Sunday, December 31, 2017



Matthew 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Susie: The wise men obeyed the Holy Spirit’s message to them in the dream, and did not reveal the Baby’s location to Herod.

Susan: The Magi were truly wise and were not duped into becoming Herod’s henchmen. They went home by another route in order to avoid passing through Herod’s jurisdiction.

Matthew 2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.  When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

Susan: Angels were protecting the Holy Child. Joseph like the Magi was warned in a dream of Herod’s insidious plot to kill the toddling baby Jesus. Joseph immediately took the family and fled to Egypt as the angel instructed. Some propose that the expensive gifts from the Magi may have been sold to finance this trip. The way that the Father protected Jesus at every turn should give us great confidence and courage that no matter what we face, if we believe and trust in our God, He will protect us with the same tenacity that He protected His Son.

Susie: Jesus was here on the mission of the redemption of man. In order to fulfill that, He had to live among us as the perfect God-Man which means He had to grow up!

Susan: God is as eager and intentional for each of us to fulfill our purposes as He was for Jesus to fulfill His.

Susie: When God calls us, it is not for our ease but for us to serve Him and bring others into His kingdom as well.

Matthew 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Hosea 11:1 (VOICE) Eternal One: When Israel was a child, I loved him; and out of Egypt I called My son.

Susie: Mary, Joseph, and Jesus had to return to the land of Israel’s captivity in order to save the Messiah’s life. Traveling with a young child is difficult even now. Imagine Mary doing it walking or riding a donkey!

Susan: She’s more of a woman than I am!

Susie: She and Joseph continued to obey the Lord’s leading. Joseph wasn’t just along for the ride. As the head of his household, he had the responsibility to make wise decisions and listen to the Lord in order to do what was best for Mary and Jesus. Just as God hand-picked Mary to be His Son’s earthly mother, He hand-picked Joseph to be Jesus’s step-father.

Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

Susie: Herod, seething with anger, commanded that all the boys two and under be slaughtered. He did not care about the innocent lives destroyed. He was intent on killing this One he saw as usurper.

Susan: Herod left no stone unturned, killing the boys under two years old even in the area around Bethlehem. Every couple of child bearing age was looked at to see if there was a boy in their household. His plan to kill Jesus was thwarted because Joseph was obedient to the message of the angel in the dream.

Matthew 2:17-18 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Jeremiah 31:15 (KJV) Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Susan: Imagine the anguish of all those mothers who lost their sons to a murderous annihilator!

Susie: The fathers would have been in anguish and anger as well. I’m surprised they did not riot. Perhaps that is how oppressed and cowed down they had become between the Roman occupation and Herod’s iron-fisted rule.

Matthew 2:19-20 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

Susie: Just as an angel had warned Joseph to flee to Egypt, one now informs him that it is safe to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus.

Matthew 2:21-23 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:       And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Susie: Joseph and Mary returned to Israel, but not to Bethlehem since Herod’s son was now on the throne. Instead they took Jesus back to their hometown of Nazareth.


We need to fully rely on the Lord to fulfill His purposes in and through us as did Mary and Joseph. Do we seek the Lord’s wisdom as we travel this earth, trusting Him to guide our steps?

Thursday, December 28, 2017



Susie: The Magi, the Wise Men, were key visitors and worshipers early in Jesus’ life.

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

Susan: Herod whose name means “Son of a hero” was dubbed “The Great” probably due to his planning and financing fantastic building projects including the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. He was ruthless as proved by his actions later in this passage.

Susie: He was identified as being Idumean meaning he descended from the Edomites, the offspring of Esau. The Edomites refused to help Israel against their enemies. Herod was made king over the Israelites by the Roman authorities. According to both the Reformation Study Bible and John MacArthur Study Bible notes these men were NOT kings, but were most likely court advisers who were both astronomers and astrologers. They may have been Zoroastrian wise men. If you want to know more about that religion, there is a brief article here:

Many scholars believe they may have been from Persia or Babylonia and would have learned of the prophesied Messiah due to Daniel’s captivity.

Another point of view on the Magi insists they were actually Jewish wise men who still lived in Babylon.

The Complete Jewish Study Bible:

Some have even speculated that these wise men came from a Jewish school that went back to Daniel’s day, where the prophets looked to the heavens for the promised arrival of the Messiah. The star in the east was in fact a manifestation of Adonai’s Sh’khinah (Divine Presence), marking the arrival of the Son of Man.

Matthew 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Susie: Scientists have tried to explain the phenomenon of the star by saying it was a conjunction of three planets or a supernova. However, the fact that it moved and rested in one place would negate those theories. The Reformation Study Bible notes proposed that it may have been some form of the Shekinah glory of God similar to the cloud by day and pillar of light at night which led the Israelites out of Egypt. John MacArthur, Jr., in his book God with Us, The Miracle of Christmas, discusses this same theory and states it was the same glory that had shone on the shepherds. At any rate, it was a miraculous occurrence.

Susan: I think the star was the Father’s personal birthday candle in the sky announcing the birth of His son. The glory of the Father would surely shine at the birth of His only begotten Son who would live in perfect obedience to His law and fulfill His plan to redeem the ones He had chosen.

Susie:  The wise men stated that their sole purpose in traveling from the East was to find this Baby and worship Him.

Susan: The wise men may have been only seekers, or they may have been expectant Jewish scholars, anticipating the Messiah’s arrival like Simeon and Anna.

Susie: If they were Zoroastrians, they believed in a multiplicity of saviors and may have thought the one born king of the Jews was one of them. If they were Jewish sages from Babylon as proposed in the Complete Jewish Study Bible, then they truly came to worship the Messiah, the Son of God. They did not come desiring gifts from Him but bearing gifts for Him.

Susan: Their gifts were even of symbolic significance.  They did not see this baby King as a cosmic Santa Claus or a supernatural slot machine like many people approach God today. They saw Him as an important spiritual figure to be worshipped.

Matthew 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Susie: King Herod was a controlling despot whose reign was one of fear. If King Herod wasn’t happy, no one was happy.

Susan: This Baby was a threat to his dictatorial control over Israel. If this baby were truly to be the king of Israel, it would mean that Herod’s sons would not inherit the kingdom. His family dynasty would be ended.

Susie: Instead of being excited about the possibility that the Messiah had arrived, he was jealous, green with envy, the original Grinch who tried hard to steal Christmas.

Susan: Unlike the Grinch, Herod’s heart never grew several sizes. As we will see, Herod far surpassed the Grinch in cruelty and deceit.

Matthew 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

Susie: The king of Israel did not have enough interest in the coming Messiah to have studied the scriptures for himself.

Susan: He had to inquire of others who were required by their professions to know these things.

Matthew 2:5-6 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Susie: This prophecy is found in Micah 5:2. Ruler denotes a strong, stern leadership.

Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Susan: Micah prophesied that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem which translated means “house of bread.”

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Matthew 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

Susan: The wise men were not even under Herod the Great’s rule, but he privately ordered them to give him information.

Susie: He was trying to ascertain exactly how old the baby Boy was at this time because he had a dastardly deed in mind.

Matthew 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

Susie: Herod had no intention of worshiping the Child. He wanted to eliminate Him as we will see.

Susan: He feared Jesus would end his family legacy as well as his own rule. He knew he could not truly claim the thrown of Israel because he was not a descendant of King David.

Susie: We can add blatant, unscrupulous liar to the negative tags associated with the name Herod the Great.

Matthew 2:9-10 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Susie: The star had disappeared temporarily which is why the Magi had inquired of Herod. Now it re-appeared and led them directly to the house where Jesus was living. I do believe this could have been the glory of God leading them just as He led the Israelites with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night when they fled Egypt. No natural phenomenon would have the ability to disappear, reappear, move, and hover.

Susan: The wise men were not just full of joy when the star came back into view: their joy was exponentially overwhelming. It was also a relief that they could now fulfill their mission to worship the baby King.

Susie: Jesus may have been a year to 18 months old by this time (according to the time the wise men told Herod they had first seen the star), and his family had moved to a house in Bethlehem. In other words, the wise men were not at the stable as they are so often depicted in artwork and dramatizations.

Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

Susie: Whenever scripture mentions Jesus and Mary in the same breath, He is always given the position of prominence by being listed first. Note that the passage refers to Jesus as a “young child” again indicating He was no longer a newborn. Joseph must have been at the carpentry workshop since he is not mentioned in these verses.

 Notes from The Voice Bible:

These are exceptionally good gifts, for gold is what is given a king, and Jesus is the King of kings; incense is what you expect to be given a priest, and Jesus is the High Priest of all high priests; myrrh ointment is used to heal, and Jesus is a healer. But myrrh is also used to embalm corpses—and Jesus was born to die.

Susan: All three gifts were expensive. Frankincense was burned along with the offerings in the temple according to the instructions God gave to Moses. Myrrh must be bruised, crushed in order to bring out its fragrance. Jesus was to be crucified in order to give us the fragrance of God’s grace.

Susie: The wise men probably did not fully understand the significance of their gifts or their visit. Scripture foretells that kings will worship The King:

Psalm 72:10-11 (VOICE) Let the kings of Tarshish and the island kings shower him with gifts and the kings of Sheba and Seba bring him presents as well. Let every king on earth bow down before him and every nation be in his service.

Isaiah 60:6 (VOICE) Herd after herd of camels will cover the land, caravans arriving daily from south and southwest: Midian, Ephah, Even Sheba with gifts of gold and frankincense. They will announce for all the world to hear, “The Eternal be praised!”


1.   Are we coming to Jesus to give Him adoration and worship, or are we only interested in what He can give us?

2.   Do we understand all Jesus has done for us and can do in us, or do we see him (like Herod) as the eternal kill-joy? Jesus came to give us abundant life. His rules are for our protection, peace, and fulfillment; not to limit us.

3.   The wise men brought their best gifts to the Savior, not only the physical gifts, but the most important gift – their worship. Are we bringing Him our best? Are we truly engaged in worshiping our Lord as instructed in Scripture, or are we distracted by the world?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

SIMEON & ANNA - Luke 2:25-40

Luke 2:25-40

Susie: Simeon and Anna were elderly people who had awaited the appearance of the Messiah with eager, excited expectation for many years. Here are their stories.

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

John MacArthur Study Bible:

Consolation of Israel. A messianic title, evidently derived from verses like Is. 25:9; 40:1, 2; 66:1–11.

Isaiah 25:9 (ESV) And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Susan: Simeon means “obedient, listening” in Hebrew. 

Susie: Simeon definitely was an obedient listener, hearing the Holy Spirit. 

Susan: For us to be enabled to hear the Holy Spirit, we must be obedient listeners. We must listen intently and intentionally and be careful to obey all the Lord instructs us to do.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Susie: Simeon was described as “just and devout”.

Susan: He was upright and law abiding. He believed God and was dedicated to His service.

Luke 2:26-28 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

Susie: Simeon heard the Spirit in his heart assuring him he would live to see the Messiah. Somehow the Spirit prompted him to go to the temple that very day and hour that Jesus was being dedicated. There he saw baby Jesus in his parents’ arms and KNEW by the Spirit’s revelation this infant was the Son of God. 

Susan: Because of the divine revelation Simeon had received, he was filled with hope, peace and comfort. Joy overwhelmed him as he took the Baby into his arms to bless him.

Luke 2:29-32 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Susie: Simeon’s psalm is known as the “Nunc Dimittis” (Now You dismiss) from the first two words of the Latin translation.

Susan: Simeon now can rest because he not only believed that the Lord was in control, but he had seen that the Lord was in control.  

Susie: He had been allowed to see the promised Hope, our freedom. 

Susan: The chain breaker, the One who delivers us from the prison of sin. 

Susie: He also acknowledged in his speech that Jesus was not for Israel alone. He was to make the message available to other nations, Gentiles included. Simeon referred to the Messiah as a light, and in the gospel of John, we saw that Jesus is The Light (John chapter 1). Jesus Himself said that He was The Light:

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 9:5 (ESV) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Isaiah 42:6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

Daniel 2:22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

Susie: Simeon was serving the Lord as a prophet while holding the Son of God.

Luke 2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

Susan: Mary and Joseph were receiving confirmation of all the angel had told them. Everything they had experienced—the announcements from the angels, the pregnancy as a virgin, the shepherds at the stable—may have begun to make some semblance of sense.

Susie: A total stranger had just come up to them praising God that he had now seen the Messiah, their baby!

