Christmas Part 1
Luke 2:1-5 Matthew 2:1-12

What are your Christmas traditions? who what when where organized-disorganized-messy-pick up paper, Dian open 1 at
a time – Arnis free for all, then I’d go home without them to start a diet.
Let’s read about the first Christmas
Luke 2 1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman
Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral
towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in
Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to
whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
Matthew 2 1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men (or
royal astrologers; magi) from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We
saw his star in the east. and we have come to worship him.” 3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as
was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is
the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6‘And you,
O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will
be the shepherd for my people Israel. (Micah 5:2) 7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he
learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for
the child. And when you find him, come back, and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” 9 After this interview
the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and
stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star they were filled with joy! 11They entered the
house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their
treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their
own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
1) Luke 2: 1-2 Why do you think Augustus decree that a census be taken of everyone in the kingdom?
Taxes – Caesar required this of the entire Roman world -looking for more taxes. Always follow the money.
In the first century A.D., at the time of Jesus and his first disciples, Rome had dominion over Israel. Emperor Caesar
Octavian Augustus came to power after a period of political unrest and civil war in Rome, following the murder of Julius
Caesar, and was in power during the time of Jesus' birth.

Can you find Judea/Israel? It’s tiny.

2) Luke 3:3 What must it have been like throughout the Roman world for everyone to register for the census in their
ancestral home?
A big mess. People were traveling everywhere.

Which direction did Mary and Joseph go, north or south? South
How is travel today, a trip when you are pregnant and it’s about time for the child to be born?
SLIDE Find Nazareth and Bethlehem on the map

There was no Christmas – just chaos – travel dangerous – everybody wanted to get home – BUT – unknown to them –
things would never be normal again – a child was born – with geopolitical implications, not just for a generation but
generations – what happens only a good story teller could make this up – OR – it was real
Do you know much about Augustus or Herod for your school world history class? No
Every person whose life intersected with this story of Jesus, HIS story, became footnotes to his story – peasants,
governors, kings, even Caesar. A king had been secreted into this world – not a religious figure – but a king.
SLIDE A KING – Secreted into this world!
A king who would reverse the order of things:
Lay down his life for his subjects rather than require their lives for him.
Lay down life and rights for others, even enemies.
The right to rule-ship is lost to us.
What have we done with Jesus?
We’ve made him a tidy religious figure – a call a friend when in trouble – backup plan – conscious healer.
Mary and Joseph knew – angel said to Mary – Jesus – this name comes from Joshua – means leader or sometimes
Angel told he – He will be great. He will be called Son of the Most High – this is royalty language – son of the supreme
Any doubt? The Lord God will give him the throne of David, the 2 nd king of Israel. He will reign over Jacob’s
descendants forever. King: a ruler, a command giver, a law giver, a judge, no mere pardoner, forgiver of sins.
Angel – his kingdom will never end. Greek – And of his kingdom there shall not be an end
SLIDE The question to wrestle with every day: Is Jesus my king?
Or is he a tradition, a call in emergencies, a tattoo.
He’s the king that allows us to decide.
He invites, he rarely intrudes.

-When I choose not to follow the king, then I decide not to participate in his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
-Even though he’s forgiven me, if I choose some days, I’m choosing to not participate in his kingdom in this world.
-Means – when I opt out I miss out. Faith is reduced doctrine, dry religion, you’ll be a Christian in the modern sense of
the word, not the original meaning.
-You’ll be forgiven as you go thru life, but you’ll miss out. On his kingship.
SLIDE The Plan was perfect, except for . . .
3) Matthew 2:1-2 Who were the magi?
On that Christmas a king was secreted into the world. Plan was perfect except for the maji. Find verses Discuss Herod
the Great – architect, ruler, ruthless etc. He planned for his children to follow him. Probably court advisors from Persia or
Arabia or both. They studied ancient text and stars and planet and looking for signs. Not sure how many really, don’t
know names, they were not following a star. They showed up in the wrong town, Jerusalem, nobody talking about a king,
go to temple, ask where is the one born KING of the Jews. We saw a star and we came. Word spread. King Herod was
distributed. Birth of rabbi- so, birth of teacher – so, birth of a religious leader, so. But a king? Uh oh. Signaled regime
change, insurrection, civil unrest, or war. SLIDE The Dynasty was threatened.
4) Matthew 2:1 Who was King Herod?

