1 The Name Of Jesus
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
Last year, for our Christmas Devotions we saw all the many characters in the Christmas story. This year, as we look forward to the Christmas season, I want us to look at the main character of Christmas, the Babe in the manger. Let's look at the characteristics we see in the many names of Jesus. In the scripture reference above we read that God has given Jesus "a name which is above every name." There have been many famous people throughout the world, from the beginning of time until now, but no other name has become so great as the name of Jesus. No ruler is as great as the King of Kings. No shepherd as gentle as the Good Shepherd. No one can calm the storms like the Master of the sea, or bring peace like the Prince of Peace. As you celebrate Christmas this year, concentrate on the reason for the season and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2 Give Thanks To His Name
"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Hebrews 13:15
Our families gathered together for Thanksgiving feasts. Our churches held services of worship and praise to our great God. We took time to give thanks to God for His goodness. Now we begin looking forward to the Christmas season, the celebration of the humble birth of Jesus. But we must be careful that in all the hustle and bustle, we don't lose sight of the purpose of His birth. He came to become our sacrifice. He came to die, that we might live. We don't have to offer the animal sacrifices commanded under the law of Moses. But we are asked to "offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Continue to give thanks to God, give thanks to His name. As you give and receive your Christmas gifts, remember, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) Enjoy the Christmas season, and don't forget to continually give thanks to His name.
3 Alpha And Omega
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8
Jesus is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We can't fully comprehend that God always was, and always is, and always will be. Our life on earth is short compared to eternity. King David said, "...our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding." (I Chronicles 29:15) We are born through a physical birth and live on this earth for a few years. But it is important that we be born again through a spiritual birth so that we can live eternally with Christ. Let's see what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit if spirit... For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:3-6, & 16) Jesus has provided the way for us to have an everlasting life with Him in glory. Trust in Him and spend your eternity in heaven with Him.
4 The Word
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John1:1
We read in Genesis 1:3, "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." By His Word the heavens and earth were created. His Word brings conviction so that through the preaching of His Word we can be saved. "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (I Corinthians 1:21) Through His Word comes healing. Hear the words of the centurion, "...Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed... And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick." (Luke 7:6, 7, & 10) His Word is powerful as we see in Mark 4:39 "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." We also see the power of the Word in Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." God has given us His Word also to be our guide. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) Keep the Word close to you and hide it in your heart. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11)
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:" Isaiah 11:2
We see this prophecy fulfilled at the birth of Christ. In the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:31 & 32 we read, "...which was the son of David, Which was the son of Jesse..." Jesus came as a Branch from the lineage of Jesse and David as the angel told Mary, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:32 & 33) Jesus is the Branch, and we can be grafted in the branch. When I was young I thought it was amazing that someone could take an apple tree branch that produced red apples and graft it into a branch that produced green apples and the tree would grow both red and green apples. We can see how this applies to us in Romans. "For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee." (Romans 11:16-21) We can be saved and grafted into the Branch to bear fruit. But we are warned not to lift ourselves up. We are nothing in ourselves. We grow only through the power of the Lord.
6 I Am
"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." John 8:58
He is the great I Am. We first see this name back in Exodus when God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3:13 & 14) God did not say, "I was" or "I will be", but He said "I AM THAT I AM". He is everything we need. As we continue with our theme of the names of Jesus we will see many names from the book of John. "I am that bread of life." (John 6:48) "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." (John 10:9) "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (John 10:11) "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" (John 11:25) "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5) Do you know the great I AM? Have you asked Him to be all these things for you? Trust Him today to be your I AM.
