And It Came To Pass

Photo by Cedric Froehlich on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 2.

  1. I have heard people describe 2020 as “a dumpster fire”. One sign I saw said that 2020 was “like looking both ways before crossing the street, and getting hit by an airplane”. What made the year seem so tough was politician overreach in response to the Coronavirus, a run away media that threw fuel on the fire, a few bad police mistreating and shooting people, and the rioting and name calling that followed. I do not want to downplay the Coronavirus by any means. As of December 15th, 2020, there have been 301,000 deaths attributed to the Coronavirus. The hospitals are filled with sick people, the nursing homes locked down, and many states are entering more quarantines and business shut downs. I read the other say that some 100,000 restaurants in the U.S. will remain permanently closed because of shutdowns. I could go on and on, but I’d like to share something with you from the CDC, something you’ll never hear. Maybe this will give us a little perspective.

In 2018 the number of deaths in the U.S. were 2,839,205. Their causes?

Heart disease: 655,381
Cancer: 599,274
Accidental Deaths: 167,127
Respiratory disease: 159,486
Stroke: 147,810
Alzheimer’s disease: 122,019
Diabetes: 84,946
Influenza and Pneumonia: 59,120
Kidney diseases: 51,386
Suicides: 48,344

When you look at these numbers you can see that, though 2020 has been rough, every year is rough. It seems rougher this year because of media scaremongering. I certainly do not want to diminish the suffering that many have gone through because of this Coronavirus. But the CDC statistics on the 1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus {flu}): “The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.” This is twice the number of deaths attributed to the Coronavirus.

Is God Gone Away?

When bad things happen, people always ask “Where is God?” God is here. God is always here. But from the beginning of human history, death and disease have been with us. This is a result of Adam’s sin, not God’s fallibility. When humanity does that which God says we ought not do, we receive viruses, thorns, thistles, mosquitoes, and all the other icky things. We need to realize:

• We are fallen creatures living in a fallen world. King Solomon described human history this way:

Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

• God is in control, even in the bad times. When Jesus entered this world, there was harshness all around Him and His earthly family. And yet, everything that happened, happened because God our Father orchestrated it to happen. God is in control. Let’s start reading:

Luke 2:1-7 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And ALL went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Word Study Cæsar Augustus demanded that every person in the Roman Empire be counted. The King James says “all the world should be TAXED”. The word translated “TAXED” is the Greek ἀπογράφω apográphō, {pronounced ap-og-raf’-o}, which means “to enroll, enter into a register, to be recorded”. This same word is used in reference to the Book of Life:

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written {apográphō} in heaven …

The purpose of the Roman Census was to count people. To fulfill the Roman order, every person had to return to their ancestral homes. Mary is of the lineage of David, so she must go with her husband, also of that same lineage.

Luke 2:3-5 And all went to be {counted}, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 to be {counted} with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child …

Joseph and Mary’s lineage could be traced back to King David of Judah, and David’s “city {of birth}” is “Bethlehem”. In an article from the Religious News Service (December 23rd, 1995), Professor James F. Strange writes:

“They had to travel 90 miles to the city of Joseph’s ancestors: south along the flatlands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into Bethlehem. … It was a fairly grueling trip … In antiquity, the most we find people traveling is 20 miles a day. And this trip was very much uphill and downhill. It was not simple. … Joseph and Mary likely would have traveled only 10 miles a day because of Mary’s impending delivery. … the trip through the Judean desert would have taken place during the winter, when “it’s in the 30s during the day [and] rains like heck,” said Strange. “It’s nasty, miserable. And at night it would be freezing.””

During the trip, Joseph and Mary not only had to deal with her pregnancy, but also lions, bears, and wild boars. Bandits and Robbers were also common hazards. It was a very hard journey which would have taken up to a week and a half to complete.

God Is There, And In Control – ALWAYS

When we go through trials, we often ask “where is God while I am in this valley”. Where is God? He is where He always is. God is there. God is with us. And God is in control. Our God is greater than we can imagine. God says:

Isaiah 55:8-9 my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Beloved, it was not Caesar that ordered Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem – it was GOD.

When God prophesied of the Coming of the Messiah into the world, He said:

Micah 5:2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

The One Who was to be born had been going forth from everlasting. Though Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ as God the Son existed with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit from eternity past. He is the

Revelation 1:8 … Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty

Eternal God would take upon Himself humanity in Bethlehem. Jesus is the prophesied Son of David that God promised in:

2 Samuel 7:12-14 … I {God} will set up thy seed {,dear David,} after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. …

No one in their right mind would take such a horrible trip with a pregnant woman unless absolutely necessary. But it was necessary. Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem, because God said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Later on when the Wise Men would come from Babylon to Jerusalem looking for Jesus,

Matthew 2:2 … saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Herod the puppet king of Israel would ask the chief priests and scribes as to where Christ (Messiah) would be born. They would tell him:

Matthew 2:5-6 … In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

The Bread Of God Must Be Born
In “The House Of Bread”

The name “Bethlehem” means “The House of Bread”. During His ministry, those who follow Jesus will ask Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”. Jesus tells them:

John 6:29-35 This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Jesus is the Bread of Life!

When Joseph and Mary get to Bethlehem – again, a hard journey on people in the best of health – did they find a cushiony bed and breakfast to stay at? No.

Luke 2:6-7 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Word Study The Bible tells us that Jesus was laid in a manger “because there was no room for them in the INN”. The word translated “INN” is the Greek κατάλυμα katályma, {pronounced kat-al’-oo-mah}, which means “guest room”. Many homes of that day kept their animals stabled on the first floor of their houses. The “guests” stayed on the upper floors. Because of the census, all of the regular rooms that people would have rented or stayed at were filled. Mary and Joseph had to occupy the lower room, a night time shelter for the family animals. Was this cruelty? Where was God in all this? God is still in control.