Luke 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Susie: Jesus would have a polarizing effect on people. They would either recognize Him as the Messiah and be raised to walk with God, or they would reject Him and ultimately fall. That He would be a significant person, now seems to be a humongous understatement. Our entire western calendar revolves around Him. Granted, His life was unique, but one ordinary person can have a tremendous impact as well. 

Susan: I do not know how many days I have left, but I am determined to use my influence on behalf of God to the fullest extent of God’s ability within me. Exposing our secret thoughts is an intimidating and somewhat ominous proposition especially if we have not yet experienced God’s saving grace. 

Susie: Jesus makes our sin and failure apparent to us in order that we may see our need of Him.

Susan: And His availability to us when we surrender to Him.

Susan: Mary’s heart would be broken as she saw her innocent Son crucified. As the spear pierced His pericardium, her own heart would feel pierced as well because He was still her beloved Son even though He was the Messiah.

Susie: However, we know the rest of the story, that she would see Him raised from the dead!

Luke 2:36-37 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Susan: Anna in Hebrew means “favor or grace, God has favored me”. 

Susie: God certainly favored Anna in allowing her to see the baby Savior. Anna’s husband died when they had been married only a brief time.

Susan: What sustained Anna much of the time was not physical food, but prayer. She made the food for her spirit the priority rather than her physical appetite.  She served as an intercessor in the temple and had devoted her life to her Lord.

Luke 2:38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Susie: At this point Anna was at least 84 years old. She, like Simeon, immediately knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Therefore, she must have been filled with the Holy Spirit as well. Her service in the temple was not out of duty, but out of love and relationship with the Lord.  

Susan: Simeon was now ready to die and be with the Lord, but for Anna, it wasn’t time to go and rest even though she, too, was elderly. She now felt compelled to go and share the good news of this Messiah wrapped in the tender skin of a baby. At this point, she is an intercessor, prophetess, and evangelist!

Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Susie: After a brief sojourn in Egypt after the visit of the Magi (we will read about this in Matthew’s gospel), they returned to Nazareth where Joseph worked as a carpenter. Jesus had to grow up and get stronger just like any other child. 

Susan: He had to satiate His hunger, hydrate, and eliminate just like the rest of us. Human frailties, ugh!

Susie: He had to obey His parents (those He created). He was fully human yet fully divine.

PONDER THIS: Put yourself in the shoes of Simeon or Anna. What do you think your response would be as the Holy Spirit filled you with the knowledge that a little baby being dedicated at the temple was actually God’s own Son, the Messiah? What is your emotional response as you try to wrap your mind around the Creator of the universe humbling Himself to be a human baby?

Monday, December 25, 2017


We will resume our posts tomorrow!

Thursday, December 21, 2017


LUKE 2:21-24

Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Susie: Abraham was given instructions concerning circumcision of baby boys who were eight days old as a sign of the covenant between the Lord and His people. Therefore, Jesus was circumcised as the Abrahamic Covenant required on the eighth day. 

Genesis 17:9-14 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

Susan: In the Bible, numbers have meaning – eight is the number of new beginnings, and Jesus came to bring us the New Covenant. In obedience to what the angel had told both Mary and Joseph, they named Him Jesus which means “Jehovah is generous, Jehovah saves.”

Susie: God’s free gift of grace was extravagantly purchased by Jesus on the cross to save us from our sins, a generous gift indeed. 

Susan: Before Jesus created the world, before He spoke everything into being, He was “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” Revelation 13:8b. This means that even before Adam and Eve could sin and be deceived, God, in His mercy, had cleaned up the mess of sin, and would reveal this message at the perfect moment in time.  

Susie: In God’s accounting of time, it was as if Jesus had already gone to the cross.

Luke 2:22-24 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Susie: After Mary waited the required 40 days for purification, Mary and Joseph took the baby to the Temple in Jerusalem. 

Susan: As the firstborn male, he was to be dedicated to God as a priest or redeemed by paying two shekels. 

Susie: Two turtledoves or two young pigeons was the sacrifice for purification for a mother after birth for poor people who did not own or have the ability to purchase a perfect lamb. However, they were dedicating THE PERFECT LAMB! 

Susan: Mary did not have the money to purchase a lamb, but her son, the Lamb of God purchased her redemption on the cross!

