Many score years ago in Bethlehem town,
Mary and Joseph went all around.
For the Son of God was to be born,
The Redeemer of the world as God sworn.
They went to seek room for his birth,
So the Savior be manifest on earth,
But no room in any inn they could find,
Due to the Roman census decree assigned.
So, in a humble stable, they stayed,
And there, the darkness began to fade.
For Jesus, the son of God, was born,
Destined to overcome every sinful horn.
Christ Jesus, fully God and fully man,
Went to fulfill God’s holy plan.
Those who trust in him will be saved,
If they repent from each path depraved.
So, for Jesus in faith, open up your heart,
Make room for Christ and never go apart.
Be humble living with Christ each day,
Let him be in your heart each time you pray.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
Lets first read the following verses as we reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ and how he brought change in Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus by his death. Here we go:
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Joseph of Arimathaea is not heard of in most part of the Gospels except just after the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Who was this man and what did he have to with Jesus? Also what does Nicodemus have to do in all this?
From what we read in the Gospels (Matthew 27:57–60; Mark 15:42–46; Luke 23:50–53; and John 19:38–42) it’s known that he was a disciple of Jesus Christ. However he followed Jesus secretly as he feared the Jews. He was actually a part of the Sanhedrin which was the council of Jewish religious leaders who strived for Jesus’ crucifixion. However, the Gospel says that Joseph of Arimathaea did not give his consent but rather opposed their decision. That makes him a good man doesn’t it. Besides he was rich. God made him wealthy for a purpose that only few can ever receive from the Lord God. He took a personal risk of life and of reputation when he went to Pilate to receive the dead body of the One True Savior of the World who is none other than Jesus Christ. And by his wealth he could arrange for Jesus to be laid in a tomb (sepulchre). When Jesus was born he was born in manger as there was no place available for him. But at his death this one man from Arimathaea did all he could so that the Savior could be given some dignity after his death. Joseph of Arimathaea did not care for his life anymore as he knew he had to honor the Son of God the giver of eternal life more than anything.
Now to speak about Nicodemus. This man due to his short height had to first meet Jesus by climbing the sycamore tree. Though this man was a great sinner, Jesus came to dine in his house much to the dismay of the religious leaders. Yet Jesus led this man Nicodemus to repentance and salvation. In the due course of time, when Jesus died on the cross, Nicodemus did not flee nor abandon Jesus like most of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Very few men were brave enough to stand up for the Lord in public after the crucifixion. This man was one of them. He served the Lord well by bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes so that Jesus’ body could be wrapped in linen with these spices as per the Jewish burial custom.
Jesus at his death caused Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to manifest the courage and right action no matter what the circumstances for the sake of the Lord. If you were in place of these men at that would you have done the same for Jesus? It’s a hard question to be honest. But the simple answer would be your actual actions in such times. However there should be nothing keeping you from standing up for Jesus Christ no matter where and when, if you truly believe that he is the Son of God. Yet again, were only courage and good works what Jesus woke these to men to by his death? Not at all, because by his agonizing death on the cross and his glorious resurrection from the dead he made available not just for them but for everyone who believe complete justification and salvation. You don’t earn your salvation by your good works but yes once you accept your salvation by your faith in Jesus and his Gospel then by your good works you can indeed give glory to God. The power of the Lord Jesus in his death and resurrection goes beyond inspiring courage and good deeds. For it has healing for sick, forgiveness for the sinner, deliverance from the darkness, friendship with God and life everlasting. Blessed are those who have not seen Jesus and yet believe. Amen.
