December 31 – Luke 2:36-39. Thanks Be to God.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


December 31 – Luke 2:36-39. Thanks Be to God.

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

Anna told everyone about the child who would redeem Jerusalem.  Did she have any idea that He would redeem the entire world, that He would also die for the sins of those who would be born two thousand years later?

Anna’s response to seeing the child was to give thanks to God and spread word of His greatness.

As we close out an old year and approach a new year, may our response to Jesus be the same.  May we give thanks for meeting Him and then tell the world about Him.

He has come to redeem the world, let us ensure that the world recognizes Him through us!

December 30 – Luke 2:33-35. Good News. Bad News.

Friday, December 30, 2011


December 30 – Luke 2:33-35. Good News. Bad News.

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

This is what life does to us, isn’t it! One moment you hear great news and within a heartbeat, that news is replaced by something that is difficult to hear.  It doesn’t diminish the greatness of the original news, but our hearts are rarely strong enough to remain excited after we hear something awful.

We don’t get a chance to know Joseph and Mary’s reaction to Simeon’s follow-up, but most of us can imagine it in great detail.

Jesus didn’t let that part of the story affect Him as He began His ministry, though. He didn’t worry that His work would hurt His mother or that people wouldn’t accept Him.  He wasn’t concerned that there would be those who spoke out against Him or that He might be rejected because He exposed the hearts of people.

Jesus walked in confidence, knowing that He was doing the work of His father.

While we don’t know for sure what happened to Joseph, we do know that Mary remained a part of Jesus’ ministry through His resurrection and there are stories that she lived with the apostle John in Ephesus as Jesus’ ministry on earth was extended through Him.

Her soul may have been pierced at the physical loss of her son, but she didn’t allow that to change the awe and wonder that had been hers from the moment the angel announced to her that she would bear God’s Son.

Jesus was to bring forth the salvation of the world. There will never be enough bad news to deflate the excitement that news brings to us.

December 29 – Luke 2:25-32. Simeon Saw Salvation.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


December 29 – Luke 2:25-32. Simeon Saw Salvation.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 

      “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Isn’t it interesting that Simeon didn’t hear from an angel, but from the Holy Spirit.  He spent so much time walking with God that the presence of the Holy Spirit was with him.  What a glorious gift to bring to a man who had lived his life as a righteous and devout man – the assurance that he would see the Messiah.

What a moment this was for Simeon.  The revelation from the Holy Spirit had been fulfilled.  He held the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world in his arms.

I had a very dear friend, a man who walked with the Lord, who daily did the work of the Lord and to whom I am eternally grateful for his teaching.  He felt that God had told him Christ would return before his death and he lived his life with that assurance.  He listened so closely to the Spirit that one day when he was driving, he heard the Lord telling him to pull over and walk up to a house.  He had no idea why, but he did so.  When a young woman answered the door, he simply told her that God had sent him and he wasn’t sure why.  She began to weep.  She had served the last of the food to her children that morning and had eaten nothing herself for several days.  Her family was about to starve and she could do nothing to change the outcome.  Tommy recognized immediately that he stopped so that he could be God’s hands in this situation.  He fed them a meal, stocked groceries for them and then helped the young woman find a job with child care.  He walked with God because he expected God to use him.

Well, Tommy died several years ago and I found myself wondering at his absolute trust in God and that he heard God telling him Jesus would return while Tommy still lived.  I spent a lot of time thinking about his words and have yet to fully understand the entire story.  I doubt that I ever will while still here.

Simeon, though, saw the promise fulfilled in the eyes of a child.  One day we will all see the promise of Christ’s return – whether we are still living or when we meet Him in heaven.  I am confident that Tommy is in the presence of God and has seen the fulfillment of Christ’s return.

Simeon saw salvation that day. The greatest gift any of us can ever know.

December 28 – Luke 2:21-24. Bound to the Law.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


December 28 – Luke 2:21-24. Bound to the Law.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. 

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” 

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says, ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

The only problem for many of us is that we miss the fine details of Jesus’ ministry and paint it with such broad strokes that we don’t see how God fulfilled the Law through Jesus.  We only see a great divide between His interpretation of the Law and humanity’s method of wielding God’s law.

