For Unto Us A Child Is Born

Unknown years of Jesus - Wikipedia

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).


Pastor Vince gave an enlightening message yesterday in which he expanded on the passage above. This is the season when followers of Jesus focus on the prophecy and the implications of the child born in the City of David two thousand years ago.

One event in the life of this child that is born to us did tells us much of the fulfilment Isaiah’s prophecy. When Jesus was twelve years old (a year short of is Jewish age of majority) He accompanied Joseph and his mother to Jerusalem for the Passover.

Luke gives us some details in Chapter 2:

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

He will be called “wonderful” – filled with wonders – and here we find a child (yes, unto us a child is born) conversing with the teachers of the temple giving answers to their questions that “amazed” them, and “astonished” Mary and Joseph. That is wonder! Not only that, but his understanding showed Him to be a “counsellor.”

The account ends with Jesus pronouncing that He was in His Father’s house – The House of God – making Him “a Son given” and heir to God. Fulfilled is the prophecy that he is “mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” He is more that just a babe in a manger!


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Workshop

Carpenters often had a workshop and many could work with stone, iron, and copper, as well as in wood (2 Samuel 5:11, 1 Chronicles 14:1, Mark 6:3). – Slide 2
Free Bible Images

In a workshop simple

A trade to learn

For an occupation train

And His bread to earn

But He was meant for other things –

A rabbi wise and King of kings

He said he would a temple rebuild

Though He was carpenter – trained and skilled

That was too much to do for any man

But He spoke of Himself – they didn’t understand

He spoke of the Temple not made by hands


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Knowing Jesus

Image result for road to emmaus painting

The Road to Emmaus” by Robert Zund

The Christian band Chaotic Resemblance led our worship this week.  These young men bring some wonderful talent and an even more wonderful faith to their performance and to the worship.

Brother Travis from the group brought us the word which reminded us of some simple truths: “God – good! Devil – bad!”  But more than that his central theme was onknowing Jesus.

Many people, he noted, know about Jesus, but not all “know Him.”  It isn’t a matter of being able to quote scripture or speak theologically about God.  The Scribes and the Pharisees could do that.  It is about a personal relationship.

The starting point is being able to recognise Him in our lives.  Travis gave the reference of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Jesus as is promised in scripture (wherever two or three are gathered in my name) arrives as the men are discussing Him.  They do not recognise Him, but He enlightens them the more over the fulfillment of prophecy, and that he had fulfilled His mission.  It is after this that they come to recognise Him.  Brother travis stressed an interesting aside as well.  Jesus would have gone further.  Further down the road – perhaps, but maybe just in encountering Him, further in bestowing knowledge.  Such things happen when you get to know Him, and not just about Him.

This does not mean that there is no place for knowing “about Him” or the scriptures, however.  In Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Jesus gave us a great model of of challenging Satan and the call to sin with scripture.  Brother Travis noted that Jesus did this.  It is also practical for us.  When we hear the voice of evil, whether calling us to sin, or calling us to doubt our worthiness – scripture can silence the “voice.”  Oh, by the way, none of us is “worthy” not on our own anyway.  It is all about that “knowing Jesus” and being in relationship.  It He and His blood that makes us worthy.

Where are we in our relationship with Jesus today?  Is He a vague intellectual concept?  Is He an even more hazy partially remembered concept from some Sunday School class of our distant past?  Or is He the companion on our personal Emmaus Roads, who we walk and dine with?  Is He the instructor and fulfiller of our lives?

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Chaotic Resemblance

A Light To The World

candle burning brightly

candle burning brightly

Reflections on John Chapter 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He [John] himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known (verses 1-18).”

Light shines in the darkness.  Darkness cannot “shine” in the light.  Light has the overpowering ability to dispel the dark.  John tells us that Jesus came to bring life, and He the personification of light came to bring that life.

How true is that!  Is there life without light?  Photosynthesis requires it.  The warmth to thrive requires it.  And darkness is often associated with death, and especially the idea of spiritual death or sin.  Dark deeds (sin) deprive us of eternal life.  So when we are bathed in “The true light that gives light to everyone,” we find life.  

Darkness also is melancholic where light is glorious in contrast.  Note John writes We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son.”  Jesus, “The Light” brought God’s glory to earth.

So how shall we apply this?  First, we as a species have lived in darkness ever since the fall in Eden.  Sin has become ever tempting, we are prone to the same forces that led to the fall.  Jesus’ arrival restored “light” to our world.

