SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
December 14, 2008
Elizabeth’s Story Reminds Us That God is with Us Too
Luke 1:5-24, 39-45
Four hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the voices of the prophets had become silent. No one came forth declaring “Thus says the Lord!” Later historians call these “the silent years.” God was no longer speaking.
Despite the silence, hope remained alive among the Israelites. For example, the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth remained faithful to God, confident that the Messiah would come. Yet this faithful couple never dreamed that they would play a key role in the Messiah’s appearance.
Every Christmas I readily identify with Zechariah. If the angel Gabriel had suddenly appeared to me, I would have fainted. And I am sure I would have replied to the angel, “You have got to be kidding! My wife, as old as she is, will soon give birth to a boy? Yeah, sure!” And like Zechariah, my doubt would have rendered me speechless also.
Mary was a young girl in her teens.
Mary wanted to share her joy with someone
who would understand her incredible story. What a scene it was when Mary
Prominent in Luke’s account is the
role of the Holy Spirit. Not only was Mary’s pregnancy the work of the Holy
Here is a good lesson for us. God
desires to meet with us in ordinary places. He is not shut up in churches and
temples waiting there to bless us. While the Holy Spirit may come upon us in
church, he is also able to fill us and bless us in our homes and our work
Once I prayed earnestly for a man in my community to come to the Lord. I prayed especially that he would come forward to the altar at the end of one of my marvelous sermons so the whole church could witness his conversion. God had a different plan.
One Thursday the man came by my home to share his great joy in having been born again. I asked where and when this had taken place. He said, “In the barn, right after milking the cows; the Holy Spirit came over me and I fell to my knees, confessed my sins, and accepted Jesus as my Savior.” I shared his joy but I learned something important that day. God does not sit around all week waiting for Sunday so he can meet us in church. He is ready to do business with us anywhere and any time we become willing to surrender!
On his deathbed, John Wesley
reminded those attending him that the best news of all is this: ”God is with us.” And He is. His very Name, Immanuel, says
it all: God is with us! We can expect to meet Him in the most ordinary of
places. We can be ready to embrace the power and presence of his Holy Spirit.
When we are lonely, depressed, sad, hurting, or bewildered, he is likely to
come upon us when we least expect it. And when the Spirit fills us, like
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