19But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,20saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
God’s plan rests in Mary’s arms, God’s plan rests in Joseph’s leadership. What kind of a man is Joseph? What kind of a woman is Mary? Ordinary people caught up in this massive story, ordinary people who would listen to God.
Herod died. He’s just a man. God’s son outlasted him. God won.
And yet, there is doubt and confusion on Josephs part. Scared of Herods son, he goes and lives somewhere else.
But this is ok. Josephs doubting is ok, because even in his doubt and semi-faith, God’s plan has succeeded. God knew his fears, and sent him to Nazareth instead.
Because God is in control.
Do you know this?
I mean, really know it?
Can you understand that God is in control, and he is bringing about salvation?
Because Herod is not the King of the Jews. He’s not the messiah.
The message of Christ is that all things – even the most horrific of deeds – are written as parts in God’s script. The great big story of the world, where Jesus is the hero.
This is good news! This is the story we can become a part of! The God we follow, the road we walk, the adventure we live! What part in God’s story are you going to take? If you know that the hero is Jesus the Nazarene, why not follow him!
For me, it means daily reminding myself that I am not in control, that I am not God. Because I find it so tempting to try and manipulate my world. I struggle with the temptation to accumulate as much money as I can, because as a student I don’t really know where its all gonna come from. I’ve got fees to pay, a car to afford and a life to live. So for me its really tempting to just hoard money.
But knowing God is in control, knowing that his plan is salvation for all people frees my money. I can then tithe, I can then give my money to charity, or invest in my friends lives, give my time and money for the encouragement of others.
The state of the economy doesn’t dictate how much I’m, willing to give – God does.
And yeah, actually one day that might mean I fall on hard times.
But that’s ok, because God is in control!
That might be true for you, or God might lead you in another way.
For me, it also means that I’m not freaked out when the government fails, or leaders break their promises. God is bigger than parliament. God is bigger than ‘Liberal or Conservative’ ‘them or us’. But when I know I am part of God’s story, I have the power of the Spirit to work through all things for the kingdom of God.
Perhaps it’s tempting to think that if God is in control, I don’t need to ‘do’ anything. If God is in control, why do I need to share Jesus, why do I need to go to church, why do I need to pray, why complain against unfair laws, or write letters to the MP?
Because when we know God is in control, what we receive is an invitation. An invitation to become part of something bigger than ourselves! Our work, rest, and play all become part of God’s story to save the world. How amazing is that!
(pause) I wonder where this meets your life?
Knowing God is in control, and that he will always cause his plan to succeed. What does that change for you, this new year?
All the failures and broken promises of Copenhagen – God is in control
Who’s going to win the next election? – God is in control
Is the pound up or down? – God is in control
Am I going to lose my job? – God is in control
Will I get the grades? – God is in control
Will my children get into the right school? God is in control
What does this mean, for you?