Luke 2:1-20 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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A Savior Has Been Born To You
Comments for Study 4

Luke 2:1-20
Memory Verse: 11


I. The World Needs a Savior (1-7)

Pax Romana

>1. What was the political situation in the world at the time of Jesus' birth?

* Luke 2:1 "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world."

* "In those days" -Not an exact timing of when the decree came out.

* "Caesar Augustus" -Caesar Augustus (originally Octavian) was grand-nephew of Julius Caesar. He was declared Rome's first emperor in 27 B.C. He reigned until 14 A.D. when he was killed. His rise to power saw the Roman Republic change into the Roman Empire (26 B.C. to 395 A.D.). The Roman Empire remained until it split in two in 395 A.D. Caesar Augustus' reign started when his army defeated Cleopatra (of Egypt) and Mark Anthony's army. Caesar Augustus was "maximous pontiff" of the Roman Empire. Augustus means "exulted" and "holy". Caesar became a family name that can be considered a title of Rome's emperor (dictator).

* "a census" -Rome used census' for two main reasons. The first was to determine how many men could be taken from the area to serve in the army. The Jews were exempt from military service. The second and most important was to determine how much tax can be taken from the area. With a census no one could escape paying tax. When Augustus died he left in his own handwriting a summary of information, such as statistics on direct and indirect taxation, which would most naturally have been derived from a census (Tacitus, Annals, Octavian 101). In Egypt records have been found that a census was taken every fourteen years from 20 to 270 A.D. (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Luke). Empire wide census' before 20 A.D. are believed to have been sporadic.

* "the entire Roman world" -The Roman Empire was vast spanning from Spain (west) to Germany (north) to Iraq (east) to Algeria (south). See map "Pax Romana" to the right.

>In verses 1-3, what reveals the absolute authority of Caesar?

* Luke 2:1-3 "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register."

* "This was the first census" -Luke records a later census in Acts 5:37. This first census was not as organized as later ones. The census shows the greed of a Caesar seeking power and wealth.

* "Quirinius was governor of Syria" -Publius Sulpicius Quirinius (51 B.C.-21 A.D.) was a Roman aristocrat well recorded in ancient documents. Certain inscriptions show that between 10 and 7 B.C. Quirinius performed military functions in the Roman province of Syria (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Luke). Syria had added to it the province of Iudaea which was the conglomeration of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea. After that Quirinius was in Syrian office for two terms, first 6-4 B.C. and then 6-9 A.D. After the banishment of the ethnarch Herod Archelaus from the tetrarchy of Judea in 6 A.D., Quirinius was appointed legate governor of Syria (Acts 5:37, for the purpose of a second census). Quirinius served as governor of Syria with nominal authority over Iudaea until 12 A.D. After that he retired to Caesar's palace in Rome.

* "everyone went to his own town to register" -Rome did not require people to return to their home town for censuses or any other reason. Some scholars speculate that Palestine political leaders, like Herod where known to hid the true source of Roman laws from the common Jew to assure their participation. In Palestine there was a lot of confusion because of this census for each man had to go to the hometown of his ancestor. The Jewish political and religious leaders resisted the census until the very last moment, causing even more confusion.

* The edict of the governor of Egypt in 104 A.D. ordered everyone there to return home (where they owned property, not ancestral) for enrolment and taxes (Bible Background Commentary and Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Luke). This makes it possible that Joseph or his greater family still owned land in Bethlehem. Pottery samples suggest a recent migration of people from the Bethlehem area to Nazareth around this time; Joseph's legal residence may still have been in Bethlehem, where he may have been raised (Bible Background Commentary).

* The Jews already hated their pagan conquerors and censuses were forbidden under Jewish law (Probably due to 2 Samuel 24:10-13.). The assessment was greatly resented by the Jews, and open revolt was prevented only by the efforts of the high priest Joazar. As it was, censuses triggered the revolts of Judas of Galilee and the formation of the party of the Zealots, along with Zadok the Pharisee, according to Josephus (a first century Jewish historian) and Acts 5:37.

