An Improbable King, Pt. 1
Luke 2:1-7 • Jeff Crotts •
Over the next three Lord’s Days, I want to take us through a three-part series through Luke 2. Let us worship Jesus the One who is this world’s most Improbable King!
In my lifetime, the last four presidents have marked the most dramatic political platform swings to date.
- Think of our prior President to our current one.
- In view of this, conspiracy theories are tempestuous.
- People polarized this week voting on the highest levels.
- All in view of our impending presidential election year.
- With what seems to put the country’s business out to the foreground.
- All while it still goes on!
“Are you surprised by how it’s going?”
ESV 2 Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that ain the last days there will come times of difficulty.
ESV 2 Timothy 3:12-13 Indeed, all who desire to alive a godly life in Christ Jesus bwill be persecuted,
13 while aevil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and bbeing deceived.
ESV 2 Peter 3:3-4 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come ain the last days with scoffing, bfollowing their own sinful desires. 4 aThey will say, "Where is the promise of bhis coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation."
How you both receive and respond to our Nation’s climate matters.
- Your litmus test and your testimony.
- Believers are called to view the world in terms of two kingdoms.
- Secular and sacred and always converging.
- Many secular kings, One sacred king.
- Many temporal kings, One eternal Sovereign.
ESV Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
- Why Christians should pray hard for our governing authorities:
ESV 1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
- Also called to submit to “governing authorities…”
ESV Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Prayers and submission are not whispering manipulations of world leaders, platforms, or events.
- Our prayers strike the posture of dependence.
- We declare God a Higher King over our world.
- Our prayers testify what God allows both good and evil.
- While we depend on Him and pray for God’s grace.
Luke 2 is often called the Christmas story.
This past Friday, I read from Luke 2 to about 30 children on the stage!
Luke 2:1-7 sets the stage Christ coming with two kingdoms converging!
- Christ’s coming is God’s Kingdom coming down to earth.
- Christ’s coming is God’s promise to make all things right.
- Christ’s coming is a humble king when the Jews wanted a dominant one.
- Christ’s coming turned things upside-down, redefining the world’s problem in terms of sin.
- Christ’s coming is meant to solve people’s problem sin, saving and sweeping believers into His kingdom.
Whether we fully see God’s hand in world events or not, God is in charge.
- He rules by what has been called: “God’s upside-down Kingdom.”
Christians and the church, play a strategic role to carry out Christ’s work on earth.
- What began 2,000 years ago when our Lord arrived.
- We play this role in extending God’s witness by bringing Heaven to Earth.
Luke 2:1-7, displays two Kingdom converging, by comparing two leaders who are complete opposites.
1. A Secular King (vv. 1-5)
a. Politically Dominant
i. “Caesar Augustus” the grandnephew of Julius Caesar.
ii. Named “Octavian” and came to power when Julius Caesar was assassinated.
- Caesar willed to Octavian all of his possessions, so immediately powerful.
“that all the world should be registered” (v. 1) – putting the whole word into motion.
b. “Born a fighter, had clawed his way to power defeating Antony and Cleopatra.”
i. Ushering in the Pax Romana – “The peace of Rome.”
ii. A kind of “Hitler’s Peace.”
iii. A mix of forced submission with good reform away from the worst corruption.
c. Religiously Blasphemous
i. A god-like status, named “Augustus” meaning “revered” or “holy”.
- Like a “god.”
An ancient plaque: “Divine Augustus Caesar Imperator of Land and Sea, Benefactor and Savior of the Whole World.”
ii. Worship ascended to new heights when his office turned religious.
iii. Taking the name Pontifex Maximus meaning “highest priest.”
d. Strategically Greedy
i. Caesar’s plan was to count his Kingdom to know how much power he could flex.
ii. Identifying more men to grow his military.
- While taxing the masses to keep them under his thumb.
This odd ruler – a mix of power, greed, spirituality propping himself up to be worshipped
e. Overruled by God
i. Notice the narrowing focus of the “world” (v. 1).
- “Syria” (v. 2).
- “each to his own town” (v. 3)
- “Galilee” (v. 4)
- “Nazareth”, “Judea”, to “Bethlehem” (v. 5)
ii. All this to fulfill prophecy from Micah 5:2.
ESV Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
- Joseph (who grew up in Nazareth) had to return to his ancestral town to be counted (v. 3).
f. Obscure Bethlehem is where David was from and anointed 1,025 years B.C. and where Jesus was to be born.
“Mary and Joseph appeared to be helpless pawns caught in the movements of secular history, but every move was under the hand of Almighty God. The Messiah would indeed be born in tiny, insignificant Bethlehem! As the Virgin traveled, her steady beating heart, hidden from the world, kept time with the busily thumping heart of God” [Hughes]
i. Mary traveled with her betrothed out of love and loyalty and was early!
ESV Luke 2:6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth
ESV Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
2. A Sacred King (vv. 6-7)
a. Jesus was on time - “while they were there” (v. 6)
b. Jesus was God’s Son – “firstborn son” (v. 7) – meaning he was God’s rightful heir.
c. Jesus was humble – “wrapped…swaddling clothes…laid inn a manger” (v.7)
“So what does this mean in terms of our Sacred King ruling?”
“Sovereignty at work?”
Go back 600 years before this event to put it into context.
ESV Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This is much more than a lyric from Handel’s Messiah (what you hear in the mall at Xmas).
When first and second comings of Christ - Bookend History in your thinking – then and only then will you recognize that this humble Christ child truly as your Sovereign king.
Christ’s arrival is the ultimate convergence of Heaven with Earth – God’s intervention
Eternal meeting temporal!
- “A child is born” (Isaiah 9:6) emphasizes his humanity
- Christ faced all of human temptation without sin. (cf. Heb. 4:15).
ESV Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest awho is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been xtempted as we are, eyet without sin.
- “A son is given” (Isaiah 9:6) emphasizes his deity
- The preexistent and second person of the Trinity (cf. John 1:1-2).
ESV John 1:1-2 aIn the beginning was bthe Word, and cthe Word was with God, and dthe Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
- “The government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6) – emphasizes his Lordship
- Times future when Christ reigns over a literal, earthly geopolitical kingdom.
- Over all the kingdoms of the world.
- Predicted by Daniel, Zechariah, and John in Revelation 20.
“Where is Christ kingdom now?”
- In a world filled with turbulence, where is this One who came to us so long ago?
- He rules from heaven. At the right hand of the Father.
- However, He also rules in the hearts of every true believer! On earth!
Christ’s kingdom is invisible
- In our hearts and being built through the church.
- Displayed when the church gathers like this morning!
- One day what is invisible will become visible.
- What is manifest locally will be manifest universally!
- From heaven to earth over those under Christ’s lordship and over those who have rebelled against it!
The one primary difference between this King and Kingdom from all other secular kings and kingdoms? You Worship this KING!”
- Christ is Wonderful
- Christ is the Counselor
- Christ is the Mighty God
- Christ is the Everlasting Father
- Christ is the Prince of Peace
Worship Christ! You want this KING!