In some of the ancient manuscripts, John 7:53-8:11 is not found. Where it is found, it is not always in this location in John’s gospel. Even if you believe it’s a misfit passage, I’m thankful that God has continually shown Himself to misfits of society (i.e., me). May that be an encouragement to you as you consider your own caste system.
I can’t believe we’re closing out on the book of Hebrews this week. Wow. I pray God has stirred your heart as you studied this half-marathon book. You found out—just like I did—how these 13 chapters required a whole new level of spiritual effort. God wanted you right here in this book during this season you’re living. This season has purpose and you are more beautiful for it. Let’s listen to what God speaks to us this week, and then on Sunday we’ll begin a Christmas Quiet study. This study is a bit different in that it has a short, daily reading to encourage stillness, and includes a moment for conversation with children you might have in your home or church.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Christ this season, let the Messiah–not the mayhem–reign in your heart. May you be richly blessed in Him!
We’re now headed into the parallel story of Jesus’ birth in the book of Matthew, since we’ve concluded Luke’s account.
Read: Matthew 1:18—19
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Reflect: To the Jewish people, engagement was equivalent to marriage–except they did not live together or consummate until marriage. If an engaged woman became pregnant, it would’ve been considered adultery (see Deuteronomy 22:13—21). Therefore, Joseph had decided to “divorce her quietly,” which was honorable despite the heartache Joseph must’ve felt at this time. When you’re hurt or rejected, what’s your initial response? Our flesh would want to disgrace the other person (the more public the better!); yet, the heart of Christ is that despite the person’s dishonor, we chose to honor God and move forward quietly.
Respond: Gracious Father, you have dealt with me in patience and love time and again, yet I continually call out the speck of sin in another person’s eye. Teach me to love others right where they are and to be patient even when I’ve been hurt and want to make a public spectacle of them!
Tot Time: Being hurt by someone else is never fun. Talk with the little ones about a time when their feelings were hurt and how it made them feel. How should we respond in these situations? Then, ask them about a time when they’ve hurt someone else and how they should change their behavior.
Be Moses today. You have the opportunity to approach God’s throne freely and with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). Most of the world today – even Christians – are standing at a distance. Be the one person who chooses to go into the thickness with God. It is in God’s thickness that our troubles become muted, the chaos lessens, and the distractions diminish. Enjoy the Lord’s great love and peace enveloped around you!