2012 Christmas II: I Am the Lord’s ServantDecember 2nd, 2012 • Posted in Christmas, Luke's Gospel, Messages/Sermons • 344 views
2012 CHRISTMAS (II)
I AM THE LORD’S SERVANT
By Msn. Jonathan L.
Key Verse: 1:38
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for gathering us to worship you. Please be with us and help us to listen to you and talk to you through your words. We want to know God more through today’s passage. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This story just refreshes my childhood memories in my Sunday school. The story was one of seasonal signs of Christmas to me and most of little kids at that time.The story is very familiar to most of people as a Christmas drama. We, however, have to know that this is not a human story but a story of God.
Through this passage, we may learn that God had planned his salvation since the first-man Adam sinned before God. And finally Jesus, Son of God, came to us as God promised. We can see other people who were the roles in the Salvation Plan like JohntheBaptist : forerunner of messiah, and Mary; mother of Jesus, etc.
Through Luke chapter 1, I want to see God and myself. “It is not possible to know God without knowing yourself. It is not possible to know yourself without knowing God.” The classic statement was made by John Calvin at the opening of his classic, seminal work Institutes of the Christian Religion, published in the 16th century.As John Calvin defined faith, Knowing God and Knowing myself, We may learn God and ourselves through today’s passage.
I. God’s Salvation plan
Since first man Adam sinned before God. The relationship between God and man has been broken. God has prepared the salvation plan immediately. Holding God’s promise, Israelite have waited for a long time. When the time had fully come, God sent his Son into this world according to his promises. Indeed, God is working according to his time line even now days.
Galatians 4:4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
God prepared in many ways for his Salvation plan.In O.T., many prophets prophesied about Messiah. In added, when we carefully observe human history, we can find some clear evidence of God’s work in this world. One good example is Hellenism. Hellenism (BC 330- 30) made the environment for the ministry of the early churches of Christ. During that time ear, a generalized logic had been prepared. So people could understand each other overcoming Cultural wall. Communication between Jews and gentiles was possible by Crossover cultures in Macedonian empire. In Greco-Roman world, common language was Greek. Old Testament translated to Greek at that time and many books and letters in N.Twere written in Greekfor the diaspora (Jews) who scattered throughout Roman empire. Only book of Matthew, Hebrews and James would be the exception. Indeed, the good news of Jesus Christ is not only for Jews but also all people in all nations. Rome, Alexandria and Antioch were the major cities where over millions Jews lived in.
Considering the early church which was established in Rome about AD 60, it may be took about a quarter century to spread out the good news of Jesus throughout the entire Roman Empire.
Through thousand years of Romanempirehistory, only, about, 70 years in the time of Jesus, people were able to flee away from killing each other and had temporal peace. The door of the temple of Roman god Janus had been closed. Because there was no war.In the middle of that quiet time, Jesus was. In general, it took 10 to 20 years to spread any new idea or knowledge in the world at that time. It was truly God’s work that the good news of Jesus spread out and the churches established such quickly. We can not deny that God prepared everything on time. Indeed, even in human view, the time was proper for God’s salvation plan.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
The same angel Gabriel who appeared to Zechariah went to Nazareth.
Matthew 2:23 reads, “and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
“the Messiah would be despised“ (Isa53:3)
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel nowadays. But, in Jesus’ day “Nazarene” was virtually a synonym for “despised” (Jn1:45-46)
“Nazareth” is derived from one of the Hebrew words for ‘branch’, messianic words in Isaiah 11:1, ‘from (Jesse’s) roots a Branch (netzer) will bear fruit.
We can clearly see that God planed and prepared everything according to his will. John the Baptist and Jesus’ birth were notan accidental happening. Everything was included in God’s plan.
II. You are highly favored
27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
What was the angel’s greeting to Mary?What does “highly favored” and “you have found favor with God” mean to Mary?
“favored” : preferred above all others and treated withpartiality
Let’s read 31-35
31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
35 The angel answered, … the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
2 Samuel 7: 11 reads, “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” This prophecy was given to David. And Isaiah also prophesied about the birth of the Messiah around 800 years before his born.
Indeed, these verses are the testimony about Messiah, Jesus Christ, by angel Gabriel.