Joseph and Mary were responsible to care for the Son of God.  They obeyed the angel when naming the child and then followed the letter of the Law when it came to presenting the child and purifying themselves.

The Law that the Lord had given to Moses and to the Israelites was the guiding light for them as they strove to maintain a relationship with God throughout the centuries.  Even though it had become a duty rather than a joy, obedience to God’s Law was still necessary – especially when raising the Son of God.

With a flick of the finger, the child could have set all that aside, but God’s commitment to humanity and to His chosen people was so great when He bound Himself to the limits of being human, He also bound Himself to His own law.  He never set Himself above it.

December 27 – Matthew 2:19-23. Conversation With An Angel.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


December 27 – Matthew 2:19-23. Conversation With An Angel.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 

So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Do you think you would ever get used to angels showing up to keep you informed of what you should do to raise your child?

Would Joseph have missed his conversations with the angel?  Would he have begun to wonder when the next time was that the angel would show up to give him some direction?

I don’t know how it is in your family, but we seem to always talk a lot more just prior to getting together.  Before a holiday or a vacation, we call, email and text each other … as if we can hardly wait to see each other and hope to extend that relationship as long as possible. The anticipation is so great that we stay in pretty close contact.  After the holiday is over, we drop back into our normal patterns and call each other when something is going on … but not for a random conversation.

The angels have had a great deal to prepare for.  The child was finally here, but he isn’t settled yet.  This child is here to draw together the people of the world and reintroduce them into a relationship with God.

We don’t hear about any other conversations Joseph or Mary have with angels … maybe they stay in pretty close contact with the heavenly host … maybe this is the end of it.  But the child will soon be safe and settled into his home.  Things can go on as if all were normal.

The angels become less and Jesus becomes greater.  He will now be the voice of God among humanity.

Jesus is here now.  Joseph has a daily connection to God.

Jesus is here now.  We have a daily connection to God.

December 26 – Matthew 2:13-18. God’s Protection.

Monday, December 26, 2011


December 26 – Matthew 2:13-18.  God’s Protection.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” 

Herod was furious! People simply didn’t ignore his commands, especially when those commands were so desperately important to his reign.

In his rage, he ordered the deaths of young boys in the region where the wise men had landed. In his eyes, it was better to be safe than sorry.

While there are historical questions regarding this massacre of the innocents (there is no public record of it), the simple fact is that in that area surrounding Bethlehem, it was very rural and there may have been as few as twenty children killed. While it would have been traumatic for the families and the community, it would not have registered in the annals of his reign.

God’s grace and mercy are greater than humanity’s rage.  Before the words were uttered by Herod, God sent an angel to Joseph to command him to leave with Mary and the child and flee to Egypt.  Once more they were traveling, but this time it was to safety.

God prepared the world for the coming of His Son and He continued to care for His Son offering protection and safety when danger approached.  As God’s adopted children through Jesus Christ, we can hold on to the promise that God will also protect us, if only we listen for His voice and obey Him.

December 25 – Isaiah 9:2-3, 6-7. Be His Light!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


December 25 – Isaiah 9:2-3, 6-7. Be His Light!

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Today we celebrate the entrance of light into a darkened world.  In a world filled with sin and sorrow, the Savior comes to release humanity from the chains that bind us to that world.

We rejoice because we are free.  We rejoice because darkness has been set aside and light prevails.

The light of Christ fills the world … through us.  We take His light to those around us.  Be that light today and tomorrow and every day.

December 24 – Matthew 2:9-12. Choose Joy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


December 24 – Matthew 2:9-12. Choose Joy.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  When they saw the child … they bowed down and worshiped him.

Pretty soon the Christmas season will pass and the New Year will be upon us.  We hope to hold on to the feelings of joy and anticipation that surround us at Christmas, but when the realities of life settle in – sometimes it gets awfully difficult.

I wonder if life isn’t a little like King Herod.  The world wants to rob us of our joy.  Sometimes circumstances rule our emotions to the point that we can’t be happy unless life is good.  Herod didn’t want the world to see the Messiah.  He wanted the wise men to give him intelligence regarding the location of the Messiah so he could just rid himself of the annoyance and remain in control of his little world.

