Category Archives: advent

Man of Sorrows

man-of-sorrows

December 15

Most of us live in a self-made society which runs from pain, sadness, and discomfort. We live to satisfy ourselves and our desires. We place personal happiness and comfort at a dangerously high value which means we often run from issues that cause cracks our  in fragile snow globe worlds.

Jesus as the  Man of Sorrows shakes our joyful Christmas mindset, and yet, without this name,

Without what this beautiful One did on the cross…

Without the fact that Jesus  left the splendor of His home in Heaven…

Without the agony of His last moments on Earth…

Christmas means nothing.

 

The joy of Christmas rests solely on the results of Easter, a cross and an empty tomb. Far too easily, we forget this.

In the garden of Gethsemane, we glimpse a raw Jesus in mental anguish over His  betrayal. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38)

There was no plan B to satisfy God’s righteous wrath. Only Jesus…

Only Jesus could secure the salvation of mankind.

And He did. Jesus  willingly accepted the path before Him…the greatest gift was based on the greatest injustice.

Knowing this and knowing Jesus had the power to stop  it all with just one word…

BUT…

His great love for us compelled Him. Willingly suffering, humbling Himself, allowing Himself-the Prince of Heaven-the Son of God–to be mocked, beaten and ridiculed by the very ones He came to save.

And He did it all for love…in obedience to  the Father…for us.

“Man of Sorrows, what a name

For the Son of God who came.

Ruined sinners to reclaim…

Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

 

Truth

truth

December 14

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Christian author, Randy Alcorn writes the following about Jesus as Truth, “(He) is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth, and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims.” When we are attacked by Satan’s lies, Jesus grounds us in the reality that is His Truth. He defines it, and He lives it. Jesus is God’s Truth. All He says is true and every aspect of His life demonstrated truth.

Satan, the father of all lies, specializes in twisting truth and casting a shadow on God’s character. The spewing of lies is his character, so we should expect no less from  him.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we learn to see life through the lens of His reality. In the same way investigators learn to recognize counterfeit currency by studying real bills, the only way to recognize the evil one’s lies is to be intimately acquainted with Truth. Our hearts and minds need to be so filled with Truth that all of life is completely bathed in His presence.

Remember, God’s Word is the sword in our hands when we  battle the enemy’s lies. Know His Word…

Dear Jesus, You are the Truth that sets us free. Help us to fill our lives with You and Your words so that we will recognize lies when we see them. Fill us to overflowing with Your Truth, and may the overflow spill into the lives of those around us saturating them with Your love, Your joy, Your hope, and the freedom only You can offer. Amen.

Messiah/ Christ

messiah

 

December 13

Messiah comes from the Hebrew word mashiach and means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” The Greek equivalent is the word Christos or, in English, Christ. The name “Jesus Christ” is the same as “Jesus the Messiah.” In biblical times, anointing someone with oil was a sign that God was consecrating or setting apart that person for a particular role. So…

An “anointed one” was someone with a special, God-ordained purpose. An anointed one was set apart.

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we want the world to know He came NOT as “an” anointed one, but as THE Anointed One, set apart by God Himself.

During His earthly ministry, many Jews were disappointed by Jesus because He did not satisfy their idea of the mighty military leader who would liberate them from their Roman oppression. Jesus was meek and quiet in spirit. They wanted someone who would possess a commanding presence, one other world leaders would listen to and respect, but Jesus hung out with the sinners and the socially unacceptable. He broke Jewish customs.

He was considered a ragamuffin by their religious standards…

but Jesus…

Jesus didn’t come to win a popularity contest.

All of history pinnacles on Jesus Messiah. Old Testament kings and priests point to Him, and Old Testament prophets spoke of Him. The wise men brought gifts for Him. John the Baptist prepared the hearts of people for Him. The Father anointed Him.

Jesus Christ. Yeshua Mashiach. He was and is God’ s answer to all of humanity’s need for a Savior. Many rejected Him then, and many reject Him today.

But make no mistake…He IS the Messiah, and we celebrate Him as the Anointed One for all people.

Jesus Messiah, far too often I try to fit You into my idea of who You should be. I fear I have minimized Your holiness, Your majesty, and Your power. I am learning that I cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of who You are. Thank you for coming for all people who would believe in You. You are our Great Hope. You are our Only Hope…Amen.

John 1:41 – He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).”

Luke 9:20 – “Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

I AM

i-am

December 12 –

I AM is a name both mysterious and powerful. Within the pages of the John’s Gospel, we find Jesus describing Himself using the emphatic expression “I AM” which in Greek is Ego Eimi. Each of these “I AM” statements by Jesus reveals a characteristic and purpose of Himself.

