Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jesus the Messiah

Jesus - The Messiah

[Many years ago in the old Hallmark building someone got the idea to turn the platform and choir loft into a giant set of risers that looked like a Christmas tree. So a team of men set about making this giant platform with several rows in which the church choir could stand and sing. Each of these rows was faced in chicken wire and dark plastic, and covered with the branches of dozens of donated artificial Christmas trees. Then each row was strung with lights. The idea was for the choir members to be the ornaments so we each had on bright colored clothing you could see over the rail of your row where you could see the top part of the torso. Finally someone thought that we should all appear the same height in the tree. Now the tallest tenor was Oran Mann Sr. and he is about 6 foot 5 inches tall. And the shortest tenor was Ralph Moore at about 5 foot 6 inches. So Norman Sheffield made us each custom boxes that we could put in the tree platform to stand on thus all appearing the height, so the ornaments would be in a straight horizontal line when viewed from the pews. And for many years the choir and some drama teams would present Christmas musicals to convey the story of Christ birth. The musicals represented a huge effort, and some were quite good for a church our size.

In California the church started by Robert Schuller is called the Crystal Cathedral. Each year they present a musical called the Glory of Christmas, complete with angels flying from wires, and live animals in the stable, a full live orchestra and large choir. They charge to see it and it runs for several weeks around Christmas. Much more elaborate than our presentations but still for the same purpose. But regardless of the size, budget, or effort, church Christmas musicals are not the Glory of Christmas.]

Luke 2

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

[As the scripture tells us an angel announced the birth of Christ. In doing so the angel gave Christ the title of Lord. As we discussed before the Jewish rabbis when reading the scriptures would not utter God’s name, Yaweh or Yehova, they would just substitute Addoniah "Lord". After his announcement to the shepherds the single angel was joined by a heavenly choir, a host of angels singing "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill, toward men. That must have been a phenomenal event to witness, but angelic choirs are not the glory of Christmas.]

Matthew 2

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

[12 days after Christmas tradition holds is when the magi, or wise men (practitioners of hidden wisdom), having seen something strange in the night sky had matched an astronomical event to ancient prophecies and followed this out-of-place star to find a king born near the time of the stars appearing. Finally finding Jesus, soon after his birth when they had probably returned home after his dedication, so if you have a nativity scene at home pull the wise men out of the stable as they were never there. Yet when they found the Christ child, they presented him with gifts worthy of a king. Quite amazing, but God moving a bright star around the cosmos to attract the attention of foreign astronomers, and having them present kingly gifts to a baby, is not the glory of Christmas]

[Jesus birth to the Virgin Mary was a miracle. In Like 2:47 Jesus amazed the scholars as a young boy. In John 2:8 Jesus performed his first public miracle turning water into wine. In John 6:11 Jesus blessed a young boys lunch and used it to feed 5,000. He continued for 3 years healing the blind, lame and sick, he even brought the dead back to life. Finally giving up his life on the cross, rising from the dead after 3 days, appearing to many, then ascending into heaven, with the promise to come again.]

Acts 2

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken[c] by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

[So the miracles that Jesus performed, and his resurrection were the proof that he is the Christ]

[If God gave you the ability to witness any biblical event which would it be:

The creation of the universe

the parting of the Red sea

The completion of Solomon's temple

Elijah's chariot of fire

The birth of Christ

One of Jesus miracles

The resurrection

or even John or Daniel's visions of the end times

There is a southern gospel song called "There Rose a Lamb". One of the verses goes like this:

I wasn't there when Jesus died

I wasn't there to see him rise

but I was there when he saved my soul

for within my heart this Lamb arose

You see the Glory of Christmas is not a choir musical even one with giant trees or live animals. It's not angelic appearances or songs sung from the heavens. The glory of Christmas is not great cosmic events followed by gift bearing magi. The Glory of Christmas is revealed in every humble sinner who bows before God and says in his heart "Jesus is the messiah, the Christ, God's sacrifice for the sins of mankind, my savior and Lord"]

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