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Sermon for December 18, 2022 – 4th Sunday of Advent

Speaking of Life 5004 | The Might and Light of a Saving Love

Program Transcript


Speaking of Life 5004 | The Might and Light of a Saving Love
Greg Williams

If you were sick to the point of death, three things would be needed to restore your health.

First, you would need someone willing to heal you. Second, this person would have to be capable of doing the healing. And third, you would need to know you need healing in the first place.

This can serve as a metaphor for our need for a Savior from our terminal diagnosis of sin. Only, part of our spiritual illness involves a blindness to the fact that we are indeed ill. That blindness would need to be healed in order for us to even call out for healing. That presents a major obstacle to ever being saved from sin and the ultimate death it brings.

Advent is a time to be reminded that we have a savior whose love overcomes all obstacles.

Notice the first three verses of Psalm 80, which anticipates Jesus’ coming and therefore is a classic Advent Psalm. Here we will see God’s perfect provision of salvation in Jesus, who overcomes all obstacles to our being healed and made whole.

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Psalm 80:1-3 (NRSV)

The first verse of this Psalm uses language that is distinct in all of scripture. The title “Shepherd of Israel”—with the description of one who leads “Joseph like a flock”—is meant to convey compassion, tenderness, and one who is intimately involved. This points to the coming of Jesus who is our True Shepherd, one who is willing to save us. Our first need for salvation is met in Jesus.

Then the Psalm presents us with images that come from Ezekiel about One who is “enthroned upon the cherubim.” This challenges the imagination with concepts of power beyond human comprehension. This transcendent image is the background of the psalmist’s call for God to “stir up your might.” This God is not only willing and available like a Shepherd, but his might is more than capable to save us from any foe. Our second need for salvation is again met in Jesus.

Finally, the Psalm records what this mighty Shepherd comes to do—“shine forth.” It’s the light of his face shining on us that heals our blindness and brings us out of the darkness.

In this light of love that comes to dwell among us, we are enabled to confess our sins and receive his healing and restoration. In this way, all of salvation—even our need to confess and repent—is a gift of grace that comes to us in Jesus Christ. So even this final obstacle is overcome in Jesus.

On that ground we can join the psalmist’s refrain that calls out three times “Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” As we continue to celebrate Advent, we can be reminded that God’s love has made all provisions and overcomes all obstacles to save us and make us whole.

I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 • Isaiah 7:10-16 • Romans 1:1-7 • Matthew 1:18-25

This week’s theme is the light of love comes and dwells among us. The call to worship Psalm presents a petition for help with a reference to Joseph, anticipating the need of salvation that Jesus comes to provide. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah recounts the sign of a young woman who will give birth to a son named Immanuel. The Gospel reading from Matthew quotes the sign given in our Isaiah reading and tells the story of Joseph’s marriage to Mary who is pregnant with Jesus. The epistolary text comes from the opening of Romans with its Christological confession that relates the coming of Christ in the context of God’s saving activity in history.

A Birth of Light & Love

Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSVUE)

Today is Advent 4, the last Sunday of Advent before we celebrate the arrival of Jesus on Christmas. Advent 4 carries the theme of love which can be seen as the culmination of what we learn about God throughout this season. When the Father sends his own Son to us, we are given a revelation of who God is in his inner being. We are given to know the Father in the same way the Son knows the Father. And what we see is what the Apostle John later records in 1 John 4:8— “God is Love.” It’s not that God is simply loving as if love is some universal principle that the Father just happens to do better than anyone else. No, the statement that “God is love” means that God, in his very being and character, is love and the very source of love. There is no other source of love to draw from.

