Jesus' Footprints

Posts Tagged ‘Savior

Luke 2:8-20

Angel&Shepherds

When was the last time you received good news? What did you do?  Did you keep it to yourself or did you share it with others?

Imagine you were one of those shepherds watching over your sheep.  It was a night like any other or so you thought…

Suddenly an angel appears out of nowhere and a bright light shines around you. You’re scared.  You wonder what is going on.  The angel assures you and the other shepherds that there is nothing to be afraid of.  He has come to share good news.  Then he makes the big announcement, “For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

The Savior whom you and others have been waiting for is born.  He’s in Bethlehem in a manger.  While you are still trying to digest this incredible news, other angels join the first one and the air is filled with their glory as they raise their voices in a song of praise to God. What a glorious sight. You can hardly believe what you are seeing.  After the angelic host leaves, you and the other shepherds are filled with excitement.  You can’t wait to go and see the Child for yourselves. You are anxious to go and see what the Lord has made known to you. You hurry off to the manger where you see Mary, Joseph and the Child.

The shepherds “made widely known the word which was told them concerning this Child” and those who heard it couldn’t help but marvel but Mary kept these things in her heart and pondered over them.  I can’t imagine what must have been going through her mind.  First, an angel visited her and told her that she was going to have a Son who would be called Jesus and that He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest. Then, on the night after she gives birth, shepherds show up at the manger to see Him because they too were visited by an angel.  This is a lot to grasp.

The shepherds left the manger and returned to their sheep, praising and glorifying God for all the things they had heard and seen.  It was a night they would never forget.

What can we learn from this wonderful story?

  • After hearing about Jesus, seek Him out for yourself
  • After you have seen Jesus and have been in His presence, go and tell others
  • Glorify and praise God for sending His Son into the world so that through Him we can be saved

This Christmas, take time to reflect on God’s greatest Gift to mankind.  Celebrate Jesus and thank Him for leaving the glory of heaven to come to earth to dwell among us.  Thank Him for the gift of eternal life which we can receive only through Him.  Share the message of love and hope of the season with others.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men – Luke 2:14

 

 

Acts 13:13-52

900165955_466ceaa8d7_mAt bedtime, I read to my son the scriptures where Paul and Barnabas visited the synagogue in Antioch and after the reading from the Law and the Prophets,  the rulers of the synagogue asked them if they had any words of encouragement for the people.  What struck me is when Paul stood up, he used this opportunity to preach about Jesus.

He didn’t start off talking about Jesus.  Instead, he gave a brief summary of Israel’s history beginning with when the Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years.  He spoke about how the Jewish people were ruled by judges until the prophet Samuel and how they wanted to be like the other nations who had kings ruling over them.  They wanted a king too even though God was their King.  They got their wish when Saul, the son of Kish was chosen to be their king.  However, God removed him because of his disobedience and chose David to be his successor.  Then, Paul introduced Jesus, saying,  “From this man’s descendants God has raised a Savior for Israel, Jesus, according to His promise.”

He spoke of the role the people had played in the arrest and death of Jesus. By doing these things they had fulfilled the Word of God.  The Good News, though was that God raised Jesus from the dead and through Him are the forgiveness of sins.  Paul made it clear that we are justified by faith in Jesus and not by the law.  His words encouraged the Gentiles who begged him to preach again to them the following Sabbath.

Has God given you an opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus with others as He did with Paul?  Would you do as Paul did and share your faith so that people will come to know the Savior who died for them as well?  You don’t have to give a history lesson like Paul did.  You can share your own testimony of how you came to know the Lord like the woman at the well.  She told her community that Jesus must be the Messiah that they had been waiting for because He knew everything about her.

What about the challenges you will face when you share the Gospel?  The following Sabbath when Paul and Barnabas returned to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, they were met with opposition from the Jews who were envious.  They contradicted what Paul said but he and Barnabas didn’t allow them to spoil things for them.  Instead, they boldly declared to them that since they rejected the Word of God which was supposed to be given to them first, it would be given instead to the Gentiles for the Lord commanded them, “‘I have established you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”  Verse 48 says that when the Gentiles heard this, “they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And all who were ordained to eternal life believed.”

Don’t be discouraged when people oppose you and contradict what you say.  It’s Satan, your enemy at work, trying to prevent you from doing what God has called you to do.  Like Paul and Barnabas did, act boldly, knowing that the Lord is your side and He will not allow His work to be hindered.  Share the Gospel for the sake of those who will gladly receive it. Don’t let the Satan or anyone put out your light.  Keep it shining for those who will come to it and receive salvation through faith in Jesus.

