Saturday, December 27, 2014

matthew 1-2

Joseph with much grace is soon to divorce Mary, seeing her pregnant apparently by another man. Imagine being in Mary's place in shame, viewed as a prostitute, liar, and possibly blasphemer if she shared her encounter with the angel. The burning shame and pain of being falsely accused by those she loved most. How hard it must have been to continue trusting God to use this pain for a greater, higher cause. 
Or in Joseph's shoes, as he felt the pain of betrayal from his betrothed. His love still holding out in dismissing her privately, his determination to be just and graceful in the face what appeared to be cruel betrayal.
And, then, imagine the wonder of this revelation of the Spirit. The disbelief leading to relief and joy. Envision Joseph sharing the vision with Mary, what the Lord had revealed--her relief, and them being married, content in knowing God had a glorious plan for them. 
Feel the stress that Mary felt [no more than 15 or 16] about to deliver her first child: no midwife, no family, unable to find a place to stay. 
Envision the birth of the Ruler and Creator of the universe, King of kings, and Lord of lords in a place fit for animals. Imagine the fear and aloneness, the messiness and non-glamour of it all.
But then think of the sweet relief in the safely delivered child, beautiful baby boy. Imagine the tears of joy and exhaustion and praise to God. The encouragement and renewal of spirit provided in the form of the three kings and shepherds-- that this is real and God's will would be done.
Imagine the fear in fleeing to Egypt [a place of worldliness, idolatry, and unfamiliarity]. The long wait calling for patience, humility, and trust from both. 
Envision the horrors of that night--really envision it: hundreds of baby boys under the age of two, being brutally slaughtered before their mother's eyes <<v18>> the agonizing wailing cries of mothers in unexpected pain and searing loss. Already Christ was being revealed as a stumbling block to some, but to others worth more than gold and precious silver.
Then see the beautiful boy growing and prospering in favor with God and men. 
But now imagine him whipped and beaten and nailed to a cross of wood, stripped of clothes with a crown of thorns sunk deep into his head and a crowd mocking him at the "King of Jews". Imagine him saying "Forgive them for they do not know what they do" even as God's wrath for their sins is poured out on him. Imagine his last heaving, excruciating breath, darkness falling and the dead being raised to life as those looking on whispered in wonder and amazement, "surely this is the Son of God"
And imagine him right now, hands still scarred by the nails we drove in his hands. Imagine him before the throne of God, pleading his holiness on our sins. Showing the father his scars, that he took on God's wrath for our sins, and we are no longer to pay.
Now imagine him in the new age his full glory revealed, as every knee bows and every tongue confesses to the lordship of the one they have crucified.

-- then you shall see & be radiant --
your hearts shall thrill & exult
i s a i a h  60:4


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