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Merry Christmas, Messiah has come
Some five hundred years before the arrival of Emmanuel, the prophet Isaiah, prophesied that Emmanuel would come. ” Therefore the Lord himself will give the sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Thus, when it was nearing time for Emmanuel’s arrival, God sent the angel Gabriel to reveal His plans to the chosen virgin:
“And in the sixth month He sent the Angel Gabriel unto a city in Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
Subsequently, the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
When she saw him, she became troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
Behold thou shall conceive in thy womb, and give birth to a son, and shall call his name JESUS” (Luke 126-31).
When Joseph heard the news, he became distraught.”How could this be? He thought. Mary and I have not come together yet! I must divorce her before everybody finds out.”
“As he contemplated this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The child she is carrying is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
“So it came to pass that there went Joseph up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David. He went there to register with Mary, who had pledged to marry him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:4-7)
What did you have to give up to follow Jesus?
Every person who desires to follow Jesus must give up something. It is the basic requirement one has to meet before embarking on the Christian journey. It is the initiation period and a test of commitment. The twelve disciples did. Even though, they were mostly fishermen of extremely modest means, they gave up all they had–family and livelihood to follow Jesus. Nevertheless, following Jesus takes more than just giving up something which we hold near and dear to our hearts.. It takes great sacrifice and unshakable commitment and steadfastness.
Not everybody who wish to follow Jesus has it in him, or her (at least in the initial stages)to accept the challenge Jesus issues in Luke 9:23: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me”. The disciples no doubt had it in them, but I am sure it was just as difficult for them as it is for modern days people who are striving to follow Jesus. Regardless, they were not the only ones. There are countless others, including, perhaps you, and Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul after his conversion. Paul was not a disciple. Still, he did not hesitate to give up his job as a tax collector, as well as his position as a member of the ruling council to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the world, and in the society in which we live, there are many people who identify themselves as followers of Jesus, yet when asked to identify that which they have given up to follow Jesus, they cannot give a coherent answer. Young Moriah Peters who has had to make life changing decisions twice in her short life. In high School, she found herself at a crossroad where she needed to choose Jesus and stay pure or choose the crowd and be cool. She did the right thing and choose Jesus. Peters would soon find herself at another crossroad. This time she needed to decide whether to go to college to fulfill her dreams to become a lawyer or to pursue a music career, singing for Jesus. She chose the latter.