(Not, the afterbirth!)
Last week we celebrated (a little early) the birth of Jesus. We celebrated the great miracle that the birth of Jesus was and we celebrated the miracle of rebirth in our own lives. We celebrate these miracles with song and other festivities and we celebrate with great joy.
This week, I’d like us to go a little beyond the birth of Jesus and with that, beyond the rebirth of Jesus in our own lives. 今週はイエスの誕生からさらにイエスによって生まれ変わった私たちの人生を見てみたいと思います。
To do this, it’s interesting to look at how each of the gospels approaches the nativity:それぞれの福音
John – a theological approach. ヨハネ-神学的なアプローチ He’s not terribly interested in the
pre-ministry details but he’s big on what the birth of Jesus means to us. (“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…”)
Luke – it’s detailed and it’s all good news.ルカ-いいことばかりが詳しく書かれている There were
prophecies, angels, shepherds, and after the birth, there were presentations in the temple and more extraordinary prophecies. It’s all good, all joy.
Mark – nothing. マルコ-なし He’s only interested in the teaching, life, death and resurrection
Matthew – a curious mix of joy and sorrow. マタイ-喜びと悲しみが微妙に混ざっている
Matthew records the ancestry of Jesus, angelic visitations, the birth and the visit of the magi.イ エスの系図、御使いの訪れ、誕生、博士たちの訪れ This is all awesome, joyous news.
Yet Matthew also records
mass murder:大量虐殺 Herod wanted to kill Jesus and when he couldn’t, he killed all the other
boys under 2 in the Bethlehem area
Exile:追放 Mary and Joseph as refugees – their relocation to Egypt
Fear:恐れ they left “during the night”
Homelessnessホームレス even on returning – not Judea but Galilee
Shame:侮辱 – they had to live in Nazareth. The word ‘Nazarene’ was synonymous with ‘despised’
That’s how the parents of the Son of God had to live their lives. Who would want it?
So with Luke, there is wonder, good news, celebration and joy.
With Matthew, there is murder, exile, fear, homelessness and shame. Which account is true?
Both, of course. (And that’s one reason why we have the four gospels. Together they give us all we need to know about Jesus.)
Today, let’s consider Matthew’s account: Murder, exile, fear, homelessness and shame. We don’t sing about these aspects of the nativity. But we should consider such trouble because just as the joy of Jesus’ birth is mirrored in the joy of our own rebirth in Him, so the trouble that followed the birth of Jesus will almost certainly be mirrored in our own reborn lives as we live for and in Him.
As believers in Jesus and followers of Him, we are called to be at peace with everyone, as much as possible, and to love not only our neighbors but our enemies as well.
At the same time, as shiners of the light and speakers of the truth, even gently and lovingly so, we are bound to meet opposition.
Although we not of the world we are still in the world and this is a broken and corrupt world that we live in. Mary and Joseph certainly learned this the hard way. And we, too, from time to time will no doubt go through some very hard times in this world. 私たちはこの世の者ではありませんが、こ の世にいます。私たちが住んでいる世は壊れて堕落した世界です。私たちは時にはこの世にあってとても困難なときにあうでしょう。
Perhaps Mary and Joseph wondered how they could be so blessed and yet so troubled at the same time. They were the blessed parents of the Christ-child, the God-man. Yet they spent a good deal of their life in fear of their lives.
Perhaps you too are wondering, or will at some point in the future be wondering, how you can be so blessed by your own rebirth in Christ and yet experience so much hardship as well. You receive this new life in Christ and at first it’s great but then there come times when this new life seems even harder than the old life! I suspect there were times when Mary and Joseph felt this way. あなたも同じように思っているかもしれませんし、これから先、思うことがあるかもしれません。キリストのうちに生まれ変わってこん
Diamonds are created by enormous pressure. ダイヤモンドは非常に大きな圧力をかけて造られます。
Gold is purified under intense heat. 金は強烈に加熱されて純化されます。
We are proved genuine by our trials. 私たちは試練を通して誠実だと証明されます。
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6,7 (NLT)
I want to encourage you to celebrate your faith in Christ this Christmas.
I want to encourage you to delight in your liberation from sin this Christmas.
And I want to encourage you to rejoice in the new life that you have in Jesus this Christmas.
At the same time, I want you to be wise and strong to know that your faith in Jesus will not exempt you from trials, and sometimes may be the cause of them. But know that God will rescue you from your trials and the church family will support you in your trials. Know also that your trials will produce in you a quality of faith that an untested life could never produce. Rejoice in this.