The Unexpected Arrival of an Unexpected Messiah: Who Is Jesus S1 E7 Notes
Season 1 - Meet The Family
Episode 7 - “The Unexpected Arrival of the Expected Messiah”
Pastor Josh McPherson, March 24th, 2019
Text: Luke 2:1-21
One of the most recognized and well-known portions of Luke’s Gospel
Popularized by Linus in Charlie Brown’s Christmas
Familiar manger scene…but don’t let it cloud or cover the unexpected lessons
I. The Historical Event…Jesus is Born
Caesar Augustus - ruled over all Roman Empire, most of the known world; one of the most far-reaching prominent empires in history
Quirinius - “cabinet member” of Caesar Augustus, enforcing policies
Joseph & Mary - Rural, small town, blue collar, poor, powerless, teenagers
Census - Bureaucracy, all about who to tax, amassing wealth & power
What’s really happening through this event?
ANSWER: Promise & Fulfillment…God is bringing His Messiah into the world.
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Micah 5:2, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days,”
The Mystery of Christianity… 2,000 years later, we’re not singing songs about Caesar Augustus, we’re singing songs about Jesus… even if you don’t believe in Jesus, you’ve got to wrestle with that.
II. The Theological Meaning…God is With Us
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:14… “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
Very Significant… Theologians call it the doctrine of the Incarnation…
This is NOT…
… a normal person becoming God - the first lie in the garden and all false religions teach that a human can become God, Christianity teaches that God became human
… Jesus coming into existence at birth - Jesus was eternally God, present at Creation
… Jesus ceasing to be God - the reason they killed him is because he claimed to be God, He lived a sinless life, He forgave sins, Creation obeyed him, etc
… Jesus not being fully man - He wasn’t like Clark Kent, no big S on the inside; he suffered, was tempted, got hungry & tired, he was fully human
… replicating pagan mythology - not true, Christianity pre-dates pagan, Greek or Hindu mythology; mythological gods were like superheros/Avengers - not real; Jesus was real, never a mere mythological character
… secondary doctrinal importance - close-handed issue, not open-handed; if we lose the incarnation: the Bible isn’t true, Scripture is unfulfilled, Mary is a lying promiscuous teenager who fooled billions of people, Jesus is not God, not Savior, not Messiah. It changes everything… this is primary doctrine.
III. The (Unexpected) Practical Lessons…How God Works
How God works then is still how God works now.
What would you expect when God promises to work in your life?
The angel said to Mary… “highly favored”; “richly blessed”; “the Lord is with you”
One might expect: financial blessing/security, great reputation/protection, stability
Instead, Mary was poor, no reputation, great instability - walking to Bethlehem at 9 months pregnant, really?? First child born in a barn? Flee to Egypt? Widowed early? Watch your son be crucified?
Just because God is working in your life doesn’t mean:
You won’t experience the effects of the Fall (1 Pet. 4:12).
You’ll always understand everything going on (Isaiah 55:8).
“It’s often times easier to see God in the rear-view mirror than out the front windshield.”
Just because life is hard doesn’t mean:
You don’t have the Lord’s protection (Ps. 34:15; 2 Thess. 3:3).
You won’t experience God’s provision (Phil. 4:19; 2 Pet. 1:3).
Closing Big Idea:
“Just because God is working doesn’t mean life will be easy, and just because life is hard doesn’t meant God isn’t right in the middle doing his best work.”Questions:
Getting to Know Me
What are some of your favorite activities to do outside as we transition from winter into spring?
How do you think about expectations? Do you prefer to have high expectations for things or is that too risky because you might be disappointed? How do you generally react when your expectations are not met in the way you thought they would be?
Into the Bible
Read Isaiah 55:8-9.
What do you think the Lord is indicating when He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”?
How can it be a great source of comfort for believers to acknowledge that the Lord’s thoughts and ways are much higher than our own?
What was your main takeaway from Pastor Josh’s sermon? How were you impacted/encouraged? Did you have an “ah-ha” moment or realize something new for the first time?
Historical Event, Theological Meaning, Practical Lessons. Which section taught you something new or highlighted something you’ve never considered before about the person of Jesus and the story of His birth?
How were your thoughts & beliefs helped or challenged by the theological meaning of the incarnation, as Pastor Josh explained and unpacked it?
Pastor Josh used the metaphor of driving in the car to describe seeing how God works and how He is always faithful. The main idea is that it is much easier to see these things in the rear view mirror as opposed to through the windshield. Discuss as a group why this is and how applying this metaphor can be helpful in assessing difficult situations you find yourself in.
What do you expect when God promises to work in your life? Do you expect to be free from all discomfort and to understand everything that is happening? Do you expect God to protect and provide for you? Ask the Holy Spirit to inform your heart how to have a correct perspective on the work God is doing in your life and to trust in His faithfulness as the work is being done.