Happy Monday #teamaym family!
Last night’s message was “The Gift That Broke the Silence”. We looked at Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 1:18-25.
Luke 2:1-20 (CSB) says,
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!
15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.
Matthew 1:18-25 (CSB) says,
The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. 19 So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man,and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name him Immanuel,
which is translated “God is with us.”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her 25 but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.
There was a lot going on with Mary and Joseph at this point in their life. They are engaged. Joseph founds out that Mary is pregnant and knows the baby isn’t his. Engagement, called a betrothal (a binding exchange of agreement made before witnesses), was taken very seriously and could only be broken by death or divorce. Once the angel appears to Joseph, he understands what is happening and embarks on this incredible journey with Mary. Imagine the gossip and comments they endured from others as we can be pretty certain that most did not believe that this was a “virgin birth”.
They traveled 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem likely on donkeys with Mary getting ready to give birth!
Now let’s fast forward to the shepherds. Can you imagine what they must have been thinking when the angel suddenly appears before them??? They were excited and intrigued at the news, but how did they know where to find the baby? It wasn’t the star the wise men followed because the wise men actually didn’t arrive to visit Jesus until he was about two years old (sorry to ruin your manger scene decorations:).
Here is a very possible scenario. There was a place called Migdal Eder, which means, “Tower of the Flock” located on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Sheep at this location were used for Temple Sacrifices, especially for Peace and Passover Sacrifices (Sacrifices were an atonement, or covering for sin). The shepherds here served the sacrificial system of the Temple, the Mosaic Covenant— a foreshadowing of the New Covenant (put in place after Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice and payment for our sins). These shepherds were specially trained to groom the perfect sheep for the sacrifices. They would take sheep to a cave or stall and set it in a “manger” to inspect it. When they laid it in the manger, they would typically wrap the sheep tightly in cloth or swaddling clothes.
When the angel told them they would find the baby wrapped tightly in cloth (swaddling clothes) lying in a manger, they would have known exactly where to find the baby Jesus and exactly what this meant— The perfect sacrifice, the Savior of the world, had been born!
There is still one final piece to the puzzle that pulls this incredible story together. When you are reading your Bible, you simply turn the page from the Old Testament to the New Testament. However, that’s now how it actually happened in real life. There were 400 years in between the two called the intertestamental period. During this time, Israel is ruled by other nations as a result of their disobedience and rebellion towards God. There were six different periods of time— Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, Maccabean, and Roman. There are no recorded words from God to the prophets and his people Israel during those 400 years.
This seems to be a time of hopelessness and defeat. Would God ever speak again? What would it be like? Will he be angry after all this time?
Louie Giglio describes it like this—“God broke the silence with the cry of a baby” (Jesus was God in human form)!
Hope had arrived.
Immanuel, God with us. We couldn’t get to God because of our sin so God came to us!