The first twenty-one verses of Luke 2 are quite special to me. Year after year I’d sit at Grandfather’s feet and listen to his deep voice read these words announcing the birth of the Savior and King.
And such an announcement brings joy to our hearts because of what Jesus came to do. Jesus, God the Son Incarnate, came to save God’s people, SINNERS each and every one of us.
Far too many Christians are walking around talking like khaki wearing, turtle neck sporting therapists, speaking as if our most prominent problem is “brokenness”, and that Jesus came to put the “broken pieces” of our lives together and “make us whole”.
But brokenness is not our problem. We aren’t china victims of a bull. We aren’t passive paupers, good guys in a movie, down and out of luck, needing someone to just give us our big break. And salvation is not Jesus putting the pre-existing, broken pieces of our lives back together, to make us whole.
We are sinners, willful rebels against a holy God. In sin, man hates God and gives himself fully to warring against God. In sin, man deserves death and hellfire. That’s our plight, the plight of sin.
And salvation is far better than divine therapy. Jesus died in the place of all God’s people on the cross. He took all the wrath stored up for us because of our iniquity on the cross. He was crushed in our place, for our sin. And he came to earth to do that for us, to give his life as a ransom for us. He took to himself flesh and blood to lay it down for our redemption. He was born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes that he might die on Calvary, his clothes divided by gambling dogs. And he rose again, guaranteeing our eternal blessedness. Where sin has ruined every part, our Savior does away with the old man and makes us new creation! By his Spirit we are given new birth to a life that will forever be at peace in the glory of his kingdom. Not old pieces, ruined by sin, unable to endure the holiness of God, put together like a jigsaw puzzle. Douglas Wilson is right when he says, “As William Tyndale put it, when God ‘buildeth he casteth all downe first. He is no patcher.’ God will not patch His grace onto some humanistic psychological nonsense.” Not the broken given wholeness, but God’s elect people, dead in sin, GIVEN NEW LIFE IN CHRIST OUR SAVIOR, BORN TO RESCUE US AND RULE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Please, as we celebrate the birth of the Messiah, let’s rededicate ourselves to Biblical thinking and Biblical speaking. Meditate with me on the actual good news, good news for me and you, and good news for a wicked world.
And so hear the announcement. Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive its King! Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing. Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let all her songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hill, and plains repeat the sounding joy. No more let sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found! He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 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.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, 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. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.