by Dr. Samuel Lee   11/13/1995     0 reads



Luke 2:1-14

Key Verses: 2:10,11

"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good

  news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the

  town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the


Study Questions:

1. What do verses 1-7 teach about the times when Jesus was born? (What

do you know about the Roman Empire, Caesar Augustus, etc.) What does

this event reveal about the suffering of colonial people?

2. Describe the beauty and sorrow of the scene of the birth of Jesus.

What does "there was no room in the inn" tell us about the people of

that time? How have people past and present tried and failed to make

the world better?

3. Why do men need a Savior from sin? Who is Jesus that he can be our

Savior? (Jn 1:3) How does his birth in such fatalistic circumstances

make him better able to be our Savior?

4. How did sin come into the human race? What are sin's consequences?

(Ro 6:23a; Heb 9:27; 1Co 15:32) How did Jesus help a lonely,

fatalistic tax collector? (Lk 5:27,28) Think of others he also


5. How can Jesus rescue those pierced by the horn of Satan ("horn"

represents power)? And those living in darkness? (Lk 1:69,78,79) Who

is Jesus (Lk 1:32b,33), and what did he do about our sin problem?

What does he give us? (Jn 3:16; Lk 9:25; Mk 10:45; Da 2:44-45; 2Ti





Luke 2:1-14

Key Verses: 2:10,11

"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good

  news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the

  town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the


This passage is the Christmas message to the shepherds living out in

the field, keeping watch over their flocks at night. The angel said to

them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will

be for all the people." Bible narratives are written mostly in

understatement. The Bible never exaggerates. But it says good news plus

great joy.

First, the time when Jesus was born (1-7).

Luke the historian depicts the historical background of the time

of Jesus' birth.  Verse 1 says, "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a

decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world." The

Roman Empire extended westward to England and east ward to Asia Minor

and to North Africa across the Mediterranean Sea. The world was a Roman

world. Rome ruled the world with the slogan, "Peace of Rome," which

meant the Roman Empire rules the world with peace. But the census

reveals the cruelty of Caesar's inner motive of squeezing poor colonial

people. As much as the Roman Empire prospered, the colonial people


Look at verses 4-5. "So Joseph also went up from the town of

Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because

he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register

with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a

child." This story reflects the social unrest of that time. All the

people of the colonies had to stop what they were doing and go to their

own town to register because they knew that Caesar was despotic and his

decree was inflexible. Because of the decree, someone might have

postponed the day of his wedding ceremony. There was no exception to

the decree. Joseph knew that it was not good for a woman who had

reached the full term of her pregnancy to travel such a long way. But

there was no choice. He went to his home-town to register with Mary,

traveling 100 miles on foot, risking the lives of both the baby and


Look at verses 6-7. "While they were there, the time came for the

baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She

wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no

room for them in the inn." This story tells us about the dis tressing

situation of the times. Maybe someone who made a hotel reservation

wanted to give his room to Mary when he heard Mary crying with delivery

pains. But for his own survival, he hardened his heart and turned deaf

ears to a woman crying with birthpains.  Many people might have done

the same.

As a man, Joseph should provide a room in which Mary could deliver

the baby. But he could not afford it. Probably, he felt like dying. So

with no choice, Joseph and Mary went into the stinking stable of an

animal, where many flies were buzzing around, and she gave birth to a

son and placed him in a manger. To be the mother of Jesus was literally

a suffering servant, and it was indeed glorious.

In view of history, people have toiled too hard to live in this

world, hoping that the world would be better off, and that they would

live a better life. But the world in which sin reigns had never been

better off. In the time of the Renaissance, people hoped so, but they

failed to see the world become better. The communists hoped so, but

they failed to see the world become better. The communists only

victimized 50 million husband candidates, in order to materialize their

utopian dreams. As a result, 50 million beautiful Russian women could

not marry and became endlessly sorrowful, for only lucky ones could

marry. The people in the democratic countries believed that they would

live in a paradise if only they could enjoy unlimited freedom. But

instead of paradise, they live in a restless and fearful world. In the

name of human freedom, people enjoy the life of sin at random. In

result, violence and immorality ruin the fibre of this nation. Without

Jesus the world can never be better. The world needs a Savior.