This speaks immediately to what God has given us in sending Jesus Christ, his Son. Not only does he give us a true revelation of himself in Jesus, on account of who Jesus is as God’s Son, where we have the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his nature,” as the book of Hebrews puts it (Hebrews 1:3). But he also gives us his love. And if “God is love” then what we mean by God giving us his love is that he is actually giving us himself in Christ Jesus. This is the gift the Father is giving us on Christmas. This gift comes to us in his Son, Jesus Christ, where “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). So, as we close out the Advent season, we can heighten our anticipation of Jesus’ coming, knowing that he brings us both his revealing light of who his Father is, and the love which he shares with his Father in the Holy Spirit. In short, we can anticipate the light of love coming to dwell among us.

To focus our attention on this light of love, we have the short account in Matthew that tells the story of the angel visiting Joseph. Matthew begins his Gospel by seeking to answer the question, “Who is this Jesus born in Bethlehem?” Matthew will fill out his answer further with four stories surrounding the birth of Jesus. The first one is in Matthew 1:1-17 where we find that Jesus is in the line of descendants of Abraham and David. The second answer he gives us comes from our text today where we find that Jesus is the child of a virgin named Mary, who is betrothed to Joseph. The third story is in Matthew 2:1-12 where Jesus is shown to be the king of the Jews and the hope of all nations. Matthew’s final story in 2:13-23 lets us know that Jesus is God’s Son who is called out of Egypt. Matthew begins his Gospel with a strong focus on letting us know just who Jesus is, and all the stories around Jesus’ birth give us more of the answer. They are certainly worth reading all the way through in anticipation and celebration as Advent ends and we enter the Christmas season.

But, for today, we will focus only on one of Matthew’s stories and see what light is given to us of God’s love.

“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18 NRSVUE)

Matthew finds it important to dispel any notion that Jesus is not from the line of David on account of the argument that Joseph was not his father. So, Matthew tells us that Mary was already engaged, or betrothed, to be married to Joseph before she was found to be pregnant. Unlike our modern-day engagement period where a couple is engaged to be married but not actually considered married until after the wedding, in the time of Matthew’s readers it was understood that an engagement carried the same weight as marriage. Betrothal, in that time, was considered a legal bond that was only broken by divorce or death. Our modern ears may miss this nuance, but Matthew is making sure to establish that Joseph is legally Jesus’ father and therefore establishes Jesus in the line of David.

Matthew may settle the argument with this clarification in the story of how Jesus’ birth took place, but he also sheds some light for us of who our Father in heaven is by way of the narrative. For starters, the theme of marriage is a perfect context to introduce the coming of Jesus. God, throughout the entire Old Testament, has presented himself as the husband of Israel. Jesus’ Father is a covenant God. When he sends his Son, he does so in the confines of a covenant relationship between Joseph and Mary, who are both Jews under the covenant relationship established between Israel and God. And, as disruptive and challenging as this sending of his Son may be for Joseph and Mary, the covenant must not be broken. We will see God move to ensure his covenant love breaking into the world does not break apart our covenant love for one another. In the narrative, what we see of the God that Jesus comes to reveal, is God’s faithfulness. God is faithful to us and will never divorce or abandon us, no matter how difficult things become. God’s claim on marriage is reinforced as the pinnacle witness of the covenant relationship he establishes with us in Jesus Christ. This is the love of the Father we see in Jesus Christ.

He is also revealed as the God of life. If anything signals life, it’s a new baby. Jesus does not come to us as an idea or philosophy. He does not come to us as a principle, or a law, or a value, and certainly, not as an inanimate thing. He is a real, living person. Jesus is our life. Jesus coming to us as an embryo brings the sanctity of life in the womb, indicating that no part of our lives is left untouched, and therefore, unhealed, since Jesus came to us first as an unborn child.

Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly. (Matthew 1:19 NRSVUE)

Joseph is then given the description as “being a righteous man.” But notice by what account he is considered righteous. He was unwilling to let Mary be disgraced. By the law, Joseph would be expected to divorce Mary for her apparent adultery. But, at great cost to himself, Joseph does not take advantage of this legal right. If he had, he could have regained the bride-price he may have paid. This typically represented several years of savings. He also could have kept any dowry the bride’s father had given. So, Joseph forfeited considerable finances out of compassion for Mary. Instead of going through the courts, he attempts to “divorce her quietly” as a way of minimizing as much public shame as he could. He did not want to make her a public spectacle.

