Updated: Feb 11
Sub- Topic: Jesus: Our (Meaning Joshua,) Savior
Text: Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23-25; Luke 1:31-33
Rev. Dr. Bishop Carter, III
Since the beginning of mankind, there have been the questions of "Who is on our side?" and “who's with us.” The feeling of the team looking after you, providing security and safety, and most of all pure Identity, makes you who you are. The greatest factors to who or whom you are: the family, your parents, where you came from, or in street language, what side of town or the Hood do you come from. Today, because of the culture, behavior structures, street mentality, and moral symbolism, the gangs also refer to family! All mentioned, are determined by the name!!! And all determines your names!
I love the movie “Ghostbusters”! The newest version features Leslie Jones. In one scene, her character borrows her uncle’s hearse from his funeral home that becomes the latest Ghostbuster mobile. The related element from the comedy to my message today is they were called on because they knew how to deal with ghost! It took a while for the people to accept that there were ghost and the paraphenomena that they could hurt them when the Ghostbusters rolled through New York City with that converted hearse with the blue lights glowing and the jingle blasting through a siren. They got attention and respect from the community, press, media, politicians and police because they were able to handle the ghost no matter how large.
In this season of recognizing the birth of the Son of God, it is not a comedy. iT is not a fable from the community. It is not a press release or a media emergency news release. It is not a political statement , a police act of rescue, or heresy ; a family/ culture tradition, nor current text or email. It is a REVELATION, it is a Miracle ; it is a Theological illumination; it is an apostolic fulfillment that God is with us! And, AGAIN, it is a REVELATION, that Jesus is Savior.
Lately, we have been witnessing the connection of who is on our side, the security factor being challenged in all of our communities on a daily basis due to immoral behavior and the family struggling with no jobs and dealing with virtual schooling at home. With all the marching to gain support and worldwide global exposure, the activities of recent Time magazine Person of the Year 16 year old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate crisis activist angered President Donald Trump who felt he should have been the Man of the Year. Unfortunately, Trump bullied her like beast of prey. The impeachment of Trump revealed the immoral characters of our governmental leaders. The pandemic due to the Covid-19 has changed the world through the deaths of more than 300,000 in this country, the economic depression, the storm of hunger across the land pressuring food banks to their limit. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened our nation and the world to racism and bigotry are not going to be accepted as the norm for human living. The recent election of President-Elect Joe Biden and current President Trump’ refusal to accept defeat by promoting constant conspiracies, and immoral behavior are just drops in the bucket, a needle in the hay stack , a minnow in the pond, or a single fish in the ocean to what God has already done for us. (See my book: “7E’s for Change: Little Fish in a Big Pond”).
The prophet Isaiah pens in his commentary narrative that parallels the Bible known as the book of Isaiah 7:14 that men who are divinely inspired need to remember that “the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Matthew 1: 23-25 states, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the Angel of The Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”
In this time of a historic pandemic, a time of political chaos, and a toxic government, a time of promotion of conspiracy theories by a lying President of the United States instead of hope and trust of national leadership, let us remember who we are going to call. We should call upon God to thank Him for all of our manifold blessings, for the good times and the bad times, for the times when He looked beyond our faults and saw our needs. Call on the one who makes impossible possible, the one who is really on your side not like Nationwide insurance whose logo states, Nationwide is on your side. Call on the one who guarantees through his merciful Assurance that He will never leave you nor forsake you!
Yes, Christmas is wonderful, full of singing and gift giving, but the greatest reference about Christmas is the Emanuel means God with us, and Jesus was born , meaning our Savior is born. Savior from our sins, Savior from our eternal damnation. This is the greatest news release: the Good News that Matthew announces him as King, Mark shows him as the ultimate Servant, Luke shows him as the son of man , and the gospel of John shows him as the son of God. Acts reflects the day of Pentecost that empowers the church, and the book of Romans teaches man how to behave. Yes, the Gospel is Good.
Now there has been the need to march in the streets of our cities about justice for all. However, the main march that made the difference is that March down 42 generations from the Torah & Pentateuch to the Old Testament that reveals and New Testament that fulfills
-Genesis: the Genesis Record or Creation Story
-Exodus: the record of Israel's Deliverance from Egyptian Bondage
-Leviticus: the handbook for the priests and Levites outlining their duty for true worship
-Numbers: the story for preparation for Israel to Enter the Promise Land
-Deuteronomy: a reminder How Israel is given the Ten Commandments a second time
-Joshua, the history of Israel's conquest of the Promise Land
-Psalms, the divisions or songs and poems of praise, song, and proper worship to God
-Proverbs, the Book of True Wisdom,