Summary: God is a rule breaker... God does things through people and in ways that differe from what we think to be conventional or traditional.
Title: God… the Rule Breaker (A Christmas Communion Meditation)
Text: Luke 1:26-38
Thesis: God is a rule-breaker… God does things through people and for people and in ways that differ from what we think of as conventional or traditional.
Thinking outside the box is a catch phrase often used to encourage coming up with creative ways to solve problems. To think outside the box means to look at things in new ways… to break out of conventional thinking and to look at things from a new angle.
For example, we have a traditional image of the nativity. I read about a group of first graders who got together and decided they would write their own version of the nativity. In many and most ways it was cast very much in the traditional and familiar. But there was one striking difference. Mary was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly there were moaning sounds coming from behind some bales of straw. Everyone knew that Mary was in labor. Soon, a doctor emerged, dressed in a white coat and wearing a stethoscope around his neck. Joseph who had been pacing back and forth turns to face the doctor who smiles and big smile and says, “Congratulations Joseph, it’s a God!”
There is nothing traditional or conventional about the Christmas story. God doesn’t do it the way it should have been done. He breaks the rules. The details of the story do not unfold as they should in a real-life drama.
The first thing we notice is that God does natural things in supernatural ways through unlikely people.
I. God does what is impossible.
“For nothing is impossible with God!” Luke 1:37
You would think that God would orchestrate the birth of his Son in a fairly conventional way. I would have thought that God would have chosen a nice young professional couple living in the Cherry Creek area in one of those beautiful older homes that have been through high end renovations that sell in the modest range of $400 K to $1.3 million… Mary and Joseph would have easy access to unpretentious shopping and a wide variety of excellent eateries. They would have had a close commute to downtown sporting events, theater and cultural activities and of course, good schools for the baby Jesus.
God thinks entirely “outside the box.” He goes with an unmarried, virgin, teenage girl living in the hill country in a tiny little Middle Eastern village.
A. A virgin became pregnant. Everyone knows that is impossible!
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called, the Son of God. Luke 1:34-35
God doesn’t just reserve the impossible for the making of immaculate conceptions… he also causes a post menopausal woman who was never able to bear children to become pregnant and give birth to the baby who would become the prophetic “voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make way for the coming of the Lord.’”
B. An aging, infertile woman became pregnant.
“Even Elizabeth, your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.” Luke 1:36
C. An explanation
“For nothing is impossible with God!” Luke 1:37
It is good to be reminded every year that God is fully capable of thinking and working outside the box. God is not obligated to practice conventional wisdom or cultural traditions or accepted practices.
Application: Our response to the impossible.
A.W. Tozer once said, "Anything God has ever done, he can do now. Anything God has ever done anywhere, he can do here. Anything God has ever done for anyone, he can do for you." (A.W. Tozer, Leadership Weekly, 10-09-02)
God also deals in the inexplicable.
II. God does what is Inexplicable
“She will give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
When Sara Leisten asked that her newborn son be given the name Superman, the Swedish tax authorities declined her request. The officials were following legislation giving them veto power over names. They nixed Staalman (Superman) citing its potential to attract ridicule later in life.
The boy’s parents wanted this name for their son because he was born with one arm pointing skyward, posed in the way Superman flies. Leisten plans to re-apply, this time with the name Staalmannen (The Superman). A humorist commented, “If it is approved, one thing is clear, little Superman would have a name he can never live up to.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3701802.stm, 9-29-04)
Mary’s baby was given the name Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins… Jesus was the name the newborn had to live up to later in life.