The Gospel of Luke: Jesus is Born

December 16, 2018

OVERVIEW
Date:

December 16, 2018

Pastor:
Mike Rose
Bulletin:
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SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 2:1-7, ESV

WORLD – LOCAL LEADERS  

The birth of the Messiah doesn’t dangle out there on “once upon a time”, but at a specific time. The time when Caesar Augustus ruled the known world.

Caesar Augustus isn’t a real name, it’s a title.

Caesar = Emperor

Augustus = revered, honored, esteemed

The man behind the title was Gaius Octavius, born September 23, 63 B.C. He was “grandnephew” of Julius Caesar.  After the assassination of Julius, Octavius worked the political ranks and exercised some brute-force to work his way to the throne becoming Supreme Emperor of The Roman Empire. He ruled from around 31 B.C. to his death in 14 AD.

Based on Luke’s statement we know that Jesus was born somewhere in that 45 year period, because Octavius ruled Rome when Jesus was born.

On a “REGIONAL” level, Luke identifies another leader, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, who governed in Syria, one of the provinces of the Roman Empire. He was born in 45 B.C. and died in 21 AD.

English translations of the Bible use the word “Governor” to describe his position, but that might not have been the best choice of words.

Luke employs is a non-technical term that refers to someone of “great-authority” in the government, but does not demand that it be “governor” as we think of the term.

Syria had two high-ranking leaders at any given time. One was Military and one Civilian. Quirinius held the Military Governorship at an earlier date narrowing the years for Jesus’ birth to between 8 B.C. and 6 A.D. a period of 14 years

Further evidence, not presented at this time, places Jesus birth no earlier than 6 B.C. but most probably around 4 B.C.

Whatever God’s reason, He chose not to have Luke give us an exact year. Instead, a general placement of time which is defined as when Caesar Augustus was Emperor of Rome and Quirinius was military governor of Syria.

DECEMBER 25TH???

What about December 25th?  At least we know Jesus was born on that specific date, regardless of the actual year, right?  NO!  We actually know without a doubt that Jesus was NOT born on that date.

Truth is: that is a date that was chosen to celebrate the birth, but there has never been a legitimate claim that this is the actual date of His birth.

Some of the other dates offered are:

• January 2nd or 6th

• March 21st or 25th

• April 18th or 19th

• May 20th or 28th

• November 17th or 20th

One contemporary Theologian, Dr. Michael Heiser, using both Old Testament prophecy, texts from Revelation and Astrological Chartings, believes the date to be September 11th.

How did we get December 25th?

• There was a claim that Jesus was conceived in Mary on March 25th. Add 9 months = December 25.  

• The best answer is the one recorded in history:

o First 300 years of Christianity, Jesus’ birth was NOT celebrated.

o It began in 336 AD while Constantine was Emperor of Rome.

o Later, Pope Julius I, declared that December 25th would be the official celebration day of the birth of Christ.

 It is believed he did this to provide a “Christian” alternative to the pagan celebration of Saturnalia which honored the “birthday” of the pagan god Saturn, celebrated December 17th-23rd.

 There was also the “birthday” of pagan sun god Mithra which took place on December 25th, the date the Romans believed to be the Winter Solstice.

o The idea was simple, take pagan practices, lay a “Christian” veneer over it, and you will bring light to darkness.

o Church history records that it didn’t take long to discover that this practice does the opposite. Righteous veneers over darkness do not change the darkness, the darkness pollutes the attempt at righteousness.

TRUTH POINT: Spiritual darkness cannot be transformed by placing spiritual light over it… spiritual light must infuse the very heart of darkness, removing it leaving only light.

You cannot Christianize Paganism. Paganism must die in the light of Truth and become Christian.

Perhaps the Puritans went a bit too far, but because of this reality, Christmas (cultural) was outlawed in New England for a number of years.    Not until 1856 did Christmas become a legal holiday in New England.