* Josephus tells us that at about this time 'the whole Jewish people' swore an oath of loyalty to Caesar, which possibly reflects this census. Justin, in the middle of the second century, assures the Romans that they can see the registers of Quirinius. (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Luke)

* Jesus was born in either 6 or 5 B.C. (rather well accepted by most). The exact month and year are not known. December 25th comes from the fourth century and is unlikely. The fact that shepherds were out in their fields would indicate spring, just before Passover. Bethlehem was the staging place for sheep and lambs that were marked for sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem during Passover. Also, since most of the Jews could trace their ancestors to Judea forcing a census in their home town would logically be easier for most and bring more people to Jerusalem for the feast.

>2. Put yourself in the place of an ordinary Israelite living in those times. What would it be like to live in a colony under the power of Rome?

* All was a Roman world. Everyone was controlled by the Caesar Augustus. Rome ruled with power and affliction. People were expected to drop everything and registor.

* The average Jew (and all Rome) was oppressed. One would feel insignificant. One would have a hard time having hope for themselves and their country's future.

* A lot of Jews were always angry at their oppressor. The party of the Zealots were created at this time. One of Jesus disciples had been a member of that party before Jesus called him. (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15)

* People were living in darkness. (Matthew 4:15-16)

>Do you know what Rome's slogan, "Pax Romana" means?

* "Pax Romana" -"Pax" means "peace". Therefore "Pax Romana" means that nations would be joined together in peace at the control of one government with Rome being the capital city. Rome would rule the world and force peace.

The Romans owned all the area around the Mediterranean Sea or, rather, Octavian owned it for them. In 29 B.C. they woke up from a century of civil war to find themselves the clients of one of their own. Though a comfortable and becoming indenture, it was slavery all the same.

Octavian began by ending the most brutal period of internal violence ancient Rome had ever experienced or was to see, the so-called "Roman Revolution," and installed a regime which engendered two-hundred years of general peace, the so-called Pax Romana ("Roman Peace"), all for the simple price of Roman liberty. To a populace wearied of war, the choice was no choice at all. It was time to stop making war and choices and leave the fighting and deciding to someone else. It was time for Romans to enjoy the fruits of peace and leisure, something the next generation and its descendants learned to bite into with a gusto unprecedented in Roman history.

So, when Octavian officially "restored" the Republic to the Senate in 27 B.C. of course, it was only the hollow shell of representative government, with the conqueror of Rome in real control he looked for all the world to be a reasonable master, and the Romans signed on en masse. In return, Octavian was given the title Augustus ("Holy") and the summer months of Quintilis and Sextilis were renamed Julius and Augustus, our July and August, to honor him and his predecessor. Henceforth, Octavian was, to the Romans and for all time, the "Holy Man" Augustus.

The famous historian, Edward Gibbon, suggested in his monumental tome, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that this Pax Romana was the single finest period in human history. There is much to support his opinion and much not to, also peace reigned (for the most part), wealth abounded (for the wealthy) and Roman culture (but really Greek culture) permeated every corner of the Roman Empire. And that is Empire, not Republic.

As the Pax Romana forged on, the Republic, even the hollow trappings of democracy, became a long-lost memory. The Roman State now served the whim of an "emperor"a derivative of the Latin word imperator (general), the emperors' technical title who commanded his subjects like a ruthless and single handed autocrat, to paeans of universal gratitude and remarkably few cries of protest. Do dogs protest when they're served their dinner? (taken from

>3. What was Mary's condition as she and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem?

* Luke 2:4-6 "So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,"

* "So Joseph went" -Joseph and Mary were just an average low class family. They had no influence in society. Therefore, they too were under the control of the government and obeyed its laws. They could have tried to disobey the law and made an excuse because of her pregnancy, but they didn't.

* "Mary, who was pledged to be married to him" -See study 2 question 1.

* "was expecting a child" -This was only a few months after Mary had visited and stayed with Elizabeth and Zechariah who lived him the hills of Judea. When Mary accepted Gabriel's word she immediately left and stayed with Zechariah and Elizabeth for tree months. (Luke 1:56) Then she returned to Galilee. Now she was returning to Judea again.

* Though none of the gospel writers state it, many believe that Mary had to ride on a donkey because she could not walk the full journey.

