Have you ever stopped and considered how odd and spectacular is the story of the birth of Jesus?
· Angels: The story is loaded with the appearance of angels. Beings that are human looking but are actually disembodied spirits from the heavenly realms.
o Gabriel: Zechariah
o Gabriel: One to Mary
o One to the Shepherds …joined by thousands of them surrounding the poor shepherds.
· Dreams: In Mathew’s account it’s angels appearing but for some reason not face to face but in dreams. 5 dreams total – 4 to Joseph and 1 to the wise men
· Muting of Zechariah
· Star: There’s the astronomical event – a unique star that acts like a homing device.
· 2 miraculous births: Elizabeth and Mary
With so much repetition, year after year, we lose the wonder of this mysterious, miraculous, spectacular, odd, weird, crazy, awe inspiring, head-scratching story.
It’s simply jaw dropping in its moments and parts…but it is also jaw dropping in its big idea. The core truth of this magnificent event in human history is…
· The dawn of a new and glorious morning for broken humanity
· The unveiling of salvation and justice and peace.
This cosmic event...this beginning of the story of all stories…is simply the breakthrough of hope for a weary world.
Who was behind it all?
Who was it that made all of this happen? Who was the project coordinator of the greatest event in human history?
God? Well…yes. But let’s be more specific.
· There was an angel sender…a dream director of this Christmas story…there was one who pulled the triggers and unlocked the mysteries and instigated the miracles.
And before I tell you who it was…let me jump to the end… because this one too whom I am referring to… still does all that.
· He still sends angels, he directs dreams, he pulls the triggers and unlocks the mysteries, instigates the miracles and reveals the future…for you, every day, unendingly.
o Then he was the project coordinator of Christmas,
§ Today he is the great comforter of your life.
o Then he was the one who declared peace on earth.
§ Today he generates peace in your heart.
o Then he was on the point of the great cosmic breakthrough the great thrill of hope.
§ Today he will lead you to your own personal breakthrough your own thrill of hope.
I want you to know him.
He is the Holy Spirit. …and he makes numerous appearances in the story. Let’s look at one!
Luke 2:21 page ________________
Setting is 8 days after Jesus was born.
21Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived. 22Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.23The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to theLord.24So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Luke, out story teller, bundles together 3 events that happened over a 40 day period following Jesus birth:
1. Jesus (Yeshua) was named and circumcised. (Matthew told by the angel)
2. Mary’s ceremonial purification
o after 33 days she would present an offering that would allow her to then rejoin worship at the Temple.
3. And (because he was a first born son) – he was dedicated to the Lord
Somewhere in that 40 day period while they are at the temple something odd happened…
25At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him26and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.27That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required,28Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30I have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared for all people.
32He is a light to reveal to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
· Not a priest but righteous and devout …Likely an influential and respected man
· Based on context…I can die now… that he was an old man
When I imagine this moment I see Omoro (from the series Roots) holding Kunta Kinte in his hands to the sky…or even Rafiki lifting Simba…
Simon’s prayer is remarkable:
· I can die now …I’ve seen the breakthrough…peace, joy, hope
· I’ve see the universality of this moment…this is a worldwide event.
But then he throws some shade on the moment.
33Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.34Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.35As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
This baby will be a catalyst for change:
He will force people to choose
He will be controversial
He will be cause some to fall and some to rise
He will be the source of both bad news and good news
He will arouse opposition - Including his own family
He will expose the deepest thoughts of mankind
And Mary…you are going to be deeply wounded
And before they can digest all this along comes Anna…
36Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years.37Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.[c]She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
Anna was an unusual woman…
· Ancient for the day - at least 84 yrs. Old and maybe 105.
· A Prophetess – she was a mouthpiece of God like the men and women who preceded her and followed her
She never left the Temple:
· From the tribe of Asher – not particularly noteworthy as a tribe but she was legit Jewish like Simeon.
· One of the first evangelists - She talked about the child to everyone
Why Simeon and Anna?
· Links to the past – authentically Jewish
· They connect Jesus birth to the previous 2000 years of history to the sweep of history (Barry’s timeline)
But…buried in the story is something I don’t want you to miss…
Remember I mentioned that I believed there was one behind the scenes producing this event? project coordinator of the greatest event in human history?
· There was an angel sender…dream director of the Christmas story…there was one who pulled the triggers and unlocked the mysteries and instigated the miracles.
Well, he makes an appearance in this story…
The Holy Spirit was upon him (Simeon)and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. Luke 2:25-26
Here was the Holy Spirit showing up again in the Christmas story.
· Somehow he was upon Simeon
· Somehow he spoke to Simeon about his future
· Somehow he led Simeon that day to the Temple
· And somehow he led Anna there at the very same time!
The Holy Spirit unlocks the mysteries, instigates the miracles and reveals the future. He did this all through this incredible story:
…for he (John the Baptist) will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink,and he will be filled with the Holy Spiriteven before he is born. Luke 1:15
The angel replied (to Mary), “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
Mary became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18
Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20
At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41
…and he was the one who lead Simeon and Anna to Jesus.
There was an angel sender…dream director of the Christmas story…there was one who pulled the triggers and unlocked the mysteries and instigated the miracles.
He still does all that.
He sends angels, he directs dreams, he unlocks the mysteries, instigates the miracles and reveals the future…for you, every day, unendingly.
· Then he was the project coordinator of Christmas,
o Today he is the great comforter of your life.
· Then he was the one who declared peace on earth.
o Today he generates peace in your heart.
· Then he was on the point of the great cosmic breakthrough/thrill of hope.
o Today he wants to lead you to your own personal breakthrough your own thrill of hope.
So, watch this…This is so ironic. And so cool… the Holy Spirit was the one instigating the birth of Jesus.
30 years later Jesus was the one instigating the birth of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocateto help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.The world cannot accept him,because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.John 14:16-17
The thrill of hope is not just for 30 days in a year.
The thrill of hope is not just for the Christmas season.
The thrill of hope is possible every single day of your life…every single moment of your existence…in every single breath you take.
What’s left for you is to surrender to Jesus…be filled with the Holy Spirit…pay attention to the Holy Spirit…and He…the great dream giver, miracle instigator will comfort, and guide, teach and lead you into the future.
If you surrender and pay attention…The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the glory of the Lord will surround you… and 2018 will be a year of breakthroughs…a 2018 year of hope.