The Birth

Read: Luke 2:1-7

And she gave birth to her firstborn son. (v. 7)

Christmas is nine days off yet, but today we come to Luke’s classic telling of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. For anyone who has been a Christian for a while, all of this sounds so familiar. It is the inspiration behind a million crèches and manger scenes and living nativity displays at churches. Despite all the ways we have bathed this in a golden light, it is a humble birth. It is nearly a humiliating way to come into the world. But just that was also the point of it all. God’s Son stooped low so as to raise the rest of us up on high.

We should note, however, how Luke frames this sentinel gospel event. As he will do even more lavishly in Luke 3, Luke carefully notes who was who in the Roman hierarchy of the day. Caesar Augustus was the self-declared “Dominus et Deus” or “Lord and God” of the empire. When Caesar said, “Jump!” the whole world responded, “How high?” Caesar, Quirinius, Herod, Pontius Pilate: these were the powerful elite, the political celebrities of the day.

But Luke notes their names for more than historical accuracy. He was making a theological point. All those world leaders could strut around in all the pomp and circumstance they wanted, but they would never hold a candle to Jesus. Caesar would eventually be silted down to the dustbin of history. But the child in Bethlehem would emerge as the true and eternal King of kings and Lord of lords. Thanks be to God! —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, marvel afresh at the incarnation of God’s Son!

About the Author

Scott Hoezee

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.