Nativity Lecture 2022-3

Nativity hoopla is low key

The closest thing to a mall event in the Nativity story is the visit to the temple where the parents of Jesus meet a senior citizen named Simeon and an octogenarian  prophetess named Anna.  This series of events in the life of the young Christ tells us something about his relations with the law of Moses.  Judging from what he later thought about his relationship to Moses and the temple, we can see that his relationship to David was paramount, thus closing the circle of the genuine Saviour-King. It was unpopular for the king’s later interactions with the temple and the priests to be dramatic and surprising. Nativity connects us with all that really matters for all the people in the world, and yet the audiences of the Saviour-King’s passages in life are not large.

First access to Israel’s holy things

“And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord”

Luke 2:22, New American Standard Bible

Finale to Nativity

If we however keep looking at the birth stories we will not find very much, because there is little about the hospital in which he was born, the time of night he was born, the name of the physician, the hours of labor, and who actually witnessed the birth. Bringing the story along to where the “all people” are touched by the king’s arrival we look at the end of his time on earth.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;”

Luke 2:10,

From the house to the street

The usual Jerusalem crowd had  gathered to see a trio of executions by the Romans. At best, the representation may have included people from all over Israel. It was passover, and Jewish males, from all over the region were required to be in Jerusalem.  However, in AD 29, the interest in the public execution of Israelites was likely enhanced by the eagerness of the scribes, elders and priests who did not care how they achieved silencing the Nazarene.

The public execution of the Nazarene was part of the act that saved the world, though it was well attended was a private affair.  If we think that the Jewish identity we have been recognizing as exceedingly troubled and yet hopeful is not an inimitable glory we fool ourselves. Jewish identity and Jewish faith, Christian faith and Islamic faith need focusing.  They have all veered into their sectarian preferences.  They all say little about a common and uncomplicated submission of the people to a single Jewish King. 

Here’s to the few!

Nativity is the story about a king. Nativity is the story about a king who dares to show up among his own people, be one of them do the utmost to save them. People have joined that story to the seasonal Christmas and winter culture. Christ has nothing to do with any tree except the one he died on but Nativity is what Christmas is said to represent. So let’s agree that having a tree or mistletoe does nothing to unseat the simple remembrance of that great and joyous time when a handful of shepherds were told, upfront, in person, what God was doing on the planet. This exclusive club is hard to beat. You or I will never have the means to pay to get to be the first to be told where and how the incarnate God was going to make his appearance in the world.

The quiet Revolution rises

One might think that there was a case for saying that it would be well to leave it with a few, but though it is to a few that the announcement was made in the beginning, it is clear that the purpose is for the teaching of the Kingdom to spread through the world like yeast in the dough.I think it is extremely short-sighted to say that these things are not absolutely, and as soon as one finds them,  the supreme gems in our contemplation of the divine. God is love and peace and he is offering and sacrifice, of himself even.

What? No joy to the world?

Christmas time, Nativity pageants and winter activity festivals, give us hope that the Christ who came to Bethlehem as a babe did put the cherry on top of his wonderful life by becoming a lamb, as it were of the people’s exodus and sacrifice for sin as atonement, on the cross, and has sent the Holy Spirit to everyone who has trusted him completely for life and salvation. That is the Hope of the God with Us. There is no large crowd attached to our reception of the king into our hearts, as the song says ” let every heart prepare him room”. It is not some big public thing that one does in the crowd, in the theater or church.

Heavenly and earthly hoopla

We should not expect heaven and earh to have the same response to events, The residents are essentially different. The recognition and celebration of Christ coming to a single human heart has heavenly and earthly fireworks. The church gets ready for a baptism, and, we are told, “angels in heaven rejoice”

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 15:7

Nativity is about what happens in the private moments of the heavenly-earthly family.

The megalomania of Christmas

Nativity lecture 2022-2

The solitary figure who, despite kicking his levitical pedigree to the curb, was a public token that a shake-up was coming, was John the Baptist. The few shepherds, one devout man named simeon, a widow named Anna, his parents, and his relatives do not constitute a popular or viral event.

