#2 a Family Narrative

series: The Narrative of Grace

title: a family narrative

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: November 22, 2015

scriptures: Luke 1:46-56, Matthew 1, Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 18:1-8, Matthew 25, Hebrews 13:2, Galatians 3:28, Genesis 18:9-15, Deuteronomy 31:6, Revelation 3:20, Genesis 12, Genesis 20, Genesis 21:1, Genesis 21:6

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

“46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48  for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

49  for he who is mighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.

50  And his mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

51  He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

52  he has brought down the mighty from their thrones

and exalted those of humble estate;

53  he has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

54  He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

55  as he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.”

We are in a series called “The Narrative of Grace” and the entire series is a look through the genealogy of Jesus Christ as recorded in the gospel of Matthew.

The reason that we started a message in a series based on Matthew 1, by looking at Luke 1, with  Mary’s song, “The Magnificat,” is because it is an incredibly important, often overlooked part of the Christmas story. One of the first things that she says, essentially, and its so powerful, is that God is doing something, and it is going to bring injustice to its knees. I love how it says “He will fill those we are hungry with good things, but the rich he will send away empty.” This is not because it is bad to be wealthy… It is just like we talked about last week, Jesus has come for the ones who are hungry. They know that they need him and so he feeds them. It is the ones who think that they have everything figured out all on their own, because of what they have gained in their own lives, and in their own strength, that God is literally unable to work through. But Mary’s song is saying that no matter what you think you have or don’t have, God is going to level the playing field. If you hold what you have, you will lose it. Because He is God. and he hates injustice.

We will look at this song a little more in depth later in this series, but the part we are going to focus on today is the last part of the song.

what Mary was saying was this: The promise that was passed down from generation to generation is finally coming to pass.

and that promise was made to Abraham, for the first time in Genesis 12 and affirmed through the next several chapters in Genesis. That promise said that from Abraham’s seed, all of the families of the earth will be blessed. He promised a man with no children that he would be the Father of a great nation.

But Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew recorded 42 generations between that promise and Jesus birth. That is a lot of waiting. A lot of stories from Father’s being passed down to their sons for generation after generation. A lot of people thinking that the savior would come in their generation, only to watch their fathers who believed the same thing, pass away, and realize that their time was coming next.

It was 42 generations of disappointment.

It probably was beginning to feel more like a fairy tale than a reality.

But what Mary’s song says is essentially that grace is about to break through the broken genealogy, and the promise to Abraham will finally be fulfilled.

But at the beginning of the genealogy, God had another promise to fulfill.

Because Abraham could never be the Father of a great nation if he wasn’t a Father at all.

#6 The First with a Promise

series: Realities

title: The First with a  Promise

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: October 25, 2015

scriptures: Ephesians 6:1-3, Exodus 20, Numbers 13:30, Numbers 14:6-9, Numbers 14:10, Numbers 14:12, Numbers 14:20-24, Proverbs 18:21, Matthew 7:2, Matthew 16:19, 1 Peter 3:7, Mark 6:1-6, 

Blessing and Cursing.

I don’t have to agree with someone to bless them. I don’t have to agree with someone to honor them. And if I do honor them even when maybe they don’t seem very worthy of that honor, then there is a blessing for me which we will talk about later.

But the natural instinct of man is not to bless. It is to curse. Now let me explain, because you probably would say “I would never curse someone!”

The Hebrew word for curse (qa-lal) means “to make light.” It means to add no value to them. It means to say “the words you are saying, and the things that you are doing in this moment mean nothing.”

All of us in this place have been cursed. We have been belittled. We have been made to feel like we have no value. And I don’t know about you, but when someone makes me feel that way, I shut down. I have a very hard time pulling myself back together and refocusing. It hurts really bad.

On the contrary, the Hebrew word for blessing (Ba-rak) means something very interesting… you would think it would be the opposite of cursing, but its not. Blessing, in Hebrew, means “to bend the knee.”

Think about it. When a King walks into a room, what do people do? They get on their knees. Why? Because they want to show honor, because that person holds a position of great authority. Showing honor blesses people.

We need to set our social default mode to blessing.

Its the best way to honor one another no matter what the circumstance.

But what is honor?

The most simple way to put it is that it is how you treat people. When you are around them, when you are not. Thats the simple way to put it. But there is so much more to it than that.

Honor is the Hebrew word “kavod” (ka-vode) and it means “heavy or weighty.”

It means to place weight on something. It is literally the opposite of cursing. Cursing is to make light, honor is to give weight.

Now, as you probably know, in the time of the Old Testament, value was based on weight. If you were measuring how much money you had, it would be determined by the weight of the gold in your possession, not the number of pieces, so what it is talking about is “giving something value.”

That is why people bow before the King. Because his job carries weight.

We would have no problem honoring a King, or honoring someone who has already accomplished what we desire to accomplish.

Now, we have been looking at the word picture for each number in the ten commandments, and we will get to that in a minute, but first… there is also a word picture for the word “honor” itself, you have possibly heard this phrase but this is where it comes from…  for the Hebrew word “kavod” – If you take away the vowels (because there are no vowels in Hebrew, we add them so that we can say them in English) the letters are K-V-D

are the Hebrew letters:

“Kaf” is a picture of a hand and it symbolizes what opens, you use your hands to open doors, cabinets, your refrigerator, most things… Now, “bet” is the picture of a house or what is inside… a home is a sacred place, its a place that you share with the people who are closest to you. You welcome your family, you host your friends there, but you are protective of who enters your house.

and the letter “dalet” like we learned last week (and we have talked about it before), is a door…

so the word picture you get for the word “kavod” is it is the hand or the thing that“opens the inside door.” I have heard that phrase Think about it.

If you look at your life, and you look at the people you let in and the people you keep out, does it not always come back to the ones who honor you?

The ones who make you feel like you matter?

Like your words matter? Like your opinion matters?

That is a natural instinct in us, we are drawn to honor, and that is why.

It opens the inside door.

It opens our heart.

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