Die Hard: The Real Story of Christmas

January 12, 2021   /   Ryan Brown   /   Palms Baptist Church Bible Study

*What do you remember Bethlehem for?

  • Geography is very important to Luke: He uses Geographic progression in his theology
    • In his gospel, Luke starts in Galilee and begins working towards Samaria, Judea, then Jerusalem
    • In Acts, Luke starts in Jerusalem and works towards Judea, Samaria, Galilee, then the “Ends of the earth”
  • How Bethlehem was remembered undergirds how to read Luke chapters 1-3

Bethlehem was remembered for

  • Luke 2:1-7
    • 2 Samuel 7:12-16
    • Jeremiah 23:5-6
  • We read the story as the Son of God being born, BETHLEHEM viewed as the rightful, legal heir to throne, from the line of David being born
    • Many probably initially followed not because they recognized Jesus as Son of God, but as Son of Joseph….Son of Solomon…Son of David
      • Matthew Genealogy
      • John and James “sitting at his right and left on his throne”
  • Why did Jesus show up when He did?

Bethlehem was remembered for a

  • Luke 2:1-7
    • Micah 5:2
  • Bethlehem was nothing. Had no political, cultural, or economic influence or power
  • Much of Israel may have lost site of the heritage, but Bethlehem, the family line, who produced David, did not
  • They linked the glory of David to the promise that “out of Bethlehem, from the line of David would come one who would re-establish the glory of David’s throne
    • All was not well in Israel
      • Roman occupation – New Exodus
      • Foreigner on David’s throne – New Exodus
      • Contributed to sin – New Passover, hence Pharisee movement
      • God had not entered the second temple – New Passover, hence Pharisee

Bethlehem was remembered for

  • Luke 2:7-18
    • Micah 4:6-10
  • The Shepherds were not simply the poor and humble among them, but addressed for a practical purpose: The Passover lamb has been born and is ready for priestly inspection in THE Manger
    • They knew exactly where to find Him from Micah!
    • What was the Sign? THE Manger.
      • Sign to how to find Jesus or sign to what Jesus would do?
    • They celebrate in the meaning: This baby is born to die for the forgiveness of sin
  • Isaiah 60:1-8
    • Three gifts promised of Isaiah 60:6: Gold (Royalty), Francincense (Priestly), (Good news) – Bethlehem Star, Wiseman,
    • Three gifts Wisemen present: Gold (Royalty), Francincense (Priestly), and Muhr (Death i.e. “Good News”)

Bethlehem was remembered for

  • Luke 2:1-18
    • Genesis 35:16-21
  • Remember who Rachel was
    • Jacob labored for her, got Leah
    • Jacob was given Rachel, then labored
      • Working For vs. Working from
  • Jacob worked for his name, God changed it and worked from God’s name for him
    • Jacob did not define that situation by what was buried, but by what was born
  • Bethlehem was known for what was buried, now it is known for what was born
    • We accept Jesus not because he was buried, but what was born from His death
      • Jesus re-born from grave
      • Church was born
      • We are “born again”
  • Rachel buried “On the way” to Bethlehem, Jacob camped beyond Migdal Eder
    • Jacob could have camped and stayed “on the way” to Bethlehem, instead, he CHOSE to move on the other side of Migdal Eder


What side of Eder are we living on?

On the way to Bethlehem or the other side of Migdal Eder

  • We live, and define ourselves, circumstances, and happiness by what is buried
    • Luke 1:34: God gives you Favor to purpose, “But how can this be, I am [or was] a ____”
      • Drug addict
      • Alcoholic
      • Womanizer
      • Failure
      • Had an abortion
  • We are working “For” Grace and Favor, not From IT
    • We name ourselves “Ben-Oni” not “Ben-Jamin”
    • What does God’s favor look like?
      • Inconvenient
      • Uncomfortable
      • Unbalanced
      • A favor FROM, not TO or FOR
  • We look for God to restore what was, and miss what He is doing now
    • We are called to walk the straight and narrow, and as sinners we walk off balance and with a limp
    • We add stabilizers, counter-balances to keep us straight
    • When we lose our stabilizers, we get off course, miss the mark
    • God replaced Israel’s stabilizer…its no longer the Law or glory of David’s kingdom, but better, JESUS!
    • 2020 has replaced many of our stabilizers, maybe to expose our faulty dependencies

Main Point: Joy

“Joy is not the fulfillment of a thing, but the longing for a thing” – C.S. Lewis

  • Song of Zechariah – Did not know what God was doing, but longed for it
  • Song of Elizabeth – Did not know, but longed for it
  • Song of Mary – Did not understand, but longed for it
  • Shepherds bear witness to Passover Lamb – Understood this boy is the Passover Lamb, and longed for it
  • Angels did not understand, only had a message, and they longed to see it play out

*We look for Joy in getting things fulfilled or satisfied, but our Joy is found in our longing for Jesus

*A common lie we believe is that sin will satisfy us, that we will find joy in it. However, Jesus is the source of our joy, and sin detracts us from Jesus, and thus, our joy.

If we seek joy in in sin, then we long for sin. If we seek joy in Jesus, we must long for Jesus.

  • Things we seek joy/fulfillment in
    • Bank account
    • Career progression
    • Family goals
    • Status, influence, or power

EXAMPLE: We are not intended to know how or when Jesus returns (as many try to map it out), our joy is in the longing for His return

What did God keep Hidden? What was the Longing? What was the Joy?


Questions for Discussion

  1. God removed the stabilizers from Bethlehem and Israel. For Bethlehem it was victories of the past and hoping God would restore the former glory/affection/circumstance. He removed their stable government, their kingdom, their freedom, and their religious ideas. What are some unhealthy stabilizers in our life? Has God removed them?
  2. Bethlehem, and Israel, expected God to restore David’s kingdom for Israel’s glory. God was building Christ’s kingdom for His glory. Is your hope anchored in God’s promises? Are God’s promises anchored in your desired outcomes or His? Do our political positions, social views, personal goals, or cultural interactions derive from a desire to participate in God’s glory and mission, or your own?
  3. Bethlehem was remembered for what was buried there, we now remember it for what was born there. God changed Jacobs name to Israel, and Israel then renamed Benoni to Benjamin. Often, we work “for grace” when we live by what is buried. We live “from grace” when we remember what has been born. What are some buried things you are living by?
  4. As we see centralized on the birth of Christ, Migdal Eder has represented grace since the times of Jacob and Rachel. Jacob had to move “beyond Migdal Eder” after he buried Rachel and to live from the grace of what was born in Benjamin. What are some testimonies of “buried” things that you have moved beyond and the grace you work from?
  5. An angel told Mary she found God’s favor, and she responded with “How can this be? I am a virgin?” What are some “definitions” aka excuses we use to not believe God can use us? What is our “How can this be?”
  6. The shepherds were given a “sign” about the baby in the manger. They knew what it meant, and were full of joy in its meaning. Isaiah 60 prophesied three gifts of gold, frankincense, and “great news” that would be a joy. The angels were overjoyed with their message to shepherds. Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary all expressed joy in their longing for God’s work.
  7. What victories, blessings, or situations cause us to sing our own song of praise? Is our worship scripted, or does it come from sincere outbursts of longing?
  8. Central to the Christmas story is that Jesus was born to Die Hard. No one is greater than there master, and we all must pick up our own cross and follow Him. We too, were born to die hard to ourselves, to be reborn into covenant with Jesus.


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