'Your' Divine Encounter
We have looked the past couple weeks at a few players in the Biblical Christmas story who had Divine Encounters: Mary, the mother of Jesus, Joseph, engaged to Mary. Now we look at Jesus the focus of the whole Christmas season.
Jesus was a Jew. He was born to Jewish parents in a Jewish nation and that makes Him Jewish. He was never a Christian and will never be one. Shocking I know!
Definition of a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus does not have to follow Himself.
The Jewish nation was held hostage as slaves in Egypt for close to 400 years. There were many other empires that enslaved them as well throughout the years. The Hebrew people cried out to God while in slavery in Egypt, begging God to hear and come to their aid. He did but it was a long wait in the interim: 400 years.
Then God had an encounter with one man, a shepherd out in a field, that man was, Moses. Moses had already run away from Egypt, he was afraid to return, for him the field was his safe place. (Maybe Moses knew what he was doing? isolation, sheep, no drama other than the occasional predator perhaps.)
God did not hold a world forum, a conference or ask the politicians, or scientists what to do about the slavery of His people. God showed up in a burning bush in the middle of a field, in sheep country to a solitary shepherd in what can only be described as a Divine Encounter.
I hope by now that you are gleaning that Divine Encounters can take on many forms, circumstances, chance meetings with people, angels, or even with God Himself.
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
At this, Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the affliction of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I am aware of their sufferings. I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
And now the cry of the Israelites has reached Me, and I have seen how severely the Egyptians are oppressing them. Therefore, go! I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:5-10
This conversation with Moses, one guy, did not go particularly smoothly as Moses was more than skeptical but go he did and it put into place the 10 plagues of Egypt, the Passover, and the parting of the Red Sea. God moved spectacularly, supernaturally on behalf of the Jewish/Hebrew people and He used a stubborn shepherd to do it.
One guy, one nation, many supernatural miracles and God rescued His people out of slavery.
This is going to probably be our weirdest Christmas ever, worldwide. We have adopted new language this year: cohort, Covid, pandemic, masks and isolation. It has caused angst, fear, terror and sadness on all levels and we have cried out to God, “Come save
us!” It has been quite a year, not 400 years but it has felt "long"!
Jesus Christ’s birth means that God heard our weeping. He heard His people way back in Egypt, He hears us now. He has paid attention to our pain and sent a solution. To free His people (us) to live. It was in the form of one man, but not just any man. It was God’s own Son that came to save us.
God sent messenger angels (divine encounters) to other shepherds that night out in their fields. The angels brought the news of great joy, that day in the town of Bethlehem a Savior was born who would save the people (the entire world) from their sins. He would loosen their chains, break the fetters and offer freedom to anyone who followed Him.
Freedom, my friends – that is what Christmas means. It means Jesus came to bring those dead man’s bones, those bones under slavery, our bones, weighed down, heavy, and lifeless, back to life! It is a precious gift for you and me and all people.
Put your name into the verse: “Insert your name____________, this day in the town of Bethlehem, insert your name’s ___________ Saviour was born who will save you ___________ insert Your name from your sins.” This is your own personal Divine Encounter. God’s invitation to you.
You see Christmas is a historic event – it has already happened. They can never take away Christmas – not ever. God already slid onto earth as a baby. A baby that the world had no room for.
He is asking you today, do you have room for Him in your inn? In your life, in your heart? He is asking you to trust Him amid this pandemic. It is not a surprise to Him, He knows and He has already sent the solution. A baby that changed the world forever and is continuing to do so still because He is alive and well and living in heaven right now, this minute. He is not powerless or scared. He is the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and all people over the entire earth, will one day bow at His name.
Jesus said He came to bring freedom, and it is yours for the taking. He is waiting to hear from you, to release you and give you your Christmas miracle – a supernatural birth into His kingdom. A life that is free from the chains that entangle you, no fear - no matter what your eyes see happening here on earth.
A gift so indescribable it could only be called Love. The gift of Love came wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. It is God’s gift to the world and His amazing gift to you – will you accept it?
God sent a solution, and it was a baby. It is not the solution people had hoped for nor expected. They had wanted a King to ride in on a white horse and save the day, not a baby hidden away in a manger. That baby was a King, in fact the King of Kings but they did not know it, they missed it.
What are we expecting now? God never works the way we think He should. I challenge you to look around you this Christmas and see what miracles are happening – I assure you there will be some if you look with expectant eyes.
This Christmas Day, regardless of whether your family is with you or is far away; regardless of any presents under the tree, regardless of a turkey supper or not – let us unite in one voice, one declaration, one proclamation and like the angels that sang and announced from heaven – The Saviour of the World is Born. It is the present that God sent to the whole world, you and me and everyone around us. It is not what a lot of us expected but the lasting results that He brought and is continuing to bring are forever. Do you know Him?
Raise your voices in praise and song to the gift of heaven. Come my friends; Come Let us Adore Him!