Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, Senior Pastor
Metropolitan AME Church
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Scripture: Matthew 1:20-23, The Message Bible
Scripture: Matthew 1:20-23: While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).
Biblical history assures us that the presence of God in human affairs can make all the difference in the world. With the assurance of God’s presence, Noah began to build a ship on dry land. Possibly Noah, his wife and sons were the laughing stock and the butt of many jokes in their community. But with the assurance of the presence of God, Noah and his family continued to build until the rain came.
Moses is chased out of Egypt and is forced to find a new home and a new family. It must be a terrible thing to lose almost everything you have and, forced out of circumstances, to have to start over with nothing. When God called Moses to be the Champion of his people, Moses readily refused. It wasn’t until God assured him…………
Queen Ester was living a comfortable, maybe more than comfortable life. The life of her nation rested in her hand. I am sure Ester was fearful, doubtful and hesitant to approach the king to seek his favor and save her people.
Deborah the prophetess……
Now this list is long: King David; the Hebrew boys; Daniel etc.
The one thing that they all had in common was….Whatever the call was; whatever the challenges were…they acted out of the assurance of God’s presence in their lives.
In the introduction to the Message Bible, the writer writes, “The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with Jesus. God had been at work for a long time. Salvation, which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business. The arrival of Jesus signals the beginning of a new era. God entered history in a personal way, and made it unmistakably clear that he is on our side, doing everything possible to save us. Jesus is the coming together in final form of theme and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world.”
Finally, the very presence of God…In the Old Testament, it was a pillar of fire by night, a cloud by day; the Ark of the Covenant; smoke over the tent; the presence in the temple but Jesus…