Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Christmas Candlelight Services: The Power of A Name
12-23-17 for printing
- Pastor Dale began by lighting two candles in the Advent Wreath – the “Hope” Candle and also the “Christ” Candle, because – with the way our calendar falls this year – the fourth Sunday of Advent is also Christmas Eve. How might you have defined hope, before you heard the message tonight? Have you generally thought of hope as wishful thinking, or perhaps as the power of positive thinking, or maybe something else? Share your definition of hope.
- Every time hope is mentioned in Scriptures, it is connected to the promises of God. Because of this, Pastor Dale defined Christian Hope as pulling the promises of God about our future into our present, and over our past. On this Christmas Eve, in what areas of your life do you feel a need for hope?
- Why does hope sometimes feel elusive?
- Read Matthew 1:18-25: This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
- What thoughts or questions come to your mind as you read this passage?
- What does the name “Community of Hope” communicate to you about our church?
- Matthew records several names for Jesus: Christ, which means “The Anointed One” and Immanuel, which means “God with Us.” What do those two names tell you about Jesus?
- Matthew’s goal as he wrote his record of Jesus’ life was to help people understand that all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah (the Christ) were fulfilled in Jesus. Imagine what that would have meant to Jewish people of Matthew’s day. Share your thoughts on that.
- The name “Jesus” means “mighty to save.” What does the word “save” mean in this context?
- How does Brett Archibald’s experience help you understand what it means to need saving?
- Peter says in Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Why is Jesus the only one who can provide mankind with the salvation that we need?