7 High Priest
"So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec." Hebrews 5:5-10
In the times of the writings of the Old Testament, only the high priests could go into the holy place to offer up sacrifices for the sins of the people. Jesus came to give His life as a sacrifice to pay for our sins once and for all. Jesus left His home in heaven to live among men and women on earth. He suffered and died on a cruel cross to give His life so that we might live. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16) Take your burdens and troubles to the Great High Priest. He hears and understands and has great compassion.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14
For many years the children of Israel looked for Immanuel, the Messiah. We see the fulfillment of this scripture in the first chapter of the New Testament. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Matthew 1:18-23) What an amazing thing! That God would leave His home in glory and come and dwell among men. What amazing love that He would give His life for our sins. The Apostle Paul asked the Roman believers, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35) Paul then went on to answer his own question. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39) Jesus is Emmanuel, "God with us", and He gave us a promise, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 1:28)
9 A Servant
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth." Isaish 42:1-3
Jesus humbled Himself not only in His lowly birth in a stable, but also in His life here on earth. After He healed a man on the sabbath day the Pharisees wanted to destroy him. "But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence; and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." (Matthew 12:15-21) John the Baptist came as "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." (Luke 3:4) But Jesus did not lift up His voice in the streets. He came as a lowly servant. He had compassion on those who were "bruised" and hurting. And He listened to all who had a spark of interest. He showed the disciples the importance of serving others at the last supper when He humbled Himself to wash their feet. "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:12-17) Jesus came as a servant, and He wants us to serve Him and serve others.
"I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." Isaiah 42:8
Just a few verses after we read of Jesus coming as a servant in Isaiah 42, we see Him coming as Lord. This prophecy is fulfilled in Matthew 21:8 & 9. "And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." It is sad that the multitudes cried "Hosanna in the highest" as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey and then they cried, "Crucify Him". Who is Jesus in your life? Have you made Him Lord? Do you serve Him and give Him all your praise? Or, through the sin in your life do you put Him to an open shame as warned by the writer of Hebrews? "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Hebrews 6:6) Let us cry with the angels in glory, "Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." (Revelation 5:12)
"Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? and they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him." Luke 8:22-25
I am never ready for the storms of winter. The cold rain fell most of the day and the winds blew briskly. The weather forecasters are predicting possible snow and ice this weekend. I know that the Northern states have already been blanketed with snow, but I am farther south and don't usually see much snowfall. I don't mind a little snow, and enjoy making snow cream and hot chocolate. But I don't like the ice storms and the trouble that comes with them. I am glad that I know the Master of the Sea. I'm glad that my Lord and Savior commands the winds and water. Our storms can come with the wind and rain, or they may come through sickness and pain. We may feel like we are drowning in the debts of financial difficulty. Just remember that in whatever storm you may be going through now, keep the faith. Jesus asked the disciples, "Where is your faith?" Keep trusting in the Master. He's still in control.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful..." Isaiah 9:6
I was listening to Christmas songs on the radio as I drove home from work and I heard one that ended, "...it's the most wonderful time of the year." There are so many wonderful things about Christmas. Many enjoy looking for that special gift, wrapping presents, baking Christmas cookies, decorating, giving Christmas plays at church..., and the list could go on and on. But some people who looked forward to these things as children, want to say, "Bah, humbug" now that they are older. If the pressures of life, time, and money, cause you to dread the Christmas season, maybe you need to stop and think of the reason we celebrate. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." God gave the greatest gift ever given. He sent His Son to become our sacrifice, so that we might have eternal life. Nothing could be more wonderful than that. Don't let yourself get stressed out this Christmas. Look to the Lord, our Wonderful Lord, and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
"... and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,..." Isaiah 9:6
Who do you turn to when you need advice? Who helps you when you feel like your world is falling apart? There have been times in my life when I couldn't talk to anyone about my problems. But I have always been able to talk to my Lord, my Counselor. He is always there and He always understands. Pastor Jeff Woods preached on I Thessalonians 5:17 Wednesday evening, "Pray without ceasing." We can pray continually to our Lord. We can tell Him all of our problems. He can lead us and guide us in the right direction when we seek His will. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus is Wonderful. Jesus is a loving Counselor. Pray, and read His Word, and let Him guide you and give you peace in your heart.
14 The Mighty God
"... and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God..." Isaiah 9:6
We serve a mighty God. So many verses tell of His might. "Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom." (Job 36:5) He rules the heavens and earth by His might. "The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof." (Psalm 50:1) He is the mighty King. "Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." (Psalm 24:8 & 9) We serve an awesome God. Luke 9:43 tells us "And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God." The Lord is a mighty God. But to me it is amazing that this mighty God would reach down to us. Peter tells us, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (I Peter 5:6 & 7) Our great, powerful, mighty God, cares for us. And when we see just how great God is, we will see how small we are. Look at Isaiah's reaction when he "saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up..." "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaish 6:1 & 5) This Christmas season, humble yourself and worship our mighty God.
