Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Verse for Today - Luke 2:1,4-5 (click to read)
Luke 2:1, 4-5
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child."
Read all of Luke 2
While for years the prophetic timetable seemed to make little headway, as we read the opening passages of the Gospels everything is moving along quickly. The details surrounding the birth of Christ are interesting and contextualizing. They provide a witness and record of the events to show that what we're dealing with in the Christian faith, took place in real time and space (history). In Mark 1 these preliminary events are overlooked and goes right to the meat of the matter, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
For a time liberal scholars castigated the Scriptures as being unreliable and inaccurate. One of their straw men was that there was no extant evidence of Quirinius or the census mentioned in verse 2. We should not be surprised that sometime later archaeological evidence validated them both.
Today's verses provide just a little bit more of the circumstances and setting for the birth of Christ Jesus. A couple of things are clear. 1. Another witness to Joseph's obedience to the Angel's directions to take Mary as his wife. 2. Their trip to Bethlehem was approximately 6 months from the angel's visit. Mary has visited Elizabeth for three months... returned home and was found to be with child. 3. The time for her to give birth was approaching.
All this is part of the Gospel. Well does the QA 22 of the Heidelberg Catechism say that true faith consists, not only with the conviction that all that God has revealed to us in his Word is true, but it does begin with this. Do you really believe what Scriptures says? It is the great discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Confidence in God's written Word isn't enough to save you, but it is the foundation on which true faith stands.
True faith also includes a hearty trust that not only to others, but to ourselves individually, God has freely granted the forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness, and salvation, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits.