Lessons from Isaiah 53 v 2

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

I am continuing to look at God’s love and mercy for us, and why we should not blame God for tragedy and sickness in our lives. Jesus is portrayed in this prophecy as coming to the world with no beauty and no majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Jesus was the embodiment of the principles that he taught us while on earth. he taught us that we do not walk by sight, but rather by faith. That we need to look at the things which are not seen, rather than the things which we can see.

This idea is a tough one for many Christians. We are naturally conditioned through our western world, and through generations of teaching that we respond to that which we see. One of the things I have been dealing with in the last two days, is the subject of healing. Now this subject is the perfect example of where we have vastly conflicting ideas about whether or not God heals today. I heard Andrew Wommack say that when someone says “I believe God can heal” then that is hope. When you say I know that God will heal, that is faith. Jesus came into the world in a very subdued manner – born in a manger with no pomp and ceremony. Surely for the Son of God no-one would have minded if he had been born in the King’s palace. But God’s way is gentle and unassuming. So Jesus came in a way that did not impress us as people. He was Born as any child would be born and there was nothing special that would have attracted us to him physically. But the star that shone from the east was announcing that this was no ordinary child. Even the stars shone over him.

Jesus told us through his life, that God does not look at the outward – God looks at the heart and the motives. God is not impressed by the things that impress humans. We are told to walk by faith and not by sight. So we need to then act on that. When we know that God wants someone to be healed, then we can pray confidently. We know that Jesus has already healed us by his stripes. So I hear you saying that “not everyone gets healed.” That is true. I believe that healing is a tricky subject. We are subject to the curse of the ground on this earth, and Satan rules this earth. As believers we have in us the power of the living God and we are no longer under the power of Satan. So we are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. Death and disease is a curse that came upon mankind by sin. So we live in a fallen world which subjects us to death and to other laws (like gravity) which we cannot escape from. Within this world, God wants us to be healthy. We can make oursleves sick by eating badly, behaving badly, by holding grduges, getting angry, through unforgiveness and bitterness and more.

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is near. When Jesus was living on this earth, he healed all who were oppressed by the devil. That was a glimpse of the kingdom of God. The kingdom og God is coming. Jesus told us to pray for the kingdom of God to come (you remember from the Lord’s prayer). When the kingdom of God comes, it restores the order and balance back to God’s original intention.

Some people when they pray for the sick, will pray “if it be your will”. There is no prayer in the Bible which tells us to pray like this. Jesus did not say “if it be thy will” when he was in Gethsemane. Jesus knew the will of the father and he said “nevertheless, thy will be done”. The prayer that says “if it is your will” destroys faith. Because then we are praying without power. God wants us to find out his will (which he reveals by his word) and then to walk in faith and do his will, even if we cannot see the immediate evidence. Sometimes we pray and when the person is not immediately and miraculously healed, we think God never heard us. But we will allow antibiotics to take a weke or two to work, so why does all healing have to be instant.

And yet not everyone is healed. I believe when people are not healed it is because of our lack of faith and because of our lack of closeness to God. Jesus never failed to heal anyone. he healed every time. EVERY TIME. And Jesus said we will do at least what he did, and even greater things. But to do that we have toi wakk with him, closer and closer every day, so that we learn the rythms of his grace.

 

Jesus the Messiah is born

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The first thing we see is that Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem at the time of the census. God was seeing the fulfilment of His word. But as always God works through events and people. The reason for traveling to Bethlehem was for the census. So God takes advantage of human decisions and events to interweave his plans for us into our choices.

Matthew 2: 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Even as his mother was in labour, the word got out that the Messiah was about to be born. The magi knew it, Herod knew it. All of history pointed to this moment. This was the very moment that heaven and earth intersected. Jesus who was and is God, came and lived on earth as a man among men.This was the game changer. Ever since the fall of Adam, this was the only solution to solve the eternal and ongoing problem of man’s sin, and inability to live according to the law.

Jesus solicited worship before he was even a day old. And worship came from the source of the wisest amongst men.

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The wise men gave gifts and bowed down to Jesus. We should love him and worship him and bring him the gift of our affection and devotion.

Jesus before he was born on earth – Part Three

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 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.21 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.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

We must remember that Joseph had no way of knowing it was the Holy Spirit who had made Mary pregnant. Mary had received a message from the Lord, via an angel before she fell pregnant with Jesus (see Luke 1:28). So she anticipated the pregnancy. However, how do you explain to your husband to be that you will soon be pregnant with God’s baby? It is not something someone is going to believe. So perhaps she said nothing, or perhaps she told Joseph and he thought she was using this to cover up some other activity. But look at Joseph’s reaction – he was faithful to the law and did not want to publicly disgrace her. Joseph was a religious man – a man of integrity and goodness. He did not understand initially that Mary was expecting a child by the Holy Spirit. How can anyone understand that? It may sound easy when you read it now in  hindsight, but if this was happening to you in real time, you would never believe it!

From the time of his conception, Jesus already caused controversy. Joseph was thinking about divorcing Mary, when the angel appears to him in a dream. The greatest act of human history was busy playing out in the lives of two young Jewish people. A young Mary (some people estimate she was about 14) and a young man Joseph, parents to the Son of God. They were entrusted with the physical upbringing of Jesus, but we have been entrusted with the spiritual force that lives within us by the Holy Spirit. Let us also do what is right in the sight of the Lord.