Today, if God gives you an opportunity to encourage people with the Good News about Jesus, grab it.  And don’t worry about what to say.  The Holy Spirit has that covered.

 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek – Romans 1:16

Love bears all things – 1 Corinthians 13:7

jesus15-jesus-bore-our-sinsJesus bore the sins of this world.  He carried our weaknesses, our sorrows which weighed Him down.  Our troubles became His.  He took up our cross and took it to Calvary where He paid our sin debt in full.  He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.  He did this all in the name of love.  He wanted to make it possible for many to be counted righteous once they placed their faith in Him, their sin Bearer.

He took on the wrath of God on our behalf.  He bore our guilt and was punished.  He was nailed on the cross between two criminals (Isaiah 53:4, 11).  Jesus carried our sins because He loved us.  Although we were guilty, He took the blame.  Our salvation meant so much to Him that He willingly gave His life for us.  Love bears all and gives all.  Jesus suffered a cruel death so that we could have eternal life.  He bore the indignity of the cross so that we could one day share the kingdom which the Father has prepared for us.  What a wonderful Savior is Jesus our Lord!

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

DiscipleshipHomepageThis is illustrated in the story of Philip and the Ethiopian .  Jesus taught His disciples the Scriptures.  He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  When He was here on earth, taught the Scriptures, rebuked those who were unbelieving and even those close to Him (Thomas, Peter and Philip), He corrected people like the adulteress, Nicodemus and the disciples.  The apostles did the same.  They taught.  Peter rebuked Simon, the Sanhedrin, Ananias and Sapphira.  Paul rebuked the churches that were allowing themselves to be led astray by false teachers.  Stephen rebuked the Sanhedrin.  There are many examples of the apostles rebuking people and even each other.  They corrected unrighteous behavior and they trained others.  Paul instructed Timothy who was young (1 Timothy 4:1:15).

Paul knows the Scriptures.  He said Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe (Galatians 3:22).  It was Paul who said that all Scripture comes from God as it is useful for teaching people, rebuking doubt, disbelief, false teachings, unrighteousness, etc., correcting attitudes, beliefs, behavior that goes against the Word of God and training those who believe so that those preaching the Word of God are able to do so.  This is how the Gospel will spread.  Those who receive the Word like the Samaritan woman, the apostles will go and tell others.  It is in the teaching, receiving of the Scriptures, the rebuking and the correcting that make people repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  They receive salvation and are baptised.  It was the reading of the Scriptures and the teaching of them that led the Ethiopian to accept Jesus and receive salvation.  Then he was baptised by Philip.  God knew that the Ethiopian was ready to receive Jesus in his life and that’s why He sent Philip.

Make sure that you not only use God’s Word to rebuke and to correct but to encourage (exhort), instruct.  Do not get into a debate.  Be patient and loving.

Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard – Matthew 27:65, 66

Jesus Empty TombWorried that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body and then claim that He had risen from the dead, the chief priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate to request that a guard be posted at the tomb.  Pilate granted them their request and they went away and secured the tomb.

Early Sunday morning when the women went to the tomb, an angel appeared and rolled back the stone from the opening.  The guards who were present were so terrified of him that they became like dead men.  The angel told the women that Jesus was not there.  He said, “…He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” Overjoyed, the women raced away to tell the disciples to good news.

Meanwhile the guards went into the city to break the news to the chief priests.  The chief priests met with the elders to figure out what their next move was going to be.  They decided that the best thing to do in this situation was to bribe the soldiers and encouraged them to lie about what happened.  “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.”  The soldiers took the money and did as they were told.  Many of the Jews believed this lie but many believed that Jesus rose from the dead just as He said He would.

In spite of the schemes of some, on that third day, Jesus conquered death.  He is the resurrection and the life.  He is our risen Lord and Savior.  The empty tomb proves this.

Love suffers long and is kind – 1 Corinthians 13:4

imagesCA2VQQABDuring His ministry here on earth, Jesus demonstrated His love for humanity through kindness.  Zaccheus, the tax collector, treated like an outcast, was the person whom Jesus watned to spend time with.  He was kind to the tax collector in that He treated him as a person.  Zaccheus was up in a tree because he wanted to see Jesus.  Jesus called out to him, inviting him to come down.  He had singled Zaccheus out and made it clear that He loved and accepted him.  He even called him a son of Abraham.

Jesus saw that Zaccheus was ready to accept Him as His Savior.  The man had gone to such lengths to get a glimpse of him.  Jesus’ act of kindness changed Zaccheus.  It made him aware of his own sinfulness and selfishness–his shortcomings.  As a result, he wanted to make amends to all those he had cheated.  He was genuinely sorry and that very day he was saved.  An act of kindess brought salvation to a sinner and his household.

In acts of kindness we are representing Christ and carrying out His commandment, “Love your neighbor”.

Rev%2012%20Pictures_clip_image001_0000Revelation 12:4 says the dragon stood before the woman.  In the book, John uses symbolism but there are times when an angel explains what these symbols mean.  For example in Revelation 17, John sees a woman on a beast.  He marvels at her because she was dressed in purple and red, wore gold and precious stones and pearls, had the words MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH written on her forehead and she had the blood of Jesus’ followers on her.  Who was this woman?

The angel tells John.  “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (verse 18).  If Mary was the woman with the sun, the moon and the stars, who is this woman on the beast?  These two women are not literal women.  They represent something.  They represent churches.  The woman in Revelation 12 is the true church while the woman in Revelation 17 is the apostate church.  The apostate church is the mother of other apostate churches.  They may have broken off from her but they still follow some of her teachings.  The dragon does not make war with her because she is doing his bidding.  Instead he makes war with the true church.

The dragon used King Herod to devour (destroy) the child at His birth.  It was for this reason that God had Joseph to take his family to Egypt where the Child would be safe.  Herod had boys ages 0-2 slaughtered.  Revelation 12:5,6 state:  And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.  Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Jesus was taken up to heaven when His work here was done and He is sitting on the throne next to the Father.  Verse 6 says that the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God and where she would be fed for 1260 days.  How does this relate to Mary?  As far as I know Jesus placed her into John’s care and he took her to Ephesus.  I visited what is believed to be her house in Ephesus.  I saw John’s tomb.

Verses 13-17:  Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.  But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.  But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.  And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

When did Mary face persecution?  What is the wilderness that she was taken to after Jesus ascended to heaven?  Who helped her?  The Christian church fled into the wilderness–it went into seclusion during the Dark Ages to escape persecution at the hands of the apostate Church (the woman on the beast).  The true Church hid in caves.  God nourished her (Revelation 12:6).  This is like when the prophet Elijah fled from Jezebel who threatened his life and God took care of him.

Someone mentioned that since Jesus is a king that makes his mother a queen.  I know that Mary is referred to as the Queen of Heaven.  There is mention of a Queen of Heaven in the Bible.  We read about her in Jeremiah 7:18, 19:  The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead [their] dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.  Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: [do they] not [provoke] themselves to the confusion of their own faces?  And in Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25:  But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.  But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all [things], and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.  And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.

The queen of heaven was an idol which the people were worshipping, incurring God’s wrath.  There is no queen in heaven now.  Mary is not a queen.  She is as the Bible refers to her, “the mother of Jesus”.  Granted she is blessed above all women but that is because she was the one God chose to be Jesus’ mother.  This does not make her a queen or a co-mediatrix or co-redeemer.  We have one mediator and one redeemer and that is Christ because He shed His blood for us.  Mary did not shed her blood for us.  Mary simply obeyed God.  She saw herself as a humble servant of God.  She even called God her Savior.  She said, My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.   For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;  For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.   For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name (Luke 1:46-49).

“A woman,” signifies a true church. (2 Corinthians 11: 2.) A corrupt woman is used to represent an apostate or corrupt church.  “The sun” here signifies the light and glory of the gospel era.  “The moon” is the symbol of the Mosaic period. As the moon shines with a borrowed light derived from the sun, so the former era shone with a light borrowed from the present. There they had the type and shadow; here we have the antitype and the substance. “A crown of twelve stars”.

The woman, the church, had the moon under her feet; that is, the Mosaic period had just ended, and the woman was clothed with the light of the gospel sun, which had just risen. By anticipation the church is represented as fully organized, with its twelve apostles, before the man child, Christ, appeared upon the scene (Source:  Daniel and the Revelation).

The woman’s offspring is the last generation of true Christians–God’s remnant church which the devil makes war against.  The remnant is made up of Christians who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.  What is the testimony of Jesus–it is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).  This is what the spirit of prophecy means:  «In the last days,» said God, «I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  In the last days, God’s true church (the woman’s offspring) will have the gift of prophecy as it experiences a final reawakening before Jesus’ return.

We should all take John’s advice regarding the Book of Revelation:  “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18, 19).


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