Have you ever rescued someone? Have you ever needed rescue? Nicole and Sharon swap rescue stories and then open God's Word and rejoice in the greatest story of rescue ever told. Join us for this last episode of the season as we talk about Jesus, Lord and Savior. Merry Christmas, friends!
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to the Christmas edition of the Sweet Selah moments podcast. We are so glad that right in the middle of decking those halls, you have decided to stop for a while with us. We hope you will feel refreshed and blessed as you listen today. The Sweet Selah moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to the Sweet Selah moments Christmas podcast season. This is episode 27, The Perfect Rescuer: Jesus’s Story. As we finish season two of our podcast, what better way to end than with Jesus, the true hero of the story? Sharon, have you ever had to be rescued or have you ever been the one to rescue in a situation?
Oh yes. I’ve been rescued several times over the course of my life. I’m a little oblivious to traffic at times and Ray has pulled me out of harm’s way in parking lots and street crossings more times than I can recount. He’s always like you are going to get yourself run over.
Oh no, that’s too funny.
So, but I’ve also had two scary plane rides where the pilots of the planes were the heroes and helped us land safely.
Want to hear them?
I would love to.
You still need to promise me you’ll fly after this.
I may not.
When we were going to England one time, I was about 11. My parents and I, and my brothers and sister were all on a plane. We were over the Atlantic Ocean coming near Ireland, but not in Ireland. And I had a window seat and I looked out the window and I thought, well, that’s funny, there’s flames coming from the wing.
Oh my gosh.
I’m not kidding you.
And then a murmur grew as other people were noting the fact that our engine was on fire. So the pilot came on the loudspeaker and confirmed, yes, we have three engines that are working. And one that is on fire. So fortunately for us, we were barely close enough to Shannon Airport to land. We landed not even on a normal runway, one of their older ones, because they wanted to get down as fast as they could obviously. So we got down and we all got off the plane and at 11, I mean, I knew it was serious, but I didn’t know how serious. What made me cry was when, and I’ll probably cry again cause I always do, was when the pilot and copilot walked off the plane and everybody broke into cheers.
Oh, I bet!
When I saw grownups crying, I thought, Oh, this was really serious.
Yeah, this could have been bad.
Right. So ironically and sadly, but weirdly we went back on the same plane.
I know. They changed out the engine and we flew the rest of the way to England. So that was interesting. But anyways, it worked fine, obviously. So, but my next, I have two scary plane stories. My next scary plane story is actually what’s made plane flying easier for me because, well, I’ll explain. It’s another story of going to England; I went to England to visit my grandmother right before she died, actually, with my mom. We’re coming back and we’re almost ready to land at Boston, Logan. And the pilot comes over the intercom and says, I am so sorry, we have to land here. Cause we don’t have enough fuel to go somewhere else, but there’s a vicious thunderstorm and we’re going to have to go through it.
So he said, it’s going to be very rough. Oh yeah. Rough. It was so rough that ceiling panels fell out.
Oh my goodness.
The baggage, you know, the baggage things up above where you put your stuff? They opened. And then the crowning thing to me was I looked behind me and you know how the stewardesses are strapped in? She was crying.
Oh my gosh.
Oh yeah. When they’re crying, you know it’s bad. And it really was like riding a bucking bronco. It really was. We’d go up and down. So, and it wasn’t like the movies where everybody’s screaming, Oh, we’re going to die. It was pitch quiet. No one said a word. My mother and I held hands. We were both praying and no one said a word and we got down fine. And the same cheering for the pilot for steering us safely through that storm. But now if there’s turbulence, I’m like, this is nothing. Are the ceiling tiles falling out yet? No.
The stewardess isn’t even crying.
The stewardess is not crying. There’s no problem here. So it’s actually made me quite the confident flyer. I’m like, Oh, I see your turbulence. And I raise it. So, and also there was a calm in the plane. It was like, well, if we die, we die. You know, I really was okay with it. So I’m, so I’m not afraid of flying a plane.
But I got rescued twice. Cause I’ve flown a lot of times. So I guess it’s inevitable when you fly a lot. So how about you?
Well, I can’t recall anything too exciting ever happening to me. I should ask my parents, but I don’t think I’ve ever had to be rescued; maybe from like bad decisions or stepping off the curb of the traffic, you know, by somebody. But I did have a little bit of a rescue story where I was able to help rescue someone.
