by Duane Maust
December 18, 2005 – Advent 4
Luke 1: 26-38
This Advent series is interesting to me. Advent is the period just before Christmas. We have God’s unstoppable purpose in different themes:
God’s unstoppable purpose surprises
God’s unstoppable purpose is faithful
God’s unstoppable purpose restores
Today it is “God’s unstoppable purpose invites.”
I felt God leading today to explore the way God invites different people involved in the Christmas story. How do choices that these people made make the story? How did they say “yes” and make a difference?
Let’s take a look at Jesus. What would have happened if he tried to change God’s mind about coming to earth? We just assume that they were going to do this earth thing. Jesus coming down to the world to live and then to die. Jesus had to be willing to go through with this to make it happen. Jesus came into this world to be our Savior. He came for our sacrifice. Jesus came as a baby into this world.
Yes, Jesus is part of God. But he had to work with the plan. Jesus had choices. Had Jesus not came to be our sacrifice, we would be burning meat here today for our sins.
We have Mary in the Christmas story. She is just a young little girl. She was maybe 12-14 years old. This was the time that Jewish girls were promised in marriage.
Can you imagine an angel coming and telling her that she is pregnant? Do you suppose she said, “You’re kidding. It can’t be. I never had sex in my life. I am not ready for this. Just take me to some foreign country for a couple of years. Give me an abortion now.”
What do you think went through Mary’s mind?
Luke 1: 38
God is at work in unexpected ways, creating a story of divine and human interaction. God invites us to join in this story. When a teenager named Mary agreed to cooperate with God’s purpose, God’s story moved into a whole new dimension, offering God’s grace and healing for all people.
Thank you, Mary, for saying “yes.”
What about Joseph? What would have happened if he said “no way”?
Matt. 1: 18-23
Here his girlfriend is pregnant? What are you talking about? Has Mary been living a double life? I thought I was marrying a virgin.
I am glad that Joseph listened to God when he told him to take his family to Egypt to escape Herod’s anger. Joseph is one of those unsung heroes in this story. His decisions played an important part in the final outcome. He went to Egypt like God wanted him to.
If Joseph didn’t listen and go to Egypt, Jesus would have been killed as a baby. He would not have had a chance to do any of his miracles. We would know nothing of Jesus’ ministry.
Think about what the shepherds could have missed if they stayed out in their fields over that night.
Luke 2: 8-16
God had a plan to include the shepherds. By inviting them, God’s grace is for every level of people. God’s salvation is for the kings of the land and the lowly shepherds. They were the country farmers from the hill country. They were about as redneck as you could find.
Luke 2: 20
They had a lot to talk about when they left. They told people in town what they saw before they made it back to the sheep. I wonder if they turned into missionaries instead after this trip. I would guess that was a life changing experience for them.
Thank you for saying “yes” and going to the manger that night. Now I know I will be accepted.
Let’s take a look at the Wise Men. What did they say “yes” to?
So they study stars. They saw this star that was moving. They probably had workers that they could have sent so they could have been in the comfort of their homes. No, they wanted to see this for themselves. They traveled maybe several months through the desert following this star.
Matt 2: 9-12
I am glad the wise men had a chance to worship Jesus here. They followed a star to find this baby. Think about how amazing that is. They were able to kneel and give their gifts. Do you think that is why we give gifts still today? I am glad they listened and did not go back to the king.
Thank you for listening and doing what was right.
God is calling each one of us today. He is inviting us to do many different type of things for the kingdom. I doubt if anyone here will be following a star, but there will be other things that we are called to follow.
He called this farmer boy to pastor here at Jubilee. I have said “yes” to that call. God continues to call me on that journey.
What is God inviting you to? I believe he is calling all of us to worship him. But we can get there so many different ways.
Is he calling you through your job or as a student at a school? How is God using your job for the kingdom? How is what you are doing building the kingdom?