Jesus Prepared Himself
LUKE 2:46, “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.”
This is the only scriptural record of Jesus’ childhood. Yet there is much that we can learn from this brief account.
At twelve years of age, Jesus’ wisdom astounded the men who had spent a lifetime studying the scriptures… Luke 2:47. Remember that Jesus did not have full time access to a copy of the scriptures like we do today. He had to depend on His visits to the synagogue and the direct revelation knowledge from His heavenly Father.
He was also asking these scholars questions. This is amazing when you realize that in Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! Colossians 2:3. Although He was God, He inhabited a physical human body that needed to be educated.
He also had a clear understanding at this young age of who His real Father was and exactly why He had come to the world… Luke 2:49. We can only speculate how this must have influenced His childhood.
So we see that Jesus knew His call and purpose even in His early childhood. However, there is no record of miracles or ministry on His part until after His baptism by John at the age of thirty. Preparing a body for God Almighty to manifest Himself through was no small task. Praise God for His great love that caused Him to sacrifice everything for us.
God Desires Faith
Luke 2:7, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
What an amazing account! God Almighty was born of a virgin and placed in a feeding trough in a stable. Who would ever expect the Creator of the universe to make His entrance into the world in such a humble fashion?
Men always seek to proclaim their glory as far and wide as possible. Yet here is the only one who really has any glory to proclaim, and He comes humbly. It wasn’t because He didn’t have the power to do things otherwise.
He could have chosen to be born in a fashion that would have brought all creation to their knees in worship. He could have announced His birth to the most powerful and famous men of the day instead of lowly shepherds. He could have had the most luxurious accommodations instead of a stable. But that is not the way of our God. It would not have taken any faith on the part of men if Jesus came in such a manner that His deity was obvious.
Likewise with us, the Lord could manifest Himself to us in such a way that we couldn’t miss Him, but that wouldn’t please Him. God desires faith and, “without faith it is impossible to please Him:”… Hebrews 11:6.
Today, let’s please our Heavenly Father and acknowledge His presence in faith just because of His promise… Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5.
Luke 1:80, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”
John the Baptist had the most important job assignment ever given to any mortal in the history of the world. He was to prepare the way for the coming of the long awaited Messiah… verse 76.
How did the Lord prepare John for such an important task? What university could teach him all he needed to know? Who offered a course in becoming the greatest prophet who ever lived?… Matthew 11:11 Of course, no one could prepare John for such an important position, so the Lord taught him personally. John was in the deserts until he was thirty years old. He was tutored directly by the Lord through the Holy Spirit.
The personal touch of the Lord became very obvious. Six months after John began his ministry, the whole nation of Israel was experiencing revival and anticipating the coming of the Christ. When Jesus came, the Jews wondered how he could know things he was never taught… John 7:15.
This special knowledge which comes directly from the Lord through the Holy Spirit is now available to every believer.
It’s a part of the new covenant… Hebrews 8:11. The Holy Spirit has been sent to be our teacher, but we have to show up at class and expect to receive… John 14:26. He’ll even show us things to come… John 16:13.
Luke 1:45, “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
There are many reasons why God’s blessings don’t always come to pass in a person’s life, but the most frequent cause is simply unbelief on our part. There are no limitations on God’s part. He is willing and able to do anything He has promised. The problem is with our believing.
The Lord has given every believer faith… Romans 12:3. It was given to us at salvation through hearing the Word of God… Ephesians 2:8; Romans 10:17. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit… Galatians 5:22. However, we must choose to exercise it.
Our faith is linked to our knowledge… 2 Peter 1:1-4. What we think on is how we will be… Proverbs 23:7. The problem is not that we don’t have faith. The problem occurs when we don’t allow our faith to work because we don’t keep our minds stayed on God’s Word. Then our faith is choked out by the cares of this life… Mark 4:19.
Keeping our minds stayed on God’s Word will release our faith and thereby release the power of God in our lives. Certainly Mary must have been a person who put God’s Word first in her life.
Mary saw a performance of what she believed. We receive what we believe, not what we desire or even need. Today believe the word that the Lord has spoken about you.
The Power To Serve
Luke 1:41, “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:”
Upon hearing the greeting of Mary, John the Baptist leaped for joy inside his mother’s womb… Luke 1:44. A six month old fetus experienced unbridled emotion, voluntarily leaped for joy and was actually filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is no coincidence that the man Jesus called the greatest of all Old Testament prophets, was the only man in the Bible to be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb… Luke 7:28.
The anointing of God that breaks every yoke is simply the manifest presence and working of the Holy Spirit… Isaiah 10:27. The Holy Spirit is the part of the Godhead that empowers us for service.
God is not asking us to live for Him. He is asking us to let Him live through us… Galatians 2:20. The Christian life is not a changed life but an exchanged life. This can only be accomplished when the Holy Spirit is leading and empowering us.
Even Jesus didn’t begin His ministry until he was anointed with the Holy Spirit and He was the sinless Son of God. How much more do we need to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. Today, be conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit in you and expect Him to supernaturally guide and empower you.
