Summary: Part 4 of Christmas UN:Wrapped When I lay down my life and take up my cross…then, my life is fulfilled!


Good News/Bad News…

Begin with Good News/Bad News joke about the two old men who loved baseball… “you’re pitching on Tuesday.”

Often Good news comes with the bad… Especially if you’re a pastor…

Good News/Bad News pastor jokes

Good News: You baptized seven people today in the river.

Bad News: You lost two of them in the swift current.

Good News: The Women’s Ministry voted to send you a get-well card.

Bad News: The vote passed by 31-30.

Good News: The Church Board the job description you wrote.

Bad News: They were so inspired by it, they also formed a search committee to find somebody capable of filling the position.

Good News: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons.

Bad News: Mrs. Jones is also wild about the "Gong Show," "Beavis and Butthead" and "Texas Chain Saw Massacre."

Good News: Your women’s softball team finally won a game.

Bad News: They beat your men’s softball team.

Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.

Bad News: You were on vacation.


Good News: The youth in your church came to your house for a surprise visit.

Bad News: It’s in the middle of the night and they are armed with toilet paper and shaving cream.

Often in life the good news comes with the bad news… and it’s not always humorous.

Mary experienced this.

GOOD NEWS: You will give birth to the Messiah… the Son of God, Savior of the world.

BAD NEWS: Your life will be marked with grief and pain.

BUT!!! Because she chose to obey… “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be with me as you have said.”

• Prophecy was FULFILLED

• Her “calling” was FULFILLED

• God’s Plan/Story of Redemption was FULFILLED

Mary could have chosen the easy path, but the easy path leaves so much UNfulfilled.

It’s an interesting and often painful paradox…

UNfulfilled is easy!

Fulfilled is hard!

Mary chose the hard path, the path that would involve pain beyond what she could ever imagine… but in so doing God’s plan was FULFILLED! In choosing to die to herself, she became a part of GOD’s plan… she became a part of something bigger than she was.

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So Mary had the joy and the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah… but she also had the pain and the grief of being the mother of the Messiah.

She could have chosen the easy path… but then so much would have been UNfulfilled…

We’re there too, aren’t we? Jesus calls us to walk a hard path. He calls us to lay down our lives. Jesus calls us to die to ourselves. We can choose the easy path but then so much will be UNfulfilled.

God – the Father – through Jesus the Son has called us to so much more than we are… Jesus has called us to experience the life that TRULY IS LIFE… He has called us into his story of redemption. He has called us to ABUNDANT LIFE…

But, sadly, most of us never see that life fulfilled. For most of us the “Abundant Life” is simply an UNfulfilled promise.

Not because God doesn’t keep his promises, but because we are unwilling to lay down what we have in order to take hold of that promise!

That’s the paradox of Jesus… If we want to be fulfilled we have to make ourselves empty… We have to lay down what we have so that we can take up what he offers.

And I guess that’s the point. That’s the ONE THING I want you to walk out of here with today.

When I lay down my life and take up my cross…THEN, my life is fulfilled!

Open your Bibles to the book of Luke chapter 2. If you don’t have a bible, raise your hand and our ushers will make sure you get one.

[Ushers hand out Bibles]

We’re going to explore Mary’s story as the mother of Jesus… It’s a story marked by grief and pain and yet it is also a story of a life fulfilled. Mary didn’t choose the easy road and so live a life UNfulfilled… she chose to obey and that made all the difference.

Luke chapter 2:21-35


21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."

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