This Christmas as we listen to the stories of Christmas and worship our Lord Jesus Christ we are reminded that in the apparent weakness of the baby Jesus there is great power at work.Luke sets the story of Jesus’ birth within the context of history – the seemingly mighty and powerful Caesar Augustus issues a decree that a census should be taken of the whole Roman world – Luke 2:1. The passage teaches us that the powerful Augustus is fulfilling God’s plans that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem and fulfill prophecy – Micah 5:2.
Luke sets the story within the context of history because Jesus enters our history. Luke is a first rate historian (Luke 1:1-4) and we can be confident that the Scriptures we read are not made up but record history as Luke under the guidance of God’s Spirit gathered eyewitness accounts of Jesus. God wants us to be confident in our faith that the person of Jesus and His message is truthful history. This is not myth. As the story unfolds we learn that Joseph and Mary take the newborn Jesus to the temple to dedicate him to the Lord. They are obedient Jews who seek to obey the law in the ordinary course of events and it is in this context – in the ordinary that God’s Spirit guides Simeon to take the child Jesus in His arms and give thanks to God for Him. Simeon says that Jesus is God’s salvation 2:30.God’ salvation is focused on Jesus and this salvation is for all people 2:31-32 and these verses point to the cross as the place where this salvation is achieved. I am expecting and praying that the Lord will bring us a variety of people and cultures to be part of this church for this is God’s purpose – that all cultures may come to know Jesus. Please pray with me and expect this work of God amongst us. Whilst the message of Jesus is uplifting and encouraging we also note that the very coming of Jesus will bring division. This is because you cannot be neutral with Jesus. Jesus comes as Saviour, Christ and Lord. That means that His work to forgive our sins also carries with it a command and call to submit to Him as our Lord and King. It follows that given that the heart of sin is wanting to run our own life then not all people will embrace Jesus because as Simeon says 2:34 Jesus will cause the rising and falling of people. You cannot be neutral with Jesus because He asks for and expects a response. Of course responding to Jesus is in our best interests and to our advantage because He loves us and seeks our good. We learn that Simeon gets “his bucket list” , meaning that his great desire is to see Jesus before he dies and God has promised him this 2:26. What is your bucket list ? May you see that knowing Jesus and growing in your faith is the #1 on your bucket list !
God’s peace Rev David O’Mara All Souls Anglican Church Leichhardt Pastor’s Blog 7
Welcome - Christmas Day Friday 25 December 2015
Dear All Souls Church Family,
We thank the Lord for you and believe that God is building us into a team who support each other. In 2016 let us support one another and pray for one another and as the great missionary William Carey said – expect great things from God and attempt great things for God. It is all up to God and be confident and encouraged that He wants to use us – Yes even us ! We pray for a joyful and Holy Christmas for you all.
Love David, Cheryl, Joseph, Peter and Benjamin O’Mara