"So the LORD God said to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."" (Genesis 3:14-15) Here in the third chapter of the Bible in the beginning of all things, creation and the fall, God promised a Deliverer. We even see the promised virgin birth as God speaks only of the offspring of the woman Eve, not Adam and Eve, and how Jesus will crush Satan. "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 him Immanuel." (God with us) (Isaiah 7:14) All that God said would happen to Him from His birth to His death and resurrection was recorded years before Jesus was born and every prophecy came true. (For example see Isaiah 9:7; 7:14; Micah 5:2; Hosea 1l:1; Isaiah 11:2; 53:4,5; Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12,13; Psalm 27:12; Isaiah 50:6; 53:7; 53:3; Psalm 69:4; 22:16; 22:18; Isaiah 53:12; Psalm 22: 6-8; Isaiah 53:9; Psalm 16:10; 68:18) History is full of men who claim they are from God or are messengers from God – Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed and even founders of new religions today but none compare to the Person and work of Jesus Christ and none were ever pre-announced except Jesus, the Christ. (See Dr. Ken Boa’s book on Cults and World Religions) Even secular historians from the East and West wrote about the coming of a Deliverer.
Our faith is embedded in space, time and history and the Scriptures speak of Jesus’ humanity and Divinity: "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:" (Matthew 1:1) "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mark 1:1) "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David." (Luke 1:32) ) "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger.” (Luke 2:6-7) "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:8-14)
God protects His infant Son and poor, powerless parents from the evil and powerful King Herod through angelic intervention and Divine dreams. "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."" (Matthew 1:20) "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife."(Matthew 1:24) "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."" (Matthew 2:1-2) " And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they (the Magi) returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." (Matthew 2:12-13) "After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead." So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."" (Matthew 2:19-23) We even see the providential provision of the Lord in the expensive gifts from the magi to provide for Joseph and Mary to live and travel to and from Egypt.
“You are to give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." (John 1:10-11). With such a supernatural entrance into the world why did His own not receive Him? They had waited and hoped for the Deliverer for so long. They knew what the Scriptures said about Him for they were “people of the Book.” Yet when at long last He came, they received Him not. They were looking for a powerful Deliverer King that would set them free from Rome and make Israel the ruler of the world.
The problem the Jews had in receiving Jesus is the same for all people for all times. People are always looking for a Deliverer but not from their sins. We want deliverance from our trials, from our responsibilities, from business and financial burdens, from a hard life, from oppression, heartaches, from difficult relationships, etc., etc., but not from sin. As the Jews believed they were righteous in keeping their religious laws so we believe we are good enough to be right with God without a bloody Savior having to die for us and rescue us from our sins. We break the first of the Ten Commandments and the Great Commandment every day and yet say we are right with God. "I am the LORD your God, who brought (delivered) you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:2-3) "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31
No the ultimate deliverance is not from all of our trials and disappointments, but deliverance from our sin and the power of sin. For this delivers us from a life of bondage to self and the idols of this world that we worship more than the God Who created us and then died for us.
From the promise in Genesis chapter three thousands of years before Jesus Christ was born God was at work to keep His promise to bring the Deliverer. God is in control over all the powerful forces in the world, over all the rebellious people from Adam and Eve to King Herod to us today and nothing can thwart His love and will for our lives to have us as His own, nothing but our own self-righteousness and thus our rejection of the Deliverer. King Jesus baffled the Romans, the Jews, his own disciples and mankind today as the promised Deliverer, the King of kings, came as the humble, suffering servant of all. This too was prophesied about Him but somehow we overlook that description of Him. " He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." (Isaiah 53:2-7)
God’s love in Christ is sacrificial giving, not warm feelings or passionate pleasure as the world defines love. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) And sacrificial love and worship of our Lord (The Great Commandment) begins to produce the fruit of the Spirit of God in us – sacrificial love for others.
Until He comes,
Len and Kristen