September 17, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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The Logos: That which gave life and meaning to the universe.\“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”—John 1:1 (NIV)
The Bible tells us that God is a personal God who gives meaning to all things. He loves and is deeply involved with His creation. As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, remember that Jesus came to Earth and “made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14 NIV) so that we could know God, have a relationship with Him, and find true meaning and purpose.
Jesus came to Earth to be a light to our world. Today, tell someone how Jesus has changed your life!
What is sin?
In the Old Testament: מֵחֲטוֹTo miss the mark; go wrong; to do wrong; to be in error
In the New Testament: ἁμαρτιῶνLoss because of missing the target; self-empowered wrong, fault, failure (in an ethical sense); action that brings about legal and moral guilt
Sin and death entered the world through Adam, the first human. In order to reverse this curse, Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, came into the world. Here are the parallels between the two Adams.
1 Corinthians 15:45
“The first man Adam became a living being . . .”
1 Corinthians 15:47
“The first man was of the dust of the earth . . .”
1 Corinthians 15:21
“Death came through a man . . .”
Romans 5:12, 15
“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people . . .”
“The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation . . .”
“The last Adam, a life-giving spirit.”
“The second man is of heaven.”
“The resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.”
“For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”
“But the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.”
Thank God today for His forgiveness through Jesus! Ask God if there’s anyone you need to ask forgiveness from or need to forgive.
Seed. Descendant. Offspring.
This word is used in the Bible to describe a descendant or child in someone’s family line, but it’s also used to represent seeds planted that produce fruit. And in God’s promise, both definitions work! In His earthly family tree, Jesus is a child/descendant of Abraham, but He’s also the amazing fruit this seed of God’s promise produced—a promise made to Abraham almost 2,100 years before Jesus’ birth! And we get to enjoy the fruit of this seed (Psalm 34:8) through a relationship with Him. How cool is that?
“Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed” (Genesis 22:18 NIV).
“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, CHRIST” (Galatians 3:16 NKJV).
Do a scavenger hunt found on our Christmas site. At the end, talk about how the items go together!
Isaac and Jesus . . . Sons of the Promise
If the Messiah is anywhere symbolized in the Old Testament, He is certainly to be seen upon Mount Moriah where the beloved Isaac willingly bound, and laid upon the altar, is a lively foreshadowing of the Well-Beloved of Heaven yielding His life as a ransom!—Charles Spurgeon
“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” (Genesis 17:17 NKJV).
Only Begotten Son
“Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac” (Genesis 22:2 NIV).
Divinely Named Before Birth
“Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him’” (Genesis 17:19 NIV).
Rode on a Donkey to the Place of Suffering
“Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.” (Genesis 22:3 NIV).
Three Day Journey
“On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance” (Genesis 22:4 NASB).
Carrying the Wood for the Sacrifice
“So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders” (Genesis 22:6 NLT).
God Provided the Sacrifice
“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8 NIV).
“’How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” (Luke 1:34 NIV).
“We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NIV).
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 NIV).
“They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it” (Matthew 21:7 NLT).
“Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4 NLT).
“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull” (John 19:17 NIV).
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 ESV).
Listen to the song “The Blessing” by Kari Jobe. Then, be a blessing by baking Christmas cookies for your neighbors!
Did you know that the Bible contains 50 different names and titles given to Jesus? Each of them tells us a little more about who our Savior is and shows us clearly that He is worthy of our worship!
Do you know what your name means? Look it up, and then make a poster of all the different name meanings in your family and hang it at home!
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God.”—Luke 1:35 (NASB)
Why is it an important detail that Jesus was born of a virgin?
Here are two big reasons:
The virgin birth establishes Jesus’ divinity and perfection through the Holy Spirit’s work in Mary’s womb. In the most amazing and basic way, the Holy Spirit unites humanity to the perfect, divine Word of God, showing us that Jesus is and always was the union of God and man . . . Immanuel, God with us.