I AM the bread of life. (6:35)

I AM the light of the world. ( 8:12)

Before Abraham was born, I AM. (8:58)

I AM the gate for the sheep. (10:7)

I AM the good shepherd. (10:11)

I AM the resurrection and the life. (11:25)

I AM the way and the truth and the life. (14:6)

I AM the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (15:1)

Lord, You are the great I AM! You are always present with us whether or not we recognize You. Whatever difficulties we face, whatever storms may rage, we ask for grace to see and hear You saying, “Take courage! I AM.” Amen.

 

Teacher

teacher

December 10 –

Jesus as Teacher –

Unpacking the names of Jesus in Scripture is a grand adventure for a biblical studies nerd like me.

Names were significant during biblical times. A child would often be named in honor of an event that took place at the time of his or her birth, or for a unique physical characteristic. So when we sit with the name of Jesus, it means a great deal.

Each name is a description, and these descriptions give us a different aspect of the work that God wants to do in our lives.

Don’t miss this…

According to Ray Pritchard, “Of the 90 times Jesus was addressed directly in the gospels, 60 times he was called Teacher. This was the word the multitudes used. This was how the disciples referred to him. Jesus himself used the term when he said, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am” (John 13:13). When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, he said, “We know that you are a teacher who has come from God” (John 3:2).”

The crowds who followed Him from village to village were amazed at His teachings. His teaching convicted the masses. It angered the Pharisees. It drew the hurting,  the sick, the spiritually hungry and the weary to Him.

Jesus was the master teacher…the Greatest teacher of all time.   No teacher will ever carry the impact Jesus did.

Proof?

Two thousand years later, over two billion people around the world profess to be followers of the greatest Teacher ever…Jesus.

His teachings and words are spoken in every language. Throughout history, no one’s words have ever pierced the hearts and the minds of people as His have.

Jesus Christ, Master Teacher? Oh glorious YES.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for your perfect  Word. I thank you that we have the words of the Master Teacher, Jesus, to guide, pierce, and encourage us. May Scripture be our first counsel, and may we delight in it and meditate on it night and day. Amen.

King of Kings

 

kingDecember 9 – King of Kings

“Where is the One who has been born the King of the Jews?  We saw His star when it rose and hove come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

The entirety of the universe worshipped Him. Stars in the heavens announced His birth. Old Testament prophets foretold His arrival, His life, His death and His resurrection. The Jewish people waited eagerly for a mighty king, a descendent of David, who with great power would restore Israel’s freedom and former glory.

And many missed Him.

This baby King entered the world so quietly. Humbly, the King slept in a feeding trough tucked away in cave occupied by livestock. His life declared His majesty. His miracles revealed His sovereignty. His great love communicated His purpose. At the time of His crucifixion, this King was mocked and a placard was fastened to His cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

And many missed Him.

Though He came first as a humble baby, meek and mild, make no mistake, He will return as a warrior King to claim what is rightfully His. Revelation 19:16 proclaims His present reality, “On His robe and on His thigh He has the name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” This King of kings is Jesus. He deserves all glory and honor, and as the Eternal King, He continually receives it from the heavens, creation, angels, and His redeemed.

There will be a day when no one will miss Him…no one will be able to deny Him…

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” Philippians 2:10 

Today, Jesus, we praise you as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You build the only kind of kingdom that will last- the only kingdom worth living in forever. Amen.

Alpha and Omega

alpha-and-omega

December 8 – Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

There is so much more to this name of Jesus than I ever understood. I knew that Alpha and Omega, somewhat like A to Z, were the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet, and I understood the name signified the beginning through  the end of all time. But in truth, that is such a watered down illustration of this mighty name.

Alpha and Omega represents the entirety of all knowledge, all existence and all time. It is beyond what my frail human brain can fathom to consider that before the beginning, there was Jesus…

He was, is and always will be.

All things live, move and have their being in Him. There is nothing…not a single thing…outside the realm of His presence.

In complete sovereignty, He rules over all existence. Colossians 1:16-17 tells us through Him God created everything, in the heavenly realms and on earth, the things we can see and can’t see. Everything was created through Him and for Him.

He existed before anything else and He holds creation together.

This is our Alpha and Omega and more…

He is the author and finisher of our faith. He took upon Himself  the full range of human life like us, and He did this  without sin. He did this knowing all things.

This name fills me with tremendous hope in the knowledge that I am not alone. Alpha and Omega has gone before me, He is with me on this life road, and He will be with me until the end.

Nothing. Nothing… no…thing… takes Him by surprise.

Lord Jesus, our Alpha and Omega, nothing is unknown to you. Thank you for enduring so much with great joy. Thank you for being my companion on this life journey. I want to love you more. I want to trust you more. My pitiful words  and thoughts cannot even begin to express Your greatness and Your sovereignty…Amen.

 

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