Sunday, December 28, 2008

GOD as SON Word-Study Devotional


If God had sent His only begotten Prince, would we have felt better about worshipping Him? Or, perhaps, if He had sent a Sovereign Lord, wouldn’t we have better understood God as the Almighty Sovereign ruling over us, conforming us into obedient servants of his domain? Or what about a gladiator or a general? Couldn’t we have comprehended His leadership better—His instructions for discipleship?

But He didn’t; God sent His only begotten Son…a Son? What’s so incredible about that? There’s nothing special in the Greek language to bring out of the word, “son”. The word is used thousands of times in both the Old and New Testaments. It’s even used for the “foal” of a donkey! (Matt. 21:5; Zech. 9:9)

Maybe it would have been more believable had His Son been born through the Levitical priesthood or born into a royal family. But He wasn’t; He was born of a peasant virgin in an obscure village announced only to a few lowly shepherds and a few foreign magi. How much more difficult could God have made His Son believable as Israel’s Messiah—an international Peace-keeper—proposing an eternal kingdom? Why did God do it this way? Think about it.

Now add to your thoughts His upbringing. Jesus was subjected to a quick flight into a foreign land—Egypt, of all places! (Mt. 2:13-15) How would Joseph, a carpenter, survive in a desert country that hated his ethnicity? Fortunately Joseph, Mary, and Jesus did not stay very long in Egypt.

Our next information on Jesus says that He grew up in a typical Jewish home, “in favor with God and men” (Lk. 2:52). This had to mean that He was well disciplined, both physically and spiritually. Yet, He was still a boy, growing up and learning obedience. His only growing up story we have is when He wandered off from His kinsmen and was missing for about three days.

Then His life story jumps to about thirty years old, when Jesus was ready to be ordained by His Father: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” said God, when introducing Jesus to His ministry. Then immediately He led Jesus into a wilderness to be tempted by the devil (cf. Mt. 3:16-4:11). For forty days He, as Son of Man, hungered and thirsted in His flesh. Satan was allowed to feed on the limits and lures of the flesh to try and destroy the mission—the ministry—of God as Son. It appeared as if the flesh, the world, and the devil were against His Son’s success.

So why—why did God subject Himself as Son in such a way? There is a simple answer found in two simple words: “love” and “obedience.” God the Father so loved the world that He subjected His Son to the frame of a physical being, that He might experience your pain, your feelings, your situation, and still say, “I know where you are and how you feel; I have been there.” Don’t think otherwise, because He has! (cf. Phil. 2:5-8)

God as Son lived full of the love of His Father and in full obedience to His will. Yet this close communion with the Father did not eliminate Him from suffering. He was rejected by His own kindred; He was falsely accused even while helping people with disease and death. He walked over a 70-80 mile region, doing good, proclaiming the gospel, and teaching a few followers. And His reward: Jesus was arrested during His quiet time, pushed through a questionable judicial setting, and sentenced to death by the Jewish religious leaders. After that, He was cruelly beaten and humiliated, forced to carry a portion of His death apparatus, and nailed to a cursed cross for public display. (cf. 1 Pet. 4:12-13; 5:1; 2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 3:10; Heb. 5:8)

Think about it: the head that brought forth words of life—a crown of thorns was thrust down upon it! The hands that healed blind eyes and cripple bodies and embraced little children—nails were driven through them! The feet that walked on water and were bent as He stooped to wash His followers’ feet—nails were driven through them! The heart that offered hope, peace, and love—a spear was thrust into it! Yet the Bible says God as Son, endured the suffering and despising the shame, did and allowed all the above “for the joy that was set before Him” (Heb. 12:2).

God’s joy and love were in His Son. Jesus’ joy and love were in obeying the Father. Why? Because both could see beyond time. They saw mankind headed into a hell-bound eternity with no way to stop. So God as Son, was born to live and die for lost mankind—you and me. What love and obedience I see in this! Do you? Has He stopped your hell-bound slide into eternity? If so, then shouldn’t you love and obey Him fully as an adopted child of His? God as Son…you know, when you think about it, it makes eternal sense.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

GOSPEL Word-Study Devotional

May this devotional urge you on in the wonderful task of sharing Jesus Christ. -BJ


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 (all verses: NKJV)

“But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all,…” Galatians 2:14a

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15

Euangelion (S#2098, pronounced: yoo-ang-ghel′-ee-on) is a compound Greek word expressing two major themes: eu = good, or well; and aggelos = angel, or messenger. Put them together again and you get the basic definition as “a good message,” or, “a good messenger.” Since it was a proclamation, it has retained the meaning as, “Good News!” The Good News, that is, the Gospel, was the announcement that the Messiah had come to deliver God’s people from their bondage, their sins.

From Mark’s Gospel version (see above), we have Jesus preaching the Gospel as something one must believe in, meaning to “repent (turn away from, in the mind and heart) and believe (turn to in faith and trust) in the gospel (the Good News!).” Paul teaches us that the Gospel is not only the “truth,” but “it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (see above). It was this great proclamation that brought new life into a dead, sinful world—new life into a dead, corrupt, and misguided religion.

Jesus Christ is that Great News!—the Gospel that still “is the power of God to salvation.” So great was this news, that God had it infallibly penned in four different books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In Matthew, Jesus is revealed as the promised Son of David, King of the Jews. In Mark, Jesus is revealed as a Servant, performing more miracles here than in any of the other gospels. In Luke, Jesus is revealed as the Son of Man, a Perfect Man, tracing His genealogy back to Adam. In John, Jesus is revealed as the Son of God, fully disclosing His deity with the Father. Someone has said that Matthew appeals to the Jews, Mark to the Romans, Luke to the Greeks, and, in John, Jesus appeals to all mankind as the Son of God, the Savior of the world: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:16

The resurrected Jesus says to us, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The Gospel should still be our proclamation of Great News! It is the best news any man or woman could ever hear and understand. He is still the Deliverer—the Savior of mankind. The Gospel is our message from God of a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And we are the “angels” (aggelos), God’s messengers, sent to the world to proclaim that a Deliverer has come to save His people.

Does the Gospel excite you? Do you proclaim it? You may not be a preacher, an evangelist, or a missionary, but you should still find ways to proclaim the Gospel. You have a “Good News” testimony, don’t you? You can still give a Gospel witness through a tract or a Bible or by doing a deed that could lead to a Gospel presentation, can’t you? You can financially support someone who is presenting the Gospel, can’t you? The answer is YES! Find ways to present the Gospel to your world around you. It is still “the power of God to salvation.” Use it for the conversion of the lost!