God Intended His Lamb To Be In A Manger

Jesus as a baby was cradled in a manger, this too being a fulfillment of prophecy. Many, many years before this, God went to Abraham and told that old saint:

Genesis 22:2 Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

This son is Abraham’s only begotten son. He has just had this child in his old age. Abraham was a hundred years old (Genesis 21:5) when Isaac was born. We do not know how much time passed from Isaac’s birth till the command of God, but we do know that Isaac was old enough to accompany his father and to carry the wood of the sacrifice.

Abraham does as God requests. On the third day (Genesis 22:4) Abraham and Isaac climb to the top of Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:2), the same place where Solomon would one day build the Temple of God (2 Chronicles 3:1). Once they built the altar, Isaac asks his father:

Genesis 22:7-8 … my father … 8 Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Abraham’s answer? Genesis 22:8 … My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:

After Isaac willingly laid himself down on the altar, and Abraham went to sacrifice him, it was then that God stopped him. Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked (Genesis 22:13) … and there he found the lamb of God. Isaac did not die because “God provided Himself a lamb for a burnt offering”. Abraham named that place Jehovah-Jireh (Genesis 22:14), meaning “the Lord will provide”.

Why is Jesus Christ laid as a baby in a manger? God provided Himself a Lamb for the burnt offering”. Where else would you find a lamb, a sacrificial lamb, but in a manger? Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. John the Baptist would later declare on seeing Jesus:

John 1:29 … Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, sent to take away the sin of the world. He is the replacement for the animal sacrifices that Israel made year after year. These sacrifices could not satisfy our Holy God – they were but shadows.

Hebrews 10:1-4 … the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

God will provide Himself a sacrifice for sin. That Child born on that holy night so long ago is the Lamb of God. He was see by the Prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

This precious Baby of Mary’s will grow up to be “the satisfactory payment for our sins, and not just for ours, but for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2, my paraphrase). Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God!

1 Peter 1:18-20 … ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

It is God in that small baby, sent to redeem us. It is God willing to die for us. It is God alone Who is worthy to atone for sin. It is God you receive as Lord and Savior, causing your name to be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 13:8). All Heaven declares (Revelation 5:12) “Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain”. Jesus Christ is the sent Messiah (Luke 10:16; Mark 9:37; John 13:20). Jesus Christ is Shiloh prophesied, the One Sent of God:

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Where better a Lamb to be than in a manger?

1 Corinthians 5:7 Christ our Passover … sacrificed for us

Jesus is the Lamb in the Throne of God in yonder Heaven (Revelation 22:3). Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8).

The Shepherds {Jews} See The Lamb Of God FIRST

Luke 2:8-14 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

These Shepherds are watching sheep – lambs – that one day will be used as sacrificial animals. Only the best of the lambs can be used to make payment for sins on the altar of God. These Shepherds can identify a lamb without blemish (Leviticus 1:3; Deuteronomy 15:21), prized as a sacrifice for sins. The Angel of God comes to these Shepherds first, for God promised the Messiah to the Jews FIRST. That which God has foreordained in Christ Jesus will replace the “dead works of the Law” (Hebrews 9:14) by “a NEW and LIVING WAY” (Hebrews 10:20). No longer will the people need to approach God through the Temple and the Blood Altar. This baby Lamb in that manger will establish the only Way unto God. The Angel tells the Shepherd:

Luke 2:10 Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people

In this past year we have seen more riots over perceived “racism”, statues torn down, “critical race theories” pushed forth. Do you want to see racism end? It will not end by legislation, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Racism is something that sinful humanity created. The Bible speaks nothing of “races”. The only times the word “race” is used in Scripture, it is in reference to competitive running. The Bible speaks of nations, of peoples. The Apostle Paul preached:

Acts 17:24-27 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

In humanity, God has made us all OF ONE BLOOD. We all bleed red. We are of ONE BLOOD, one race, the HUMAN race.

That Lamb of God in the Manger came to this earth through Mary to be the sole means of salvation for all people. There is no other way to peace with God. There is no other way to peace with other peoples. Jesus is…

Luke 2:10 a Savior, which is Christ the Lord

When you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, His sacrifice on Calvary, His Blood, is the covering for your sins. It is through Jesus Christ that the insanity of sin is rejected. Beloved, all who are in Christ by faith are my brothers and my sisters. My family is not distinguished by outward color, but by inward faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God!

Luke 2:14 … Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

Hearing this good news, the Shepherds did not wait. The Bible says:

Luke 2:15-17 … the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

Do you want to see world peace? Then you must tell others about Jesus. Do you want to see racism die? Then you must tell others about Jesus. It is only this faith in Christ that changes the human heart.

Luke 2:18-20 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Do you know Him? Do you know the Jesus of Scripture? If you know Him, then you should be glorifying and praising God for this great gift of life. Jesus Christ came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). The greatest gift that God could give you is His Son Jesus. The greatest gift you can receive this holiday season is Jesus. The greatest gift you can give to others is Jesus Christ. Oh Beloved, if you do not knows Him, repent and turn to Him today. I heard this the other day – I do not know where. But I agree with this.

“If Your Repentance Did Not Change Your Life, Then You Need To Repent Of Your Repentance”

Come to Jesus Christ today. Receive Him as Lord and Savior. Believe He is the Lamb of God Who died for you. Believe He is the Son of God Who gives you eternal life. He lives, so we live! May God touch your hearts with His Word and His Spirit! Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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