Introduction – Beloved as we complete this 2 week series, Complete Joy, my prayer is that we begin to see Jesus the Messiah, as the as the fullest expression of the love of the Father. We desperately need a return to the presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its true essence bathed in the goodness and love of God. That Jesus Christ is none other than the invasion of the grace filled Kingdom of God to bring humanity back into reconciliation with God. All of our faith history is born from the promise of Messiah, His sacrifice for sin, and His Kingdom on earth. Let us transcend the knee deep presentations of Jesus and actually encounter the love of God so that we may return to an apostolic gospel. Christmas is so much deeper than our cultural presentation of Jesus’ birth. Jesus, the Messiah, who came to inaugurate the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God on the earth; to destroy the works of the devil and set free a humanity bound in death and sin. To pour out the Spirit on all flesh to the glory of God.
a) The gospel of Luke gives a specific time marker for the birth of Jesus Christ. Many critics question that there was ever a historical Jesus. Luke gives explicit details on the timing of His birth.
b) Quirinius – a Roman Governor in Judea from 6AD to 12AD. He was appointed by Augustus Caesar. There was a Roman census taken in 6AD.
c) Augustus Caesar – Born 63BC and ruled the Roman Empire from 27BC to 19AD. Augustus Caesar was the founder of the Roman Empire and established the Flavian Dynasty. He divided the Roman Empire into 10 provinces which corresponds with Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 2:44-45. In addition to this Augustus began the Emperor Cult and was called the Son of God, and the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, titles reserved for Jesus Christ. It is worthy to note that the enemy/satan operates in falsehoods and the counterfeit.
d) Extra Biblical Mention of Jesus – Josephus- “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”
a) Luke points to Jesus birth being in Bethlehem. This fulfills Micah’s prophecy in Micah 5:2 – But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
b) Bethlehem – House of Bread in Hebrew. Jesus the Bread of Life, His Body as the Bread in the Eucharist. Jesus being born in Bethlehem is another connection Him being the Son of David according to the flesh. Romans 1:3 – concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
c) Mary – Betrothed – We discussed the Kosher Marriage Betrothal ritual in the last session. See Complete Joy 1 notes.
d) Mary gave birth in Bethlehem, wrapped him in cloths and laid the Child Jesus in a feeding trough. There is so much symbolism present in these verses. 1 – Jesus wrapped in cloths at His burial. 2 – The feeding trough was made of stone, symbolizing the tomb of stone 3 – Feeding trough symbolizing that Jesus would be bread for the world, to feed on and be nourished in the spirit and be true bread and sustenance to all how call on Him.
e) There was room for Him in the inn. Jesus suffered outside the camp/Jerusalem, and is on the outside of those who are not walking with Him, knocking to let Him in.
a) Luke mentions the shepherds in the field keeping watch over the sheep. This would have been in the spring time before the Passover. These sheep were birthing sacrificial lambs to be used for the massive Passover sacrifices. It is interesting to note that Jesus, our Passover Lamb was born around the same the Paschal Lambs were being birthed.
b) December 25 was not a connected to the birth of Jesus until the late AD300’s to the AD400’s. The Early Church did not celebrate Christmas like we do today. The birth of Jesus was not widely celebrated in the Early Church. Easter was the high holy day of the Early Church. The Early Church was forward focused on the demonstration of the Kingdom, the Return of Jesus Christ, and the purity of the Church. Those congregations that did celebrate the birth of Jesus did so in spring and connected it to the Easter celebration at Passover. The Christian Church began celebrating the Birth of Jesus in 336AD, when Pope Julius 1 decreed it at the urging of Constantine. This was to counter the Roman Pagan celebration of Saturnalia.
a) The angel announces that Christ the Lord has been born. This is so significant because all of Scripture up to this point prophesied this event. Jesus Christ fulfilled, not only the prophetic promises about Him, but He is the Living Word/Torah, the Second Adam, the Savior of Israel and the World. He is Eden restored, and the One who makes all things new. The Messiah is the One who everyone was waiting for. To an observant Jew, this is everything the nation of Israel was waiting for.
b) This angel must have been beautifully endued with glory that shone around them. Glory – Greek – DOXA – splendor, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace, a most glorious condition, most exalted state. This was the presence of God displayed in one of the fullest manifestations in Scripture. All around – Greek – PERILAMPŌ – to shine around. This sight was so beautiful that the shepherds were terrified. Greek – MEGAS PHOBEO PHOBO – This heavenly manifestation was so intense that these shepherds were terrified because the natural man is acclimated to eternal spiritual realms.
c) Do not be afraid – Our natural man maybe afraid, but God’s glory/presence reality is full of grace, love, and acceptance from the Father.
d) Jesus is good news that brings great joy. Christianity needs a new narrative that presents Jesus as the Author of Good News and Great Joy all the people. We need to get back to the message of the Goodness of God in the Person of Jesus. He has been born to us! The greatest Gift from the Father.
a) In the angelic declaration we the essence of the Christian gospel. On earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.
b) On earth peace – Greek – EIRĒNĒ – a state of national tranquility, peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous), the way that leads to peace (salvation) – This word corresponds with the Hebrew word SHALOM. c) His favor rests – Greek – EUDOKIA – good will, kindly intent, benevolence, delight, pleasure, satisfaction, desire, for delight in any absent thing easily produces longing for it.
d) In the New Covenant age we are in the age of the Father offering peace and extending favor to humankind through the gift of the Son to the world.
e) John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him”.
f) The New Covenant is a covenant of forgiveness of sins, a ministry of reconciliation, and the goodness of God extended to humanity.