Can you imagine the amazement and awe that the Old Testament prophets must have felt when the Spirit inspired them to prophesy about the Messiah. A future hope that their eyes would not see. Can you imagine that they wondered, “why would this Messiah have to suffer so”? Yet they were faithful in telling about a Savior that was coming to redeem a fallen world, even though the message was not for them, but for us. They looked forward and wondered. We look back and know the truth about the Good News. The first century preachers were anointed with the Holy Spirit and were faithful to spread the Good News. Now, it is our turn to be faithful and spread the Gospel as we look forward to our soon-coming King. Like the prophets of old, we may not be alive to see Him return, but it is still the Hope of those who love Him. The Hope and the knowledge that one day, we will all rise to meet Him in the air. Altogether, He will take us home to be with Him in glory! Can you say Hallelujah!! Amen!!?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
John the baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and saw with his own eyes God’s Holy Spirit come down in bodily form like a dove and He heard the voice from heaven confirming that Jesus was the Son of God. We would think that nothing could make him doubt who Jesus was. Yet, when John was in prison. we can see that he began to have doubts about Jesus being the Messiah and sent two of his disciples to inquire if Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah. Notice that Jesus did not criticize or condemn John but rather paid him a great compliment. At that time, the time before Jesus had been crucified and resurrected, Jesus said that John was the greatest man to have ever lived. But he qualified His statement saying that “the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he” Although, John baptized with water, there was no salvation or baptism in the Spirit until after Jesus was resurrected and ascended. Since Jesus did not condemn John or any of the disciples for having doubt and “little faith”, neither does He condemn us when doubts enter our minds. He draws us to Himself and gives us peace in the middle of the storms
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. — Luke 2:28-33 NIV
Simeon was a priest serving in the temple at the time Joseph and Mary borught Jesus to be consecrated. He had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would be honored to see the Lord’s Messiah before he died. God arranged that Simeon would be walking in the courtyard when Joseph and Mary arrived with baby Jesus. It is amazing how God manages all the little details to be sure that His promises never fail. It should give us great comfort and peace to know how much God cares about us. How carefully He watches over us allowing and/or causing every piece of the puzzle to fall into place to fulfill HIs plan. The events in our lives happen just in time and are designed to help us grow spiritually. They are sometimes trying but they are never more than we can bear, if we lean on Him in those times.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NIV
Some people may feel that God has never spoken to them or promised them anything. But, truthfully, He has promised each of us everything that we need to live the life that He has called us to live.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature — 2 Peter 1:3, 4a NIV
So, in the best of times and the worst of times, if we lean on Jesus, we can always go in joy and peace.
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; — Isaiah 55:12a NIV
28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I represent one you don’t know, and he is true. 29 I know him because I have come from him, and he sent me to you.” 30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. 31 Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?” 32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were murmuring such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.–John 7:28-32 (NLT)
When it comes to the message of Jesus Christ, nothing in the message has changed and it never will. Apparently, the reactions and responses from the crowd haven’t changed much either. People see the same signs and hear the same words today. Just as it was then, there are some who believe and some who don’t believe. Not everyone that saw and heard Jesus believed, Not everyone that saw and heard Paul and the other apostles believed. Not everyone that hears the message from us is going to believe. However, just as Jesus, Paul and our other Christian ancestors never gave up, neither can we. They preached until the crowds persecuted and killed them. Not many of us will have to pay that price. 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.—Hebrews 12:1-4 (NLT)
The things we suffer here and now are nothing compared to what Jesus has prepared for us in eternity. Count it all joy!
25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? 27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”—John 7:25-27 (NLT)
The people knew Jesus was the man the Jewish leaders were trying to kill. They wondered how He could preach in public without being arrested. Did the leaders really believe this man was the Messiah? They decided that that was impossible since they knew where Jesus had been born and raised. If they knew this and they knew the prophecies concerning the Messiah, how could they possible come to the conclusion that no one would know where Messiah came from? After all, there were hundreds of prophecies fulfilled by the birth, life and death of Jesus. It should have been crystal clear to them that Jesus would be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, that He would be of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David. Messiah must be born of a woman to fulfill the prophecy in Genesis. 15 From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”—-Genesis 3:15 (NLT)
But we should not be surprised, even today, with the myriad of historical and Biblical proof there is available, people still find ways to disbelieve. It is our job to pray and to speak the truth in love. We must follow Paul’s example. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.–1 Cor. 9:23 (NLT)
10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.–John 7:10-13 (NLT)
Jesus did the things He did and He did them the way He did because of His complete obedience to God the Father. He could have chosen to do otherwise, but then He would not have been the sinless sacrifice. 19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.—John 5:19 (NLT)
When we are faced with non-believers and those who would ridicule and persecute us, what do we say about Jesus? Is Jesus just some “good man” or is He the Savior and Lord of our life? Is he just a historical figure or was He the Messiah? Is He our “strong tower” to run into for shelter or do we live “in the shadow of His wings”? God is not in a contest with other “gods”, He is the only God! In each of our lives, we must decide if He is “Lord of all” or not “Lord at all”. There is a war going on for the control of our minds and there are only two choices, there is no neutral ground. 31 So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us.–Romans 8:31 (NCV)
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.—John 4:25-30 (NLT)
For hundreds upon hundreds of years, generation after generation had heard the story, “Messiah is coming”. Could Jesus possibly be the long awaited Messiah? The woman hears all that Jesus said to her, but like so many today, she is not totally convinced. “Could he possibly be the Messiah?” HE WAS–Jesus’ answer takes us all the way back to Exodus: 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM who I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.”–Exodus 3:14 (NLT) He IS— Just as He came to this woman, His Holy Spirit comes to each of us today.
HE ALWAYS WILL BE— Just as the people back then waited for the Messiah, we wait for Him to return. There are still people that doubt the truthfulness of the Bible, but God has never failed to deliver on His promises. I stand firmly with Job when He said: “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.–Job 19:25 (NLT)
People get ready! Jesus is coming again!