MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship. Sunday December 19, 2021
- Bible Trivia
- Bible Trivia
- Love Has Come
- Candles Glowing, Promise Showing
- Isn't He?
- One Small Child
- What Child Is This (Greensleeves)
- When we study our Bibles, when we read familiar stories, it is good to take notice of what is there. To step back and take in the whole story. And as we do so, it is also important to note what is not there.In our Bibles we have two Gospels that present us with what we know as:The Birth NarrativesMatthew 1:18-25, andLuke 1:5-2:21.In the time we have today, we’re not going to look at each verse, but we are going to read through many of them, primarily in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke.To begin with, I’m going to summarize Luke 1:5-25.It’s a time during the reign of Herod as king of Judea. There’s a priest named Zechariah who had a wife named Elizabeth. Both of them walked blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord, but they didn’t have any children, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.This may remind you of others you have read about in the Old Testament. I think of Abraham & Sarah - they were advance in years and Sarah was barren.So Zechariah is doing his priestly duties before God in the temple, he’s burning incense and an angel appears to him standing on the right side of the altar. And he’s afraid, so the angel says to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will be your a son, and you shall call his name John.He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Well, of course Zechariah wonders the obvious, he asks, “How shall I know this for I am an old man, and my wife is advance in years.” And the angel answers him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. And behold you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place.”When Zechariah exits the temple he is unable to speak, and the people realize that he’d seen a vision inside the temple, and he kept making signs to them and remained mute. When his time of service he went home, still mute. His wife conceived, and they are expecting. Elizabeth keeps herself hidden for 5 months.I’m going to have Drew read the next part beginning at verse 26 of the first chapter of Luke:In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”Continuing from verse 57Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.A reading from the Gospel of Luke.Thanks be to God.Did you notice anything missing?Did Zechariah say anything during this whole “birth narrative?” No.Did Joseph? Well, to even find any action of Joseph we need to look at Matthew 1:18-25, and he doesn’t say anything.How about the Inn keeper (who in that culture would likely have been male)? Nope, you can search the Gospels and you won’t find anything about an inn keeper or words that he might have spoken.The men were silent.And Men Were SilentSomething is happening. Something profound. Something that will change history.The Messiah is coming.When we read scripture we want to take note of what is happening, and at the same time note how it might be different than what has come before. Throughout the Old Testament we read those “begat” chapters. The chapters where it’s always through the men that the lineage is provided. Yet in Jesus’ Genealogy according to Matthew, (written predominantly to a jewish audience) we have several women mentioned: Tamar, Rahab (a prostitute), Ruth (widow), Bathsheba (Uriah’s Wife, and mother of Solomon through adultery with David), and of course Mary, Jesus’ Mother.What we will notice throughout Jesus’ ministry is that He did not continue in the patriarchal ways of the past, but He would raise women from what had been seen as a subordinate status back to their place of strength as it was in the beginning.Imagine God’s creativity - An old barren woman will conceive and bear a child that will announce the entry of the Messiah and the beginning of His Ministry on earth. And at the opposite end of the spectrum, a young virgin, betrothed, but not married shall bear the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the World.Think of the scorn endured. An older couple who struggled to have children, yet they continued to serve in their community - finally were going to have a child. And yet, they went against the norm and did not name the child after a relative, but named him John, Yohanan in the Hebrew which means, “Graced by God.”A young virgin, perhaps having thought of having children with her betrothed finds herself unmarried and going to have a child. In a culture that stoned adulterers - she spends 3 months with her cousin Elizabeth. Think about that - three months is about the time that women are definitely beginning to show they are pregnant. Still, it is at that time that she returns home to her town. Then, even while fully pregnant she will travel to Bethlehem, and there the child would be born. His name would be Emmanuel, God with us. We know him as Jesus - or Yeshua - God saves.As we prepare for Christmas, as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth and prepare for Jesus' return - let’s remember the voices of these women: Their joy, their testimony, their love for God, and their obedience to Him. The words of Mary come ringing back,And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.How many of us are so ready to submit to the will of God?These women set for us such a profound example for all of us.Let us follow in their example.To the Glory of God. AMEN
- What Can I Give Him
- Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria)
Let us get to know you!
Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
How did you hear about us?