This will take only four minutes to read.
The past two weeks we have studied the Christmas story as recorded for us by Luke in the second chapter of his gospel. The first week we looked thoroughly at 2:1-3 so that we could understand exactly when in time this event took place, and in doing so we also learned what took Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Last week we examined vv. 4,5 which gave us a key bit of information about the child to be born: both of his parents were of the house and lineage of King David. After learning this we explored why this is so important. To keep up before reading this article, which will delve into the last two verses of our selected passage, I encourage you to read the first article here, and the second one here.
Today we close our brief study of Christmas, Luke 2:1-7, by taking a closer look at vv. 6 & 7 of our passage.
Luke 2:6,7 (ESV)
“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
I hope that you see how careful examination and study (1:3) has allowed Luke to write about one of the most important historical and spiritual events with such simplicity. He did not get into the theology behind this birth, or even recount all of the prophesies that were just fulfilled. He simply stated, “And she gave birth” (v. 7). Who did she give birth to?
Later, in verse eight, a group of shepherds were “out in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (vv. 8-11)
She gave birth to a Savior. This was the mission of Jesus, right? While Jesus was in the house of Zacchaeus, he says to him, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (19:10). This was the mission and purpose of the little child Mary wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in that cold manger.
She gave birth to the Son of God. Back in Nazareth before traveling to Bethlehem Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel. He told her, “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end…the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God” (1:32-33, 35).
The Son of God, a Savior, came to seek and save the lost. More than that, she gave birth to God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:1, 14).
In his gospel, Matthew states, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet [Is. 7:14]: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means God with us)” (Matt. 1:22, 23).
God came to the earth, in human form, “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10), “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This is why we celebrate Christmas. Our Lord God, Jesus Christ, Immanuel, our Savior, came into this world, the world he created (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3), to save those who would believe in him from eternal separation from him (John 3:16; Romans 3:23, 6:23).
I would like to close this article with another passage of scripture that speaks simply to what Luke recorded for us. This passage is found in Philippians chapter two and was written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Philippi. In 2:6-8 Paul says this: “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
This is who was born in the town of Bethlehem, the place of ancestry for his earthly parents and King David, as a result of a decree given by Julius Caesar (Octavian).