Jesus’ birth was announced in advance to give people hope and show God’s faithfulness. Write how He’s been faithful this year!
The Lord’s Anointed. The Chosen One.
In Luke 4:18–19 (NIV), we see Jesus read from Isaiah 61, which says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then in verse 21, He declared to all those listening, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Basically, Jesus told them this was written about Him; that He had come in the Spirit of the Lord, the promised Messiah, to accomplish this very purpose. His ministry would set in motion God’s ultimate, perfect plan of salvation, redemption, and freedom made possible through His eventual death and resurrection.
Jesus’ purpose was to serve and save us. Think of one way you can serve someone today.
John, the Elijah to Come
“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.”—Malachi 3:1 (NLT)
In Luke 1, the angel tells Zechariah that he and his wife—who couldn’t have kids—would have a son named John, who would “go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17 NIV). And later, Jesus tells us that John was “the Elijah who was to come” (Matthew 11:14 NIV).
So, was John actually Elijah? Yes and no! Yes, he came in the spirit of Elijah to fulfill the prophetic role of Elijah as forerunner for the Messiah. But no, because he was not the same man who was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2) returning to the earth. He wasn’t the original prophet reappearing on the earth. He was a different human being altogether sent by God “in the spirit and power of Elijah” to fulfill the role of Elijah at Jesus’ first coming.
John and Elijah
Go on a walk in your neighborhood to enjoy looking at Christmas lights.
The Line of the King
For Jesus’ earthly parents, God chose two people who were descendants of King David. Why? So He would be a true heir to the throne of David’s throne.
You see, in 2 Samuel 7:12–13 (NIV, emphasis added) God tells David, “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
That kingdom is the heavenly kingdom. If you believe in Jesus, the Bible tells us that Jesus has given us “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NLT), which makes us “citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior” (Philippians 3:20 NLT).
Make a family tree and talk about your family story!
The Road from Nazareth to Bethlehem
In Luke 2:1, 3 (NIV), it says, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world… And everyone went to their own town to register.”
This true historical event was known as the Census of Quirinius, the Roman governor who was assigned by Caesar Augustus to carry out a census in Judea for tax purposes at the time of Jesus’ birth. Because of this, Mary and Joseph had to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, as both were of the line of David. This was a 90-mile journey, the same as going from Miami to Cuba, was about a five-day journey and is known as a pretty rough trip.
Jesus’ parents had to go to Bethlehem before His birth. Think about a time you had to do something that didn’t make sense at first, but you saw God work through it.
πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου
A heavenly host. The army of God. A sold-out crowd for the greatest event in history.
In Luke 2:10–14 (NIV), we read about the greatest concert ever: the night the angels filled the sky to sing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests.” The J.B. PHILLIPS translation calls the angels “a vast host of the armies of Heaven,” which implies a massive number of angels—some believe around 100,000.
Imagine being a shepherd in the fields that night. Try to picture 100,000 angels—the equivalent to the University of Alabama football stadium being packed to capacity—filling the sky, singing in unison. And it was all done in order to declare the good news that the Savior had been born unto us . . . the One who would bring peace to the earth.
To proclaim the good news, go Christmas caroling in your neighborhood or make cards and take them to an elderly home.
Gold . . . A gift for a King
Frankincense . . . A gift for a Priest
Myrrh . . . A gift for a Savior
Come together and make a birthday cake and cards for Jesus.
Acts 2:42–47 (NIV) tells us that the early church after Jesus’ return to heaven “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship,” that all “the believers were together and had everything in common” and “sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need,” that they met “together in the temple courts” daily and “broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” And as they lived this way, as the light of Jesus changed them and shone through them, “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
And today, we are all still part of this story! When we are changed by the light of Jesus and live like Jesus, we see God use our light to change the lives of the people around us.
Jesus called us to be a light to the world. What’s a way you can show up and show off your light?