12 words till Christmas · Advent · Salvation · Scandalous

5 words till Christmas… scandalous…

Scandalous… an Advent word… you may not have associated with Christmas… but it’s there…

Beginning with Mary…
and the scandal of a pregnant “virgin”…
immaculate conception…
Right…! 
Who was buying that one…

Well… her fiance did…
Joseph went right on and married her…
the scandal being one of two…
the baby was his…
or he was an idiot…!

This little scandal in the community was remembered a long time…
the people of Nazareth even brought it back up when Jesus began his ministry…

…and coming to his hometown [Jesus] taught them in their synagogue,
so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom
and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother
called Mary?…” And they took offense at him.
Matthew 13:54-55, 57 ESV
Scandals are remembered…
whether true or false…
they stick with a person a long time…
Scandalous…
From our twenty-first century hindsight…
we see another scandal…
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths
and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7 ESV
No room in the inn…
for a laboring young mother…?
No room in the world…
for the Son of God to be born…?!
Scandalous…

The greatest scandal in the Christmas story… one we often overlook…
was stirred up by the wise men… who came searching for the newborn King…
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
and assembling the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them
where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for so it is written in the prophet… Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly
and ascertained from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to
Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have
found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
Matthew 2:3-5, 7-8 ESV
Liar…!

After the wise men worshiped…
they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod…
And Joseph was warned too…
Rise… flee to Egypt…
because a scandalous atrocity was about to take place…
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,
became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem
and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time
that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken
by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted,
because they were no more.”
Matthew 2:16-18 ESV
Not the kind of Christmas story we tell our kids ’round the tree on Christmas Eve… but there it is…
Not to mention the prophetic Word concerning its happening…
a story which stirs doubt in the hearts of Believers…
How could He let this happen…? only save His own Son…?

Scandalous…

But the truth of the matter is…
by saving His own Son…
He made the way to save ALL…!
Jesus came as the Lamb of God…
to take away the sins of the world…
the whole world… not just a select few…
His life ended with a scandalous trial…
conducted by the leaders of His church…
the trial led to a scandalous execution…
authorized by a governor who found no guilt in Him…
Scandalous…

Then He rose from the dead…
another scandal… for those who refuse to believe…
Who stole the body…?! Where is He hidden…?!

Scandalous…

Reading this morning… I found reference to Jesus’s genealogy as recorded by Matthew… it echoes the scandals found in Jesus’s family tree…

Here, then, you have moral outsiders — adulterers, adulteresses, incestuous relationships, prostitutes. Indeed we are reminded that even the prominent male ancestors — Judah and David — were moral failures. You also have cultural outsiders, racial outsiders, and gender outsiders. The Law of Moses excluded these people from the presence of God, and yet they are all publicly acknowledged as the ancestors of Jesus.

—Timothy Keller, Hidden Christmas

There is no scandal which excludes you from the love and salvation of God in Christ Jesus… no scandal so great you will be excluded from His family… if you believe…

He died a scandalous death… for all our scandals…

The greatest scandal… the only one which excludes us from His salvation…
is the scandal of unbelief… rejection of the Creator… and His Son who came to save…

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,
in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God
or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:20-21 ESV
Scandalous…

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