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Unlikely Grace for Unlikely Candidates – December 31st, 2023

Dr. Rob White - January 6, 2019

Unlikely Grace for Unlikely Candidates

January 6th, 2019
God calls and saves unlikely candidates (such as the Gentile wise men)––Good News for the world––and good news for us.
Scripture Text: Matthew 2:1-12
A sermon by Rev. Dr. Rob White for the AULC Ministries

From Series: "Epiphany Series"

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Dr. Rob White is back preaching live once again!

In this insightful sermon delivered by Dr. Rob White, titled “Unlikely Grace for Unlikely Candidates,” the message revolves around the theme of God’s inclusive love and salvation for unexpected individuals. Dr. White highlights the biblical account of the wise men from the East, emphasizing that God’s grace extends to everyone, regardless of their background or status.

The sermon begins by addressing the return of Dr. White to preaching after a health-related hiatus, setting the stage for a fresh exploration of the Scriptures. The focal passage is Matthew 2:1-12, recounting the journey of the wise men to find and worship the newborn King, Jesus Christ.

Dr. White challenges popular misconceptions about the wise men, shedding light on their likely Persian origin, the ambiguity of their number, and the Greek term “magi” used in Matthew’s Gospel. The narrative unfolds to reveal God’s intentional inclusion of these Gentile wise men in the story of Jesus’ birth, emphasizing the overarching theme of unexpected grace.

Throughout the sermon, parallels are drawn with other unlikely characters in the Gospel of Matthew, such as Rahab, Ruth, and Gentile centurions. These examples underscore the Gospel’s consistent message that God’s grace is not limited by societal norms or religious expectations. Instead, God chooses and uplifts those deemed unlikely candidates for salvation.

The preacher encourages the congregation to see themselves in this narrative, recognizing that, like the wise men, they too may be unlikely candidates in God’s redemptive plan. The emphasis is on the hope and promise embedded in the Gospel – a promise that Jesus has come to redeem even those who may feel undeserving.

Dr. White challenges the listeners to respond to God’s call, emphasizing that every individual has a unique role in God’s story. Drawing on the hymn “We Three Kings,” he connects the tradition of gift-giving to the Wise Men’s offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts, while symbolic, also served a practical purpose, providing for Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus during their escape to Egypt.

The sermon concludes with a powerful reminder that Jesus cares for the seemingly unlovely, offering hope for both the world and individuals. Dr. White encourages the congregation to embrace their role in God’s story, emphasizing that everyone counts and has a vital place in God’s family.

In summary, “Unlikely Grace for Unlikely Candidates” is a compelling exploration of God’s inclusive love, challenging traditional perspectives and inspiring listeners to recognize their unique role in God’s redemptive narrative.

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