Tag Archives: the Messiah

June 30; Hear It

Isaiah 7:1-10:4, 17:1-14

We’ve already established that Ahaz was an evil king. Yet in the chapters we read today, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to go to Ahaz and give him a word of encouragement. And, to prove God was true to His word, Isaiah told Ahaz he could ask for a sign – any sign – and God would do it.

Ahaz replied, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”

Sounds rather pious, doesn’t it? Well, neither Isaiah nor God were impressed.

The truth is, God is always giving signs to prove His existence, His power, His Son. Some people flat out say, like Ahaz, “I don’t want to hear it.” Period.

I see this attitude in tons of literature written, and the multitude of “experts” on TV who attempt to disprove God, or to get around God, or to make ourselves God. I see it in the lives of people who live like there is no God. Yet God continues to reveal Himself day after day after day.

I bet the sun rose where you are this morning. I bet your heart is beating, that your lungs are filled with oxygen. I bet the tide came in sometime today, went out, and will come in again just like it did yesterday. And I bet, if you let yourself, every time you held a newborn baby, you recognized the amazing work of God with awe and wonder.

Did you know it was to Ahaz that God inspired Isaiah to pen the famous prophesy about the coming of Jesus?

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel… For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…

That was written about 500 years before Jesus’ birth. That and so many other prophesies written and fulfilled concerning the Messiah prove without a doubt God is who He says He is, and that Jesus is the Son. For those of us who know Him, we read these prophesies and our hearts soar, our love for Him overflows.

Please don’t be one who refuses to accept the signs, or who rejects His word. My prayer for all of us today is that we will not only WANT to hear it, we will look for it in nature, in the face of a loved one, in the peace that comes from His presence, and the overwhelming joy of sins forgiven through Jesus’ blood.

Oh, He’s out there. He’s throwing out sign after sign to get our attention. Don’t ignore it.

Hear it. Hear Him.

 

 

Mark 1-4; He’s Not That God

The long-awaited Messiah had come! For centuries the Jewish people had looked forward with great anticipation to the day God would send a Savior. They were tired of being abused and looked down upon by the Romans, and every other pagan nation around them. They were God’s chosen people, for crying out loud! And they couldn’t wait until their oppressors got what was coming to them.

They fully expected their Messiah to come with a dramatic flair, crown on head, shiny sword drawn, and riding a white horse, with music blaring in the background, and fireworks exploding overhead. (or the first century equivalent)

But then here comes Jesus. Mark tells us the Messiah’s only herald was some weird looking guy named John who wore camel hair clothes and a leather belt, eating bugs and honey. John wasn’t leading a parade. He was baptizing people in the wilderness.

And Jesus? He wouldn’t even let the demons announce who He was. He surrounded Himself with regular people instead of warriors. He told them He was there to make them fishers of men instead of an army. How could He be their Messiah? He didn’t look like He could win a battle against a pre-school much less a Roman army.  Are you kidding me?

He wasn’t a warrior or a king. He was a preacher! And He didn’t even make sense half the time to the people He was preaching to.

Not my Messiah!

Let me ask you this: What does your perfect Messiah look like? What kind of God do you have pictured in your mind? A loving God? A God who ought to reward good behavior and punish bad? A God who doesn’t let children starve, or countries go to war? A God who lets people decide for themselves what “truth” is, or how they want to live their own lives? A God who accepts any form of worship, and doesn’t condemn anyone to hell? A God who does what you want him to, who bows to your every whim?

Well, guess what. He’s not that God! And that’s good news!

The God of the Bible is so much more loving and fair and generous and forgiving than you could ever conjure up in your mind. And the Messiah Jesus wasn’t just about rescuing a few people from Roman rule. He was and is about rescuing you from the penalty of sin!

I challenge you to read the book of Mark with me in the next few days, and get to know this Messiah, Jesus the Christ. Put aside what you think He should be like, and see Him for who He really is. Let Him reveal Himself to you through the words He Himself inspired Mark to write. This is what Jesus wants YOU to know about Himself.

I believe with all my heart that if you prayerfully read this book and ask God to show Himself – HE WILL. And when you compare His reality with the god you have created in your mind, you’ll be glad He’s not that god.

 

Micah; Jesus Is King

Chapter five contains a beautiful prophecy about the coming Messiah. I’m sure many of us are familiar with the words God inspired Micah to write. But, actually, I see Jesus and the Church throughout this precious book, not just in chapter five.

Jesus, our Rock, our Foundation, our Shepherd, the One the Old Testament prophets told us about, our eternal King. God, who is not willing that any should perish, did what the blood of thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of oil could not do when Jesus died once and for all. We Gentiles joined the remnant of Israel to form the Church, the eternal spiritual kingdom of God.

There is war in this spiritual kingdom. There are severe consequences for sin. But we win because Jesus is the Victor!

Yes, our hearts should be broken over present sin in the world and the judgment that is coming. God is serious about sin in the world, in the nation, and in our individual hearts.

