By Eric Taylor
Pastor, Cedar Hill Baptist Church, Cedar Hill
Focal Passage: Psalm 95:1-3; Luke 2:4-14
As we excitedly look forward to celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus, our lesson for this week begins with an invitation to thanksgiving, worship, and praise of our “great God, a great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:3). And in the verses in Psalm 95 and Luke 2 we have at least three reasons why we should “come” before God and “shout joyfully to the Lord.”
First, we come to the Lord in praise and worship, and embrace the joy of this season because God is our salvation (Psalm 95:1).
Matter of fact, this is a common theme throughout the book of Psalms. Over and over the psalmists write that the Lord is our salvation. In our text, more specifically, God is the “rock of our salvation.”
Do you remember what Paul writes of Jesus in I Corinthians 10:4? Looking back to the Exodus story and how God provided life-giving, life-saving water to Israel during their wilderness wandering, Paul wrote, “And all drink the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” So, when the angels announce that Jesus is the “Savior,” they are affirming that our Lord Jesus is the God of our salvation in the flesh. Or as Gabriel says in Matthew 1:21, Jesus will “save His people from their sins.”
We also embrace joy at Christmas because Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of prophetic Scripture. Luke 2:4 affirms two prophetic passages about Jesus. Jesus would be born in Bethlehem to fulfill the prophet Micah’s word in 5:2 which teaches us that the Messiah would come “out of” Bethlehem. In addition, I believe that the phrase, “of the house and family line of David” is a fulfillment of an Old Testament passage that while not found in the prophets, is nonetheless prophetic.
Do you remember the story of Ruth, and that she needed a redeemer? In particular she needed a kinsman redeemer, who we learn is her future husband Boaz. Well, it is in the genealogy of Boaz and Ruth at the close of that book that we first learn that another Redeemer would come.
Matter of fact, the reason we know Jesus was of the house and lineage of David is because Ruth 4:21-22 says that Ruth and “Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.” In other words, long before Luke wrote his gospel giving us the reason for Joseph and Mary’s trip to Bethlehem, the Bible pointed forward to another day when our Kinsman Redeemer Jesus Christ would come into the world, in a little town called Bethlehem.
Finally, we can embrace the joy that comes at Christmas because Jesus’ birth brought “Good News.”
The reason a “multitude of heavenly hosts” was “praising God” was because they knew the “Good News of great joy,” that was “for all people.” And what was, and is, the Good News? That there was born a “Savior … who is the Messiah, the Lord.” The people of Israel had been longing for this day. They knew Scriptures promised a “Christ” or “Messiah” meaning, “anointed one.” The Gentile world also needed this day. They needed someone to save them; someone other than Caesar to call, “Lord.” Ultimately, this story reminds us that humanity’s only hope was, and is, found in the announcement of the angels, that Jesus was born!