[00:00:00] I want to begin by just saying welcome. Welcome to all of you who are in this room with me. Welcome to those of you on any of our campuses, wherever you are. And to those of you who are on our online community. I want to give a shout out to Michelle who is in Iowa. Welcome to you, Michelle, and to all the rest of you who are anywhere in the world that are watching this.
[00:00:17] It is great to be together before I get to the message today, though. It's uh, I just feel, I, I need to acknowledge it's is Christmas week. It's hard to believe. But it's Christmas week. And here's what I want to say to you. You don't want to miss the services this week. Now I'm going to make a statement. I normally don't make, I want to say to those of you who are on.
[00:00:36] I really, if you can get here in person, I want to encourage you to get here in person because the service will be so much better when the community of God's people gathered together in, in, in the building. So I really want to encourage you to come and be a part of it. There's a couple of things. So I want you to come, but I don't want you to come alone.
[00:00:52] I want to encourage you to invite somebody with you. It's one of the reasons we do so many services, because people are so much more open to come into church if they're invited at Christmas. So we want you to come. The second thing I want to tell you about coming is you want to come to the service.
[00:01:06] Here's why, uh, we're going to sing Christmas carols at the service, but we're not going to begin singing Christmas carols. There's actually a number that is going to be performed that opens up the service. And it's one of those numbers that you just want to be seated. Get centered, get ready to encounter God, and you don't want to be walking in and trying to find a seat.
[00:01:23] All right. And you're going to miss too much. So I encourage you to get here, get here early, and we're going to have a great time. Okay. Now, one of the things I want to tell you and you need to listen to me, cause I. I don't want you to be frustrated next week, next Sunday, we're going to have a service, but we're doing it only online.
[00:01:40] So the regular times that you would come to church next weekend, I wanna encourage you, uh, hop online and we're going to, we're going to do church that way together that weekend. So this week I want you to in-person and then next weekend we'll all be online because online is obviously very valid. So with all of that said, uh, we're.
[00:01:59] We're ready to go. Now I want to, I want to do something a little different today than I normally do. I want to start with a word of the day. I don't do this, right, but I'm going to start with a word of the day and the word for today is going to be the word surreal, surreal. I don't know if you understand the word surreal.
[00:02:14] It might be something part of your vocabulary or not be something you use regularly. Let me give you the actual definition from a dictionary of the word surreal. It's this all right. Having the disorienting hallucinatory quality of a dream. Unreal. Fantastic. In other words, a surreal experience is one of those things that actually just blows your mind.
[00:02:36] You're like, I cannot believe this is happening. I just cannot believe it's happening. And my guess is you've had experiences like that where, uh, you know, something's going on and you just like, you can't, you just can't get your brain around it. It's just too far out there. So the question of the day to go with the word of the day is simply this question right here.
[00:02:56] What is something that happened in your life? That you have had a hard time believing actually happened. You were there, you know, it happened, but you look at you. I just can't believe this. I just can't believe that happened. And you know, you're having one of those experiences when you thinking, no, one's going to believe this.
[00:03:12] Or, or when you try to explain to somebody someone's going to go, you're just making that up as you go. Cause that couldn't have happened. Uh when's the last time this happened, I've had a number of those in my life, as I'm sure you have. And I've had time to think about it when. Let me tell you a true story.
[00:03:27] Okay. That happened at Lisa and I, uh, it's not current, it's not recent. It happened about 15 years ago, but it was an absolute surreal experience. All right. Now, uh, I want to explain some wheat, uh, a true story. We have friends that have a house on Nantucket island and as they have a number of times, he invited us to come and visit.
[00:03:46] Uh, one of the times we were out there visiting with them, something happened. I wanted to just preface this by saying that this is 100% about them, not about Lisa and I, at least I had nothing to do with that other than we had some friends. So when we get to this time, we get to Nantucket, something happened.
[00:04:01] Now I'm going to, I'm going to tell you what happened, but I'm also going to date myself when I tell you what. If you're young, uh, hang on. Oh, because I'm going to contextualize this where you'll understand what I'm saying in your world, but you might not understand what I'm saying as a 15 years ago. So just bear with me.