Where are the Royal family conventions? Where is the national rejoicing over the newly arrived king? It is not that the momentous event was unknown, because the birth of the ruler was of profound significance. Micah’s prediction was not obscure to those who handled the sacred texts. “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2, NASB). There seems to be no levitical recognition and interest except to provide the details of where the birth was destined to occur to facilitate Herod’s assassination attempt, and there are no bands of prophets dancing in ecstasy.  A lone devout Israelite and a prophetess in the temple are not a crowd.  They are a far cry from the mob who no would cry “crucify him”

A few shepherds, one devout man named Simeon and a widow named Anna, his parents and his brothers constitute the front seat witnesses in Luke’s account.

The shepherds

Despite the issue is designation is Good Shepherd the references to Shepherd to a few in the nativity narrative. Their privilege is huge.  God’s glory scared them to death, then an angel announced to them what was happening, and they were thrilled. They’re interested in mattress of state is not a parent. They were just minding their sheep .

They acted together

When the angel had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then and see this thing that has happened with the Lord has made known to us.”

Luke 2:15

They acted hastily

They came in a hurry and found their way to marry and joseph, and the baby as he lay in the manger.  Typically human beings like to take the time and confirm what they heard, ensure that they are not hallucinating or sleepwalking, and even traveling precautions are in order. But here, the shepherds were full speed ahead.

They connected what they saw with the angelic announcement

When the shepherds saw what the angel had told them, they made known the statement which had been told them about the child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds then went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them (Luke 2: 15-20).

Public servant with a small circle

By the time the babe of Bethlehem was ready to return to his glory the crowd who were so scared by the glory of the heavenly messengers may have swelled, but we do not know where they were. The people around Christ with any intimacy was always a small number. 

A predictable outcome

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’

Matthew 26:31, NASB

The people who were thrilled about the babe who came to sit on David’s throne and were honoured to tell the news with great rejoicing was down the few family members, and John the fisherman. A very private death in public, with only his mother and aunt, and Mary of Magdala, and John. It was not a mall event by any stretch of the imagination.

Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:25

Nativity Lecture 2022 -1

A revolution begins in private

The birth of Christ was a big deal, so big that a star appeared in the sky, angels lit up the sky  announcing his birth, and sages from foreign countries east of Judea came to worship the newborn.  This is unprecedented!   Singing angels, ringing bells, gifts for the well-behaved are all empty hype when we compare them to what happened when Christ came into the world and when we compare them to what he came to do.  Throughout  the three and a half years of the Messiah’s life people have found all kinds of trinkets, and the trinketologists have been trying to convince people who are drawn to the the Messiah that the trinkets define and summarize the benefits. It only makes sense to treasure the most dramatic and traumatic events; birth which brings joy in expectation, and death which brings life.

This is the first of three lectures on the birth of Christ

The Nativity’s Revolution Breaks Out in 42 Months

When it dawns on us that the Bethlehem babe was born to die the mega decoration and spending blitz, the holy night proclamation, and the wholesale rejection of monarchy fizzles like the dew on a hot day.  A thin slice of Judean life and the traditions of the chosen people were involved in the drama of the nativity.  David’s family in Bethlehem made no parade or fanfare as the king of the Jews came into the world.  The priests and the officials of the temple had no idea what was happening and had no interest, even when they were asked by Herod the king to investigate the circumstances and manner of the birth of Israel’s King. They could not care less.  The huge crowds that accompanied Yeshua during the three and a half years of his public ministry are  anachronisms, because in both his birth and his death Yeshua was quite alone.

