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Do You Know Who He Is?
By Mary Craig
He was born with a message for mankind. He claimed to be the Messiah, the Savior, the only way to God as Father. He lived out the Word of God, the Word made flesh. He came as light and life and love. His destination was Jerusalem. His destiny was death for the salvation of sinners. Do you know who He is?
Mary knew. In the sixth month of Elizabethís pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to Nazareth in Galilee to a virgin espoused to a man named Joseph. Joseph was of the house of David. The angel came to Mary and said, "Hail, you that are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women." Mary had a difficult time figuring what this meant, but the angel continued,
Mary queried, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" To which the angel answered,
And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1.26-38)
Mary traveled to visit and stay with Elizabeth and to magnify the Lord. Her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior, for He had regard to the low estate of His handmaiden. She extolled the mighty acts of God:
Elizabeth knew something BIG was happening, and she was part of it. When Mary came to her and she heard Maryís greeting, the baby inside of her leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. She spoke out with a loud voice and said,
Elizabethís son John would come to be known as John the Baptist. He would be the forerunner of Jesus. About John, his father Zacharias prophesied:
Joseph had a difficult time when he found out that Mary had become pregnant during the time of their engagement. The law of Moses required death for such an offense, and Joseph, not willing to make a public example of Mary, had it in his mind to terminate the marriage plans privately. While he was thinking things over, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,
Joseph got up and did as the angel said, but what would you have thought?
Because of a census edict, Mary and Joseph ended up in Bethlehem of Judea, the city of David. They had to go there to register because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David. Jesus was born there in a manger because there was no room at the inn.
Shepherds out in a field had an angel encounter of the unforgettable kind. The angel of the Lord came to them and the glory of the Lord shone all around them. Quite understandably, they were really afraid, but the angel said,
All of a sudden there was a whole host of angels praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2.8-15)
The shepherds set out to check things out. Who was this? What was going on? They found Mary and Joseph and Jesus. Jesus was lying in the manger, just as the angel had said. Those shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. They were just ordinary folk, not kings, not priests, not elders at the city gates, and God had come to them with an important message for humanity. Did they know who Jesus is? Whatever they knew, they knew they were graced to be part of a mighty and marvelous act of God to be told to their friends, their children, and their grandchildren. (Luke 2.16-20)
Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to Jerusalem to fulfill the law of Moses requiring that the first born male be called holy to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice according to the law. Simeon, a just and devout man, had been waiting for the "consolation of Israel." The Holy Ghost had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lordís Christ, i.e., the Messiah. He came by the Spirit into the temple there in Jerusalem right when Mary and Joseph and Jesus also came. Wow! Talk about a divine appointment. Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel." To Mary, Simeon said,
If this wasnít enough for Mary to ponder in her heart, there was more. Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, served God there in the temple with fastings and prayers night and day. Anna was a widow and of great age. She came in right when Jesus was there, too. In that instant she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke to those that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Not everyone who heard about this Jesus liked the idea of a coming Messiah and King over all kings. When wise men came from the east asking about the King of the Jews, Herod got inwardly agitated. The wise men had seen Jesusí star in the east and had come to worship Him. Herod got the chief priests and scribes together to get the scoop on where Christ should be born. His advisors knew the prophecy about Bethlehem and how a Governor would come from there to rule Godís people Israel. Herod wanted to know when the star had appeared and sent the wise men on to Bethlehem. He wanted them to return and let him know where this child was so he also could worship. (Matthew 2.1-9)
The wise men rejoiced with exceeding great joy, the Bible says, when they saw the star. They entered a house where Jesus was with Mary His mother. They fell down and worshipped Jesus and opened their treasures as they presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But they didnít go back to Herod because God warned them not to do that in a dream. (Matthew 2.10-12)
Joseph and Mary with Jesus fled at the warning of the angel of the Lord into Egypt. Herod finally realized that he had been mocked by the wise men and was filled with wrath. He sent out an order to have all the children two years and younger slain in Bethlehem and in all the coasts in the region. The lamentation and wailing that went up to heaven over "Rachel weeping for her children" fulfilled Jeremiahís prophecy. (Matthew 2.13-18)
Eventually, Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth in Galilee after Herod died and things were safe to do so. There Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
John would write of Jesus that He is the Word made flesh who dwelt among us that we might behold grace and truth. In Jesus is life. He lived a life that is the light of the world. Jesus Christ is God and Man. You could call Him the God-Man. He is a divine person with a divine nature who came from eternity into time to take on a human nature and dwell in a fully human body. He ate and slept and wept and walked this earth. He lived to perfection the law of God, fulfilling its provisions from a pure heart and good. He lived a life on earth that you and I could not do because of the evil in our hearts.
In Adam all die. The soul that sins will surely die. Jesus never sinned. He lived a sinless life. Death could never have had a hold on Him. Yet He was the Body prepared for God to do Godís will on earth. He came to do His Fatherís will, to glorify His Father, to be the Messenger of the New Covenant in His Blood. He would have you to know that He is not Baby Jesus any longer. The Infinite God-Man, born in the fullness of time, born of a woman, also died. He died to pay the penalty for sin, to bear the wrath of Godís curse, to make reconciliation between the Father and those who repent and receive Him, to redeem from the kingdom of Satan those who are called to the kingdom of God. He came to annul the one who had the governing rule over death, i.e., the devil. He did that by going through death and by being raised out from among the dead to everlasting life.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is the Resurrection and the Life so that those who believe in Him will never die. He is the Resurrection, and Resurrection rules. As the One who Lives forevermore, Jesus is coming again. He decides and knows what is living and what is dead. He knows who are saved from death to life and who are saved through death to life. Today it is Jesus who holds the keys of Death and Hades. It is Jesus with whom you must reckon.
The door of grace is yet open to you who would know Him and receive Him as the Savior and Lord that He is. Do you know Him this Christmas? Do you want to know Him?
Saul was on the road to Damascus setting out to kill Christians after Jesus had comeÖand gone. The Living Christ appeared to him on that road. The encounter knocked Saul right on his face. It changed his life forever. As light shone suddenly all around him and a voice said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Saul asked, "Who are You, Lord?" (Acts 9.3-5)
Thatís what you need to do right now. Ask Jesus. "Who are You?" And then ask Him what He wants you to do. Time is short. What Jesus gives canít be bought. He will give you what you need most. He will give you forgiveness, peace with God, grace, mercy, and power to overcome evil. Do you know Him? He knows you.
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