The Message of Christ

In Your Bible: Acts 13: 16-41

When the religious leaders at Antioch of Pisidia invited Paul to bring a word of encouragement, his message touched hearts open to receive Jesus. However, some had difficulty grasping the revelation that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. In challenging scenarios, Peter and Paul preached the message of Jesus with boldness.

Preaching by Paul

Even though Paul gives us valuable advice in his epistles. But one Bible commentator* says Paul’s extremely important message in Acts 13 may be his only full-length sermon on record! That’s amazing. Read on.

Key Messages – Peter and Paul in Acts

See the similarities Peter’s sermon in Jerusalem with the amazing fall of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:14-40) and Paul’s sermon many years later at the Synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:16-41).

  • The coming of Jesus is the consummation of history
  • Man did not recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah
  • The resurrection is proof of God’s undefeatable purpose and power
  • The resurrection fulfills prophecy
  • Christ restores freedom and fellowship between God and man
  • God’s gift of love [Jesus] for those who accept it, is a curse of condemnation for those who refuse him

In challenging scenarios, Peter and Paul preached the message of Jesus with boldness.

Prayer: Father help me speak your Word with boldness even in difficult scenarios – including times where rejection is likely.

Questions: When you see these comparisons, how does it encourage you in your acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah? How can you use this summary to build your testimony when you tell your message of faith in Jesus Christ?

* Acts of the Apostles, The Daily Study Bible Series, William Barclay, St. Andrews Press, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1955, page 111.

Jesus in Samaria – Part Two

. . . .My food, Jesus said, is to do the will of him, who sent me, and to complete his work” (John 4:32,34 Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: pp. 45,46
In your Bible: John 4:20-44

In Samaria, at Jacob’s well, Jesus spoke with a woman while all of the disciples except John went to buy food. Jesus’ encounter with this woman changed her life and her entire village.

Worship

The Samaritan woman mentioned that her people worship at Mount Gerizim and Jews at Jerusalem. Jesus commented, the place believers worship won’t be restricted to these two mountains. He continued… “The Father looks for true worship that is an expression from your spirit. God is Spirit, so those people who truly worship must do so in spirit” (John 4:23b, 24 Eyewitness).

[We know now, the Father is worshipped wherever the believer is—he is with us. Emmanuel.]

Savior of the World

Stunned by this statement, she needed more. The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming — the one who is called Anointed. When he comes, he will explain everything.” Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!” (John 4:25,26 Eyewitness). Again surprised by this, she could hardly speak. But she retired to her village and told them she’d met the Messiah! The villagers were very intrigued and anxious to meet Jesus.

The disciples returned with food and asked Jesus to eat. But he explained, “I have food that you know nothing about. “My food,” Jesus said, “is to do the will of him, who sent me, and to complete his work” (John 4:32,34 Eyewitness).

The villagers begged Jesus to stay with them and he did for two days. The people exclaimed, “Now we believe, not just because of what you {the woman] told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42 Eyewitness).

Prayer: Father, you have known me since I was conceived. Thank you for living water so I can worship you in spirit and in truth. Amazing. Selah.

Questions: What is the connection between living water (water of life) and spiritual worship? How does congregating in a church for worship relate to personal worship with God anytime and anywhere you want.

This time of year we celebrate the coming of Immanuel. I wish for you a Very Merry Christmas.

Angels Announce the Messiah

He [Simeon] turned to Mary and said, “This child will cause the rise and fall of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God that many people will oppose. As he reveals the thoughts of many hearts and pierces our own soul like a sword” (Luke 2:34,35 Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: Luke 2:1-35, Eyewitness p. 25,26
In your Bible: Luke 2:1-35

Old Testament and New Testament prophets foretell the appearance of Jesus the Christ – the Messiah. It’s an amazing story, we’ve read and heard. But understand, at the announcement it’s not just an angelic chorus, it’s a multitude of angels singing. That’s a whole lot of angels singing praises to God.

Angels Visit Everywhere

  • Gabriel visits Zechariah to announce that his childless wife would have a baby
  • Gabriel visits Mary to assure her she was favored of God and would (though a virgin) bear a son – Jesus
  • An angel visits Joseph to comfort him and tell him to marry his betrothed – Mary
  • An angel tells the shepherds the Messiah is born
  • A multitude of angels glorify God at this news

Shepherds HearThis announcement by Gabriel astounds the shepherds. That night, [of Jesus birth] in a nearby field, shepherds watching their flocks were terrified when an angel appeared in a brilliant light. “Do not be afraid,” the angel said. My good news will bring great joy to everyone. Today in the city of David, a savior has been born, the anointed Messiah” (Luke 2:8-10 Eyewitness).

Suddenly a host of angels appeared, praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men (Luke 2:13,14 Eyewitness).

Shepherds Tell Everyone

The shepherds went to Bethlehem to find the baby the angels had revealed to them. After seeing the baby, the shepherds told everyone what had happened. All who heard the story [of the heavenly angels, announcements and choir singing] were amazed (Luke 2:17,18).

