Future Worship at the East.
2 Thessalonians 3.6-13
Some of the assembly at Thessalonica have given up working for their living and have become ‘busybodies’. Paul says all should follow his example of being self-supporting, and those who refuse to work should not be admitted to the shared meals of the community.
On the cross, Jesus is mocked as a false messiah by Jewish leaders, Roman soldiers and one of the criminals dying beside him. He forgives those who are crucifying him and welcomes ‘the penitent thief’ into paradise.
Jesus tells his disciples that only the Father knows when the Son of Man will come suddenly to gather his elect. Therefore, they must ‘keep awake’ and ‘be ready’, because he is coming at ‘an unexpected hour’.
John the Baptist fulfills the role of Isaiah's prophetic voice, preparing for the Lord's coming. The preparation is repentance, and learning to 'bear good fruit' by depending only on God. When the Lord, the Messiah, comes, he will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.
John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask whether Jesus really is the promised Messiah. Jesus invites John to look at his words and deeds - they fulfil Isaiah's prophecies; and he affirms John as the messenger, foretold by Malachi, sent to prepare the way.
In a dream, an angel tells Joseph that Mary’s child is from the Holy Spirit. He is to take her as
his wife and name the child Jesus, the Saviour. By Joseph’s adoption Jesus becomes the promised Son of David, named ‘God is with us’.
Adult & All Age
God’s Word created the life that is light shining in darkness. The Word was in the world, rejected by some but received by others. Now the Word has become flesh and, John says, we have seen his glory.
Angels appearing in dreams guide Joseph away from Bethlehem in Judea, first to Egypt, where Jesus is safe from Herod's fury, and then to Nazareth in Galilee, where Jesus is brought up. All this fulfils the words of the prophets.
Wise men follow a star, which leads them to Jerusalem and Herod’s court. They are advised to proceed to Bethlehem where they find a baby boy. They are ‘overwhelmed with joy’ and present gifts before leaving ‘by another road’.