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The First Sunday After Christmas
#1: "When the Time Had Fully Come"
Rev. Wayne Dobratz
Gods Christmas preparation
A. The people of Israel
1. They hadnt had a prophet in over 400 years
2. They were eager to listen when John cameMatt 3:3-6
3. John told them to prepare their heartsMatt 3:8-11
B. The Roman World
1. The Pax RomanumRoman Peacehelped to spread the Good News
2. The Roman roads provided safe transportation
C. The Language
1. Since God wanted to unite Jew and Gentile into one bodyGal 3:28, Rev
5: 9the Greek language, the language of commerce, made communication
possible (see Barnes below)
2. Greek culture always wanted to hear something newActs 17:19ff
God sent His Son
A. Born of a woman, yet without sinHeb 4:15
B. Born under the Law to keep its provisionsRom 3:22ff, 8:3ff, Col 2:13-15
C. To redeem those in its slavery and condemnationRom 6:6, 16-17, 20; Gal
3:13-14; 1 Pet 1:18-20, 3:18
A. The slavery of the Law is endedcf Gal 4:8ff, Rom 6:6 & 17
B. You have a heavenly FatherGal 3:26ff, John 1:12, also Isa 63:16, Rom 1:7, 2 Thess 2:16
C. You have a heavenly inheritanceMatt 25:34; 1 Cor 3:21-23, Eph 1:18ff, Col 1:11-14, Rev 21:6-7
Albert Barnes explains what is meant by the fullness of time:
(1) it was just the time when all the prophecies centered in him, and when there could be no doubt about their fulfillment. It was important that such an event should be predicted in order that there might be full evidence that he came from heaven; and yet in order that prophecy may be seen to have been uttered by God, it must be so far before the event as to make it impossible to have been the result of mere human conjecture.
(2) it was a time when the world was at peace. The temple of Janus, closed only in times of peace, was then shut, though it had been but once closed before during the Roman history. What an appropriate time for the Prince of Peace to come! The world was, to a great extent, under the Roman scepter. Communications between different parts of the world were then more rapid and secure than they had been at any former period, and the gospel could be more easily propagated. Further, the Jews were scattered in almost all lands, acquainted with the promises, looking for the Messiah, furnishing facilities to their own countrymen the apostles to preach the gospel in numerous synagogues, and qualified, if they embraced the Messiah, to become most zealous and devoted missionaries. The same language, the Greek, was, moreover, after the time of Alexander the Great, the common language of no small part of the world, or at least was spoken and understood among a considerable portion of the nations of the earth. At no period before had there been so extensive a use of the same language.
it was a proper period to make the new system known. It accorded with the
benevolence of God, that it should be delayed no longer than that the world
should be in a suitable state for receiving the Redeemer. When that period,
therefore, had arrived, God did not delay, but sent his Son on the great work of
the worlds redemption.
#2: "Divine Star Wars"
Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
Rev. Kelly Bedard
The Empire Strikes Back!
1. Forced moves: leaving comfortable(?) confines not knowing what lies ahead
2. Seeking to destroy what it does not see and/or fails to understand
Return of the Jessite
1. "The Force" moves: our with-us God (Immanuel) is present even
when running for His life
2. Understanding--forgiving--those who seek to destroy and do not see
Poem written by Evan D. Baltz:
'Twas the day after
Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even
a mouse. Wrappings from papers still covered the floor;
no one had touched them in the rush to the store.
The children had been nestled all safe in their bed when mom came and woke
them with a pat on the head: "It's time to go shopping and exchange
what we got. Let's hurry now, children, before full is the
And then with a shout and great loud commotion the family was gone, the van now
in motion. "Do you have the receipts?" then mother did cry. "In
my coat pocket," came the reply.
The roads were all crowded, but dad would get through. In search of a sale, no
stop lights would do. "Where off to first?" he then did inquire. Here
is the list that mom did inspire:
Now Target, now Dillard's, now Broadway, Wal-Mart; on Marshall's, on Macy's, on Mervyn's, K-Mart. To all of the stores we must go in a flash, so take out your wallet and pull out the cash.
As we pushed and shoved and forced our way through, my impatience for Christmas
just grew and grew. The aisles were packed with children and carts; our progress
became just short stops and starts.
The line for exchanges was three miles long, about the same length as my tie
from Hong Kong which was given to me by my some distant cousin who had brain
cells, I thought, not more than a dozen.
Why couldn't people just give us some cash? This sweater I'm wearing is giving a
rash. And who ever heard of eating fruit cake? I'm sure that those
"fruits" are really just fake.
Greed and desire were driving this race to see who could spend at the fastest
pace. It was video game this and dinosaur that, but all I wanted was gloves and
We got what we wanted and then flew to the door, back to the car and to the next
store. It was like this all day from sunrise to set, our busiest year, I would
venture to bet.
This was Christmas, perhaps not at its best, cuz a Baby was born with no place
to rest. But it didn't seem to matter too much on this day. Christmas was over;
it wasn't here to stay.
It's here once a year for us to get gifts and maybe occasionally our spirits it
lifts. But that's all there is; it's nothing much more than turkey and presents
all bought from a store.
It's sometimes more trouble than it really is worth, all this commotion over a
simple birth. Let's just relax and call it vacation; there's no need to jump and
shout with elation.
If this story of Jesus was really true I am sure there would be more for us here to do than shopping and eating and watching TV. There'd have to be more in it for me.
But nevertheless I go on my way not thinking of such or stopping to pray.
It's on to the mall 'til we're out of sight. Merry Christmas to all and to all a
to be a Nazarene was a special mark of holiness, it seemed natural that the
Messiah would be a Nazarene; but Matthew shows how this was true in a different
way--He was from the city of Nazareth, though not a Nazarene through a vow. (David
"He will be called a Nazarene" (v23): The best explanation of the
origin of this name appears to be that which traces it to the word netzer
in Isaiah 11:1--the small twig, sprout, or sucker, which the prophet
there says, "shall come forth from the stem (or rather, 'stump') of Jesse,
the branch which should fructify from his roots." The little town of
Nazareth, mentioned neither in the Old Testament nor in Josephus, was probably
so called from its insignificance: a weak twig in contrast to a stately tree;
and a special contempt seemed to rest upon it--"Can any good thing come out
of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)--over and above the general contempt in which all
Galilee was held, from the number of Gentiles that settled in the upper
territories of it, and, in the estimation of the Jews, debased it. Thus, in the
providential arrangement by which our Lord was brought up at the insignificant
and opprobrious town called Nazareth, there was involved, first, a local
humiliation; next, an allusion to Isaiah's prediction of His lowly, twig-like
upspringing from the branchless, dried-up stump of Jesse; and yet further, a
standing memorial of that humiliation which "the prophets," in a
number of the most striking predictions, had attached to the Messiah. (Commentary
Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible)
Nazoraios (v23): of Nazareth; Nazarene; Nazarite = "one
separated"; an inhabitant of Nazareth; a title given to Jesus in the
NT; a name given to Christians by the Jews, Ac 24:5.
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