Secondly, not all of us are open to this.  That is an incredible irony.  The light came into the darkness (which we have already noted removes darkness) yet many in the world did not comprehend the light’s presence!

But we who have been open to this bright arrival have a hope of the life lost in Eden.  In entering this light, we can once again begin to come to know God.

 

The Light has come

The darkness abates

But some still cling

To their sins and hates.

 

The Light brought life

He showed us the way

To turn to heaven

Turn our night to day

 

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“Take, Eat”

bread_wheat_greek_pita_crumb

Today, Christians around the world will remember Jesus’ “Last Supper.” Whether it be through a special Maundy Thursday service, or merely through their individual thoughts on the passion week, it is a time to reflect.

Paul offers us these words,

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body,which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood;do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11: 23-26).”

The bread of the communion service or Eucharist is a central focus of Christian belief and worship.  It unites all Christians in “communion” with God and each other. This simple act of breaking and sharing bread links us as believers to one another, to Jesus as our Lord, and even to Christianity’s Hebrew roots.

Jesus took the bread, and in the Jewish fashion blessed it and gave thanks, perhaps with the words: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, hamotzi lehem min ha’aretz. He then broke it and told the disciples that it represented His body which was to be broken, and to eat it in remembrance of Him. The bread (seen to be linked to Passover) would have been unleavened for the festival.  It was baked un-risen to remember and mark the fact of the Jew’s hurried departure from bondage in Egypt.  It was a symbol of emancipation – they were now free.

Jesus in His words to the disciples transforms the symbol.  No longer will the bread merely be for physical nourishment, nor was it to be a Passover loaf linked to temporal freedom.  He said, that believers would be partaking of Him, and His sacrifice.  He would be our new “Bread of Life.”  We are indeed to be free, a freedom from death and sin. True freedom! This new loaf, in Jesus’ broken body, is unlike the Passover bread. It did not remain “un-risen!” Hallelujah.

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The Two Names of Messiah

HITACHI

Micheangelo Madonna and Child

Pastor Vince gave us our money’s worth this week, with a sermon containing two great core messages.  I will focus on what I believe was meant to be his secondary theme, but one well worth our attention.

Matthew 1 reads, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) (verses 20b-23).”

The musing Joseph facing the possibility of an unfaithful Mary, is given an angelic dream in which he is assured of Mary’s fidelity, but also of her divine role.  Within it Joseph is given two inspired names for the child.  Jesus (a proper noun which the child would bear), and Immanuel (a name which He fulfill as an adjective).   The first, His mission to be a saviour to the world.  The second, His essence as He was indeed “God with us,” as John records, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).”

Yeshua-Jesus came to restore the relationship which humanity had destroyed in Eden.  He was born to lay His life down that our self-full actions of sin, might be erased in His blood.  He truly was a saviour – a Jesus, for we had no way to redeem ourselves, for not one of us was righteous (Romans 3:10).

But He first need to show us the way.  His presence with us was illustrative as well as saving.  He dwelt among us, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2: 6-7).”  But despite being in all ways like us, Hebrews 4:15 proclaims: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”  

Jesus/Immanuel dwelt among us, taught us, showed us the way, and set the example for us. Jesus/Immanuel gave His life, that the many might live – A true saviour. He was the fulfillment of prophecy and the embodiment of His two names.

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Every Knee Shall Bow

publication1

Brother Ben shared a powerful message yesterday on the name of Jesus.  This name full of promise and blessing is “Saviour.” Whether Yeshua, Joshua, Hesus, Iesus, Isa or Jesus – all nations are blessed by the name.

While the name of the Father (HaShem) may be ineffable, the name of the Son is to be mightily and loudly proclaimed.  Philippians 2:10-11(KJV) declares: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This name, Jesus, is a “word” of power.  It is no magical incantation, however. It is rather the focus of authority. “In His name” means by His authority. In Acts 19, the word “Jesus” wielded by those who didn’t know Him, failed to have the desired effect.  It is a name used in reverence, in praise, and in gratitude which has the power.  In uttering it (or in fact shouting it from the rooftops) with humble appreciation of His and not “its” authority that the name of Jesus will bring blessing.

In our worship the power of the name Jesus was focused on by our good brother, Ben.  He challenged us to call on it in our trials, triumphs, loneliness, and joys. This is a name of not just authority; but of comfort, guidance and praise. What a wonderful reminder of all Jesus has to offer.

Let us then sing the praises of the name Jesus today, and in so doing may He show His power in our lives. Let us pray in His name- Jesus . Let us serve Him who not only bore it, but fulfilled it – Our Jesus, Our Saviour.

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