Messiah in Isaiah: Part 2

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
-Isaiah 11:1-5

Chapter 11 begins with another prophecy that Messiah will come and another identifier, that he will be a descendant of Jesse (David’s father, making him heir to the throne of David). The next several verses tell us about his reign. Continue reading

Messiah in Isaiah: Part 1

bible-pagesEvery year during Advent we look at a few of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. I try to make sure to vary the scriptures each year, from Genesis, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Hosea, Jeremiah and others, not just revist the well-known, often quoted ones found in Isaiah. There is more detail and description of the Messiah than the fact that he will be born but let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading

Christmas Scriptures

bibleThere are many well-known passages of scripture that make their way onto Christmas cards and into sermons this time of year. Prophesies of Isaiah and Micah foretelling the Messiah are common, and the birth of Jesus is recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. While Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christ child, there’s a lot more going on than just a birthday. The incarnation is about God robing himself in flesh. Emanuel is God with us, and the New Testament has much more to say about the incarnation than it does the night it happened.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20, ESV)

Continue reading

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

In Luke 2 the sky was filled with the heavenly host proclaiming the gospel of peace to a few lowly shepherds.  Last week, Joy, was about the shepherds.  They found the baby as the angels had said, and went out of Bethlehem rejoicing and praising God.  This week we celebrate Peace and light the Angels’ Candle. Continue reading

The Bible is About Jesus

The Bible is about Jesus.  I’m certain I have said this before, but after looking high and low for a post with that title I cannot find one.  So let me go on record making this statement: the Bible is about Jesus.

I did find a post titled Old Testament God is the God of the New Testament.  To some, there is almost two different Gods in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, God is angry, vengeful and scary.  He is more like Zeus or Thor than the mild-mannered, pacifist Jesus found in the New Testament.  Let me suggest that 1) like the Pharisees, you are not reading the Old Testament correctly.  While he is a God of judgement in the Old Testament, he is also patient and longsuffering toward the nation of Israel.  2) Jesus is not just presented in the Gospels as patient, kind and loving towards all.  He also raises his voice and drives the money changes out of the temple – with a whip in John’s Gospel!  Jesus is present as judge at the end of Revelation.  There is one God.  Perhaps a re-read of the text is necessary. Continue reading

The “Triumphal” Entry

Several well known statements are found in Psalm 118:1-25: “His steadfast love endures forever,” “this is the day the LORD hath made,” “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and even others still.  Verse 25 reads “Save us, we pray, O LORD” in the ESV; “O LORD. we beseech thee, save us now!” in the King James.  The Hebrew word rendered in English as save now is hosanna.

All four Gospels tell the story of Jesus’s triumphal entry.  Palm Sunday is our celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time to observe Passover with his disciples. Continue reading

Christianity, Truth or Fiction

jesus_crossThere is an old saying that is Christianity were a lie, they would have made up a better lie.

Think about it. The basic tenants of the Christian faith are that a carpenter from a small town in Israel was crucified by the Roman Empire, buried, rose again from the dead, and that faith in these events is what gets one into heaven. These are just the basics. We could make a long list. To be a faithful Christian, one must believe: Continue reading

Hindsight is 20/20

hindsight-rear-view-future-past-road-mirrorHindsight is 20/20 means that anything you look back on is easier to understand that it was at the time.  We make decisions in the now, then sometimes realize later we acted too quickly, neglected certain facts, or else were simply uninformed.  Hindsight being 20/20, we would have done things differently if we could just have seen the big picture. Continue reading

Jesus is Christ

Not just Jesus Christ.  Jesus is Christ. 

I’m not sure if it’s the title or what.  On March 1st I posted the sermon I preached that morning Peter Confesses Jesus is the Christ.  I’m not hung up on stats, but that particular post has only been viewed 3 times in the past 10 days.  Personally, I feel it’s one of the better sermons I’ve preached in quite a while, yet almost no one read the blog post.

Like I said, maybe it’s the title.  The post has little to do with Peter, and more to do with our understanding of what Christ means.  It is particularly appropriate with Easter approaching.  So may I politely suggest giving this post another try.  No pressure.

What is Advent?

advent_wreath_06The advent of something refers to its first appearing.  In our culture, Christmas has turned into the Christmas season.  This year it started about a week before Halloween, and will run until December 25th.  The “Holiday Season” will actually extend until January 1st.  All of this “Christmas creep” has a quite a negative effect on Christmas.

If we are celebrating the incarnation of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, the two-month Christmas season detracts from the actual day itself.  I respond to the notion that our society stole Christmas from Christians and turn it into a secular holiday here.  What I would like to do in this post is comment on a purely Christian tradition of celebrating Advent. Continue reading