The importance of these visitations by angels of God struck a new note with me. (1) They came at God’s appointed time and (2) FEAR was the first reaction by everyone present. Everyone who saw the glory of God felt awesome fear. What a blessing for mankind. Ponder this! Selah.

Prayer: Father, thank you for a host of angels who brought the words of encouragement. They still bless us today.

Questions: What new insights come to you as you read this passage of Scripture? Put yourself in the sandals of the shepherds and those who saw the Messiah in the manger. Can you grasp the joy and glory God reveals in birth of this baby?

* Photo courtesy of 1st-art-gallery.com Fred Morgan

Angels – God’s Messengers Announce the Messiah

“Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him” (THE MESSAGE Luke 2:13,14).

THE MESSAGE: Luke 2:8-32
In your Bible: Luke 2:8-32

God uses angels as messengers for the amazing events and to proclaim the appearance of Jesus the Christ – the Messiah. The Old Testament shows prophets foretelling Jesus’ coming. The New Testament reveals angels as messengers to guide people to the Messiah.

We’ve read the Christmas story, heard the songs, and know the key characters. I’d like to place special emphasis on how God announced Jesus’ arrival. The Christmas story gives insight into God’s own excitement about the greatest event in history.

The angel Gabriel visits the childless priest Zechariah to announce the coming of John (the Baptizer).

” I am Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because he won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of his son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to Zachariah will come true on time – God’s time.” (The Message Luke 1:1-17,19,20). It wasn’t long after this Elizabeth, his wife, conceived.

The angel Gabriel visits Mary to tell her how God embraces her.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name Mary.

Gabriel greated her. Of course she was thoroughly shaken by the angel’s visit and by the message. The angel assured her “Mary you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus”. Mary said to the angel, “But how? I have never slept with a man.” The angel answered, ” The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you” (THE MESSAGE Luke 1:28-35).

God’s angel spoke to Joseph in a dream to comfort him and explained his difficult situation.

“Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth and when she does you, Joseph, will name him Jesus – ‘God saves’ – because he will save people from their sins” (THE MESSAGE Matthew 1:20,21).

An Event for Everyone

An angel appeared to the sheepherders, then a huge angelic choir sang God’s praises.
Not only did an angel bring good news to the sheepherders. A magnificent group of angels couldn’t help but sing joyful praise to the Father for what was happening. Glory!

“There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set their night watches over the sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and said, “Don’t be afraid, I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody worldwide: A savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is the Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger. At once the choir of angel sang God’s praises Glory to God in the heavenly places, peace to all men and women on earth who please him” (THE MESSAGE Luke 2:8-14).

The sheepherders ran to find Mary, Joseph, and the new born baby. Then they told everyone what they’d heard from the angels and seen for themselves.

Application: For me, the importance of the angels struck a new note: they came at God’s appointed time, fear was the first reaction by the ones visited, but the message was one of blessing and definitely something to ponder. What new insights come to you in this season?

Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus. This year, please teach me something anew from your Word.

Jesus Visits Samaria – They Got It

Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water” (The Message John 4:10).

THE MESSAGE: John 4:4-44
In Your Bible: John 4:4-44

On their walk to Galilee, Jesus had to go through Samaria. This choice seems odd, since the Jews had no respect for these people, avoided them, considered them half-breeds and did not associate with them. Apparently the disciples did not object.

Was it merely the shortest route to Galilee? Did Jesus choose this route because he wanted to stop at Jacob’s well? Or did the Father lead him to people the Jews had written off as second class citizens? Reason unknown, but it may be something to ponder.

JESUS OFFERS FRESH, LIVING WATER

Jesus watched a woman come to draw water from Jacob’s well. He asked her for a drink. Incredible! A Jew spoke to me, she probably thought. Then Jesus guided the conversation to the spiritual realm, but this confused her. Perceiving it, he said, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water (THE MESSAGE John 4:10).

Vichanya Klating-AngsuleeJesus and the woman talked for quite a while. She asked for this living water. Then Jesus revealed he knew a lot about her that she chose not to divulge. She confessed her many transgressions. Jesus did not focus on how awful this woman was. No, instead he explained what the Father looks for – those who truly seek him.

When the disciples returned with food, he said something they did not understand. No need to eat. Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started” (THE MESSAGE John 4:34). Instead of food for eating, Jesus referred to showing people all that the Father freely offers.

GOD CHANGES LIVES

This encounter with Jesus encouraged the Samaritan woman. He guided her to seek God sincerely. Jesus told her directly, he was the Messiah. She ran to tell her entire village about Jesus. He didn’t condemn her, he gave her a chance to receive life, eternal life, just by asking! She got it and her village got it too.

Jesus stayed with the Samaritans two days. Many more trusted Jesus as he spoke to them. They said to the woman, “We’re no longer taking this on your say-so. We’ve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. He’s the Savior of the world” (THE MESSAGE John 4:42).

Application: Jesus revealed the mission God had for him. We as believers must seek the Father in spirit and truth – that is what God wants. Lives will be changed, eternal life can be found, and Kingdom lifestyle can begin. The Father is interested in anyone who earnestly seeks him.

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving believers living water. Glory.

Photo Courtesy of Vichanya Klating-Angsulee freedigitalphotos.net