Sunday, 26 December 2004 00:00

Meeting Christ This Christmas

Luke 2:1-7 (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 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:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 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.

Matthew 2:1-6 (KJV)

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, 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. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 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.

Recently I was in a local restaurant when a young lady eating with a friend grabbed my arm and said, "Pastor Wade, you don't know me, but I have a question for you. How can I love God when my life is so full of pain?" She went on to explain that if God is in control of all events in her life, she wanted nothing to do with Him. With tears in her eyes, she said she almost felt hatred toward God because He was responsible "by proxy" for her pain—He allowed it to occur. After spending a few minutes carefully explaining how God will allow evil to occur in order for an ultimate greater good to be revealed, I left breathing a prayer that this young lady would not miss meeting Christ this Christmas.

The focus of the Christmas story is usually on the people who met Christ. We talk about the shepherds, the wise men, and Simeon at the temple, but it's rare to hear about the people who had every opportunity to meet Christ at Bethlehem, but didn't. This morning I want to draw your attention to three individuals who missed Christ and the reasons why they did. It is never too late to realize that life is meaningless without Christ.

  1. The Innkeeper—(Luke 2:7).
    The innkeeper is inferred, never mentioned by name. However, if you look at Luke 10:37 and the story of the Good Samaritan, you notice there is always a keeper of the inn. There is no mention of this innkeeper ever meeting Christ. He is not considered to be a bad person. On the contrary, he did provide a stable for Mary and Joseph, but he never took the time to meet Christ himself. Why? The innkeeper was preoccupied. Don't let your pursuits keep you so busy you miss out on a relationship with Christ.
  2. The Infidel—(Matthew 2:3).
    What we know about King Herod comes to us through historians like Josephus and others. King Herod was one of the most wicked men in history. He was not a Jew, but he was appointed by the Roman Emperor to be "king of the Jews." He was not without followers (many Pharisees and Scribes became part of "the Herodians"). He married 10 women and killed his favorite wife with his bare hands. He also murdered three of his own sons and there was a popular saying that went "I'd rather be Herod's hog than his son" (In the Greek this is a pun since "hog" and "son" sound similar). The king of the Jews said he wanted to meet Christ, but, in reality, he wanted nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Why? The infidel held the position of king; there was to be no other!
  3. The Intellectuals—(Matthew 2:4).
    The chief priests and scribes were called and asked where the king should be born. They answer by quoting an obscure passage from Micah. These men knew the word of God. They were familiar with the promises of God. Why were they not in the very city where Christ was to be born? The intellectuals were filled with pride, and missed meeting the Savior because their relationship with God was rooted in the head. Let us meet Christ every day of our lives, and may we rejoice in our relationship with Him.

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