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"A Savior Who Understands "

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
January 17, 2021 5:00 am

"A Savior Who Understands "

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hi there, this is Lon Solomon and I'd like to welcome you to our program today. You know it's a tremendous honor that God has given us to be on stations all around the nation bringing the truth of God's word as it is uncompromising and straightforward. And I'm so glad you've tuned in to listen and be part of that.

Thanks again for your support and your generosity that keeps us on the radio. And now let's get to the word of God. God was the very first person to ever give a Christmas gift. You know that?

Sure. On the very first Christmas, He inaugurated that day by giving us the greatest gift in the history of the universe. The Bible says, For God so loved the world that He gave His one-of-a-kind Son.

That's what the word really means in Greek. His one-of-a-kind Son. And why did He give Him?

So that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. And if you're here and you've never embraced Jesus Christ as your Messiah and your Lord and your Savior, then folks, God is still anxiously wanting to give you the most life-changing Christmas present that He has to give. And I hope that you won't let another Christmas go by without taking hold of the greatest gift anybody's ever offered you.

Jesus Christ and His salvation purchased on the cross for you. Now if you're here and you've already done that, and most of you have, then this morning I want to talk to you. And I want to talk to you from Luke chapter 2, the familiar story of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. And I want us to look at the story and then ask the question, so what?

Yeah. Let's look together, okay? And we're continuing in our series on the life of Christ. This is part three, and the title of my message is, A Savior Who Understands. A Savior Who Understands.

And let's see if I can make that title make sense to you. First one. In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Corinnaeus was governor of Syria.

And everyone went to his own town to register. Caesar Augustus began what we commonly have called Pax Romana, the great Roman peace over the whole empire. He became emperor in 27 BC. He was emperor until 14 AD, and his time of ruling over the empire was a time of tremendous stability, tremendous peace.

But the man also had a penchant for good organization. And one of the things he began, we know from secular Egyptian records, is he began the practice of taking a census of the entire Roman empire every 14 years. In fact, that practice continued for several centuries after the death of Caesar Augustus. Now one of the reasons he did this was because everybody, except for Jews, but everybody else in the empire had to serve in the army. And so the way to find out who was of draft age is you took a census, and so he would take the results of the census and he would give it to the Roman draft board and they would know who they could draft. But the other reason they did it is to keep accurate tax records so they knew who was where and how much they had and so they could tax them. So he also took a copy of the census and he gave it to the Roman IRS.

So the IRS got a copy and the draft board got a copy. Now this census that was taken here while Corinnaeus was governor of Syria for years has been used as one of the great examples of an error in the Bible. A case where the Bible is explicitly wrong and therefore undependable. You say, well I don't understand, what's the problem?

Here's the problem. We know from Roman records that Corinnaeus was governor of Syria, was the formal governor of Syria beginning in 6 AD. That's when he was appointed as governor of Syria, alright?

6 AD, got that in your mind now. We also know from the Bible, Matthew chapter 2, that King Herod was ruling over Israel when Jesus Christ was born, right? At this time when Corinnaeus supposedly was governor of Syria, right? But we know from secular records that King Herod died in 4 BC.

Oh, so we got a problem, don't we? Because Corinnaeus doesn't get to be governor till 6 AD and Herod dies in 4 BC. So there's 10 years in between these two dates, they can't possibly refer to the same event.

Therefore the Bible is wrong, therefore the Bible has a mistake, therefore it's undependable. Now recently, however, we've discovered that indeed it's true, Corinnaeus did not become the formal Roman governor of Syria until 6 AD. However, the man who was governor of Syria during the time when Luke chapter 2 takes place, his name was Quintilius Varus, V-A-R-U-S. We have learned from records recently found that Varus was actually out of the country for several years during the time of this census, fighting Germans on the northern border of the Roman Empire.

And while he was gone, guess who he appointed acting governor in his place? Well, if you guess Corinnaeus, you get the gold star this morning, because that's exactly who he appointed. And so Luke, in saying that Corinnaeus was governor of Syria when the first census was taken, because there was another census taken 14 years later when Corinnaeus was actually now the formal governor, you with me? Luke is actually more historically correct than anything we could have documented from records until just recently. And I find that exciting that the more we dig out of the ground, the more right the Bible proves to be. Luke had it right all the time, and we had it wrong until just recently. To me, that's exciting. And it confirms the trustworthiness of the Word of God once again.

