Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Welcome to Day 261 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Ezekiel 45, regulations for the priests of the Lord who will serve, a call for honesty in weights and measures.
Ezekiel 46, regulations for the sacrifices and sacred days.
Note the similarities between Ezekiel’s vision of the temple and all the specifics in comparison to Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Numbers, etc…
Yes, we already read Luke earlier this year. Someone approached me over this past weekend and asked me about this…
The Life Journal reading plan is designed to take us through the Old Testament once and the New Testament TWICE. (I also noted that we will again be reading Revelation the last few weeks of December.)
Luke 1:30, “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
What an amazing promise given to Mary… by an angel.
Funny, when Zechariah questions the angel that appeared to him, the angel says, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. Since you don’t believe me, you will no longer be able to speak.”
(Why do I hear Gabriel in Robert De Niro’s voice saying, “Are you talkin’ to me??”)
I’m not sure what I would do or say if an angel, I mean a real angel, not a vision… but a real angel showed up and talked to me as they did with Mary and Zechariah, and subsequently to Joseph.
I’m sure I would have a lot of questions, too. Wouldn’t you??
Angel encounters all throughout the Bible are met with amazement and questions. And fear. In most cases, the angel would greet them by saying, “Do not be afraid.”
First, don’t be afraid. Second, I have something to tell you…
It’s not unusual for people to come up to me and tell me they saw an angel near me… or they tell me they saw angels in our service during worship standing, keeping watch, or moving among us.
But I have never seen an angel like this. An unmistakable appearance… including a specific message.
Not that I’m in a big hurry to have this encounter, mind you…
After theirs, Zechariah couldn’t speak until Elizabeth gave birth. And Mary became pregnant.
I’m not crazy about either of those possibilities.
But notice, something is being birthed, literally and figuratively in their lives.
I’m turning 50 this year… I can’t imagine being told that Bonnie and I are going to have a baby. Of course, Elizabeth was barren up to this point… and they were past child-bearing years. Surprise! Blessing!
And Mary? Wow… a teenage, unwed mother.
In our culture today, 40% of babies are born to unwed mothers. Not so back then. This was a shameful experience for her. She had to “treasure all these things and ponder them in her heart,” just to get through. It would take a promise from an angel to endure the public scorn, and for Joseph to get the courage to go through with marrying her.
Now fast forward 30 years…
Elizabeth and Zechariah’s son, John… John the Baptist… Announcing the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Jesus said that there was none greater born of a woman than John the Baptist, “Yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
That’s us. You and me. The “least in the kingdom of heaven…” (I would rather assume that I am among the least until he tells me otherwise. 🙂
We have been born into his kingdom, through our acceptance of Christ and the work he did on the cross.
We have been given a promise through his word that one day we will see him face to face. And we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 1 John 3:2.
Face to face.
Not with an angel, but with Jesus.
I look forward to that day, when I will see you and know you as you know me.