12/14 – Angels Long to Look – CTT for planners and LIFE group leaders
Background reading for planning teams 1 Peter 1:10-12 and Luke 1 & 2 and Matthew 1 & 2.
The coming of Jesus is something long anticipated. Prophets had spoken of the Messiah. God’s people had anticipated a Savior. Even the angels of Heaven yearned to know about His coming.
The whole Christ birth event is amazing – God enters human flesh in Jesus, the Creator comes to the world as mortal. And the way he chose to do it defies human imagination. In such a world and such a story, we must not lose our sense of wonder and amazement. The fact that we hear about angels all over Luke 1 & 2 are our clue something amazing is up! We sometimes mistakenly think angels appear all over the place in the Bible story. In reality, they show up only occasionally, and often they signal that God is about to do something amazing! Luke tells the story of Jesus’ birth, a story he has researched carefully, intentionally connecting Jesus’ birth to the Old Testament story of God and the fulfillment of God’s promises through the prophets. And to make sure we catch the significance, he reminds of the presence of angels everywhere!
Many folks are amazed at the book of Revelation because of its fantastic images and its view into heaven with the angels and the elders before the thrown of God and the living creatures and the wild prophecies. Luke is making sure we see the amazing nature of Jesus’ birth – there are angels all around and we are invited to join the story and worship Jesus, now, in our time and our world and our lives. We are invited to join the angel chorus in praise of Jesus.
I know we have used “Are You Amazed Video” before, but this might be a good time to bring it back – we have a version with “Amazing Love” a cappella behind it – I have found the video.
“Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place” (Brush of angel wings verse) and especially “Holy Ground” (#101). Otherwise, “Amazing Love” is a song that captures some of this sense of wonder if we don’t use the video. Another song, an old one, could be “I Stand Amazed in the Presence of Jesus the Nazarene” (aka “O How Marvelous”).
Only God could come up with such a plan – 1 Corinthians 1 & 2 emphasize the “foolishness” of God’s plan and how it confounds the people who think they are brilliant. And this plan, this person, Christ Jesus, is the center of all of God’s work and all that Scripture proclaims – Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Corinthians 1:18-20.
But think of what this says to us – a poor young couple, from a dumpy forgotten place, facing the challenges of being unmarried, pregnant, having no place to stay, hated by their religious leaders in an empire so big and unfeeling to their plight they have to go to Egypt and hide to protect their child. Can there be anything much more amazing than that?
That God can bring such great things out their circumstances with such ordinary people?
These would be used in song set. Luke 2:8-14 is the classic passage with the angelic hymn. Philippians 2:5-8 might be used to lead into communion and Philippians 2:9-11 to lead out of communion – Philippians 2:5-10 is based on an early Christian hymn probably sung at Philippi in Paul’s day.
1 Peter 1:10-12 and Luke 2:8-14.
Kernel Overview (Heartlight article) of the possible message:
Do the birth stories of Jesus still amaze you?
What is amazing to you about these stories?
Do you have trouble believing these stories?
Why do you think angels are mentioned so frequently in Luke’s first two chapters, the telling of the events that surround Jesus’ birth?
What all do angels do in these first two chapters?
Being witnesses of God’s glory in heaven, why do you think they were so excited with the birth of Jesus?
How can you keep from losing your amazement of what God did in sending Jesus?
John 1:1-18 talks about the coming of Jesus in a different way: what are John’s major areas of focus?
Hebrews 1:1-3 talks about the coming of Jesus as God’s greatest message. What do you think that message really is?