The Gospel According to Luke – Part 3

The Life and Infancy of Jesus
Luke 2:1-7

by Paul George

Jesus of Nazareth: Jesus of Nazareth is the most misunderstood, misquoted man in history. He was born in Bethlehem. He grew up in Nazareth where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He did not go to college. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He turned the religious world upside down. He is the full disclosure, without blemish or distortions, of God Himself. He is the focal point of all history, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and the source of New Testament revelation. He is the greatest personality of all history. He is the Christ of the Gospels.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. One of them betrayed Him. His own people handed Him over to their enemy who nailed Him to a cross. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His garments, the only property he had on earth, taken down from the cross and put in a borrowed tomb.

If we want to know more about God, we need to learn more about the Christ of the Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth.  We need to separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, remove the half-truths introduced and accepted in the Christian community about Jesus of Nazareth.

In twenty-first century Christian community, we have every type of Jesus imaginable. We have Jesus the pacifist, the humanitarian, the revolutionary, the broad-minded. It is true Jesus told the disciples to turn the other cheek. He also told the disciples under what situations they were to turn the other cheek. Jesus did relieve the pain and suffering of many during His ministry, His mission was to seek and save that which was lost. It is true Jesus spoke out against the evils in the government and religion. Did He use force and the demonstrations used by the anti-establishment movement of the twenty-first century? Was Jesus broad minded?  Would He permit, or at least tolerate the sins and perverted life-styles of men and women who occupy positions of church leadership in the twenty-first century Christian community? Would He speak out and denounce the false prophets and teachers of the twenty-first century. Would He take a more tolerant view of divorce, sexual immorality and the abusive behavior in our nation and the religious community? The authors of the New Testament answer these and more questions about the existing activity and conditions in the twenty-first century Christian community.

The enemies of Jesus claim the Gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus are stories, accounts, or explanations invented by the human mind. The Jesus, who is the product of human imagination, is not a very commanding figure. He does not demand commitment. The Jesus of the Gospels demands commitment. In a society, that has swept commitment and truth out the back door commitment is a dirty word. Just as there was no room in the inn for baby Jesus, there is no room in the heart of the self-centered society of the twenty-first century.

The Jesus of the Gospels is God’s provision for man’s sin. He died in the sinner’s place. He who was sinless took man’s sin upon Himself, and suffered the penalty of God’s wrath for all who believe (2 Corinthians 5:21). He provides every believer with His righteousness so that we may spend eternity in fellowship with God (Romans 3:21-26). He is the example, the standard of righteousness for all who believe. His life is the pattern for Christian conduct (1 Peter 2:21). He is not only the standard of righteousness; He is also the source of it. He is both the pattern and the provision for the Christian walk.

Paul wrote in Romans chapter 5, “Much more, then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:9-10). In Romans chapter 6 we are told, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5). The Christian life is one in which Jesus Christ lives His life out in us.

The enemies of Jesus tell us there are many ways to enter into the presence of God and achieve everlasting life. The Gospels tell us there is only one-way to God and it is through Jesus. There are many people, some in the Christian community, who sincerely believe that God has provided many ways for men and women to come to Him. Some believe they can come to God through good works. If a man were responsible for such matters, this might be true. However, Jesus Christ is unique in that He makes an exclusive claim to be God’s one and only provision for eternal life. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). Peter the apostle said, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). John the apostle said, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

What is happening today in the Christian community is beyond comprehension, theologians, ministers, and teachers, professing Christians are attacking the nature and character of Jesus. They are attacking the characters of the authors of the New Testament, in short calling them liars. Where would we be today if the human authors of the New Testament did not record the facts regarding the nature and character of Jesus? Christianity would have gone the way all the religions of the world have gone. If we continue to remain silent for fear of offending and permit the weakening of the claims regarding the nature and character of Jesus, Christianity will fade away and completely lose its influence on a world that is falling farther and farther away from the truth and into judgment.

One of the major problems in the Christian community today, is inconsistency. Today we have an increasing number of theologians, pastors, and teachers who remain silent when men and women attempt to play God in the matter of human life. These same people claim God has no right to intervene in human affairs. We are living in an age where God is the created and humans the creator. We are living in an age that wants to replace the God of the Bible with one that enables them to achieve their selfish and demonic influenced goals without paying the consequences. The goals the enemies of Jesus have achieved are due to the fact professing Christians supported them in their effort to undermine the truth. It is time we wake up and speak out against those who are perverting the life and ministry of Jesus.

For the past forty plus years, and it is increasing in this twenty-first century, we have witnessed an increase in the attack upon the doctrine of the incarnation, the miraculous conception of Mary, and the resurrection of Jesus by theologians, ministers, and teachers.

We know Jesus’ birth was not a miracle; He came into this world as every other child has come into the world. The miracle is the conception of Mary. When the enemies of Jesus attack the miraculous conception, they are attacking two of the core doctrines of the Christian faith. Take away the doctrines of the incarnation what do you have. You have another man ordained religion. You have the birth of another child among the many that were born on the night Jesus was born, a child who cannot “save His people from their sins,” a child who needs a Redeemer.

It is possible that a man or woman could come to saving faith in Christ, many have, and not know what happened in Nazareth and Bethlehem two thousand years ago. However, it is very difficult to understand why anyone who has spent years studying the Bible and under Bible preaching and teaching ministers reject the doctrine of the incarnation and miraculous conception of Mary. The denial of the doctrines of the miraculous conception of Mary and incarnation jeopardizes the creditability of the Old Testament prophets, the apostles, and the authors of the New Testament as well as God Himself.

