Share the Hope of Christmas

In the Gospel of Luke, the author begins by explaining that he has followed all things pertaining to Jesus’ life closely. He writes that he has taken time to compile “an orderly account” of all that has taken place so that the reader may have certainty concerning these things.

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Video: “Ten Men in Quarantine” by Alistair Begg

Amid personal affliction or worldwide pandemic, it’s important to understand our circumstances in light of God’s salvation plan. When ten lepers cried out for mercy, Jesus healed them all, but only one turned back to offer praise. He wasn’t just physically healed; his eyes were also spiritually opened to recognize Jesus. Ultimately, it’s sin, not leprosy or COVID-19, that separates us from God, spoils our lives, and spreads to our destruction, teaches Alistair Begg. Although many diseases lead to death, only Christ’s mercy assures eternal life.

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Video: "Murder and Mourning — Part One" by Alistair Begg

Learning of Abner’s peaceful release, David’s army commander, Joab, confronted the king, sent for Abner, then cruelly murdered him upon his return. Did Joab really care about the kingdom, or simply his status within it? Exploring this question, Alistair Begg notes that the ways of the servant are not always the ways of the king. When we’re tempted to believe our plans are best, Scripture reminds us that King Jesus is faithful to His plan and all comings and goings are under His sovereign hand.

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Video: "Murder and Mourning — Part Two" by Alistair Begg

For David, Abner’s death was a cause not for celebration but for mourning. In his grief, David paid tribute to Abner and led his funeral, while Joab, having murdered Abner out of revenge, was met with a curse rather than a commendation. Joab’s experience is a warning to us, says Alistair Begg, when we’re tempted to advance God’s kingdom in a manner that is incompatible with our gentle, humble King.

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Video: "Abner, the Kingmaker — Part Two" by Alistair Begg

The Lord’s ways are undeniably mysterious. Even so, they are sure, and He accomplishes all He sets out to do. As King Saul’s dynasty waned, Abner, once David’s enemy, negotiated and consulted to shift his allegiance to the rising king. Behind it all, though, God continued to work out His plan through imperfect people in less-than-ideal circumstances. Alistair Begg examines 2 Samuel 3, pointing out that David’s grace toward this unsavory character prefigures the peace offered to us through Christ Jesus.

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Video: "Abner, the Kingmaker – Part One" by Alistair Begg

Second Samuel 3 relates a story charged with ambition, sex, power, and politics. Arrogantly fancying himself the kingmaker, Saul’s army commander, Abner, defected to David’s expanding dynasty. Yet David’s imperfect, convoluted path to the throne wasn’t the result of human calculation or manipulation. Rather, God was accomplishing His plan despite, and even through, the messy circumstances. As Alistair Begg points out, only when God’s love is revealed and we believe in Jesus can we take our place on the right side of history.

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Video: “David Anointed and Opposed — Part Two” by Alistair Begg

Second Samuel 2 provides an example of how the political endeavors of our world will inevitably disappoint us. When David’s nephew Asahel fell into conflict with Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, it became clear that Israel would only be united when they came under their true king. Likewise, Alistair Begg reminds us that the unity and peace our world longs for will be found not in a political system but under the kingly reign of Jesus Christ.

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Video: “David Anointed and Opposed — Part One” by Alistair Begg

In sharp contrast to the divisive tactics that often dominate politics, as David ascended to his role as God’s chosen king, he did so prayerfully and humbly. Like Jesus, he extended love to his enemies, invited them to follow him, and promised his faithfulness. Nonetheless, opposition soon followed. While placing hope in worldly power will inevitably disappoint us, Alistair Begg assures that when we come to know and trust Jesus, we will find Him to be the true leader for which we long.

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Video: “Love, Loss, Lamentation” by Alistair Begg

David’s lament over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan invited Israel to feel their grief and provided direction for their sorrow. As Alistair Begg explains, David buried Saul’s past offenses, choosing instead to focus on the good that had been lost. His poem highlighted the bravery Saul and Jonathan displayed, the unity they enjoyed, and the prosperity Saul created. At the same time, his deep anguish over Jonathan’s death points us to Jesus as the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

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Video: “How the Mighty Have Fallen” by Alistair Begg

Following Saul and Jonathan’s death, David cried out for silence in the streets and for a curse to descend on the mountain where the mighty of Israel had fallen. Although David’s lament was personal, he led all of Israel in mourning the nation’s calamity. As Alistair Begg explains, his sorrowful grief was a biblical response to death. When we take time to mourn, we show a watching world that death is indeed the last great enemy, even as we look forward to the return of Christ, who alone conquered death.

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