Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you for reading. I pray all is well.
Today, as we begin our look at Jesus and his first advent, I want us to continue to look through the prism of miracles. We have spoken a great deal about miracles over the last couple of months, and I would like for each of us to become comfortable with this idea: Miracles are a regular part of the believer’s life. Miracles are not rare, as many of us would tend to believe.
Miracles are throughout the Bible, and, if we would closely reflect upon our lives, miracles are woven throughout our lives, the lives of our families, our churches, and our communities.
As we begin to look at the birth of Christ, an obvious miracle, I cannot help but think of all the miracles that took place during Jesus’ ministry here on earth. Also, the countless miracles that came from the Messiah’s fulfillment of Old Testament scripture.
Let’s not forget the unknown miracles that await us as Jesus returns for his second advent. I want to become, I would like for all of us to become a people in search of miracles, looking to experience miracles, willing to pray for miracles, being a people who constantly anticipate miracles. Let’s do this together. We are on miracle watch.
Allow me to list just a few of the miracles of Jesus. Jesus came to be Emmanuel, God with us, for all of mankind. Yet, he also came to lead his people, as the King of the Jews, and all of us, when we are adopted by God, when we are born again, become a part of this Jewish lineage. Jesus came to be a shepherd to his people, to care and watch over his flock for the Father. He is the Son of the Most High God, the Word, the Life, the Light, and the One and Only. Each of these we will examine over the next five weeks.
Let us begin with our look to Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us.
So much of the world today is at war with God. We could say that this country is at war with that country or that country is at war with this country.
However, if we examine it all closely, it really works out that it is the spiritual war between God and Satan, manifesting itself across the globe. People and nations are choosing sides, either with God, or at war with God. So much of this choosing of sides comes down to this: Those that believe in miracles side with God, those who don’t believe the miracles contained in the Bible and still occurring all around the world side with Satan.
There was a time when all of mankind was, in a way, at war with God. Jesus came so that we all could experience peace with God. A Holy God and a sinful people could not ever hope to connect in a relationship without Jesus coming to earth as Emmanuel, to be God with us. Matthew 1:18,
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.”
Now the biology here is a miracle. Can we agree on this? Luke 1:35, goes into a little more biological detail. This is when the angel is answering Mary, who is trying to figure out how she’s going to be pregnant, even though she’s a virgin.
“The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’”
Now this miracle conception creates a problem of perception for Mary’s husband to be, Joseph. We all know that Joseph is a good man, a righteous and caring man. He sees Mary as her baby bump becomes more and more pronounced. He’s not seeing a miracle of life growing inside of Mary, yet. He sees a problem, a real problem for Mary. So, being the gentleman that he is, he ponders a way to protect Mary from her having to reveal her supposed indiscretion. Matthew 1:19,
“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
There was a law that allowed for this type of divorce, let’s go to Deuteronomy 24:1,
“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house…”
This is how Joseph is going to make this problem go away for Mary. He was going to quietly give her the divorce certificate and they both would move on.
So, the problem that we really have is Mary understands the miracle within her, but Joseph does not. Here is something for us to reflect on.
How many people at war with God today, just don’t understand the miracle that Jesus really is? They see a situation, but do not understand the miracle behind it. They are blinded to miracles.
I was this way when as a young man I too, was at war with God. I don’t ever want to be blinded from miracles again. I want to understand the absolute glory behind every miracle possible. I want my eyes wide open looking for miracles. Matthew 1:20-21, Joseph, in a dream, is brought up to speed on the miracle that Mary is carrying within her.
“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”
So now, Joseph understands the miracle that has happened, and is happening, and will continue to happen. See, Jesus will be a continuing miracle. Wherever Jesus goes, miracles happen. Even after his return to the Father’s right hand, miracles will continue, as they do today, in Jesus’ name. Psalm 130:7-8,
“O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.”
This will be a great miracle. You and I read this passage, and understand the Lord as Jesus. Jews read this passage and understand the Lord as God. The miracle will be when all of Israel turns their hearts to Jesus. The miracle here will be when Israel recognizes that it will be God through Jesus Christ redeeming all of Israel from their sins. This will be when revival breaks out in Israel, just before the return of Christ.
But wait, we haven’t even made it to today’s focus scripture yet. Matthew 1:22-23,
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet (Isaiah): The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel–which means, ‘God with us.’” If we look at Isaiah, 7:14, it says,
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Immanuel.”
This sign was originally for Ahaz. But Ahaz did not want to put God to the test. Ahaz did not want to hear the truth. Ahaz did not want this miracle. See God had told Ahaz, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”
Ahaz had no faith in God, and just like so much of the world today, he wanted no part in miracles, he couldn’t understand miracles, because he was evil to the core.
Now, let’s go to Isaiah 8: 8-10,
Oh Immanuel! Raise the war cry, you nations and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle and be shattered! Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.”
Think back today, and what is happening in Israel. These are the same enemies that God is talking to through Isaiah. The enemies, still at war with God.
They will be shattered. No matter their strategy, it will be thwarted, it shall not come to pass. Their schemes and plans will not stand. For God is with us.
We were talking about Joseph’s dream. Matthew 1:24-25,
“When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home to be his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
The world has been, is, and will continue to be a crazy chaotic place. We all have choices to make. It seems complicated, but it really isn’t.
Are you going to choose peace with God, or war with God?
Do you choose God and the good, or Satan and the evil?
Do you choose the truth, or some worldly concocted lies, made up to confuse and deceive us?
Do you believe in miracles and all the prophecies of the Bible? Or do you want to believe that Jesus is all pretend, there is no miracle virgin birth, there is no miracle making Messiah, there is no miracle of the cross and resurrection, it’s all a sham.
Finally, do you believe in Immanuel, God is with us? I do, and I believe it more today, than I ever have in my life. God’s Word is coming true right before our eyes.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony Church