GEERTGEN tot Sint Jans, Nativity, at Night, 1484-90

nativity at nightJohn 14:8-11

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

Hebrews 10:5-10

5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’

8 When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He does away with the first in order to establish the second.  And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

I’m always hoping that I’m a good example and teacher to my children.  But I find…more often than I like…that there are parts of me that I’m not proud of that have rubbed off on my kids.  I suppose that is part of being human and having a family.  Though we have His Spirit, we are still living in the flesh and we do sin.  We can be great teachers but are not perfect as we live out our lives.

Have you ever heard someone say that Jesus was a good example and teacher…but not God?  Right here though…in the book of John…He claims with His own lips otherwise when He says that whoever has seen Him has seen the Father.  I am so thankful that He shows us in His Word that He claimed to be God and He claimed to come in order to do the will of the Father which was to offer His body as a sacrifice. 

I wonder what our lives would be like if Jesus was just a good teacher for us.  Because being just a teacher would mean more of the same…that we follow Him for the sake of being good or to please God somehow…to get closer to Him somehow.  But instead God’s will was for us to rest from the striving in order to get to Him and to be made holy through the offering of Jesus’ body one time for all people.

I spent part of my adult life knowing the good things Jesus did but not wanting to act that way.  I know all too well what my life would have been like had Jesus just been a good teacher.  I would still be walking very much in the dark: acknowledging that Jesus exists but not treating Him as if He were God or wanting to live out of thankfulness for offering His body once for all.  Thankfully…I believe He worked in my life by His Holy Spirit to give me a love for Him and a desire to worship and live for Him.  Because of Jesus’ offering, I can stand before God…holy and fully accepted because I’ve been given Christ’s merits …without striving.  Yet at the same time the Holy Spirit lives in me and empowers me to live more and more like Him as I live out this life on earth.  There is something happening here that is beyond what any teacher has tried to instill in me.  Are you experiencing the same?  If so…you are already experiencing THE Christmas miracle!

To do right now: Meditate on the above verses.  Think today about how your life has changed over the years since coming to a saving faith in Christ.  If you came to faith at a very early age, think about how your life might have played out had you not known Him…or if He was just a teacher (not a Savior and not from the Father).   Allow that to encourage you by showing you God’s powerful working in you.  Thank Him for doing even more than changing your life here on earth but for making it so that you will have life with Him eternally. Write a prayer or journal your thoughts. Listen to the song: Emmanuel-Hallowed Manger Ground. If you don’t think you know Him as your Lord and if He is just a good person in your mind or you’re not sure if He is really truly God…ask Him to work in your heart.  Commit to going through the rest of this devotional or one like it.  

Beyond the Nativity Week 2 PDF

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