When you have Jesus Christ you have God our Father with you through Christ. Yes God is with you as promised in the scriptures. It was prophesied about Jesus being born of a virgin and its a sign from God himself.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Even the New Testament confirms this. Let’s read:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-23)
Though we normally don’t call Jesus as Immanuel (or Emmanuel, depending on the Bible version you use), our Lord Jesus is indeed the Immanuel of prophecy. I heard a few Christian songs and sermons which refer to Jesus as Immanuel. Now, there are many prophecies that attribute various titles to Jesus. However the titles are not his name, so sometimes title are not mentioned. To this effect, though Jesus is the Prince of Peace he was not actually named the Prince of Peace as that’s his title. In our prayers we generally say ‘Jesus let your Father’s will be done in our lives’ and rarely do we say ‘Prince of Peace let your Father’s will be done in our lives’. Suppose by God’s good graces you are ordained as the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ your name doesn’t become the Duke of Edinburgh unless you at birth were named so. (The current Duke of Edinburgh is Prince Phillip, I think)
The union of Jesus with God our Father was strong even during the time of Jesus on earth. This is because he came not on his own authority but because our God and Father in heaven had sent him here to do his holy will. No wonder he carried the presence of the Lord God our Father with him. No wonder he said “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14:6-11)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5,14)
In the Old Testament the Lord God said, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)
God loves his people and works out plans that help his people rise up against all odds. Abraham and Sarah didn’t have child due to her barrenness but the Lord God gave her favor and she bore a son. Joseph in Egypt lived as a slave but by God’s favor he became the greatest man in Egypt second only the Pharaoh of Egypt. Moses led the Hebrews away from the slavery of Egypt with many signs and wonders of God.
In these instances and many other mentioned in the Old Testament God provided hope to his people. There was one hope still pending, it was prophesied that the savior of the world would manifest in Israel. This was and is the greatest hope not just to the Jews but also to the whole world.
Isaiah 9:1,2 says that, Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan–The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.”
Here is my servant whom I have chosen…In his name the nations will put their hope Isaiah 42:1-4 quoted in Matthew 12:17-21
Yes this speaks about Jesus the son of the Living God and he gives hope. He came on earth fully man and yet was fully God. This is the faith that he came to seek and save the lost and destroy the works of the Evil one.
Psalm 110:1 A psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”
This is the Lord Jesus’ mission statement; “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Isaiah 61:1,2 quoted in Luke 4:18-19.
The mission of Jesus is powerful indeed. He saves people from their sins. He saves people from demonic oppression and Satan’s grasp. He heals people from their sickness. He gives hope, not just earthly, I’m speaking about eternal life with hope, peace and joy.
Now on earth people have their own fancies of hope. They hope to get a new car, a Corvette perhaps. Or they hope to get a higher education. Some hope for a change in the way their nation is run. How many times are many peoples hope are met with disappointment when things don’t go as they yearned for?
There are some who even got to see their wishes fulfilled but then getting a great car, education and a worthy leader made people happy for a while until the time to depart from this earth come. I mean when the time of death comes they realize that earthly hopes end at earth itself. They then hope to live more, speak to their loved ones if they aren’t near. They wonder what will become of them in the life after death. Those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus often are very skeptical about their future and try to accept things as they come.
However for a person who believes in Christ this is not a matter of guessing. Its a fact to be pondered and relished that such a person has now entered in to true eternal rest in heaven welcomed by none other than Jesus Christ himself. Jesus by the shedding of his blood on the cross and dying at Calvary took upon himself all your sins. By his resurrection he overcame all the powers of the devil and secured a place you in heaven and changed your destiny to good rather than evil. If you believe this then you have the true hope that only comes through Christ. Amen.
- “Hope For The Oppressed” (precioussheepofrenown.wordpress.com)
- Tuesday, December 17, 2013 (graceanglicancommunityjourneytobethlehem.wordpress.com)
- Quest for Joy: Six Biblical Truths (nostopministries.wordpress.com)
- THE MOST INCREDIBLE PROPHECY (purposely overlooked by Jews to their own disadvantage) (aaronhalim.wordpress.com)
- Immanuel, God with us (Part 1) (melwild.wordpress.com)
- The Child of Promise and The Nativity of Christ (captainjamesdavis.net)
- In this world you will have trouble… (faithfulstewardship.wordpress.com)