Jesus Christ comes as the Son of God, the one who by his very presence exposes and condemns our sin. He comes as the Savior who says, "Come unto me that you might have life." He says, "I am the way to the Father." And people don’t want that message today any more than they wanted that message then. We get sentimental at Christmas, and people are inclined to say, "Oh, yes, certainly we would receive the Christ," but as a matter of fact they don’t, unless God by his grace first of all does a work in their hearts to open them to receive him.

As Luke begins to tell the story, there is a certain progression downward from the important people of the world to those who, in the eyes of the world, were not very important at all. It begins right at Luke chapter 1, verse 1: "In those days Caesar Augustus..." Caesar Augustus was the man who had brought peace to Rome... And so when Luke begins his story by saying, "In those days Caesar Augustus...," he begins right at the top.

Birthdays are very happy times. For that reason we generally try to remember the birthdays of close friends. With children you just cannot forget them because they will remind you. When we get older we are supposed to be too sophisticated to remind people about our birthday coming. But we are always pleased when they remember. Of all the birthdays that are remembered, however, there is probably no birthday that has been remembered more faithfully by more people over a longer period than the birthday of Jesus Christ.

John Gerstner summed up this great struggle like this: "Satan was majestically triumphant in this battle. He had nailed Jesus to the cross. The prime object of all his striving through all the ages was achieved, but in reality he had failed. While Satan was celebrating his triumph in battle over the Son of God, the full weight of the atonement accomplished by the crucifixion came down on him. And he realized that all this time, so far from successfully battling against the Almighty, he had actually been carrying out the purposes of the all-wise God."

This struggle between Satan and God’s beloved Son is evident throughout the life of Jesus. Probably the devil worked upon Joseph at the very beginning to suggest that Mary was pregnant by another man, and that he should therefore expose her. However, we are told that Joseph planned instead to put her away privately, but nevertheless to turn away rather than provide the protection that God put Joseph into the story to do. It required an angel to come to Joseph. God intervened so Joseph would take Mary under his wing and protect her from the kind of things that would be said and done if she were exposed in that manner.