Modern Bethlehem region

* See a picture of modern Bethlehem to the right. Southward of Jerusalem in the heart of the desolate wilderness of Judah, whose rocky knolls can be seen stretching down to the shores of the Dead Sea, lays Bethlehem. Its name, which means "house of bread", is mentioned first in patriarchal times as the burial place of Rachel (Genesis 35:19), and, later, as the home of David (1 Samuel 16:1). Above the supposed birthplace of Jesus -a limestone cave- the Emperor Constantine built the Church of the Nativity in 330 A.D. It is the prominent building in the centre of the picture. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>Why did they make such a long journey?

* "So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea" -Joseph and Mary lived in the region of Galilee, the town of Nazareth, many miles from Judea, Bethlehem. The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem took three days by route of the east side of the Jordan. The Jews despised the Samaritans and avoided going through their land even though it was a shorter journey between Judea and Galilee. The roundabout journey was approximately three hundred (300) miles (480 kilometres).

* "to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David" -David was born there and spent his childhood there. However, when he was sent to the the house of Saul he never returned. Jesus is never reported to return after he and his parents left after Herod tried to kill him.

* "because he belonged to the house and the line of David" -Joseph was of the line of David and therefore had to register in the town of David which was Bethlehem, where David was born. David was a king many generations (approx. 1,000 years) before this time. But now his line had dwindled in power so that his descendants were nothing politically.

* "He went there to register with Mary" -Both went because they were a legitimate family, though still under the normal one year wait period required before the formal ceremony. Syria (Palestine was a part of) also taxed women.

>What does this reveal about the Roman society and about them?

* In Roman society, what Mary a pregnant women went through was an example of what the rest of the Roman world had to endure under Pax Romana.

* "Joseph and Mary" -They were poor. Joseph, a young man trying to establish a home needed to work every day (except Sabbath). Yet he had to stop work to obey the Roman law. They had no influence in society. They were humble. They had faith.

* From God's point of view they went because of scriptures. (Matt. 2:4-6; Micah 5:2) God worked through the laws of ungodly men to fulfill his word.

* Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

* Isaiah 11:1 states, "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."

* It appears that God isn't in control when we look at the human situation of people and society, nor when we look at Joseph's and Mary's human situation. Yet from these verses we can see that God was and is in full control.

>4. Read verse 7. Who was the son born to Mary?

* Luke 2:7 "and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

* "she gave birth to her firstborn, a son" -Jesus (Yeshua), the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God and the Son of Man.

* "her firstborn" -She had more later. See earlier study in Luke.


* See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by

>Where was he born?

* "She wrapped him in cloths" -Long strips were wrapped round and round Jewish new born to keep their limbs straight so they could grow properly. The fact that she had to do it herself shows that the birth was lonely. Midwives were commonly used to help in the delivery. However, it is doubtful that one traveled with Mary and Joseph because we know they were poor.

* "placed him in a manger" -Mangers are troughs from which horses and cattle feed from. The western though makes one think of a stable or a barn. However, that may not be the case. Poor middle eastern people often let their animals dwell in a back or lower part of the house during the night. The second century Justin says it was a cave. Some state that mangers were in courtyards of inns (larger homes) rather than in the house, and she could have given birth there. All are speculation. Mangers were for animals to eat out of. There would be droppings, bugs, bad smells, and were not heated. A manger was no place for a newly born baby to be placed. They made due with what they had.

>Why was he born in such sub-human conditions?

* "there was no room for them in the inn" -Many people had come to the small village of Bethlehem to register for the census because they claimed that Bethlehem was the origin of their clan. Mary's condition would have slowed them down so that by the time they arrived the small village was full.

* "inn" -The original Greek word could also mean "home" or "guest room".

>What does this tell us about men's hearts at the time?

* People in the inn did not give up their room for a pregnant woman.

* Life was hard for all and many became hard because of it.

* Heartless people may seem hard to believe but just look at our society and the growing young generation.

* Baby Jesus and Caesar are quit a contrast. God's history and human history are different in context.

* People from Nazareth may have arrived in Bethlehem before them and told the innkeeper that Mary became pregnant before the legal time. Thus, the owner if a "respected Jew" would not have accepted a "sinner" and "prostitute" into his home making the excuse "there is no room".