[00:04:17] Right. So our friends say to Lisa and I, Hey, there's somebody we want you to meet. And well, who's out his name's Mike Kittredge, Michael Kittredge. And I go, cool. Who's Michael Kittredge. And he said, uh, well, Michael Kittredge, uh, is a business guy. And in fact, let me just tell you the backstory Michael Kittridge in 19 69, 1 of the, uh, give his mom a Christmas present.
[00:04:40] He didn't have any money. And so he decided to make something for his mom. And what he did was he melted down some candles and took out the Wix and created his own candle, put it in a, in a milk carton and gave his mom a candle that he created. And it was his gift to her. And they put that candle out and other people saw the candle.
[00:05:02] That's awesome. How do I get one of those? And a business was formed. All right. And so Michael Kittridge ended up founding in his garage. What you today would have heard of as the Yankee candle company? He was the, he was the originator of the Yankee candle company. And so, um, as the years went by, the sun grew and grew.
[00:05:23] And then, uh, just before I met him, not long before I met him, he had sold the business. For a lot of money and he was out of it. But what he did was he decided to buy a boat with the proceeds, some of the proceeds from the Yankee candle company, when he sold it, what does he know about a boat as understanding he actually, he bought a ship.
[00:05:44] Alright. And to call it a ship is really not fair either because it was actually a yacht. And I'll show you a picture of the yacht. This is his yacht. It's called the paraffin. Get it. Wax get it. And so he built this shot, had it built in 197 feet long, five decks, incredible pictures. They showed pictures of the inside of this thing.
[00:06:05] It's just unbelievable. All right. Now why I'm showing you this is because our friends knew Mike and they said, we want you to go meet him. So we meet him on his yacht. Now I just need you to understand this and it happened to me. Okay. So if you're on a yachts all the time, I'm not. So are we good? And so we ended up on Michael Kittredge, his yacht, and I'm like, this is unbelievable.
[00:06:28] Well, he shows us all around the yacht and then there's some people who show up and it's Frank and Kathy Lee Gifford. Now, if you don't know who these people are, Frank was an NFL player and then he was a sports caster. And then Kathy Lee with Regis, you know, they have this morning show and it was like, this is unbelievable.
[00:06:47] And so we're just visiting chit chat. Frank and Kathy, and then another lady shows up, uh, Barbara Bradford Taylor, who is an author who you might not have. She sold, she like one of her books. And let me give you the name of it. Um, it's, it's one of her books, a woman of substance. Her very first book is, is one of the 10 best all timing, all time selling books, it's called the super seller.
[00:07:14] And she has, I mean, it's you got a 34 books, 90. In sales and she's visiting with her on this boat and it was like create and then, so some of them left and then Mike said to our friends and us, let's just go and let's go sit up top and just enjoy, uh, kind of a, like a light dinner when a formal, then it was a light dinner.
[00:07:36] So we're sitting on the top of this yacht in Nantucket bay, and we're looking down on all the other guy. And I'm on the top of it. Beyond that they call that a yacht. They call that a yacht. You gotta be kidding. Oh, look at the Kennedy shot. Nice try. Nice try. Kennedy's nice. Try. I kid you not, the Kennedy shot was there and it was we'll looking down and I go, I can not believe this day.
[00:08:00] We're having, this is incredible. So we get done the sunsets, we get back in the car and the four of us, Lisa and I, and our. Are driving back and they, uh, the, the lady, our friend, the lady I'm just choosing not to use names. She says, Hey, um, I was talking to Kathy Gifford, who they were friends and she said, let's, they're having a dinner party.
[00:08:20] Let's go crash their dinner party. I'm like, what you going? Yeah. They have a house here on Nantucket. Let's go by and crash their dinner party. And I'm going, you're kidding. Like, I don't do this. All right. You might, I don't, we don't do. So we decided to go crash on Nantucket island at their house of Kathy Lee and Frank Gifford, their dinner party.
[00:08:40] We walk in and there's like 15 or 20 of them around a table. It's a full-on dinner, it's formal. And we walk in and all. Hi. So glad you dropped by. Hey, we'll be done. You want to eat with that? No, no. We already ate, we ate on the yacht looking down and uh, and uh, we'll wait in the living room and we'll be, when we're done, we'll all gathering.
