THE BIRTH OF JESUS
Luke 2:1-7. “It came to pass in those days [i.e., in the days above mentioned, with reference to John the Baptist and the annunciation of the coming Christ], a decree went forth from Augustus Caesar to enroll all the world.” The battle of Actium, between Augustus Caesar and Mark Antony, gave the former the sole dominion of the known world, his crown radiating the rays of an unsetting sun, and his scepter sweeping the circumference of the globe. “This enrollment first took place, Cyrenius being the governor of Syria, and all went to be enrolled, each one into his own city. And Joseph went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he is of the house and family of David, to be enrolled, along with Mary his wife, being betrothed to him, being in an advanced state of pregnancy.” Nazareth is away up north, in the tribe of Zebulun, while Bethlehem is about one hundred miles south of it, in the tribe of Judah. It so happened that they were not living in their own township. Bethlehem is a compound Hebrew word, and means house of bread; very significant, as it is the nativity of Christ, who is the Bread of life to all the world. I have several times visited Bethlehem, which is this day a beautiful little city of eight thousand, much revived by Jewish capital and industry. The great Church of the Nativity — Greek, Latin, and Armenian each denomination holding daily service at respective hours, contains the manger, hallowed to receive the world’s Redeemer, being wrapped in swaddling-cloths, and laid in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inn. As His parents were poor, He had no fine clothes, and there was no room for Him in the tavern, where the moneyed people lodged. It is literally true, as a rule, this day, that the Savior is excluded from the houses where the well-to-do people abide. Why was the incarnation of the Savior, the most important event of all ages, postponed four thousand years, while multiplied millions swept into eternity?
a. Christ was in the world excarnate — i.e., out of the place from the beginning and through all the ages preceding His birth at Bethlehem; He was here, and omnipotent to save. Hence there was a gracious possibility in all ages for all to be saved.
b. It was necessary that the important event of His incarnation should be postponed beyond the prehistoric ages of myth and fable, lest it be lost in the fogs of ignorance and superstition, and history should not be able to apprehend, appropriate, and transmit it intelligently to all coming ages.
c. Such was the incorrigible propensity of fallen humanity to go into creature worship — i.e., idolatry — that it was necessary to give it the field unobstructed, and opportunity to run its race, do its execution, culminate, and fall into dilapidation, before the great and notable event of our Lord’s incarnation and evangelization to all the nations of the earth.
This was actually done. The Baal idolatry — i.e., the worship of the sun- god, as well as many other forms of idolatry had actually monopolized the world, received the adoration of all nations four thousand years, proved unsatisfactory; ostensibly inadequate to the consolation of the human heart, and the solution of the great problem of humanity: Who am I? whence came I? and what is my destiny?
d. Human learning, unsanctified by grace, has in all ages fostered pride and arrayed itself against God.
Hence it was important to give it rope enough to hang itself, and time and opportunity to do it. This was done in the four thousand years postponement. If you will travel through Egypt, Greece, and Rome, you will certify me that the surviving monuments of human art, genius, and learning forces on us the conclusion that in the anti-Christian ages, they actually made greater proficiency and reached loftier achievements that the attainments of any subsequent period; therefore, when infidelity arrays human learning against the Bible, and would extol its superiority as an antidote to the wants of humanity, the argument breaks down, from the simple fact that the arts, sciences, and every ramification of human learning, had the world four thousand years, unobstructed by the revealed Word, meanwhile making the loftiest attainments possible, and still signally failing to satisfy the longings of the immortal soul, condole the griefs of a broken heart, and deliver humanity from guilt and sin, and solve the great problem of experimental salvation.
e. When the postdiluvians, under the leadership of Nimrod, resolved to build a tower so high that another flood could never pass over it, God arrested their impious enterprise by confounding their language, and thus filling the world with innumerable dialects.