>What does it teach us about our God?

* Jesus was born in poverty, obscurity, and rejection.

* Jesus being born in a stable was God's will and good intent. Through his sufferings Jesus, the Son of God truly became one of us. He was like us in every way. Even the poorest person can relate to him.

* Jesus suffers with us.

* Jesus suffers for us.

* Christians are united in Jesus' suffering. (Romans 6:5; and 1 Peter 4:12-19, 5:9-10)

III. The Savior Jesus is the Promised Messiah (8-11)

>5. To whom did God send the angels with the first announcement of the birth of the Savior?

* Luke 2:8 "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night."

* "shepherds living out in the fields nearby" -Bethlehem was the staging place for sheep and lambs that were marked for sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem during Passover. During the spring and summer the sheep would have been in open fields. During the winter sheep would have been kept in small fenced in pastures near town so the shepherds could spend the night in a warm home.

* "shepherds" -Shepherds in ancient Palestine were often young unruly despised boys and young men. Their occupation kept them from being ceremonial clean which meant so much to the religious Jews. Talmud law stated their testimonial was not allowed in a court of law. They were known to steal while in the field. Keeping watch over sheep in open fields was an unwanted job. The lowest boy in a family would get the job. Shepherds were known for gambling and other vices. They had to not only defend wild animals, but also thieves. Thus they camped together at night.

Angels visit shepherds

* The engraving to the right is by Martin Luther, 1483-1546. Angels visits shepherds in the field. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:


* The angels came to the shepherds because they were available. They were good representatives of the type of people who would respond to Jesus' words.

* The angels did not come to the religious leaders in Jerusalem or the Essenes at Qumran. The angels did not come to the people in Bethlehem for they rejected the Messiah and his parents. The angels did not come to Herod, his followers, nor Caesar.

>What were they doing at the time?

* "keeping watch over their flocks at night" -These sheep were the ones raised to be sacrificed during Passover. Bethlehem had become the staging ground for the sheep destined for slaughter according to the Mosaic laws.

>What was their first response?

* Luke 2:9 "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified."

* "an angel of the Lord" -The original Greek is "angelos Kyrios". There are two types of angels. The Lord's angels and fallen angels.

* "angel" -Angels are spirits (Hebrews 1:13-14; Psalms 104:4) created by God (Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16) before the creation of man (Job 38:7).
    Angels comes from two Hebrew words. The first is "ben." It means; "a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of lit. and fig. relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc.,"
    The second is "elohiym." It is plural of the Hebrew word "elowahh" which comes from the Hebrew words "el", "ayil", and "uwl". "Elohiym" means; "gods in the ordinary sense; but spec. used (in the plur. thus, esp. with the art.) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: -angels"

* "appeared" -The original Greek is "ephistemi". The angel might have been there all the time. The nature of the spiritual world is foreign to fallen man. Some speculate it is a second reality onto of our physical reality.

* "the glory of the Lord shone around them" -The original Greek is "doxa Kyrios perilampo autos". The Jews call this the "shekinah" glory of the Lord. When the tabernacle and Solomon's temple were dedicated they were filled with smoke and a bright light. (Exodus 40:36-38; Ezekiel 1:28, 3:23, 9:3) The Jews call this the Shekinah glory meaning "the glorious presence of God." This was visible in the pillar of fire that led Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. (Exodus 13:21, 33:9; Numbers 12:5, 14:14). This is the light that was on Mount Sinai when the Lord stood on it. The remnant Jews building the second temple expected to see this when they finished. What they failed to realize was the Shekinah glory wasn't important. Instead the Lord's presence himself, the messenger of the covenant was what needed to be in the temple. The Shekinah glory is just the radiance that flows from him. When the Lord was born in Bethlehem the Shekinah glory did not show from him. It was hidden. Only once was the Shekinah glory revealed and then only to three of the closest disciples of Jesus; Peter, James, and John. (Matthew 17:1-2; Mark 9:2-3) When John saw Jesus he described him this way, "I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, and among the lamp stands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance." (Revelation 1:12-16)

* 1 Kings 8:11 "And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple."

* Ezekiel 10:3-4 "Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord."

