Talk for 29/12/13 The offer of hope to a suffering world


29th Dec 2013

notes from talk

Hebrews 2.10-18 Psalm 148 Matthew 2.13-end

The demands and joys of the Kingdom, The offer of hope to a suffering world

  • Life for Christians is not always an easy path it was not for Jesus.

Would you give up your life and swap with someone hit by the typhoon in the Philippians?

Would Prince Charles leave his palace to be a refugee born out of marriage?

Looking at Jesus childhood

Jesus gave up all his power and majesty to become a child with doubtful parenthood

Born in poverty and without his family around or a proper home

 He was recognized by the outcasts, Sheppard’s & foreigners, but rejected and hunted by those who should have welcomed him.

 Became a refugee chased from his home.

You and I might not be able to relate to any of that or maybe we can.

 How many of us feel that our family has rejected us and forced us away?

 How many feel that our childhood has made us the person we now are?

 Jesus became equal with us; he became like us and had to deal with having no control over his life.

 Jesus did not have an easy life even before the cross; he was born out of marriage, when that mattered. He was born in a draughty cave; he was born away from the rest of the family.

 His parents had to travel to Jerusalem when he was 8 days old, as told by Luke, where he and Simeon met.

 He was a child and was dependant on his parents and them on their family.

 However there family was in another town and might even be disapproving of there actions.

Families do not always understand why we are doing something.

I am sure many of you can relate to that.

I can

 It is possible that after his birth and circumcision that they went back to Nazareth but felt the pressure of there situation among people who knew them and went back to Bethlehem where Joseph worked, or they stayed there after the trip to Jerusalem for the circumcision.

Luke 2

21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.

39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

  • Whatever a year or so later, Jesus was born in 6BC, the magi turned up at Bethlehem.

Following the star, which then lead to the events in today’s reading.

 16-18 Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills.

 Herod not waiting a challenge to his power, decided to be rid of the problem and in the manner of all dictators sent for the army.

from wiki – Herod has been described as “a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis“,[9] “the evil genius of the Judean nation”,[10] “prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition”

A man who cared little for family and was old enough that Jesus would never be a threat to him anyway.

Yet he felt threatened.

When do you feel threatened?

Do you strike out?

 Just for a while think about current situations where children are caught up in the paranoia of a ruler and military action, where people are striking out.

Syria, Iraq, Libya, North Korea.

Life is not always easy for the young even if this country.

Children have no control over what is going on around them.

They have to follow with trust their parents.

  • This is why Jesus said we need the faith of a child to get into the kingdom.

We need to be able to follow Jesus and trust Him.

We need to know that He will only do what’s right for us.

  • But what about all those other children I hear you say, why did they have to die?

 

One of the truths about following God is that others who do not follow strike out at us, and often end up hurting others instead.

Think about your own faith journey.

How many others have been hurt because a family member or friend did not think what you were doing was a good idea and tried to do something about it.

Are you responsible for that hurt or the people who did it?

Is God responsible for the actions of those who do not fear him or are they?

Since Bethlehem was a small village, the number of male children under the age of two might not exceed 20, and this may be the reason for the lack of other sources for this history

Yes innocent children died, could God have saved them?

Herod could have found the right child if had wanted, instead he just struck out.

That is horrible but it still goes on and we cannot blame God for the actions of those with free will.

However, God cries with us at that hurt and feels the pain we feel.

Suffering is a problem for the world, many blame God for it but in fact it all comes from our actions doing things our way not Gods, not caring about others as much as we should, greed, power and just plain evil.

God does not want that for us and in the future, it will not be, once His kingdom is fully here, but for now, it is and we must do our best to not cause it and to help those who suffer from it.

Any questions?

  • Then they had to flee to Egypt to avoid death and lived as refugees for around a year until it was safer to return and then they could finally go back to the place there families lived Nazareth.  Herod died 4bc.

 They could not go back to Bethlehem as Herod’s son now ruled there and it still would not be safe; however, Nazareth was not under his control as it had been his fathers.

At long last their extended family got to see Jesus no longer a baby but a young boy of around 3.

Therefore, no easy life as the Son of God, not even the easy life of a settled family but one of moving and hiding.

It reminds me of David, who once recognised as a future king became hunted and had to hide until the time was right.

 It is no wonder that Jesus really can understand what you are going through and having to deal with day by day.

He offers Hope to a suffering world to people who suffer, and it is the hope of someone who really understands suffering and despair.

He experienced it, as did his parents.

 Jesus come to us not as a royal Prince, although that is what He is, but a bastard, a refugee, hiding from one who wanted to kill him, without power or any control over his life.

He really does understand our lives.

  • Hebrews 2

10-13 It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory.

 God sent himself to us so that we could know that a God who suffers with us would know about our daily life.

 Only a God who has experienced human life can bring us salvation.

This is different to all other religions where God is an aloof being that has to be obeyed and kept happy and does little or nothing to help us.

Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says,

Even I live by placing my trust in God.

Following Gods path no matter what

Giving up the comfortable life for one doing, Gods will.

Can you say the same?

Do you have or want an easy life, one you are in control off, knowing ahead of time what your plans are?

Many people think that they can control there lives but often it is a charade.

Alternatively, have you decided to follow Gods path for you no matter where it might take you no matter the difficulties it might bring, no matter the uncertainties?

Jesus took Gods path from before He was born his parents did the same.

It did not bring an easy life but it did bring them the Joy of doing Gods will

Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself-all the pain, all the testing-and would be able to help where help was needed.

God knows the struggles you have, he understands them, and it is because of that that He can bring help to us when we need it.

He is there walking through the suffering day by day with you, you are not alone in your trails.

I have found that my journey with God has had many trails, but each of them has proved to help me on my journey and with Jesus beside me going through it with me I in general find that I can cope with it.

Let us pray.

Hebrews 2:10-18

The Message (MSG)

10-13 It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory. Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family, saying,

I’ll tell my good friends, my brothers and sisters, all I know about you;
I’ll join them in worship and praise to you.

Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says,

Even I live by placing my trust in God.

And yet again,

I’m here with the children God gave me.

14-15 Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.

16-18 It’s obvious, of course, that he didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself-all the pain, all the testing-and would be able to help where help was needed.

Matthew 2

The Message (MSG)

 13 After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

14-15 Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

16-18 Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.) That’s when Jeremiah’s sermon was fulfilled:

A sound was heard in Ramah,
weeping and much lament.
Rachel weeping for her children,
Rachel refusing all solace,
Her children gone,
dead and buried.

19-20 Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

21-23 Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

 

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