A Holy and Surprising Birth (NextSunday Studies)

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9780982384299: A Holy and Surprising Birth (NextSunday Studies)

It was not an easy birth. The new covenant in which Christians now trust was introduced through a hard labor. Mystery and scandal surrounded the good news. God caught people off guard with holy surprises. Many predicted the arrival of a messiah, a Jewish commander who would save his people and grant them an eternally peaceful kingdom. In the new covenant, those predictions had to be reexamined and, for believers in Jesus Christ, reinterpreted. Before the messiah’s advent, some people expected Elijah the prophet. One came very much like Elijah—fiery, opinionated, and moody. But this prophet, John, was also different—raised by elderly parents after a miraculous pregnancy and healing. There were no miracles associated with John himself, but the significant ritual of baptism set aside his disciples. He was a great man born to point to a greater man. That man, Jesus, also had an interesting birth story: mysterious and scandalous. An angel told Mary, “Your son will save his people from their sins.” Mary sang God’s praises for the liberator of her people. God’s new covenant included the promise of justice for the poor. The poor included Mary and her family. “You will name him Jesus,” the angel said. Jesus means “God saves.” This is the Christmas message. God comes in the flesh through hard labor to save us. Christmas begins here, then, with an angel’s messages, unexpected pregnancies, the struggle for liberation, the quiet periods for reflection and the realization that God keeps centuries-old promises. Our faith begins with the faith of Elizabeth and Mary. Our hope and joy are expressed in the songs and ponderings enveloping the manger. Our love for God is deepened when we read these Nativity stories. Let us read these five love stories with a fresh appreciation of God’s laborious effort to birth our salvation.

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Rick Jordan, Jim Dant (Commentary)
Published by NextSunday Resources (2009)
ISBN 10: 0982384297 ISBN 13: 9780982384299
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Rick Jordan
Published by NextSunday Resources (2009)
ISBN 10: 0982384297 ISBN 13: 9780982384299
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