* "and they were terrified" -The presence of God terrifies sinners whoever they are. They were not used to seeing angels. They did not know why the angels came. Today brings an interest in angels in blogs, web sites, books, movies and television shows. Do any of them mention fallen man's fear of the spiritual?

* When you think about Jesus what do you understand? Is it Biblical? Are you in awe of him? Do you understand his power and might? Do you understand that worship and praise is not only in love, but also in admiration?


* The engraving to the right is in a Bible by Martin Luther, 1483-1546. Shepherds visit the newborn Jesus after learning of his birth from an angel. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>6. For whom is this good news? (10)

* Luke 2:10-11 "But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

* "But the angel said to them" -The shepherds understood what the angel was saying. Angels do have their own language. (1 Corinthians 13:1) However, they can speak so that we can understand them too.

* "Do not be afraid" -A common greeting when angels appear.

* "I bring you good news of great joy" -The verb translated "bring... good news" was later used as "good news of the gospel". (Isaiah 40:9, 52:7, 61:1) God's news is for joy. See below for more.

* "for all the people" -Not just the Jew, but for all people.


* Luke 2:32 "a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

* John 1:12-13 "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

* John 10:16 "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."

angels visit

* The engraving to the right is by Raimondi, Giovanni Battista, 1540-1630. Angels visit shepherds. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>What is the good news?

* Jesus isn't the source of salvation to only our human problems in this world. He is also our spiritual Savior.

* Jesus saves men from their sins, and all men are sinners. (Romans 3:23)

* Sin brings death. (Romans 6:23)

* Jesus brings salvation by dying for our sins. (1 Peter 2:24)

* Jesus purchased us from Satan through his death.

* Jesus is King eternal, the Creator.

* We have the hope and peace of God. We have the Holy Spirit.

* 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,"

* Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

* Romans 1:2-6 "the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."

* Romans 1:16-17 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

>7. What does it mean that he was born in the town of David? (11a; Micah 5:2)

* Luke 2:11a "Today in the town of David"

* Micah 5:2 ""But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

* "Today in the town of David" -David was born in Bethlehem and spent his youth in Bethlehem. He is not known to ever return to the small village after Saul called him into his service.

* David is the second king of Israel. He is and was known as the best king by many Jews. He loved the Lord and the Lord loved him. The Lord gave him a special promise that one of his descendants would sit on his throne eternally. (2 Samuel 7:5-16) See study 2 question 3 for more.

>That he is called a Savior? (11b; Gen. 3:15, 12:3b; Gal. 3:8)

* Luke 2:11b "a Savior has been born to you"

* Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

* Genesis 12:3 "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

* Galatians 3:8 "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you.""

* "a Savior has been born to you" -Luke and John use this title for Jesus only once each. Jesus is a spiritual king, one who will save us from our spiritual sickness.

* "Savior" -Jesus is our one and only Savior. Salvation is not Jesus plus something else. We cannot save ourselves from our own efforts or the efforts of anyone else.

* Is Jesus your Savior? Have you accepted his work of salvation? What do you trust in to save you? Do you trust in your good works? Most of the other religious say that a persons good work must outweigh our bad works if we are to be saves. Only Christianity declares that we are saved only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. So do you trust in Jesus or not? If not, then proclaim your sins, ask for forgiveness through Jesus, and receive his salvation. Jesus' salvation is free.

>8. What does "Christ the Lord" mean? (11c, Rom. 10:9-10)

* Luke 2:11c "he is Christ the Lord."

* Romans 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

* "he is Christ" -Jesus is Christ. Christ is Greek for the transliteration of the Hebrew word for Messiah meaning "Anointed One". Kings and priests were anointed. The Jews waited for the final Anointed One because of prophecies like Daniel 9:25, Habakkuk 3:13, and the Psalms.