So I was, I think this is about 15 ish years ago before we were married. I was living with my parents still and I was working as a dental assistant and I was driving home from work one day and I just got on the highway and there was a car next to me in the passing lane. And I was in the driving lane and a motorcyclist came between the two cars on the line and zipped past us going super fast. And I said, Oh my goodness, he’s going to end up dead on the side of the road. I proclaimed it loudly as I got into the highway and not half a mile up the road, I saw his bike lying on the side of the road and he was on the side of the road. So there was car ahead of me that had stopped. And he was kind of like poking the guy with his foot. So I pulled over cause I know some medical training and CPR and I said, do you need help with him? Do you know how to do CPR? He’s like, well, I’ll call the ambulance, you check him. So I went over in my scrubs with no gloves or anything. And he was kind of rocking back and forth, holding his head. And I said, okay, you know, can you roll over? And he had hit with his face.
With no helmet and his skin had just peeled away from his skull. So I grabbed his sweatshirt that had fallen on the ground and kind of scooped up his face and flapped it back on.
Are you serious?
I did. And he kind of like had his head on my leg and I was holding his face together to stop the bleeding until the emergency people came. And I looked at him and said, well, and I’m reprimanding him like the mother I was going to be someday. I was like, what were you thinking? He had a broken arm and he was carrying something and he was going so fast without a helmet was like, I just wanted to get home to my wife. I said, well, I think she wants you home in one piece. You should not do that again. You should probably go slower. He’s probably like, great. The one person who’s going to help is going to nag me before I die.
Oh my goodness.
But that poor man. So I was there and I remember going home and I was covered in blood and my mom was like, what happened to you? I’m like it’s not my blood. She’s like, okay, then strip and I’m burning those.
But that was kind of the exciting.
But thank the Lord you were there. And that you had the presence of mind. I have this feeling that a lot of times I would freeze, you know, when something like that happened, but I actually didn’t the one time I did rescue. I was sitting by a lakeside with my two, well, my sister-in-law and my sister, I was gonna say my two sisters because I consider Lisa a sister, but we were sitting together watching our children play in the lake and there was a safe place in the lake. You know how they have the lines.
Oh like the buoy lines?
Yeah, the buoys. So, and I noticed that my nephew had gone outside the buoy lines and that his head was going under the water and coming up. And so I ran and I went to, you know, get him out of there. I thought I would be able to stand there.
And I stepped beyond the lines and I couldn’t stand. And there were all these like snaky grass things on the bottom. And I, I’m not a lifesaver rescuer at all. So I got scared then, but I kind of pushed him up and over, pushed him up and over. And it was just such a short distance. It really wasn’t that big of a rescue at all. But…
No, that’s really scary.
It was scary because I realized that I was literally in over my head trying to rescue a little boy with no life-saving training.
Oh my goodness Sharon.
But he’s fine. Thank you Lord.
But rescue is a good thing and we need it sometimes. That motorcycle guy needed you. He really did. And goodness only knows what his face looks like, but it’s gotta be better because you helped him.
And my nephew is alive and well and has a son of his own now. So this is a good thing. It was a good ending. And obviously all those people on both the planes were rescued by pilots that kept their calm and you know, either landed on a runway that wasn’t really a runway or flew through a thunderstorm. Rescue is needed. And when we’re in a place of vulnerability, we need help. And so we’re calling this Jesus’s Story, the Perfect Rescuer, because Jesus is a rescuer. He’s the ultimate rescuer, the true hero of the story. And he entered a tiny human body and lived among us, God, himself distilled in flesh for a season. I’ve always loved John 1:14 this description, ‘the Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father full of grace and truth’. John saw this. He’s like, ‘we saw this’, so cool. Christmas is such a special season. What an absolute miracle, Nicole, God condescending to be born as a helpless baby. It’s astounding. You are much closer to caring for a newborn than I am. So talk to us a bit. What’s it like to be a newborn? What are the needs of a newborn?
Oh, I love newborns. I’m such a baby person, Sharon. I just love them. They are so magical and tiny and they make such cute little sounds. And they’re so much fun to just hold and cuddle and stare at. And they just have this like sweet smell about them. Well, usually. Not always. That’s not the dreamy part of newborns, but newborns are actually quite exhausting to care for. I swear babies sleep the first nine months of being incubated. And then they come out ready to stay up all night for the next nine months of their life.