In order to the universal propagation of the gospel, it was important to girdle the globe with one common language, spoken by all the nations of the earth. This was done by the universal conquest of Alexander the Great, placing the Greeks, with their beautiful, vivacious, and comprehensive language, in the leadership of every nation under heaven, thus enveloping the globe with one common language.
f. As the world was occupied by an infinite variety of different nations, so that an army could scarcely pass out of the shadow of its own capital without invading the territory of its neighbor, and all these arrayed against each other in deadly conflict — amid this state of infinite and antagonistical political divisions, it would have been impossible to verify the Commission, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
A great, universal military Government was an indispensable prerequisite to the world’s evangelization. This actually obtained in the universal conquests of Rome, throwing the Briarean arms of a powerful military despotism around all the nations of the earth. Under this universal military Government, the apostles were permitted to go to the ends of the earth — Matthew to Ethiopia and Central Africa; Mark to Egypt and Northern Africa; Peter to Rome; Paul to Eastern Asia and Western Europe; the two Jameses to Jerusalem and Palestine; Andrew to Armenia; Philip to Syria; Bartholomew to Phrygia; Jude to Tartary; Thomas to India; and Simon Zelotes to the British Islands, their comrades actually dispersing to the ends of the earth. If all these countries had not been under the one great military Government of Rome, it would have been impossible for them to carry out the Commission in the peregrination of the globe; for as soon as they passed into another nation, they would have been arrested, imprisoned, and probably put to death. Now that all of these important and indispensable events. have transpired, Pagan polytheism has run its race without a competitor, and is on the universal decline. Human learning, with the world for its dominion, has gone to the acme, and signally failed to solve the grand problem of human life and destiny. The Alexandrian conquest has put the Greek language, the finest the world ever saw, in every nation, actually making it the shibboleth of the globe; while the Romans have triumphed on all the battle-fields of earth, enveloping all nations in the mystical network of an invincible universal despotism, thus obliterating the incorrigible obstructions of national boundaries, unifying the world, and turning it over to the heralds of gospel grace.
g. Besides the removal of the above difficulties, and the opening of all nations to the ingress of the gospel, there has already sprung up a universal anticipation, not simply among Jews, blessed with the light of prophecy, but all the Gentile world have, in some way, received the impression and reached the conclusion that a Divine messenger is about to come into the world — really, all nations are on tiptoe with anticipation of the coming Messiah.
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers: Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
Lo! earth receives Him from the bending skies; Sink down, ye mountains; ye valleys, rise; With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way; The Savior comes, by ancient bards foretold; Hear him, ye deaf; and all ye blind, behold!”
The advent of Christ is the greatest event that has ever transpired upon the earth, actually inundating the globe with the grace of God, and bringing salvation within the reach of every fallen son and daughter of Adam’s lost race. While His first advent floods the world with grace, the second will inundate the world with glory; thus His two advents constituting the great salient epochs of the world’s history — the one, the ineffable transition out of legal bondage into the triumphs of free grace; and the other, sweeping on from grace to glory. As the Incarnate Christ is the very impersonation of redeeming grace, inexhaustible and omnipotent, poured out on every human being without money and without price, so when the Lord comes again, He will be the incarnation of glory, bringing His glory with Him, and freely transmitting it to all His saints. I do not see that His glorious coming will do away, or even supersede His omnipotent grace; but it will be an accession to it, both grace and glory surviving, accumulating, and augmenting through all eternity.
8-20. “The shepherds were at that time tenting out, and keeping watch over their flock through the night.” This fact refutes the popular idea of the birth of our Savior taking place in midwinter, thus locating Christmas, December 25th. In the summer time, sheep lie in the shade through the heat of the day, and graze at night; whereas during the winter, they sleep in the night and graze in daytime. If it had been midwinter, the shepherds would not have been out with their flocks at night, but in houses, caves, or kraals. The critics have settled on April 5th as the Christmas. I doubt not but they are correct. “Behold the angel of the Lord stood over them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were affrighted with a great fear.” The shepherds’ field, where these notable events took place, is in full view of Bethlehem, perhaps a couple of miles east. The angel said to them: “Fear not; for, behold, I proclaim to you good tidings of great’ joy, which shall be to all the people: for this day a Savior is born unto you, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.” Bethlehem was generally known as the city of David as it was the home of Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David. “And this shall be the sign to you: you shall find an infant, wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” The English uses the article, and reads, “The babe,” which is incorrect; the article is not in the Greek, whereas it destroys the meaning. A babe lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths, was really the sign designated by the angel. It was a sure sign, good enough; as you might travel round the world and not find it. “And immediately there was a multitude of the heavenly host along with the angel, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will among men.” When the lonely angel had revealed the news to the shepherds, his testimony was corroborated by a multitude, praising God, and shouting the beautiful doxology, “Glory to God in the highest.” All the glory of human salvation belongs to God, as it is utterly impossible for any of us ever to bring Him under the slightest obligation to show us mercy. Christ, by His own atonement, made peace on earth with every human being, not only appertaining to God, but one another. There was no reason why peace with God and every human being should not cover the whole earth, and flood every soul with the heavenly prelibation. The wonderful work of Christ actually has brought good will to every soul and every home, not only toward all the world, but toward God. No reason why the whole earth should not be filled with the glory of God, since Christ has swept every difficulty away.
