Scripture readings

Psalm 72

Jeremiah 23:5-8

2 Thessalonians 3

Matthew 1:18-25


Our theme this morning is ‘This Child is Saviour’. The Gospel reading according to Matthew in verses 20-21 gives us the text from which we derive our theme this morning. It is written:

20 But as he (Joseph) considered this (to divorce Mary quietly) , behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;

 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

 This Child, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, This Child is Saviour! Hallelujah

Verses 22-23 of the Gospel reading informs us or should I say reminds us that the birth of Jesus was a fulfillment of prophecy. This takes us back to our Old Testament reading in Jeremiah.

Here we find Jeremiah inspired by the Holy Spirit prophesying about the coming King, Jesus Christ. He says:

5 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: `The LORD is our righteousness.’

Righteousness is the promised Kings name as well as his character in dealing with His people. This term righteousness, features prominently in both the Jeremiah reading and the Psalm for today as a description of the Saviour Jesus Christ. The understanding of it usage here being holy, unquestionable in motive, character and action, pure and just.

The Psalm we read details and expounds what exactly the righteous Saviour will be for His people. But before we delve into that a little history about this Psalm will suffice. There are two schools of thought on the authorship of this Psalm; some suggest that it is a David while others suggest it is Solomon. However both schools of thought do agree that the Psalm is in a prayer for/by Solomon but prophetically a description of Jesus Christ.

In this Psalm the term righteousness we alluded to earlier from the prophet Jeremiah shows up again here describing the King; Jesus Christ. As regards to our theme this morning ‘This Child is Saviour’ the psalm goes ahead to give His job description as the Saviour of His people:

  • 1 Give the king thy justice, O God, and thy righteousness to the royal son!

The righteousness of Jesus the Saviour is not His own but has been given to Him by the Father

  • 2 May he judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with justice!
  • 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor!
  • 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
  • 12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
  • 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
  • 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.

Jesus then takes up this righteousness and uses it in dealing with all people and specifically the poor, the needy and the defenseless. And how does He do that practically? Vs. 12 by answering the prayers of His people, responding to their cries for help.

Reading through this verses reminds me of another prophecy of the Saviour quoted by Jesus Christ in Luke 4:16-19

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read;

 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luk 4:16-19 RSV)

Jesus Christ is the savior. Is He your savior this morning? Have you allowed Him into your life to save you from your fallen nature? The fallen nature of sin

Today is the fourth Sunday of advent and next Sunday will be Christmas the day we celebrate the birth of the Child in Bethlehem who was and is the savior of the world. It is easy to get lost in the festivities, the eating and drinking, the new clothes, the holidays and let’s not forget the gifts.

But this morning as we trace back the prophecies about the birth of Jesus, as we have read the fulfillment of those prophecies in the gospel according to St. Matthew is Jesus Christ (the babe of Bethlehem) the Saviour of the world just another figure or lesson in history or is He a reality in your life?

The Psalm for today has described clearly to us what Jesus came to do as Saviour, the Lukan Gospel encapsulates that truth clearly:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luk 4:16-19 RSV)

What is the good news? That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life! Praise the Lord

So I ask us, all of us gathered here this morning, look deep within yourself and answer this question : Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you believe that He is the Saviour of not just the world but of you personally as an individual?

As we conclude, the epistle reading in Thessalonians gives encouragement and advice to those of us who have received the Saviour. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit first begins by asking for prayers for himself and all those joining him in the missionary journey that God’s Word may triumph wherever they preach it just like it did among the Thessalonians. I encourage all of us to take time every week to pray for our spiritual leaders, specifically in this congregation the Rev. Izza Kalle, in this parish our Vicar Rev. Joyce Kariuki and Curate Catherine Njagi as well as all the clergy and lay readers in this parish. Also for our diocese and province as well as the church of Jesus Christ around the world. We need and we must pray for our spiritual leaders as well as the body of Christ. If you are wondering how to go about praying the collect for last Sunday (3rd Sunday in advent) would be a good place to start:

O LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so pre pare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever,* one God, world without end. Amen.

Secondly Paul makes a prayer for the Thessalonian believers as well as encourages them in their Christian walk:

3 But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil.

 4 And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things which we command.

 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (2Th 3:3-5 RSV)

Paul here gives a vote of confidence to the Thessalonians stating that he is confident of their staying in the right path as well as walking in obedience to God’s Word. Brothers and sisters, it is one thing to week by week hear God’s Word as it is preached on this pulpit but it is another different ball game to actualize it in our daily living, to live according to that Word. I pray for myself and for you too that God may help us not just to be hearers of His word but to be doers also.

Lastly Paul gives a command and a caution against idleness. We are in the holiday season and idleness is a vice that seeks to entice young people. I encourage all of us here present this morning, flee from idleness! Purpose to flee from idleness this holiday and for the rest of your life! Seek to busy yourself doing work that glorifies God. And if you have no idea what work am talking about start by helping around the house, your parents, your younger siblings. Visit those that are less privileged, you could start with St. Nicholas children’s home just next door. Use your gifts and talents to glorify God, edify the body of Christ and meet the needs of others. Whatever you do, keep busy glorifying God as you flee from idleness.

Praying for our spiritual leaders, our spiritual leaders praying for us, being doers of the Word, fleeing idleness and keeping busy by glorifying God is only possible if we have the right foundation. The right foundation is Jesus Christ, This Child is Saviour. It is only under the saving grace of Jesus that our daily lives can be of obedience to His Word, otherwise on our own we might as well be trying to walk to the moon!

 Let us pray

Father, thank you so much for loving us. Thank you for reminding us of your love once again this morning. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ as a child, born of a woman just like all of us here present today. Thank you that this Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem was and is the Saviour of the world. Father I thank you for those amongst us that you have already called to yourself through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I also thank you for those that you are calling to yourself even this very minute. Father let your Word that you have spoken to us this morning take root in each and every heart present here today and bear lasting fruit for the glory and honor of your name.

In Jesus name we pray. Amen

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