Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of December 23, 2007

Luke 2:9-12
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

There is usually joy when a healthy baby is born into this world. When the Lord was born, there was the manifestation of the glory of God-I wonder if that glory looked like a superb display of the northern lights coming from the angel. There were angels, and there was joy. This was the event for which Israel was supposedly waiting. But wait a minute. God didn’t do this right, now did He?

In order to be the mother of the Lord, Mary had to appear to be a “loose woman” since she was not married. Isaiah was clear that a virgin would conceive (Isaiah 7:14), but how many unmarried young women have children out of wedlock without committing immorality? Even though Joseph her husband and others accepted what God had done, I have no doubt that the stigma of being conceived before His folks married, was something that the Lord lived with as He grew up. I am sure that the miracle of the Lord’s conception was something that Mary and Joseph told others, and I am sure that most that heard their story snickered and said, “Sure! Sure!”

The Lord was to be born a King, but this Jesus came from a humble family. One would expect a king to grow up in Jerusalem and not in Nazareth. The Messiah should at least have his family believe in him, but the Lord’s did not until after the resurrection (John 7:5). The nation did not understand that their Messiah was to suffer and die before He came to reign, so even though there was joy at the Lord’s birth there was also sorrow. Mary was told that a “sword would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35).” This child would suffer. His mother would suffer vicariously. This child was to be rejected and ridiculed. He was not accepted by the Jews as the promised Messiah. How could this be God’s will? How could this bring joy?

When we understand that the baby at Bethlehem was destined to be the Christ of the Cross because He was born to be the Savior, then and then only will we understand why there was joy “to all people”. This time of the year we see a lot of manger scenes. I have been thinking that I should put three crosses in my yard with a light on the middle cross and a sign that says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).” True joy comes when we realize that death could not hold the Lord in the grave. He lives and He is coming again. The joy that is evidenced by the angels when one sinner repents and believes (see Luke 15:10) is the true joy of this season.

The Lord said in John 14:3 just before his crucifixion, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Unbelief caused the nation of Israel to miss their Messiah when He came the first time. Unbelief will cause those who have rejected him to be deceived when He comes again. In 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 we read, “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The Lord’s second coming will be much like His first. Most will be convinced that His coming didn’t really happen, and that those who suddenly disappeared were not really caught away by the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Not only will they miss out on the joy of going to heaven without dying, but they will miss out on the joy of spending eternity with this One Who was born in the City of David, Who was announced by angels, Who was foretold in the prophetic Scriptures, Who proved Himself to be the Messiah by His miracles and teaching, Who died on a cross and rose from the dead, and Who is coming again.

Bruce Collins

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