Luke 2:9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
God breaks into His own world and they are scared to death
10Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
It’s not news about joy, about a minor joy, or a happy event, it is news of GREAT
Joy. GREAT joy from heaven!
Its not a bike
Not a doll
Not a big wheel
Not a Nintendo 64
These are guys in a field
It isn’t even a wife
It’s not a dream house
11“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior,
it is a savior is born to you: that is the great joy
if you don’t need a savior that might not seem as great as the other list
but God breaks in out of nowhere and tells these shepherds
a savior has been born to you in the city of David.
who is Christ the Lord. 12“And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
These guys run into Bethlehem to find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a trough. That is a sign. Were they saved by that savior when they ran into town? No they found a baby just like the angel said. It was a sign.
Just like the signs all around us. The spiked trees. The Christmas carols. The gifts. The holiday. The stopping of normal life. It is a sign. Given to you. We decorate,
We eat with friends, we eat with family, we call people we don’t talk to everyday. We tell our children don’t fight today. Everybody does it. Why do people that aren’t Christians have Christmas trees? I don’t know. It is a sign.
Tomorrow the baby will appear in our manger. There will be presents all around him.
The baby is the main thing. The main thing is God became like us.
Church of the Nativity
a stairwell leads down to small cavern
a silver star on the floor is inscribed with the words “here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary”
here the main thing happened.
No one knew it. 200 hundred years later it was identified. Did Mary go back and say that’s where He was born?
The church of the sepulcher: the main thing happened here
Golgotha: the main thing happened here.
As the human race, We didn’t really notice when the main thing happened. It happened in obscurity.
Tomorrow amid all the wrapping paper and delight….the little figure of the baby isn’t going to be noticed.
The problem isn’t with the baby.
In all the Christmas hustle and bustle the main thing is ignored.
Why? It isn’t the baby; it’s us. We have the problem.
Claiming to be wise: we become fools.
Being blind we claim to see
Being poor we think we are rich
Being naked in creation we think we are covered.
This baby, this savior is great Joy. He is everything.
Scripture says a child is born, a son is given. He is the exact image of the invisible God.
The savior is the main thing. It isn’t life and the things of life: it is the savior.
Look at a story: Mark 9
4And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” 17Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18“And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
[19He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”] 20Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22“And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything (If you are able), have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus had given power to his apostles to heal and deliver people. And this man had brought his son and the apostles couldn’t help him. This man must have thought, well I’ve stumped the band. Our case is too hard. Paralytics can walk. The blind can see. Fevers go away but this may be out of the reach of Jesus. We’ll just thank him for trying.
23Jesus said to him, “If you can believe (if you are able), all things are possible to him who believes.”
What is he saying? It’s not about me being able. It’s about you being able. I am so with you, I am so for you, but are you able to believe who I am?
The man is asking can you transform my life? Is my case too hard?
This is THE MAN he is talking to. This is THE MAIN MAN.
There is no one greater. This is the exact image of God’s person. This is GOD WITH US: Immanuel.
24Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
while men do not understand, they are unconscious of their unbelief; but, as soon as they get a little faith, then they begin to be conscious of how great their unbelief is and has been. When a blind man gets a little light into his eyes, he perceives something of the blackness in which he has been living; so, you must be able to say, from your heart, a Lord, I believe,” or else you will never be able to pray, as this man did, “help my unbelief.”
The Lord Jesus Christ “is able to save them to the uttermost those that come to God by him.” He himself said, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men;” I don’t care how bad your case may be
Nothing is too hard for the omnipotent.
The baby of Christmas is the main thing.
matt 1:22So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
It is God with us.
“God with us.” God with Us.” It is hell’s terror.
Satan trembles at the sound of it;
Let him come to you suddenly,
and whisper those words, “God with us,” back he falls, confounded and confused.
Satan trembles when he hears that name, “God with us.”
It is the Christian’s strength;
how could he preach the gospel, how could he bend his knees in prayer, how could a missionary go into foreign lands, how could a martyr stand at the stake, how could men labor if that one word were taken away? “God with us.”
It is the sufferer’s comfort, it is the balm of his grief, it is the lightening of his misery, it is the sleep which God gives to his beloved, it is their rest after exertion and toil.
It is “God with us,” —
we know that the difficulty did not lie in the boy’s case at all, for Jesus Christ was able to cast the devil out, and he did cast it out.
Great Joy was announced to the shepherds. A sign was given to them. Great joy is still announced. The church of Jesus Christ is a sign to you. Christmas is a sign to you.
But the main thing is Christ. It is not your life. It is not the difficulty or suffering of your own life. He is the main thing. He has promised comfort and rest and life to all who put their trust in him.
The man in this story went searching for as answer for his son. He discovered he did not believe. He discovered the problem was not the complexity of his child’s case. He discovered the problem was his own heart. He discovered that he needed a savior as well. He asked for the main thing: help my unbelief.
Go to the house of feasting to-morrow, celebrate your Savior’s birth; do not be ashamed to be glad, you have a right to be happy.