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Changing the Diapers of God
Scripture: Luke 2:1-5; Matthew 2:1-5, 7-12
Track 3 of 13 in the Almighty God...Jesus series
Running time: 54 minutes, 18 seconds.
The title of this lesson sounds ridiculous but it is accurate. Too often we dont visualize what it was like to have a baby Jesus and everything that went with it. Have you ever put in your mind the image of Jesus in diapers and having to change him many times a day Most like to romanticize the birth of Jesus but in reality, his birth and life as an infant would have been like any other birth.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Changing the Diapers of God

The title of this lesson sounds ridiculous but it is accurate. Too often we don’t visualize what it was like to have a baby Jesus and everything that went with it. Have you ever put in your mind the image of Jesus in diapers and having to change him many times a day? Most like to romanticize the birth of Jesus but in reality, his birth and life as an infant would have been like any other birth. So much the same that nothing is written about his infant life until the time when the wise men appear on the scene 2 years later.

The Bible is filled with tons of irony in many of the events. Jesus birth was no different. One happens to center around one of the characters in Jesus story. In fact, his name is mentioned and we just brush right over it. On March 15th, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died at the hands of the same men who declared him a god. All his power and wealth went to his 19 year old son, 2A: Gaius Octavius. Gaius in time would rise to become one of the most powerful emperors of Rome. He had many titles: Princeps, “leading citizen”, Pontifex Maximus, “high priest” and ultimately, Augustus, “supreme ruler, majestic”.

In the fall of 12 BC, Halley’s Comet appeared in the sky. This event happens every 75 years. Caesar Augustus made the most of it by claiming it was the spirit of Julius, his father entering heaven. The superstitious Romans barely flinched when Augustus suggested it and shortly after that event demanded that he too should be worshiped being the son of a god.

So the irony is this, Caesar Augustus, the #1 citizen, the high priest, his majesty and supreme ruler, the son of a god will set into motion the events leading up to the birth of Jesus, the incarnation (Son of Man), the great high priest, the Son of God and Creator of the universe and Augustus himself. It will be a decree from Augustus that will set into motion the reason why Jesus will be born in Bethlehem, not Nazareth.

Luke 2:1-3 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

In the future, when you read this passage, I want you to pause there and explain to those who are listening, the irony of what Luke wrote. Things didn’t just happen and there was Jesus all of a sudden, Jesus birth and life on this earth had reason, purpose and the timing was perfect. Jesus was born into a world that was very dangerous. The people, especially the Jews were under extreme oppression and the world was ready for God to come and save it. The son of a god would help introduce the Son of God to the world.

Luke opens up chapter two with these words, “In those days”. For Americans, it is hard to imagine what those days would have been like since we live in Freedom. In your mind’s eye, describe for me what you think life under oppression in those days were like?

This year the United States will take a census. Can you imagine what would happen if the President declared that each of our families would have to take the census at the county courthouse where they were the father was born? How would CNN and FOX News report this? What would be the people’s response? How much would it cost you to do that?

The census we are exposed to is nothing like what Joseph and Mary had to do. At the census they would have to pay taxes for the property they owned, an accounting of their moral conduct had to be presented. Those who broke the law or had lives not in line as evaluated by the censor had to pay taxes for their poor behavior. Basically, each person had to give an accounting of their moral fitness. This too is ironic. A Jewish man who only accounts for his life to Almighty God is forced to give a moral accounting to a Roman pagan. The Jewish life stood in sharp contrast to the Roman life and there was ample opportunity for the censor to extract additional taxes from the Jewish communities for their lifestyle.

Luke 2:4-5 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Imagine if America processed the census today the same way Rome did it. What would the travel to your home town be like? What could you expect? Can you imagine what Quincy would be like during the time of the census? Where would everyone stay? How would everyone get around? What about those who were sick or were expecting a baby? How long would it actually take?

Trivia Question: When did Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem? How long did they stay?

Bethlehem is a really beautiful place to visit (About 22,000 people today). It is surprising once you are there just how small the town must have been during Jesus time and just how rugged the countryside was like. What is also important to note is how many people would have been there during the census. Lots of men could legitimately trace their roots back to David. Bethlehem was the city where David was born and lived. Joseph was a direct descendant of David.

Now why is this important to the story? Why would such a small town have so many people coming back to it? What do we know from history that makes this part of the story very important?

When the nation Israel was taken into captivity, the northern 10 tribes were taken by the Assyrians and were never heard from again. The southern two tribes were taken by the Babylonians but returned to Israel 70 years later. The only two tribes to survive and able to trace their linage were Judah and Benjamin. There were other Jews but they were mixed and were considered unworthy, Samaritans. But for Jews, most of them would have traveled to Bethlehem because they were descendants of David, Judah. The rest would have traveled to area of Benjamin, for example, Paul’s family since he was of Benjamin.

