VIDEO Why Jesus?

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10

A consistent theme of the Bible is God’s desire to dwell among His people. His presence in the Garden of Eden is continued by His presence in the tabernacle, the temple, and in the “temple[s]” of Christians (1 Corinthians 6:19) and the Church (Ephesians 2:22). Most significantly, God came to earth in the Person of Christ and “tabernacled” (dwelt) among us (John 1:14).

But why the Incarnation of God in human flesh? What did Jesus come to earth to do? While multiple reasons could be cited, Jesus’ own words provide the simplest, and best, explanation: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”—another consistent theme through Scripture. From Eden on, God has been seeking His people. In Jesus, God came not only to dwell in our midst but to take upon Himself the full weight of sin caused by man’s rebellion against Him. To that end, Jesus “became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

Have you placed your faith in the One who paid for your sin? Having died for us, our response is to live for Him.

The atonement is the real reason for the Incarnation. James Montgomery Boice


Zacchaeus | Billy Graham Classic

A Great Light

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:2

In 2018, twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach descended into a mazelike cave, intending to enjoy an afternoon adventure. Due to unexpected rising water that forced them deeper and deeper into the cavern, it was two-and-a-half weeks before rescuers led them out. Dive teams, thwarted by rising water, attempted the rescue as the boys sat on a small rock shelf with only six flickering flashlights. They spent hours in darkness, hoping that somehow light—and help—would break through.

The prophet Isaiah described a world of brooding darkness, one overrun by violence and greed, shattered by rebellion and anguish (Isaiah 8:22). Nothing but ruin; hope’s candle flickering and fading, sputtering before succumbing to dark nothingness. And yet, Isaiah insisted, this dim despair was not the end. Because of God’s mercy, soon “there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress” (9:1). God would never abandon His people in shadowy ruin. The prophet announced hope for his people then and pointed to the time when Jesus would come to dispel the darkness sin has caused.

Jesus has come. And now we hear Isaiah’s words with renewed meaning: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light,” Isaiah says. “On those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (v. 2).

No matter how dark the night, no matter how despairing our circumstances, we’re never forsaken in the dark. Jesus is here. A great Light shines.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

How are you prone to experience darkness and despair? Consider this image of Jesus as the great light—how does this light renew you with hope?

God, there’s so much darkness. I fear sometimes that the darkness will overwhelm me. Be my great light. Shine on me with radiant love.

You Belong to God

Rescued from the bondage of sin, believers glorify God with mind, body, and spirit

1 Corinthians 6:17-20

In an age that emphasizes personal rights, it may be startling to realize that as believers in Jesus, we belong—body, soul, and spirit—to Him, not to ourselves. This means we aren’t free to do whatever we please but are called to live in obedience to the One who redeemed us with His precious blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19). The New Testament uses a lot of language that speaks of Christ’s ownership. In fact, Paul called himself a “bond-servant of Christ,” which literally means the Lord’s slave (Gal. 1:10). 

We may be quick to believe this intellectually because belonging to Christ is a comforting thought. But how does it work out practically? Our bodies are wonderful gifts from God that enable us to interact with our world and one another, but they are also temples of His Holy Spirit. This means our mind, will, desires, affections, relationships, and possessions are all means by which we either honor or dishonor our Savior. 

To please the Lord, we need to change how we think. Our natural tendency is to simply do what we want in any given situation. But the best response is to consider how we can glorify God.

The People Said, ‘Amen’

Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 106:48)

Many is the speaker who, after he has made some point that he considers especially good, will then say: “And all the people said, ‘Amen’” (meaning “that’s right!”).

It is interesting to note the biblical examples of such a demonstration. There are 16 times in which this or a similar statement occurs in the Bible—all in the Old Testament. Twelve of these are found in Deuteronomy 27:14-26 with the people so responding after the pronouncement of a “curse” on those who commit various sins. The last curse is as follows: “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen” (v. 26) in agreement with the judgment.

King David described his thanksgiving for the return of the Ark of the Covenant with “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:36). When Jerusalem’s wall restoration was being delayed and Nehemiah had to rebuke some of his people for their covetousness, threatening God’s judgment on them if they did not repent, then “all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise” (Nehemiah 5:13). After the wall was finished, as Ezra read the Scriptures to the people, “Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen” (Nehemiah 8:6). The final such reference is in our text.