Leviticus 12:1-8 (Complete Jewish Bible) Adonai said to Moses,  “Tell the people of Isra’el: ‘If a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy, she will be unclean for seven days with the same uncleanness as in niddah, when she is having her menstrual period.  On the eighth day, the baby’s foreskin is to be circumcised.  She is to wait an additional thirty-three days to be purified from her blood; she is not to touch any holy thing or come into the sanctuary until the time of her purification is over.  But if she gives birth to a girl, she will be unclean for two weeks, as in her niddah; and she is to wait another sixty-six days to be purified from her blood.  When the days of her purification are over, whether for a son or for a daughter, she is to bring a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or dove for a sin offering to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to the cohen.  He will offer it before Adonai and make atonement for her; thus she will be purified from her discharge of blood. Such is the law for a woman who gives birth, whether to a boy or to a girl.  If she can’t afford a lamb, she is to take two doves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; the cohen will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.”

Exodus 13:2 (CJB) Set aside for me all the firstborn. Whatever is first from the womb among the people of Israel, both of humans and of animals, belongs to me.

Exodus 13:15 (CJB) When Pharaoh was unwilling to let us go, Adonai killed all the firstborn males in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of humans and the firstborn of animals. This is why I sacrifice to Adonai any male that is first from the womb of an animal, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.

Numbers 18:16 (CJB) The sum to be paid for redeeming anyone a month old or over is to be five shekels of silver (two ounces), as you value it, using the sanctuary shekel (this is the same as twenty gerahs).

Susan: Mary and Joseph were devout Jews following all the Law prescribed concerning the Baby Jesus and Mary’s purification after childbirth.

Susie: As the following quotation from Galatians points out, Jesus placed Himself under the Law from the moment of His birth.

Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV) But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

PONDER THIS: Jesus, who was God in the flesh, placed Himself under the law. He was the only man who perfectly obeyed the law, remaining sinless. He who gave the Law to Moses, subjected Himself to it in order to free us from the burden it placed upon mankind. Even as a baby, Jesus had to be redeemed as all firstborn children belonged to God. Imagine – the Redeemer had to be redeemed!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017



Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Susan: Shepherds were the least esteemed of the working class in that day.

Susie: They were on one of the lowest rungs of society’s ladder. These particular shepherds may have been guarding the flocks used for sacrifices in the temple. This would include the Passover lambs that had to be completely without blemish or defect.

Susan: That God chose to announce the birth of His Son first to this group of people shows that He has no favoritism of class. His interest is solely in the hearts of humanity, not where they are on the socio-economic strata. Later, it would become clear that God’s grace extended to Gentiles as well as Jews. This borne out in the New Testament as the apostles saw Gentiles come to know the Lord. Peter testified to the Christian leaders in Jerusalem:

Acts 15:8-9 (HCSB) And God, who knows the heart, testified to them by giving the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.

Susie: He invited the shepherds who tending the sacrificial lambs to be the first to worship the perfect Lamb of God. 

Susan: They were allowed VIP access even before the Magi, the wise men, from the east.

Reformation Study Bible:

Shepherds were a despised class because their work prevented them from keeping the ceremonial law, and as they moved about the country it was common for them to be regarded as thieves. They were considered unreliable and were not allowed to give evidence in the courts.

Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

Susan: When angels appear, the first response is to fall on your face afraid.  (365 “fear nots” in the Bible) This is meaningful to me because there is one for each day of the year.

Susie: Imagine how you would respond if you were out in the middle of nowhere on a pitch-black night, and suddenly the sky lit up like daylight!

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Susan: The fact that the good news was for ALL people would be most important to these shepherds who were considered second-class citizens. They were viewed almost as the homeless are today – dirty, unworthy, and possibly criminals.

Susie: The angel’s words signify that this message was not for the Jews alone but for the Gentiles as well.

Luke 2:11-12 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Luke 2:11 (VOICE) Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority!

Susie: Angels almost always begin with “Fear not!” because their appearance can be overwhelming. 

Susan: This angel declared he had something good to tell them. 

Susie: Joyful news of the Messiah’s birth. 

