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The Christmas Story: Born for a Purpose

By David E. Owen
Luke 2:1-12

As we study the events and details surrounding Jesus' birth, we realize that there is a great deal of suggestion found in the elements of His birth scene. For example, the fact that there was no room for them in the inn suggests that "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11). Perhaps more than anything, the events surrounding His birth suggest the aspects of His death. We cannot build doctrine upon shadows and types, but we know that Jesus in a unique sense was, as Ron Hamilton wrote, "Born to die upon Calvary"; and even in His birth we see the shadow of His death. The cradle of Christmas points to the cross of Calvary. Let's notice some things about His birth and then draw some parallels with His death.

We immediately see a foundational comparison between these two events. For in Luke 2:6-7, "the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son." We know then that His mother delivered Him in birth. But we also know that His Father delivered Him in death, for the Bible mentions "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all" (Romans 8:32). As we begin . . .

I. Let's Consider The Places Involved In His Birth And In His Death

Bethlehem lies roughly six miles to the southwest of Jerusalem, and the two events that we're talking about were separated by a span of 33 years. Yet we discover a fascinating intersection of thought between these two places as we survey the similarities between the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem and His death at Jerusalem.

A. In Both Of These Places We See The Overwhelming Crowd. The Bible tells us "there was no room for them in the inn" (vs. 7). Because of the taxation or census of Augustus, Bethlehem would have been filled well beyond capacity. And while hospitality was, according to some writers, a key element of Jewish life, the homes and private guest chambers had all been filled long before the arrival of Joseph and Mary. Thirty-three years after his birth, the Bible mentions a "multitude" in Jerusalem (Luke 23:1), and then we are told that as Jesus was led to Calvary "there followed him a great company of people" (Luke 23:27). Just as 33 years earlier a census had gathered a crowd, now, 33 years later, a crucifixion had gathered a crowd. We might also contrast the "multitude of the heavenly host" that wanted to glorify Him in Luke 2:13 with the multitude of the hateful host that wanted to "Crucify Him" in Luke 23:21.

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