THE STORY chapter # 22
(My home church is participating in the study of THE STORY – The Bible As One Continuing Story Of God And His People. Foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. Each week, my Thursday post focuses on our current study chapter.)
The time spanning the Old and New Testaments is a period of more than 400 hundred years. Malachi was the last prophet the Israelites heard from, before that period began. And during those 400 hundred years, power shifted. Babylon, Assyria and Persia were no longer the major empires. Now, the new reigning authority over expansive boundries-was Rome.
Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary. Gabriel, an angel sent by God, came to Mary and said, You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:31-32
Mary, was pledged to marry Joseph. When Joseph understood her to be pregnant, he planned to break off their engagement. But again, and angel was sent as a messenger from God, this time visiting Joseph in a dream. The angel instructed Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because she conceived from the Holy Spirit.
At this, I would think both Mary and Joseph were surprised about their current situation. But their steadfast faith in God, allowed them to steadily follow His plan for them. Soon, their nine months of waiting was over, and again, events were happening that were beyond their understanding.
At the time of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, evil king Herod ruled in Judea. Herod was expected by Rome to support their interests. He was not pleased when he heard Magi from the east come to Jerusalem and ask, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2
Evil Herod was fearful this baby could be the Messiah the Jewish people expected. The one destined to be their great military leader. So Herod cunningly asked the Magi to go find the baby, and report back to him, so that he too could go worship the child.
Once the wise men found the newborn King, they bowed down to worship Him. They presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They too, were informed by a dream. Do not to go back to Herod-so they traveled home on another route. Herod was furious when he realized he was outwitted by the Wise Men, and ordered all baby boys two and under, to be killed. Matthew 2:16
Mary and Joseph’s young family had a rocky start. But, all glory to God, He was in control.
THE STORY foreword by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee