30 Days With Jesus: Day 1
Today we begin our reading and prayer series, 30 days with Jesus. The goal of this series is to get us all interacting with the word throughout the week, as well as to get us all on the same page – ready for Easter.
As I was thinking about it, it can be so easy to get busy doing life – even the Christian life – and allow the main thing to become secondary. It all stems out of the sermon I preached a few weeks ago, “One Thing” (which if you were at church this morning you’ll know I’ve now renamed to be “One Passion”). The goal of that sermon was to get us looking at Jesus as the center of everything. To put distractions aside and just be focused on Christ.
So, that’s why we’re doing this reading & prayer focus together as a church. To put distractions aside as we move into Easter. To stop for just a moment and remember just how amazing this sacrifice is – the sacrifice that has saved us all.
So, today, we begin at the beginning. It’s not the very beginning, but a beginning of sorts. What kind of birth would you expect for a King? Probably not this kind.
11 An angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense, appeared to him. 12 And Zechariah, visibly shaken when he saw the angel, was seized with fear. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you will name him John. 14 Joy and gladness will come to you, and many will rejoice at his birth,15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is old as well.” 19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will be silent, unable to speak, until the day these things take place.”
21 Now the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they began to wonder why he was delayed in the holy place. 22 When he came out, he was not able to speak to them. They realized that he had seen a vision in the holy place, because he was making signs to them and remained unable to speak.
1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. 2 This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 Everyone went to his own town to be registered. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds’ Visit
8 Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: 11 Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. 17 When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. 19 But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. 20 So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.
- Who might God have already placed in your life for whom God wants you to prepare the way? Spend some time thinking and praying through the people in your world (not THE world) that may be there because God wants YOU to reach them.
- When was the last time you stopped to be amazed at Jesus’ Birth? You may have heard the story a thousand times, but it’s still amazing that a King, our King, would come in this way.