Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Nov 29, 2015 Sermon

“The Miracle of the Virgin”
Isaiah 7:11 – 14
Ted Jansen November 29, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        Miracles.  They are something we cannot explain but believe!  Miracles are something that we know are real because we allow them to touch our heart.  Miracles make the world a better place. 
            Let us look to the words of Isaiah the prophet and discover three miracles from an ancient time that can bring life to our hearts.    
           
2.)        Isaiah was a prophet in the Old Testament living around 740 BC.  There were many prophets in the Old Testament whose role was to speak God’s message to the people.  There were times when the prophets would speak of the current day to day situations of the people.  The message could have been on a variety of circumstances but as a prophet it was believed to come from the heart of God. 
There were times when the prophets spoke about the future and things not yet happening in the daily life of the people. 
When we read Isaiah’s words we need to consider which perspective is being addressed; current life or a future life.      
We also need to understand that at times the prophets spoke with great clarity.  Their message was bold, simple, direct.  At other times their message was filled with mystery and it was not clear what the message was about. 
The message had to be discerned; was it for today or a coming day, was it clear or was it unknown, a message that could be understood later.  
 
3.)        Let us understand what is happening in the 7th chapter of Isaiah.  We know that Ahaz was king of Judah when Isaiah records a conversation with him. Ahaz, we understand, trusts other men and other nations to keep Judah safe from their enemies.  The Northern Kingdom of the Israelites has been under attack by a variety of enemies.    
            Isaiah tells Ahaz to trust in God, don’t trust other alliances of other nations and leaders.  Isaiah tells Ahaz to ask God for a sign, something that can show you to trust in God.  But Ahaz does not want to test God or ask for a sign.  Those are the words leading up to Isaiah who speaks to Ahaz that the Lord will give you a sign.  This sign will be something you will see and know so that you have proof to trust in God. 
            Isaiah 7:14 says, “The Lord himself will give you a sign; the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” 
            So, as the words from the prophet, were these words for the current day or a coming day, were they words of clarity or mystery? 
 
4.)        If these words were for the current day what did they mean for Ahaz?  If they were for a coming day what did they mean for the Israelites, for us?  Are these words clear or do they contain some mystery to them?    
            Isaiah is speaking about miracles as a sign from God. Let us understand those ancient words and apply them to our lives today. 
Can you believe that a virgin will be with child?  Can you believe that this child will be a boy?  Can you believe that this son is God with us?  
            If these ancient words describe miracles then we might not have an ability to explain them but we can know they are real when they touch our heart.  These miracles will make the world a better place.  Wow.  Miracles.  Words from Isaiah about God’s plan and purpose!      
 
5.)        This time of the year we love to listen to stories about “miracles” don’t we?  We have a number of special things, miracles that give us joy in our hearts. 
One of the “miracles” that we hear about during the Christmas season is the “miracle” of a reindeer named Rudolph.  It is a story of reindeers that fly, of Santa that uses reindeer to deliver gifts all over the world, of a reindeer named Rudolph who has a red nose.  It is a fun story that is based on miracles. 
            The “story” of Rudolph was created in 1939 for Montgomery Ward.  The story of Rudolph was created and coloring books were printed and given away to children.  This was a part of their Christmas advertising strategy.  The story of Rudolph became so popular that a song was written and later TV shows were made.  It is a fun story that we hear about during this time of year. 
 
6.)        As the story of Rudolph is told in song and shows and people think about all the other stories that make up this time of year do the words of Isaiah seem like all the rest?     
            Do the miracles that Isaiah spoke about several thousand years ago touch the heart?  Do we know that it is a miracle, what Isaiah spoke about, that it is true and real? 
            I invite us to consider the questions that people might be wondering about as it relates to the ancient words of a miracle that was yet to be revealed.    
            Was a virgin with child?  Was that child a boy?  Was that boy, God with us? 
 
7.)        In 1995 Joan Osborne sang a song that Erica Bazillian wrote.  It peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1996.  The song was called, “One of Us.”
            The song asks this question; “What if God was one of us?”  It was not a Christian song but it asked a great question that perhaps people are asking today.  What if God was one of us?  Let that questions sink in to your spirit, your soul…  What if God was one of us?     
 
8.)        I wonder if some people are asking the question where is God today?  It might seem like God is not with us today, that God is absent from our world as we hear of yet again another killing, another moment of hatred, another moment when it appears that darkness is winning in our world.  How could God be with us with all that is happening today? 
            We have terrorism in our world, far away and here in our own town.  Bombings in Paris and shootings in Fort Wayne.  We have people who are dishonest, others who deceive others and some who face the consequences for their destructive behaviors.  Some have a fear of violence, hatred and certain people and feel like they need to trust only in themselves.  We are more connected by information but are more alone.  We struggle to see any sign that God is with us. 
            We need more inspiration and life together with one another. 
 
9.)        Let us ask three questions and let them inspire us together.  “Is a woman who has not had sex pregnant?”  That might seem a direct way of asking about the first miracle but that is what a person today would wonder.   “Is this woman’s child a boy?”  How would they have known about the child back then without ultrasound?  How did they know?  Who told them?  The last question is the most profound and powerful that Joan Osborne sang about.  “Is God with us in the life of the virgin’s boy?”   These questions lead us to consider miracles.  We cannot explain them but we believe them because they are real and they have touched our heart.  
            Has the miracle of the virgin birth touched your heart?    
 
11.)      In December of 2012 a miracle occurred in the heart of a woman and another family in the Boston area.  
If you’re a single mom struggling to make ends meet, getting into a car crash the week before Christmas is probably the last thing you want to do. So when Kim Kerswell rear-ended Sherene Borr on her way to work, she had plenty reason to curse life out, big time. Kim had recently gone through a divorce and was a single parent. 
Life, or a miracle, was dealing her an unexpected favor. Not only was Borr not angry about the damage to her car, but she was so upset to hear Kerswell might have to forego her kids’ presents in order to pay the insurance company, that she offered to step in and buy them for her.  You see Borr grew up in a single mother household and knew what that struggle was like. 
Think about that for a second. Some people freak out if you so much as look at them the wrong way. Go smashing into their car and there’s no telling what might happen. But Borr not only didn’t get mad, she went out of her way to help this clearly stressed-out woman provide a Christmas for her kids that would have been unthinkable under normal circumstances. It just goes to show that, even in our rough-and-tumble world, people are still capable of the most heart-warming actions.  That sounds like a miracle to me.  (From internet and TV news) 
            How do you explain what happened to that single mother?  I don’t think you can explain it in any logical way.  It was a miracle of the heart.  It was a sign that God is with us. 
 
12.)      We might be like the first woman who is stressed out, broken, struggling and trying to the best for her and her family.  She is one that needed a miracle. 
            We might be like the second woman who is looking for people, even as her car is damaged by a person, to let God’s love come to them.  She was one who was looking for a way to be a miracle for someone. 
            You might enjoy the story of the miracle of Rudolph but have never allowed the miracle of “God with us” come to your heart.  You see a world that is hurting and know that what is needed today is God with us! 
           
13.)      We are going to affirm our faith today by sharing the Apostle’s Creed.  We are going to do this each week as we seek to build our faith, like we build our manger. 
Our beliefs hold the gift of God’s love given to us when Christ was born.  Pause for a moment as you listen to these words from the creed.  “I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried…”