I’ve been searching for a particular sermon by Matt Chandler that I’d heard YEARS ago on the birth of Jesus & it’s nothing short of amazing. So, if you’re up for it, listen to it here! (Titled, “Sovereign Over All”) It’s just perfect! But, I’m sure you won’t have time to listen to it, so you can read the best part, here:
Now, at the apex of earth’s history and really future until the return of the Son, the plan unfolds like this. God gathers the heavenly host and says, “Here’s how we’re going to play it. Gabriel, fly down to Zechariah.” “Zechariah? The old bitter priest?” “Yes. The old bitter guy. The one that’s angry at Me because I’ve never given him a son, let’s go bless him.” “Shouldn’t we punish him?” “Yeah, we should probably kill him too, but here’s what I want to do. I want you to go to him and tell him he gets the forerunner.” “Well he’s not going to believe. His wife’s like 140 years old.” “I know, go tell him.”
So Gabriel shows up to Zechariah and says, “Good news. You get the forerunner. Call his name John.” So we know the story. Zechariah isn’t excited about the news, so Gabriel flies back into heaven and God goes, “So how did it go?” Gabriel goes, “It went bad. I told him, he doubted, I shut up his mouth. I’m not going to let him speak for nine months.” God goes, “Excellent, right into my plan. Alright, now go tell Mary.” “Mary who?” “Mary, the fourteen-year-old peasant girl. Go tell her that’s where we’re putting the Son.” “The peasant girl? The Nazareth peasant girl? Nazareth?” Um Nazareth is El Paso. I don’t know how else to explain it other than that. And I know I’m going to get a dirty e-mail about that describing the sunsets, but Nazareth is El Paso. And so they’re like, “Seriously? You’re going to send the Messiah to El Paso? Seriously?” And God’s like, “I’m God so, yeah.” And there goes Gabriel again and shows up for Mary. “I bring you glad tidings…” and there we go. Then He moves them to Bethlehem and they get to Bethlehem and basically they give birth to the Son of God in the alley behind the Hilton. This is a funny story. Not ha ha funny but hmmm funny. And then it’s time to herald it. I mean, can you imagine the heavenly host have been sitting around for eternity waiting for this moment “and now we’re going to declare to the world that the Messiah is here? Where are we going? Rome? Are we going to Rome, the pinnacle of human life at the time? Are we going to Rome? No no no, we’re going to Jerusalem. We’re going to the Temple Mount.” “No no no, neither. We’re going out in the boondocks—a field— outside of Bethlehem,” which is more ghetto than Nazareth. “We’re going to a field and we’re going to shepherds.” I mean, if you’re looking at this purely from a tax-bracket standpoint, they’re not even on the list. I mean, tax collectors don’t even come to them. What do they want, wool? I mean, these are the lowest of lows. Okay, so at this point in the story, the herald of the Messiah who the entire Old Testament points to and every man in the world is looking towards and it gets sent through an old bitter priest, a virginalfourteen-year-old girl, He comes onto the planet in the alley behind the Hilton and they heralded it to the poorest of poor. Weird story. Definitely not the story you were expecting for the Savior of the world, huh? And listen, not only will the story be like this in the first two chapters but the story’s going to be like this for the rest of the book. Over and over and over again, you just see that God has this really beautiful heart for the lowly, for the bitter, for the murderer, for the adulterer, for the wicked in heart, for the lazy. I mean, He just seems to really come after those people, and not in the fundamentalist “fire from heaven” kind of way. It’s peculiar.
But, do yourself a favor, and actually listen to Matt Chandler say it himself, it’s WAY better!