But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21 NRSVUE)

Now we find that Joseph is confronted with the truth of his and Mary’s situation. An angel is sent to let Joseph know that the child was not conceived by another human but is conceived by the Holy Spirit. For Joseph to continue with the marriage will mean he will now share in the shame that would have been limited to Mary. It will be assumed that Joseph and Mary conceived the child before their marriage, which would be a stigma they both would have to carry. It’s interesting that Joseph and Mary will be branded with sinning as they play their part of bringing into the world the one who “will save his people from their sins.” There is a bit of foreshadowing here of Jesus taking on our sins and giving us his righteousness. We are again given a light to see the Father’s love. The Father does not come to hold our sins against us, but to remove our sins by taking them on himself. God’s love is seen to be a consuming fire, a love the burns away all that is against us. Our sin will not be allowed to leave us in disgrace, as he will exchange our unrighteousness for his righteousness.

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23 NRSVUE)

Matthew only gives one reason to why Jesus was born in this way, and that is to fulfill Scripture. This tells us the importance God places on his written word to us. He has chosen to speak to us through his written word and he does not back down from that commitment. This can give us confidence to go to the Scriptures to hear the Lord speak to us today. It is there he meets us in person, revealing who he is for us by the Spirit in Jesus Christ. The Living Word does not cease to be “Emmanuel” or “God with us” in his written word. On the contrary, the Living Word meets us and communes with us in his written word as a gift of grace to us. And until he returns, we can be assured he will still meet us in the pages of the Bible.

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son; and he named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25 – NRSVUE)

Joseph’s actions towards Mary are consistent with the grace God is bringing in his Son. God’s righteousness is understood as his committed love to us even at great cost to himself. His love is not limited by laws and rules but goes beyond to fulfill their intent. For Joseph to obey what the Lord commanded would mean he would take on the shame and suffering that would come by participating in the coming of Jesus. He would not choose a legal justification to abandon Mary. But notice the nod to resurrection even here at the beginning of Jesus’ story. Joseph obeys when he “awoke from sleep.” The obedience Joseph displays is given some teeth with the details of not having “marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son.” This was not just an obedience carried out in one decision, but an ongoing commitment to daily keep that decision.

You can imagine the amount of self-control this young couple would have to exert to live in this obedience. Joseph was also being a faithful witness with his obedience as the prophecy says that Jesus would be born of a virgin, not just conceived in one. Joseph would not compromise the witness of Scripture to Jesus by living contrary to it. But his obedience comes after he “awoke from sleep.” We too can anticipate an obedience that is a faithful witness to Jesus on account of the resurrection Jesus brings. We are made new creatures whose heart has been turned back to the Father to do his will in faithful obedience day in and day out. We don’t do it on our own steam, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In conclusion, let’s be clear who the real hero of this story is. It’s not Joseph, although he does serve as a wonderful example of one who is obedient, compassionate, and full of grace. But he serves as a witness of Jesus who is full of grace, bringing his obedience to the Father for us to participate in, while also bringing his Father’s compassion to us to receive. Joseph also serves as an example of what we are to become in Jesus. Obedient, faithful, committed, compassionate, self-controlled witnesses to God. In a word, we are to take on the love God pours out on us.

It’s not Joseph who brings this love to the story. It is Jesus who brings the light and love of the Father to a darkened world lost in sin, waking us up to participate in his life by the Spirit. After all, let us not forget the miracle of the story. Jesus was born of a virgin. Joseph contributed nothing. The light and love of the Father is grace all the way through.

The Welcome Mat w/ Al Kurzawa W3

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December 18 – Advent 4
Matthew 1:18-25 “God With Us”

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Program Transcript


Anthony: Let’s move on to our next passage for the month. It’s Matthew 1: 18 – 25. It is the Revised Common Lectionary passage for Advent 4, which is on December the 18th.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. 20 As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled: 23 Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel.  (Emmanuel means “God with us.”) 24 When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.