You ask: why share all of this?  Because truth matters!

Truth is…The Spirit inspired Luke to give us a 14 year window in which to place the birth of Christ. For Luke, recording the birth of Jesus was not to give us an actual day to celebrate, but to inform us that God had kept His Word.

 The “Seed of The Woman” prophesied in Genesis 3:15 had come into the world through The Virgin Mary.

 The Child Isaiah prophesied to be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6 was now on the scene.

 The ruler of Israel, coming out of the most insignificant clan of Judah, whose life span is eternal, He had entered time and space. Micah 5:2

Think about it… If God wanted the date of His Son’s birth to be known, The Spirit would have moved upon Luke to record it, but He doesn’t! WHY?

• Could it be that the date of His birth has no import on the purpose of His coming?

• Could it be that what is important is that He did come, exactly as the prophets and Gabriel foretold?

• Could it be that humans have the tendency to promote dates and times and ancient relics to the level of worship?

• Could it be that the only date concerning Jesus that is of utmost importance is the date He died for sin and rose again to new life? A date we have by the way for it took place at Passover.

Question: Since we know Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, is it wrong to celebrate His birth on this date?  Heavens NO!

Perhaps we should be celebrating the birth of the Messiah every day of the year, for the point of His birth is not the birth itself, but what He was born to do.

He was born to be our Savior

Speaking of SAVIOR, lets return to Michael Heiser’s theory about Jesus being born in September.

• Remember who was ruling Rome at the time of Jesus’ birth? Caesar Augustus, Octavian.

• Before he came to power the Roman Senate had deified Julius Caesar as a god.  When Octavian, his adopted son came to power, he was heralded  as “the son of god.”

• Later, as his rule brought about the greatest prosperity and peace that Rome had known, he was heralded as “the savior of the world.”

Think About It: Wouldn’t be just like God to have the true Son of God and true Savior of the world be born in the same month as the impostor who made such claims.

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 2:1-7, ESV

WORLD – LOCAL LEADERS  

The birth of the Messiah doesn’t dangle out there on “once upon a time”, but at a specific time. The time when Caesar Augustus ruled the known world.

Caesar Augustus isn’t a real name, it’s a title.

Caesar = Emperor

Augustus = revered, honored, esteemed

The man behind the title was Gaius Octavius, born September 23, 63 B.C. He was “grandnephew” of Julius Caesar.  After the assassination of Julius, Octavius worked the political ranks and exercised some brute-force to work his way to the throne becoming Supreme Emperor of The Roman Empire. He ruled from around 31 B.C. to his death in 14 AD.

Based on Luke’s statement we know that Jesus was born somewhere in that 45 year period, because Octavius ruled Rome when Jesus was born.

On a “REGIONAL” level, Luke identifies another leader, Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, who governed in Syria, one of the provinces of the Roman Empire. He was born in 45 B.C. and died in 21 AD.

English translations of the Bible use the word “Governor” to describe his position, but that might not have been the best choice of words.

Luke employs is a non-technical term that refers to someone of “great-authority” in the government, but does not demand that it be “governor” as we think of the term.

Syria had two high-ranking leaders at any given time. One was Military and one Civilian. Quirinius held the Military Governorship at an earlier date narrowing the years for Jesus’ birth to between 8 B.C. and 6 A.D. a period of 14 years

Further evidence, not presented at this time, places Jesus birth no earlier than 6 B.C. but most probably around 4 B.C.

Whatever God’s reason, He chose not to have Luke give us an exact year. Instead, a general placement of time which is defined as when Caesar Augustus was Emperor of Rome and Quirinius was military governor of Syria.

DECEMBER 25TH???

What about December 25th?  At least we know Jesus was born on that specific date, regardless of the actual year, right?  NO!  We actually know without a doubt that Jesus was NOT born on that date.

Truth is: that is a date that was chosen to celebrate the birth, but there has never been a legitimate claim that this is the actual date of His birth.