[00:08:57] We we'll have some to on the living. There's some other people there, they crashed the dinner party to, I guess. And as her talking to this one lady and I go, hi, you know her name, she's the, and I go deal. Why do you, what do you do? And she goes, well, I'm a personal assistant. And I go personal assistant.
[00:09:12] That's awesome. Personally, to what, or to whom. And she says, and this might not mean anything to you. She said, well, I'm the personal assistant of Phyllis George. And I go, Phyllis, George, she, if you don't know this, Phyllis George was miss America in 1971, I knew a Phyllis George, and she was in a sportscaster.
[00:09:31] She was in a sports caster for a NFL and she is his famous and I go, you are Phyllis George's personal. Cause yeah. And then she says to me, you want to meet her? And I go, what? She goes, yes, she's having dinner in there. You want to meet her? And then she grabs my arm and she goes, And I'm like, I'm going to go meet Phyllis George, which I'm like, whoa.
[00:09:53] And then I grabbed Lisa and she grabs her friend and then she grabs her husband. So there's a little train of us going in back into the dining hall. And so as soon as we get in there, she starts, she goes straight to Phyllis and says, I want you to introduce me. And then Kathy Lee. Cause I had met Kathy Lee on the yacht and Kathy Lou knew that I was a pastor in Arizona and she says, oh, this is Cal.
[00:10:16] I want you to meet Phyllis. This is cow. He's a pastor at a church in Arizona. And she's like, really? And so we visited for just a minute and we walked into the living room and when we're done and I like this is incredible. It's unbelievable. I cannot believe this day. And then Phyllis, George comes back into the living room and sits down right next to me, looks at me in the eye and says, are you serious?
[00:10:40] And I go, I really am. She goes, can you help me? And I said, with watch, she goes, my mom's got Alzheimer's and I need to know about heaven. And I sat there in the, in the living room of Frank and Kathy Giffords, Nantucket, house counseling, Phyllis George, about heaven. I just need you to understand when I woke up the next morning, that did not actually happen because it was surreal.
[00:11:06] Now, if you're younger and those names don't mean anything. I just want you to imagine that Jimmy Fallon invites you onto his boat, his ship, his yacht, and there you may JK Rowling and Kim Cardassians shows up and the Brian James stops by and in one, four hour period, you met all of them and chit chatted with them.
[00:11:28] And then you go to sleep and wake up the next morning. You try to tell somebody what happened to you. You had a surreal experience where that happened. I, and you're not going to believe this. Why am I telling you all this? The story we're going to look at today, blows those stories out of the water. We're gonna look at a surreal, true story.
[00:11:47] The thing I told you about Nantucket, didn't make a thing up. I did. I left out so many details. I didn't tell you, but I didn't make anything up. It was surreal, but it pales in comparison to what we're going to discover. All right. So here's the deal. I need you to open your Bibles to Luke chapter one, Luke chapter one.
[00:12:04] Again, we're going to talk about the birth of Jesus and there's the account and Matthew, and then count in Luke and you put those two together. You get the narrative we're in is a series that we're continuing, it's called crescendo. And again, we'll continue this on Wednesday night and Thursday night and Friday night, depending on the campus you're on.
[00:12:21] Uh, but uh, this week we're just going to, it's just the stories. But, um, we're going to just, we're going to move it forward today. Now let's just recap while you're looking at Luke one, let's just make sure we got it. Okay. So at the end of Malakai, there's 400 years of silence between Malakai and the end of the old Testament in the beginning of the new Testament, Matthew there's 400 years where God doesn't speak, but, but in Malakai, God said, uh, there's going to be an appearance of Elijah.
[00:12:50] And then the, uh, an angel, this is last week. So 400 years, no prophecies, no profits, nothing. And then an angel of the Lord Gabriel appear to a, a priest in, in Jerusalem. Uh, and uh, he said, Hey, uh, you're gonna be a dad and your wife, Elizabeth. She could be a mom. And, and you got to understand, this is an old guy and she's an old.