The author Robert Capon once described talking about God as throwing analogies against the mystery. I love that. Articulating the implications of the incarnation of the son of God is nearly an impossible task, Al. And yet we try. We try to put words to it. So, tell us about the birth of Jesus.

Al: If I’m going to trip up, this is it, because it’s almost beyond our language. And it’s why we have to then refer and use things like metaphors and poetry to try and capture something that’s so beyond straightforward words.

And I’m going to refer to another author, C.S. Lewis. As I came across his readings, he uses an analogy that really helped for me, and that was a cube and a square. And he was talking about that as a square, a square only lives in two dimensions. And it can only understand two dimensions. It can understand one dimension and two. But a cube is in three dimensions, and the square is just not going to be able to understand the cube. But the cube can understand the square because part of the cube is that square part, that two dimensions.

And where CS Lewis was going with that analogy is that God, not that God is a cube, but that God is God. And we can’t use creation and things of creation to describe the Trinity. We can’t go there because God is not a part of his creation. He is the creator.

But what’s amazing and this is what blows me away, is that God, even though he’s beyond us in creation, and we’re only created beings, God wants us to know him. He wants to reveal himself to us. Like this cube wants the square to actually know the cube in one sense. God isn’t limited, whereas the cube is limited; he can’t make the square understand three dimensions. God’s not limited, and he actually does something that blows us away. He makes himself known by coming down and becoming one of us.

He reveals himself to us by becoming one of us – human, fully human, born of a woman, just like you and me. And then in this person of Jesus Christ in his birth, we then find out that God is a relational God. We have a Father who says, this is my Son who my love. And we have this Spirit flowing through the Son.

And the Son says, I only do what the Father tells me to do. And I see my Father at work, and I participate. And so, we find out that this is a relational God. And so, this God who’s the creator and we’re only the creation, has somehow figured out a way to actually reveal himself to us. Not everything, because we can’t fully comprehend God, but enough to know that this is a relational God who’s willing to humble himself and become one of us.

In one sense, it’s the ultimate in place-sharing. We didn’t come up with this phrase, place-sharing. God actually shows us what place-sharing is. He comes and sets up his tent with us. John 1:14. He makes his dwelling with us. It’s like he’s setting up his tent.

You know when you go on a drive, and you stop at a rest area? You stop, you stretch your legs and then you go. But when you go camping, you bring a tent, you bring sleeping gear, you bring food, and you set up the tent, and you’re planning to stay there for a while to actually be part of this campsite and be part of it. And so, when it says, God sets up his tent with us, he comes and actually dwells with us.

He place-shares with us by actually experiencing humanity as we experience humanity. He experiences hunger, he experiences cold, he experiences being rejected and betrayal. Disciples leave him. He experiences bloodying up his knee. He experiences joy, and he shows us what true life is because he has the experience of the Father and the Spirit and being in communion with them and showing us that’s what his intentions are for us.

Anthony: Karl Barth, and I’m paraphrasing, talked about how we cannot comprehend God, as you mentioned, at best, we can apprehend, get glimpses. But thanks be to God that he wants to reveal himself and self-revelation in the person of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity.

And this is why the incarnation is so mindboggling that he would stoop to our level, just to be with his kids. Like you, as a parent, getting down on the floor with your child to play with them to meet them where they are. That the actual true Sabbath would walk into a synagogue on the sabbath day, just to be with his people, it is astonishing. May we never lose the awe and wonder of the incarnation of our Lord.

Let’s think about Joseph and his actions toward Mary for a moment. What, if anything, can his actions teach us?

Al: First, what jumps out at me is Joseph’s respect for Mary, right from the start. If you know a bit about the culture at that time, the patriarchal system, the way husbands could treat their wives, the way men Jewish men could treat women in this story.

