An Impossibility

john1-14-amp

An Impossibility

by Joni Eareckson Tada


“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

—John 1:14 (NKJV)

We talk a lot about the Incarnation as Christmas draws near. Incarnation is a Latin word that means “taking flesh.” God “took flesh” and became the human Jesus. We say that so glibly. But the idea is so impossible.

God became flesh? It’s like accepting that a battleship can fit into a bathtub. A skyscraper can fit into a dollhouse. A field of wheat can fit into a cereal box. More than that, it’s like making blue paint out of blue sky. We can’t fathom such things. In the same way, we can’t imagine the God of the universe becoming a baby.

It’s so odd. After all, the whole point was that God wanted to rescue us. But a baby can’t rescue anyone; babies need rescuing themselves. Maybe because God couldn’t make Himself greater to impress us, He made Himself smaller to attract us.

And the Christmas story is attractive. In all history there is nothing like it. If you stroll through cities around the world, you will see imposing monuments to outstanding men and women. But have you ever seen a statute of a famous person as an infant? You never see George Washington portrayed in a stroller. It would be silly.

But it’s not silly to honor the Lord of the universe as a baby, because this child signifies the Incarnation. That God took on flesh is amazing and incredible, like an oil well fitting into an oilcan, or a mountain squeezing into a molehill. God became flesh-Wow!

To help you think about what an amazing act the Incarnation is, make a list of all the qualities Jesus gave up or limited to become a baby. For example, He who is the Light of the World chose to dwell in a dark womb for nine months. You’ll be amazed at just what Jesus’ choice meant for Him — and for you.

Emmanuel, God with us, words seem impossibly small and unwieldy to try to express the immensity of Your love for me, and the gratitude I feel. Help me to live today in a way that would honor the sacrifices You have made for me.


Taken from More Precious Than Silver.  Copyright © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada.  Published in Print by  Zondervan, Grand Rapids.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

The Christmas Story … Part 2 (Conclusion)

Shared from GraceThruFaith.

The Christmas Story … Part 2
(Conclusion)

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. (Luke 2:21)

Long before the Lord ordained the ritual of circumcision for males, He arranged for the coagulating pro-enzyme called prothrombin to be at 130% of normal adult levels on the eighth day of life, and for natural analgesic enzymes in the blood to be at lifetime highs as well.

Circumcision on any other day can be a painful and bloody event, but on the eighth day of life it’s remarkably less so. Of course, this is a fact the medical profession has only learned in the last century. Back then people just knew that everything worked better when they were obedient to God’s commands.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)

It was 33 days after Jesus had been circumcised. Since Joseph and Mary could not afford a lamb for Mary’s purification, the Law permitted them to use the two birds instead. (Lev. 12:8)

Read the rest here.

The Christmas Story … Part 1

Shared from GraceThruFaith.

The Christmas Story … Part 1

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

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. (Isaiah 7:14)

In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon 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” (Luke 1:26-35).

Some commentators try to cast doubt on the validity of Isaiah’s virgin birth prophecy, saying the clearest Hebrew word for virgin is bethulah.  In Isaiah 7:14a different word, almah, is used. It means virgin too, but can also describe any woman of marriageable age. They contend that Isaiah’s failure to use the most specific word for virgin could mean that he wasn’t really prophesying a virgin birth. As if anticipating this, Isaiah included a rebuttal to their claims.  It’s simple and appears in Isaiah 8, but first some perspective.

Read the rest here.

Mary’s Christmas Story … Part 2 (Conclusion)

The rest of this study, shared from GraceThruFaith.

Mary’s Christmas Story … Part 2

The angel said to me, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Stand Up and Be Counted

he next few months flew by and before I knew it, my time to deliver had nearly come. Then the Roman governor really threw a wrench into the works by deciding to conduct a census. Every family in Israel had to travel to their ancestral home to be counted. For Joseph and me that meant Bethlehem since we were both of the tribe of Judah and the house of David. Joseph was a descendant of King Solomon while I came from his brother Nathan’s family. Yes, that means we were actually distant cousins many times removed, but before you get all concerned let me explain that this was proper for two reasons.

