We Have Experienced God

We Have Experienced God

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”
-Luke 2:1–21

We Have Experienced God

God came down to be a man.

To be relateable,
To be experienceable.

Until Christmas Day, God had only been experienced by a select few – and even their experiences were limited.

But not now.

God brought Himself down lower than we could have ever imagined.

Creator became creation
Just so we could experience Him.

We’ve already covered many verses in past posts about how Jesus is the perfect image of The Father and how He is the representation of everything The Father is.

So, instead, let us remember that this truly happened.

There was a date and time of His birth.
He had playmates growing up.
He experienced puberty and learning His craft as a carpenter.
He had friends.
He had family gatherings.
He experienced skinned knees, death of family members and friends, betrayal from close friends.

God experinced all of life’s ups and downs
So we could experienced Him.

And then He died for our sin,
So we could be with Him forever.

These are real events, with real people testifying of their validity.

Jesus healed, comforted, taught, rebuked and lived with real people.

One of my favorite people in the Bible is His disciple John.

We see John as one of the two “sons of thunder.” He was the youngest in the group and probably a hothead know-it-all.

Yet, John had a huge transformation.

When you read His later writings (John, 1-3 John, and Revelation), you can feel that the angry, know-it-all attitude is gone.

His writings are some of the most loving and endearing letters in all of scripture.

And to end this post, here’s the introduction to 1st John, where he begins his plea to the church, that they would stay close to Jesus, love one another and would stay far away from sin.

His book begins with recounting the reality of Jesus’ life, and how He can transform any life. It’s one of my favorite passages, and I hope you enjoy it too.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
-1 John 1:1–4

A Response To Jesus

A Response To Jesus

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’

And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?’

Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.'”

-Matthew 16:13–17

A Response To Jesus

Throughout scripture God makes it very clear that He doesn’t let people remain in a gray area. They must take Him, or leave Him, there’s no inbetween.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis describes it like this:

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

God wants us to respond to Him,
And it’s our choice how we do.

In the Christmas Story, we see 4 different groups of people:

The Shepherds
The Wise Men
The King
And The Religious Leaders

Each have different responses, which is what we’ll reflect on right now.

The Shepherds (blindsided by Jesus)

The first group we get to see is the shepherds who the angels go to and declare that the Messiah is born.

“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” -Luke 2:15–16

This group was blindsidded by the news.

They weren’t looking for God
They weren’t waiting for Him
But when they were told: they responded.

Some of us may not have been looking for God when He came to us,
but when He does, we are given the opportunity to respond to Him.

The Wise Men (searching for Jesus)

The second group is really interesting. They weren’t even Hebrews!

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'” -Matthew 2:1–2

These wise men were looking for God.

Given, they weren’t looking with full knowledge, but they still desired to know the God of Israel.

We know they are working off incomplete information for a couple reasons:

First, they’re from “the East”. More likely than not, these are remenants from the Babylonian exile who gained some knowledge, specificlly from Daniel, but incomplete.

Second, they understand the timeline when the Messiah would appear (as the book of Daniel explicitly gives the date the Messiah would arrive), but they’re unaware of other specific texts that are known to the religious leaders such as Micah 5:2 which states His birth to be in Beleham.

Lastly, they are relying on “the star” which was not common in Jewish intepretation of scripture to interpret prophecy through astromony (though it was in cultures east of them – especially if their primary text was the book of Daniel).

So, what can we take from this?

Comfort.

It brings great comfort knowing that, as God promises, that when we seek Him with our whole heart that we can find Him.

I’m not saying that they’re methods were “right.” In fact, they still needed someon who knew the whole story (the religous leaders) to point them to Jesus. But because they were searching with the right heart and intentions, God revealed Himself to them.

I’ve known people who got saved from the most rediculous, non-biblical situations and searching – but they found the Jesus of the Bible, and they accepted Him as their Lord and Savior.

And that’s all that matters.

It brings me great comfort knowning that even when we have faulty methods, or don’t understand something correctly, that God can work in and through us anyway.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t try hard to make sure we understand and work as best we can, but it’s comforting to know that God’s grace covers all of our mistakes, faulty thinking and problems.

