Today’s message summary of December 1, 2019 from Pastor Gus Brown:
It takes a very strong individual to overcome the unexpected.
It is our desire to be strong whenever something comes up that we don’t see coming.
When is the last time that you were caught off guard by the unforeseen or unanticipated reality of life? If you believe in God, you are going to be surprised in life in how He performs through you.
These are times of growth within the unexpected experience. You will indeed be surprised.
Being involved and engaged in God’s work is never easy, because service is all about sacrifice. It is about challenges and rewards for the services rendered.
Service always requires sacrifice. This, in itself, makes living a life as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ somewhat difficult.
Christmas is all about Jesus Christ as He is the main character. There is also interaction of other people within the Christmas story.
John the Baptist is Elizabeth’s son. Jesus, the Savior, is Mary’s son. For both of these women, God knew the real person on the inside that they themselves didn’t know.
In the same way, when you are going through difficulty, God will enable you with His presence to help you through the experience.
Neither Elizabeth not Mary were expecting what would happen to them. Mary was a virgin, and she was certainly not expecting to have a child outside of wedlock. Elizabeth had been married for a number of years. She was not a virgin, but she was childless.
God interacts within each woman’s life, but differently.
After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
Elizabeth recognized that God has blessed her (found favor) and taken away her disgrace in being childless. He showed her favor. Note also that Zechariah stayed with his wife for the entire time before this and that he loved her in spite of being unable to have a child.
As for Mary:
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
The angel informed Mary that she had found favor with the Lord.
Mary was still greatly troubled at the words of the angel Gabriel.
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, was very joyful! She was going to have a child (Luke 1:24-25). She was barren her entire life, and now she was hidden (KJV) because she wanted to make sure that the baby would go to term. She was already up in age, and she wanted to make sure that this was for real. Inside, she was joyful!
Mary was troubled because everyone would see her pregnancy and that she would have to explain to everyone what was going on.
Mary’s mother and father were never mentioned here. Mary is pregnant, and the father would have had to sign off on the contract between Mary and Joseph. To get pregnant in this way, the contract could have been broken.
Mary told the angel that she was a virgin.
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
To confirm what God was going to do, Mary was informed of Elizabeth, who she already knew, and that everything would be accomplished according to His plan.
This was confirmed when Mary visited Elizabeth after her visit with the angel Gabriel.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
What was said was not from the angel here, but instead from her relative, Elizabeth.
It is hard to accept these things that were unexpected. Mary was told that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and that Elizabeth would also have a child in her old age.
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.”
Mary was carrying God’s holy and divine child, and could not understand how she could be made pregnant without knowing a man. Mary needed to see that, in spite of her ability to understand, that nothing is impossible when God is involved.
It was all unexpected.
When Joseph signed his contract to wed Mary, he was not expecting everything that came with it.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Joseph had it in mind to not make a public spectacle of Mary’s pregnancy. God knew the heart of Joseph and his character.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Jesus needed an earthly father, and Joseph was that man.
For Joseph, as well as Mary, this was hardly anything that he had planned. This was completely unexpected.
Joseph was obedient. He was a carpenter who still loved Jesus (as a step-father) and also taught him to be a carpenter.
Joseph acted like a father to Jesus. He loved him as if He were his own son.
It was unexpected, but he did the job.
Both Elizabeth and Mary faced public disgrace, but they did their jobs.
Both mothers may have experienced their sons’ adult ministries. Elizabeth’s son lived an isolated life, not like that of her husband Zechariah the priest, who served in the temple.
John served out in the wilderness, outside of the temple.
Matthew 3:1-2, 13
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Jesus rendered His service outside of heaven, and in the wilderness of sinful humanity (earthly).
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Both mothers’ sons died in service for God (in their thirties).
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
Mary, Jesus’ mother was present when Jesus went to the cross.
…but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
We can’t begin to capture all that was in these statements. What makes the story of Jesus a real story–more than a myth or a legend–is the people that lived around Jesus. It was Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah that also were greatly impacted with the unexpected. God used each of them in His plan.
God knew the type of women that Elizabeth and Mary were and would be. All that they experienced was unexpected, but they were enabled by God with strength to carry on.
Mary lived with Jesus for over thirty years. What she experienced at the cross had to be unbelievable. Jesus had to die on the cross for her sins and the sins of others.
All things are possible with God. While we don’t understand everything that is happening around us, we can be assured that God is using each one of us to accomplish incredible things to His glory and purpose.