Posted by Jerry White on Dec 28, 2014
The Son of God came to be with us. Immanuel! He wants to be with us. He came knowing the cost. He must empty Himself, become a finite human being to live among sinful human creatures, many of whom would reject Him, fulfill the Law of God perfectly, and bear His Father’s all powerful wrath for our sins on a Roman cross. He endured, despising the shame of the cross, just because of His love that so moves Him to want to be with us. A survey of the Bible reveals that Almighty God is always the Shepherd seeking His lost sheep, the longing Father looking down the road eagerly awaiting His estranged son to come home. It does not matter what pig pen the son has been in or how dirty he looks and smells. He just wants him home with Him. Oh, how Yahweh pleaded with His chosen people through the voices of multiple prophets to return from their cesspool of idolatry to their covenant God. They would not.
The Father’s desire for us to be close to Him raises a question to which we must respond. Do you and I want to be close to Him? His desire for us cost Him more than we can ever imagine. If we desire to be close to Him it will cost us as well. Repeatedly throughout His Word He urges and invites us to come near Him. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Will we make the choices necessary in order to turn from our busyness, our electronic gadgetry, our social networks, our worldly allurements and entertainments, to seek Him and His kingdom first? Do we truly want Him first like a hunted deer panting for the water brook to satisfy his demanding thirst? Will we be satisfied with sermons, Bible lessons, praise songs, religious notes and quotes on social networks, or do we want Him—-just Him in the overwhelming blessing of His nearness? Am I content with tiny misty droplets of truth, or do I want to plunge into the river that flows from the throne of God, which is none other than His presence that ushers in His love, joy, and peace? His nearness is our richest blessing.
Blessed Lord, You have demonstrated Your desire for me to be near You, even to dwell under the shadow of Your wing. Please work in me that my first and all consuming desire will be to pursue You before all else in my life, and to find my richest satisfaction in fellowship with You. In this New Year I want to thirst for You like one who must have water lest he perish. Please enable this to be so in me. Amen!
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 22, 2014
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:23 (ESV)
While we remember the wonder of God’s Son becoming flesh, we must also remember the ultimate reason for His coming. Why did God come be with us on earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth? Was it just because He pitied us and did not want to send us to hell, but rather to heaven? So easy it is to look at this marvelous gift from a self-centered perspective as if it is all about us and our need. It is about our need, but ultimately it is for His everlasting glory and pleasure.
God created us for His pleasure. We exist for His purpose. Being a holy and righteous God, His delight is to have a holy and righteous people—-sons and daughters who are perfectly and purely holy and righteous like Him. This was His plan from the beginning, it has never been altered, and He will bring it to pass to demonstrate in a magnificent way that He is LORD with whom nothing is impossible.
Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843) wrote clearly about what is to come in our final spiritual state of being. This reminds us why Christ came and what mission accomplished means.
“In that day, Christ will take those of you whom He has redeemed and reconciled, and present you to Himself a glorious church. He will confess your name before His Father and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. Saints will have a double perfection in that day.
You will be perfectly righteous. You will be ‘unreprovable.’ Satan will accuse you. Christ will show His scars and say, ‘I died for that soul.’
You will be perfectly holy. You will leave the body of sin behind you. The Spirit who dwells in you now will complete His work. You will be like Jesus, for you will see Him as He is. You will be holy as God is holy, pure as Christ is pure.”
(The Best of Robert Murray McCheyne, 112)
Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! (Revelation 15:3, ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 14, 2014
“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 (1620-1686)
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 lowest 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).
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 7, 2014
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
Matthew 19:13 (ESV)
He who existed as the eternal Son of God from eternity past and spoke galaxies into existence became a fetus in Mary’s womb with hands like any other baby’s hands. When this infant was born, His hands—-so tiny, so soft, so precious—-would have been closed in a fist, and He would have instinctively sucked His thumb. As He grew, those tiny hands would have closed around His mother’s finger and reached up to her face, and grasped her hair to Mary’s delight. His young parents held those little hands as their small child learned to walk.When His schooling began those boyish hands learned to hold the writing tool correctly to form the Hebrew letters. In His earthly dad’s carpenter shop Jesus learned to use the tools of the trade so he also could be a carpenter in Nazareth. Naturally, as a carpenter, His hands would become calloused and rugged from the tools and rough wood. Until He was thirty years old His hands earned a living to support His widowed mother and His siblings.
At His baptism by John the Baptist, His cousin, He learned from His Heavenly Father that His time had come to begin His ministry. Those well trained carpenter’s hands would now become instruments for God to use to relieve the suffering of many. His hands would touch the blind so they could receive their sight. His hands would touch the unclean lepers so their diseased skin would be made clean and normal once again. His hands would braid a whip in disgust because His Father’s house of prayer had been made a den of thieves, and with anger He would drive the violators away. His hands would touch many to comfort them like a shepherd’s staff. He would lay His hands on the children ever so tenderly and pray for them one by one. His hands would wash His disciple’s dirty feet, even the feet of His betrayer.
The appointed time arrived when those hands, the ones that had never been wrongly used, would clench in tight fists with wrenching pain because of a ruthless beating with a nine leather thonged whip embedded with iron balls and sheep bones. Those hands, which as an infant grasped His mother’s finger, would carry a cross to Golgotha to be nailed with 5-7 inch spikes—-and bleed. The fingers of His hands would curl with searing pain as the nails were hammered through His flesh.
Those hands in His resurrection body still bore the scars of His crucifixion, and Thomas could see that this was truly Jesus of Nazareth in bodily form, resurrected. Those serving hands prepared and served breakfast to His disciples who had gone fishing. Those same hands will one day serve His bride at the wedding feast in heaven.
His hands are the very hands of God revealing His exuberant and lavish love for us—-forever.
Blessed Lord Jesus, I am a mere child. Please lay Your loving hand upon me and pray for me. Keep your hand upon my head because there is no touch like Yours. Amen!
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 1, 2014
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John1:1).
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son (Hebrews 1:1).
Why was God speaking?
One reason, and one reason only, moved Him. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son (John 3:16). His incomprehensible love—-love higher than the heavens—-is God’s motive.
What is God speaking?
His heart. In His Son made flesh He was declaring the heart of God—-His character, how we can be made right with Him, and how we can please and honor Him. All that God did for Christ, with Christ, and through Christ was God making His heart known to us. This means both His actions and His words reveal what God values and treasures.
God chose peasants, not wealthy ones or royalty, to be His Son’s earthly parents.
God chose to impregnate a young unmarried Jewish virgin by the Holy Spirit in spite of the bad reputation this would give her.
God chose for Mary to make a three day journey to Bethlehem through treacherous and dangerous mountainous terrain in the last week of her pregnancy.
God chose not to reserve a place in the inn for these poor, weary parents, but rather in His sovereignty He arranged for His Son to be born in an animal shelter with the smells, sounds and insects that naturally would be present.
God chose not to provide a midwife to assist this young woman giving birth to her first-born child but rather a young carpenter whom she had never intimately known.
God chose not to announce the birth of His Messiah to world or religious leaders, but rather to lowly shepherds tending their flocks out in the fields.
The lesson is clear. God values lowliness, faith, and obedience. A person’s status, wealth, reputation, and comfort is not His primary concern. His will—-for His glory—-is His purpose.
See the last posting below for information regarding a book of selected readings from A Disciple’s Notebook that is now available for purchase.