Perspectives on Christmas: Part 1 of 3
Unfortunately, Christmas often spurs controversy.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that when Christ was born, there was great controversy and contention. These controversies engulfed the religious elite, who were seeking political gain and favor with the government, and the religious pious, who were seeking to purify themselves from popular culture and secular government. The contention was not merely in the religious realm but also in the social and political world. Socially, many were fighting the Greco-Roman culture that was beginning to completely transform their traditional values, way of life, national history and identity, even to the point of planning a revolt against Rome. Politically, the local puppet king, Herod, was so paranoid of political rivals and enemies that he even ordered the death of his own son and wife.
This was the hot bed of volcanic activity and the world in which a small baby was born in a barn to poor parents. So insignificant was His birth to the local community, that the infamous innkeeper could not or would not make room for His impoverished parents. Not only this, but people in the nearby fields had to be told where He was born and even how to find Him. Not even fellow Jews came to look for Him or celebrate His birth. However, kings and men of great wealth began searching for Him as soon as He was born. Also, the king in Jerusalem, Herod, was so threatened and fearful upon receiving word about His birth that he instantly issued an edict to murder every child from age three and under.
In summary, Jesus was born into and added to the perfect storm. For everyone!
Since I have been the pastor at Journey, we have been working our way through the Gospel of Matthew on Sunday mornings. Over the next few weeks we will explore and examine three primary reactions and responses to the birth of Jesus that Matthew (one of Jesus’ 12 disciples) records.