If you ask, you will receive… Luke 11:9-13.
The Father’s Plan
Luke 24:21 “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”
When the right time came, God sent forth His Son from Heaven in His pre-existent state, into the world. He was born of a woman (virgin birth) and was made subject to the requirements of the law. Jesus was sent at a specific time. The entrance of Jesus into the physical realm was not a random thing occurring at a haphazard time. There were developments that had to take place before Christ could come to earth and redeem man. The Father sent His Son to the earth at the earliest possible time. Anytime prior to the time Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, would have been premature.
His purpose for coming into the world was twofold. First, He came to “redeem them that were under the law.” He did this by perfectly keeping the law, fulfilling it, and paying its curse… Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:13. Thus, Christ delivered us from the entire system of the law. The Greek word for redeem means “to buy OUT OF the slave market.”
Secondly, Christ gave us the status of sonship with all its privileges. Not only were we redeemed from the bondage of the law, but we were redeemed unto sonship. Many people stop short, only realizing what they were delivered from, not what they inherit. Sure, we need to rejoice that we are redeemed, but we also need to move on, and realize the full benefits of our inheritance.
God created us for Himself but we sold ourselves into slavery to the devil. God bought us back through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. No amount of effort, human works, or man’s own righteousness could bring the divine favor that we needed. It was the actual life of God… Leviticus 17:11, that purchased our redemption.
Death Has Lost Its Power
Matthew 27:52 “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,”
This is an amazing event that only Matthew records. This earthquake apparently rolled the stones away from many of the graves in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and some of the saints buried there arose from the dead. Even at the death of Jesus, such power was released that death lost its grip on its captives.
It is uncertain whether these resurrected saints died again or were caught up to God. If they were resurrected at Christ’s death, then they would have had to die again, just as Lazarus or Jairus’ daughter or the widow’s son at Nain or anyone else that Jesus raised from the dead during His ministry. This is because Jesus was, “the firstfruits of them that slept” (Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:20). Jesus was not the first person physically raised from the dead, but He was the first person begotten from the dead to never die again.
If these people were not actually resurrected until after Jesus’ resurrection, when Matthew states they came out of their graves, then they could have been resurrected with their glorified bodies to never die again.
At any rate, these saints went into Jerusalem after Jesus was resurrected and they appeared to many people. We can only guess what effect this must have had on the people.
The resurrection of Jesus puts Christianity in a class all by itself. Many people have come and gone professing some revelation from God or new way of approaching God. But only Jesus has conquered death. This makes Him unique and elevates Him above the level of any other man who has ever walked on the earth. The resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate proof of the accuracy of His doctrine.
Accept The Gift Of Forgiveness
Luke 23:34 “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
Forgiveness of sins is one of the great themes of the Bible. There is so much that scripture says about it that it would take volumes of books to adequately deal with the subject. It will suffice to say that the blood of Jesus is what provided us with forgiveness of sins. That sacrifice was so great that it outweighed all our sins. It covered all the sins of the world-past, present, and future.
Most Christians have the concept that the sins they committed before they professed faith in Christ are forgiven at salvation, but any sins that are committed after that time are not forgiven until they repent and ask for forgiveness. This is not the case.
All our sins: past, present, and future were forgiven through the one offering of Jesus. If God can’t forgive future sins, then none of us can be saved because Jesus only died once, nearly 2,000 years ago, before we had committed any sins. All our sins have been forgiven.
The forgiveness of our sins is not the ultimate goal of our salvation. It is just a necessary step. The real goal of salvation is relationship with the Father and sin is a barrier to that relationship. So, it had to be dealt with, and it was, through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who stop with the forgiveness of sins and don’t go on into eternal life are missing the heart of salvation. Our sins have been forgiven so that we may enter into intimacy with the Lord.
It is through the riches of God’s grace that we have received forgiveness for our sins. There is nothing we can do to obtain forgiveness except humble ourselves and receive forgiveness as a gift through faith in Christ.
Jesus Freed Us From Sin
Luke 23:18 “And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:”
What happened to Barabbas is a picture of what happens when a person is born again. Barabbas was guilty; Jesus was innocent. Yet Jesus suffered the death that Barabbas should have experienced, and Barabbas went free.
Likewise, we were all guilty…Romans 3:23, and condemned to death… Romans 6:23, yet Jesus suffered our punishment so that we may go free… 2 Corinthians 5:21. Just as Barabbas didn’t ask for this substitution, so “God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Barabbas was freed, but he had to choose whether or not to accept this new start and remain free, or go back to his old ways and come under the judgment of Rome again. Likewise, we have all been freed through the substitutionary death of Jesus, but we have to choose whether to accept our freedom by putting faith in Jesus or to reject it, by denying Him.
Our death to sin and resurrection to life with Christ, is already a reality in our spirits but will only become a physical reality when we know and believe it. In the same way that Jesus died unto sin once, and death no longer has dominion over Him, the person who recognizes their death with Christ unto sin, will not allow sin to rule over him anymore. Any Christian who is struggling with sin has not recognized that they are dead unto sin.