Today’s sermon title brings to mind the things of legends, movies and fairy tales. The least likely, scrawny teenage boy is bitten by a radioactive spider and becomes the superhero, Spiderman. The baby traveling to earth from the Planet Krypton becomes the invincible, Superman. In “Star Wars,” unlikely space travelers save the whole universe from “the Dark Side.” And, finally, the simple peasant, Arthur, miraculously rescues Excalibur from its rocky prison and establishes a fabulous kingdom of justice and peace!
But more importantly, “the Least Likely Used for the Most Important” also describes the true, Biblical and miraculous power of God to work His divine will through the most unexpected circumstances and people. Remember how God ultimately used the young Joseph, hated by his older brothers and imprisoned in Pharaoh’s jails, to rescue all of Egypt and Israel from a severe and prolonged famine? God used little David, a simple shepherd boy, to defeat Goliath and later made him one of the great generals and the greatest Kings of Israel; “a man after God’s own heart.” In the pages of the New Testament, we read of the transformative power of God at work in Saul, one of the greatest enemies of the fledgling Christian Church, who later became Paul one of the greatest Apostles of the Gospel and the writer of much of the New Testament itself!
In the Scripture readings for today, we see God using the least likely places (Micah 5) and plans (Hebrews 10) and people (Luke 1) to accomplish His holy will and for His most important purposes.
The first reading points us to the insignificant little village of Bethlehem, rather than the capital city of Jerusalem, as the place where the Savior of the World was to be born. “You Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me One who will be Ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2) God uses the least likely places!
The Epistle reading points us to the most incredible plan; that God would become a sinless human being who would then give Himself as a sacrifice in our place, for the complete forgiveness of all of our sins. “When Christ came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offerings You did not desire, but You prepared a body for Me… I have come to do Your will, O God.’ And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10: 5, 7 and 10) God uses the least likely plans!
Finally, the Gospel lesson reveals the least likely person that God would include in His divine plan to save you, me and all of mankind, the humble servant girl, Mary. She was a poor, simple, unsophisticated teenager, probably between 13 and 15 years old (the age of our 8th Graders). But she found favor with God and was approved by Him to fulfill His plan. By God’s grace, Mary shut her eyes to the world and to common sense, and trusted in God to bring all these things to pass. By faith she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) God uses the least likely people to accomplish His plans!
And, as unlikely as it may seem, God has chosen you, and me and the ministries of Holy Cross for His holy purpose today! Like Mary, we recognize our unworthiness, but we are open to the Spirit’s work in our hearts and we submit ourselves to His good and gracious will. Wichita may seem like the least likely place and we the least likely people, but God will have His way and accomplish His plan! What is His plan for you; how will He use you; how will He lead Holy Cross into the days and years ahead?
May God graciously guide us through these exciting days and give us eyes to see and ears to hear His calling; faith and courage to accept the challenges which He sets before us; the strength to carry out His plan worked through us; and then His perfect peace as we, like Mary, say “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.”
See you in church!
Blessings in Christ,