LIFE LESSONS FROM MARY & JOSEPH & ELIZABETH, 16.12.19

EXAMPLES OF FAITH & OBEDIENCE

There are many aspects of the story surrounding Messiah’s birth which have been/are focused on. There are many LIFE LESSONS to be gleaned through the story of our Messiah’s birth. Today,  STUDY TOPIC will focus on the examples of FAITH and OBEDIENCE provided by noteworthy and major players in the story.

Starting with Elizabeth, then Mary (Miriam, in Hebrew) and then Joseph, we are provided with marvellous examples of TRUST, FAITH, SURRENDER,  and OBEDIENCE. They provide such dynamic models for us that we would do well to draw on the strength of these amazing characters.

They are particularly meaningful models also because they come from individuals of no particular skill-set, social status, or nobility, but rather, regular, simple folk – people like any one of us.

STUDY the following sets of passages with a view to glean/absorb as much as possible about the faith and obedience of the individuals involved. Assess the Father’s heart in regards to the responses of each, and become aware of your own levels of faith versus doubt, etc.

LUKE 1:

5 When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 

6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 

7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.

8 One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. 

9 As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 

10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.

11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 

12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 

13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 

14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 

15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 

16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 

17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”

19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 

20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. 

22 When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary.

23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 

24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 

25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 

27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 

30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 

31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 

32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 

33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “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. 

36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 

37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 

40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 

41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 

43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 

44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 

45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

 

MATTHEW 1:18-25

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “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. 

21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23 

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!

    She will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel,

    which means ‘God is with us.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 

25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

MATTHEW 2:

13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 

15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 

20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”

21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 

22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. 

23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

What can you, and what have you learned from the STUDY of these passages?

REFERENCES

Luke 1:5-45

Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

Scriptures taken from NLT

2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.

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