Views from the Pew – 12.14.21

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What did you learn from Sunday’s sermon “What Peace?”?

Q1: Was there a star when Jesus was born?

Q2: Why did Joseph and Mary come to Bethlehem?

Q3: Why was there no room in the inn?

Q4: Did Jesus come to bring peace?

Q5: How did the shepherds know Jesus was born if there was no star?

Q6: How many chapters are in Luke’s gospel?

Sermon Summary & Answers

In this Sunday’s sermon, “What Peace?”, Luke recounts that God would become man. Luke 2:6-7 starts with while they were there, a baby was born. Note, just two verses are given to capture the birth of the Son of God, which is fascinating because there are 24 chapters in Luke. This is also interesting because births usually share details like the birth weight, the delivery, how mom and baby are doing etc. But, Luke just says, the firstborn baby boy is born, and she (Mary) wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger. This amazing event almost begs for more details. Luke doesn’t want us to see the drama and details of the birth, but the drama of the event.

To do that, Luke doesn’t let us get wrapped up in those small details. Now, we’ve added myth to the story. We even sing about shepherds following a star. But, there is not a star in any account of Jesus’ birth. Perhaps, this is the star from two years later that the wise men followed. Simplicity, drives us to look at the real matter and remove characters that weren’t there and drama that wasn’t there.

So, the heart of the matter, they were there. Luke 2:7, the birth simply stated that then Jesus was laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn. Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem without reservation at the Holiday Inn, and there was no place for them. So, they were sent to an isolated place where baby Jesus would be born. But there’s more to that. The inn in Luke 22:11 is the same word in chapter 2, it is the guest room in the house not the Holiday Inn. In Luke 10:34, it is not same the Greek word in the story of the Good Samaritan and is an inn as we would think of it. So, there was no room for them in that house. Jewish lodging was simple, one-room house with a roof to accommodate guests. Luke 2:1-5, they are in Bethlehem because of a decree from Caesar Augustus for a census to be taken, and the Jews were ordered to return to the city of their fathers to be counted. Joseph, obviously, does not have a house in Bethlehem, he lives in Nazareth. So, traveling to Bethlehem, one would ask family to stay in their guest room, but when they asked, they were told no, Uncle Johnny and Aunt Rose got here first. But perhaps, there is still room in our house. On the first floor of the house, there was a raised area to bring livestock out of the cold.

They likely said you can stay with us and then Mary had a baby placed Him in the most comfortable cradle available while staying with family.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

So, why do we tell it differently?  Because it allows us to pity Jesus and imagine Him isolated and alone? Do we think we would do better for Him than they did? Do we pity His rejection, which allows us to accept Him? Maybe just to make it more dramatic, so we add the wise men and the gifts they brought where they don’t belong?  

Then the scene shifts, and Luke kept it simple and introduced the heart of the matter, Luke: 2-8 the shepherds are in the field and an angel said behold, great joy, today a savior has been born, a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger and then more angels arrived. Essentially, God speaks and gets to the heart of the matter. God will tell you what He’s doing because you’d miss the significance, even if you had all the details, you’d still miss the point. This is the point; the angel appears to shepherds tending their flock. They weren’t doing what they ordinarily do. They don’t tend to the flock at night. They stay in the city and put sheep in pins. The significance can be seen in John 10:1 in the story of The Good Shepherd. The shepherd wouldn’t climb the fence, he’s goes to the gate. The one who enters in from the door is the shepherd, and the one who climbs the fence is a thief. The shepherd can step in, call to his sheep, and the other sheep don’t respond because they know it is not their shepherd’s voice. Simple. For Luke 2, our point is why ain’t the shepherds resting, and why ain’t the sheep in the pin? So, this is not ordinary. The city is crowded, pins full, sheep pushed out into the fields. It is fascinating how God works to say what He wants to say even to ordinary people like shepherds. Angels come and glory is all around, and an angel points them to a baby not a star and said go find the child, He’ll be wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger. In a small village, it’s not hard to find a baby born in the middle of all that property tax census. But the heart of the matter, Luke 2:13, a lot of angels altogether say glory to God in the highest, peace to men on whom He is pleased. Message delivered, angels gone. The thing that happened isn’t the baby’s born, but it was made known that only God knows this child is the Son of God. It all points to that declaration, this child will bring glory to God! This child will bring peace! That’s the drama!!!

Speaking of peace. This is not the peace we think about. Luke 12:51, Jesus’ said, no not that peace, I bring division, father against son etc. Jesus stirred it all up! Matthew 10:34, Jesus said do not think I came to bring peace but a sword. Luke 21:9, when you hear of wars don’t be shocked, they must first take place. You misunderstand my purpose, there will be earthquakes, plagues, famines, and great signs from heaven. It has to be that way. Nature will continue to groan under the weight of fallen man, and unimaginable terrors from the sky will happen that interrupt an imaginary peace. That peace is not stable or steady, you can lay down at night with plans for the next day, and God moves the earth and your false peace is devastated, homes destroyed, businesses shattered, and lives lost, right here before Christmas, and were shocked by that. Because it isn’t peace, it’s tragedy. Jesus shouts from scripture and reminds us, He didn’t come to bring that kind of peace and when it happens, Jesus wants you to see the plan of God. He is always doing what He always does – bringing real peace to earth. When tornadoes strike and bad things like this happen, people look for something or someone to blame. Why is my peaceful world devastated? Whose fault is it?

People say it is just fate. A foolish answer in the midst of tragedy. Fate is not a thing. It’s the absence of any sort of reasonable thing. They say mother nature is mad because we ignore global warming, another kind of foolish. But we need someone to blame. God did this with a purpose the details are not revealed, but we can know attending in tragedy is the God of grace, mercy, and love complimented with the God of wrath and judgement for purposes not known to most of us.”

Pastor Steve Wilson

Luke 21:13 says this an opportunity for your testimony. It all happened to provide the stage for Christians to give their testimony. Tragedy, disease, personal persecution, all of it, God created a stage for us to speak. And, God will give us wisdom that our opponents can’t refuse. There’s no need to prepare a speech, it’ll be a message from your heart. The truth: God is in this thing, people might not want to hear that especially not at times like this. We will be hated by all because of our defense of God, who acts in unimaginable ways for His purpose. No one can refute the truth that God did this, but they can attack you for speaking that truth. Acts 6:10 take a look at the first Christian martyr who said his opponents could not cope with wisdom, spirit, and the truth about Jesus and His death. They took him and stoned him.

What peace does this child bring? Luke 2:14, the peace Jesus brings, brings God glory, and this kind of peace only settles on some. It is not a universal peace but is shared among those with whom God is pleased. This is peace among men of God’s pleasing; it is not about pleasing men. This peace is for people of faith who found pleasure in the sight of God by faith, believing this was the Son of God who brings glory to God and His redemptive purposes. That’s the peace. Peace between God and man to all who would seek him and believe him. This child brings that peace sadly not for all men only by Grace through faith. John 14:25, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things. My peace that I give to you is not like the world. Do not let your heart be troubled, do not be afraid. John 14:16 so in me you can have peace the world will have tribulation, but I overcome the world!

Storms will blow again; will you have peace? Will you have Jesus?”

Pastor Steve Wilson

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  1. No.
  2. Caesar Augustus decreed a census, and Joseph had to go to his hometown to register.
  3. It was not a hotel. It was a guest room in a home, and most likely, other relatives were already staying there.
  4. Not the kind of world peace we think of, but peace to those He is pleased with. Peace between God and man.
  5. The angel told them.
  6. 24 but only two verses are dedicated to the birth of Jesus.