God’s Favor

2020-12-20 – Year B – Advent 4 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
2 Samuel 7:1-17; Psalm 132:8-19; Luke 1:26-38

  • President-elect Biden has been choosing cabinet members.
  • A president’s cabinet is not chosen just because he likes them.
  • The president also has to consider the experience of the candidate
    • their reputation in the political community
    • their background and any scandal that might result from their selection
    • and the likelihood that Congress will confirm their appointment!

The Line of David

  • 2 Sam 7:8 – From shepherd to prince over the people of Israel – chosen
  • God promises David that one of his sons will remain on the throne forever. Psalm 136:11-12. (see also 2 Samuel 7:16).
    • In Psalm 136 we see a caveat, v. 13: “if your children will keep my covenant.”
  • There were a few good kings in David’s line, but most of them were terrible! They didn’t rule the people well and they turned away from the Lord to worship false gods.
  • Babylonian exile.
  • Upon return from the exile, there was a series of governors of Judea like Nehemiah, but Israel was not independent, it remained under the authority of a series of empires.
    • Persian Empire → Alexander the Great → Ptolemaic Kingdom → Seleucid Empire
  • Hasmonean dynasty
    • Judas Maccabeus and his followers revolted against the Seleucids because they were drawing the Jewish people away from the faith and requiring unlawful sacrifices. Eventually the Hasmoneans set up an independent Jewish state.
  • Herod – Rome took over and the Senate appointed Herod as King of the Jews.
    • “Nothing that Herod could do, not even the expenditure lavished on the Temple, endeared him to his Jewish subjects. His Edomite descent was never forgotten; if he was a Jew by religion and rebuilt the Temple of the God of Israel in Jerusalem, that did not deter him from erecting temples to pagan deities elsewhere. Above all, his wiping out of the Hasmonaean family could not be forgiven.”

God’s Call to Mary

  • Luke 1:26-27 – The angel Gabriel is sent to Mary.
    • Nazareth was a small, somewhat inconsequential town in Galilee. It was looked down on by strict Jews becasue it had easy contact with the outside world.
    • Nathanael, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
  • Mary was young and poor and unmarried. Many might have looked down on her by worldly standards, but she was favored by God. (vv. 28 & 30).
  • God’s call to Mary – Luke 1:31-33
    • “Jesus” in Hebrew is “Yeshua” a sentence name which means “Yahweh saves.”
    • Son of the “Most High” means he is the Son of God himself!
    • “throne of his father David” – this is where our histroy lesson comes into play.
      • God is restoring the line of David! Isaiah 11:1
    • Unlike the other Kings and dynasties, his kingdom will have no end!
  • v. 34 – “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
    • Contrast with Zechariah in 1:18. Mary’s is a clarifying question, not a doubting question. Zechariah is asking Gabriel to prove it with a sign.

Mary’s Response – A Model for Christians

  • Mary says “yes,” despite all the trouble it may cause her
    • A woman who was pregnant but not married could be stoned.
    • The angel told her that Jesus would “have the throne of his father David” and “reign over the house of Jacob.” Given the insecurity and cruelty of Herod and the presence of the Roman Government, this could be a disater for her and Jesus.
  • Mary has faith. v. 38 “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me…”
    • Mary’s “yes” to God is a model for all Christians and for the Church.
  • Welcoming God into her life. Her body becomes a tabernacle for the Lord
    • When we welcome God into our lives, his Holy Spirit dwells in us, our bodies become temples of the Holy Spirit.
  • Mary bears Jesus to present him to the world
    • Mary didn’t keep Jesus to herself, she shared him with the world.
  • Like David and Mary you have been chosen by God.
    • Ephesians 1:3–6 – “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”
      • Holy, blameless, adopted
    • 1 Peter 2:9 – “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood…”
      • “That you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness…”
    • Beyond this you may have a personal, specific mission to which God has called you. Whatever it is pursue it.
      • David to Solomon – 1 Chronicles 28:20

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