Oh, and they are hungry. I remember having to nurse my babies every two to four hours and sometimes the feedings would take over an hour and I would only get about a 40 minute break in between. And then you have to keep them clean and dry so they don’t get rashes. And they love to spit up on that beautiful hand-knit sweater that your grandmother made them. Or overfill the diaper on the cute little pants you just put on them. It is a full-time job for sure.
Yes, it is. Yes it is. And imagine Mary doing this as a teenager in a barn, not knowing maybe even how to diaper a baby, who knows, but she had no mama. I mean, did your mama help you with your babies?
My mama did too. And I think that’s more typical. And it would have been of Mary, if she had had the normal life, that God changed on her. But she’s alone with Joseph and they’ve got the Son of God, this infant who needs to be fed, who needs to be changed, who needs to be burped, who needs all the stuff done to him. And then we don’t know how much later it occurred, but at some point they have to go to Egypt with him and learn again, a new culture, a new way of taking care of babies and find a job there too. They were refugees. Jesus was a refugee.
Moving with a small baby. That’s so much work.
Yes. And they also had to find a place to live in Bethlehem. I’m assuming they didn’t stay in the stable indefinitely.
You kind of just picture them living there indefinitely.
I know. So what a hard thing for a girl that had not ever been a mother before to be alone like that. I can’t imagine. But we are going to imagine right now because Nicole and I are going to read the classic Christmas story of Jesus from Luke chapter two. You know, Nicole, I heard this read to me first by my daddy every single year. And now my Ray reads it every single year to me. I love hearing that deep rumbly voice. The words after 62 years are achingly familiar and they’re all tied up in my mind with candlelight and sparkle and wonder, I just love this passage so much. So let’s read it together, sharing the verses for this special Christmas selah moment. And if you can, listening friend, stop, just stop for a moment. Close your eyes, or turn off all the lights except for candlelight and Christmas tree light and celebrate the mystery of Christ’s birth with us as we read Luke two, one through 40. Nicole, you want to start?
Sure. At that time the Roman emperor Augustus decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman empire.
This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
All returned to their own ancestral homes to register for this census.
And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.
He took with him, Mary to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no lodging available for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified.
But the angel reassured them. Don’t be afraid he said, I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David.
And you will recognize him by this sign. You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.
Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others, the armies of heaven, praising God and saying,
Glory to God in highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby lying in the manger.
After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
All who heard the Shepherd’s story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel, even before he was conceived.
Then it was time for their purification offering as required by the law of Moses, after the birth of a child. So his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
The law of the Lord says if a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.
So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord, ‘either a pair of turtle, doves, or two young pigeons’.
At that time, there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly awaiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy spirit was upon him,
And had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day, the spirit led him to the temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required.
Simeon was there, he took the child in his arms and praised God saying,
Sovereign Lord now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
Which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations and he is the glory of your people, Israel.
Jesus’s parents were amazed at what was being said about him.
Then Simeon blessed them and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, this child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.
As a result the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed and a sword will pierce your very soul.
Anna, a prophet, was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years.
Then she lived as a widow to the age of 84. She never left the temple, but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.
She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
When Jesus’s parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee.
There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom and God’s favor was on him.
That’s some story.
What part resonates most with you.
Anna. She’s an interesting character. I was reading through her part and she never left the temple, but staying there day and night worshiping God by fasting and praying. I just wonder, first of all, what devotion to give her whole life to God, to being at the temple and how God sustained her. It’s a lot of fasting and praying.
It is. It sure is. And what a beautiful woman, again, another one, when we talked last week about Elizabeth and barrenness. It doesn’t sound like Anna had children.
And she was married such a short time and yet Oh, what joy to say what? Messiah? Right here.
Let’s go meet him. I know. It’s so neat that both her and Simeon were so old and had been waiting for so long to meet and God let them see the Messiah and hold him.
Isn’t it? Yes.
Wow. What a gift.
Yeah, and Simeon had such sight into the future and that warning of the sword piercing Mary’s soul. I thought of that thought, was this a gentle preparation for Mary? That this is a wonderful thing that you’re carrying Messiah, but hard things are going to happen. Not everybody’s going to be happy about him. You know?
I never thought about that. I never knew what that meant.
Yeah. Yeah. So I think watching him die, my goodness and Mary was there and watching him die.
And watched people doubt him.
Yes. Yeah. It’s almost like be prepared, be prepared. This is going to be a hard journey, you know? And sometimes that helps if you know it in advance and obviously God thought it would help her because he had Simeon predict it.
And then Anna, we talk about Jesus being the rescuer and our hero. She says that. She talked about the child to everyone who’d been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Our rescuer has arrived.
Oh, how neat, what a neat pair they are.
Oh I love it. But the sad truth is that many in Jerusalem did not want the kind of rescue Jesus brought. They wanted political rescue. He wanted to go much deeper than that. And rescue us from all sin. The ultimate rescue was on the cross when he took our sins on himself and suffered our punishment in his own body.
That is rescue.
So. Wonderful. So there are other amazing consequences of his decision to enter a human body though. Just how he could identify with us because God chose to feel what we felt. Let’s list some of them. What, what did Jesus feel? What does Jesus know from firsthand experience because he put a body on?
Well, starting right from his birth. He knows vulnerability. He had trust himself to the care of this young couple in a barn. It was where they brought him into the world.
He knew hunger, he knew cold.
Yeah, he sure did. And yeah, you’re right. A baby is completely dependent. They can’t, they cannot live without help.
Right. And so he knows that feeling of dependency as we need to learn that of God.
Yeah, he does. And then as he grew older, he chose not to build himself a house and have a home.
He was homeless. He understands those that have no place to lay their head. In fact he says that the son of man has no place to lay his head.
And he warned his followers. If you follow me, we’re sleeping on the ground.
You okay with that?
No fancy hotels.
Because that’s what’s happening. Right.
Yeah. He knew rejection and loneliness too.
His own town, they didn’t receive him. Right. So people that watched him grow up and would have known him.
They’re like, that’s Joseph’s son, right. Come on.
I think that would have hurt so much.
I know because he lived a perfect life. It’s not like he’d been bad in Nazareth.
Right. They saw him actually. And they still didn’t believe.
Yeah. And he felt anger at times. I was just reading in Mark. Cause we’re doing the Mark online Bible study right now. This man is in the synagogue and his hand is withered and broken. And he looks at Jesus and Jesus of course wants to heal him. I mean a man without a hand in that day where almost all labor required hands.
So big deal. And the Pharisees are like, well not on Sunday or not Sunday, Saturday. Don’t do that. And, and it says, Jesus was deeply disturbed by this because he’s like, don’t you see his hand?
Come on. If your donkey falls in a hole on a Sabbath, you take it out of the hole and you don’t care enough that this…? So he felt frustration and anger at calloused hearts. He loved people, but callous hearts made him mad.
So he did get mad.
Oh he did.
Yeah. It was righteous anger.
It was righteous anger. Right. And the temple where he flipped the tables over.
Right, right. And then betrayal, Judas betrayed him.
Oh yeah. A close friend too.
He loved Judas.
So all kinds of hard things. And he was spit on. He was beaten.
And then actual death, actual pain. He suffered an extremely painful death.
He went above and beyond because most of us don’t have to suffer an extremely painful death to die. It’s usually a fairly peaceful.
It’s fairly peaceful. That’s my prayer for me.
I would like a peaceful death.
But he went through and suffered one of the most painful deaths you can have.
That’s just amazing.
Yeah. It’s like, he can say to us in so many of our griefs, I know, I mean, God would know anyways, but God in human flesh felt it.
Except for sin. Yes. And he felt temptation.
He, he even knows how hard it is when you’re tempted. He knows that part too. He learned obedience through suffering. He knows suffering. So that’s our God. So entering a human body did so much. And then also we can see an example of how we ought to live, how he was dependent on God, how he got up early and talked to God in the morning and got his marching orders from God. And then didn’t trust himself to people on and on and on. It’s an amazing thing that we celebrate during the Christmas season.
It really is. We have quite a wonderful God, cause there’s not many other gods that you read about in any other religions or cultures that would put themselves in such a vulnerable, in such a miserable existence to reach us, you know, to come down to our level.
And yet he did.