The wise men chose to go their own way.  As they searched for the Messiah and found Him, they found joy and worshiped him.  They chose not to go the way of King Herod, which would bring destruction and death.

When Christmas is over, we can choose to follow the path of the wise men.  We don’t have to be ruled by circumstances. We don’t have to fear the coming of the Messiah into our lives.

We can choose to be overjoyed in the moment to moment discovery of Jesus’ love.

Choose joy.  Bow down and worship Christ – not our daily circumstances.  

December 23 – Matthew 2:1-8. Peace on Earth?

Friday, December 23, 2011


December 23 – Matthew 2:1-8. Peace on Earth?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 

      “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 

There is an interesting difference between the Luke and Matthew story – beyond the fact that one tells us of the shepherds and the other of the wise men.

Luke’s story tells us how the angels promised peace on earth because of the Savior’s birth.

Matthew’s story tells us that not only was King Herod upset at the possibility of the birth of the Messiah, but all of Jerusalem was also disturbed along with their King.

This doesn’t bode well for the beginning of the story of our Messiah.  Before He can even speak, people are frightened of what He might say and do!

Herod sent the wise men to search for the Messiah … just in case the prophecies might be true.  He wanted to deal with this little problem all by himself before it could upset his reign as the king of the Jews.

Peace on Earth?  Not while Jesus walked on the earth as a man this time. That’s far, far away and just in case we didn’t understand that truth, we are introduced right away to just a little bit of the stress that Jesus would encounter throughout His lifetime and Christians would continually encounter throughout history.

December 22 – Luke 2:15-20. Amazed by His Story.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


December 22 – Luke 2:15-20. Amazed by His Story.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Looking upon the face of the Savior is all about seeing God’s love.

The only thing that the shepherds could think to do after being in the presence of Jesus was to spread the word about everything they had seen.

Those who heard what the shepherds told them were amazed.

We have an amazing Savior and have experienced His presence in our lives.

The only thing that we should do is spread the word about what we know.

The world needs to hear about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

The world needs to be amazed by His story.

December 21 – Luke 2:8-14. The Face of Love.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


December 21 – Luke 2:8-14. The Face of Love.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

We all think that (most) babies are absolutely adorable.  When my first nephew was born, it occurred to me one of the reasons we believe so is that in their little faces, we see everyone we have ever loved.

When Jesus was born, what would the shepherds have seen when they looked at His face?  Can you even imagine?

They looked upon the face of God.  The Creator of the Universe who came to earth to save humanity from itself.  The Lord God Almighty whose love fills the earth, whose compassion for those He loves is beyond bounds.

They saw love beyond measure.

The angels knew what the shepherds would see when they looked at that tiny baby in a manger and all they could do was sing “Glory to God in the highest heaven.”

Today as we prepare to remember His arrival on earth, remember that one day we will look into the face of Jesus and sing “Glory to God in the highest” because we will see love.

December 20 – Luke 2:1-7. King of Kings.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


December 20 – Luke 2:1-7. King of Kings.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. 

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

I can’t read these words without feeling a flutter of excitement well up from deep within me.  Every time these words are read – it is in preparation for one of the most exciting times of the church year for me.

That Caesar Augustus and Quirinius are marked as being involved in this powerful event offers a timeline for us.  We know that it didn’t happen 50 or 500 years ago, but a couple of thousand years ago when Caesar Augustus was emperor of Rome.

Joseph took a very pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.  It was expected that he would do so as a citizen of the Roman Empire.  Sometimes the world around Jesus seems so small.  Born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, died in Jerusalem.  But, with these words, Jesus is placed within the Roman Empire, even though He was a Jew who lived under Herod’s rule.

From the beginning of His life, He was obedient to the laws of the land. It wasn’t yet time to upset the nations and kings.

Jesus will be known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16) and when He reigns in heaven with God, “the glory of God gives the city (New Jerusalem) light, and the Lamb (Jesus) is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it” (Rev. 21:23b-24).

It was possible for God to allow the kings of earth to rule over His Son because the day was coming in which Jesus would be seated on the throne above all things.

December 19 – Matthew 1:22-25. God With Us.

Monday, December 19, 2011


December 19 – Matthew 1:22-25. God With Us.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The prophesies regarding Jesus fill the pages of the Old Testament. They tell of preparation for his coming, of his birth, his life, his death and his return to draw us all unto himself.

Joseph and Mary were part of this amazing prophecy. They were essential in the telling of this story.  God had planned for the day they would come together and raise His Son.  He had prepared their lineage, their parents and their lives.

God was with them from the moment that He created the world.  He was with each of their ancestors and from the moment of their conception He was with them. He was with them as they pledged themselves to each other and when it came time to tell them what their place in the story would be … He was not only with them, but He sent His angel to help them understand the power of His will and to give some explanation for this extraordinary event.  He was always with them.

Immanuel – God With Us.

God is with each of us.  He has been preparing us for the lives that we can live in Him.  He has brought each of us to this time and place.

He may not ask us to raise His Son, He may not send an angel to help us understand His plan, but He has a plan for each of us and wants us to know that He is With Us.

He sent His Son so that we could know for certain that He is with each one of us.

December 18 – Matthew 1:18-21. The Honor of Joseph.


December 18 – Matthew 1:18-21. The Honor of Joseph.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Gabriel had already told Mary she was to be the mother of the Son of God.  While she was processing on the wonder of it all with Elizabeth, Joseph had no idea what was happening.  Most men I know wouldn’t be terribly surprised that he had been left out of the planning.  But, when he needed to know, it wasn’t Mary who told him what had happened, but Gabriel.  I can’t imagine the conversation that would have occurred if it had been up to her.  How do you explain to someone who thinks you’ve betrayed them that God was in the middle of the entire episode.

Mary and Joseph had been pledged in marriage … a contract that was as strong as marriage.  He was willing to let her out of the contract quietly and not expose her.  He was honorable in all things.  Her honor was more important to him than a contract.

When Gabriel spoke with Joseph, all of a sudden the story changed.  He was not only going to fulfill the contract with Mary, but he was responsible for raising God’s son … for keeping him safe as he grew to be a man, to love him and give him a human childhood so that this young man could save the earth.

It wasn’t going to be easy, yet Joseph was still honorable.  What God asked him to do, he would do.

December 17 – Luke 3:23-37. Adoption into the Lineage.


December 17 – Luke 3:23-37. Adoption into the Lineage.

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 
     the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josek, the son of Joda, 
     the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 
     the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 
     the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 
     the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
     the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 
     the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Luke was very interested in presenting things as accurately as possible.  Genealogies were used in ancient times to establish the identity of a person.  While the genealogy in Matthew begins with Abraham, Luke reverses the order, beginning with Jesus and leading back to Adam … the original creation … the original son of God. Then, he does something phenomenal and traces Jesus’ lineage straight to God.

He identifies Jesus strongly as the Son of God.  There can be no question as to who this man is.

Now why do these genealogies differ so much? There are a lot of solutions given, but one that has a great deal of support is that Mary had no brothers. Her father – Eli (Heli in this translation) adopted Joseph as his own son.  Matthew gives Joseph’s ancestry by birth – Luke by adoption.

This is profound for our understanding of our relationship with God.  Just as Joseph was adopted into the lineage (even though he also had his own lineage), so are we adopted into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus has come.  No matter how you trace his genealogy, he is the Son of God … he is descended from the patriarchs, the men and women blessed by God to lead their people into His presence.  Jesus will complete this mission.

December 16 – Matthew 1:1-17. Glory and Sin. A Genealogy.

Friday, December 16, 2011


December 16 – Matthew 1:1-17. Glory and Sin. A Genealogy.

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: 

Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. 

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. 

After the exile to Babylon: 
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. 

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

In Matthew’s Gospel, the story of Jesus begins with his genealogy.  This wasn’t done to bore those of us who aren’t impressed with lists to death, but to establish Jesus’ place in the history of the Jews.

He is descended from Abraham, the first man with whom God established a covenant.

He is descended from David, to whom God promised that his throne would always exist.  In Jesus, it will always exist.

