Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Lord's Anointed

I have been writing.  I really have! But this is a season of life which is rather full, and therefore, much less has been written, and even which is not worthy of publication.  But today I will venture to publish.  My studies these days have been in the early chapters of Luke, as I am studying this great book.  The passage which I would like to study is found in Luke 2:11-20: 

11.     For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12.     And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13.     And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14.     “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15.     So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 
16.     And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 
17.     Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 
18.     And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 
19.     But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 
20.     Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Verse 11 does not directly quote Micah 5:2 as Matthew 2:6 does, but Luke does give us the plain particular details of how it came to be that Joseph & Mary were in Bethlehem when Christ was born. 

who is Christ the Lord – We could interpret like this, “who is the Lord’s Anointed” because the word Christ means anointed one.

This is interesting because it is the very phrase used by David of Saul while both were king.  David would not touch ‘the Lord’s anointed’ and many opportunities were given him to do just that. (see 1 Sam 26) But David knew better.  And for us today, it is fitting to take this and apply it to Christ, for He is the Lord’s anointed King who will sit upon David’s throne! In a sense He does already, but the day is coming when He will return in the clouds just as he left, and take his seat not in Heaven only, but as the rock made without human hands (Dan. 2:34) strikes the governments of men, Christ will reign here!

And this will be the sign to you – That God gives these shepherds such a particular set of circumstances to look for, tells us something of His condescending ways to such as we are, rough edged – hard hearted men who need a sign.  Even Thomas was given grace to ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ (John 20:27)

We are told that they conferred with one another and decided to ‘go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ They did not question at all, they took no pausing action (except for the brief conference) and made haste to come.  Did you notice they were not commanded to come – this they chose to do, though the angels clearly implied they would come by providing the information, ‘you will find a babe…’

Much has been made of the fact that it was shepherds to whom God made known this event first.  Shepherds were not looked upon positively as a people, but David the King was at first a shepherd, and writing in the Psalms number 23 the Lord is called a shepherd.  And though a shepherd, in another place, called the Lamb of God.  Deep waters…

when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them – There was no debate, ‘Is this the One we should be looking for?’ Though they had almost nothing to go on but the testimony of the angels, they believed in faith (surely they knew of Micah 5:2).  When John the Baptist asked that question, Christ’s response was to report to him the miracles – The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  John 20:29 reads, “Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed 

We do struggle to believe apart from sight, don’t we?  But it is not by sight, but by faith that we live (2 Cor. 5:7).  Yet it is not a blind faith.  It is a faith informed by the message.  The shepherds did hear the angel’s message.  And we have the message in the words of the Bible.  May we keep to it and look into it with the eyes of faith.

Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. – This is a good practice.  We ought to study the Word of God that we might learn His ways in this world.  It may be that we get to know Him better for our struggling with the text.

The shepherds glorified & praised God for all that they had heard and seen.  It is always a proper response to worship Him.  Surely they did not grasp the fullness of Christ’s eventual death on their behalf – but they praised God for what they did see & hear, and that it was just as had been told them!  God is just & he loves to show us His plans.
May we – with eyes of faith, informed to His character, believe what the message in the Bible says – pondering what has come to pass, eagerly awaiting what is yet to come!

Amen.

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