15 The Everlasting Father
"... and his name shall be called Wonderful, counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father..." Isaiah 9:6
We can open our Bible to the very first page and see God as Creator. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) We can turn to the last chapter and read Revelations to see God in the end of time. Jesus said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13) God told Moses that His name is, "I AM". We read in Psalm 90, "LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God... For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:1, 2 & 4) So we see that God is everlasting. But it is also important to see God as Father. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (I John 3:1 & 2) Because of the love of the Father, we can become children of God. John 3:16 is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible. But you must believe it, and accept Christ as your Savior to become a child of God. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
16 The Prince Of Peace
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6 & 7
We hope and pray for peace throughout the year, but especially at Christmas. Many decorations and cards have the words, "Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace." The angels proclaimed at His birth, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14) Jesus wants us to have peace in our hearts. He spoke words of comfort to the disciples to prepare them for His death. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also... Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:1-3 & 27) Again in chapter 16, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) He is the Prince of Peace. He gives us a sweet peace that the world can't understand. Don't let the things of the world rob you of your Christmas joy and peace. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6 & 7) If you don't know the Lord as your Savior, now would be a perfect time to accept Him, and then you can experience His peace in your soul. Admit that you are a sinner in need of salvation. Believe in your heart that Jesus came and lived a sinless life, was crucified on the cross to pay for your sins, and rose again. And confess that He has saved you. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9, 10, & 13)
17 The Door
"Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." John 10:7-9
There is a verse in Isaiah that says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6) We are like sheep. We are lost and can't find our way. But Jesus is the way. He said, "I am the door of the sheep." I am glad that the Lord has made a way for us to get to heaven. All we have to do is open the door of our heart and let Him in. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) Jesus is the Door. He is the only way to enter into heaven.
18 The Good Shepherd
"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:11-15
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He loves us so much that He gave His life for the sheep (Verse 11). He knows us. Verse 14 says, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." He knows our name, He knows our nature, and He knows our needs. We see this in the 23rd Psalm.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence
of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life: and I will dwell
in the house of the LORD for ever."
John 10:27 says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" Are you listening for the call of the Good Shepherd? Are you following Him?
19 The Vine
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." John 15:1-5
My mother has a couple grape vines behind her house. One year they didn't produce many grapes. A friend told her that in order for them to bear a lot of fruit, you had to cut away the old, dead branches in the winter. So he took the clippers and showed her how to cut back the barren branches. The next year the vines were fruitful once again. Jesus is the True Vine and we are the branches. We need to abide in Him and bear fruit. We must realize that we can do nothing on our own. We must get our life and strength from Him. We also need to realize that we must abide in Him and be fruitful, or we may be purged away. How can we abide in Him? Continue in the same chapter... "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:10-12) We need to keep His commandments and show the love of Christ to others.
20 Bread of Life
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever:..." John 6:47-51
Beginning with verse 32 we read, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:32-35) This conversation came the day after the 5,000 were fed with two small fish and five barley loaves of bread. Jesus performed a great miracle in feeding the multitude. I think some there listening to Jesus may have thought that He could give them bread, and through another miracle, satisfy their hunger forever. But Jesus was talking about the sacrifice of Himself. He showed this to his disciples at the Lord's supper. "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body." (Matthew 26:26) He gave His life so that we could have eternal life. He is "the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever..."
