Summary: This was a sermon that I preached in a seminary class to a group of seminary professors and colleagues during one of Chapel services.
And The Grace Of God Was Upon Him
SCRIPTURE: “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” Luke 2:40
When you look back over the road you have traveled, what accounts for your journey? There are many who credit their journey to a variety of sources including: education, opportunity, intellectual ability, connections, politics and hard work. There are some who attribute their journey to just plain luck. Many began this year praying for luck, hoping that they would be lucky enough to survive any hard times they may encounter. They also hoped they would be lucky enough to be successful in their careers and varied personal pursuits. When they reach this point they say, “I was lucky.”
Was it luck that you survived the storms of life so far this year?
Was it luck that you overcame that family problem that plagued you and you are constantly dealing with?
Was it really luck that landed you the job that you sought?
The new housing opportunity that became available to you, was it by pure luck?
Some never realize the real source of their good fortune. I’m reminder of a story about a man called “Ungrateful Gary”. Ungrateful Gary was a man who never gave his wife any credit for the love she had shown him over the years; it made her sad but she loved him anyway. One day Ungrateful Gary took sick and remained in coma for several months. His loving wife stayed by his bedside every day. She read to him, cared for him and loved him back to life. One day he awakened and saw her sitting by the bed holding his hand and motioned for her to come near. He whispered, “While I was in my coma I finally figured something out. When I lost my job, you were there. When I filed bankruptcy and lost the house you were there. When I was fired off my job, you were there. When I totaled the car and ended up in this coma you were there. I have finally figured it out.” The wife became so excited because it finally appeared that Ungrateful Gary saw how much she loved him. Then he said, “What I found out is that every time something bad happened to me you were there. Now, I wake up out of this coma and the first face I see is yours; if I could get rid of you, my luck would change.” He was so ungrateful that he could not acknowledge that without her his luck would surely change-for the worse.
While there a few who attribute their journey this year to the black eye peas and hog maws they ate on New Year’s day or to the lucky rabbit’s foot they rubbed or the horseshoe they placed over their door, or the four leaf clover they found; there are others who know that it wasn’t luck at all. It was nothing but the grace of God.
The grace of God surrounds and strengthens us. God’s grace places someone by our side in times of trouble to help us. The grace of God causes a full plate to be placed on our table when we hunger. The grace of God puts us in the hands of the right doctor, teacher, coach and mentor. Some call it luck, but those who know the Lord know that it’s the grace of God.
As Christians, we reflect on the journey we have shared and often peek into the future. We know that it wasn’t luck because it was grace that brought us thus far and it will be grace that will see us through.
This text focuses on the Christ Child after Christmas; showing how the grace of God was upon his young life. After Christmas, Mary and Joseph obeyed the Mosaic Law and presented themselves to the temple. They brought the Christ child to be dedicated, blessed and circumcised according to the Mosaic Law. In addition they came to bring their offerings of two turtledoves or two pigeons. They were met by Simeon an older man who did not see death until he had seen the savior. He was also blessed to encounter Anna the prophetess before leaving Bethlehem.
In this text the word “Grace” is translated from the Greek word “charis” which refers to the divine influence upon the heart and life of an individual in a way that is reflected in its direction and purpose. The definition seems to suggest that the recipients of God’s grace are those whose hearts and lives are being directed to achieve a divine purpose.
Thus when Luke says “and the grace of God was upon him” he indicates that the life of the Christ child would be divinely influenced and directed to achieve a divine purpose.