[00:13:15] And they're barren and they tried all of their life to have kids. And this Gabriel Guy goes, no, no, you're going to have a child. He's going to be incredibly special. And, uh, he's going to turn the hearts, which is exactly what Malakai said was going to happen. And they don't know it, but they're about to have a baby called they're going to call them.
[00:13:33] John is who mean he's going to be known to us as John the Baptist and it's remarkable, but, but in our story today, as hard to believe as that story is this one's even. 'cause in fact, let me show you what, let me show you what scripture says here in Luke, one 15, where we were last week about John. John will be called great in the sight of the Lord.
[00:13:56] He is going to be special, but you know what it's going to say about the child that we're going to talk about, which is going to be Jesus. Jesus will be called the son of God. All right. So let's jump in Luke chapter one, we're picking the story up where we left off verse 26. And I'll just take this in little chunks.
[00:14:13] So Luke 1 26 to 28, it says this we'll read, and then we'll break it down. In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth a town in Galilee to a Virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The Virgin's name was Mary and the angel went to her and said, greetings you who are highly favored.
[00:14:37] The Lord is with you. Okay, well, whoa, whoa, stop. Stop them out. Okay. Six months of Elisabeth's pregnancy. So John, the Baptist could be six months older than Jesus. All right. And so we, we got a context of where to put this in. Same, uh, same angel Gabriel that visited Zachariah is now coming to Mary. Now we also picked up here was that it's not in Jerusalem.
[00:15:04] It's in Nazareth. Nazareth is way up north, about 70 miles up north in another region called Galilee Nazarus was a little backwater village. It, so you get a picture on this map. You can get an idea of it. It's tucked up into the mountains. It's a village. It's not a T it's a village. And then it's open on one side on the south.
[00:15:23] There's the plain of Jezreel. Uh, it's just a little Hamlet up the hill here. A bit, just a village. K nothing like Jerusalem. And, and then I've got to make sure we see this. Okay. Um, a town in Galilee to a Virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. Can we got to stop here and break this thing down?
[00:15:42] Or it was not going to make any sense because we immediately, in our context, we, oh, they were engaged. Then they were engaged each other. They fell in love and they became engaged and they were planning to get married. That's not at all what's happening here. So if you want to understand this and listen, I'll do my best to make this make sense.
[00:15:57] Okay. And that culture, uh, is very, very different now. Get ready for it. Okay. The typical age that somebody would be, be trove and that's the word a pledged would be 13, 12 would be early 15 would be way. 13, uh, young junior high, very young high school student as Mary. All right. It gives you bringing around that.
[00:16:26] And by the way, what's love got to do with it, nothing, nothing. And it may explain it a betrothal was a contract between parents. So I have a son who's, uh, you know, uh wettable if that's a word, a marriageable. And you got a daughter let's talk and the agreement would be made out of the son might go, Hey, did you check out Mary dad go down to Mary's parents?
[00:16:53] They don't know that he might've had nothing to do with it. It was not his choice. It was his dad's choice as parents. And so, uh, Joseph's dad goes, have a conversation with Mary's dad and they, uh, they come to a it's a contract now. Here's how it works. I have to be a bright price paid by. Joseph's dad to marry stout.
[00:17:16] Why? Because he's gaining a child, they're losing a child, so they had to negotiate the price. Uh, and then there would be a gift given to secure this bride. And so there they enter into this. Now what's really hard to get your brain around is in that culture. When you were pledged, you were patrol, it was as if you were.
[00:17:39] It was as if you were man and wife, if this thing breaks apart, you don't just break the engagement, you divorce each other. And yet there's absolutely no contact in the period of pledging it. You don't have any relationship. You might not even know the other person. You maybe have never talked to them.
[00:17:58] Never held their hand. Never kissed them nothing. And by the way, The guy die. Oh, it was. So if this thing blows apart and we don't, it doesn't work out for whatever reason, you literally have to file for a divorce, but we were never together. It doesn't mean you were pledged, you were in the patrol, you got a divorce and then it's gotta be dissolved.
