December 16 – He Who Is

“The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us. Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” – John 4:25-26 (NASB)

This is part of the account of Jesus’ encounter with a woman at the well of Jacob in Samaria. It is recorded in the greater passage (John 4:1-45). Jesus, when he traveled from place to place seems to always have a purpose and often an appointment to meet specific people. That is the case with this story. While not fully understanding, this woman needed Jesus desperately and Jesus knew that for He knew all about her history. Yet she believed the Messiah was coming. Here in our verse Jesus tells her that He who was talking to her is the promised Messiah. It is interesting how Jesus identifies himself by saying “I (who speak to you) am He. However the word He has been added by translators for clarity. What Jesus says to her is “I (who speak to you) AM.” Twenty-three times in all we find our Lord’s meaningful “I AM” (ego eimi, Gr.) in this gospel. In several of these, He joins His “I AM” with seven metaphors which are expressive of His saving relationship toward the world. This is the promise, that Jesus of Nazareth was and still is the Christ, sent from the Father. 

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December 24 – The Eve of Christmas

“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 (NASB)
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (ESV)

What does Christmas mean to those of us who belong to the family of God? Today and always it is good to keep in mind that at Christmas we celebrate what God did to make it possible for us to join His family. Two verses, one from the Gospel of Luke and one from the Gospel of John bring to us today’s promises. The promised Messiah’s coming was fulfilled in person the day Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We read what the angel told the Bethlehem shepherds recorded in Luke. In John we read again of the light that Jesus was and brought to earth. Light which evil darkness is unable to snuff out. The world does not comprehend this light and so remains in darkness. It was not only the shepherds who needed a Savior. We needed a Savior too, and He did come to save us. Let’s remember what a great difference it has been in our lives, to have a Savior. Jesus has saved us from sin and from sin’s eternal punishment. And He saves us today from uncertainty, fear, and confusion. Let’s remember this promise today as we hear the words of our verse read.

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Christmas in the book of Isaiah

Doug Clevenger
New Life Church Clarkfield, Minnesota
December 20, 2017

https://dougclevenger.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/christmas-in-the-book-of-isaiah/

People have always had an vested interest in the future. A prudent farmer cares about the weather forecast more than he cares about current conditions. He has already prepared for today. His work today is about tomorrow.

A good stock broker scrutinizes market forecasts even more than a farmer anticipates weather. He earns the trust of investors by telling them what may happen in the future. Their lives and his livelihood depend on the accuracy of his projections.

The life insurance industry is built on the risk of possible future events. Agents depend on actuarial tables—a prediction of the future— to sell policies.

Futurists work with uncertain knowledge. They examine statistics of the past and patterns of the present to predict the future. High confidence does not come with a guarantee. They may be right about the future or they may be wrong.

Prophets don’t have that luxury. They deal with certainty, not projections. A true prophet is 100% right 100% of the time. And he places his life on the line by making a prophecy. That’s what lifts Isaiah to such high status as a prophet of God.

In The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John Martin listed 22 messianic prophecies in the book of Isaiah. Some of them are about Jesus’ first advent in Bethlehem. Others refer to Christ’s second coming to reign over the earth with power.

We can find the Christmas story in the book of Isaiah with startling clarity. Here’s one prophecy:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Isaiah was speaking about both the near future and the distant future. A young woman would bear a son as a sign of God’s temporal deliverance in the time of Ahaz, King of Judah. Much later a virgin would give birth to a Son as a sign of God’s ultimate deliverance. It’s Christmas in the book of Isaiah.

The sign to Ahaz was fulfilled less than three years later when his two enemies were deposed in 732 B.C. When that happened, Ahaz knew Isaiah had foretold it. Yet God intended more in Isaiah’s words than merely the deliverance of Ahaz. The prophecy also foretold the virgin birth of Jesus.

Matthew 1:22-23 verifies the fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Jesus:

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Here’s more of the Christmas story in another prophecy by Isaiah:

For to 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. (Isaiah 9:6)

This passage foretold the birth of Jesus 700 years before it happened. It’s Christmas in Isaiah. It tells us all we need to know about the future. God wins!