21 The Light Of The World
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12
We live in a dark world. You can see it on the nightly news. You can see it when you look for video games in the computer stores. Adults see it in the world, and boys and girls in public schools come face to face with it everyday... many poor, lost souls who are blinded by Satan and live in the darkness. But Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The prophet Isaiah promised that the Lord would come for a light to all. "I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." (Isaiah 42:6 & 7) Once we have received God's gift of salvation, we are to be a light to others. Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) We are to let our light shine for Jesus. Not so that we would receive any praise, but that others will see Christ in us, and glorify Him. "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darknes at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:5-7)
22 The Resurrection And The Life
"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." John 11:21-27
Jesus was a close friend to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Lazarus got sick and died. Martha ran to meet Jesus and told Him that if He had been there, Lazarus would not have died. Verse 32 tells us that Mary said the same thing. "Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!" (John 11:32-36) Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He is the resurrection and the life. He has also promised that all who believe in Him shall also be resurrected or rise up to meet Him at His second coming. As we enter into the Christmas season, there are many who are hurting from the loss of loved ones. As Christians, we can find comfort in the fact that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. We will see our saved loved ones again. This should motivate us to be a witness to all those around us, especially during the Christmas season.
23 The Lamb Of God
"John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ... The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:15-17 & 29
Moses and the children of Israel were under the Law. And because no one is perfect, sacrifices had to be made for their sin. But we are living in the age of grace. Jesus was our sacrifice. As John proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." We don't have to go to a temple and offer up sacrifices to pay for our sins. We only have to bow on our knees in prayer and ask forgiveness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We see another picture of the Lamb of God in the book of Revelation. "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:11-13 Christ is worthy of all our praise. As we approach Christmas Day, let's not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. Let's take time to be a witness for the Lord, the Lamb of God. And let's not forget to worship Him and give Him all the glory and praise.
24 The Messias
"Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ." John 1:35-41
The Jews had looked for the coming Messiah. Daniel had prophesied of His coming. (Daniel 9:24 & 25) Andrew met Jesus and knew that He was the Messiah. Later, when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well He told her that He was the Messiah. "The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he... The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (John 4:25 & 26) When Andrew knew that Jesus was the Messiah, he went and told his brother. When the Samaritan woman found out that Jesus was Christ, the Messiah, she went to the men she knew and told them. As we approach the Christmas season, we need to tell our family members about Christ, the Messiah. We go to church and sing His praises. We may even be a witness to our coworkers and school mates. But many times it seems hard to witness to our family members. We may be afraid that they won't listen to what we have to say. Or, maybe we don't want to offend them. But now, during the Christmas season, is a great time to let our family members and closest friends know how much we love the Lord Jesus and celebrate the birth of our Lord with them.
"And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ." Mark 8:27-29
There has been so much said this season about people taking Christ out of Christmas. Many of the stores won't use the word "Christmas" in their stores or ads. People say, "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" so that they don't offend anyone. It's time for Christians to take a stand for Christ. Don't let anyone take Christ out of your Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas. This is a good time to let people know you are a believer. Not that you believe in Santa Clause, but that you believe in Christ, the blessed Redeemer. I sent Christmas cards with scripture on the front to each branch of business where I work. This is one way to send God's Word to others. I have also bought Daily Devotional books for some family members for Christmas presents. I plan to attach a Christmas card to each and tell them that they can enjoy the "Word" each day of the year, and not just during the Christmas season. Take a stand for Christ. Don't let anyone take Christ out of your Christmas.
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." Psalm 100
"Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." We use this beautiful chapter from the book of Psalms at Thanksgiving, but I want us to look at it now, during the Christmas season. Many see Jesus as a baby in a manger. But they don't see Him as God. This same Jesus who humbled Himself to be born in a stable, and slept in a feeding trough, is God. He made us. He is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. I have heard several people say this week that they don't get excited about Christmas anymore. They don't enjoy Christmas like they did as children. I think that it would help them to read this Psalm and follow this example. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord... Serve the Lord with gladness... Come before his presence with singing... Know ye that the Lord he is God." We don't have to have earthly things to sing unto the Lord. We don't have to be perfect to serve the Lord with gladness. Take time during the Christmas holiday to "be thankful unto him, and bless his name." And if you can't find any other reason to celebrate this Christmas, just keep telling yourself, "the Lord is good".
