Reading for Tuesday, March 6: Luke 2
I apologize again for posting this so late today. The past few days have been filled with a lot of pain for a lot of people I know. But I’m thankful for the opportunity to finish out this day with God’s Word here in Luke 2.
Luke says that the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem occurs under the decree of Caesar Augustus (2.1), but we know better, don’t we? All of this takes place under the sovereignty of God. Caesars may come and go, but this King, born in Bethlehem, reigns forever!
2.7, Jesus is laid in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Some scholars have pointed out that a better translation for inn might be “guest room”, based on ancient Greek usage. They speculate that Joseph would’ve traveled back to his hometown and attempted to stay with his family for census purposes. He arrives to find that there is no room for him and his pregnant wife. Perhaps another family member has already claimed the guest room; perhaps Mary was so close to labor that the family didn’t want to risk ritual defilement by having her in the home; perhaps they simply didn’t approve of Joseph and Mary’s apparently illicit pre-marital relationship. Whatever the case, there is no room for them.
From the very beginning, Jesus is a displaced person. He will say in chapter 4 that a prophet is without honor in his hometown. He will say in chapter 9 that the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. The crowd will turn on him during Passion Week, choosing to receive the criminal Barrabas in his stead. And even today, millions willingly reject Him as Lord and Savior, refusing to invite Christ into their hearts.
But Luke points out that this is a displaced Messiah for displaced persons. The first to hear of this glorious birth? A group of lowly shepherds, tending their flocks. There are no magi in Luke’s story; no resplendent gifts lavished upon the child. Only low class workers paying tribute to a king born in a cave.
There are many other things we could say about this chapter, but one final comment: note how the key players in the story demonstrate faithfulness to God here in the beginning. Mary and Joseph wait for her time of purification to end before journeying to the Temple. They can only afford a pauper’s sacrifice (turtledoves / pigeons), yet they faithfully honor God’s Command. Simeon has faithfully waited to see God’s Messiah and honors God for fulfilling his promise. Anna, faithfully worships in the Temple each day, before finally laying eyes on God’s Son. And Mary and Joseph are faithful to God’s message to them, even to the point of naming the chosen child “Jesus”.