Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, came into the world under unexpected circumstances. You would expect the God of the universe to arrive with fanfare and splendor, but Jesus was born in the most humble way. And yet, when we consider His life, His death, His mission, and His ministry, we should recognize that the circumstances of His birth were the perfect introduction. Luke uses this account to lay a foundation and set the tone for all that is to come.
The World Situation
It was a humiliating time for Israel. Rome was coming into her own. Caesar Augustus had consolidated power, and the empire stretched over the entire known world. Now, to assert his dominance, Augustus issued a decree that every person in the world should be registered as a subject of Rome.
But Rome’s rise to power was also a fulfillment of prophecy. As this, the days of the fourth kingdom from Daniel 2, God established a “kingdom that shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44): Christ’s kingdom. It was always a certainty that it would come. But now, with Jesus’ birth, it was on its way.
The Family Situation
As members of the house of David, Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be registered. It was a difficult and humbling journey to make, especially with Mary nearing the end of her pregnancy.
But their arrival in Bethlehem also fulfilled the prophecy in Micah 5:2, that Jesus would be born there. And it established that Jesus was indeed an heir to the throne of David. He was born in Bethlehem not by happenstance, but specifically because his parents were descended from David.
His Humble Birth
The manger and the swaddling cloths could not have been all that Joseph and Mary wanted to provide for Jesus at his birth. But these humble provisions were what God had ordained for him.
The angels told the shepherds that the manger and swaddling cloths would be a sign, a sign that they had found the Savior and the Lord. This was more than just a detail to identify the baby. These indications of his humility were defining characteristics of who he was.
Listen to the sermon to discover how that humility led to glory, and what the implications are for us to share in Christ’s humility as well as in his glory.