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December 19. 1948 GOOD NEWS IN THE BIBLE Luke 2:1-14
Pointers on the Lesson Everybody is interested in news. Folks prick up their ears when news of most any kind is being presented. It may be good news or it may be bad, but every one wants to know what it is. The Bible is a book o f news. It contains good news, the best that ever came to the ear of man. The Christmas story is an outstanding example of the news that will bless men’s hearts and give them a joy that is heaven-born. Luke’s ac count has been selected for our study at this Christmas season. This account features humble shepherds in relation to the birth of Christ even as the Matthew account features the wise men. We need both accounts for the full picture. But in the passage before us let us note three things about which the material of the lesson may be gathered: The World Into Which Christ Came (vv. 1-5) The world into which Christ was born was a world that was dominated by a mighty despot called Caesar Augustus, whose real name was Caius Octavius. He was the first Roman emperor and ruled with an iron hand. The Roman republic has failed and now the power of Rome was centralized in an efficient autocrat and dictator. True, the world was at peace but it was a peace of com pulsion rather than of choice. No one dared lift his finger against the will of the emperor. He said there should be no war and so there was no war. But it was a period when no one could call his soul his own. “ In those days” a decree went forth that all the world should be enrolled. No one dared refuse to respond. Thus we have Joseph and Mary on their way to Bethlehem. This was in exact fulfillment of the prophetic word uttered over 6p0 years before (Mic. 5:2-4). Thus Caesar acted as he did in order that God’s Word might be fulfilled. Joseph and Mary are the important figures in this drama, not Caesar. The Saviour Who Came (vv. 6, 7) The most stupendous fact in history is here related. The Son. of God entered human life. He took unto Himself a human body. And in His coming “ He was born outside everything, even the place where cattle might be sheltered through the night. He was born and laid in a manger in some bleak outhouse, outside some dwelling” (Morgan). There was no room in the public inn. What humiliation is thus seen in His coming! “ He came unto his own [things] and his own received him not” (John 1:11). The Concern of Heaven (vv. 8-14) Heaven looked down with unspeakable interest upon this event. Heavenly glory was manifest (9 ). A heavenly message was proclaimed (8, 10-12). A heavenly song was sung (13, 14). The reason for all this heavenly interest is sum
marized in verse 11 which announces the fact o f the birth of the Saviour. In this verse we have presented (1) the PERIOD o f Christ’s birth—“ this day” ; (2) the PLACE—“ in the city of David” ; (3) the PERSON— “ Christ the Lord” ; and (4) the PURPOSE— “ a Saviour.” Helps for the Children. Christmas Good Will Luke 2:1-20 Memory Verse: “I bring you good ti dings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10). God’s Library contains much good news. The Christmas message of good tidings for all men is one of the great est “ good news” portions in God’s Word. Some of us have heard the story for so many years that it does not any longer thrill our hearts as it should. As we read the Christmas story this year, let us pray that we may joyfully and grate fully receive its message as though we were hearing it for the first time. As you read this old story, try to learn at least one new thing that you have never before noticed in it. Have you noticed the three things which the shepherds did? They heard the joyful news; they went to see the newborn King; and then, they told others the good tidings. If the Christmas story has grown old to you, telling someone else about God’s Gift will help you to again rejoice at the angel’s mes sage of “ good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Perhaps your class can plan to share the joy of Christmas with those who are poor or ill or discouraged. Perhaps you may talk about carrying the joy of Christmas throughout the year rather than merely thinking of it at Christ mas-time. Be certain that your plans include telling the story of salvation to those with whom you share that they, too, may have the Saviour’s joy ajid peace within their hearts and their homes.
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