Right to rule and salvation rights

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:11-13, NASB

I am sure that someone will say that the star, the angels and the foreign sages being hip to a cosmic event are regular happenings, or at least happens on the appropriate circumstances.  Even so the government of Judea was moved in a direction  other than welcome and alliance.  Governments outside of Palestine / Judea are headed up by people wanting to have absolute rule over the citizens. Government in Judea was schizophrenic to say the least. Herod was afraid and launched a massacre of babies, while the Romans were fearless and ruthless in keeping the people of Judea under the thumb.  The right to become a child of God was what the birth of Christ was signaling and the record tells us that people did not receive Christ in droves.  Throughout his life people questioned his authority, even after his words and actions came to life in thousands of converted people after the Pentecostal Event there still was no wholesale reception of the king.

Huge crowds in the city square

This year, 2022, we are likely to be treated to the spectacle of huge crowds in the city squares singing carols and celebrating Christmas.  Our churches may be filled on Christmas Eve and there are many churches that put on convincing and spectacular  dramatizations and musicals of the birth of Christ.

The season for life’s most amazing gift

Despite the high level operatives who we might expect to be closely involved in such a seismic  event like the birth of a king, the people who were  at the centre of the nativity were not priests, royals, or prophets.   The arrival of the Saviour-King, listed as the cause for great joy, was noted by a few chosen ones.  We must, however, be aware that God’s gift of a son was intended to exceed the wildest expectations of the Jewish people and bring salvation to all mankind.

Nativity Lectures 2021 (3rd and final)

Trouble from day one

The arrival of Mary’s baby is not reported in Matthew’s gospel in the usual fashion.  The closest we get to the actual birth is Luke’s chapter six. Trouble and tensions are right out in the open, from the unexpected pregnancy to what follows the birth, and they show up in the reception of the king throughout his short life. The words of the late John Lewis, US Congressman, about the necessity of good trouble are apt. That message transcends age, gender and ethnicity, and it unites humanity in the struggle for something that makes the essential steps towards making the kingdom of God felt in this age. It is an understatement to say that Yeshua had a troubled life.

While they were there [in Bethlehem], the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:6-7

Matthew gives us his view of the critical events leading up to the baby’s delivery (18-25), then he passes to the visit of the magi.  The gospels were not written for storytelling sake.  Each evangelist presents a package as his personal assignment by the Holy Spirit and the evangelist’s experience dictate.  Matthew’s interest is not childbirth per se, but God’s arrival among men as their Saviour, king, and God.

The projection of the king

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,”

Matthew 2:1, NASB

The arrival is both delightfully surprising and exceedingly troubling. Remember the unexpected pregnancy, the couple’s anxiety, and the massive prospect of the people’s sins meeting their match in the life and death of a single person, and free of charge to the sinner.

The people’s salvation is from sin, not from Roman imperial power. It is not salvation from the passages of human life, and it is not a cyclical remembrance of them. This baby is destined to be a king who saves his people from the futility that has clung to humanity. We must think then of “his people” as all humans, in line with Abraham’s function as the father of innumerable descendants, and with Isaiah’s “Look to me, all you ends of the earth” (45:22), and Moses’ “Praise him all you Gentiles with his people (Deuteronomy 32:43). Matthew is projecting the king who troubles earthly kings (Matthew 2:1-3) and will subject them to his rule in due time. In the meantime, he has no answer to the questions of kings and heads of state. His kingdom is not of this order.

I-max picture

No brush with disappointment, no fear of disgrace, no inappropriate pride can dull the joy of knowing what Mary and Joseph came to know.  Despite raging storm of power-hungry men, careless and crooked leaders with their conspiratorial counsel against the Lord’s anointed, we know that God is with us. Despite our countless troubles, our own stumbles and falls, we know that sins are now remittable with a heavenly and permanent remedy. To stay close to Matthew’s agenda, we can put a cap on the birth story with our humility to accept that help of salvation from sins, unless,of course, we have no idea what a sin is.

Nativity Lectures 2021 [1]

The just and the innocent meet

This year’s lectures come from Matthew’s gospel and will focus attention on the behaviours of a just man and an innocent girl, two avenues of divine intervention, and the projection of the Saviour-king. I have decided to avoid the customary storytelling priority of combining the different narratives into one.

Virgin found pregnant

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 1:18, NASB

The birth story here begins with an engagement gone crazy.  There is no midwife or prenatal care,  only the slightest hint of a dating life shows up here.  If you are looking for medical inspiration or a seasonal devotional boost, Matthew’s gospel is not the place.  You will especially not find a blow by blow of Mary’s or Joseph’s life and their relationships with their families, The nativity story in Matthew’s gospel begins with  a depressing disappointment and a severe challenge to a man in love.

No legal advice in sight

In a crisis of this sort a person living under the Sinai Covenant looks for an honourable answer to the question “What shall I do?” The other more particular question that presented itself was “How shall I end this”?  A man and a woman engaged to be married in Judea do not walk away in the dark of night.  An engagement has the same dignity and legal status as a marriage.  This is why Joseph thought of Mary and the public fallout that would certainly follow an official “putting away”.  Matthew uses the term apoluo, used also of divorce in Matthew 5:31, 19:3, 7, 8, 9)  He wanted to do just that: end the engagement secretly. The Sinai Covenant has no inroads here, but the prophets do.

Familiar Birth stories

The narrative of the birth of Jesus might be expected to have the issues of conception, a wedding, the preparations for his birth, insights into the wisdom of the ways of dealing with pregnancy over some portion of the nine months of gestation  It ought to have some something about the onset of fatherhood, something about labour, the delivery, the baby’s weight and stature.  Not this one.

Go on, marry your intended

Provocations, thoughtfulness,  and resolve emerge, and the answer comes in a dream, not from a scribal interpretation of the Law. The relief for both the just man and  the innocent virgin is beyond imagination.

Provocations, thoughtfulness, and justice without divorce emerge

GOD is with the just and the innocent.  The just, like the innocent and innocent, rely on their personal connection with Israel’s God.  Here are the signs that the people of New Testament times  may have had no benefit of a prophet, priest, or king advising them.  These two, Mary and Joseph,  are not face to face with God like Moses  and Joshua, but they face their life’s challenges with all the power of heaven

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream

Matthew 1:20

 The dream comes after Joseph decides what to do, and after having thought about how to do it.  The term rendered considered signifies putting energy in (enthumeo).

A just man responding to a provocation of this kind by conceiving a wish is remarkable indeed.  The natural course is to seek to deal with the perpetrators: discover how the “damage” to one family plan occurred, assign blame, and punish the offenders.  Joseph, Matthew tells us, sets up his priorities around his love for Mary.  Perhaps in some worlds a righteous man rushes to judgment, carried by his rage and hurt.  Perhaps in other worlds, a righteous man only needs a couple of witness to mount a convincing case.  In other world a righteous man might go with what his eyes have seen; a virgin girl pregnant  A righteous might be satisfied with only a woman’s confession that she has missed a period.  A righteous man has the option of not throwing the book at alleged wrongdoing.  The just person in Jesus’ birth story is a man who decides secretly divorce his fiancee.  We dare to imagine that God cannot do the same!

The instruction package begins with ” do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife”, then it explains why the pregnancy has happened the way it has, without a male contributing to the conception.  Then the angel hands Joseph the most amazing announcement in family life, of the kind that an informed Israelite would be aware of and excited to be a part of.  Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Hannah, and Mary’s own cousin Elizabeth were barren until God changed their direction in life. Mary’s conception was a result of the Holy Spirit action, not infidelity.  It is quite certain that the husbands of these barren women were not exercised as Joseph was. 

More reason to marry than most could find

A descendant of David does not spend many days without being reminded of his relationship to the house that built the temple, and to whom an eternal throne was promised.  The grandeur of the Jewish tradition most certainly includes the remission of sins.  The temple and the tabernacle were designed to house God’s name and offer people access to the systems for the remission of sin and the restitution of any imbalance caused by human behaviour.  The news that Mary’s baby was the result of God’s Spirit and the revelation that the child was destined to save his people from their sins more than satisfied Joseph.  She will give birth and you will name the child.

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21, NASB

Instructed by a dream

From Matthew’s account we gather the assurance that where law and sacrifice – the grounds and processes of the levitical system – might have resulted in anguish, disappointment, and even death, God is with the innocent woman and he is with the just.  God plants his intervention direction into Joseph’s dreams, distinctly apart from the political and religious status quo.

(20) But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (21) “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21, NASB

This change of direction is a preview of Christ’s mission. Matthew is making the gospel his axis without polemic.  His narrative shows that grace was at work in glorious and mysterious ways.  God is with the couple, and yet the narrative is not without written authority.

Nativity Lectures 2021 (2)

Divine Intervention

Holy places, holy days and ordinary day-to-day items populate the Bible story. In fact, the people of Judea at the time of Jesus’ birth would probably like to be remembered as occupied with their custody of holy things. Although time was a sacred and familiar thing that is familiar to all the people, neither the hour, day, month or year appear in Matthew’s narrative. The alignment of Israel’s annual feasts with the great acts of God and the events of Jesus’ life and mission (Passover, Pentecost, Unleavened Bread, Tabernacles, and Harvest) seems incomplete when his coming into the world to be the saviour of the world has no counterpart to his departure on Passover or (Matthew 26:2, 17, 18, 19). A birthday was not on Matthew’s agenda. The writer brings us instead to the child’s holy pedigree, and the certainty of what the couple was experiencing. Who would have thought that the incredible story being told by Matthew about Mary and Joseph could have, perhaps at least, a prophetic framework?

The unprecedented holy child

“The conception is holy” must certainly mean that the operations were beyond the normal, beyond what we can expect. If the Child who has been conceived in Mary is of the Holy Spirit, then the mother and her husband are in grand company. It is no secret that childbirth is well-documented as straying away from the normal. The pregnancies of well-known women after what seemed like infertility are witness: among them are Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Miracle babies are famous, but “holy child” suggests an entirely new horizon. Of course, all the miracle babies are special and unique, but this is the first time that the mother-to-be has never had sexual relations, and the expectant parents receive instruction about the child’s name. The fingerprint of grace and justice – targeted – at Mary – is unprecedented with the prospect of people’s sins being remitted apart from the animal sacrifice procedures, because a Davidide was not going to be serving as a priest in the system Mary and Joseph knew.


Joseph and Mary knew the baby was going to be male. They knew that the baby was going to have a name that tells what his function in the world would be.  Joseph could not feel the usual pride of having an heir as do Israelite men with an interest in the continuation of their name. Every male wants a male heir, even though inheritance of property and prestige was not restricted to males (See Numbers 36 for the innovation of women’s inheritance rights). Abraham obviously felt that pride when Isaac was born: he had an heir. This was not Joseph’s experience. His genes had nothing to do with this yet unborn baby called salvation, but it makes sense that “taking the pregnant betrothed Mary to be his wife” demonstrated Joseph’s opportunity to take up and put on one of the most complex instances of the paternal mantle. Furthermore, Scripture calls the couple “his parents” (Luke 2). Joseph’s parental role appears in that anxious moment when Yeshua, at age twelve, talks to Mary and Joseph about the temple as his father’s house” (Luke 2:49). Yeshua is to be pictured “in submission to” his parents.

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21

The facts as they occur, along with the dream instructions, give the couple confidence, but there is more on that score. At some point, Mary and Joseph are fully aware that a new era was dawning from her contact with John the Baptist’s mother Elizabeth. More reason to be thrilled at their distinction as caretakers of God’s anointed Saviour of his people from their sins comes from the prophetic legacy. Here was more evidence on which to proceed with caring for the child.

Still we have no birth story. Matthew reports the marriage of Yeshua’s mother as Joseph complies with the angel’s instructions in the dream, telling us  “Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,” (Matthew 1:18-24, NASB)

The certainty of the events

Yeshua’s birth comes in a prophetic envelope. There are the already-mentioned women who had children after it was established that they were infertile, but all these developments are part of the fulfilment of predictions. Matthew presents two from Isaiah, (A) virgins have babies and B) a baby named “GOD-WITH-US”. Predictions have a way of outlasting the people who first hear it, and prophetic intervention is not always welcome. Take the experience of Moses, Jeremiah, Micah, Ezekiel, and John the Baptist, who all knew what it means not to receive the respect of their countrymen (Matthew 13:53, Mark 6:4, John 4:44).

22) Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: (  23) “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 

Matthew 1:22-23

John the Baptist’s parents ran into questions about naming their child off the beaten trail. Naming a child “Salvation” and accepting his presence as God’s presence breaks new ground, the very ground that will lead to Golgotha, death, and resurrection. “A created being” cannot be God, was the rebuttal of the leaders of Judaism at the time. A man cannot be even “son of God”, and God cannot be the father of one human being, and a man cannot be the salvation of people. Israel’s ancient redemption is said to be paid for by the giving up of Egypt, Saba and Ethiopia. But the disciples of Yeshua would come to know that redemption is connected with the giving of a life (Colossians 1:14, Galatians 3:13).

Christmas and Reckoning with Yahweh’s ways

Far from the shopping and presents, far from the bustle of neighbours, far from the tinsel, evergreen trees, and family dinners, Christ was born in an unlikely place, practically not welcome. Our reflection on the Christ-child, whether daily or at this season, brings us to consider what treasures could there possibly be for us in the strange ways and unusual events that surround the grand event. There are those who might perhaps ask why is there a day, without biblical foundation, celebrated as the birthday of the king of kings. There are three days in the year when Israelites used to gather in Jeruslaem to celebrate various acts of Yahweh. It cannot be an accursed thing if the rulers of our nations have enacted laws creating three statutory holidays, each connected to the acts of Christ. Good Friday and Easter Monday can be related to the Gospel or to the Biblical Passover (which is an eight-day festival by the way), and Christmas day, although having roots in the annual solstice, bears the Lord’s name. If at all one deems it an unclean thing one might recall that contact with unclean people and food in exile was an essential part of Israel’s correction. When ways are logged one will find that human ways and God’s part. When he zigs, we zag. When he is busy up opening doors we slam them shut. The Christ-child concerns will be seen to accentuate the difference between God’s ways and ours, and a healthy and beneficial relationship with the newborn king will revolve around the preparation, the light, the correction.


And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, Luke. 1:76

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, Mark. 1:2

The preparation of which John speaks begins with repentance, a change of mind, so that the things of Christ will come into focus and not be drowned out by the things from one’s tradition.


Compared to the work and the person of Christ the previous messages and arrangements are a dark night.  He eclipses the lights of Israelite history as handily as pardon and grace outshine the condemnation of the Law

knowing (a) we have been stumbling on our journey and (b) injuring one another on an ill-advised warpath a change had to come and the visit in tender mercy meets the need.

[because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high Luke. 1:78] to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke. 1:79


Peace has been elusive even when it was the common interest we could not avoid.  The king’s messenger had the assignment to create a living connection to peace and not merely intangible atonement such as one gets from animal sacrifice. Violence and oppression have lingered in the air since the first homicide. They have accompanied all the crises in the Israelite experience. When given the resources humans have taken peace away from their neighbours and their own communities.

to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke. 1:79b


Correction was necessary since someone had been messing with Yahweh’s ways. Christ lumps his predecessors into a bag of robbery. Every human being, leaders and followers, is involved in robbing Christ of the glory due him.

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

Matthew 3:3

A confession that “We have been going down wrong roads” is in order, if people know anything about God’s call to holiness and human nature.

The entire generation in which John and Yeshua lived was characterized as crooked and perverse. Our generation is not less crooked and perverse. It is more so. Coming to the manger is secondary to coming to the cross. We can fill up the joy of living by accepting the coming of the Saviour into the world and by coming to the cross. Both movements are treasured by people in the modern era and this could not be said of the times of Christ’s arrival and crucifixion.

We Prepare Yahweh’s Ways by renouncing the crooked and perverse things we have inherited and embraced.