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  • Becky Carriker

Sunday, 12/24/2023

SURPRISE! ITS CHRISTMAS PART 4

FROM CRADLE TO CROSS TO COMING AGAIN


Luke 2:1–20 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus

that all the world should be registered. 2  This was the first

registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3  And all went to

be registered, each to his own town. 4  And Joseph also went up from

Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David,

which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage

of David, 5  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with

child. 6  And while they were there, the time came for her to give

birth. 7  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in

swaddling cloths and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was

no place for them in the guest room.

8  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field,

keeping watch over their flock by night. 9  And an angel of the Lord

appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and

they were filled with great fear. 10  And the angel said to them, “Fear

not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all

the people. 11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a

Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12  And this will be a sign for you: you

will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”

15  When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds

said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing

that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16  And

they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying

in a manger. 17  And when they saw it, they made known the saying

that had been told them concerning this child. 18  And all who heard it

wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19  But Mary treasured up

all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20  And the shepherds

returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and

seen, as it had been told them.


The Christmas message is relevant, revolutionary and reassuring to

us today.


The secret working of God’s providence (vv. 1–5)


Surprise! This is a ‘political’ providence.


Surprise! The real focus is on another, Joseph from Galilee!


2 Samuel 7:16 ‘And your house and your kingship shall be made firm

forever before me; your throne will remain established forever’.


The real attention is on the baby Jesus and what He represents.


Surprise! Christmas is putting Caesar in his place.


There also is a ‘prophetic’ twist to God’s providence


It’s in the geography.


Micah 5:2 (‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, small to be among the

clans of Judah; from you will come forth for me one to be ruler over

Israel’)


Surprise from God! Heads of State and government leaders can make

such fine servants, even if they are utterly clueless about what is

taking place.


God’s fingerprints, however, aren’t always noticed in the present, so

you’ll often find evidence of His presence at some later point as you

look back and see the subtle touches and silent traces of His work.


Luke points to the cradle, the clear evidence of Christ’s humiliation

(vv. 6–7).


John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we

have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of

grace and truth.


Surprise! Its Christmas and the big surprise at the cradle holding a

sleeping baby Jesus is, though unseen, the ugly and torturous yet

beautiful cross he would die on.


Christmas, to have meaning, cannot be separated from the cross.


Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,

who is Christ the Lord.


Matthew 1:21 “He will save His people from their sins”.


1 Timothy 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”


Surprise! The central message of Christmas is that Jesus Christ, by

His birth, his death and resurrection, can transform both individuals

and culture.


Romans 3:23 all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


The birth, the cross and the resurrection stand today as one and only

hope.


In Christ birth, death and resurrection, God did for us what no one

could not do for themselves.


1 Corinthians 1:18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who

are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is

the very power of God.


John 3:7 “You must be born again”.


Luke 13:3 “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish”.


Acts 17:30-31 “God … commands all men everywhere to repent,

because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world”.


The cradle demands a cross and cross requires a cradle.


That truth that God so loved the world that He gave his one and only

unique Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but

have eternal life, is the Christmas story.


1 Corinthians 11:23–26 For I received from the Lord what I also

delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was

betrayed took bread, 24  and when he had given thanks, he broke it,

and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance

of me.” 25  In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying,

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you

drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26  For as often as you eat this bread

and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

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