Updated: Jan 9
Read part 1 by clicking here.
Study Part 2- A Savior Arrives
Prior to Jesus' birth, John the Baptist is born. Read the remainder of his story in Luke 1:57-66
READ Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-7
COMMENTARY- As we read the verses found in Matthew we are exposed to Joseph's perspective on Mary's unexpected pregnancy. I can't help but admire the way Joseph handled the situation. The Bible points out that he did not want to subject her to public disgrace and was willing to protect her despite having reason to punish her according to the law. God had a plan to help Joseph understand what was happening and so he gave him a dream to explain everything.
Luke tells the Christmas story that we have learned to love and know so well. Jesus is born in a stable and laid in a manger. How fascinating that Jesus, the King of Kings was born in the most un-kingly way possible. Not only was he born outside of a palace but he didn't even have a proper building to stay in! In order to understand how crazy all of this truly was, we must look back in the previous events of the Bible. The Jews were looking for, waiting, and expecting a king to come and save them from their suffering and the attacks of others. At one point in time they had been a might nation, but now they were the object of ridicule by surrounding nations and cities. For years they begged God to send them a mighty rescuer, but when he arrived no one knew about it. They were continuing to beg God for something that had already happened. Did you know that even in today's society the Jewish community is looking for a Savior? They do not believe that He has come or fulfilled the Messianic prophecies.
READ Luke 2:8-21
COMMENTARY- Here we see God setting a trend that will continue throughout the rest of Jesus' life. Instead of reaching out to the rich, wealthy, or affluent God chooses to give his message about the baby Messiah to a group of Shepherds. As we read the stories of Jesus's life we learn that God has a special mission for "the underdog". It is the sick, outcast, and suffering who He spends the most time with. I think there are many reasons for this, and one is shown here in the story of the Shepherds. These humble men did not question what was shared with them. Instead, they embraced it with joy and fascination. After experiencing the angels' message they just had to go and see the baby for themselves. We do not see any signs or a hidden agenda or skepticism in how they handled the information. They heard the news and they believed in it. Not only did they immediately go and visit Jesus but they also spread the word to the all of the "locals" in their area. I can't help but wonder how often we miss out on a blessing or a mission from God because we over-analyze it. It is in our time of need and desire to grow closer to God that we must allow ourselves to be more like those shepherds.
READ Luke 2:22-39
COMMENTARY- Did you know that this part of the story existed? Many people don't. Here we see two dedicated, God-fearing elders. Their names are Simeon and Anna. Here are two awesome examples of a dedicated Christian lifestyle. Both Simeon and Anna had been diligently waiting for the promised King to come to rescue them. The Bible calls them "righteous and devote". In a time when the majority of the nation was oblivious to what was going on, the faith of these two individuals carried them through. God did not ignore their dedication and desire to understand His ways. The Holy Spirit revealed to them that Jesus was the promised deliverer. What an amazing testimony of someone's faith. Not only were they blessed by being able to meet baby Jesus, but they also blessed Mary and Joseph with their words of praise. I can't help but wonder how many blessings we as Christians are missing out on simply because we lack the zeal and rigor within our own faith walk that these two people had. What an inspiration. Anna and Simeon are people we can strive to imitate.