If we follow biblical precedent, therefore, whenever God’s Word is read to a congregation, either in denunciation of sin or thanksgiving for blessing and revival, or simply in praising the Lord for His eternal goodness, it is appropriate for the people to respond with a heartfelt “Amen!” HMM

Third Movement: He Is All-Powerful (Omnipotence)

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I am unique in remarkable ways… My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all [my] days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. God, how difficult Your thoughts are for me [to comprehend]; how vast their sum is! If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; when I wake up, I am still with You (Psalm 139 vv. 13-18).

God is all knowing, ever present, and all-powerful! These verses describing reproduction are among the most touching and tender in all the Bible. Realizing that he has been “fearfully and wonderfully made, David considers God’s orchestration of his own conception and development: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.. .. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret… Your eyes saw me when I was formless” (vv. 13, 15-16).

God is fully cognizant of the union of sperm and egg, the attachment of the embryo to the uterine lining, and the development of that tiny life according to his timetable.

This passage gives every human being a remarkable basis for self-worth. From the moment of conception, God is present, and through every phase of development thereafter. How can people decide to abort what God deems so precious and valuable? The human embryo is not the result of a biological accident, no matter what the circumstances. Rather, it embraces the image of God and is not to be equated with junk or trash to be discarded! God presides over the mysteries of human reproduction. All life has meaning and eternal significance.

Personal Prayer

O Lord, I praise you for creating my inmost being. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

A Contemporary Song

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Fearfully and wonderfully made,

I’m unique, one of a kind,

Fearfully and wonderfully made,

My beginning was God’s design.

He was with me before my birth

And formed my being with care,

I’m a person of infinite worth-

A masterpiece beyond compare!

Words and music by Don Wyrtzen © 1984 Singspiration Music,

The Upper Room

I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel.—Ezekiel 39:29

The upper room has been described as “the birthplace of the church.” Certainly it was there that power was loosed which changed the world. Some commentators believe that the upper room was part of someone’s home—someone sympathetic to Jesus and His ministry. Why did the Holy Spirit come upon the disciples in a home and not in a sacred place such as the temple? If the Holy Spirit had come upon them in the temple, then His coming would have been associated with a sacred place, sacred services, or sacred occasions. The Holy Spirit came in the most common of all places—a home—as if He was saying, “I am here not just for’sacred’ occasions, but for all occasions, for all of life.”

One writer said in commenting on the ordinariness of the upper room, “The Holy Spirit is not a spiritual luxury to be imported into the unusual, but a spiritual necessity for the usual.” He is to be the pulse-beat of all we do—the usual as well as the unusual, the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. In the coming of the Holy Spirit, the ordinary and seemingly insignificant things of life are touched with divine significance: every bush is aflame with the glory of God, every moment is packed with eternity, and every contact we make is part of His perfect purposes.

Prayer

O God, I am so thankful that I don’t have to wander from sacred place to sacred place in search of Your power and Your glory. You come to me just where I am until my heart glows with Your shekinah glory. Amen.

Further Study

Jl 2:18-32; Isa 32:15; 59:21

What did God say would follow the coming of the Spirit?

What is the Lord exhorting the Israelites to do?

Holy to The Lord

Zechariah 14:20

God wills for His people an uttermost salvation. That has always been God’s will. The meaning of the word holy was deepened by the prophets and altogether transformed by Jesus. Yet the New Testament can freely quote the Old Testament command, “Be holy, because I am holy,” (1 Pet. 1:16) because that has always been the purpose of God.

The word itself comes from a root word meaning separated, and with Israel it was the divine will that God’s people should be separate from their neighbors in faith and in practice. With the new Israel it is still God’s will that we should separate from the world in habits because we are separate at heart.

Often “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). But with God it is axiomatic that what He wills He can perform. So my sanctification, like my salvation, lies in yielding myself to Him with whom all things are possible.

Here then is ground which believers may feel firm beneath their feet. Here personal desire and scriptural teaching meet to provide the open door by which grace may fully enter. The experience of holiness is not merely one for which I long nor to which I am counseled by my teachers. This is that which God wills and which, with man’s active consent, can be fulfilled in every life.

This is where we must give the life of holiness as exemplified by Jesus a fair chance. Some of us do not do that. We do not take the trouble to look long enough at Him. We pay more attention to a human interest picture in the daily paper. We gaze more intently at the television screen.

Ought we not to give this spiritual ideal at least equal time and attention? Sometimes we say of a person who may not have impressed us favorably at first blush: “He improves with knowing.” Reverently we may say the same of the life of holiness as exemplified in Jesus.

Seize the banner, “Holiness unto the Lord,” and make for the summit of the holy hill of God. Look to Jesus that He may quicken you with holy desire which, by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, may find its fullest expression in holy—that is to say, Christlike—living.

Frederick Coutts, The War Cry