Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 22, 2011

“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 men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man 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 received 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, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-14

Here is another amazing paradox in the Christmas story: The Creator became Christ, the creature, in order to allow you and me to be re-created in Him!

Think on that for a moment!

Before I elaborate on the significance of the “Word” becoming flesh, let me talk about what it means for you.

God, the Word, put on flesh in order to correct us – “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it”

Sin had plunged the human race into spiritual darkness. Darkness is the symbol of spiritual ignorance and sin. Light stands for God’s truth and His holiness.

Have you ever been in total darkness? Maybe you were in a cavern or in a cellar and you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face. If you can relate to that experience and how it felt, then you have a clue about your spiritual condition apart from Jesus, the Word of God,

We were so morally and spiritually lost in the darkness of sin and ignorance we did not even know we were lost. We thought God grades on a curve and we can do enough good things to earn a passing grade.

Jesus, the Word that became flesh, came to declare the truth about out lost condition. But, praise God, He proclaimed the truth in grace!

God, the Word, put on flesh to connect us – “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

Because the Word was God and because He “put on flesh and dwelt among us”, He was uniquely able to as a Holy Son to introduce us to His Heavenly Father.

That connection did not become possible just because The Word was born in a manger, but it happened because He died on a cross. In fact, the reason He was born in human flesh was so He could die on the cross to atone for our sins. His atoning sacrifice on the Cross paid the price of your adoption as a child of God.

Because the Word become flesh, the Son of God, died to pay the penalty for your sins, trusting Him to be your Savior will connect you to God by faith!

God, the Creator, was born into the world in the flesh of a creature, to make it possible for you and me to be recreated – from the inside out! Have you been made new?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” II Corinthians 5:17

December 21, 2011

"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ. The Birth of Jesus Christ." Matthew 1:1-17

Over the past decade or so there has been an increasing interest in tracing family trees. Websites like have sprung up to respond to this trend.

Do you know your family history? How far back can you go in your know of relatives?
I would like to have a better grasp of my family lineage. It is interesting to know about your heritage.

While this is interesting information for us, it was essential information to the Jewish people to whom the Gospel of Matthew is addressed. That explains why it was tucked in at the beginning of the Gospel record. You and I tend to skip over this portion of the Gospel when we do our Bible reading. It holds little interest to us. But the Hebrews were big on family pedigrees. For them to accept the story of Jesus, His ancestry had to be established beyond question.

In my next couple of posts I want to share why this rather obscure group of verses should matter to you and me.

As you look through these names, there are a few celebrity names that are easily recognizable. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David are "superstars" who jump off this page. I'm sure we all have a few ancestors we point to proudly, while ignoring the wierd uncles, etc.

But again, the strong message of Christmas is clear - God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! The fact that you are familiar with most of the names should be an encouragement to you!

I am one of those ordinary people who no one has heard of. So are you! Sometimes we wonder if it is worth the sacrifices we make or the struggles we endure trying to be odedient to God and true to the faith. What difference will it make! How can I be sure it matters? No one will ever hear of me. No one will care about what it took for me to remain faithful.

This geneology testifies that it DOES matter. You have no idea who may come along in a generation or two in your family line. If you compromise your faith or sell out to selfishness, you can be sure that the blessings will cease. I would venture to guess that every person listed in this geneology had decision points where they wondered if it was worth it. They became discouraged. They struggled with faith. They knew the loneliness of being misunderstood because of your values. BUT they remained faithful! And it mattered! Through them came a Savior!

From the Christmas Story comes the great news that faithfulness matters! It matters for individuals. It matters in families. It matters to God. He notices. He blesses. He moves in and through those people. Ordinary people in ordinary families who commit to exceptional faith make and extraordnary difference under the Hand of God.

We all know that Christmas is a family Holiday. Now you know that it REALLY is! In more ways than you imagined. God emphasized that at the very beginning of the story! Before He told the amazing story of Christmas, He told the story that made it possible!

Will you embrace that truth? Will you take encouragement from it? Will you recommit to creating a legacy of faithfulness in your family?