Or, They Went Out of Their Way
Before we get started, the Retrobots, at least one of them, goes a little berserk over a small disagreement Nathan had over our last episode. I invited him to expand on that matter, plus a few other items that came up in the two previous solo episodes. Thanks to our unruly Retrobot, those responses will have to wait until later.
Nathan did manage to get through, thanks to our sane Retrobot, Callie, and read the passage, and shared his thoughts on how the people in this account went out of their way, some involuntarily, and some intentionally.
Quoted from the Literary Study Bible:
This best known of all Bible passages–so carefully located in time and place (a style that literary critics call circumstantial)–draws a contrast between the humble circumstances of Christ’s birth and the glorious praise that he deservedly receives from multitudes of the heavenly host. Reinforcing the motif of humility, the style is simple and the effect one of understatement as the world-changing events are narrated in a matter-of-fact way. In this birth narrative Luke introduces two of the main themes of his Gospel: as the Son of David, Jesus has come to bring salvation to Israel, especially poor and lowly outcasts like the shepherds; as the Savior of the world, he has come to bring salvation to all people.
English Standard Version:
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when2 Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 ‘ Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Afterward, Keith shares a few references from the Old Testament that prophesied the coming Messiah, the need for a savior, and the restoration to God, and out of sin, that moment would bring.
There’s also special fulfillment to promises made to the nation of Israel. Hope is extended to the gentile, or the non-believers, to now be included in future promises. Those believing gentiles, and Jews who recognize this promised event are now part of a special group known as the church.
Remember those promises from last episode that didn’t always sound so nice? Because of the work of the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit to save us through the price art the cross, and through faith, we can expect a place in a future kingdom that will unite the realms of both heaven and earth.
We close out with our closing thoughts, and even Nathan Caldwell manages to sneak one in.
PS: Stay tuned for the end credits to roll through, and a candid lesson in phone etiquette with our favorite unruly Retrobot. I’m not sure he quite gets it.