Welcome to summer book club! This is our chance to read the New Testament over the course of the next 10 weeks. As I said in church, we’ll be using the Story Bible as our guide.
Each week I am going to blog about my thoughts and questions that have come from reading the assigned chapter. I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments section! Let’s get started.
The Birth of the King
My guess is that none of this chapter was very new to you. The stories of Jesus’ birth are one’s that we are very familiar with. Still, I was struck by a couple of things.
1. What a whirlwind start to Jesus’ life- especially for Mary and Joseph! First, Joseph almost breaks off the engagement with Mary because of her surprise pregnancy. Then they travel to Bethlehem for the census. Then they must flee in the middle of the night for Egypt because Herod wants to kill their newborn son. And finally, once Herod dies, an angel tells them to go back to Israel.
That is a ton of movement for the first couple of years of Jesus’ life.
2. It was neat to see in quick succession the many types of people that were impacted by Jesus’ birth- and the various ways they responded.
The Parents: Completely shocked at first, but up to the task of what God was asking them to do.
The Shepherds: Terrified initially, but then overjoyed at the prospect of God coming to earth.
The Magi: Driven enough to follow a star, and then worshipful when they finally got a glimpse of the baby.
The Emperor: Fearful that his power would be usurped, and then aggressive in his attempt to maintain the status quo.
Jesus Ministry Begins
Fast-forward to Jesus around the age of 30. He is now beginning his official ministry within the region of Galilee. One of the first things that stood out to me in this chapter was that it was the Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Why would the Spirit lead Jesus into this time of trial and temptation?
It made me think about how I am regularly praying for comfort in my life. If possible, I’d like things to be easy! As Jesus prepares for his ministry, he does not pray for comfort.
Jesus confronts temptation.
Perhaps my prayer should change from “God make this easy” to “God, prepare me.”
The Spirit will not always lead us to places that are comfortable or predictable. In Jesus’ case, he came face to face with the temptations that his ministry would put him up against.
In life we will face many challenges. I trust that God will prepare me to face them, even if it is not easy.
Now its your turn: reflect on these questions and give us your two cents through the comments section.
1. Who do you resemble as you respond to God in your life? (The parents, shepherds, magi or emperor?)
2. Like Jesus’ as a 12 year old, are you growing in your wisdom and knowledge of God?
3. When have you felt God lead you through a challenging time?