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Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

Hosanna

palm sundayHosanna, loud hosanna,
The little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple
The lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them,
Close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises,
The simplest and the best.
 
From Olivet they followed
Mid an exultant crowd,
The victor palm branch waving
And chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of earth and heaven
Rode on in lowly state
Nor scorned that little children
Should on His bidding wait.
 
“Hosanna in the highest!”
That ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer,
The Lord of heav’n our King.
Oh, may we ever praise Him
With heart and life and voice
And in His blissful presence
Eternally rejoice!

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It’s easy to get Jesus wrong.  You could consider Him just a wise teacher, gentle prophet, or worse, a mere man. You could limit Him in your thinking to the 33 years of his life and try to hold His influence to those narrow boundaries.

But Jesus won’t stay in the small enclosure you built for Him. No, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the great I Am, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, He is the coming King and Messiah (the promised one) whose arrival is foretold by the Old Testament prophets.

Understanding the implications of Easter, requires an understanding of exactly who Jesus of Nazareth was and is. According to the gospel of John, He was in the beginning with God, co-equal to God, part of the trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

So what was God doing living as a man in a remote village outside of Jerusalem in the first century A.D.?

God became man to solve man’s problem, because man was eternally separated from God by his sin, and the only way to change man’s future, so he could be in communion with God, was for a man to live a perfect life, fulfilling all the requirements of God’s law, and to then give up that perfect life in sacrificial offering for the sins of all the other men who lived and would live. That is what Jesus did for me, for you, for the whole world.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  1 John 2:2

Silhouettes of Three Crosses

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Who’s coming?

The coming of Christ should not have been a surprise to the people of God.  Multiple prophecies foretold of the coming of Messiah.

The following are just a few of the things that were known:

  • He would be born of a virgin and He would be known as “God among us” (Immanuel).  Isaiah 7:14
  • He would be a child, a Son of God.  Isaiah 9:6
  • He would be a descendant of David (son of Jesse).  Isaiah 11:1
  • He would be born in Bethlehem.  Micah 5:2

Interestingly, all of these prophecies, given over 500 years before His birth, were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.  All of the promises of God are true.  He is faithful to keep His promises.  He is not slack concerning His promises, but in the fullness of time, they will be revealed.

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C.S. Lewis on the subject of the return of Christ:

When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is gong to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else – something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discovery which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.
–Mere Christianity

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Ever wonder why the image of the cross figures so predominantly in the New Testament.  It’s more than the obvious – Jesus died on a cross.

Mark 5:34 records Jesus speaking, “Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  When Jesus made this statement, he hadn’t gone to the cross yet.

John Stott says “becoming a Christian involves a change so radical that no imagery can do it justice except death and resurrection – dying to the old life of self-centeredness and rising to new life of holiness and love.”

In Galatians 5:24, Paul writes “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh of its passions and desires.”

In Romans 6:6, he says,  “our old man was crucified with Him.”  He repeats the imagery of the cross and death on the cross to speak of living a life of self-denial – death to self.

Often people think that their “cross” is the trial or persecution they are undergoing.  The trials are not the cross.  The trials function to strengthen one to carry his or her cross.  The cross is the life of self-denial, the laying down of one’s own life for the furtherance of the gospel.

As a Christian, I am best described as “dead man walking” since I must carry the instrument of my own execution, the cross.  I must die, so He might live through me.  By this great miracle, others will see Him and His glory and be drawn to Him.  Thus, the gospel is spread.

Father, make me to be dead to self and alive to Your Spirit.  May Easter remind me of how that fully-surrendered life appears.

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Why did Jesus have to be betrayed by one of those closest to him as well as those in religious authority?

1.  It was the fulfillment of scripture.

  • Psalm 41:9 “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.”  See also John 13:18 confirming fulfillment of the prophecy.

2.  It was necessary so we could know that God understands and can sympathize with our situations, the betrayals we suffer at the hands of those closest to us and those in authority over us.

  • Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

We have all been betrayed.  Our inclination is to seek revenge or punishment for our betrayer.  But Jesus was betrayed, and He did not defend Himself.  Rather, He lived out the sovereign will of His Father, trusting that the Father would change the circumstances if He willed.  Jesus understood that the will of the Father (God), is the primary focus for the Son (and for us as children of God).

3.  It is clear evidence of the “religious’ heart of man apart from God.

The betrayal of Jesus by his own people, by the “religious” of his day, is a warning to us of what can happen when we allow our religion to become more important than our faith in and relationship with the Savior.  Jesus warned the religious leaders, but they were unmoved.  They had no heart for God.

Jesus was betrayed because that is our relationship with God apart from Christ.  We are betrayers.  We can’t keep the law.   We can’t put the will of the Father before our own desires.  He had to show us how.  He had to make a way for us.  Betrayal was the first part.

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Christmas is the celebration that always looks both to the past and to the future at God’s promises.

The Holy Father, recognizing the total inability of sinful man to be in relationship with a  Holy God, sent His only Son (Jesus – the God-man) to provide the perfect (complete) sacrifice, once and for all, to satisfy the righteousness requirements of a Holy God.

The Son came and showed us the character of the Father and how to obey God by the power of the Holy Spirit. He lived the perfect life having no sin.   When the time for the sacrifice came, the Son showed us how to obey the Father unto death.

Having left the earth to return to the right hand of the Father, the Son left us the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, teacher, and the guarantee of our inheritance.  The Holy Spirit is given to those who belong to the Son – for whom the Son shed His sacrificial blood.

May your Christmas be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.  May you know the goodness of the Lord in all things especially in your personal relationship with Him, as you walk and abide with Him.  Be encouraged, He is coming back soon for His church.  May you be found ready, with plenty of oil in your lamp.

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