Series: Christmas Through the Eyes of Mary
Sermon: Amazed, Astounded, and Astonished
Scripture Readings: Luke 2:33-38, Luke 2:41-51
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:46-51)
Monday December 10 — Luke 2:28-51
Amazement is an instinctive response to the message of the Gospel. On multiple occasions, Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Book of Acts, tells us that people were amazed at something related to Jesus. He tells us that when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple eight days after his birth, they were amazed at what Simeon told them. When 12-year-old Jesus “got lost” in the temple, “all who heard him were amazed” (Luke 2:47). Two different times, we are told that Mary “treasured” what she was seeing and hearing (Luke 2:19, 51). What aspects of the Gospel story amaze you? How might you allow yourself to be amazed by the Christmas story this year?
- Prayer: God of Wonder, thank you for your Son, Jesus. His presence in my life is truly amazing. Open my heart to experience the miracle of Christmas once again.
Tuesday December 11 — Luke 4:31-37
When Jesus healed the man “who had the spirit of an unclean demon” (Luke 4:33), the people “were all amazed” (Luke 4:36) by the authority with which Jesus spoke and the power he commanded. Amazement is one of the characteristics of worship. When we encounter the presence and power of God, we stand in awe and we respond with praise and thanksgiving. Think back over the past few days. What kinds of amazing things has God been doing in your life?
- Prayer: God of Power, I confess that I too often take your presence for granted and fail to notice the signs of your power at work in my life. Help me see you more clearly. Amen.
Wednesday December 12 — Luke 8:22-25
When the Gospel writers tell us how Jesus calmed the wind and the waves on the Sea of Galilee, they illustrate how the power of God flowed in and through Jesus’ life. It helped them make the case that Jesus was truly the Son of God – someone who commanded “the winds and the water” (Luke 8:25). The question Jesus asked the disciples in the boat is the same question he asks us today: “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:28). When you face the storms of life, what helps you keep your faith? When you are afraid, what helps you trust in God’s presence and power?
- Prayer: Loving God, when I face storms in my life, I often struggle to trust you completely. Forgive my doubts and fears. Give me courage. Strengthen my faith today.
Thursday December 13 — Luke 24:1-12
Nothing in the Gospel is more amazing than the resurrection of Jesus. People who are long-time followers of Jesus can easily forget the astounding (outrageous?) claim of the Easter message: a man who was put to death on a cross was alive three days later. Even more astounding is the claim that the same power that raised Jesus from death to life is at work in our lives – giving us new life every single day and promising us eternal life with God. All of this is a gift, freely offered to everyone. Have you accepted the gift of salvation? Renew your commitment to Christ today.
- Prayer: God of Grace, I am amazed and astounded that you would forgive my sins and offer me new and eternal life. I accept your gift today. Thank you, God. Amen.
Friday December 14 — Acts 2:1-13
God’s amazing deeds did not stop with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The coming of the Holy Spirit into the world empowered the disciples to share the Good News in the languages of the world. Those who heard them were “amazed and astonished” (Acts 2:7) that ordinary men and women could act and speak with such power. What kinds of Holy Spirit-inspired words and deeds evoke the same kind of response from the world today? What is God doing in your life that amazes and astonishes your friends and family?
- Prayer: Almighty God, I am humbled by the thought that you can use me to do amazing things on your behalf. Fill me with your Spirit; use me to change the world.
Saturday December 15 — Acts 3:1-11
The Book of Acts describes in great detail how the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus’ followers to continue his ministry in the world. For example, just as Jesus healed a paralyzed man (see Luke 5:17-26), God used Peter and John to perform the same kind of miracle outside the Beautiful Gate. Once again, the people were amazed and astonished at what God was doing. What needs to change in your life to allow God to do amazing and astonishing things through you?
- Prayer: Merciful God, remove in me everything that interferes with the working of your power. Make me a channel through which hope, peace, joy, and love freely flow.