King of Israel and the richest man in the world. He controlled the spice trade (think oil.) He had coordinated with Rome
to rule Israel. Herod was not one to sit around. Proactive and ruthless.
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the
leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
SLIDE Messiah, who said Messiah?
Tipped off about Jesus – He asked them where the Messiah was to be born. The stars have proclaimed it. Where is this?
Where is Messiah prophesied? He inserted Messiah (The Christos,) the title for God’s final king, equivalent Christ (not
a name or descriptor) a title for God’s final king.
They knew – Bethlehem – six miles down the road.
We’ve allowed the person to define the term. Jesus = Christ, Christ is Jesus’ title!! God’s anointed one, The King,
anointed and appointed by God. To establish a kingdom not of this world but for this world. Upside down, other’s first
kingdom. Herod was right and he knew what we don’t seem to know: When a king is born, people must choose.
Back to our question > SLIDE The question to wrestle with every day: Is Jesus my king?
CS Lewis: “When people ask Jesus to act in our world I wonder if people wonder what it will be like because when he
does (we want him to fix things, do you realize that when God does it’s going to be the end of the world. God is going to
invade alright, but what good is it going to do if you say you’re on his side then.”

Then we will see the King. Then none of us will have any choice left. For this time, unlike the first time, He will not be
disguised. We want it to be the baby in a manger, a teacher on a hillside, avoiding some situations while moving into
others (confusing), bound, flogged, crucified.
Next time he will strike irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your
When a king comes you have to choose. Today is our chance.
Peter – God is holding back, so we have a chance.
Is he your king? Have you accepted his invitation? Not just to believe who he is but to decide to follow him?
Herod believed. Where’s the Messiah? Where’s the baby born? Jerusalem. He found out when the star came. He
wouldn’t bow his knee, surrender his will, he certainly wouldn’t surrender his legacy. He would have his way. He sent
the soldiers to find the child.
So, we can discover the values of God now, the upside down Kingdom of God now.
-Where God cares for the people, those he reigns over.
-Not a kingdom where might makes right, where he who has the gold wins.
-Not a kingdom for the king’s own benefit.
-But – A king was born to reverse all of that. And the invitation later was “Will you follow me?” More than a sin
forgiver, conscience cleanser, last resort, phone a friend.
Jesus wants to know: will you Acknowledge me as king? Be a participant in the kingdom of God.
Where people have said yes, the world has become a better, safer place. On Christmas we celebrate the birth of a king. Is
he your king?
Prayer: Why do we resist? say no? try to control outcomes? disrespect other people? Have our way?
Break our resistance and may we follow the king. Whatever that looks like to our family. Money, time, school,
entertainment. Because you are a king that came with our best interest in mind.
What kind of king lays down his life for his subjects? Give us eyes to see and ears to hear. And may we acknowledge
God as king!
We celebrate Christmas – Jesus 1 st coming AND NOW we look forward expectantly for His second coming
The marketplace is empty, No more traffic in the streets, All the builders' tools are silent, No more time to harvest wheat;
Busy housewives cease their labors, In the courtroom no debate, Work on earth is all suspended as the King comes thro'
the gate.
O the King is coming, The King is coming! I just heard the trumpets sounding, And now His face I see;
O the King is coming, The King is coming! Praise God, He's coming for me!
I can hear the chariots rumble, I can see the marching throng, The flurry of God's trumpets Spells the end of sin and
Regal robes are now unfolding, Heaven's grandstand's all in place, Heaven's choir now assembled, Start to sing "Amazing
O the King is coming, The King is coming! I just heard the trumpets sounding, And now His face I see;
O the King is coming, The King is coming! Praise God, He's coming for me!