Finally – we come to the time of Jesus! The prophets looked forward to and longed to see the Messiah who would bring the triumphant kingdom back to Israel. The coming of the Messiah, the “unique one, who is himself God” (John 1:18) is the central point of human history and of eternity.
Some of us have been “hanging on” through our readings of the prophets and the kings and the stories that describe recurring turning away from God. Thankfully there were also those kings whose heart was ‘bent toward’ following the true God. We are so ready to receive what Jesus says. Although the whole of Scripture directs us to truth and to Christian living, it is Jesus who is central to our relationship with the Almighty God.
Our first clue that this is the same God of the Old Testament is the genealogy of Jesus. Here are some of the same people we’ve been reading about, and they are all pointing to the birth of Jesus Christ – the Messiah foretold by the prophets.
Chapters 1 & 2 – After the genealogical list, we are given some details about Jesus’ birth and early years as prophesied in the prophets. We find out that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), his mother was a virgin, (Isaiah 7:14), and he lived some years in Egypt (Hosea 11:1).
We also learn more about his significance from the announcement of his birth to Mary, to the circumstances of his birth in Bethlehem to the angels’ proclamation to the Shepherds and then to the guidance of the Magi to his home. Notice that the announcement to the Magi goes beyond the boundaries of the Hebrew people, fulfilling God’s instructions to the Hebrews to be a blessing to all nations.
We might wonder why it is so important that we connect the history of the Hebrew scriptures (from the Pentateuch through to the post-exilic period) to the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—and through to the early church history. It is because it is one story—the story of God and God’s revelation and relationship with humankind.
We are also introduced to the absolute uniqueness of Jesus, the Messiah, from his birth through his ministry here on earth, and ultimate sending of the Holy Spirit.
I suggest you put yourself into the story of Jesus and imagine your response to God’s prompting, and to the people surrounding you. What is your place within the circle of people surrounding God’s son, Jesus? Perhaps you are one person in that genealogy of Jesus- how would you have responded to God?
Perhaps you are one of the shepherds who first heard the angels’ message of Jesus’ birth. Or perhaps you are one of the Magi.
Using your imagination in this way helps to clarify in our minds how we might have responded to Jesus in the Biblical time and context. If we pay close attention, we may also better understand how we are responding to Jesus within our own circumstances, here and now.
Let me ask you, how are you approaching this time of transition from Old to New Testament. How will you let the Holy Spirit guide you through our transition time from Covid19 protection to opening up to family, friends and neighbours? How is Jesus coming to you in your school or your workplace? What is Jesus saying to you for today, for this fall?
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, Thank You for coming to earth. Thank you for bringing salvation. Thank for forgiveness (Romans 8:1- “there is no condemnation”. Please come and fill us with your Spirit, fill us with hope and joy once again.
Jesus Can By Austin French
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.