Monday, December 21, 2009

The Mission of Jesus

Part 5 of The Real Jesus

Jesus came to earth to fulfill the three major offices in Israel in the OT: (1) prophet, (2) priest, and (3) king.

Jesus the Prophet
  1. Jesus revealed God's word to us (Mark 1:38).
  2. Jesus revealed God to us (John 1:18).
Jesus the Priest
  1. Jesus offered a sacrifice for our sin (Heb. 2:17).
  2. Jesus intercedes for us (Heb. 7:25).
Jesus the King
  1. Jesus was born as a king (Matt. 2:1-2).
  2. Jesus died as a king (Matt. 27:37).
  3. Jesus rose as a king (Eph. 1:20-21).
  4. Jesus will return as a king (Rev. 19:6).
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nativity Quiz

QUESTIONS

Here is a quiz to see how well you know the biblical account of Jesus' birth.
  1. On what kind of animal did Mary ride from Nazareth to Bethlehem?
  2. What did the innkeeper say to Mary and Joseph?
  3. How long was Mary in Bethlehem before she gave birth?
  4. Where in Bethlehem was Jesus born?
  5. How much did baby Jesus cry?
  6. How many angels were present at Jesus' birth?
  7. How many kings came to pay tribute to baby Jesus?
  8. What time was it when the wise men showed up on the night of Jesus' birth?
ANSWERS

Let see how you did.
  1. A donkey? The Bible doesn't say. Luke 2:4 simply says they "went" from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
  2. Luke 2:7 says, "There was no room for them in the inn." But no innkeeper is mentioned. Actually, the Greek word for "inn" can be translated "guest room" (Luke 22:11). So the "inn" was probably very different from our present day motels.
  3. People usually assume that Jesus was born on the first night Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. But Luke 2:6 states, "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born." We are not told how long they had been there.
  4. Most people think Jesus was born in a stable. However, there is no mention of a stable. We do read that Jesus was "placed in a manger" (Luke 2:7). A manger was a feeding trough for animals, so wherever Jesus was born, animals were present.
  5. The song "Away in a Manger" says, "The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes." But if Jesus cried as an adult (John 11:35), surely He cried as a baby.
  6. Angels appeared to the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem, but we don't read that any angels were visible at the place of Jesus' birth.
  7. First, they were not "kings"; they were "magi" or "wise men." Second, though tradition says that there were three wise men, the Bible doesn't give us a number. We only know that they gave Jesus three gifts.
  8. Most nativity scenes have the wise men present on the night of Jesus' birth. Actually, they probably arrived in Bethlehem some time later. Matthew 2:11 says they found the "child" (not baby) Jesus in a "house" (not outside).
Here is a video we showed in today's worship service that goes well with this quiz.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Self-Emptying of Jesus

Part 4 of The Real Jesus

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:3-8).

The true spirit (attitude) of Christmas is humble self-sacrifice. Imitate the Christ of Christmas.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Virgin Birth of Jesus

Part 3 of The Real Jesus

Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and without a human father.

"The virgin birth is posted on guard at the door of the mystery of Christmas; and none of us must think of hurrying past it. It stands on the threshold of the New Testament, blatantly supernatural, defying our rationalism, informing us that all that follows belongs to the same order as itself and that if we find it offensive there is no point in proceeding further." (Donald MacLeod, The Person of Christ, p. 37)

Why is the virgin birth important?
  1. It made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person.
  2. It made possible Christ's true humanity without inherited sin.
  3. It showed that salvation must come from God.
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