TODAY'S WORD FOR Friday, December 21, 2018:
Are you ready?
The celebration of the birth of Jesus.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
Next Monday is Christmas eve and Tuesday is Christmas. Are you ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus? For most people Christmas will just be another day to eat too much, watch sports on TV, or spend time with family and friends.
But Christmas will be special to you if you have received Jesus into your heart -- asked Him to forgive you of your sins and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior. For all who love Jesus it should be a day of great joy and celebration. It is the celebration of the coming of our Savior into the world.
There were some unusual events that happened in the world when Jesus was born. Yet His birth went unknown except for a few shepherds.
Jesus’s birth, right down to the last detail fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies written at least 400 to 1000 years before Jesus was born. It would be difficult enough to predict something five years ahead of the event let alone many centuries, especially with the degree of accuracy and detail of the prophecies about Jesus. Who but God could do it.
With the birth of Jesus, the age-old prophecies of the Messiah coming was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah and His coming into the world not only fulfilled prophecy but was surrounded by so many unusual events.
Angels announced His birth to shepherds watching their flocks. An unusually bright star led the wise men to Jesus.
Another unusual event was the unexpected taxation. It had been prophesied that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem and this scripture had to be fulfilled. Joseph and Mary lived in Galilee and as the scripture says, “Mary was now great with child.” The taxation happened just at the right time and in the right way. Every one needed to return to the city of his family ancestry to register and pay his taxes. God was controlling these events so that all things worked so that He might fulfill His promise to send the Savior into the world and fulfill the prophecies in the Old Testament.
Joseph and Mary were both descendants of David so the taxation forced Joseph to take Mary and to go to Bethlehem. The city of Bethlehem was prophesied to be the city of the Messiah’s birth. The taxation led to the fulfillment of the prophecy of the place of Jesus birth. Without the taxation decree Joseph and Mary would certainly have not had any reason to make such a long difficult journey of more than 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, especially with a baby on the verge of being born.
All the Jewish priests and scribes understood from the prophecies where Jesus the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:5-6). The common people understood where Jesus was to be born (John 7:42).
Jesus birth in Bethlehem fulfilled the prophesy that the Messiah was to be the Son of David. David had been born in Bethlehem therefore it was necessary for Jesus the Son of David to be born there. The “Son of David” was the most common Messianic title used to refer to Jesus in His day.
The scripture specifically prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). “But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be a ruler over Israel whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
How can we not only be amazed but also have our hearts blessed when we consider how God miraculously worked out His plan of Salvation for us? Caesar Augustus could never have imagined that he played a role in fulfilling prophecy concerning Christ our Messiah.
No power on earth can prevent God from doing what He has promised. Jesus promised He would come as our Messiah and He came. He promised He is coming again and no power on earth will stop that from happening at His chosen time. When He comes again, He will not come quietly as He did the first time. He will come as King and all authority will be His and it will be obvious to everyone: “At that time men will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory” Mark 13:26.
Start planning today to make Christmas a special day of remembering the birth of your Lord and Savior. Begin by making sure you have a personal relationship with Jesus, the babe born in a manger some 2,000 years ago.
Our memory verse for this week before Christmas is found in Luke 2:13-14.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.
Help me today to realize the significance of how God prepared the world for the birth of Jesus. Thank You that I serve a miracle working God. May this Christmas season be a time of rejoicing and celebration of God’s great gift of salvation that I have in Jesus Christ, in my life as well as in the lives of my family. Thank You for the miraculous way You work to accomplish Your purpose in our lives.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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