* "the Lord" -Jesus is the Lord. (John 1:1-3; Romans 9:5)

* "Christ the Lord" renders a Greek expression found nowhere else in the New Testament and meaning, literally, "Christ Lord". Perhaps we should understand it as "Christ and Lord". (Acts 2:36; and 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11) (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Luke)


* "Lord" -Lord is used in the Septuagint (A Greek translation of the Old Testament made in the third century B.C., translated by seventy Jewish scholars) of God. It is used in other ways as well, but it is the the only translation of the name "Yahweh", "Jehovah", and "YHWH". (Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Luke) See also Acts 2:36 and Philippians 2:11. Tell this to any Jehovah Witness and they will walk away from you because the person who translated their Bible couldn't even recognize the Greek or Hebrew alphabet let alone translate this word used to describe Jesus' deity. His illiteracy was proven in a USA court of law.

Lord is YHWH in Hebrew. The most widely accepted pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is Yahweh, though Jehovah is used in many Bibles, but in few modern ones. It is connected to the passage in Exodus 3:14 in which God gives his name to Moses, "I am that I am" (or "I Will Be What I Will Be", "I Will Be What I Am"). The Israelites consider it the name of the covenant at Mount Sinai.

* Jesus often answered in the word that God gave Moses at the burning bush, "I am". Exodus 3:12-15 says, "And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."

* In the Exodus 3:12-15 quote above these are the English and Hebrew equivalents of the underline words (names) for God in order as they appear:
    God = Elohim
    you will worship God on this mountain = abad Elohim har
    God = Elohim
    God of your fathers = Elohim ab
    God said to Moses = Elohim amar mosheh
    I AM WHO I AM = Haya Haya
    I AM = Shalah
    God = Elohim
    the LORD = YHWH
    the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob = Elohim Abraham Elohim yishaq Elohim yaaqob
    This is my name forever = shem olam

* Jesus used "I AM" thus claiming he is Elohim (creator God of Genesis 1:1), Haya Haya (I AM WHO I WILL BE), Shalah (I AM), and YHWH (LORD of the covenants).

* Elohim is a singular/plural word. When a Hebrew word ends in "im" it is plural, similar to the way English adds a "s" to make a nown plural. However, "Eloh" is singluar in meaning and use. Thus, in the word Elohim God is stating that he is singular/plural or as Christians say, "Three in One and yet One."

>What does Luke 1:68-69 and 74-75 teach us about Jesus, our Savior and King?

* Luke 1:68-69 ""Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David"

* Luke 1:74-75 "to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."

* See those commentaries for information.

III. The Baby Jesus is Christ the Lord (12-20)

>9. What is the sign the angel gave the shepherds? (12)

* Luke 2:12 "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

* "a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" -See above.

* The shepherds simply accepted God's sign by faith.

shepherds visit

* The image to the right is by the Catholic Church. Angels visits shepherds in the field. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>Who is the baby in the manger? (1:32-33)

* Luke 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

* "He will be great" -Is Jesus great to you? Is he your all in all? Is he who you hope to see in heaven?

* "He... will be called the Son of the Most High"

* "The Lord God"

* "he will reign over the house of Jacob forever"

* "his kingdom will never end."


* The engraving to the right is by Martin Luther, 1483-1546. The shepherds visit the baby Jesus in Bethlehem (front) after learning of his birth from the angel (rear). The 4-cross is in the upper left corner. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>What is the implicit contrast here between the baby Jesus and Caesar Augustus?

* Night and day.

>Why is the baby in the manger called a sign?

* The baby Jesus is a sign to show that the nature of the Messiah's ministry was to be humble.

>What does this teach us about God's way of working?

* God does not work in worldly glory and grandeur.

>10. What does the angel chorus teach us about Jesus and his kingdom? (13-14; Isa. 9:6-7, 11:3-4a, 6-9)

* Luke 2:13-14 "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

* Isaiah 9:6-7 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

* Isaiah 11:3-4 "and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked."

* Isaiah 11:6-9 "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."

* "glory to God in the highest" -Glory means reveal, so this reveals God's love to sinful man. (John 3:16) It revealed God's power. It revealed God's faithfulness.

* "on earth peace to men" -When a person accepts Jesus he receives peace in the heart.

* "On whom his favor rests" -This sheds a clear light on the meaning of "on earth peace".

* Verse 14 should compel us to seek God's favor. How can God's favor rest on us? See Hebrews 11:6.

* The angel didn't say go, but he implied that they should go.

* The shepherds told others the good news message.


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