If we cannot trust the Old Testament prophets, the apostles, the authors of the New Testament, and above all, God in these matters, who can we trust. If any portion of the Bible contains information that is not the truth the reliability of the Bible is destroyed and Jesus is who His enemies say He is. This is what Satan wants to do and he will use any source available to achieve his goal including theologians, pastors, and teachers.

The denial of the doctrines of the miraculous conception of Mary and the incarnation undermines the creditability of Jesus. The Samaritan woman told Jesus, “I know that Messiah is coming; when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus told her; “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:6). In John 8:58 Jesus told the Jews who claimed they had never been enslaved to anyone, a denial of the truth, they were under the yoke of the Roman Empire, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Jesus was claiming to be Yahweh of the Old Testament and the Jews understood what He was saying to them, their reactions to what Jesus said is evidence they understood (John 8:59). He claimed the authority of God (Mark 2:5-7), and accepted worship as God (John 20:28).

Jesus came as the second Adam; the perfect, sinless Lamb of God Who alone could die as an innocent substitute for the sins of men. If His birth were anything less than what Matthew and Luke described in their Gospels, this would disqualify Jesus as the substitute for sinners. If Jesus had been no more than a very remarkable, godly man, what Matthew and Luke wrote about the events surrounding His birth is a lie. But if Jesus was the same person as the eternal Word, the Father’s agent in creation, ‘through whom also He made the worlds’ (Hebrews 1:2) those who deny the miraculous conception of Mary and the incarnation are liars and agents of Satan and they need to be exposed.

We are free to accept or reject what Matthew and Luke wrote about the birth of Jesus or what the agents of Satan claim is the truth about the life and ministry of Jesus. However, we cannot escape the consequences of our decision. We can accept what the Old Testament prophets predicted or reject their predictions. Their predictions pointed to a supernatural birth or we should rather say a supernatural conception brought about through a virgin, resulting in the manifestation in human flesh of the second person of the Godhead.

In addition to ancient prophecies, prior to the supernatural conception there were other supernatural announcements and events. Gabriel announced to Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, she would give birth to a son and he was to call him John. Mary and Joseph both received angelic communication (Luke 1:26ff; Matthew 1:20-21). Zechariah, Elizabeth and Mary uttered inspired testimonies concerning the coming of Messiah (Luke 1:67ff; 1:41-45; 46-55). Angels announced the coming of Messiah to shepherds in nearby fields. Even the heavens gave witness to the birth of Messiah as ‘His Star’ appeared in the East and prompted the magi to journey to the land where Jesus was born to worship the newborn King. Simeon, under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Him as the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:25ff). Anna also gave witness to Messiah’s arrival (Luke 2:38).

When the agents of Satan claim the writings of Matthew and Luke are an overstepping of the boundaries of truth to add substance to their faith in Jesus. When they claim the Gospel writers were deceived and are deceivers. When they claim Jesus was a deceived man and a deceiver and we are deceived if we believe what they wrote. We deceive others when we proclaim the birth of Jesus. We need to ask for their evidence that proves the doctrines of miraculous conception of Mary and the incarnation are deceptions, science, and the laws of nature.

Where did Matthew and Luke receive the information for the accounts of the birth of Jesus? Were their source Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and the wise men from the East, Simeon or Anna? Was their source the religious leaders?

Among these mentioned there was only one who was among the followers of Jesus during His ministry. It is possible some of the shepherds were among the followers of Jesus, but there is no reliable evidence we can use as proof any of the shepherds were among Jesus’ followers. From the Gospels there is no evidence we can use as proof Joseph was among the followers of Jesus. It is doubtful Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, and Anna, because of their age, were followers of Jesus. Who is left, Mary, Jesus’ mother?

Since Mary is the only remaining witness, the agents of Satan point to her as the deceiver. She used the story of a miraculous conception to cover up one of two reasons for her pregnancy, the breaking of the Law by Joseph and Mary, or the raping of Mary by a Roman soldier. The agents of Satan have used both of these reasons in their attempt to destroy the nature and character of Jesus. They are so confused and brain dead they are unable to agree which of the two reasons is the truth. The agents of Satan use Mary as a source of deception and not their master the father of liars, Satan.

If the account of the birth of Jesus is a lie, why did Satan’s agent Herod order the killing of all the boys from age two to birth? Why did Satan’s agents use the religious leaders of Israel to turn Jesus over to the Roman authorities who crucified Him? Why are the twenty-first century agents of Satan working overtime in their assignment to destroy the credibility of the Old Testament prophets, the Gospel writers, and above all Jesus?

The source of the twenty-first century agents of Satan in their battle against the truth is not what Matthew and Luke wrote because they hold to the idea Matthew and Luke are liars and deliberately falsified their accounts. The agents of Satan base their attack on the idea that miracles cannot happen. The denial of the miraculous conception of Mary is the presupposition there is no divine element in the conception since this would fall under the category of a miracle and not on the weight of science.

When we stand before the judgment bar of God, God will not ask us what church we joined, how much money we gave, or whether or not we were baptized. He will ask us one question, “What have you done about My Son, Jesus?” Today we see Jesus through a darkened glass, but one day we will see Him face to face. Will we hear Him say, “Well done My good and faithful servant” or “depart from Me, I never knew you?”

How say you? Have you trusted in the Jesus of the Gospels as your Savior? Do you believe He died for your sins? Is He your Lord? If not He is waiting for you to come to Him. Will you do that today?

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