Lessons from Isaiah 53 v 2

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.

Jesus is described here as one who grew up as a tender shoot. The word tender indicates a caringness, and a gentleness of spirit. Jesus said on his sermon on the mount “blessed is the poor in spirit”for he shall inherit the earth. Poor in spirit means meek – it means gentle and humble. The sense that Jesus the Messiah was born and grew up as a tender shoot before God indicates He was gentle and tender. This is not what you would expect of  God who is always angry with us, who lays sickness and tragedy on his children for reasons we are not expected to understand. Why would Jesus do that? I tell you why – it is because he would not! The tragedy and sickness and devastation in  people’s lives comes from us living in a fallen world, where we are victims of circumstance. Other people who may be under the control of Satan, may drink too much, get behind the wheel of a car and then drive into us, maiming or killing us.

The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. It is because when God gave control of the earth to man, it was all set up to work for us – to be a place of blessing. Instead, man fell and God cursed the ground. Evil came into the world via Satan, who was the super slick deceiver – the master musician and seductive creature. The word tells us in the book of James that every good and perfect gift comes from our father in heaven. Sickness and disease is not a good and perfect gift. On the other hand we read that Satan goes around like a roaring lion, seeking those he may devour. We read that Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. So when you look at those two things side by side, who do you think brings sickness and tragedy? Certainly not God!

So many people say, whilst God does not do these things – he allows them to happen to us, for a reason. When we try to understand what reason a loving father could want to allow one of his children to be injured and become a quadriplegic, then we say it is to teach us a lesson maybe. Or perhaps we use the good old line – His ways are higher than our ways – it is not for us to understand! Well I disagree . God’s ways are higher than our ways – but he is always consistent with hos character, and that is to bring goodness and life.

Here’s my final thought for today. If Jesus allows us to get sick, because it is his will for us to learn something through it, why does he tell us to heal the sick? I mean if God is allowing you by His will (for reasons we can’t understand) to become sick, then if I am to pray that you be healed, like the word tells me to (actually the word says heal the sick, it does not say pray for the sick), then I would be praying against God’s will. So since I never know if the sickness is allowed by God as part of His will or not, it is pointless for me to pray for healing, because how could we pray to God to ask him to change his will?
Makes you think, I hope.

Jesus before he was born on earth – Part Two

Luke 1:26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on 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. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

When the Father was choosing a mother for Mary, he looked for someone who honoured Him. He looked for someone who pleased him. The angel said to Mary, that she was highly favoured of the Lord. Imagine what that must be like – to be highly favoured by God? What an amazing privilege. Mary was troubled by this greeting. She must have been taken aback. Who wouldn’t be when an angel appears and tells you God favours you highly.

The angel tells  Mary that Jesus “will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end”. Jesus was announced as the Messiah. What an amazing thing to happen to anyone – to be told you are going to be mother to the promised Messiah, the Holy one of Israel.

I love the way that Mary response to the bombshell – she basically says “OK, well I am serving the Lord, so if that’s what he wants, it is fine by me”. The lesson here is that no matter how strange the word is that God speaks to us sometimes, we need to be willing and ready to obey. I am your servant Lord, so let the word you have spoken come true. That is basically the way the Lord works. he speaks to us and prompts us by His word. God seldom appears in the form of an angel, but now that we have the Holy Spirit, he helps us hear God through our spirit within. God speaks through His word. If we want to hear from God, we must be reading the Bible. I am finding that 20 to 30 minutes  day is nowhere near enough time to read the Bible. There is so much that is written there, and God speaks so clearly, that I need plenty of time.

Jesus before he was born on earth – Part One

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. …  14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The book of John echoes the book of Genesis. It starts with the same words, “in the beginning”. John establishes that before God did anything at the start of creation, he existed. The Word here refers to Jesus Christ. John establishes Jesus as being God and also being with God. if you take this verse together with the verse in Genesis 1:1 then you xan see that God is three parts – father, son and holy spirit. Jesus was with God in the beginning according to verse 2 above. John declares that when God created, it was Jesus who was creating. In fact, John says that Jesus made everything and that without Jesus, nothing would have been made. Jesus had life in him, and as I wrote yesterday, God breathed into man’s nostrils and then man came alive.

John said that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” – referring to the borth of Jesus.

Before Jesus was born, his mother Mary became pregnant by the holy spirit.

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.

Mary was engaged to Joseph, but Jesus was implanted into Mary by the Holy Spirit. This was an answer and fulfilment of the prophecy Isaiah 7:14: “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”.