Strange star gazers from the east come to worship Christ. These are men that we would expect to be hostile to the mission of Christ, and do everything possible to destroy Christ. We would expect that Herod who is the king of the jews embrace the Messiah for the Messiah is God with us. How can strangers expected to be opposed to the Messiah’s mission show the power of the Messiah’s mission?
Joseph is to be the father of Jesus. He is to find his significance in Christ’s advent. How does Joseph finding his significance in a baby demonstrate the beauty of this kingdom? How does Joseph finding his significance in Christ demonstrate our call to humility?
The name Jesus is a name that we have heard before in this series because it is the same name as Joshua. Joshua was a great military leader and reformer in the midst of Israel. He called Israel to look to their God, to serve their God exclusively, and to set the tone for their houses to serve the Lord. Israel fell pretty far from this as a new people. Their priests lost sight of their God, and the people lost sight of the priest’s significance. The priest was supposed to bring them to God rather than being some sort of good luck charms to manipulate the true God. So, is the Lord able to redeem such a people? If the Lord can redeem such a people then who has to be the redeemer?
The servant is the one who lives out the promises of the Lord. This is great, it is encouraging, and it is very significant for his mission. However, why would we appeal to this text for Christmas rather than Isaiah 9 or Isaiah 7 if we were going to use a passage from Isaiah? What does this servant teach us about the significance of Christmas?
The promised warrior is supposed to secure a life that never ends. You would expect such a warrior to be well armed, and be dressed for battle in the most intimidating way. This is what we want as humans to know that this warrior is an intimidating being. The problem with this is it is not the picture that Isaiah casts for the redeeming warrior. What kind of warrior will deliver and why is this the warrior that we need?
We can talk about the Advent of Christ, but do we really understand the nature of his mission? Do we really understand the state of His people? We can claim that this is only a problem for Israel, but are they the only broken people in the Lord’s Word? How does this old prophet relate to us today?
It is easy to reduce Christmas down to a time of sentimental feelings or desires. There are some people who might see Christmas only as joy, while there are others who might only dwell on the loss of loved ones. There is no doubt that we may even vacillate between these two feelings. It is also true that both of these views have a basis. So, how do we keep these feelings or desires in a proper perspective? How can our God understand both of these views of Christmas? How does the strange man Simeon even help us to keep our Christmas struggle in perspective or reorient our priorities?
Do we think about what it means when we say things like, “Jesus is the reason for the season?” There is no doubt that Christ’s entrance into history is significant, but why is it significant? What does it teach us about God being Sovereign and man not being as sovereign as man thinks?
So, Herod is trying to maintain his power and usurp the living God. Herod is a wise ruler and has many years of experience. He knows how to rule by his will to power. Can he overrule the plan of the Lord? Can the worldly ruler claim his power and see to it that the the Lord is not able to establish His rule and His kingdom? Is Herod then stronger than the Lord or does the Lord remind us why He is called the King of kings?
Many times we think of the birth story of Jesus as being a nice story. It is a nice story, but what is so nice about it? Do we ever stop to consider what is so nice about the story of Jesus? What is so humbling to us to embrace a savior who is named Jesus? What is significant about His name and why does Matthew call attention to the name Jesus? Why does the angel insist that the name of this child is to be Jesus?