Christmas 2018 – Day 23

Annunciation to the ShepherdsAs part of my 25 for 25 (25 devotionals leading up to 25 December), here is Day # 23: we’ve covered the prophesies and some main characters in the birth of Jesus but today we’re going to tie those two together by looking at the shepherds and angels. Luke 2 tells the story of the angel speaking to the shepherds out guarding their flocks. In verses 10-12 it says,

Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’”

Obviously, these shepherds knew the Scriptures of prophecy concerning the Messiah. The angel is able to speak to them without explaining thousands of years of history. But I find it fascinating that the angel gives them some prophecy to follow, the “sign” to tell the Messiah would be that he would be (1) a baby (2) wrapped in swaddling clothes and (3) lying in a manger. This is much like the prophecy of Jesus being born of a virgin which people like to mock and say, “virgin” can be translated “young girl” (as we discussed on Day 16). People can mock the sign to the shepherds, but for them these three things had to line up perfectly in order to find baby Jesus.

I find it interesting that they didn’t balk at the fact that He was a baby. And neither did the wise men. And neither did Simeon (Day 22) or Anna. They all agreed that if God wanted to come in the form of a baby – that was good enough for them. God humbled Himself and not only came down to weak humanity but also in the most fragile form: a baby. Consider yourself this Christmas. At parties are you bragging about yourself? At church is your mind wandering to your lists or what presents you’ll be getting? Consider the shepherds humbling and focusing their attention on the only thing that matters: baby Jesus, the Savior of “all people!”

Christmas 2018 – Day 6

ruth_christmasAs part of my 25 for 25 (25 devotionals leading up to 25 December), here is Day # 6: As you’ve seen on Days 1-5 we worked through portions of the Pentateuch (a little odd for Christmas, right?). Not that Joshua and Judges aren’t important, but we should be excited to get into Ruth! There are two things from Ruth 4 I’d like to look at:

Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day” (v. 10).

All of the book of Ruth has been leading up to this moment when Boaz becomes the Kinsman Redeemer. A Kinsman Redeemer was a deliverer. They would pay for property or persons to be released from debt, etc. This was a picture and a type of Jesus. Notice in vv. 11-12 the witness’s words are heavily laden with meaning around their lineage and assurance that Ruth and Boaz would have a child. They did!

 “And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David” (v. 17).

So, we’re given the Messiah’s descent. In these verses we find that the author of the book of Ruth knows how important David and His bloodline are. I love that in the story of a baby (Obed) we can find lineage of the baby (Jesus) born in a manger who would one day rule the nations! If you look at the precedent of the Kinsman Redeemer it was set by God as a model for people to emulate Him. It should not be lost on us this Christmas season that a God who could be emulated to drive redemption would be a God with a heart willing to decrease Himself to be come to earth as a baby to save humanity from their sins!