. Fierce cold during the night. Small tents.
Low rations of food. Long hours of watching. Attacks by beats. Robbers. Predators.
The shepherds came to the manger to celebrate the birth of our new King tells us that God came down to one of the most despised people.
I believe that God chose the shepherds because He wanted to show that His love and His grace is available to all, even to shepherd and outcasts.
This is what the birth of Jesus all about.
It's about God meeting us, not on high holy days, but on ordinary days, in ordinary places, in an extraordinary way.
The angels came to shepherds. People who were doing what they did every day and every night.
People going through the routines of life. People living their ordinary lives.
It's about God wanting to be a part of our lives every day.
That's what the birth of Jesus means: humble birth, humility, and dwelling presence in our midst.
From last Sunday, we learned to wait with expectation and patience.
Then, my question to you for today is: How will you respond when that day comes?
What will you do when we hear about the news that Christ came to us?
It is not enough to hear about Jesus and know about him.
It is not enough to look into the manger and say, “Oh how nice. Looking at baby Jesus gives me good, warm feelings.”
You can get all sentimental at Christmas, and have a warm fuzzy feeling but if Christ is not born into your heart, it is a mockery of the reason that he came.
Then, what should we do? How should we celebrate the birth of Christ?
Like the three wise men did. Like the shepherd did.
Keep Christ at the center of Christmas by worshiping Him with pure joy and responding with faith.
It is Christmas. The day of Christ. But where is Christ?
We see trees, candles, lights, and gifts, but where is he?
Let us not forget the reason for the season, Christ.
When that day comes, I want you to remember what the three wise men and the shepherd did, and we can learn from their example.