“And it came to pass, when the angels departed from them to heaven, and the men [i.e., the shepherds] said to one another, Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and let us see this thing which has taken place, which the Lord has made known unto us. And they, hastening, came and found both Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.” See the contrast between verse twelve, where infant and manger both occur without the article, as the shepherds knew nothing about the circumstances, and the event and finding an infant wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger, was to be the sign to them that the angel’s testimony was true. Now having come, they find an infant lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths, as the angel had said, thus literally verifying the angel’s testimony. Now in verse sixteen the Greek article occurs both with infant and manger, because the sign of the angel being verified, they know now that they have found the identical infant, precluding all possibility of mistake. “And seeing they knew with certainty concerning the word which was spoken unto them” about this little child; i.e., the sign given by the angel being now literally verified, assures the shepherds beyond all doubt as to the identity of the babe.
“And all those hearing were astonished concerning those things which were spoken to them by the shepherds.” See how God honored these shepherds above all the aristocrats, princes, and potentates of the earth by really making them the first witnesses to His Incarnate Son, and the first heralds of the best, greatest, and most wonderful tidings that ever rang in mortal ears. In all ages, the people who herd the flocks day and night have, as a rule, been poor, humble, and ignorant.
19. “Mary kept all these words, laying them up in her heart.” She saw how the testimony of the shepherds corroborated the annunciation of Gabriel at her humble home in Nazareth nine months preceding. The meaning of heart is spiritual rather than mental. Mary, under the illuminations of the Holy Spirit, kept rigid spiritual cognizance of everything appertaining to her child.
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things which they heard and saw, as was spoken to them.” There is no doubt but these shepherds were not only godly men, like Simeon and Anna looking for the Messiah, but that they enjoyed an extraordinary depth of spiritual illumination, and were thus prepared for the exalted honor conferred. We see they had the grace of humility too copious to imbibe spiritual pride, even over this exalted encomium, as they return betimes to their waiting flocks. As they have no fences in that country, all stock are herded, and there is this day much of it there.
CIRCUMCISION OF JESUS & HIS PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE
21-24. “And when the eight days for circumcising Him were fulfilled, and He was called Jesus, being called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Gabriel brought His name down from heaven, designative of His office and character, which is to save all the people from their sins who will let Him. “And when the days of their purification were fulfilled, according to the law of Moses, they brought Him to Jerusalem; as has been written in the law of the Lord, That every male opening the matrix shall be called holy to the Lord; and to offer sacrifice according to that which has been spoken in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” The Scriptures setting forth the law of the Lord appertaining to the purification of the mother and the presentation of the child to the Lord are found in Leviticus 12, Exodus 13, and Numbers 8. Thus we see that, as Mary and Joseph were godly people, every ramification of the law was to be rigidly fulfilled, even in case of Him who made the law. Though the circumcision means sanctification by the elimination of the old man of sin, and Jesus had no sin, yet as it behooved Him to fulfill all righteousness, He received circumcision like the sinful men whom He came to save. The purification which the law required of His mother, after thirty days, was to be accompanied by the offering of a lamb; but in case of the poor, they might bring the cheaper offering — a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Hence, the parents of Jesus being poor, they offered the cheap sacrifice. We see in everything, that our Lord, His family, prophets, apostles, and friends, rank among the lowly. Still the people all want to get up. Jesus is our Paragon. We ought to want to live and die as He did.