First, my father Heli had no sons so as his oldest daughter I was his rightful heir. But the law required I marry someone from the tribe of Judah so my family’s land wouldn’t be lost from the tribal inheritance given to our ancestors in Joshua’s time (Numbers 36:6-9). Joseph was a proper choice under the law.

And second, the angel Gabriel had promised that my son would rule on David’s throne. The problem was that just before the Babylonian captivity, Israel’s kings had become so corrupt that the Lord had put a blood curse on Solomon’s line of David’s family, the royal line of succession, swearing that no biological descendant of Solomon’s after Jehoiachin (aka Jeconiah) would ever again rule over Israel as King (Jere. 22:28-30), and indeed, none ever has; Jehoiachin was Israel’s last legitimate king. This even though the Lord had promised David that Solomon’s descendants would always be Israel’s kings (1 Chron 17:10-14). Since Joseph was from Solomon’s line, he carried this blood curse as did every other living descendant of King Solomon’s.

Read the rest here.

BlogSL2-smallest

Mary’s Christmas Story … Part 1

Shared from GraceThruFaith.

Mary’s Christmas Story … Part 1

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

The angel said to me, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

Note: As you know I’m not one of the Bible’s writers, although my story appears in several of the Gospels. What follows is a re-telling of my experience with some extra tidbits thrown in that, while historically accurate, may be new to you. Merry Christmas.

There was an expectancy you could almost feel in Israel in those days, and sometimes it exploded into the streets as one itinerant preacher after another toured the country delivering his Messianic messages. Some actually claimed to be the Messiah, while others loudly hailed His coming, warning everyone to get ready. Usually it got them in trouble with the law, since the thing the Romans hated most of all was civil unrest. Some were beaten and run out of various towns and a few were put to death. But the people caught the messianic fever, hoping, dreaming and even praying that the Lord would raise up a leader to defeat the Romans and restore our country to its glorious days of the past.

History Written in Advance

There was an expectancy you could almost feel in Israel in those days, and sometimes it exploded into the streets as one itinerant preacher after another toured the country delivering his Messianic messages. Some actually claimed to be the Messiah, while others loudly hailed His coming, warning everyone to get ready. Usually it got them in trouble with the law, since the thing the Romans hated most of all was civil unrest. Some were beaten and run out of various towns and a few were put to death. But the people caught the messianic fever, hoping, dreaming and even praying that the Lord would raise up a leader to defeat the Romans and restore our country to its glorious days of the past.

Read the rest here.

BlogSL2-smallest

Sunday Praise and Worship: Mary, Did You Know? (Pentatonix)

SundayPraiseAndWorship--AMP

I love the Pentatonix version of one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Mary, Did You Know?” It often plays through my mind this time of year. 

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.

 Please excuse any ads that may appear before the video begins
If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

BlogSL2-smallest

Joseph’s Christmas Story … Part 2 (Conclusion)

The rest of this study, shared from GraceThruFaith.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”(Matt. 1:20-21)

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

On His eighth day of life, we brought Jesus, as the angel had told us to name him, to the Temple to be circumcised as a child of the covenant. (His Hebrew name is actually Yeshua, which means “God brings salvation.” The name Jesus comes from the Greek.) While there, His role as Israel’s Messiah was confirmed by two witnesses, as required in the Law. (Deut. 19:15) Both Simeon and Anna had been moved by the Holy Spirit to seek out and bless Jesus and praise God for sending Him to redeem mankind. (Luke 2:23-40)

By the way, when the Lord ordained the ritual of circumcision for males, He arranged for the coagulating proenzyme you call prothrombin to be at 130% of normal adult levels on the eighth day of life, and for natural analgesic enzymes in the blood to be at lifetime highs as well. Circumcision on any other day can be a painful and bloody event, but on the eighth day it’s remarkably less so. Of course, this is a fact the medical profession has only learned in the last century. In our day we just knew that everything worked better when we were obedient to God’s commands.

Read the rest here.

BlogSL2-smallest