In reality, Joseph wasn’t Jesus father. So was it just by a misunderstanding that Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem? Did Mary even need to go? Why would a very pregnant mother make a difficult 90 mile trip to Bethlehem?

Mary also was from the linage of David. The linage found in Matthew is the family line of Joseph while Luke’s linage of Jesus is from Mary’s side. Both were from David. What is also fascinating, Caesar Augustus thought his exercise of the census would give him greater control over the world under his empire, but in the end, his census only allowed him to become an errand boy for God. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth. Had it not been for Augustus, Jesus might have been born in Nazareth. The one thing we have to understand about this portion of scripture, God not only is sovereign, He is also omniscient. He is never taken surprise by anything and if it is God’s will, then He has already taken care of the details. We just need to follow His lead.

As an infant, was Jesus (God) weak and unaware of things around him? Did he act like other babies? Did he fill his diapers, did he cry when hungry, did he spit up, did he burp, did he get sick and not feel good?

We don’t know anything about Jesus infant years. It is not until Jesus is about 2 years old when the events of his childhood come to light. Mary and Joseph are still living in Bethlehem. It is never told to us why they are still there. We don’t know why they didn’t go back to Nazareth.

What would be the benefits of staying in Bethlehem and not return to Nazareth?

Things are going to change for Jesus and his family. Again the events were not something by chance but happened due to God’s plan that started many years before. The account of the wise men always reminds me that God has a great plan and sometimes that plan takes many years to unfold. I am reminded that maybe my life is to add one, maybe 10 seconds of importance in a grand plan to be played out farther into the future.

Daniel played a very important role in God’s plan during the time when Israel was in captivity. His life and the events recorded in the Book of Daniel are fascinating to read and study. But there are a series of visions that Daniel is involved in that point to something else important. Again, God used the powerful in life to be his errand boy to help unfold his plan for the world. Nebuchadnezzar was God’s errand boy during the time of Daniel.

Daniel was allowed the opportunity to interpret the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and it was in these dreams that a truth was revealed. It wouldn’t be until 483 Jewish lunar years later that the meaning of the dreams would be understood releasing the first seekers of the Messiah to start their journey to find him. Daniel was able to mathematically forecast the positions of certain stars and planets at the time of Jesus. Daniel most likely left clues with his Persian colleagues that were studied and remembered.

Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

This passage unleashes all sorts of questions and problems. I find this statement by the magi to be one of the most interesting in scripture. Why would pagans travel from the east to seek out and worship the Messiah? What is so ironic about their statement? Herod declared that he was The king of the Jews.

Trivia Question: Who were the first to recognize that Jesus was worthy to be worshiped and sought him out to do so on their own? Pagans!

There are some details about this event that we have to be careful with. I want you to be aware that much of what we understand about the 3 kings has been told to us through tradition and is not scriptural. But there is also a ton of information we have but don’t take account of it.

How many kings were there? Did they follow a star to Bethlehem?

Matthew 2:2-5, 7-8 We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied. Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

Why would Herod be disturbed by this news? He was the king of the Jews.
Why would the people be disturbed? Why did pagans know this but not them?
Why did the Magi stop in Jerusalem? They assumed that is where he would be born.

I contend they didn’t follow the star but recognized the planet alignment from Daniel’s interpretations from the series of visions. They knew when the alignment appeared that the Messiah of Daniel had been born just as Daniel predicted. The motions of the stars and planets are mathematically precise and accurate so much that we can predict what their movements will be in the future as well as what they did in the past. The alignment would have been Jupiter (The King) aligning with Regulus in the constellation Leo (The Lion). The Messiah is the Lion of Judah. This event repeated itself three times before Jupiter moved off eastward the following June. They immediately left for Jerusalem because that is where the Jewish people returned after they were allowed to leave Persia.

It’s important on how the stars move and that night after night the planets would make the same trek across the sky. As they moved the star Jupiter would have moved closer to a meeting with Venus, the mother planet. From the star alignment with Jupiter and Regulus to the time when Jupiter and Venus became one planet looking object, it would have taken 9 months.

Until you travel to Bethlehem, it is hard to reconcile the idea that the wise men didn’t follow the star to Jerusalem. What the scriptures say about the star is accurate and not at all contradictory to the wise men. Remember, Bethlehem is 5 miles to the south of Jerusalem. It lays close but it is not all that easy to travel to. The territory is rugged and is normally approached from the northwest of the city.

Matthew 2:9-12 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

It is obvious wise men arrived at Bethlehem at night because they were able to see the star alignment and it sat right over the house where Jesus was living. Astronomers contend that the star alignment they saw was a dual star Jupiter and Venus together as a double star. Both stars are bright stars when they appear but when they are aligned together as double star, it would be by far the brightest light in the heavens. It would have been an awesome sight to see and something that would have stunned the wise men and given them great joy as they found Jesus that night.