Joseph could have behaved and acted in a whole lot of ways when he finds out that Mary was pregnant. And those ways could have ruined Mary’s life, or at least caused her a tremendous amount of pain. But right from the beginning, he wanted to honor her and respected her. Even the thought of divorcing her quietly so that it didn’t cause her any more grief than she was already going to feel being pregnant out of wedlock.

So, we see right from the beginning, this is a man who wanted to respect a female. And that right there, I think, in that culture, tells us a bit about Joseph. And then we see his faith and obedience to God, because when God tells him, No, you’re going to marry Mary, he obeys God’s instructions after the dream.

So, we see his respect for Mary, and we see him honoring God by not consummating the marriage until after Jesus was born. So, he follows God’s instructions, marries Mary, but then he also doesn’t consummate because he knows that this is sacred. This is something special going on.

And he allows Mary to go through the full pregnancy and Jesus is born, as the passage tells us.

Anthony: Yeah, that’s, I’m just thinking about what you stated in terms of just the way he honored her, respected her, and he had at his disposal, societal options that would have really belittled and humiliated her.

And in that way, he embodied our Lord Jesus Christ because Jesus could shame us. He literally has every right to belittle our waywardness, but he doesn’t. He even in the midst of great mocking and pain on the cross, he says, Father, forgive them, as he reveals the heart of the Father.

I thank God for Joseph in the way that he’s reflecting reality, that we experience with Jesus Christ our Lord.

Al, the witness of both Testaments in Scripture seem to point, and they don’t just seem to, they do point to a God who really likes his kids, who wants to be with his people. And so, we have a God named, Emmanuel, God with us, which explicates that reality.

So, the with-ness of God, what does it teach us? What is our response to it? What do you want to share with us?

Al: Oh boy. This is a good one. That’s a good question. Boy, we could go quite a while on this, so I’ll try to refrain from going too long. But Jesus himself defines, as I mentioned earlier, place-sharing with us.

God comes and place-shares with us. And I heard this once, I think it was Randy Bloom one time mentioned that the incarnation is God’s radical affirmation of our humanity. He takes on our humanity. And then I first heard this line from Elmer Colyer (but he might have been quoting Torrance), that God does not want to be God without us.

So, he chooses to be God with us, and both Testaments say, I will be their God and they will be my people. That’s the beautiful concluding image in Revelation. I will be their God and they will be my people. And it’s not us going off somewhere; it’s that God comes to us.

Even in Revelation, even in the final coming, God comes to us and there’s a new heaven and a new earth where it’s together, where we are in the full presence of God.

So, this God, this creator of the universe, the God, the one who’s created everything, who is complete in and by himself of the three persons of the Trinity and lacks nothing, chooses to be God with us.

Wow. His creation. We’re just his creation. We’re lowly humans who continue to rebel against him time and time again. And yet, every time we rebel against him and turn our backs, God continues to say no to our no and chooses to be God with us. And it wasn’t just this one time where Jesus comes and is on earth for 30 years with us.

He then sends the Holy Spirit, which is God’s presence. The Spirit of the Son is now flowing through us and the body of the Church. And then it doesn’t stop then either; in Jesus’ final coming, God is with us. And so, we get to be with him in his full glory for all eternity.

So this is definitely a God who shows us time and time again – from the beginning of the story when he’s walking in the garden looking for Adam and Eve to the very end when he comes down and says, I will be their God and they will be people – this is a God who wants to be with us. And that is what can really humble us again and again.

And it’s also something that we can truly clinging to when we mess up, when we goof up, when we just make our sin again. And we’re like, Why am I still doing this? Why am I frustrating with this?

This is what we can clinging to, is that this is a God who wants to be God with us. He chooses to dwell with us. Even if we don’t deserve it, this is what he wants to do. And he just continues to invite us. I like to use the word, drawing. He’s continually drawing us to him like a magnet. He just draws us to him because he loves us so much.

He wants to be with us.

Anthony: Yeah, that’s such a good word, such an encouraging word during Advent because part of Advent is this longing, this anticipation, this waiting for the arrival of God to be with us. And he is.

