The Reality of the Incarnation
Luke 2:1–14 (KJV)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-lehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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,
Good will toward men.
1. This Day and No Other
2. This Day THE Savior
Dear fellow redeemed: The portion of our text which we consider this evening is verse eleven. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Actually my emphasis is going to be even narrower than that. My text for this Christmas Eve is simply “this day.”
If you listen to a lot of traditional Christmas carols, you are bound to hear a number of them entitled simply “Hodie,” or in a longer form “Hodie Christus Natus Est.” Hodie is Latin and it means “today” or “this day.”
This is important to us because “today” is a dimension of reality. Nobody can be two places at the same time, so the declaration of the angels was a declaration of the reality of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling the prophecies. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. On this day and at this place our Savior from sin was born. God was in the flesh, incarnate.
I emphasize this because in this postmodern age, the Christmas story is often treated as <just> a story. To our jaded age there isn’t TRUTH, so much as different stories that have not truth, but validity, which is something less. This allows people to be all “Christmasy” without taking it seriously, without seizing the truth of it all by faith. They really live like none of this is true.
But truth isn’t all slippery and changeable like that. Truth is hard and “crunchy” so that other things like our lives and our ideas have to bend around it.
It doesn’t get any harder than where the law says that anyone who sins is damned, that is, cast off by God for eternity. The law of God isn’t malleable, and Psalm 5 says “God hates all who do wrong.” Yikes!
But fortunately, just as truthful is the good news – not setting the law aside, but revealing the mystery of salvation, what we can’t know without being told: While anyone who sins is damned, Jesus took the place of anyone, everyone, and lived without sin. Jesus took the place of anyone, everyone, and in our place He made satisfaction for the sins of the world.
This is because unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour.
Do you know what an alibi is? If a crime took place at 7pm on Tuesday at First National Bank of Lombard, and you were known to be in Peoria, then you have an alibi. You couldn’t have committed the crime because the TRUTH is that you were at this other place at the same time. You see, time is one dimension of truth.
So it is in the context of these truth statements that the angels tell us WHO is born in the City of David on this day. It is the Savior. “A Savior Christ the Lord” is specific and reveals Jesus as the Christ, the one anointed and chosen to be the Savior of mankind.
What does “Savior” mean? It means “rescuer,” someone who removes us from danger to safety, from certain death and destruction to life. The implication is that while we are helpless the rescuer steps in to deliver us.
There is only one Savior, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One chosen by God to be the Savior of the world. There is only one who is both God and man, God incarnate so that He could do what no other son of Eve could ever do – live perfectly, die on purpose, and rise triumphantly. Jesus Himself later proclaimed, John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The truth is not what people feel it is, feel it should be, nor is it what they want it to be. Don’t buy this rubbish that everybody worships the same God. That’s as false as it is to say that someone can be two distant places at the same time. It is a denial not only of the truth of Scripture but of the nature of reality and of truth itself.
If God is one thing, He isn’t what He is not. That “philosopher speak” to say that Jesus can’t be divine and not divine at the same time. He can’t be our only rescuer, and there be other rescuers.
The declaration of the angels is that the divine Christ Child was born THERE, in Bethlehem, THEN on THAT DAY. He has left an impact upon this world that has continued despite the best efforts to pretend otherwise, because he is Christ the Lord. His word and command has brought people to faith, changed them, and changed the world wherever His name is hallowed.
Now, to some people this seems fantastical. You know what else seems fantastical to many people – something as certain as our own death. It’s too much to wrap our brains around. But the day is coming in which these two realities WILL converge, for at our death we will stand before the Christ. The Christ who lives, and who gives you life even in the midst of death.
Your hope of salvation depends not upon wishful thinking but on the historical reality.
CHRISTUS NATUS EST
CHRIST IS BORN – OUR SAVIOR.
This is most certainly true.