27 The Way
"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:2-6
Many people today are looking for the way... the way to happiness... the way to health... the way to fame and fortune. Some are even looking for the way to heaven. There is only one way to heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He also said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13 & 14) Are you traveling on the narrow path that leads to heaven? Do you believe that Christ came that first Christmas morn to live and die on the cross to pay the debt for your sin? If so, you can rejoice in the fact that He rose again on the third day and is preparing a place for you in heaven. As you experience the sights and sounds of Christmas this year, look for the good things Christ has given you and make sure you listen to Jesus as He knocks on your heart's door and speaks in that still small voice to you.
28 The Truth
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me." John 14:6
Jesus came and gave us truth. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) As believers, we have the truth. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31 & 32) Once we know the truth, we are set free from a life of sin. Christ gives us peace and hope. As you celebrate this Christmas, look for the true meaning of the season. Christ came to give us life. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
29 The Life
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
Jesus is life. And He came to give us life. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) We also read in the first chapter of John, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." As we celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Lord, we can also be thankful for the "new life" He gives us. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17) Celebrate this Christmas season with new life in Christ.
30 Christmas Day Jesus
"And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:30-32
The angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would have a Son and call His name Jesus. We also read in the book of Matthew, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was esposed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:18-21) Jesus was born, just as the angels had said. And Luke 2:21 tells us, "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb." Every detail of the birth of our Lord was planned and foretold,... even His name. Christmas didn't just happen. It was all part of God's amazing plan to give to us salvation. As you give and receive your gifts, don't forget to thank the Lord for His gift of salvation to you. Merry Christmas.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." Luke 2:8-20
Here is the wonderful story of Christmas concerning the shepherds. The angels told them that the Savior was born. The shepherds believed and went to Bethlehem to see the Christ child. Then they told everyone all about it and "returned, glorifying and praising God." We need to be like the shepherds. We need to believe all that the Word of God tells us about the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to be witnesses and tell others this great news. And we need to give God all the glory and praise due Him.
32 The Bright And Morning Star
"I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel..." Numbers 24:17
"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the church. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Revelation 22:16
The next visitors we read of in the Christmas story are the Wise Men from the east. "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1 & 2) The Wise Men followed His Star. "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." (Matthew 2:9 & 10) A star was used to lead the Wise Men to Jesus and has become a Christian symbol of Christmas. But Jesus also said, "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Many people today admire the stars of Hollywood, but all our praise and honor should be given to "the bright and morning star".
33 King Of The Jews
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." Matthew 2:1 & 2
The Wise Men sought the King of the Jews. But Jesus did not live His life on earth as a king. We can read of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. "On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord." (John 12:12 & 13) But then we hear Pilate cry, "Behold your King!" "And they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priets answered, We have no king but Caesar." (John 19:14 & 15) "And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS." (John 19:19) But He shall return. "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:15 & 16)
34 The Son Of God
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:16-18
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. When we believe in Him and accept His gift of salvation we become children of God and joint-heirs with Him. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:14-17) These are wonderful words that are hard for us to comprehend. God sent His only Son to die for us so that we could live with Him. We may not have many riches on this earth, but we can lay up treasure in heaven and live with Him eternally.
35 The Redeemer
"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." Isaiah 54:5
We can see the laws of redemption in the book of Leviticus. "And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee,... After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him;..." (Leviticus 25:47-49) We were born in a world of sin, lost and helpless. But our Kinsman Redeemer has paid the price to redeem us. We may have trials and struggles in this life, but Christ can set us free from the bondage of sin. In the midst of Job's trials and tribulation, he was still able to say, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:" (Job 19:25)
36 The Prophet Of Nazareth
"And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." Matthew 21:9-11
All the city was moved and said, "Who is this?" We have looked at many of the names of Jesus during the last five weeks. We have come through a season of Thanksgiving and celebration of our Lord's birth. If someone saw a manger scene and asked you, "Who is this?" What would your answer be? The multitude said, "This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." But Christ is so much more than a prophet. He is the Great High Priest, the Lamb of God, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He can be your Savior, and Lord, and Master. We read in Matthew 13:57, "And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house." Are you offended by the blood of the precious Lamb of God? Do you give Him your honor and praise? As you step into a new year, walk with the Lord each day, and draw closer to Him through His Word and in prayer.