SIMEON & ANNA
Whereas it was the glorious privilege of all Israel to receive Christ and proclaim Him to the world — an honor above the angels — yet we see but very few; e.g., the shepherds of the field, Zacharias and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna, the apostles and sainted contemporaries of our Lord, constituting but a handful of the great Jewish nation, were all who enjoyed this exalted honor, the rest being blinded. Whereas it is certainly the glorious privilege of the whole Christian Church to enjoy the transcendent honor and blessing of receiving Jesus at His second coming, descending from the skies, and witnessing to His glory, yet it is highly probable that the proportion of the elect who shall enjoy this privilege will not be greater than at His first advent.
“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem to whom was the name Simeon: the same man righteous and godly, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Simeon was gloriously sanctified, filled with the Holy Ghost, and on the constant outlook for the appearing of his Lord. If we are not in a similar attitude, we will certainly be without excuse, as we live in a much brighter dispensation than he. “And it had been revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before that he may see the Christ of the Lord.” O what a wonderful Pentecostal experience Simeon enjoyed, and how should his testimony put to the blush the halting Christians of the present day! Simeon was living in advance of his dispensation — i.e., up in ours; whereas so many in our day are back in the dispensation of Moses. Here we see that Simeon was not only filled with the Spirit, but led by Him, as we all ought to be. And he came in the Spirit into the temple. The critics tell us that none but the priests were admitted into the temple proper, and when we read so frequently about the temple in the biography of our Savior, it means other buildings connected with it, which were many and capacious, on the Temple Campus.
“And while the parents brought in the little child Jesus, that they may do according to that which is required of the law concerning Him; and he received Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, And now permit Thy servant, O Lord, to depart in peace, according to Thy Word; because mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all Thy people: a light unto the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” Thus far, Israel had been the custodian of the Divine Oracles and the dispensers of truth. Now the time has come for them to propagate this heavenly benediction to all the nations of the earth, themselves being the recipients of this unearthly glory; meanwhile the Gentiles, wrapped in heathen darkness four thousand years, are to receive this “day-spring from on high,” a glorious sunburst from the throne of God, chasing away the dismal night of sin, and revealing the ineffable glory of salvation, rich, sweet, full, and free, to the old, the young, the great, the small, the rich, the poor, the wise and the unwise.
“Joseph and His mother were wondering over the things spoken by him. Simeon blest them, and said to Mary His mother, Behold, He is appointed for the fall and the rising of many in Israel, and a sign that shall be spoken against.” O how signally and sadly was Simeon’s prophecy verified! The rank and the of the great Jewish Church, both ministry and membership, rejected Him and fell; while not a few received Him, leaping into life. And O the contradiction which clamored against Him from Dan to Beersheba! How Jerusalem roared with the ejaculation, “Crucify Him!”
“And a sword shall go through thy soul.” How was this fulfilled in the case of Mary? She, like his other faithful disciples, failing to apprehend the prophecies relative to His crucifixion, believing that He was the Christ and invulnerable, expected Him to live forever. O how the sword darted through her soul when she saw her beloved Son, whom she had expected to redeem Israel, demonically murdered! Again, she was but a fallen being, like others, needing personal salvation, which she could only receive by the Sword of the Spirit. e., the Word of God — going through her soul, thus destroying all the virus of original sin.
“In order that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” It was absolutely necessary that Christ should come, suffer, and die, to satisfy the penalty of the violated law, in order that the Holy Spirit, the Illuminator, Electrifier, and Sanctifier of the human soul be given. Hence, you see the Holy Ghost, the Revelator of all human thoughts through the words of Christ, is given to all the world, revealing the deep things of the heart, to our unutterable astonishment, simultaneously revealing the glorious remedy, the open, flowing fountain of the Savior’s precious blood, and inspiring the consecration and faith requisite to plunge beneath the cleansing wave, and
“Rise, to walk in heaven’s own light, Above the world and sin, With heart made pure and garments white, And Jesus crowned within.”
36-38. We see here that Anna was a preacher too — i.e., a prophetess — identical with the called and sent preachers of the gospel dispensation. She was eighty-four years old; having married at maturity, and been left a widow in seven years, she devoted her life to the ministry of the Word, abiding in the temple day and night. So you see she was no backwoods preacher, but a metropolitan, enjoying a settled pastorate at Jerusalem. Her grand theme was Jesus and the expectation of His immediate appearing.
