As we pick back up the Christmas Story…Luke 2:21-24 (NLT) tells us that Jesus is presented in the Temple in Jerusalem eight days after His birth which was the custom. So just after giving birth, Mary was back on a donkey heading to Jerusalem. As we discussed in ★ Day 11 – Reason for the Season – Following Jesus Will Cost You ★ post, I did a search and found that it is a 100 mile trek on foot from Nazareth to Bethlehem…To go from Bethlehem to Jerusalem it was an additional 17 mile walk. While at the temple Luke 2:25-35 (NLT) records The Prophecy of Simeon. He was a righteous and devout man, “who was waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” (Verses 25-26) Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit and was led to Mary and Joseph and took Jesus in his arms and praised God saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” (Verses 29-35)
I like how Luke record what Mary and Joseph were like…they “were amazed at what was being said about him.” I am sure they were, wouldn’t’ you be? But what I think is most amazing is that through the Holy Spirit, Simeon knew who Jesus was and with full confidence proclaimed the truth to all present that the long awaited savior had come! I want to open up today’s’ “Reason for the Season” with the question Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:15 (NIV)…
“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” The answer you give will significantly influence how you will approach Christmas, and more importantly how you will live your life. This has been a question people have wrestled with while He was on earth and ever since! Answers range from Jesus was a good man…He was a good teacher…a Peacemaker…a prophet of old come back to life, (see Matthew 16:14,)…to God’s Son…the long awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world. Isaiah 11:1-2 prophesies the coming of Jesus, “A Branch from David’s Line,”
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
You can read more about the prophesy in Isaiah Chapter 11. In yesterday’s ★ Day 17 – Reason for the Season – Consumed with Busyness ★ post, we discussed how to manage the holiday stress and madness that results from the incredibly long “To-Do Lists” of gift buying, baking cookies, decorating the tree and __(fill in the blank)__…[ enter sigh, deep breath ], okay…Today we will look at who Jesus Is ____
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’”
Peter declared that Jesus Is the Messiah…Who do you say that Jesus is? David Mathis said in the preface of John Piper’s the “Good News of Great Joy | Daily Readings for Advent Devotional,”
“the figure at the center is Jesus—the baby born in Bethlehem, the God-man in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, destined for Calvary, sent by his Father to die and rise again for His people.”
Over 700 hundred years before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesied of Jesus’ birth, Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT) says,
Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor,
Jesus is a Mighty God,
Jesus is an Everlasting Father,
Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
His government will be one of peace that will never end! What a promise!! Hillsong has an incredible song called “Unto Us” that beautifully conveys the truth of Isaiah 9:6 from the album “We Have A Savior.”
Let it play as you read the rest of this “Reason for the Season.” I also share shared yesterday about the excitement of the opening of the new Star Wars The Force Awakens movie coming out. We were in the movie theater this morning at 9 am to watch the new masterpiece from J.J. Abrams. I promise that there will be no spoilers in this post. There were two characters that were quite interesting to me. The first is Kylo Ren, a Force-wielding warrior operating under orders from powerful Dark Side figure Supreme Leader Snoke. Trailers show him with the charred mask of Darth Vader vowing to “finish what he [Vader] started,” but there is a struggle within him of whether he can remain on the Darkside or not. The other is FN-2187, a Stormtrooper part of The First Order. Also known as Finn, as the trailers have shown, he abandons his post as a Stormtrooper “to do the right thing” and becomes part of The Resistance.
There is an unbelievable parallel between these two men struggling between the Darkside and Lightside…And the decision that is before all of us on what to do about Jesus. It reminded me of this great play on words…If you Know Jesus, you will Know Peace but if there is No Jesus, there will be No Peace. But I ask again, who is Jesus?
I have always loved the Isaiah 9:6-7 prophecy and it give us some insight into who the Messiah was going to be but I think it is always great to hear directly from the person themselves. In the book of John and Revelation, we get just that.
Jesus made these polarizing and very clear declarations of who He is….
“Without Jesus, Christianity is just another religion among many. After all, He is the very essence of God who came not only to take away the sins of the world, but to reveal the Father to us in the flesh.
Not only did Jesus come to do the Father’s will, but He came to represent God, the Father, so that we would know what it is like to have God with us, as the name Immanuel defines. In Colossians, we read, “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God ….” (Colossians 1:15) In Hebrews, “And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature ….” (Hebrews 1:3) And in John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us …. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:1, 14, 18)
Jesus Christ is Immanuel: God with us.”
In the ★ Day 15 – Reason for the Season – A Shepherd’s View of Christmas ★ post, I mentioned about that series called “Back to the Basics” that goes back to the roots of the Christian faith.in order to understand who Jesus is. I also shared on Day 15 how you can accept Jesus as your Savior if you are ready to make that decision today. I will close with this encouragement from John 14:27 (NLT).
As an additional supplement to today’s “Reason for the Season”…I highly recommend you listen to “The Twelve Voices of Christmas” audio dramatization from Back to the Bible of “Simeon – The Voice of Peace.” This dramatization is designed to help the listener experience the story of Christ’s coming in a fresh way from the Simeon’s perspective.
If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here…★ Day 19 – Reason for the Season – Everlasting Gratitude ★
Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★
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