Carrying the Best Gift

Micah 5:2-5a            Hebrews 10:5-10                   Luke 1:39-55

 When I go to watch the new Star Wars movie, I’m getting popcorn and something sweet to drink.  That is my normal routine when I go to a movie theatre.

When I went to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, I ate peanuts and drank hot chocolate.  That is my routine when I go to a football game.

When I go to church, I like to get bread and wine.  That is a routine I like when I go to church.

For when we receive the bread and wine, we are receiving the best gift.  After a fashion, we get to carry the best gift inside us.  For Mary, she was blessed by being obedient to God by agreeing to believe what the angel told her.  Mary was able to carry the best gift for nine months.  But when we eat the body of Christ and drink the blood of Christ, we carry the best gift all of our days.

What is this all about?  Aren’t we supposed to focusing on Mary today?  Why in the world are we talking about Holy Communion?  It is Mary who first carried the best gift.  It is this gift, the best gift, which was foretold centuries earlier.

A. The ruler is coming (Micah)

  • Bethlehem of Ephrathah would be where the ruler comes from
  • It is by this ruler that people return
  • This ruler will shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord
  • This ruler shall be the one of peace
  • The best gift God has for us is his son. That’s right, after the bad times come our way, God provides a ruler who gives us peace.  But we won’t know peace until this ruler comes.  It takes God giving us mercy for us to know peace.  How do we know this mercy from God?

B. God has mercy for those who fear him (Luke)

  • Mary went to see Elizabeth
  • Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, blesses Mary
  • Why did Elizabeth bless Mary? For Mary believed the Lord!
  • Mary recognized the best gift she is carrying the Lord, her Savior!
  • Mary recognizes God turns things upside down so people could know his mercy
  • God has mercy for those who fear him. We can know God’s mercy.  That is why God sent Jesus, so we can know God’s mercy.  Mary carried the best gift in her womb, believing God would be true to His word.  It is through Jesus’ death that we realize God is true to His word.  How do we know God is true to His word?

C. Jesus does the will of God (Hebrews)

  • The Temple sacrifices reminded the people how bad they were
  • Jesus came to do the will of God (10:7)
  • We receive mercy, and more, through the offering of the best gift Mary carried
  • For Jesus did not only offer his body once for all only for us to receive mercy
  • God wants us to be sanctified, made holy
  • One offering done once, for all
  • One Savior making us holy
  • It is the will of God for us to have a means to be holy. By following Jesus we do become holy.  We are sanctified by Jesus.  Not only do we receive God’s mercy to be saved from our sins.  We are also made holy.  Since the means of our being made holy was only offered up once, we carry the best gift as we eat the body of Christ and drink the blood of Christ.

We know going to the movies involves eating popcorn and drinking a coke.

We know going to a football game involves eating peanuts and drinking hot chocolate.

It is just as reasonable to know going to church involves eating the bread that is the body of Christ and drinking the wine that is the blood of Jesus.  For when we receive Christ’s body and blood we are remembering that he died.

Mary carried the best gift that would be offered for us.  We carry the best gift as receive Holy Communion.  Along the way we realize the mercy God has for us.  As Christ returns He will find us being made holy as we continue to receive His body and blood.

I hope we gain the expectation that Jesus Christ will be coming soon.  I hope we see how holy God can make us.  Along the way, let’s carry the best gift as we receive Christ’s body and blood.

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