The King (threatened by Jesus)

We’ve seen two great responses to Jesus, but sadly, that’s not how it always works out.

“And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.'” -Matthew 2:8

“Now when they [the wise men] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.'” -Matthew 2:13

Some of us respond like the King.

He put on a good face
He said all the right things
He appeared to desire God,

But in reality, he felt threatened and wanted to kill Jesus.

The true King.

King Herod was notorious for being threatened by others and wanting to be worshiped as king.

And Jesus was a threat.

Although our response may not seem this dramatic, it can stem from the same root: we wantt to be the god of our own life. We want to be lord and king of our own life – and so we’re threatned by Jesus.

Sadly, as long as we hold onto these feelings, it’s impossible to surrender to Jesus as our true Lord and King, and to be reconciled with Him.

The Religious Leaders (indifferent to Jesus)

The last group we see are the Religios Leaders. We mentioned them briefly with the wise men.

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'”
-Matthew 2:3–6

This was a group who was indifferent to Jesus.

They knew the time He would arrive,
They knew the place He would be born,
But they didn’t care to go see Him for themselves.

Even after the wise men came, they didn’t even go with them!

The way the story above plays out,
It appears like they don’t even care.

And this is a very tradgic response.

They know of God,
The Scriptures,
The prophecy
The comming Messiah

They had everything they needed to actually know God, and not just know of Him.

And they don’t care.
They were indifferent to Jesus
Because they didn’t want anthing to come and rock the boat.

It’s much simplier to live knowing about God
than it is to know Him personally as your God.

It’s simplier,
But it’s not better.

Let Us Respond To Jesus

So let us take warning from the responses given by the king and the religious leaders.

And let us take encouragement from the shepherds and wise men.

Whether you’ve been seeking Jesus
Or you’ve been blindsided by Him

May you respond with joy to Him,
As your Savior, Lord, God and King.

Humble Beginnings

Humble Beginnings

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” -Zechariah 9:9

Humble Beginnings

In reality, the title of this post should be “humble beginning, middle, and end” as Jesus remained humble throughout His entire ministry and is to this day.

It’s important for us to realize that Jesus’ humility didn’t begin and end with the manger scene at His birth – though that would have been plenty. The fact that God, the Creator, became part of His own creation is something we will never be able to fully understand.

Regardless, for today’s post, I wanted to share scriptures pointing to the humility of Jesus, to remind us of how much He loves us and how much He desires to bring us to a higher standard.

Because Jesus isn’t merely a good example
He is our Savior.

And He came, not just to save us from eternal death,
But to save us from our sin,
And save us to a holy and rightous life,
right now.

So, as you read of Jesus’ humility,
and you are reminded of all He has done,
and all of Who He is,
remember that He desires the same life for you.

But you don’t become more like Jesus by simply trying harder and doing better.

You simply ask for His grace and Spirit to empower you.

Here are a few verses to reflect on that fact, and then more to remind us of the humility, life and perfection of our Savior, Jesus.

We Are Empowered By Jesus To Live like Him

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” -Philippians 2:13

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” -Romans 8:11

Jesus, Our Humble Savior

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” -John 6:38

“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” -Luke 2:51

“For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” -Luke 22:27

“Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” -John 13:5

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” -Philippians 2:3–8

280 Days of Waiting, And Then Some More

280 Days of Waiting, And Then Some More

“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.”
-Luke 1:30–33

“And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.”
-Luke 2:51

280 Days of Waiting, And Then Some More

Thousands of years of prophecy led up to this moment when the Angel came to Mary and told her the news of the Son she would have. But even then, there was still more time to wait.

Can you imagine the anticipation Mary felt when she heard the news?

9 months of pregnancy is a long time for any mother – but what if your child was going to be the Messiah?

That’s excitement we can’t imagine.

But you know what?
Jesus was still a baby.

It would be another 30 years before He would begin public ministry.

All the while, Mary would wonder exactly what the life of the Messiah would be like the next day.

I’m sure there was plenty of joy,
and I’m sure there was plenty of sorrow.

And it all happened in God’s timing.

