Mary, however, did not need to learn who he was. She knew exactly what his identity was from his first breath even if she had no idea how this God-child of hers would accomplish his mission.
The startling aspect of this notion is that if Jesus was fully human and “grew in wisdom” that means that his sinlessness wasn’t in that he always knew everything and had all the answers so much as that when he faced any decision, he always chose the right path, the godly path
Childbearing is radically different from the sacrifice system requiring the blood of the innocent in order to prevent ongoing violence between enemies. Instead, childbearing is the is the spilled blood of the willing in order to bring new life.
While others packed up and retreated in their grief (or fear of being associated with someone recently executed), Mary defiantly stayed and watched for the hours between Christ’s death and resurrection, perhaps even staring at the guards placed there to make sure no one messed with his body. I wonder if she knew what was coming?
But what about the children for whom rescue never comes? What about the ones who will never be restored to their families or who will never play the role of a hero? Can God do nothing with their lives? Are they exempt from the affirmation that they are essential to the kingdom of God? Is participation in God’s kingdom limited only to those whose lives mirror Joseph’s story on some level?
The heart of this story is very easy to miss in all of the details of locations and people and subplots woven in the text. Twenty years passed since the time that Jacob fled due to Esau’s vow to murder him upon their father’s death. But twenty years had changed Esau.
What could not be learned from Christ alone is that God’s movement toward us occurs not in spite of our sin, but precisely because of it. Our sin is NECESSARY to reveal God’s mercy, and in an unexpected, fabulous shift, sin gives birth to grace.
The beatitudes, I believe, are given with the exact same point. They are about the character of the people of God (the “blessed” if you will). Each applies to all followers of Jesus. They are statements about who we are. The beatitudes are not encouragements or exhortations for us to act a certain way. They are statements about the reality of our blessed-ness.
It struck me that we should be applying the same principles to patience as we do to love. Patience is an attribute of God coming from his love (2 Peter 3:9), and therefore Satan has no part in it because he has no capacity for love. Satan is an impatient being, and impatience, as much as hate and unkindness, is a tool that he uses to destroy us and damage the work of God’s Kingdom.
Using these biblical texts and the insights of ancient church historians, we can learn about the early history of the Christian community in that city. A close study of early church history reveals both the challenges faced by the Ephesian church at the time and a living example of church leadership devoid of manmade hierarchies…