December 25, 2013
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
Jesus was Lord as He existed for all of eternity past (Micah 5:2). Jesus was Lord when He created the universe (Col. 1:16). Jesus was Lord when He left heaven and took on human flesh (Luke 2:11). Jesus was Lord when He lived a perfect, matchless life on this earth (Matthew 8:2-3). Jesus was Lord when He was arrested and handed over to Pontius Pilate (John 18:37, 19:10-11). Jesus was Lord when He went to the cross (John 10:17). Jesus was Lord when He defeated death and walked out of the tomb (John 10:18). Jesus was Lord when He appeared to His disciples after the resurrection (John 20:28). Jesus was Lord when He ascended to heaven and took His place at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3-4; Eph. 1:19-23). Jesus will be Lord when He returns (1 Thess. 4:16). At the end of time, Jesus will be confessed as Lord by every tongue and every knee will bow before His authority (Phil. 2:8-11).
All of this leads to a very important question; Is Jesus Lord of your life? Is Jesus the Lord of every area of your life? If He is not, then you are missing the point of Christmas! Jesus is Lord!
December 24, 2013
“For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
In this verse, the final name that Isaiah ascribes to Christ is Prince of Peace. This name speaks to the wonderful gift that Jesus offers the world. Man’s greatest need is to be right with God. God is holy and all have sinned and fallen short of His glory. Our sin separates us from God and our greatest need is to be reconciled to Him.
Jesus came to die for our sins so that the barrier of impurity between us and God could be washed away. With that barrier taken away by Jesus we can now have peace with God. Consider these verses:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” Ephesians 2:13-19
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
You can never know the peace of God until you have peace with God. Jesus is the Prince of Peace! He came to earth to pay for our sins so that we could have a personal relationship with God. If you do not have peace with God, place your faith in Christ today. Invite Him into your life to be your Lord and Savior. He will forgive you and bring you into a personal relationship with the God of the universe. Peace will flood your soul when your past is redeemed, your present makes sense, and your future is secure!
December 23, 2013
“For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father…” Isaiah 9:6
Another name that Isaiah attributes to Christ is that of Everlasting Father. This does not mean that Jesus and God the Father are the same person. They have the same nature and that one nature exists in three distinct persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This formulation is known as the doctrine of the Trinity.
So, if Jesus is not God the Father then why does Isaiah call Him the Everlasting Father? The first part of this name describes His nature. Jesus is eternal. He has no ending and no beginning. He has always existed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary was not His beginning, it was His transition from heaven to earth. He has always existed. He is everlasting.
This name is also descriptive of His character. He is benevolent toward His followers, like a father is to his children. He cares for us, protects us, and provides for our needs. He walks with us through life, even the valleys. As the hymn says, “No one ever cared for me like Jesus!”
So this Christmas, rejoice in Jesus, our Everlasting Father. He is the eternal lover of our soul!
December 22, 2013
“For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God…” Isaiah 9:6
Isaiah gives us another title of the promised Messiah, Mighty God. This title speaks of the deity of Christ. Jesus is God! Every attribute that belongs to God (i.e., Mighty), belongs to Jesus because He is the second person of the Trinity.
During His time on the earth Jesus was a great teacher, but He was more than that. He was a benevolent servant, but He was more than that. He was a moral example, but He was more than that. He was (and is) God in human flesh! He came to this earth as the mighty God to perfectly fulfill the law, die on the cross for our sins, and defeat death itself by rising from the dead.
His perfect obedience points to His deity because it reminds us that He was not bound by a sin nature. His death on the cross points to His deity because He was able to pay the infinite debt that you and I owe against an infinitely holy God. Only one who is infinite (God) could pay that price fully. His resurrection points to His deity because it proved that Jesus was who He said He was and it proved that He could do what He said He could do.
Spend a few moments worshipping Jesus, our Mighty God!
December 21, 2013
“For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor…” Isaiah 9:6
In an Old Testament prophecy written 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah predicts the birth of the Son of God to the virgin Mary (Is. 7:14). In chapter 9, Isaiah declares four names for the Messiah. These four names describe the character, nature, and work of the Messiah. The first name is Wonderful Counselor. This title speaks of the perfect wisdom of Christ.