It’s like you said, and I think this is an important word to bring up, that even as we talk about the eschatological truth of Jesus’s second coming, we cannot rightfully talk about it as if God in Jesus Christ is not here by his Spirit.

And sometimes you get this disconnect like, Oh, we’re just waiting for the fullness of the kingdom, as if God is not with us now, but he is, even if we don’t sense it.

And really isn’t that a big part of the Christian walk? That the God that we have with us in the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of our heart to see the reality of God’s presence with us in the here and now. It’s this growing in our awareness of God’s power and presence by the Holy Spirit. So, this is such a fantastic word at a time of Advent in a time of chaos and disconnection to know that God is with us and he’s going to see his good promises through. Amen and amen.

Al: Amen. And if I could just add Anthony, you know that disconnect you’re talking about, when we think about, Oh Jesus isn’t here with us; he went and ascended to heaven. The great news is that we ascended with him. He took us with him. Paul says that we only see things darkly right now because we’re with Jesus.

So, whether it is in heaven where Jesus sits at the right hand of the throne, or whether it’s down here on Earth, Jesus is with us because his Spirit, as you were just saying, flows through us. So, Jesus is with us. And if we think, oh Jesus is up there somewhere in heaven, well, we’re with him there because he rose with us.

That this union with Christ was so important to Paul that he says it like 172 times one way or another, that we are in Christ, in Jesus Christ. One way or another. He says it over and over again because we are, our life is in Christ. So, we are so united with him.

So, when he died, we died with him. When he rose, we rose with him When he ascends to heaven. He takes us with them and dwells at the right hand. So, we are always with Christ. That is the only way to have life, is our union with Christ. That is our life. There is no life outside of that. So, he comes in the incarnation to show us that he is with us.

And then the whole story, the New Testament, is that he is always with us. Whether he dies and goes into the grave, whether the grave is empty, whether he’s resurrected, whether he ascends. We are always with Jesus because we are now united with him.

Anthony: That’s so powerful and hard to, again, comprehend that there is this double movement of grace that we are in Christ and so therefore we do what Christ does.

We move closer to the Father. That’s what love does. It always moves closer to the other. That’s what obedience looks like too, as Jesus is obedient to the Father, but also, he is with us by the Spirit. So, as I’m frying my eggs in the morning, he’s there. Yes, I find myself in sin. He is there when I’m loving my family, or not.

He is there and always through love, not just leaving us where we are, helping us to mature into himself, who is the head of the church. Hallelujah, praise God. It’s like you said at the top when I asked the question, we really could spend an entire podcast, a series of podcasts trying to describe this with-ness that we have with God in God.

Hallelujah.

Al: I love that phrase, you just used double movement. That’s beautiful and that we can just chew on that. Just take that with you, that double movement and it’s God moving towards us, but then God drawing us towards him, and then it’s in Jesus’s obedience that we’re able to draw towards him.

And so, God again, initiates both, but it’s this double movement that we get to participate in. So that’s a great phrase that you used.


Small Group Discussion Questions

From Speaking of Life

  • Discuss the metaphor of being healed of a terminal disease by a willing doctor capable of healing us, and our need for a savior from our terminal diagnosis of sin.
  • According to the video, and Psalm 80:1-3, how does Jesus meet our need for salvation?

From the Sermon 

  • Does Advent 4 with its theme of love have more meaning to you knowing that the scripture tells us that “God is love?” What is God giving us when he gave us his Son?
  • What did you make of Jesus being born into the context of a covenant marriage? What does this say about God and his relationship to us? What does it say about marriage?
  • Were there any points of encouragement that came from knowing Jesus was given to us at the point of conception? What does God becoming flesh say about human life?
  • How did Joseph being described as a “righteous man” because he did not want to disgrace Mary make you think about “righteousness”?
  • How did this passage effect your view of the Scriptures?
  • Can you think of other ways Joseph witnesses to the light and love of God in this story?

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