Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jesus’s birth

This is the outline of the lesson from 2013-12-22. Note that one of the references in the table under “Rant” is incorrect, and I have been too lazy to correct it. There was some discussion about what Mary’s “character” must have been like to submit to God’s command; I found myself in the minority here, but I let it go.


We look at Christmas too sweetly. When we consider the brutality of the whole thing we should be in awe of just how far the creator of the universe stooped to save us.

Why did he do this?

John 1:14 Galatians 4:4–5 Matthew 5:17 Galatians 3:24
1 Timothy 1:15 John 9:39 Matthew 20:28 Mark 10:45
Luke 19:10 1 John 3:5,8 Hebrews 9:26

It was not ultimately about the baby. To paraphrase Fozzy Bear in the Muppet Movie, there’s a hundred babies around. From exaltation of being God the Son in the presence of the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, he came and was born in a borrowed stable and slept in a hay trough wrapped up in rags.


  • READ Luke 1:26–33
  • SAY In verse 30, the angel describes Mary finding “favor” with God. The word for favor is also the word for grace. This phrase echoes Genesis 6:8: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” But if it’s grace, then it’s nothing Mary could deserve intrisically, and it’s nothing she could earn. That’s the whole point of grace.
  • Sometimes we concentrate on Mary, or the baby, or even the hardship, or Joseph, or a hundred things. What does the angel concentrate on?
    • The greatness of the Savior
    • The fulfillment of prophecy
  • READ 1:34
  • What is Mary’s point? (As delicately as I know how to say it: This is a natural law she understands.)
  • READ 1:35–38
  • Mary understood the humiliation she was in for, and she somehow decided that she could stand the reproach.
    • We aren’t going to have a new Messiah any time soon. But are we willing to bear the scorn of our neighbors for the sake of Christ?
    • SAY Hebrews 11:24–25: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
  • ASK Do you consider Mary blessed? Why? (v. 45, what Elizabeth says)


  • READ Luke 1:46–55
  • ASK What phrase shows up over and over in Mary’s song: (He has)
  • ASK What has he done:
    • looked on Mary’s humble situation
    • done great things for her
    • shown strength
    • scattered the proud
    • reversed the situations of the weak and the powerful
    • reversed the situations of the hungry and the full
    • helped his servant Israel.
  • ASK What does Mary think she has done? (Nothing)


  • READ Luke 2:1–7
  • ASK What strikes you here?
    • My main thing: Even though Mary & Josephe lived in the wrong place, God made arrangements for them to be in the right place.
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark, the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn king!”

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