The Incarnation

18 Aug

Jesus’ birth is recorded in 2 of the 4 gospels. And those two stories are placed in the midst of two powerful rulers. The gospel of Matthew which traditionally was written to a Jewish audience places the birth of Jesus in the midst of the rule of Herod the Great. Herod was the king of the Jews. So Matthew’s gospel right off the bat makes the claim that both Herod and Jesus both cannot be king of the Jews. One of them must be a fraud. Luke in his gospel doesn’t mention Herod in relation to his birth but Caesar Augustus. Augustus was the ruler, for all intensive purposes, of the whole world. Luke’s gospel seems to declare that both Jesus and Augustus cannot be Lord. The world is not big enough for both of them. One of them must be a fraud. So while the gospel of Jesus Christ is that he has come to forgive our sins and reconcile us back to God, his gospel is also one that will challenge the world powers of the time.

So I am going to be looking at a few different things. I want to look at titles that these people had for themselves and then I want to look at the scriptures and see if any of these titles were taken and applied to Jesus. Then I was to ask the question, How would these powers feel if they heard their titles given to Jesus? I want to look at the characteristics of their rule and ask how do they compare and contrast to the type of kingdom that Jesus talked about? I want to look at what they viewed as the good life and ask how that measures up in comparison to what Jesus describes as the good life.

I find this particularly interesting because often times social justice is a term that we use for helping the poor and doing good to our neighbor. We often treat it as something that might be nice to do if we have the time. I have found that by looking at the birth of Jesus in relation to these powers, it isn’t just about being nice or compassionate, it is about the gospel.

I will spend a couple weeks looking at the birth of Jesus in relation to Herod and then a couple on Jesus’ relation to Caesar Augustus.


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