I so often wish I could speed things up
but we all have to realize that God’s time is not slow…

It’s precise.

I like the word precise when talking about God’s timing and purpose.

It reminds me that God doesn’t wait just to delay.
That He’s not “slow as some count slowness” but that He waits for a purpose.

We’re told that He delays His final return so that many may come to knwo Him (2 Peter 3:9) and we’ve seen Him be faithful time and time again in Scripture and in the lives of people today – that His waiting is purposeful.

He makes us wait for a reason.

So, if you’re in a season of waiting, here are some verses to encourage you during this time.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” -Psalm 27:14

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” -Isaiah 30:18

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” -James 1:12

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” -Romans 12:12

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” -James 5:7–8

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” -Micah 7:7

Jesus’ Family Tree

Jesus’ Family Tree

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.”
-Matthew 1:1–17 (you can read Luke’s account of Jesus’ family tree in Luke 3:23–38)

Jesus’ Family Tree

If you were God and decided to enter the world – would you want a prestigious family line who lived holy lives? A family line of people who deserved to lead to your eventual coming?

Well, besides the fact that no one would deserve to be part of Jesus’ family tree – that’s simply not how God operates.

He gives more and more and more grace.

Let’s just glance at four of the surprising people we find in Jesus’ family tree (taking just from Matthew’s account we read above):

“Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers” – Near the base of Jesus’ family tree is an interesting phrase that includes a group of brothers. Matthew does this purposefully, as we see these brothers all together for a large part of their story (and they also end up representing/creating each of the tribes of Israel).

By grouping “Judah and his brothers” togther, we’re reminded of what they all collectively did to their brother, Joseph (the one who they sold into slavery). This is Joseph, who God used to save all of Egypt and the surrounding areas – including his brothers and families!

However… It’s Josheph who was the hero… not Judah and his brothers. So Jesus desended from Judah, the eldest of the brothers, the one who should have stepped up to protect Joseph.

Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab – This is an incredible lineage (though, not one to write home about). Rahab is one of the most notable non-Hebrews to join the Hebrew people. She was a prostitute in Jerico, the city where the Children of Israel marched around for seven days and the walls came crashing down.

She found the spies who came to scope out the city and she asked for their mercy if she hid them from the city officials and became part of Israel after they destroyed.

So, a non-Hebrew prostitute… another strike against Jesus’ family tree.

Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth – Again, we see another non-Hebrew woman who comes into Jesus’ family tree. Her story is pretty incredible and actually has an entire book dedicated to it (the book of Ruth). It is a great historical story of God’s grace and redemption.

Solomon (son of David) by the wife of Uriah – The last name we’ll take note of is actually of David, himself – as Jesus is called the Son of David.

However, it’s not the way we’d expect.

David had multiple wives, but the one who continued the family tree leading to Jesus was “the wife of Uriah.” Her name was Bathsheba, though her actual name isn’t mentioned here, instead, she is listed as the “wife of Uriah” – and there’s a good reason.

Before she became David’s wife, she was Uriah’s wife. But in a sad story (that you can read in 2 Samuel 11), David begins to desire “his neighbor’s wife” while Uriah is away at war – so he has Uriah killed and takes Bathsheba to be his wife. She then gives birth to Solomon, and the family tree continues all the way to Jesus.

There’s no mistake that Matthew wrote “the wife of Uriah” rather than simply saying “Solomon by Bathsheba.” The writer wanted to make it painfully obvious that there was something going on in this section of the family tree – and there sure was.

A Broken Family Tree

Jesus’ family tree may come from David and Solomon, the two greatest kings in Israel, but we see problems scattered throughout. Beyond the notible ones we’ve looked at, there are many more people who sinned and went against God, yet still became part of Jesus’ family tree.

And yet, that’s what’s so great about it.

Jesus didn’t come from the perfectly groomed ancestry we’d expect God to prepare for Himself. In fact, Jesus was born into poverty.

What we do see in Jesus’ family tree is hope.

And the hope we find is twofold:

Hope of a new heritage

“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” -1 Corinthians 15:21

The family tree we were born into is one of sin and death. Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and we are now all slaves to sin.