In his line are several women – sinners, in fact.  There is Rahab, a prostitute and the author blatantly states that Solomon’s mother had been Uriah’s wife, until David’s great sin destroyed him.  Another woman, Ruth, is a Gentile.  The last woman to be mentioned is Jesus’ mother, Mary.  This lineage would have offended a great many Israelites because of these women, but Jesus came to save everyone and He never denied women a place in salvation in history.

There are some great kings in this line – Uzziah and Hezekiah.  There are some awful kings.  There is the story of the great exile.  There is glory and destruction, beauty and sin.

This is the world that Jesus entered over two thousand years ago.  This is the world in which we live today.  He is the same yesterday, today and He will be the same tomorrow.  The world will never change. There will always be glory and destruction, beauty and sin.  But, neither will Jesus change.  He will always be here as our salvation.

December 15 – Luke 1:67-80. The Child – A Prophet.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


December 15 – Luke 1:67-80. The Child – A Prophet.

His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 

 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” 

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

I read these words and can barely get through them without emotion. To know that the Lord is coming to earth, that this small boy will proclaim His coming, to understand that John will call the people of Israel to repentance in preparation for the Lord and to believe that these signs will bring peace.

Zechariah was given a prophecy that would be fulfilled in his son’s lifetime – by that very son.

I know that many of you, as parents, pray for your children. While I know my parents prayed for me, I remember a specific time when I was in the hospital and they expected me to die and if I lived, to have such a weakened heart, I wouldn’t be able to function.  They spent a great deal of time beside my hospital bed in prayer.

Zechariah and Elizabeth had a charge for their son from God.  Their prayers were constant and they brought him up to understand the will of God and how he fit within it.  It began with a message from an angel and now … a prophecy from God.  John grew in the spirit from the moment he was conceived.  Zechariah and Elizabeth dedicated themselves to the Lord’s will, for themselves and for their son.  This boy would proclaim the coming of the Lord!

December 14 – Luke 1:57-66. What’s In A Name?


December 14 – Luke 1:57-66. What’s In A Name?

When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 

They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 

Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

When you were choosing names for your children (or if you will be, or when your parents did), what were the things you looked for in a name?  I have absolutely no idea why my parents came up with Diane.  Mom said it was just a name she liked.  My middle name doesn’t come from family … but, as to this story … it works nicely since my middle name is Elizabeth.

Carol got a unique name for the family, but her middle name is the same as my mother’s.  My brother’s first name came from my mother’s father and from my father’s brother.  Dad’s middle name was Lester, the same as his father’s, and he couldn’t imagine saddling his son with that name.

Names still tend to be handed down from family member to family member.  A Jewish friend of mine told me that they couldn’t name their children after a living family member because it brought bad fortune on both, but to name the child after someone who had died was a great honor.

The baby was born and about to be circumcised and named.  When Elizabeth named the child John, no one could believe it.  After they had waited all these years to have a child, the least they could do was give it a family name.

But, God had a plan for this child and wanted his name to be John.  As soon as Zechariah declared that it was so, his voice returned. Luke tells us that his first words were those of praise.

A child given a name outside of family tradition. A father who begins to speak again after the naming.  No wonder the people of Judea were curious about what would come of this child!

December 13 – Luke 1:46-56. My Soul Glorifies God!


December 13 – Luke 1:46-56. My Soul Glorifies God!

And Mary said: 
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” 

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Those first words of Mary’s, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” have always been special to me.

We say thank you to God for things He has done for us. We praise Him for His creation and things that he has done in our lives.  With our words we praise His name.

Sometimes in the depths of ourselves, the part of us that expresses itself in something deeper than words reaches beyond us to the deepest part of God, making contact with His glory and we know we are dwelling in His will.

It is at that point that our soul and our spirit affirm everything that Scripture has told us and we know for certain that God loves us and that He would do anything to bring us close to Him, including coming to earth in the form of an infant to a young girl.  All we have to do is respond.

December 12 – Luke 1:39-45. The Lord Fulfills Promises!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


December 12 – Luke 1:39-45. The Lord Fulfills Promises!

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

I like thinking about the impact of this young woman’s decision. She heard from the Lord and responded by saying, “Yes.”

