|Vol. IV Number 49||December 17, 2000|
When Christ was born in Bethlehem there were certain people invited to the event. It was not the rich and famous, but the lowly shepherds who were watching their flocks at night. In the economic social order these were the poor of the land who did not have any wealth. They were usually the hired hand watching their master's flock on the grave-yard shift.
1 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 Bethlehem; (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.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Mary and Joseph were not even allowed a room in the inn, but were offered just the barn (stable). If they had been a family of financial means surely the inn keeper would have found a room for them. Or else they would have had servants go in advance and procure lodging for them. But the family had very little capital, no servants, and thus were relegated to sleep with the live stock in the barn.
If the management of the inn knew that the Saviour of the world was going to be born that night, don't you think that he would have even offered his own bed to Mary and Joseph? Don't you think that if he had an inkling of what was happening in his inn that he would have made provisions for the Lord? But the wealthy of this world have no idea of what is going on concerning the spiritual side of life. Thus when the birth of Christ arrived, they were not invited!
So the birth of Christ arrived with the livestock and some poor shepherds to witness the blessed event. We don't know for sure whether Mary and Joseph had any livestock of their own, and can only assume that they made the journey by foot from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Mary was very tired and in her condition there was no mercy for her from the inn keeper.
So the invited to the blessed event were some poor shepherds watching their flocks by night. The inn keeper, though he was closer wasn't invited. The fellow guests at the inn were not invited. But the poor shepherds in the hills outside of town were invited to the blessed event!
It is the same today that the ones invited to the lord's table are not the rich and famous, but the common man who is looking for a better life to come. The ones who put their life and trust in the Lord of heaven. The ones who do not trust the ways of this world but trust in the Lord. These are the ones who are invited to the table of the Lord.
The rich have everything that they want. They have their gold and land. Those who are welcome at the Lord's table are those who are looking for a heavenly home. A home with the Lord that will never fail or end. A world where there is no such thin as inflation or deflation. A world where gold is used as the street paving. A world that uses the wealth of this world to pave the streets.
Isn't that just like the Lord to use the riches of this world as the street pavement?
Some of you are asking about the wise men. Weren't they rich? Weren't they the powerful of the world? Yes they were, but it took them two years to travel from the east to Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph were no longer in the barn, but now had a house when they came.
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Note in the above scripture that Jesus was a young child, and that the holy family was dwelling in a house. Also When the wise men did not return to Herod, he had all of the children 2 years and younger executed in Bethlehem. A number of scholars think that when the wise men came Jesus was probably around 2 years old.
The birth of Jesus in the stable was witnessed by the shepherds, Joseph, and the livestock, while the rest of the world slept.
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