Come and see
Saturday 25th December 2021
George Family Church
8am and 10am
I am sure that as we all get to the end of this year,we are finding ourselves both tired and covid fatigued. Some might be finding an opportunity to have a break while others are on full alert. My heart always goes out to the tellers in shops who have to sit day in and day out with all of us having to buy yet another thing for Christmas.
I think that as Mary and Joseph must have also been experienced some fatigue from the long trip to Bethlehem, the scandal around her pregnancy and then the challenges of having to find themselves in the grip of Roman law as well as religious law which was pandering to the the system. There had been 400 years of silence and then an outbreak of spiritual encounters that literally changed the world from Zecheriah in the temple, the father of John, to Elizabeth and Mary and then the birth of John full of songs and prophecies as well as the birth of Jesus and the humble shepherd visitors both at the time and later on the Magi travelling from the east and led to worship Jesus as a small baby with their significant gifts. We find the story only in Matthew and Luke as John and Mark start a little later but John says it all and refines our theology by saying “John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
And so the one who is full of grace and truth enables us to begin a journey which leads us to the Messiah and Saviour of the world. And so COME AND SEE what God has done – Noel – good news from the French.
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
1. Come and see Historically God in his master plan uses this planned census to gather His people into the places where they needed to be. It’s interesting to me that the Romans have planned the census but God had planned things long before.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Ephrathah literally means fruitful and the name either of Bethlehem itself or of a district in which Bethlehem was situated. A person of this place was called an Ephrathite (Ruth 1:2; 1 Samuel 17:12). This was also David’s city and the town known as the place of bread. It holds historical significance and it also was not expected to be the place where the Messiah would come from other thn the prophetic words, many were expecting the Messiah to rise as a great warrior out of Jerusalem. You can imagine the challenge o having to go back to your own home town or village to register as family and the logistics of that. I have said before that it would be complete chaos if we all had to return to our hometwon’s now over December. God puts things in place which may make no sense to us but the bigger picture is that it’s His story and he is planning it all.
2. Come and see holiness – the time came for the child to be born. Now for me I have been quite facinated to think and try to see the story from the perspective of the spiritual realm and how prophecies were fulfilled in a powerful way. But without holiness and obedience none of this would have been possible and they would have been following instructions to fulfill these scriptures “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1).
3. Come and see humility
Placed in a manger because there was no room in the inn. It’s seems strange as a friend of mine at LIberty reminded me of that if this is God’s master plan then why does he not organise a fancy place for Jesus to be born. I mean this is the King of kings and Lord of Lord’s. But here they find themselves in an outside room where animals were fed in a manger – a place to chew, normally made of stone and placed in the middle of the room so that the animals could gather around it and eat. To feed and to find the bread of life in the place of bread the very name of Bethlehem. Right at the get go we see an offering that we are reminded of every time we break bread. Jean du Plessis then reminded Liberty last week that there is a profound link between the birth cloths and the stone manger and the death of Christ wrapped in cloth and lying on a stone. There is nothing that the Lord does that does not have significance. The humility and sacrifice of this is profound and forms a link in our theology that hopefully enables us to see both the birth and the sacrifice of what Jesus came to do. Angels and shepherds worshipped as they were drawn together for this moment and so must we as we are reminded of how Jesus brings life and light into a dark world. We need to find ourselves in all humility following the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord’s.
4. Come and see the work of the Holy Spirit
There is so much going on in the spiritual realm guided and directed by the third person of the trinity and if we don’t see this then we miss the whole point of Christmas, from angels to encounters in the temple to the intimate moments where the Lord speaks, to Zecheriah Elizabeth Mary Joseph Zechariah, Simeon, the obedience of Joseph and Mary and so many more. It’s almost overwhelming as we see that this all led to worship and obedience and enabled a master plan to include not only practical steps of God ordained manouvres but really special moments of truth which led people in the story to be obedient even it meant that there was a high risk of them being imprisoned or killed. The Holy Spirit brought about a deep inner passion which needs to be revived again today in our time.
The time had come!! What does the time look like again today and how are we using it ?
5. Come and see and go and tell.
In conclusion how do we respond to all of this ?
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. She also sang a profoundly prophetic song called the Magnificat –
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Zecheriah burst into song and worshipped.
Simeon felt like he was ready to go having seen all that the Lord had said being fulfilled in one small miracle.
Luke 2:29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.
Anna, Simeon’s wife blessed them.
The Magi brought gifts and worshipped him and spread the word amongst the Gentiles about the messiah’s birth.
The Shepherds went away and told others about him and spread the word in Isreal and so the Word literally : “John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What is our response? Come and see now go and tell the Noel – the good news.