[00:18:20] And, and if by the way, the guy dies in the period of time, she's considered a widow for the rest of her life, which gives us really freaky phrase in Hebrew, the widow who is a Virgin. It makes no sense, but that's kind of how that worked. And so, you know, at school we were going to go on and what, what was the year for what, why, why a year?
[00:18:44] Well, there's two purposes behind the year. Number one, the groom would go and build onto his father's house room for his bride, and then he would come and get her at the end of the year and bring her to the, so he would expand the house, listen to Jesus's words. I've gone. I'm going to prepare a place for you, but I will come back and I'll take you home.
[00:19:07] That's what he, when he left us, what he said is this principle one year was going to be set aside for him to build on. And the second reason for the year was to just give time for it. Was there any unfaithfulness here, any unfit? And if there was found to be unfaithfulness, literally could be punished by death.
[00:19:24] The person who would be stoned to death of the couple would be stoned to death. And I don't have time to show you that out of Deuteronomy, but it's in there. Okay. So just go with me on that. And by the way, after the, after the, the year went by get this cake, dad's, mom's get this. The wedding itself would take a week.
[00:19:46] You'd have company over for a week, eating all your food. And then at the end of the week that there was a ceremony that would go through place. And the priest would say, and then, you know, husband and wife, and then hopefully everybody leaves and you consummate the relationship. That's the deal. All right.
[00:20:05] That's the culture. Uh, I just need you to note very, very carefully a detail that Matthew is going to tell you, and that Luke's telling you she was a Virgin. If you don't get that, you're not going to understand the store. She was. Now that's going to be highly debated in her day. Cause people are going to accuse her of all kinds of things.
[00:20:25] And it's highly debated in our date, but scripture doesn't debate it. She was a Virgin. Now we'll come back to that in just a moment. So let's jump down Luke chapter one verses 29 down to 33. So Hey you who are highly favored, man, greetings from God. All right. And then it says this in 29 mirrors greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
[00:20:48] But the angel said to her do not be afraid of. You have found favor with God and you will conceive and give birth to a son and you were to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called son of the most high. And the Lord, God will give him the throne of his father, David. And he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever.
[00:21:05] His kingdom will never end. Now Mary's response is the exact same as Zachariah's response, which is trembling in fear, which is fair because of an angel just popped in on you and say, Hey, greetings from God. And to somebody you've never seen before and maybe looking angelic, whatever that means, you'd go as kind of a weird day.
[00:21:26] It's surreal, but this angel appears it has this message. He says, calm down, calm down. And he says five things to Mary about what's going to happen. She's going to have a son and five things you need to catch. Okay. You're there one, he will be great as compared to other people. You can just catch us in this.
[00:21:43] Um, he will be called the son of the most high, which means you can be called the son of God. He is going to be given us the throne of his father. David w w what do you mean his father? See, David was a king a thousand years ago. The absolute high point of all the is Israel's history was when David was king and there was a prophecy that, that throne would continue on.
[00:22:07] And now we're being told, she's being told your child will sit on David's. Your child will be David's successor and Psalm 89 is a prophecy. It says he will call out to me. You are my father, my God, the rock, my savior. I will also appoint him. My firstborn, the most exalted of the Kings of the earth. This is about Jesus.
[00:22:30] I will maintain my love to him forever. And my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever. His throne, as long as the heavens. Uh, this could be your son, Mary and Mary had to be going. What? Like what? Uh, oh, by the way, he's going to reign over the house of Jacob. That's the nation of Israel and his kingdom is never going to end.
[00:22:57] It's just pick that one. You're going to have a son whose kingdom is going to become king. His kingdom is never going to end chew on that. All right. All right. Now, um, the next verses, uh, look down 35. The angel answered. Uh, she's like going okay. W w the verse 34, she was like, oh, wait, hang on here. How's this supposed to happen?
[00:23:20] And she says the obvious, uh, whoa, slow down. I I'm not even married. And I I've never been with a man. I've got like, there's like, what? Like, how's this supposed to have. And then verse 35, the angel answered. Okay. Well, okay. Here, just listen, Mary. All right. The holy spirit is going to come on you and the power of the most high will overshadow you.
[00:23:46] So the holy one to be born will be called the son of God. And even Elizabeth, your relative is going to have a child in her old age. And she, who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month for no word from God will ever fail. I love that last, the way that, that first 37 in the. It echoes, uh, Isaiah 55 that God's word will never return void or empty.
[00:24:12] It will always accomplish what God said. It's going to do whatever God says you can count on. And that's what that saying, Mary, I know you don't understand this. I know it makes no sense. I know this feels like a dream, but you're going to conceive and all of this is going to happen in God's eye. And I also love the way the NS than a new American standard Bible renders.
[00:24:31] First 37 is worded. But I like it. It is for nothing will be impossible with God. Cause that's the crux of the issue here, Mary, something credible is about to happen and you're not going to believe this and it's going to be unbelievable, but believe it, because God says it's going to happen now. Mary's like going like what?
[00:24:54] Now she's stuttering here or stammering. She's not, not like Zachariah. Not like I don't believe I have no. She's just going. I don't get it. I just don't understand. And you got to realize she's a young girl for beaten. Her is an author who, uh, who I like to read him. But anyway, he has character sketches on the different players in that, in the narrative here.
[00:25:18] And I love what he says about Gabriel and Mary's exchange that we just read. Let me read the words of Frederick Buechner. She struck him. She marries, struck him, gave her. Has hardly old enough to have a child at all, let alone this child, but, but he had been entrusted with a message to give her and, and he gave it, he told her what the child was to be named who he was to be.
[00:25:45] And something about the mystery that was to come upon her. That's what we just read. You mustn't be afraid, Mary. He said, and as he said it, he only hoped she wouldn't notice that beneath the great golden wings. He himself was trembling with fear to think that the whole future of creation hung on the answer of a girl, not, not putting her down of a mirror girl of a young girl of a girl, this young, that all of creation your story in LA, I'm looking at you, your story is going to hinge on what she says to what Gabriel said to her was going to happen.
[00:26:30] Mary. Are you going to enter into this or are you going to reject him? It gets very personal. Are you going to reject God? Are you going to receive God? That's the question. All right. Now, as I've already said, let me go back. Both Matthew and Luke emphasize is a Virgin birth, which means this. Okay. Now let's just call it out.
[00:26:48] This is where it gets hard to believe. What do you mean? She's that doesn't happen, right? Nor does a fish swallow a prophet and keep them alive for three. And unless something supernatural happens, unless God intercedes and does something that is above the natural laws that we live with, the only way this is going to happen, it's a miracle outside of a miracle.
[00:27:11] There's no way that if you don't believe in miracles, you're going to have no room for this story. If you do believe in miracles, you just go, yeah, this is God, this is what he does, whatever he wants. However, he wants to get something done. He just gets it done. You don't have to explain it. And you're kind of left with a dilemma, but Peter Larson says something again.
[00:27:32] I think so profound, Peter Larson said this, despite our efforts to keep God out, to keep him out. God intrudes, the life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities of Virgin womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked no entrance, and he left through a door marked. No. If you see, if you can't take the miracle of the Virgin birth, you certainly won't understand the miracle of the resurrection.
[00:28:03] And if you don't understand the miracle of the resurrection, then all that got a house for you. You, you will never appropriate by faith. You'll never go. I believe it. And I received it. So really it's all gonna, you know, can you can, you're not, you either believe this or you don't and by the way, do you know that six, they just pulled people 66% of us cynical Americans say we believe the story.
[00:28:27] 66% go. Yeah. So if you do, you're not alone. And if you don't just need you to know where your fault. All right. Um, one of the things I need to say about this for and move on, she did not remain a perpetual Virgin as the early church fathers. Kind of, some of them taught she was forever a Virgin. No, no, she wasn't.
[00:28:47] All right. And I know that because scripture Matthew 1 25, but he had no union. Joseph had no union with her until she gave birth. No union until, and by the way later on in Jesus's life in Matthew 13, it says, and they were questioning who he was, who Jesus was. Isn't this the carpenter's son. Isn't his mother's name?
