This Christmas, I thought that we would revisit in more detail some the teaching surrounding Jesus’ birth that we have looked at in our Luke series. I’ve entitled this teaching series, ‘Mary Treasured up These Things’ (from Luke 2:19) because my hope and prayer is that, like Mary, we will treasure the story, the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
Today, we reflect on the how we, like Mary, are to define Jesus in the terms of divine revelation - let’s call Him Jesus, Saviour and eternal king.
You can listen to this devotional at:
How do you know what God is like? Many might answer that by looking at creation. Many might define God according to their own intuitions and preferences. Many would define God according to various religious traditions. However, for Christians, God is defined by divine revelation in His Word as we will see today.
1. You will call Him Jesus (1:29-31)
‘Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’ (Luke 1:29-31)
At this meeting with Gabriel, Mary is very troubled; meeting an angel of God was a fearful thing in itself without the addition of this troubling promise of conceiving and giving birth to a son - being pregnant outside of marriage was a very serious sin.
She is told to ‘Call Him Jesus’. The name Jesus means, ‘Yahweh saves’. Jesus is coming as the God who saves. By His death on the cross we are justified and enter in eternal life. This is why, after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, Peter will declare:
‘“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”’ (Acts 4:12)
In addition to this narrow sense of salvation, we are to understand that Jesus is saving and restoring all of creation. At the end of History, He will bring true peach on earth in a ‘new heavens and a new earth’.
2. His Kingdom will never end (1:32-33)
Gabriel adds further definition to who Jesus is:
‘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, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’ (Luke 1:32-33)
She is told ‘He will be great’; He will be ‘called Son of the Most High’; Gabriel declares that He will be given ‘the throne of his father David; and ‘He will reign over Jacob’s descendants fore ever’; and, finally she is promised that ‘His kingdom will never end.’ That’s a lot to take in!
In essence she is told that your son will be: Saviour, God and King! I know that parents have high aspirations for their children but this is in another league!
Like Mary, let’s define Jesus in the terms of divine revelation - let’s call Him Jesus, Saviour and eternal king.
May we treasure in our hearts the name of Jesus and who He is. In our failure, He’s Saviour; In our weakness He is great; when we feel rejected, come back to the truth that we are adopted into the family of ’the Son of the Most High’; when the world is shaken, know that He’s on the throne, He reigns, His kingdom will never end. When our hearts go astray and we are tempted to serve ourselves and other things come back to the true Son of God and King who is worthy of our worship and obedience. Let’s pray together:
“You are Jesus - the God who saves and reigns. I treasure your love and sovereignty. Holy Spirit, help me to know and adore the name of Jesus afresh. Amen.”
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Very importantly, let’s be praying and inviting to our carol service on 10th December.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This Christmas, we will revisit in more detail some the teaching surrounding Jesus’ birth that we have looked at in our Luke series. I’ve entitled this teaching series, ‘Mary Treasured up These Things’ (from Luke 2:19) because my hope and prayer is that, like Mary, we will treasure the story the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
Please read Luke 2:1-19
What are the sorts of good and bad things that we can treasure and ponder at Christmas rather than Christ?
What are the various things that Mary may have been treasuring and pondering?
To 'treasure' (syntēréō) means to preserve, to protect, defend, treasure, preserve in memory. What truths about Jesus are taught in Luke Chapter 1:32-33, for example, that we are to treasure?
To 'Ponder' (symbállō) means to encounter, meet with - to reflect in a way that encounters the God of truth. How could you make time to ponder the truths of the Christmas story this year?
SIV - Why will treasuring and pondering truth make you effective as a witness?
SIV - Who do you plan to invite to the carol service?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.