So, at the present day, the glorious theme of every true gospel preacher is Jesus and the constant watch for His appearing. The glorious dispensation of entire sanctification, in which we are permitted to live, involves the gospel message of entire sanctification, the fullness of experience, and the Constant expectancy of the Lord’s appearing.
THE HOLY FAMILY RETURN FROM EGYPT
19-23, & Luke 2:39-40. “And Herod having died.” We do not know how long they remained in Egypt, but evidently the period was brief. Scarcely has the wail of the slaughtered infants died away on the air of Bethlehem till the cruel old king, becoming quite ill, goes to Jericho, where he had a palace and a pool, that he may avail himself of the sanitary warm baths for the recovery of his health. Even there he slays Antipater, his only surviving son by his first wife, Mary Anne, whom he had slain, with her other two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus; this dark crime only preceding five days his own exit to meet God and enter upon the awful retributions of eternity. “Behold, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream in Egypt: Arise, take the young child and His mother, and go into Israel, for those seeking the life of the young child are dead. And he, rising, took the young child and His mother, and came into Israel. And hearing that Archelaus rules over Judea in the room of Herod his father, he feared to go thither.” Archelaus, being the only surviving son of Herod, received the government nominally by inheritance. We must remember that after the battle of Actium, which left Augustus Caesar sole proprietor of the Roman Empire, which had conquered the whole world, consequently no king in any country could reign till he went to Rome and received his crown at the hand of the emperor; consequently, immediately after the death of Herod, Archelaus went away to Rome, a long and perilous journey for those times, in order that the emperor might crown him king of the Jews. Now it is a simple fact that the emperor positively refused to crown him, so that Archelaus was really never king of Judea. On the contrary, the emperor sent Coponius to Judea, in the capacity of proconsul, thus dismantling the kingdom, and turning it into a Roman province, no longer having its own king, but simply a governor, sent out by the Roman emperor, to rule that country as a Roman province. Now why did this transition take place at this peculiar time? Why, it was a fulfillment of prophecy, which says, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till Shiloh [i.e., Christ] comes.” Now do you not see this wonderful fulfillment of prophecy? Augustus Caesar had crowned Herod king of the Jews, and why not now crown Archelaus, and let the Jews have their kingdom, instead of reducing them to a state of vassalage by taking away their kingdom, and making them a Roman province? The solution is plain. Shiloh had already come, and the scepter had departed from Judah. Though the Roman emperor knew nothing about these prophecies nor their fulfillment, yet arbitrarily taking the bit in his teeth, he proceeded, undeviatingly, literally to fulfill the prophecies. So are wicked worldly people this day fulfilling the prophecies with astounding accuracy.
“Being warned in a dream, he departed into the regions of Galilee. Having come, he dwelt in a city called Nazareth; in order that the word spoken by the prophets may be fulfilled, that He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Isaiah 11:1.)
The village of Nazareth was so obscure and insignificant as never so much as to receive a mention in all the Old Testament Scriptures. It was proverbial for ignorance and poverty, so that the maxim obtained, “No good can come out of Nazareth;” thus illustrating the universally patent fact that this world is upside down, human estimation all wrong, and the very opposite of the Divine and true. Though Nazareth in human estimation was the most worthless place on the earth, it has come to the front, more celebrated and honored than all the time-honored metropolises on the globe. The same is true of the people. Examine all history. Those who have risen to true eminence have emanated from utter obscurity; while the high-born, as a rule, dwindle into insignificance, never amounting to anything. I did so much enjoy my sojourn in Nazareth, happily reached by Jewish and Christian enterprise, now quite flourishing, with a population of seven thousand. How I did enjoy walking through the house where Jesus dwelt thirty years; visiting Joseph’s carpenter-shop, where He labored with him at the work-bench; and the old synagogue, where He actually worshipped the God of Israel thirty years! The primitive Christians were called “Nazarenes.”
“And the little child grew and became strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:40.) No wonder the body of Jesus grew and symmetrically developed with rolling years, as He had no physical infirmities, superinduced by the fall. Consequently He never had any sickness to impede His growth, His physical life throughout being like that of Adam before the fall, perfectly healthy, natural, and free from all ailments of any kind. This conclusion follows as a legitimate sequence from the very fact that He took our nature, without sin and its consequence; i.e., without infirmity. His spiritual development was truly marvelous, from the simple fact that His intellect was perfectly clear and cloudless, never muddled, nor confused, nor in any way thrown off its equilibrium. His affections were perfectly pure, and never contaminated by anything vile. His memory was perfect, so that He never forgot anything, while His judgment was infallible, even while in childhood. Hence He was actually filled with the true wisdom of God peculiar to the heavenly state; while the grace of God, not only filled, but crowned Him.
JESUS TWELVE YEARS OLD
This inspired omission of our Lord’s biography the first thirty years of His life, with the single exception of His visit to Jerusalem when twelve years old, has been a puzzle to thousands. It is certainly very plausible, as we are not interested in that period of His life in any essential or saving sense, from the fact that, pursuant to the Mosaic law, He patiently waited the arrival of Jewish majority before He entered upon His official Messiahship. If this had been written, it would make the New Testament too voluminous for the mind to grasp and the memory to retain. Hence the omission of non-essentials is a great blessing. So we proceed now to investigate the only item in His history during the first thirty years intervening between His birth and His baptism.
Luke 2:41-52. We have here the statement that when they journeyed from Nazareth to Jerusalem, one hundred miles, on foot, in order to attend the great annual Passover, when Jesus was twelve years old, having spent the time (eight days; i.e., beginning on the Sabbath, running through the week, and dosing on the Sabbath), and with their company — band of relatives and friends traveling together for mutual security and companionship — and stopping at nightfall, they first miss the Child, as so many are going along together, they at first suppose that He is with some of the relatives and friends. (I passed by the village of Beeroth, twelve miles north of Jerusalem, where it is certified that the parents first missed the Child.) Getting ready, and starting perhaps about noon, and traveling on foot leisurely, on account of the women and children, they would journey about a dozen miles by the time to stop and fix up for the night encampment, as was their custom, and is yet, in that warm country. When they miss Him, search thoroughly, and settle the matter that He is not in the crowd, they return to Jerusalem. After three days spent ransacking the city, they find Him, sitting in one of the temple buildings, of which there were very many on the Holy Campus, “in the midst of the teachers, hearing them and asking them questions. All hearing Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. And seeing Him, they were overwhelmed with surprise and delight, and His mother said to Him, Child, why did you do so to us? Behold, both Thy father and I continued to seek You sorrowing. And He said to them, Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that it behooveth Me to be in the affairs of My Father?” In the Jewish economy, a priest was said to become the son of the law at the age of twelve, being then old enough to understand the commandments and keep them. So here, Jesus seems to accept that situation in the attitude of a faithful Priest in His dispensation. Hitherto in the home, lovingly obedient to His earthly father and mother, we do not know that He had given them any direct information relative to His Divinity and His Messiahship. Now we see that He puts all scruple and inquiry on their part to a quietus by a positive announcement of His Divine Sonship, and His mission on earth, not to do the will of earthly parents (which of course He did, subserviently to the law), but to execute the will and purpose of His Heavenly Father, who had sent Him into the world to perform the stupendous work of redemption.
“They understood not the word which He spoke to them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these things in her heart.” Of course, from the first announcement of the archangel Gabriel, Mary had diligently and enthusiastically remembered everything which seemed to shadow forth the Divinity of her child. Yet doubtless His daily presence with them, thus becoming so familiar and common, as an incessant inmate of the home, they did not apprehend and realize the Divine majesty which so far was hidden in the humanity.
“Jesus increased in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and men.” During the thirty years of His minority, before His reception of the Holy Ghost, immediately after His baptism, His beautiful, amiable, and irreproachable life, brightened with all the loving graces of an innocent and holy disposition, overflowing with kindness and love to everybody as a normal consequence, popular favor and kindly estimation and appreciation turned on Him from all the people. Doubtless all were delighted with Him as an active and prominent member of the synagogue. But you see, so soon as He returned home from the baptism of John and the induement of the Holy Ghost, they all fell out with Him and tried to kill Him. Hitherto He has been an irreproachable member of the Church; now, He is a fire- baptized, Spirit-filled Preacher of the gospel. Therefore His words hew Adam the First all to pieces; then He well says, “The world hateth Me.”
So His favor with men evanesced.
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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Luke 2". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany