Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"At The Risk Of Ruining Christmas...Part II", by Pastor Kevin Lynch

After watching last night's show on the National Geographic Channel, "The Secret Lives Of Jesus", I know this word is timely.

It convinced me further that we need to tell the truth about Jesus all of the time to the fullest,and down to every minute detail.

Secret lives of Jesus?

What a crock.

What's the old saying? That's how rumors get started?

Let's dispense with a few more.

A cute, but unfortunately non biblical confirmed story surrounds how Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem, and what the birthing arrangements were.

The popular rendition is they basically arrived just at the nick of time and frantically, but unsuccessfully, tried to find a place to stay. Mary is on the back of a non-existent mule, a non-existing conversation with a heartless innkeeper ensues, and finally they were banished to a have their child in a barn, or a stable, or a cave, or whatever the word "manger" conjures up in the imagination. It doesn't really matter when one is making things up.

There is no evidence that they just arrived in Bethlehem. They could have been there for weeks.

They were going there with the purpose of registering for a census, not to have a baby.

Luke 2:6 - "And while they were there, the time came for her delivery."

"And while they were there" becomes important for debunking that myth.

While the word "manger" certainly refers to some sort of a bin or trough, in one Greek translation it also means "guest chamber". The same word "kataluma" was used by Jesus in Mark 14 when he was inquiring of space to use for the last supper. It specifically translates out to a large second floor dwelling in a house, henceforth known as the "upper room". Scholars agree that the word manger is "flexible", and therefore we cannot be factual about it concerning this story. Many scholars believe that Joseph and Mary probably stayed with relatives in their "guest chamber".

Once the potential myth of the barnyard birth is dispelled, then out goes the animals, along with the already deposed wise men.

All we are left with are the lowly shepherds.

It appears that they more than likely actually visited the baby Jesus, as instructed by the angels (who were praising God, and not "singing" as usually reported). They could have been singing praises, but the bible doesn't say they were. Biblical hermeneutics demand that when the bible does not say something, don't add it.

Most people already realize that Jesus was not born on December 25th, but probably in the late Spring, which makes more sense in many ways, but perhaps born out by the shepherds.

Luke 2:8 - "And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night."

On the basis of the statement that the shepherds were living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night it is often suggested that Jesus’ birth took place in early spring, since it was only at lambing time that shepherds stood guard over their flocks in the field. This is far more evidence for a spring birth than there is for a winter one. Also, the purpose for lambing may very well have been for producing them for Passover sacrifices.

We could probably dig for a little more, but I think for this purpose, which is to strip away embellishments to the truth, as well as some downright lies and myths, we have accomplished the feat of looking at the Incarnation without interference and accoutrements.

Christmas is still best expressed in the words of the angelic host:

Luke 2:14 - "Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]."

That my friends is the bottom line.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin <><

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