But as for me I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right, He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. (7:7-9)

And so will you, if you know Him, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus the Christ.

Obediah; There is Hope

I can’t help but think of the sweet reunion between Esau and Jacob as recorded in Genesis 33. A lot had gone down between the two, but when the brothers met after years of separation, they hugged and kissed each other. It seemed all was forgiven. It seemed they would finally live in peace.

If you know their history, you know peace was short-lived. That makes me sad.

Obadiah tells the descendants of Esau that judgment is coming because of their hatred for and mistreatment of Jacob’s family, the family God chose above all other nations to be His instrument. Edom will be punished for rejecting God.

Once again I am reminded how serious God is about being obeyed, about being honored as the only true God. All other religions are doomed to destruction.

But I love how God, even after rendering a death sentence for sin, points to the Messiah. No one has to die in their sin. There is hope. There is salvation through the blood of Jesus for anyone who believes.

The kingdom is the Lord’s. I pray you are a citizen.

Genesis 48-50 Looking Ahead

Genesis, the book that starts at the beginning of life, ends looking ahead to the glorious future. The Messiah is coming, Jacob tells his sons, and He will rule forever. (49:10) Jacob speaks of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, and we know Jacob spoke of Jesus, even if he didn’t know Jesus’ name.

God had promised Abraham that He would use his descendants in a way that would bless all nations. And God will be true to His Word in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus will be born a Jew from the line of Judah. And He will rule the world.

Those are the thoughts we’re left with here at the end of this precious first book of the Bible. So many lessons are learned from watching the nation of Israel as God sets them apart for the privilege of revealing God to the world, and ultimately for producing the flesh and blood Savior.

I’m looking forward to continuing this journey as we dig into Exodus.

October 29 – Not My Messiah

Luke 11

The Man just raised someone who had been dead four days. In the last three years He had made blind people see, lame people walk, cast out demons, healed leprosy, fed thousands, and controlled the weather. He even said He was the One the prophets had told them about, and He taught them with more authority than they had ever heard before.

But the Pharisees rejected Him anyway. All the evidence pointed to the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, but Jesus was not who they pictured in that role. Jesus wasn’t rallying an army to defeat the Romans, He wasn’t taking steps to make Himself king. Not only that, He never once patted the Pharisees on the back for their knowledge of the Law, or their leadership skills.

Their response to Jesus’ raising Lazarus was to say: We’ve got to shut Him down. If He keeps doing those things people are going to follow Him and we might lose our place in society. The people will like Him better than they like us, and where will that leave us?

The Pharisees had a picture in mind of what their messiah would look like. He’d be a commanding leader who would appoint them to positions of power in a kingdom without Roman rule. He’d be one of them. He’d at least be from a good home.

Let’s not make the same mistake the Pharisees made. Let’s not reject Jesus because we are going through a battle with cancer, and we think our messiah ought to heal us. Let’s not reject Him because we are struggling with a dead-end job, and we think our messiah ought to make us successful. Let’s not reject Him because people who have wronged us are living the high-life, and we think our messiah would just burn down their houses because they were mean to us. Let’s not reject Him because we’ve decided our messiah would be tolerant of multiple ways to heaven, would not object to homosexuality, would pat us on our backs for being good people.

I don’t know what you’ve pictured your messiah to be. But I can say with confidence that the person of Jesus is so much better than you can dream up. The truth is, Jesus IS the Messiah. He IS God’s Son. He IS God in the flesh. And He died because you are a sinner.

Jesus’ goal was not to make you happy or healthy or wealthy. Get that picture out of your mind once and for all. Jesus’ goal was to save your soul so that you could live with him forever. Jesus’ goal was to forgive you so He could walk with you in this life, in every circumstance.

Jesus is my Messiah. Jesus is THE Messiah.

 

 

October 16

Mark 8:11-31-9:1; Matthew 16:1-28; Luke 9:18-27; John 6:60-71

Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter’s confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” is the foundation of the church. Peter, who not too long after that, was called Satan because he refused to even consider the possibility that Jesus was going to die. Did he still believe the Messiah was going to establish that earthly kingdom? 

Jesus is beginning to reveal his mission to the Twelve. He wants them to recognize that he is truly God’s Son and that in order for the kingdom of God to come in power, he will die and in three days rise again. It must have been pretty confusing for his followers to hear.

Who do you say Jesus is? Can you, with Peter, proclaim without a doubt that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Messiah, God with us? Do you believe what we read about him is true? Is he Lord of your life, Savior of your soul? 

If you are reading these passages for the first time you have just met God Himself. Whether or not you believe it doesn’t change the fact. This Jesus is God. And he lived and died and rose again to give you life.

Dearest Jesus, Lord God, Savior, we bow before you today in awe and wonder. We recognize that you created the world we live in, you know and love each of us intimately, that you died in our place so that we can walk with you in this life and in eternity. May we, with Peter, proclaim you with confidence. And may you find us faithful to share your Truth with others today.