Second, Jesus saves men from their sins.

Thus far we thought about why we need a Savior. But how can a baby

in a manger save men from their sins? Even though he was laid in a

manger, he is the Creator God. John 1:3 says, "Through him all things

were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." But in

order to save men from their sins, Jesus gave up everything and was

born in such a fatalistic way so that he might save all the fatalistic

people. Jesus was born in such a fatalistic way so that he might be a

comfort to sorrowful people. Jesus was born in such a fatalistic way so

that he might be a friend to us.

There are many problems. But fatalism seems to be the worst

problem and it is the source of all sin. Many American people are

rancorous about the insidious influence of John Stuart Mill or Jean

Jacques Rousseau, thinking that their skeptical relativism influenced

most Americans not to keep the law of God. As a result of their bad

influence, many American people lost the fear of God and a holy

mission. They are now taking the consequences of relativism, such as

moral depravity and lethal violence and so on.

But the Bible says that through one man Adam's disobedience, sin

came into the world. And sin made man very fatalistic. Romans 6:23a

says, "For the wages of sin is death." After death, the ungodly are

supposed to stand before the judgment seat of God.  After judgment the

ungodly will be put into eternal condemnation. As we know well, death

makes men very fatalistic. All those who have the fear of death are

kind of pessimistic philosophers. Their theme is, "Let's eat and drink,

for tomorrow we die" (1Co 15:32). They are endlessly sorrowful, living

under the power of sin and death, working until their bones are

cracking. In the fatalistic view of the world, they want to live an

easygoing life and want to enjoy physical pleasure like the people of

Sodom and Gomorrah. They think that hard work does not make sense to

those who are perishing. Men cannot live without dreams and vision. The

Bible says, "...your young men will see visions, your old men will

dream dreams" (Ac 2:17b). Fatalistic people have no eyes to see


There was a man named Levi. He did not want to live a poor life

like his father. So he decided to become a tax collector in order to

make money, thinking that he could buy happiness with money. In order

to become a tax collector, first he sold his conscience, next he

betrayed his people suffering under the Roman yoke. He made some money.

But his people isolated him like a leper. People's isolation made him

too sorrowful to work any more. He was perishing. One day Jesus visited

him and said to him, "Follow me." Suddenly, Levi felt that the power of

darkness disappeared from his heart and the bright heavenly sunshine

smeared in his soul. He was happy. So he cried many tears quietly and

loudly.  After crying, he bought a ton of groceries and invited his tax

collector friends and had a heavenly feast. When Levi followed him,

Jesus helped him and raised him as the best teacher throughout history.

Levi later became Matthew, who quoted Jesus' words, "You are the light

of the world." There is no fatalism in Jesus.

Jesus can destroy the power of sin and death. Luke 1:69 says, "He

has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant

David." Zechariah nicknamed Jesus the horn of salvation. Zechariah

understood the power of sin. Satan has seven heads and ten horns (Rev

12:3). The horn of Satan is the symbol of sin and it is the most

powerful on earth. There is a story about Pedro, a very handsome and

popular bullfighter. One day he didn't feel like fighting. But because

of his people's nagging and for the sake of his own popularity, he went

out to fight. When he saw an angry bull paw the ground several times

and dash toward him, suddenly, he became blank. The angry bull pierced

his ribs on the left side. Pedro was badly injured and was popular no

more. Likewise, there are many young people who look nice outwardly,

but inwardly each of them has incurable wounds caused by the horn of

Satan. One young man was pierced by the horn of Satan when his mother

di vorced. His wound is so deep that he cries endlessly.

There are so many young people whose souls were pierced by the

horn of Satan while enjoying the darkness of sins. But Jesus saves

them. Luke 1:69 says, "He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in

the house of his servant David." To rescue us, Jesus destroyed the horn

of Satan through his crucifixion and resurrection. As a matter of fact,

we wanted to serve God.  But we could not serve God because we were

fearful of everything, even a dog Mike. Now we can serve God freely

without fear in holiness and righteousness.