His wisdom allows Him to rule and reign over the universe perfectly. And His wisdom is brought to bear on behalf of His followers. We can benefit from His wisdom as we seek to navigate life and serve Him. Remember, Jesus is God so He is omniscient. He knows everything! So, this Christmas season remember that the Child born to Mary is available to be your Wonderful Counselor. Walk with Him, talk to Him, ask Him for His counsel. He is your Savior, your Lord, and your Friend!
December 20, 2013
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
Christmas is a time for joy, celebration, and singing! But maybe we should also find some time to be quiet and ponder the mystery and majesty of the incarnation. Mary did just that on the night that Christ was born. Luke records her silent meditation on the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. What was Mary treasuring in her heart? We cannot know with certainty but let me offer a few guesses based upon the record of Scripture:
The Holy Birth of Christ
Mary had delivered a baby and she had never known a man. An angel had come to her months before to explain how the virgin birth was going to happen. He told her that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and by His power Jesus would be placed in her womb, the fullness of God in helpless babe (Luke 1:31-35). Now Mary was holding that baby in her arms, looking into the face of God.
The Humble Beginnings of Christ
Perhaps Mary was also trying to make sense of the fact that the angel had declared the Child she would deliver would be a King (Luke 1:32-33). Yet, He was born in a small, unassuming village, not the great Jerusalem. There wasn’t even room in an inn, so she had to lay her baby in a feeding trough. Lowly shepherds were the only visitors the night of His birth. I’m sure it was hard to reconcile the fact that Jesus was the King of Kings and yet He came to earth in great humility. The beginnings of Christ’s time on earth point to the theology of the incarnation. Philippians 2 indicates that Jesus emptied Himself to take on human flesh. He voluntarily laid aside the prerogatives of deity to become human and die for our sins.
The Hope Brought by Christ
The angel announced that the Child was to be named Jesus (Luke 1:31), which simply but profoundly means, “the Lord saves.” Mary was holding the Savior, the only hope for the world. Surely this thought was one that she treasured and pondered on that first Christmas.
Will you treasure and ponder who Jesus is and what Jesus has done? Find a quiet place and spend some time meditating on Jesus this Christmas.
December 19, 2013
“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened…” Luke 2:15
There is even more meaning in the birthplace of Jesus. Remarkable things happened in Bethlehem! There’s an ancient story called the Book of Ruth found in the Old Testament. It is the story of a young widow who is the namesake for the book. Widows in that day and time struggled to make it in society as they had very little means of income or support. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, understood that her only hope was to find a kinsman-redeemer.
To understand the concept of the kinsman-redeemer you need to know about an Old Testament practice known as Levirate marriage. Levirate marriage occurred when a man would marry his brother’s childless widow in order to have offspring. The first child was counted as the son of the dead man so that his name would continue on in Israel. The practice applied to brothers (Deut. 25:5-10), but was extended in the time of the judges to the nearest of kin down the family line.
In God’s providence, Ruth met a man named Boaz. Boaz “happened” to be a potential kinsman-redeemer. For Ruth and Naomi the existence of a kinsman-redeemer held out the promise of protection, of help, of redemption. For Naomi, there was a man that could keep the name of her dead son living on and there was a man who could greatly help them. For Ruth, there was a man that could love her, support her, and give her a family. Boaz was that man!
Not just anyone could be a kinsman-redeemer. You had to be a blood relative, you had to be able to provide, and you had to be willing to make a commitment of such magnitude. Boaz fit all of those requirements. Boaz fell in love with Ruth and married her, becoming her kinsman-redeemer. Oh, and did I mention that Boaz lived in Bethlehem?
You see, Boaz is an Old Testament type or picture of Christ. Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer! He is the One that can redeem us from sin and death. He is the One that provides for our deepest needs. Like Boaz, Jesus can be our redeemer because He is a blood relative. In other words He took on human flesh so He could die for the sins of humanity (Heb. 2:14). Like Boaz, Jesus can be our kinsman-redeemer because He is able to save (Heb. 9:11-12). He shed His blood to make salvation available. Like Boaz, Jesus can be our kinsman-redeemer because He is willing to save (Heb. 12:2). Jesus willingly laid down His life for us. Oh, and did I mention that He was born in Bethlehem?