Well, let's go on, shall we? One of the results of Augustus Caesar's decree is that Mary's baby, who would normally have been born not in Bethlehem, but would normally have been born in Galilee and Nazareth, instead was born in Bethlehem. Because the prophet said, Micah chapter 5, from you Bethlehem, will come forth one who will rule over my people Israel. Had it not been for the census, Jesus would not have been born in Bethlehem, but because of the census, he was. And so I like what one commentator said. He said Augustus Caesar was ruling, but God was still in charge.

Isn't that good? Augustus Caesar might have been ruling the world, but God was still in charge. And everything worked the way God said it should work. Verse 4. So Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house in the line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. And when they were there, the time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. The traditional picture that we get here is of this cozy little barn with all the fresh hay all around. And, you know, nice kerosene barn lanterns hanging from the rafters and all the cows mooing and Lassie looking on. You know, that's how we picture this thing happening.

But that's not how this happened at all. You see, the word that's translated here, manger, literally means a feeding trough, a common feeding trough where they put the slop out for the animals. It was usually hewn out or cut out of just a big piece of rock and they made just a little trough in it and that's where they put the animal food. And Mary was not in a nice clean barn with fresh hay. She was probably in a cave where this trough was where they tied up animals and left them. She was probably in a cave that was muddy on the floor, that had manure smell all around, that was cold and damp, and she probably had a frantic husband running around when she was delivering her firstborn son because she did not have a doctor, she did not have a midwife, she probably cut her son's own cord and then wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Swaddling clothes merely, they're rags, that's all. They're just rags, rags that you tie together with some string or some other pieces of cloth. She wrapped him in rags to protect him from the cold of the evening and there, in an environment that no lady here would accept for her delivery room, she cuddled to her breast the Son of God.

It's not like you think. Verse 8, And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy that'll be for all the people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born for you, and his name is Christ the Lord.

Every time I read this passage, I think of Handel's Messiah, that beautiful chorus where the angels suddenly appear and sing, Goodwill to men, goodwill to men, because that must have been something like this was like. But notice here that when they announce the birth of Christ, they give Jesus Christ three very significant titles. First of all, verse 11 says, For today in the town of David, a Savior has been born, a deliverer.

That's what the word literally means. And Jesus Christ came to earth to be a deliverer in two ways for us. First, to deliver us from the guilt and the penalty of our sin. The Bible says, Colossians chapter 1, For he has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of God, where we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin. That's the first kind of deliverance Jesus as our Savior came to bring.

But there's a second kind he came to bring as well, and that is to deliver us from living empty, meaningless lives here on earth. In dealing with Zacchaeus, you remember we little Zacchaeus? Zacchaeus was a wee little man, you remember him? And a wee little man was he, he climbed up in the sycamore tree.

You all know this song, don't you? The Lord he wanted to see. Well, Zacchaeus was a guy who was affluent on the outside, but empty on the inside. And Jesus, when he met Zacchaeus, turned and said to the people, he said, for I, the Son of Man, and pointing to Zacchaeus, he said, I have come to seek and to deliver those who are lost. And he didn't just mean lost in the eternal sense, he did come to do that.

But even those who are lost here in the earthly sense, groping around in the darkness, trying to find some meaning and purpose to life, Jesus came to deliver us from living empty, meaningless lives and give us a purpose and a reason to exist. He's our Savior, our Deliverer. The second thing the angel said is that he is Christ.

The Greek word Christos simply is an attempt to translate the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means Messiah, Messiah or anointed one. Because you see, for centuries, God had been promising Israel that he was going to send them an anointed descendant of King David, who would sit on the throne of David and rule the people of Israel for all eternity. And when the angels appeared to the shepherds, they said, you know that anointed descendant of David that we've been promising you? Well, he's been born. He's the Christ, the Messiah. Finally, he is Christ the Lord.

The Lord. You see, this baby was not just an anointed king. And this baby was not just a special deliverer. He was God himself, the Bible claims, wrapped up in human flesh. And so he was our Savior, and he was our Messiah, and he was our Lord.

I mean, that's an awful big package wrapped up in that little baby, you know that? And yet that's what the angel said was lying in a manger in Bethlehem. Well, what did the shepherds do? Look, the angel said, this will be a sign to you, you'll find the baby wrapped in rags and lying in a manger.

And I'm sure the shepherds said, well, now look, we're members of the Bethlehem Grange. We know where every single trough over there is. Let's go look at every single trough till we find him.

