Divine Pronouncement

Luke 1.26-38

Mary’s obedience…her submission to the Lord’s will reminds me of a contrast that Soren Kierkegaard made when he was wrestling with Genesis 22 in his essay, Fear and Trembling, between the knight of faith and the knight of infinite resignation. The knight of infinite resignation obeys God purely out of a sense of duty and obligation. He does what’s required, but only because it’s required. The knight of faith also obeys and does what’s required, but he or she does so with joy and expectancy. We will see next week…Mary is definitely the knight of faith.

This is the greatest news ever…since the time of the fall, the people of God have been looking for the promised Head-crushing Seed of the woman. The Hero who would come to rescue them and lead them back to the garden and restore their relationship with Creator God. And now He’s here!

Mary is an unlikely candidate to be the mother of the Messiah from an earthly perspective…in this age of celebrity we might have expected someone more prestigious, someone more connected, a little more flash or a bigger deal, not a young, poor small town girl. I’m glad God’s not caught up in the things that we are. I’m glad that He always redefines our view of family and grace. He sees her humble heart, that she’s poor in spirit…she’s desperately craving His grace. She was reflective…pondering the angel’s words, believing and submissive. She’s a great example for us.

God is fulfilling His promise to David, and not just to David, but to all His people from the time of the fall…we can trust God to fulfill promises today. Promises of everlasting life and an eternal kingdom, of His presence with us. Only God can accomplish these things…He can do great things and use whomever He chooses to accomplish His purpose however He wishes. You are not insignificant in God’s design…in His plan to reach the valley. From an earthly perspective, Mary was a nobody from a nothing town in the middle of nowhere, but not so from the heavenly perspective. She had a significant role to play in God’s plan of redemption, so do you. He wants to use you to impact the folks around you for His kingdom.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost … He comes to a needy people…those who recognize their spiritual bankruptcy and need for a Rescuer, not the proud and self-sufficient. Do you recognize your desperate need for Him?

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Luke series entitled Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

Unexpected Promise

Luke 1.5-25

Zechariah is unexpectedly surprised…opportunity to offer incense for the people, appearance of Gabriel, and the news that he’s going to be a daddy…and not just of any son, but a son with an amazing prophetic ministry, integral to God’s plan of redemption for His people.

Everything that God has promised in the OT is coming to pass. The plan is in motion, the stage is set. The showdown will be quickly underway. God cares about the salvation of His people…but as we said last week, He also cares about the salvation of the nations. He will rescue those who turn to Him in faith. He will reconcile heaven and earth. His plan has cosmic repercussions.

But this story reminds us that in the midst of the bigness of God’s plan for reaching all peoples, He is still concerned about the lives of individuals. He cared about Zechariah and Elizabeth’s pain. He knew the questions and sideways glances that others gave them. And while He could have answered their prayer for a son much earlier in life when it was more convenient and they had more energy, in His perfect timing He chose to bless them with an incredible son in their old age. God doesn’t conform Himself to our wishes or dreams for ourselves… God is not a genie in a bottle, and prayer is not a divine vending machine. He is actively involved in the lives of His people to bring about His purposes…His glory and our good.

God was actively involved in the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and He’s actively involved in our lives as well. On the macro level, He wants to see this valley impacted for His kingdom. On the micro level, that happens as each one of us seeks to impact one or two around us, bringing them one step closer to Jesus. I love the fact that Zechariah and Elizabeth still trusted God in the midst of their pain…that they walked blamelessly. They weren’t perfect…we see Zechariah’s, doubt, even though he should have known better. But nevertheless they were committed to following God.

So what about you? What prayer are you waiting to have answered? Are you trusting God in the midst of it? How has He surprised you in unexpected ways? Who can you impact, bringing them one step closer to Jesus?

If you are not a follower of God today, the first step is trusting in Jesus. He’s the long-awaited Hero we’ve been longing for…the only One who can rescue us. He wants to give you life today. Don’t wait.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Luke series entitled Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

Setting the Stage

Luke 1.1-4

Who is Jesus, and why is He a big deal…why is He important? He’s the long awaited Jewish Messiah…He didn’t just show up one day on a dusty Jewish road and say, “I think I’ll die for the world today.” He’s the long-awaited Jewish Messiah…the Head-crushing Seed of the woman from Genesis 3.15. He’s the long-awaited Jewish Messiah…the Descendant of Abraham, the One through whom ultimately all the families of the earth will be blessed from Genesis 12. He’s the anticipated Lion of the tribe of Judah from Genesis 49, the One from whom the scepter will not depart. He’s the Greater Prophet than Moses from Deuteronomy 18. He’s the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, the Son of David and the expected King from 2 Samuel 7. He’s Isaiah’s Suffering Servant from Isaiah 53. He’s Daniel’s Son of Man who rides the clouds and receives an everlasting kingdom from the Ancient of Days from Daniel 7. He’s the long-awaited Jewish Messiah…the Perfect Son of Man and the Son of God. He IS God. He’s our Hero, our Savior, our only hope of rescue and reconciliation with our Creator God. Through His life, death and resurrection He has not only defeated sin and death, but He’s also given us life…eternal life. Luke, writing to a guy named Theophilus, endeavors to answer these questions. Luke challenges Theophilus to examine the evidence and draw his own conclusions. But it doesn’t stop there. Having examined the evidence, Luke wants Theophilus to be changed…to be transformed to live and love like Jesus. As we go through this series, I’m going to challenge us to do the same thing…examine the evidence. Who is Jesus, and why is He important to me? What impact is He having on my life? How is He transforming me to live and love like Him?

I hope that we spend time personally reflecting on the passage each week, praying through and examining the evidence for ourselves. Ask and answer the question: What difference is Jesus making in my life? How do I live my life as I follow Jesus?

I’m excited about our time together examining the evidence to learn more about who Jesus is and the revolution He came to bring. I’m excited to be a part of His revolution…a rescue mission to seek and save the lost, to reconcile heaven and earth, to bring life from the dead, to storm the gates of hell and rescue the captives held there. To share a gospel not only with spiritual ramifications, but one that works itself out on the physical plane in love for our neighbor in unexpected, radical and generous ways.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Luke series entitled Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster