Daily Discipline #111
By Colleen Donahue
God's chosen people - the Jews, were waiting for a Messiah or Savior because God had promised them a deliverer. Any day they would see a knight in shining armor riding on a white horse. He would be powerful and a real leader. He would mobilize and train the men to fight so they could get free of their enemies and captors and conquer the lands around them. He would be their King and all the land would look to him for their salvation. Israel would be strong and free again and no long a weak nation. They would be the head when their King came and not the tail. They would rise as a nation to greatness and the entire world would know they were on top! These were the dreams and hopes of many in Israel.
Why then when Christ the Messiah did come was He not recognized? How was it that some of the ordinary men on the street could see that He was God's Son and yet the leaders and officials hated Him from the start and would not recognize Him? We'll soon see that Jesus did not fit any of their rules for being the Messiah. Instead of coming as a knight in shining armor, He made His appearance as a mere baby. A baby born in obscurity and poverty would never amount to anything and so they missed him.
We do not want to miss Jesus Christ in our own lives and so we need to answer the questions: How did Christ come and from where? Is He someone that I need to know today? Let's look at .......
JESUS AND HIS ARRIVAL UPON EARTH
DID CHRIST EXIST BEFORE HIS BIRTH ON EARTH?
Day 1- In a heated debate with the Pharisees, Jesus laid out where He ultimately came from.
Day 2- Later, toward the time of His death, He tells again where He came from and where He would be going.
John 13:3/ John 16: 28 / John 17:8
Day 3- As the debate with the Pharisees got hotter Jesus disarmed them all with a claim that (in their eyes) could only be blasphemy.
John 8: 52-53, 58
Day 4- With this claim Jesus was not only asserting His greatness over Abraham and time but He was tying His identity with God.
This is what outraged the Pharisees and caused them to begin stoning Jesus.
According to Jewish law anyone that blasphemed the name of the Lord must be put to death by stoning.
Day 5- In a later incident, the Jews tried again to stone Jesus for the same reason.
John 10: 30-33
Day 6- In a prayer that Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples, He asks that they may be with Him and His Father in complete unity. He also wanted them to experience the glory that He had with His Father before the foundation (creation) of the world (verse 24).
John 17: 22-24
Day 7- The eternity of Christ is also asserted by his disciple John. John described Jesus as "the Word". Where and when did "the Word" originate?
Day 8- John goes on to further describe the identity of the word.
John and the disciples had seen Christ's glory for themselves (John 1:14). Glory is a certain magnificence that surrounded Christ. It resulted in His praise, renown, and finally in men and women worshipping Him.
Day 9- The Apostle Paul agreed with what John and the other disciples had come to know. First, he agreed about Christ's deity and incarnation (i.e. taking on a bodily form).
Day 10-Secondly, Paul agreed with John that Jesus not only existed before creation but also that nothing existed apart from Him.
John 1:3 / Colossians 1: 15-17 / Colossians 2: 8-9
Why is Christ's preexistence with God and His eternal nature so important? Perhaps I can share it in this way with you. As a young girl there was a certain person that I looked up to. This person would do anything for me. I thought that they could get me anything I wanted and make anything happen. But with time, as we both grew older I realized that he was "just a man" and really couldn't be for me all that I thought he could. In fact, as a woman out on my own, I found that I needed him less and less. It was not that I still didn't love and admire him but he could not be for me all that I thought he would. He was only a man.
If Jesus is just a mere man, then our faith is empty. He would not be the one that we look to for the forgiveness of sin for He would have no power to do that. We couldn't look to Him to show us "God the Father" for He wouldn't know Him either. We couldn't turn to Him for help because he wouldn't have any more power and resources then we have.
But, if Jesus existed with God before creation, and has the same eternal nature as God, then we have someone outside of our realm that we CAN turn to. He CAN be a Savior to us. He CAN show us the Father and He CAN be a presence and help for anything that we might ever need.
THE UNUSUAL BIRTH OF CHRIST
How could God become human and yet remain uninfected by humanity's sinfulness? He chose to select a virgin who, through a miraculous conception would give birth to a child that would be fully human and fully divine.
Day 11- About 800 years before this event Isaiah prophesied it to King Ahaz. It was an event that would be a sign to that nation.
Day 12- What was Mary's state when she was told the news that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God?
Luke 1: 26-27
Day 13- An angel told her the good news. What did he say?