[00:29:06] Mary. And aren't his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. Aren't all of his sisters with us where then did this man get this stuff, getting these things. Yeah, I see. So capable. I wouldn't, how could he do all this? We know his family. Joseph and Mary had other kids. They just need to understand that. So, all right, Mary, what are you going to do as if that was the only, uh, complexity to the story?
[00:29:36] It's not, there's a guy, there's a guy named Joseph who is somewhere, is going to have a conversation with Mary and Mary is going to go, okay, Joseph, have a seat. Okay. I know there's. Well, first off, I'm pregnant. Second off. It was God. Okay. Remember surreal. I know it's hard to get your brain around this, Joseph.
[00:30:03] I know it's hard. It's really hard. I'm gonna tell you that's exactly what happened. Exactly. And he appeared and he said, and then, and then I was, and I don't know what to tell you. And. I think you could learn a lot about Joseph in his response. I think he genuinely loved Mary, even though again, they maybe never held hands.
[00:30:23] I don't know. I think that when she told him this, however, he got that news, I think he was just devastated. I think he was just devastated and I could spend a lot of time telling you why I believe that. I just think he just, it was imagining a fantastic life with this. Thanks dad for arranging this. This is awesome.
[00:30:45] And then all of a sudden, have you ever received, and yes, you have news that hits you in the gut. You get a call from a doctor or your employer or your friend
[00:31:01] or your significant other, and they tell you something and you just go no way. Just no way. Well, That's what happened to Joseph? And he's like, well, look at verse 19 and Matthew went, I don't know if I said this. I'm not sure. I jumped over to what Matthew adds. I didn't say this. So Luke's telling us really what happened to Joe, to Mary Matthew's kind of given us from Joseph.
[00:31:30] So I jumped over to the narrative and Matthew one member, those two tele the story, Matthew one 19 says because Joseph. Her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace. He had in mind to divorce her quietly. Let, let me tell you the alternative. He could literally bring Mary to the city gates and charge her with this woman was unfaithful and this year has proved it.
[00:31:58] I thought she was pure her that thought she was pure. We all thought she was pure. She's not pure. I have never been with her and here she finds herself pregnant. I don't know who the guy is. But I know I'm not that guy. And, uh, the consequence in the book of Deuteronomy, which I just don't have time to stone her to death stone, him and her and the guy, but we don't know who the guy is.
[00:32:21] He got her pregnant, but Joseph one, me, whoever that guy is when we find them, but she is pregnant and I didn't do it. So stone her to death. He can do that. Or, or he can just, you know, not disgrace her publicly, just divorce her quietly. And just go I'm out. I don't know what you did, Mary I'm out. I don't want anything to do with this.
[00:32:44] He could have got revenge. He could have preserved he, whatever he wants. Um, he said, I'm just going to divorce her quietly. And then the rest of that story is Matthew one 20. Look at this Matthew one 20, but after he had considered this, I'm just going to quietly divorce her, an angel of the Lord, appeared to him in a dream and said, Joseph's on a date.
[00:33:04] Then I'd be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the holy spirit, she will give birth to a son and you're to give him the name Jesus, which is Joshua God saves. All right. Um, give him the name. Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All of this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet.
[00:33:25] This is two weeks ago, we talked about Isaiah. The Virgin will conceive, give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel, which means God with. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him. And he took Mary home as his wife, but he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son.
[00:33:43] And he gave him the name. Jesus. Now I want to finish this time with you by just saying, okay. There's something about Mary. We got to talk about. I stopped at verse 37. Let me go back to Luke 1 38. And this is what Mary said. I listen carefully. So the angel Gabriel proposes to her. This is how this will work.
[00:34:08] How's it going to work? The Spirit's going to overshadow. God's going to do all this and you're going to get pregnant. Luke, 1 38 says I am the Lord's servant. Mary answered. May it be to me? As you have said, the angel, then. So she, she gonna say, yes, she can say, no, she can say all right, or no way I'm in or I'm out, whatever.
[00:34:31] She, she prayed the rarest prayer ever prayed. Now, listen carefully. This is so important. The rarest prayer ever prayed is the one that says, God, whatever you want, whatever is best for you. God, whatever you need of me, whatever your will be done. May it be done at any cost to me, whatever where's prayer ever prayed.
