Monday, December 21, 2009
My VIP for this week is Jesus Christ. He was the greatest leader this world has ever known. The Christian religion was founded on His life and teachings. I, along with most Christians, believe that He is the Son of God who was sent to earth to save all mankind. Many people who are not Christians believe that He was a great and wise teacher. He definitely was a most influential person. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, regarded Jesus as a great prophet and adopted many of His ideas. Luke 1:26-38 tells how an angel called Gabriel visited a young engaged woman named Mary living in Nazareth and told her that she was chosen to be the mother of the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary that the baby's name would be Jesus. When Joseph learned that his fiancée was pregnant, he planned to "put her away privily" (Matthew 1:19) until he was visited by an angel who told Joseph that Mary's baby was the Son of God and that his name would be Jesus. The personal name of Jesus Christ is Jesus. The term Christ is a title that is so closely associated with Jesus that it became part of His name. It comes from the Greek word christos, which is a translation of the Hebrew word messiah (anointed one). This tells us that Jesus Christ means Jesus the Messiah. The birth of Jesus is celebrated on December 25 simply because somebody in charge decided that the new Christian holiday would take the place of a pagan holiday. Many people believe that Jesus was born in the spring because lambs are born in the spring. The shepherds were probably in the fields because they were there to help with the lambing. I personally believe that Jesus was born on April 6. Luke 2 tells that Caesar Augustus sent out a decree that all his people should be taxed in his own city. Joseph was from Bethlehem; therefore, it was necessary for him to return there to pay his taxes. Mary, being great with child, went with her husband. It is my understanding that Bethlehem is about one hundred miles from Nazareth. I was fortunate to give birth to on of my children in December. I became greatly enlightened by my experience of being pregnant while preparing for Christmas. I understood so much better the difficulties that Mary went through as she traveled by donkey from her home town and family to Bethlehem. I expect that the entire trip was very difficult for her and that she was greatly relieved to finally find a place to rest. After Luke wrote about the birth of Christ and the visit of the shepherds, he added these simple words: "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart" (2:19). I am sure that she had many things to ponder as she cared for her baby - who was also the Son of God. There are many books and articles written about the life of Jesus Christ - besides what is found in the scriptures. I like the way that Dr. James Allan summed up the life of Christ in his poem called "One Solitary Life." "He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never went to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself. He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind's progress. All the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that ONE SOLITARY LIFE." Napoleon, French emperor and one of the greatest military commanders of all time, is quoted as saying: "I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of people would die for Him" (Josh McDowell in Evidence That Demands a Verdict, p 127. Thanks. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I love Him and worship Him as my Elder Brother. I thank Heavenly Father daily for the great gift that He gave to mankind when He sent His Only Begotten Son to earth to live and die for all of us.