Some of the other dates offered are:

• January 2nd or 6th

• March 21st or 25th

• April 18th or 19th

• May 20th or 28th

• November 17th or 20th

One contemporary Theologian, Dr. Michael Heiser, using both Old Testament prophecy, texts from Revelation and Astrological Chartings, believes the date to be September 11th.

How did we get December 25th?

• There was a claim that Jesus was conceived in Mary on March 25th. Add 9 months = December 25.  

• The best answer is the one recorded in history:

o First 300 years of Christianity, Jesus’ birth was NOT celebrated.

o It began in 336 AD while Constantine was Emperor of Rome.

o Later, Pope Julius I, declared that December 25th would be the official celebration day of the birth of Christ.

 It is believed he did this to provide a “Christian” alternative to the pagan celebration of Saturnalia which honored the “birthday” of the pagan god Saturn, celebrated December 17th-23rd.

 There was also the “birthday” of pagan sun god Mithra which took place on December 25th, the date the Romans believed to be the Winter Solstice.

o The idea was simple, take pagan practices, lay a “Christian” veneer over it, and you will bring light to darkness.

o Church history records that it didn’t take long to discover that this practice does the opposite. Righteous veneers over darkness do not change the darkness, the darkness pollutes the attempt at righteousness.

TRUTH POINT: Spiritual darkness cannot be transformed by placing spiritual light over it… spiritual light must infuse the very heart of darkness, removing it leaving only light.

You cannot Christianize Paganism. Paganism must die in the light of Truth and become Christian.

Perhaps the Puritans went a bit too far, but because of this reality, Christmas (cultural) was outlawed in New England for a number of years.    Not until 1856 did Christmas become a legal holiday in New England.

You ask: why share all of this?  Because truth matters!

Truth is…The Spirit inspired Luke to give us a 14 year window in which to place the birth of Christ. For Luke, recording the birth of Jesus was not to give us an actual day to celebrate, but to inform us that God had kept His Word.

 The “Seed of The Woman” prophesied in Genesis 3:15 had come into the world through The Virgin Mary.

 The Child Isaiah prophesied to be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6 was now on the scene.

 The ruler of Israel, coming out of the most insignificant clan of Judah, whose life span is eternal, He had entered time and space. Micah 5:2

Think about it… If God wanted the date of His Son’s birth to be known, The Spirit would have moved upon Luke to record it, but He doesn’t! WHY?

• Could it be that the date of His birth has no import on the purpose of His coming?

• Could it be that what is important is that He did come, exactly as the prophets and Gabriel foretold?

• Could it be that humans have the tendency to promote dates and times and ancient relics to the level of worship?

• Could it be that the only date concerning Jesus that is of utmost importance is the date He died for sin and rose again to new life? A date we have by the way for it took place at Passover.

Question: Since we know Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, is it wrong to celebrate His birth on this date?  Heavens NO!

Perhaps we should be celebrating the birth of the Messiah every day of the year, for the point of His birth is not the birth itself, but what He was born to do.

He was born to be our Savior

Speaking of SAVIOR, lets return to Michael Heiser’s theory about Jesus being born in September.

• Remember who was ruling Rome at the time of Jesus’ birth? Caesar Augustus, Octavian.

• Before he came to power the Roman Senate had deified Julius Caesar as a god.  When Octavian, his adopted son came to power, he was heralded  as “the son of god.”

• Later, as his rule brought about the greatest prosperity and peace that Rome had known, he was heralded as “the savior of the world.”

Think About It: Wouldn’t be just like God to have the true Son of God and true Savior of the world be born in the same month as the impostor who made such claims.

Confrontation in the Synagogue

March 17, 2019

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Troubled by Truth

March 10, 2019

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The Driving Force

March 3, 2019

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Tested by Temptation

February 24, 2019

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The Genealogy of Jesus

February 17, 2019

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Jesus is Baptized

February 10, 2019

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