[00:34:59] Um, I need to make sure you understand what Mary stands to lose with that answer is her husband, Joseph. Who's going to go, not a chance. Her families respect and love and embrace. Mary, what have you done? What have you done? And society at large. Hey, there goes, Mary, have you heard the story? She says the holy spirit from God did that to her.
[00:35:25] Can you believe that, uh, all kinds of rumors are flying and by the way, they were flying, but she heard from God, she heard from God, because God spoke to her through an angel, Mary, this is what I want you. Can I just tie a bow on something we've been talking about the last two weeks. We've been talking about the frustration that we sometimes, when God, why don't you talk, God, I pray and you don't answer God, why don't you do this?
[00:35:52] And we get so frustrated at God at times. God, why don't you listen to me? And I, I don't, I don't fault you for your frustration at all. None. I get it. But how many times does God get frustrated at me? And maybe you, because Cal you get frustrated with me because I don't speak, I get frustrated with you because when I speak, you don't listen.
[00:36:22] How many times have I failed to listen when God has spoken? Oh, we made it clear. I knew what he took. I know what he said. I know exactly what he said. I shouldn't do it. They want it because I didn't hear Jesus address. I wonder if it's four things. She said one, one chapter of the Bible. Let me read these still quick.
[00:36:42] Matthew 13, nine, whoever has ears to hear, let them hear Matthew 13, 15. They might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn. And I would heal them. They would just listen to me, not the 13, 16, but bless it or your eyes because they see and your ears because they. And Matthew 1434, whoever has ears, let them hear.
[00:37:06] We all have ears. Folks. That doesn't mean we hear anything, how it goes. I speak, you don't listen. You get mad at me because I don't speak. I speak and you don't listen. Wow. What's causing you not to hear God wish the noise coming from this, keeping you from hearing. And I don't know what it is. Maybe it's just people that have.
[00:37:27] It's just shut down. You're so frustrated with something. Somebody did. You cannot any longer now hear from God. They should let that go pain. You've had to endure just God. I just think I shouldn't have to, but make me and I just lost. You've suffered some distractions that have gotten the best of you.
[00:37:52] Pride. That's blinding you to what God's trying to show you or fear that's binding you from what God's trying to tell you. I don't know. I don't know. This is what I do know in Luke 6 46, Jesus said, why do you call me Lord, Lord? And you don't do what I say. Why do you do that? Well, that's a great question.
[00:38:15] So I'm going to end right now with two things. I think we should do with Mary two things about this story that you have to walk out of here. What kind of. What kind of wherever you are, this, you got to walk away with number one. What should we do with Mary? We should've steamer. God chose her. She is highly favored of God.
[00:38:34] She's a virtuous woman who got honored in an incredible way, and we should hold Mary and high honor. We should not worship her though. She's not gone. She's a human being. God used in a great way. We should've steamer highly and two, we should emulate her. What is that? That, that means that she listened and she responded favorably towards God.
[00:38:59] We should emulate that. She was so amazing to me about Mary, is that she, it wasn't like she was disqualified because of her age. She was just qualified because she didn't have a title. She was disqualified because she wasn't, uh, you know, uh, uh, uh, you know, certified. Licensed, whatever that no theological training.
[00:39:25] No. What we should emulate. It's just a willingness to go. God, I don't know. I surreal this whole moment with this angel surreal. No, one's going to believe this, but I will do whatever you said, and we should do that. We'll pick this up, uh, in our next gathering on our Christmas Eve services, you won't believe what happens.
[00:39:50] Let me pray. We'll finish. So God, thanks for our time together. And now Lord, we do pray for this week. Then we pray that we are people who will listen. And one of the things you've told us to do is tell everyone, tell everyone, and God, I pray this week though. We'll just be busy. Just inviting people, just going, Hey, just come with me, man.
[00:40:07] Just hang out. I know the service is going to do exactly what you designed it to do, man. It's going to communicate of your love and your. I got to pray that people will get a chance to experience that. So this week we give to you this moment we get to this life we give to you. God use us. May it be, as you have said in Jesus name.
[00:40:27] Amen. Bless you guys. Thanks for being here.