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A Very Different Christmas Story

December 29, 2019 Pastor: John Medendorp

Passage: Matthew 2:13–2:18

Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus is much different than Luke's account.  There are no angel choirs singing praise to God, no shepherds rejoicing at the sight of the Christ child, and no cute and cuddly lambs sharing the stable with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  Instead, there are disturbing visions from God, visits from strange men from foreign lands, more disturbing visions from God with dire warnings, and the family of Jesus running for their lives in the middle of the night.  And at last, there is the horrific scene of the mass murder of infants and toddlers, ordered by a brutal and paranoid king in a effort to eliminate rivals to his throne.

Matthew wrote his account of the birth of Jesus the way he did for good reasons:  

  • He wanted to remind us that Jesus came to save this world, and that this world needs salvation desperately.  Herod's slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem is defintely not the only horrible event in human history; all through the ages and to this very day, evil-doers have slaughtered, enslaved, and oppressed others.
  • He wanted to show us what being a disciple of Jesus means for us.  In this world, all those who follow Jesus will face opposition, and many of them will face persecution and even death.  However, we can face anything that the powers of this world will throw at us, since the powers of this world will one day be overthrown by the saving power of Jesus Christ.

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