Christmas > Clausmas, Christ > Caesar
After first examining Matthew’s account (Mt 1:18-25) and paying special attention to the virgin conception in Part 1, in this Bible Study I aimed to dig into Luke’s account (Lk 2:1-20).
After studying both Christmas accounts in the Bible (which comprise very few “verses“), I wanted to emphasize that everything else that has become traditionally attached to the holiday (i.e., holy day) — including various misconceptions — is an addition.
- Caesar Augustus was thought to be a divine god, Son of God, and “savior of the world” whose birth meant peace, hope, and good news [euangelion (think evangelize, evangelism)] for all people
- Nonetheless, Jesus is the true Son of God, the Messiah, who is the LORD, the Savior of the world who brings true peace (shalom), hope, and good news (gospel) to all people
- God can use imperfect worldly leaders for his perfect, heavenly purpose
- Theme of reversal: the humble are exalted by God
- Caesar is exalted, while Jesus had humble (earthly) beginnings (cf. Php 2:9-11)
- God uses outsiders to proclaim the gospel, redefining spiritual family (cf. Lk 8:19-21)
- Christmas not about earthly family or earthly peace; not presents but Presence
- “it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom to those who believe and follow Christ [Lk 12:32]” (Garland)
I doubt that the videos that were embedded in the original PowerPoint will be visible below. So, here is the video that appears early in the presentation — which serves to demonstrate how we can confuse Christmas and Clausmas:
- Bock, Darrell L. Luke: 1:1–9:50. Vol. 1. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1994
- Cross, F. L. and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
- Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Luke. Edited by D. A. Carson. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos, 2015.
- Evans, Craig A. Luke. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990.
- Garland, David E. Luke. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: . Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
- Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.
- Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
- Morris, Leon. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 3. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988.
- Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.
- Stein, Robert H. Luke. Vol. 24. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992.
- Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Zondervan. Kindle Edition, 1998.
- Water, Mark. The Christian Book of Records. Alresford, Hants, UK: John Hunt Pub., 2002.
- Wilcock, Michael. The Savior of the World: The Message of Luke’s Gospel. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979.