Isaiah 7:14 reads, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
* Immanuel means God with us.
Purpose of his life as the messaih
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
the meaning of his name: Jesus
Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him,
Mary, however, was troubled at this great news.
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
Angel Gabriel explained in detail why Mary was in God’s favor. But Mary still was greatly troubled at his words. Why “God’s favor” became a big trouble in her mind? As Mary’s question to angel, “since I am a virgin?”, is talking about her future life. Mary’s life as the mother of Jesus would not be full of blessing in human view.
According to the law, she would be treated as a sinner in public.
Leviticus 20:10 reads, “‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.
When she heard the angels greeting, she would worried about her marriage and being considered as a sinner before people at first. Life as the mother of the messiah would be great. She, however, would not be able to avoid the big trouble through her life.
Matthew 1:18 reads, This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Seemed, the start would not smooth at all. Here, we may have a question. In reality, God’s favor is not a favor in our view sometimes, or many times. Why? Even though God said, “my grace good for you “ as he told Apostle Paul, Paul had to keep asking to God for his eye disease.
How can we follow God’s calling?
In Luke chapter 18 and 19, we can find two Jesus’ calling. Chapter 18: A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” When he asked, Jesus answered, “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Even though he had kept all the laws, He could not follow Jesus. Maybe, he expected to see something extended life from his successful earthly life. He saw didn’t see what Jesus saw.
Chapter 19, We see the hopeless sinner Zacchaeus the chief tax collector. Not like the young ruler, he was a public sinner.
During the time of Jesus in first century Israel, there were publicans and tax collectors who could walk up to a man and tax him for what he was carrying, and much more. These tax collectors were hated and despised because they were usually fellow Jews who worked for Rome. the law : Roman law. (tax system) : Baal law. public sinner (outcast) : 1. contact gentiles 2. serve Roman empire;the oppressor 3. corruption
Zacchaeus, however, followed Jesus for his calling immediately.
Maybe he heard Jesus was the friend of sinner.
Luke 7:34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
He was looking for Jesus who would be his friend. ( I have a question to myself. In this Christmas season, what am I looking at? What kind of Image of Jesus do I have?)
(Luke 19:8) But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
by the law : 120% pay back of cheated one.
stock – nomadic
cow : live 2x dead 5x
sheep : live 2x dead 4x
His value system had been changed through Jesus. Jesus and Zacchaeus saw something.
Exodus 22:1“Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
Leviticus 6:5 or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering.
Knowing and believing
Blondin balancing between life and death
Winter of 1858, a 34-year-old French acrobat named Jean François Gravelet, better known as Monsieur Charles Blondin, traveled to Niagara Falls hoping to become the first person to cross the “boiling cataract.” He became obsessed with crossing the Niagara River on a tightrope. On June 30th 1859, Blondin successfully walked across the river on a tightrope. For this crossing , Blondin utilized a 1,100 foot long – 3 inch diameter manila rope and completed his crossing in 20 minutes. During the summer of 1859, Blondin completed eight more crossing times. His most difficult crossing occurred on August 14th when he carried his manager Harry Colcord on his back.
Because Harry knew Blondin. He knew really. If I know God really like Harry Knew Blondin, I will be able to hold hand of God and follow him wherever he wants to go.
Surprisingly enough, we do come to God without heart.
God created man in his own image. God saw all that he had made, and “It was very good” said God. (Genesis 1). The woman, however , saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom (Genesis 3:6)
God said it was very good. Their life in the Garden was beautiful to God. But, in their mind, it was not good enough, was not sufficient. Being like God was attractive in their eyes. It was the first desire in human mind. From that moment, we and God have been looking at different things, in different way. We call that broken relationship.
James 1:14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Did you do? I didn’t do yet, I think. I still love many of those in my daily life.
Now we have today’s question. How can we say “YES” to God? Simply, Belong to Christ Jesus. We just learn from Galatians.
One Word: I want to see what God sees. I want to consider valuable what God says good. I want to love what God loves.
Dear Heavenly Father, Help us to say “YES” to God’s calling. Not because of fear, not because we afraid your punishment,but because we trust in you. We know the truth, your good will and God’s purpose upon us. I pray in Jesus’ name Amen.