Yet, through Jesus, we can be born into a new family tree, a new heritage, a new hope.

This is what Jesus refers to when he speaks to Nicodemus:

“Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” -John 3:3

We have to be born into this new heritage.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” -Ephesians 2:19

Which brings us to the second part of this new hope…

Hope that God wants us part of His family

Sometimes it can feel like God can save us, but that He doesn’t really want to.

We’re reminded in Isaiah that it was God’s will to “crush him [Jesus]” so that we would find healing in his wounds.

“Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him…” -Isaiah 53:10

And we can’t begin to cover all the verses that remind us of God’s love being the driving force behind what Jesus did for us. (John 3:16, John 15:9-17, Romans 5:8, Romans 8:37-39, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 John 3:1-24, 1 John 4:7-8)

And, it wasn’t just The Father Who loves us and wanted to go to these lengths to bring us into His family – Jesus did too.

We see in Hebrews 12:2 that He endured the cross by looking forward to the joy that was set before Him (His bride, the redeemed church who would accept His grace).

“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

And, even more than that, He says that He specifically calls us brothers.

“For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, ‘I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.'” -Hebrews 2:11–12

Jesus wants us part of His family.
The Father wants us part of His family.

And so Jesus first became part of ours.

He joined our fallen line of humanity,
So that He could redeem us.

And we see this so clearly in His broken family tree.

A broken family tree
That God so beautifully redeemed.

So may you remember…

  1. God heals broken things.
  2. God wants to bring you into His family.

Let’s allow Him to do both this Christmas.

A Blessing In Disguise

A Blessing In Disguise

“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.”
-Luke 1:26–38

A Blessing In Disguise

If you read the account of Mary finding out that she’s pregnant, it sounds very calm, cool and collected. It even sounds like Mary isn’t surprised at all, which can’t be the case.

I can guarantee you that it wasn’t as easy for her as it sounded.

Simply the fact that a virgin finds out she’s pregant is enough to become hysterical. I mean, consider how excited (and sometimes surprised) people get today when they find out – and it shouldn’t surprise them near as much.

And then add in the fact that this was a huge cultural no-no. Having sex outside of marriage was punishable by death in her culture – and everyone in that day knew where babies came from.

We see in Matthew’s account that Joseph was a “just man” and going to break the engagement and wedding quietly rather than taking her to public shame and punishment (Matthew 1:19) because he knew that he wasn’t the father.

This news must have wrecked Mary.

Imagine the worry and fear she must have experienced.

While all along, the angel is telling her not to worry, and even her friends are telling her how “blessed” she is (Luke 1:42).

Sure, we can look with 20/20 hindsight vision and see how truly blessed she was to be such a big part of God’s plan – but this must have been extremely difficult to live though.

Consider even the longterm effects:

Sure, Joseph heard from God and took her to be his wife anyway, but what about when Jesus grew up?

“…They [the religious leaders] said to Him [Jesus], “We were not born of sexual immorality…” -John 8:41

We see here that the religous leaders were trying to discredit what Jesus was doing and they used this “blessing” Mary was given.

I’m sure this wasn’t the only time either.

This was probably something Mary lived with for the rest of her life.

Quiet whispers in the temple.
Side glances in the street.
Rumours, especially once Jesus started gaining public figure.

This “blessing,” must have been difficult to be given.

It was surly, a blessing in disguise.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced something like this. I’m guessing most of us have, though probably not to this degree.

But what we can be reminded from this,
Is that God works all things together for our good.

Yes, in this broken world, even the blessings of God can be used by Satan for our temporary hurt – but God always gets the last word.

So when He says that Mary is “blessed among women”
She is certainly blessed.

She may not have often felt blessed.
She may have certainly doubted that she was blessed.
And who knows how freqently she prayed that God would just bless somebody else instead.

But she continued to trust God with the hand she was dealt.
And decided to praise Him in the difficulty.

So, let’s end with her famous statement dubbed the “Magnificat.”

And remember, this was probably said though many fears, unknowns, worries and all the rest that she must have felt in this confusing time.

If you’re in that place right now, you’re in good company – and you can praise God with the same confidence and hope.

“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

-Luke 1:46–55

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