Monday, December 23, 2019
Out of Bethlehem comes ....
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah; From you One shall come forth for Me who is to be Ruler in Israel,
His goings forth are from long ago, from ancient days.” Micah 6:2
Nearly 800 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Micah tells us where He would be born. This is one of over 100 prophecies in the Old Testament fulfilled in the life of Jesus. Anyone who seeks the validity of the Bible and of Jesus being God in the flesh need look no further than these prophecies. Yet... so few take the time.
This week we celebrate the birth of our Savior in a manger of hay in a stable in one of the most insignificant towns in Judea at the time. Born to a woman and man who weren't wealthy, famous, or important by the world's standards. Yet, isn't this just like our God? He considers the great things of our world as rubbish and though He is the most powerful God who ever existed, He is also the most humble.
Jesus was God in the flesh, and because He existed in our frail human flesh, He was also subject to everything we endure. I'm sure He had aches and pains, He got tired, had sleepless nights, went hungry. I'm sure He was often cold and shivering while at other times hot and sweaty. Did He ever catch a cold or have a headache or get nauseous? I'm not sure about that because certainly He could have healed Himself, yet I can't help but wonder if He didn't endure it so He would know what it felt like. Did He get blisters from all the walking He did? Probably.
Yet, even more than that, He endured insults, mocking, spitting, scorn, and hatred from many around Him. He suffered great rejection, even from those closest to Him. He was extremely misunderstood. Has a loved one ever broken your heart? Has anyone every mocked you, insulted you, called you a name? Jesus understands.
He was tempted to sin repeatedly. We read about His temptation in the wilderness, but it says that afterward Satan went away for awhile to wait for a more opportune time. Do you think he just gave up? I'm sure he came at Jesus repeatedly... tempting him to lie, complain, cheat, steal, hate, insult, gossip. I'm sure there were many moments Jesus was tempted to lose faith, to wonder if God had abandoned Him. Do you think He wasn't tempted sexually? If you do, then you are pretty naive. Jesus was a man. I have no doubt Satan threw women at Him right and left. Can you imagine? One slip up and Jesus's entire mission would have failed. He couldn't even lust after a woman!
But Jesus was God! Surely He could have never sinned. Honestly, I don't believe that. Jesus could have absolutely sinned. Why else would Satan have tempted Him!? He lived a sinless life! For you and I, that's hard to imagine. I usually have a bad thought before I even brush my teeth in the morning!
I think sometimes we forget what Jesus went through in His 33 years. We think, "Oh, He was God. No problem!" But that's not true.
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted knowing exactly how it feels to be human in every respect as we are, yet without committing any sin. Hebrews 4:15
And then, after He endured all of that, He was viciously tortured and murdered. They say that crucifixion is one of the most excruciatingly painful deaths. Don't forget that even before He was crucified, they scourged most of the skin and muscle off his back and stuck thorns in his head.
I guess my point is, what kind of LOVE is this? He went through all of that for people who hated Him! I don't get it. My human understanding cannot fathom that kind of love, can you? That's why I'm desperate for the world to know Him! If they only knew how much they are loved!!
Let me ask you this: Who would you die for? Not only die, but who would you be tortured and then die for? Think seriously about it.
For me, in all honesty, my close family members. That's it.
Have a very Merry Christmas to anyone reading this! I love you all and Jesus loves you more! I pray He touches your lives and reveals His love for you this Christmas!!