Elizabeth said, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Do you believe that God will fulfill His promises to you?

Oh, please do … He’s been doing so since before the beginning of time!

December 11 –Luke 1:26-38. When an Angel Shows Up.


December 11 –Luke 1:26-38. When an Angel Shows Up.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” 

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

I think what we should learn from some of these stories is that when an angel shows up, we don’t question the words that come out of his mouth.  If he tells you, as an old man, that you are going to have a son … believe him.  If he tells you that, as a virgin, you are going to conceive a Son … believe him.

The other thing I notice from these stories is the simple thing that both Zechariah and Mary focused on.  The angel delivered a whole lot of information and she heard one thing. She heard that she was going to have a baby – and she was still a virgin.

She didn’t focus on the fact she would bear the Son of God … the holy one or that God would give him the throne of David … a kingdom with no end.

She focused on one thing.  The one thing that would impact her.

It’s so easy to miss the impact of the big picture by the one thing that upsets the quiet of our own little world.

Mary finally heard his words and realized that doing what God called her to do was more important than her own worries.

December 10 – Luke 1:21-25. Zechariah’s Silence.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


December 10 – Luke 1:21-25. Zechariah’s Silence.

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. 

When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

We had a young man work for us at Insty-Prints who was deaf.  Since we wanted to be able to communicate, we hired a young woman to teach us sign language.  One evening I drove him home and he invited me to meet his roommates – both of whom were also deaf.  I walked in with him and though I could get through a conversation with him because he was very helpful and went slowly, when the three of them began communicating I couldn’t understand anything.  It was awful.  I felt like the outsider.

During those months that he worked for us, I gained a new perspective on someone who has difficulty communicating with the world.

Zechariah had absolutely no one with whom he could communicate.  He made signs and they got the basic gist of his encounter with the angel, but he was alone.

He went home and Elizabeth conceived a child.  Zechariah was probably communicating in basic ways with his family and the people in his community, but his thoughts and feelings were more than likely trapped within his own mind.

When Zechariah finally gets a chance to speak out loud again, he will have plenty to say.

December 9 – Luke 1:16-20. Please Believe the Angel.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


December 9 – Luke 1:16-20. Please Believe the Angel.

He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

I hate to admit how much I have missed in Scripture.  Every time I read it, I discover something new.  That’s one of the reasons I like to break passages up differently when I study.  The beginning of today’s passage startled me.

Gabriel told Zechariah that his son, who had yet to be even conceived, would bring back many of the people of Israel to God.  What a glorious responsibility!

The Israelites had moved far from God and they didn’t know how to return to him. Gabriel told Zechariah exactly how John would live out his ministry.  He would prepare God’s people for His presence.  What an exciting promise!

Zechariah just makes me laugh.  An angel shows up and gives him some incredible news and the one thing he can’t believe is that he’s going to be a father.

Imagine an angel showing up out of the blue to give you some news.  I can’t imagine questioning the news before I questioned his presence!

Gabriel simply identified himself and his task. Then he told Zechariah that his unbelief would cause his silence.

I guess the moral of the story is that if an angel shows up and tells you some news that seems unbelievable, it would be best to believe him.

December 8 – Luke 1:11-15. Your Prayer Has Been Heard.


December 8 – Luke 1:11-15. Your Prayer Has Been Heard.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

We’d certainly like to think we would be prepared for God to actually show up, but the truth of the matter is, we’d be startled and gripped with fear.

Zechariah had entered the temple to do his duty in the past and nothing out of the ordinary had ever happened.  He knew that he was supposed to expect God to respond, but he was an old man and experience had taught him that life was what it was.  He would receive his glory from God when he saw Him in heaven.  Right?


Years and years of prayers had gone up to no avail.  But, now all of a sudden, Zechariah has an angel standing before him telling him that his prayers had actually been heard.

He was going to be a father to a son that would be a joy and a delight.  People would rejoice at John’s birth and before he was even born, the Holy Spirit would fill him.

That’s pretty amazing news.

But, that was only the beginning.

December 7 – Luke 1:8-10. The Worshipers Prayed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


December 7 – Luke 1:8-10. The Worshipers Prayed.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Imagine as the pastor of a church getting up to preach on a Sunday morning, knowing that everyone in the congregation was praying with you.

