Paradoxes About Jesus

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 29, 2008

“Jesus was the Bread of Life, and he commenced His ministry by suffering hunger.
He was the Water of Life and He commenced His ministry by suffering from thirst.
He suffered from hunger, being man, yet He fed the multitudes.
He suffered from thirst and He said, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.’
He was weary and He said, ‘Come unto me, all You that labor and are heavy laden.’
He was exhausted and He is our rest.
He paid tribute and yet He was the King.
People said of Him, ‘He has a devil,’ and He expelled the demons.
He prayed and He answers prayers.
He wept and He dries our tears.
He was sold for thirty pieces of silver and He has redeemed the world.
He was made prisoner and He has said to the captives, ‘Come forth.’
He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter and He is the Good Shepherd.
He was dumb as a sheep before her shearers and He is the Eternal Word.
He is a Man of sorrows and He heals our afflictions.
He was crucified and died upon the tree, and it is by that tree that He gives us life.
He died and by His death He destroyed death.”

H. Henniger
Source Unknown
~~~

This is he of whom I [John the Baptist] said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’
John 1:30 (ESV)
~~~

“O Lord, You’re beautiful! Your face is all I seek.”




A Savior Born

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 25, 2008

Let the stable still astonish:
Straw—dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said, “Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens
And earth
Be born here, in this place?”
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
Of our hearts and says, “Yes, let the God
Of Heaven and Earth be born here—
In this place.”

Leslie Leyland Fields
~~~

That the Creator Himself would be born as a creature in a stable is astonishing, but that He would actually come to live inside His followers by His Spirit is incomprehensible. That the Lord Jesus is all the fullness of God in a body is unfathomable, but that we as His believers have this very same fullness in Him is staggering (Colossians 2:9-10). What difference would it make to us if we really believed that we have all of His fullness in our very selves—that we are literally the temple of His Holy Spirit—that He is truly closer to us than our own breath—that we are as one with the Lord Jesus as He is with His Father? For this miraculous Gift I praise you, O God! I receive it with deep thankfulness. I marvel at how You love me!




The Humble One Exalted

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 22, 2008

“See the different state of Christ on earth and in heaven. Oh how is the scene altered!
When he was on earth, he lay in a manger; now he sits on a throne.
Then he was hated and scorned of men; now he is adored by angels.
Then his name was reproached; now ‘God hath given him a name above every name.’
Then he came in the form of a servant, and as a servant, stood with his basin and towel, and washed his disciples’ feet; now he is clad in his princes’ robe, and kings of the earth cast their crowns before him.
On earth he was a man of sorrows; now he is anointed with the oil of gladness.
On earth was his crucifixion; now his coronation.
Then his Father frowned upon him in desertion; now he has set him at His right hand.
Before, he seemed to have no form or beauty in him; now he is in the brightness of his Father’s glory.
Oh what a change is here! ‘Him hath God highly exalted.’
Thomas Watson
Body of Divinity
~~~

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:8-11 (ESV)
~~~

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory, and honor and power.
Revelation 4:11, ESV




Posted in Worship

Humiliation

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 18, 2008

“The word became flesh! God became human! The invisible became visible! The untouchable became touchable! Eternal life experienced temporal death! The transcendent one descended and drew near! The unlimited became limited! The infinite became finite! The immutable became mutable! The unbreakable became fragile! Spirit became matter! Eternity entered time! The independent became dependent! The almighty became weak! The loved became the hated! The exalted was humbled! Glory was subjected to shame! Fame turned into obscurity! From inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief! From a throne to a cross! From ruler to being ruled! From power to weakness!”
Sam Storms
Pleasures Evermore, p. 154
~~~

