23rd December 2017

The First Proclaimers

“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’?”
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (MSG)

A handful of shepherds were the first to let other people know that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem. Forty days after his birth, Joseph and Mary took the infant Jesus to the temple, as the law required. They were astounded by Simeon’s pronouncement about the baby, but it was Anna, a widow of over eighty, who bustled away to tell others that the Redeemer had arrived.

And at the start of the life of the resurrected Jesus? It was given to Mary Magdalene to be the first person to meet the risen Saviour and hurry away, together with the other women, to announce to the apostles that he was alive again. Fifty days later at Pentecost, the second proclaimer of this extraordinary event was Peter, as he preached to the crowds that had gathered around the disciples.

O.K., we might say, nice for them to have that honour of being first proclaimers. But take a look at who they were: Shepherds were marginalized nobodies in the Palestinian society of the day. Anna was an old widow nearing the end of her life, and most widows were a poor and vulnerable group in that society. In fact, women were at the bottom of the social ladder and on top of being female, Mary Magdalene had been in the control of seven demons before they were cast out by Jesus so she must have been on the edge of what we might recognise as human. And Peter? This was a man who had seen all the miracles that Jesus had done, listened to his teaching, witnessed his love and compassion, confessed that he was the Christ, and yet at Jesus’ arrest, had cursed and sworn in an effort to deny all knowledge of knowing him. Would we have chosen any of them to have the honour of being the first proclaimers? God did. Let us thank him that he doesn’t see things like we do.

Father, our thanks to you that in spite of our inadequacies you graciously include us in your work.

Study by Hilary Buck


About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
Mountfield Road

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: hilaryjbuck@gmail.com

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