Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
led forth as a Lamb,
sacrificed as a Sheep,
buried as a Man,
He rose from the dead as a God,
for He was by nature God and man.
He is all things:
He judges, and so he is Law;
He teaches, and so he is Wisdom;
He saves, and so he is Grace;
He begets, and so he is Father;
He is begotten, and so he is Son;
He suffers, and so he is Sacrifice;
He is buried, and so he is man;
He rises again, and so he is God.
This is Jesus Christ,
to whom belongs glory for all ages.
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
O Holy God of Promise,
we so often place our trust in the things we can see,
and touch, and easily believe.
But you did not ask us to believe what is easy,
you have asked us to believe what is true!
Forgive us, Holy One, when we doubt the ways you work.
Forgive us when we find it hard to believe an ancient story.
Forgive us when we question how you chose to enter the world,
born as one of us.
Forgive our lack of faith and belief
in ways which seem so impossible to believe.
Help us to look in faith, open our belief, and set aside our doubts
that you sent your Son, born of a virgin –
the one who has come to set us all free.
We offer these prayers in the name of your Son,
Emmanuel, God with us.
Jan Brook, Presbyterian Pastor serving in Kansas
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.