The Good News 2.
This is our 5th in our series of The Christmas Story – The First Coming of Christ.
We have been emphasizing the myriad of things happening around the Good News, that Emmanuel – God With Us was about to be manifested and this Jesus was going to be a World Changer and Lover of Souls that no one had ever seen or would ever see. No one did what Jesus, the Man, did. Not even close. Part of Creation’s groaning, to be fixed and restored to a place of Peace, was unfolding in real time.
There are two different and important items I wish to cover in today’s message. All from Luke 1 and 2 and Matthew 2. The first has to do with dealing straight with a narrative that has been repeated so long in Christmas tradition, it has caused a lot of harm to a right understanding of our God.
We have heard over and over that “there was no room in the Inn”, because Joseph and Mary were very poor. This is the erroneous story we have been sold, along with that poverty is somehow a holy attribute of being a Christian. Add to this the emphasis that Jesus was so humble, He HAD TO BE born in the back of the building, in a mere donkey’s stable. Folks, we need to get over this created narrative and understand some basic facts.
The Roman Empire, the government, was in taxation mode (as is often the case). Emperor Caesar sent out an edict, that everyone on their areas had to show up in person, to pay a tax. Joseph and pregnant Mary were required to show up in Bethlehem, the City of David. It is no small thing, that the lineage here is directly from David, the man after God’s own heart, a King and a famous one at that. This was also prophecy being fulfilled these many centuries later.
So you have a whole mass of people showing up at one place at one time and for that reason alone, there was no room at the Inn in town. There were not multiple hotel options in town like we might have. Plus, there is zero evidence that Joseph had no money (to stay at the Inn), he was there with money to pay taxes. No evidence whatsoever he was poor or broke at all.
Brothers and Sisters, it was impossible for Jesus to be born inside the hotel, the Inn, given what was about to unfold. For when this Jesus was born, there was an absolutely large entourage of excited visitors that hit the place, both a bunch of shepherds and also a group of prominent men from the Far East, more than three. No way all these visitors could have been accommodated inside the Inn building of those times. There was no extra space. The outdoors accommodated the entourage just fine. That Jesus was born in a stable does fairly register, that God being God, didn’t have to be an elite and find a five-star location for birth. Folks, there were no 5-star locations there. Jesus was just fine being born outdoors in the back, given all the facts of what going on.
One more thing about this false poverty narrative. Scholars purport that the gifts brought by the wise men from the Far East (Asia as we know it today) was worth, in today’s terms, somewhere between $500,000 and $5 million. We don’t know what Joseph did with those riches or whether they were put in some kind of trust fund. Regardless, Jesus was born into this earth just like a King and all the earthly kind of glory that went with it. I am not making a case for worldly riches being what God was about. Not at all. But I am making a case to stop this narrative was Jesus was poor and wore the false badge of poverty all 33 years of His time on earth. There is more fact that this was not the case, for another discussion. Don’t make more of riches than anyone should and don’t make something about poverty that never existed here. The integrity of God doesn’t need us to make up things about Him.
The second focus today has to do with FAITH. The importance of Faith. We see that IMPORTANCE of Faith with Zacharias and with Mary.
Zacharias was a Jewish Priest. He walked closely with God (Luke 1:6). And we know from Luke 1:13, that he and Elisabeth not being able to have a baby was a huge burden for them, they prayed for this from their hearts a long time. The heart mistake Zacharias made was that he prayed but he did not believe (Mark 11:24). After a very significant announcement from Gabriel, so chock full of the Word of God to him that ought to have lit him up and grabbed hold of him given all that was in the announcement (Luke 1:11-17), Zacharias responded with notable unbelief, you can hear it and so much so, that the angel reproved him, “And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the very presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season (v. 19 & 20). Unbelief did not cancel the coming of the baby John (the Baptist). But so that Zacharias would not hinder the things of God and continue to speak unbelief around all that was to transpire, extremely significant things in the earth for all mankind, he was made to not be able to speak anything for a season. The power of unbelief, coming out in words, should never be underestimated. Things happening or not happening are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21).
In complete contrast to Zacharias is Mary, she responded to the chock-full Word of the Lord delivered by the angel with FAITH, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38). Add to that that Elisabeth said of Mary, “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (v. 45).
This is such a huge and valuable lesson of Faith in operation and effect of unbelief in operation. The lesson is for all of us. We live by Faith and we walk by Faith. Faith is a Must-Have for every child of God. God desires Believing Believers.
We will continue this series.
John McCurdy is currently a Pastor in New Jersey. His heart and assignment is to teach Believers to Believe and how to have the overcomer’s life – which John sees almost more than anything people are longing for. He teaches and has taught Bible School in the metropolitan NYC/NJ area, as well as to international students from several nations. He is an educated counselor and ministers to hurting people.