Central Baptist Pawling
Monday, November 24, 2014
Living in God's Love
This Week In The Word
By Pastor Mark Bouffard
It is almost advent season, almost Christmas time! Is there anything fresh and unfamiliar that can be said about Christmas? God becoming man without ceasing to be God will always be an unfathomable mystery. Incarnation is endlessly fascinating, and yet it is numbingly familiar. It gets pondered and preached every year at this time. For many, it seems like we've heard it all before, a thousand times.
Maybe this statement can give us something fresh to think about this time around: Jesus the man presented himself as God the Son without promoting himself as Jesus the person. Jesus the man (Isaiah 53:2,3; Hebrews 2:17) presented himself as God the Son (John 10:22-39; 12:32) without promoting himself as Jesus the person (John 8:26-29; John 10:17,18).
Jesus seemed to be a walking contradiction, or dichotomy, or paradox, or irony. He is a man like any other, and yet a man UNlike any other. He is divinity, yet divinity in the flesh, in a form never before experienced by the divine. He is the creator, the master of the universe, the Messiah, while he is also a humble servant who keeps company with sinners, embraces outcasts, and washes the feet of his followers.
The prophet Isaiah says there is nothing in his appearance that would attract attention, that he is despised and rejected by men. And yet his rejection and suffering is for the benefit of sinners, and it pleases the Lord. (Isaiah 53:1-12).
His beloved disciple John writes that he is rejected by his very own, those he came to save. And yet those who do receive him are accepted as children of God (John 1:1-13).
His most notable convert, the apostle Paul, says that though equal with God, he humbled himself and became a servant, and surrendered to the cruelest form of death. And yet because of this he is exalted and one day will be worshiped by everyone (Philippians 2:5-11).
And his chosen spokesman Peter (a bundle of contradiction in his own right) says that if we identify with him in his suffering, we will share in his glory (1 Peter 1:3-9).
This is the Jesus way: a simple human being like any other, presenting himself as the Son of God, while humbly serving those he came to save from their sin. He is a king who deserves worship and yet does not demand it. And the Jesus way is our way: each one of us an ordinary person like everyone else; each one of us who has received him a Child of God; each of his Children called to humbly serve and proclaim the good news to those who are lost, even to our enemies; each of us destined to share his glory and throne, yet called to be fully present in this time and place in gentleness and meekness.
Meditate on that this Christmas season, and determine by God's grace to embrace and live the Jesus way.
Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: John 10:22-39
Wednesday: Philippians 2:5-11
Thursday: Matthew 5:16
Friday: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Saturday: 1 Peter 2:11
John 1:1-18 New International Version (NIV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
John 10:22-39 New International Version (NIV)
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life,and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law,35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
Philippians 2:5-11 New International Version (NIV)
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Matthew 5:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 New International Version (NIV)
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Peter 2:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.