The twelve Apostles were more than students, Jesus was looking for partners in the work of ministry. That is always the biblical model of leadership. Leaders lead by example as we work together.
The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of his public ministry. Jesus did not preach a sermon that day, but there are some things we can learn about him from this event.
During the incarnation, the Son of God gave up some characteristics of divinity. God’s Spirit was on him but he was born and grew up in the manner that all children do. He was acquainted with grief and sorrow, subject to temptation as we are. All so that he could sympathize with our weakness. He became one of us to save us.
We celebrate Epiphany in January to mark the fact that it took the wise men some time – a considerable amount of time – to reach Jesus and finally worship him. The shepherds looked for Jesus, found him, and immediately went out and told others. The wise men traveled a great distance and ran into some obstacles along the way but their persistence paid off.
A week after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary brought him to the temple as prescribed by the Law. Simeon was directed to the temple that day by the Holy Spirit, Anna was a prophetess who was always at the temple worshiping God with prayer and fasting day and night.
The images on our cards and our Christmas displays/decorations are useful but they do not tell the whole story.
You can have peace in a world that does not know peace. We can live in God’s peace on the earth now and in the coming Kingdom. The shepherds in Luke 2 exemplify hearing and responding to the Gospel.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” Luke 2:10 NKJV
On the Second Sunday of Advent we light the Bethlehem Candle and think about the kind of faith Mary and Joseph had to follow God despite their circumstances.
I don’t know what happened last year but looking back at the website archives reminded me that I did not get to preach on the first Sunday of Advent back in 2019. I had a sermon prepared and wrote up a blog post but there must have been severe weather or a lot of sickness or something that caused us to call off church service. So here we go, “A New Hope” the first of four Advent sermons that’s been one year in the making.