When I was growing up, Dad always went to the altar as the organist was playing the prelude.  He’d kneel in prayer for several minutes before everything began.  After he began doing this and months progressed, soon more and more people would join him at the altar.  Sometimes they were praying for their own needs, but more often than not, they were praying for the worship service.  Others were still gathering in the foyer, some were chatting quietly with each other in the pews, but before the service had even begun, prayers were being lifted up.

Zechariah had come in to the temple from his home out in the country.  The priest of Abijah’s division was chosen by lot to enter the temple and burn incense – an offering to God.  As the priest of Abijah, it fell to him.

There had to be some sense of anticipation every time a priest went into the temple while people were praying outside.  This time God was going to send an angel to give Zechariah some unexpected news.

What if you were to pray before and during worship every Sunday with an expectation that God was going to deliver some unexpected news?  How would that change your worship experience?

December 6 – Luke 1:5-7. Zechariah and Elizabeth.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


December 6 – Luke 1:5-7. Zechariah and Elizabeth.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

In 1 Chronicles 24, we find David dividing up the sons of Aaron (the Levitical priests) for service.  This was the order in which they would enter the Tabernacle for service.  Abijah was the eighth name – not terribly special, just one of those who served.

Zechariah was not a high priest, he was a simple temple priest, living according to God’s laws and doing what was right.  It wasn’t necessarily a requirement that a priest’s wife also belong to the tribe of Levi, she only needed to be Jewish, but Elizabeth was also from the line of Aaron.  Their child would be of the priestly line.

It’s so interesting to see how God prepared His people for the coming of Jesus.  God set up the original plan for the priesthood which would care for His people and now, when He was about to introduce His Son to the world, that introduction would come from a man who grew up in the home of a righteous and blameless priest.

Zechariah and Elizabeth’s case reminds us of the story of Abraham and Sarah.  When they were old, they conceived a child that was the beginning of God’s response to the covenant He made with Abraham.  Abraham had been promised that His descendants would be greater than the grains of sand, the stars in the sky.

Now, this older couple would conceive a child who was the one to point the way to the New Covenant.

December 5 – John 1:19-28. Change Will Come.


December 5 – John 1:19-28. Change Will Come.

Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” 
He said, “I am not.” 
“Are you the Prophet?” 
He answered, “No.” 
Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”  

Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 

“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 

This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

We are rarely ready for changes that come into our lives.  Parents aren’t ready for their first baby (no matter how hard they try), I wasn’t ready to have a little kitten show up at my back door, you can’t prepare to lose your job or have your home blown away in a tornado or fields flooded by spring rains.

The world wasn’t ready for Jesus.  He was born 30 years before He began His ministry. His cousin, John spent time calling for preparedness.  Prophets had spoken of Him for centuries. Creation was groaning in anticipation.

The world wasn’t ready.

We want to be ready. We want our hearts to be prepared for the entrance of God’s Son, but we never are.  When He comes into our lives – everything changes.  Not only does it change in that moment, but the rest of our lives will be filled with change as He transforms us into the person we can be.

Make straight the way for the Lord.  Be prepared for change.  Be ready.

December 4 – John 1:14-18. Jesus Was (Is) Real.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


December 4 – John 1:14-18. Jesus Was (Is) Real.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

The Jews lived for centuries faithful to God.  They knew that Moses had seen Him, that Abraham had walked with Him, that Joseph had wrestled with Him, that the high priest each year entered his presence in the holy of Holies.  They remembered the stories of those who traveled through the desert with God among them as either a cloud or a pillar of fire.  God’s presence was real and had been made manifest to them.

Those stories are so far from our time period that sometimes they seem like stories told ‘round a campfire.

But, then … there is Jesus.  We are able to read the testimonies of those who walked with Jesus in the flesh.  They prayed with Him, ate with Him, celebrated with Him, hid with Him. They saw miracles and people being healed.  Jesus was real and tangible to enough people that we have their stories and memories written down.

Jesus was a real person.  He was seen by many.

