As we've been studying, prayer is absolutely vital to the Christian life. Prayer is indispensable to our relationship with the Lord. And yet, our desire to pray fades so quickly. Jesus, knowing our weak and fickle hearts, routinely encouraged his disciples to pray and not lose heart. In multiple parables, Jesus encouraged his followers to persist in prayer knowing that they have a good and loving Father in Heaven who hears them and will give them good gifts.
This evening we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus. And we contemplate the good gifts He brings with him. Jesus is far better than we first realize him to be. He is everything we need and want. And He brings with him the gifts of Joy, His presence as Savior, Peace, Consolation, Light, Revelation and Redemption.
This morning we recognize Orphan Sunday. A Sunday in which we consider the sufferings of orphaned and vulnerable children and examine the commands of Christ to love our neighbor. Sadly, we seldom think about foster children or orphans. We fail to see them and their need for protection and love. And yet, the church is specifically called to love, care for and shelter these little ones. God is calling the church to be mobilized on their behalf in the Name of Christ and our motivation for caring for these children must not be humanitarianism but rather the glory of Christ. Supplemental Text: Psalm 68:1-10
The consolation that all our hearts are searching for is only found in Jesus. In vain we seek to find satisfaction for the longings in our souls- for awe and worship, for lasting joy and peace, for meaning and dignity- in the world. Jesus alone fulfills the universal longings in our hearts. Consolation can only be found in Him, a perfect Savior, because all we want is found in Him.
No one expected a resurrected Jesus. The women and disciples who watched Jesus be crucified and die, mourned and wept. They had no hope. None. And even after they saw the resurrected Christ, it took many proofs to convince them that Jesus is alive. He turned their mourning to doubt and then to joy. And his resurrection changes everything about everything.
Jesus proclaimed to his disciples repeatedly that he would go to Jerusalem and there be betrayed, handed over and killed, only to take up his life again on the 3rd day. As he enters Jerusalem, his disciples and the crowds celebrate his arrival. They rejoice for the miracles they have seen. But they are a fickle hearted bunch and will later shout not praises but insults. Jesus speaks to their failure to understand the magnitude of what is happening and the purpose for which He came.
One way that we celebrate Christmas is by giving gifts. God is a good gift giver. He has given us the greatest gift in the person of Jesus the Christ. In Jesus we have a Savior sent to rescue sinners from their sin. Jesus is the gift we need the most.
In Luke’s account of the birth of Christ we learn much about the character and nature of God. We see the sovereign God working his plan to save his people for his glory through the humiliation of his son.
All of us are seeking, seeking relief, peace and redemption from the pains and battles of this life. Unfortunately, we turn to the things of this world to meet this need instead of Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can bring the peace and healing we so desperately need. Through his resurrection, Jesus has conquered over fear, pain and death. He has done it all. All that is left for us to do is to believe in and worship Him.