Susan: All three names – Liberator (Savior), Anointed One (Christ or Messiah), and Supreme Authority (Lord -used for God in the Old Testament) – were used to describe the baby that had been born in Bethlehem. The amazing thing to these men was that He was born for them! He was the Messiah of the underdog as well as the top dog!

Susie: To their astonishment, they were told that this Baby King was born in a stable and would actually be lying on hay where the cattle fed!

Susan: The shepherds themselves had probably been born somewhere better than a stable. 

Susie: The God-Man who would identify Himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10) revealed Himself first to a group of shepherds. They, of all people, would eventually understand the words of the prophet Isaiah as they would apply to Jesus before Pilate and on the cross.

Isaiah 53:6-7 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Susan: The shepherds were told one sign that would help them identify the baby Messiah was that He would be wrapped in “swaddling clothes.”  In our research we found many things we did not previously know about “swaddling clothes.”

1.  They could also be used as burial clothes - - and these may have been strips of cloth carried by Joseph in case one of them died on the journey.

2. It was the custom in the Middle East to wash the newborn baby in salted water and wrap them in swaddling clothes.

3. We read that the shepherds to whom the angels appeared were keeping watch over the lambs to be used for Passover sacrifices. When an ewe would be ready to deliver, the shepherds would take her into a cave and wrap the newborn lamb in swaddling clothes to prevent it from injury and deformity because the sacrifice had to be perfect.

Susie: These shepherds would understand the concept of swaddling God’s perfect Lamb. Many years later, some of them might have recalled seeing the newborn Messiah who became the perfect sacrifice for their sins wrapped in swaddling clothes like a sacrificial lamb.

Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Susie: I imagine the shepherds were now shaking in their sandals. If one angel was terrifying, how much more fearsome would an army of them be?

Susan: But this army was announcing peace, not war. Peace had come for all people who bring pleasure to God. You will have peace when you give God pleasure. When you are not at peace, the question is “are you giving God pleasure or are you breaking His heart because you are not being or becoming what He created you to be?” 

Susie: We need to ask ourselves, “What pleases God?” 

Micah 6:8 (VOICE) “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” 

Susie: Walking humbly with God would involve surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus, in other words receiving the gift of salvation with the full realization that there is no way you could ever earn it. But you may say, “we do not have peace.” Jesus did not come to bring “world peace” as we think of that term but the inner peace that endures in a non-peaceful world.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

Susan: The shepherds were eager to go and see what the angel had reported to them, this awesome baby King.

Susie: They said to each other, “Let’s go right now!”

Luke 1:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Susie: The shepherds didn’t just talk about going to Bethlehem, they did it right away. They didn’t lollygag but traveled quickly. They found everything just as the angel had described it—Mary and Joseph staying in a stable and the baby wrapped up in swaddling clothes and lying on top of fresh hay in a feeding trough.

Luke 1:17-18 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

Susan: Then the shepherds became a holy news crew spreading the Good News to all who would hear them. They proclaimed that the angel had told them the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem, and they, the shepherds, were eyewitnesses to everything the angel had declared.

Susie: I’m sure the people were wondering, “Could this really be the Messiah?” 

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Susan: Mary wanted to file these memories in her heart, perhaps to be able to recount these wondrous things to Jesus as He grew.

Susie: There were no “baby book albums” in those days, so Mary made a point to commit every occurrence to memory. She was probably still amazed at all that had transpired in her life those last few months since Gabriel had appeared to her.

Luke 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Susan: The shepherds’ response was to glorify God. They did not chalk it all up to some kind of psychological breakdown but realized they had seen something divine and totally real. At some point they may have wondered, “If we tell people this, will anyone believe us, or are we going to be locked away forever?” 

Susie: But God revealed Himself to them in such a mighty way that they could not doubt the reality of the encounter. 

Susan: No matter what happened they were going to faithfully announce this Good News, wherever they went, no matter the consequences.


1. Jesus was first revealed to a group at the bottom of the social strata. He came for all kinds of people. Think of a specific way you can share Jesus with someone this week without regard to race, color, or socio-economic status.

2. Why was it significant that the shepherds may have been raising sheep for the temple sacrifices?

3. The shepherds went “with haste.” Are you excited about worshiping Jesus? This Sunday approach your place of worship with a sense of wonder, awe, and urgency at the privilege of worshiping our Lord.