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
~~~

Someone has said that man aspires but God condescends. The eternal Son of God could have come in any way He chose, but He chose the lowest way, which expresses His pure humble character. Who were the first to be told about the Savior’s birth? Angels announced the Christ child’s birth to lowly shepherds, not proud aristocracy, world leaders, or even religious leaders. Shepherds were the first ones directed to go see the baby who was the Savior. God reveals Himself and His truth to those who are like “little children,” not to the wise and understanding. This is His gracious will (Matthew 11:25-26). If we want to experience the Lord Jesus and His truth revealed to our heart, He has made known the way. The way is to come before the Humble One with all humility. To the humble He dispenses grace.




Divine Paradox

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 15, 2008

“The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.
God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.
God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother.
God had come near.
He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty.
No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla.
Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. And were it not for a group of stargazers, there would have been no gifts.”

Max Lucado

God Came Near, pp. 25-26
~~~
And they [the shepherds] went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Luke 2:16 (ESV)
~~~

Quiet reflection upon this phenomenal event is required if this overly familiar account of Jesus’ birth is to become a living reality in your heart. It is easy for this story heard many times before to be no more than a child’s make believe story that makes you feel good.

The angels praised God. The shepherds glorified and praised God. The wise men bowed before Him, worshiped Him, and gave gifts to Him. When the truth of Christmas is real to us we will have the same response of wonder and worship. We can give a gift that will honor this Humble One whom we call Savior and Lord. We can give a measure of time from our busy schedules to meditate upon this incarnation truth until it is deeply real to our souls.




A Sacred Riddle

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 11, 2008

“Behold here a sacred riddle or paradox—‘God manifest in the flesh.’ That man should be made in God’s image was a wonder, but that God should be made in man’s image is a greater wonder. That the Ancient of Days should be born, that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle; that he who rules the stars should suck the breast; that a virgin should conceive; that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which he himself made; that the branch should bear the vine; that the mother should be younger than the child she bare, and the child in the womb bigger than the mother; that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God.”
Thomas Watson (1600s)
~~~

So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.
John 1:14 (New Living Translation)
~~~

The first characteristic of our Lord Jesus’ humanity was that He came in humility. I have sometimes wondered, “how far is it from sovereign Creator in the bliss of heaven to a helpless lowly creature in a sin filled world?” Only love beyond comprehension would cause the one we know as Jesus Christ to make so profound a choice. He was born in lowliness, entered into our world in lowliest circumstances, lived His entire life as a lowly bondservant, and then died a lowly shameful death of a common criminal. His humble life exposes the pride of sinful humanity. It surely does mine. His call to His disciples is a call to live with humility. The more clearly we see Him the more clearly we see the ugliness of our proud flesh. The beauty of His humility causes any thirsty soul to want to be like Him. His Word says, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility…” (Ephesians 4:2, ESV).




Surrender For Worship

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 8, 2008

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him, Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11 (ESV)
~~~
“There is great significance in the action of the wise men. Their long and hazardous journey had culminated at a manger! The King they sought was but a babe—suckled at the breast of a peasant woman. No pageantry—no courtiers—no display. A dismal manger—a peasant woman—a babe. Lesser men would have turned aside.
Let us note carefully the sequence of their actions. Without hesitation they prostrated themselves—they worshiped—they presented their gifts. This has ever been the only order acceptable to the King. Prostration speaks of submission—the attitude of a slave to the Master—the subject to the Sovereign. Our entrance into His presence must begin in like fashion—submission followed by worship. But why worship? What else but ascriptions of worth can issue forth from a truly submissive heart that has seen the King? The presents can wait until I present myself. My gifts will not increase His wealth—but my surrender will satisfy His heart.”
Joseph Carroll (1919-2008)
Founder, Evangelical Institute of Greenville
1993 Christmas letter
~~~

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim;
With gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
Kneel and adore Him; the Lord is His Name.

J.S.B. Monsell

~~~

It is not our understanding of the truth or our agreement with the truth that makes the truth real, but rather it is our doing exactly what the truth says that satisfies our Lord’s heart and makes it real to our own.




Posted in Worship

The Supreme Mystery

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 4, 2008

“It [the supreme mystery] lies, not in the Good Friday message of atonement, nor in the Easter message of resurrection, but in the Christmas message of incarnation. The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man—that the second person of the Godhead became the ‘second man’ (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human. Here are two mysteries for the price of one—the plurality of persons within the unity of God, and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus. It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word was made flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the incarnation.”
J. I. Packer
Knowing God, pp. 45-46
InterVarsity Press (September, 1974)
~~~
And the Word [Christ] became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled—fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile—among us.
John 1:14 (Amplified Bible)
~~~
Jesus, the very thought of Thee with sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see, and in Thy presence rest.
Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame, nor can memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name, O Savior of mankind!
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)




A Profound Mystery

Posted by Jerry White on Dec 1, 2008

Nature trembled and said with astonishment:
What new mystery is this?
The Judge is judged
And remains silent;
The invisible One is seen
And does not hide Himself;
The incomprehensible One is comprehended
And does not resist;
The unmeasurable One is measured
And does not struggle;
The One beyond suffering suffers
And does not avenge Himself;
The immortal One dies
And does not refuse death.
What new mystery is this?

Melito of Sardis, Fragment 13
Overseer (Bishop)of Sardis (161-180)
~~~

Though he [Christ Jesus] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:6-8 (ESV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
John 1:14 (ESV)

~~~

This profound mystery is because of His incomprehensible love for us. Can our response be any less than our all for the honor of Jesus Christ? That is the only gift we can really give that is worthy of Him.




Posted in God's Love