He's got to be in one of them. I mean, how many babies could there possibly be lying in troughs over there? And so suddenly there was a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. And when the angels had left them and gone back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, let's go to Bethlehem. We'll look in every manger that's there, and we will see this great thing that the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger. And when they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. They were probably jumping up and down and talking, going, can you believe this?

Can you believe that? But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. I think Mary was a real special lady, you know, and rather than getting all excited and going, oh, my baby, oh, it is me, look at my baby, look at my baby. She said nothing. She was very quiet and just said, hmm, I think I better think about this.

What a special lady. And then it says that the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, which things were just as they had been told. God told them the way it was, and that's just the way they found it. And here ends the Bible's account of the most important birth in human history. But it still leaves us asking the question, thank you, so what? That's exactly right. So what?

All right. We all know this story, Lon. I mean, we all just celebrated Christmas. They even read it on the radio. But what difference does that make for us today?

I mean, in the 20th century, we don't live in Bethlehem. There was a song that was popular back in the 60s. The title of the song was Walk a Mile in My Shoes. Anybody remember the song?

Anybody willing to admit they're old enough to say that they remember the song? You remember that one of the lines went, before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes. And of course, the point of the song is that compassion comes from common experience. In other words, you walk a mile in my shoes. You experience life the way I experience it. You see it the way I see it, and you'll feel differently about me, about my weaknesses, my shortcomings, my fears. Instead of judging me and being so quick to condemn me, you walk a mile in my shoes and share some of my experiences. And you might just have sympathy for me and understanding instead of judgment. Now, whether you remember the song or not, don't we agree with the principle?

Isn't that true? That compassion comes when people have shared an experience like the one you've had? One of the greatest parts about being a Christian is being able to fall on your knees before God. And in the midst of your worst pain and your worst heartache, to be able to say, Lord, you know how I feel, don't you? And to have God be able to say back to you with authenticity, yes, I know exactly how you feel.

You don't have to try to explain it. I know exactly how you feel. And the reason I know how you feel is because of what happened on that very first Christmas day.

The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. Jesus Christ had all the same experiences you and I had. That's why He understands. He was born the regular way, I mean, right down the birth canal and everything. He had an infancy where He was helpless and somebody had to wait on Him, just like our children do. He had an adolescence and a puberty. He knows what it's like to be a teenager. If you're a teenager and you say, nobody understands what it's like to be a teenager, wrong.

Jesus Christ understands. He knows what it's like to be part of a family with all of the relational challenges and stresses of a family. Remember, He had younger brothers and there is no challenge like a younger brother in a family. You have a younger brother, you have an inter-family relational stress problem. Younger brothers are born for that.

That's what they're good at. He had all the same weaknesses of human nature that you and I had. The Bible says He got hungry, He got thirsty, He got tired, He required sleep. He needed to get away from people for a while and go up in the hills, He needed a break. All of the things you deal with, He deals with. You say, well, Lon, I'm experiencing grief, I've lost a loved one. Well, Jesus Christ experienced that.

You say, really, when? Well, it's interesting at 30 years old when He shows up in the Bible, His dad's not anywhere to be found. Where do you think His dad went? You say, He divorced Mary?

No, I don't think so. I think He died. I think Jesus Christ knew what it was like to bury a father because He had to bury His own.

Are you facing hardships and struggling to make ends meet? Guess what? Jesus Christ knows what that's like because that's how He lived.

You say, well, how do you know that? Look right here in Luke chapter 2, down in verse 24. The Bible says in Luke chapter 2 verse 24, it says that when they came to dedicate Jesus Christ at the temple, they brought a pair of doves to dedicate Him. Now, if you look back in Leviticus chapter 12, what you will find is that the gift you were supposed to bring is a lamb. But the Bible says in Leviticus 12, if you are too poor to afford a lamb, then you can bring two turtle doves instead. Jesus Christ's family was a poor family.

That's why they brought turtle doves. And after His father died, you think things got any better at home when He had to go to work and try to support His mother and His younger brothers and sisters? You think these people had a lot of money? Forget it. You think Jesus doesn't know what it's like to try to struggle to make ends meet?

He knows because He did it. You're having conflict? Jesus had conflict with the religious leaders of Israel every day. Are you having verbal abuse heaped on you?

Great. When Jesus hung on the cross, the Bible says that those who passed by hurled insults at Him as He hung on the cross, helpless. People making fun of you? The soldiers made fun of Christ.

The Bible says they mocked Him right there as He hung on the cross. Some of us here feel very rejected, and we've been very rejected.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-05 14:41:55 / 2024-01-05 14:50:11 / 8

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