Sin is compared to leprosy. Sin is incurable like cancer. Most

importantly, sin makes man meaningless. There was a very handsome young

man. He studied hard and obtained fame and wealth in his twenties.

Before obtaining fame and wealth, he was good. But after obtaining a

Sanhedrin seat and a golden chariot, he felt empty. Whenever he fought

against political opponents and won to keep his honor and position, he

felt a sadistic joy, not a real joy. But whenever he wanted to get some

sleep he always felt uneasy. Finally he could not sleep well. He could

not eat well. The townspeople envied him, but he felt he was falling

down from the peak of a mountain to a bottomless abyss. He confronted

human limits comparatively earlier. So he disguised himself and visited

Jesus at night secretly with his several bodyguards. As soon as he saw

Jesus, the heavenly sunshine shone in his soul. He was saved from his

life of darkness. Jesus could save him because he is the rising sun.

Luke 1:78,79 says, "because of the tender mercy of our God, by which

the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in

darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of

peace." Man cannot obtain true happiness with money and fame. One must

come to Jesus to rescue him from the shadow of death.

Third, Jesus gives us eternal life.

What is the most important to anyone in the world? We agree that

each one's life is the most important. We can trade many things with

others. But we cannot trade our lives with others. Jesus said, "What

good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit

his very self?" (Lk 9:25) John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world

that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall

not perish but have eternal life." To save us from our sins, God

crucified his one and only Son Jesus Christ, and made him a ransom

sacrifice. Jesus gave his life to give us eternal life.

Fourth, Jesus is the Savior King.

The baby Jesus was wrapped in cloth and was placed in a manger.

The Bible teaches that Jesus' life began in a manger and ended on a

cross. Humanly speaking, Jesus was born and lived the most tragic way.

But Luke the evangelist and historian says Jesus is a sign of the

Savior King.  Look at verse 12. "This will be a sign to you: You will

find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." The baby Jesus is

the sign that God came to this world to save men from their sins. This

baby laid in a manger is a sign that God's will for world salvation is

fulfilled. This baby is a sign that Jesus is the Savior King. In order

to become a Savior King, Jesus gave up his heavenly glory and humbled

himself, and came to this world. Without knowing humbleness, we cannot

come to Jesus, the Savior King. Hum ble Jesus became a friend to a

lonely tax collector. Humble Jesus became a father to a smelly

Samaritan woman. Finally Jesus took up all our sins and shed his holy

blood on the cross as a criminal. Jesus gave his life for us.

Fifth, Jesus gives us the kingdom of God.

As history attests, the kings and kingdoms of the world are temporal.

There is nothing eternal in the world. The agony of the kings of

nations in history is that they wanted to keep their kingdoms forever.

Only the kingdom of Jesus is forever. There are many stories about

nations and kingdoms in the Bible. Among them, the kingdom of Christ is

uniquely eternal (Dan 2:44-45). The Bible says that this kingdom is the

climax of God's will for world salva tion. And all Christians' ultimate

destination is the kingdom of God. The purpose of our Lord Jesus'

coming to this world was to bring us back to his eternal kingdom. The

Bible says that we will reign with Jesus forever (2Ti 2:12). When we

have faith in the kingdom of God we can live a life of holy pilgrims

with no anxiety for our future security. When we have faith in the

kingdom of God we can have hope to raise 10,000 Bible teachers in Amer

ica. The world is too sorrowful to live in, but we can have joy and

hope when we have faith in the kingdom of God. Luke 1:32b,33 says, "The

Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will

reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

The birth of Jesus is glory to God and peace to men (14). God

tried to fulfill his will for world salvation. But his people disobeyed

God's will for 42 generations. At last, through the birth of Jesus, God

reveals his love for his lost children. Also, the birth of Jesus is

peace to men on earth because Jesus, the Savior King, sets us free from

the power of sin and rules us with love and peace. The baby Jesus gives

eternal life and the kingdom of God to those who believe in him.