Yeah. Yeah. He did.
What a God we serve.
Well, so this is the week to talk for the last time, our week before Christmas, about what we can advise and suggest on things to do for children and ourselves to continue to prepare for Christmas day. What have you got?
I love that. Okay. So this is the week before Christmas. And sometimes at least for me, it’s the craziest with all the last minute preparations and trying to get everything just right. And we can get a bit crabby with our family sometimes because we are stressed and the kids can feel that. And then they misbehave even more. Oh, we need a way to slow down and a reminder to be kind. This week, let’s turn our hearts and focus back on that sweet baby, our Savior and his arrival. Look for something that you can do to mark acts of kindness. Maybe it’s a jar of Christmas chocolates that you pass out when you see your kiddos do a kind deed. Or if you have a favorite nativity set, you can set it out and talk to the kiddos about each person in the story and what they did to prepare for Jesus. So what we did just this last year might be my new favorite thing, Sharon. I found this idea called the Giving Manger. You can use a manger you have, we made a little box of wood and there’s a pre-made set that you can buy as well, but you simply place a jar of straw or grass. We used brown pipe cleaners.
We put it by our little box manger. And every time you do an act of service for someone or do something kind, you place a piece of straw in the manger and you don’t put the baby Jesus in until Christmas Eve. So there’s time to make it chock full of kindness and pipe cleaners.
Oh, that’s fun.
It’s super fun. I tell the girls to watch for this and others. So they like to try to catch a sibling being kind.
And I found that this helps to encourage talks with my girls about being kind and showing love like Jesus did by serving and how we should be preparing our hearts for him as well. And not just a little manger box.
It also gives them the opportunity to offer to help with some of the Christmas prep with less attitude.
Well, instead of me always asking or telling them to do a chore, it will be them choosing to help mom instead. So for us, it’s been a simple and meaningful way to interact with our kids during a lot of bustle and to check our own hearts as we make sure our focus is on the right preparations.
I so love that idea and to catch them being kind. Too often I remember thinking as a parent, I can’t just notice when they’re doing bad things. I need to notice when they’re doing the good things and now they’re watching each other, do the good things. Catching each other being kind.
Yeah. It’ a good encouragement.
Oh, that’s beautiful.
Well mine, this time, is to recommend a musical moment, a musical selah moment for Christmas. I suggest sitting by that tree again and having your little candlelight, but also playing music. One of my very favorite songs that I discovered a few years ago now, but it still stays my favorite. Have you ever heard of Audrey Assad’s song ‘Winter Snow’?
No, but I’ve heard her. She’s got a beautiful voice.
Oh it is so beautiful. It goes something like ‘you came like a winter snow, quiet and soft and slow’.
It’s just gorgeous. And the words are worth meditating on. So I recommend that one.
I’ll look that one up.
But there’s so many breathtaking, beautiful, beautiful songs you can listen to. There’s King and Country’s ‘Drummer Boy’, which is certainly not soft, but it gets your blood up. And it makes you think, what can I bring my King? If you like classical music, parts of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ sing through the Christmas story. My sister loves Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and she can sing along with all the words or there’s the familiar carols like ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’, but sit with some music for the Christmas season. Lean your head back and worship the God who came from heaven and dwelled among us.
Oh, I love that.
It’s my last advice. So let’s pray. Oh, Holy Holy God, who loved us so much that you came and dwelled among us. We worship you. We thank you for the amazing gift of yourself to us. And Father, as we go into the last few days before Christmas, may we remember often the true gift, Yourself, the gift of forgiveness of sins that we have because of you. Bless each listener Lord with sweet times of remembering and just being in your presence this Christmas. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thank you for listening today. We truly hope you enjoy this Christmas season spending time meditating on what Jesus did for us by coming to earth as a baby. We’d love to hear from you. You can find us at sweetselah.org/podcasts. We’d also love it if you have the ability to send a financial gift to finance season three, coming in late January. You can donate by going to sweetselah.org/donations. We’ll be back in 2021 with a series on the Parables of Jesus and how they pertain to our very real and messy lives. We hope you will join us. Until then have a very Merry Christmas and may God bless you.
Speaker 5 (29:59):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. This Sweet Selah Moments podcast is a co-operative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah ministries. More information about this podcast can be found @sweetselah.org. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.