December 23, 2018
What is your dream of the perfect Christmas? Paint the picture in your mind: who are the people who are around you? Where are you celebrating? What are you eating? What gifts are you giving and receiving? What will make the perfect Christmas day?
On the first Christmas day and the first Christmas season, few were thinking about “Christmas.” It was just an ordinary winter season. It was just another day, just another month, just another season to get through. There was nothing extraordinary about the time. A few undoubtedly had heard some vague rumors about strange things that had happened in their town of Bethlehem a few weeks earlier, but it seemed to be just that — strange rumors. It probably was just the stories of a few untrustworthy shepherds; you can’t trust shepherds, and this was just another example of why they weren’t trustworthy.
And then some wealthy men from Babylon showed up to visit Mary and Joseph. How unusual that was. Why would they travel so far? And why would they come evidently only to see Mary and Joseph and their baby? Then just as mysteriously the men disappeared the same night that Mary and Joseph did. And then soldiers from Jerusalem and Herod came — and then horror struck. The soldiers seemingly went crazy. They charged into homes and started grabbing all the young boys of the small town and killing them. All of the youngest boys — all of them under the age of two — were cruelly and savagely and for no apparent reason, killed.
We do well to remember that for everything else grand and glorious and spectacular that happened that first Christmas, it was also a time that was covered in sorrow. The dreams and longings and desires of many families were seemingly crushed when Jesus arrived. His birth was declared with joy by the angels and affirmed by the shepherds and attested in the Temple, but it also was greeted with tears of immense grief. When Christ came, He came to the sound of “Christmas Sorrows.”
Where was the hope for those who endured such tragic loss those days? And where is our hope when we come to this season, or any day, burdened by loss and sorrow and grief? Through the story of the slaughter of the babies in Matthew 2:13-23, the apostle reminds us our hope is that —
Jesus is the greatest King.
In this passage of contrasts between the humble Jesus and the arrogant Herod, we see the greatness of Jesus:
- Jesus Has a Greater Authority (vv. 13-15)
- Jesus Offers a Greater Hope (vv. 16-18)
- Jesus Gives a Greater Salvation (vv. 19-23)
Download the rest of this sermon on Matthew 2:13-23.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.