Luke 1: 28-33
Day 14- But Mary was actually troubled by the news. Why?
Day 15- Joseph - Mary's fiancé - learned the truth about Mary and her supernatural conception in a dream.
Matthew 1: 18-24
Day 16- This supernatural conception and human birth of Christ is important for all mankind. If Christianity is Christ and Christ is only human, then we have no supernatural help or divine hope. But if He is conceived in the supernatural, and born as a man, then in Christ we have the perfect mingling of divine power and human understanding. Therefore we have someone that we can go to that has the supernatural wisdom and power to help us with our day to day problems.
Hebrews 2: 17-18 / Hebrews 4: 14-16
Day 17- Before Christ, God could only speak to us through prophets (mere men). But since Christ, God has been able to speak to us directly through His Son.
Hebrews 1: 1-3
CONCEPTION BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
Day 18- To the Jews, the Holy Spirit was the vehicle in which God's truth came to men.
Day 19- Therefore the Holy Spirit in conceiving Christ was giving birth to the one person that could bring God's truth to men. He can tell us what God is like and what we are meant to do.
John 14: 7-10
Day 20- The Jews also believed that it was the Holy Spirit that enabled men to recognize truth when they saw it.
Day 21-Therefore, the Holy Spirit in conceiving Christ was giving birth to the one man that could open men's eyes to the truth.
John 14: 6 / John 18: 37
Day 22- The Jews also connected the Spirit of God with the work of Creation.
Genesis 1: 1-2 / Job 33:4 / Psalm 104: 30
Day 23- Therefore the Holy Spirit in conceiving Christ was giving birth to the one man that had the life and power of God Himself.
John 1:3/ 1 Corinthians 8:6 / Colossians 1:15-16
Day 24- The Jews connected the Spirit with the work of recreation or renewal.
Day 25- Therefore the Holy Spirit in conceiving Christ was giving birth to the one man that can restore another man's life. He can bring a soul dead in sin back to life.
Ephesians 1:7 / Hebrews 9:14 / 1 John 1: 9
THE HUMAN SIDE OF CHRIST - HIS GENEALOGY
There are two accounts of Christ's "human heritage" given by Matthew and another by Luke. While they both have similarities, they are also both different. Most of us don't notice this because we tend to skip over what seems like boring verses of names we can't pronounce. To close our study I'd like to point out a few things with these genealogies.
Day 26- Matthew in writing his gospel was trying to show the Jews that the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus and therefore Jesus must be the Messiah. To a Jew, a person's lineage and "purity of line" was very important. Any mixture of foreign blood could mean the loss of the right to be called a Jew or a member of the people of God. Therefore Matthew traces Joseph's heritage -- a genealogy tracing the kingly line of Christ. He is writing to Jews with the purpose of showing them that Jesus was the Son of David.
Matthew 1: 1-17
This genealogy shows the fulfillment of the Prophecy in Psalm 132:11
Day 27- It is interesting to note that Matthew's genealogy includes the presence of four women upon whom rested the shadow of shame. The first lady is Tamar - (Matthew 1: 3) - a seemingly good woman that married into a bad family and played the prostitute with her father-in-law to get the baby she so desired. The whole sad story is in Genesis 38:1-30.
Day 28 - Then we hear about Rahab (Matthew 1:5) . She was an acknowledged harlot (or prostitute).
Day 29- Then there was Ruth (Matthew 1:5). She was a virtuous woman herself but her race was accursed. She was from Moab and had married an Israelite. The Moabites were excluded from the congregation:
and then finally destroyed.
2 Chronicles 20:22
Day 30- Finally there is Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6) who was a partner in King David's sin.
2 Samuel 11: 1-5
Why include these ladies at all? Christ came to be a Savior of sinners. He is not ashamed to include them in His lineage and therefore sets the pattern of redemption right from the start. It is also significant that women were included at all for they had no rights. Jesus all through His life respected and gave to women the dignity that they lacked in the Jewish society.
Day 31- Luke's account differs because he was writing to the Greeks. His purpose was to show Jesus as the Man and Saviour born of a virgin. Luke traces Mary's genealogy because Mary could also trace her lineage to King David.
Luke 3: 23-38
As we close this study it is interesting to see that Matthew takes Christ's line only back as far as Abraham. Tracing Christ to Abraham makes Him the "possession" of the Jews. But in Luke, the line goes all the way back to Adam. To Luke, Jesus was the "possession" of all mankind and that includes you and I today.
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