John testifies to seeing Jesus.  He reminds us that Jesus Christ came from God.  He was with God. He was (is) God.  He has returned to God.  We don’t have to see God because we have seen the Son.

He transformed the memories of the early Israelites.   He transformed the Law and brought God’s Law to us in grace and truth.  He makes the relationship between God and his people – all people on earth a reality, a personal reality.

Through Him we receive God’s grace.

December 3 – John 1:10-13. Believe in His Name.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


December 3 – John 1:10-13. Believe in His Name.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

It’s difficult to imagine we live in a world that refuses to recognize its creator.  It really doesn’t matter what God does to show Himself to us, we still find ways to question whether or not He exists, don’t we!

We want to believe in Him, we pray for our faith to be strengthened, yet it sometimes seems easier to just believe we’ll handle things on our own rather than trust He’s got it.

Jesus Christ came on the scene and no matter what He did or said, people refused to believe that He was God.  It was as if they wore blinders.  He did amazing miracles in their midst and still they couldn’t seem to accept that He was God.

But there were those whose lives had been changed by Him, who saw Him clearly from the moment He crossed their paths.  Some became His disciples, others simply accepted the miracle of His presence and had their faith renewed.

Today there are some who see Him clearly at the moment He is introduced to Him.  Some accept that He is who He is and never question it.  Others fight with their faith until He makes Himself known to them.

Whoever it is that believes in Him – in all that He is revealed to be – become children of God. They are adopted into the Kingdom.

Today is the day to accept Jesus Christ, to believe in His name.

December 2 – John 1:1-9. Logos.

Friday, December 2, 2011


December 2 – John 1:1-9. Logos.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

Each of the Gospel writers had something different to say about the beginning of Jesus’ life and ministry.  Matthew began his gospel with Jesus’ lineage tracing back to Abraham … the beginning of God’s covenant relationship with His people.  Mark begins with Isaiah’s words regarding the preparation of the world through John the Baptist. Luke tells the birth stories of both John and Jesus, affirming those stories with prophecies and prayers.  His lineage traces Jesus back to God, through Adam.

Then, there is John.  The most important thing in John’s Gospel is to show that Jesus is God. Jesus was the LOGOS – the Word.  The word ‘logos’ is defined as (read this carefully – it’s beautiful) ‘a communication whereby the mind finds expression.’

Read that again.  ‘a communication whereby the mind finds expression.’

When God thought about something – it was expressed through Logos – through the Word – through Jesus Christ.  That is a concept that destroys me every time I think about it. It overwhelms my senses and generally drives me to tears.

Jesus was with God – Jesus was God. He was with God in the beginning.  It was through Him – God’s imagination found expression.  Without Him nothing was made.  When God imagined life – it was given expression through Jesus Christ.  In Him was life.  A light to all humanity.  It shine in the darkness.

Jesus came to earth as an infant. But, the first time He saw earth was when God’s imagination created it and expressed it through Logos … the Word … Jesus Christ.

December 1 – Isaiah 11:1-9. A Shoot from the Stump.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


December 1 – Isaiah 11:1-9. A Shoot from the Stump.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD— and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. 

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

I probably could have stopped quoting scripture before the last paragraph, but it is one of my favorites, so at the beginning of December, it seemed like a good thing to do.

When you begin reading this passage, more than likely you recognize that Jesse is David’s father and these are prophetic words regarding the Messiah.  But, why would Isaiah speak of David’s father rather than David himself?

With David’s arrival on the scene of history, things really changed.  No longer were the Israelites a tribe of nomads, they were an organized group of people.  David built a palace and brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem to reside.  He created plans for God’s temple and his son, Solomon, built the temple and placed the Ark in the Holy of Holies.  The Israelites had a stable home.

But, the shoot (Jesus) didn’t come just from King David, it came from Jesse, whose lineage looked back to the time of the Tabernacle, whose ancestors were among those who left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea.  The ‘shoot’ was not set as a plant in new, fresh ground, but came from one who had been part of the original recipients of the covenant.  As a ‘shoot’ of Jesse, Jesus revived that which had been old and dying, He breathed new life into the people of Israel.

The Spirit was with Him and through Jesus Christ, ultimate peace will be found.