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We at "jesuschristonly.com" are trying to assemble resources to help you understand and come to appreciate the unique person of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

We commend him to you as the answer to your life’s deepest needs and questions.

Please be sure to have a look at the "Who is Jesus" presentation.

 
 

Illustrations - His Birth



God Wants To Be Found


“They [the shepherds] hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough” (Luke 2:16 HCSB).

Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, writes about a group of neighborhood children playing hide-and-seek outside his home. As he wrote, one kid has hidden under a pile of leaves in his yard just under his window. He has been there a long time; everybody else is found and is about to give up on him. Fulghum considered going out to the base and telling the other kids where the boy was hiding. Then he thought about setting the leaves on fire to drive him out. Finally, Fulghum raised the window and yelled, “Get found, kid!” (Fulghum adds: “Scared him so bad he probably wet his pants and started crying and ran home to tell his mother. It’s hard to know how to be helpful sometimes.”)

Fulghum then makes the following observation, “Better than hide-and-seek, I like the game called Sardines. In Sardines the person who is It goes and hides, and everybody goes looking for him. When you find him, you get in with him and hide there with him. Pretty soon everybody is hiding together, all stacked in a small space like puppies in a pile. And pretty soon somebody giggles and somebody laughs and everybody gets found.

“Medieval theologians even described God in hide-and-seek terms, calling him Deus Absconditus. But me, I think God is a Sardine player. And will be found the same way everybody gets found in Sardines—by the sound of laughter of those heaped together at the end.”

Never was that more true than that first Christmas. God came to the neighborhood not to play hide-and-seek. He came to play Sardines. And the first to find him, outside his family, were the Shepherds. “They [the shepherds] hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough” (Luke 2:16 HCSB). The Savior was out in the open for the whole world to behold.

God wants to be found. That’s what Christmas is all about: God who was found. .....The shepherds found Jesus. Will you? Copyright 2004, Rick Ezell


Jesus' incarnation

How is this for a description of Jesus' incarnation?

He who never began to be,

but eternally existed,
and who continued to be what he eternally was,
began to be what he eternally was not."

See: John 1:1; John 1:14


God Wields the Universe to Make his Son Known and Worshiped. This is His Great Goal in all Things - that His Son be Known and Worshiped.

Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this "star" get the magi from the east to Jerusalem?
It does not say that it led them or went before them. It only says they saw a star in the east (verse 2), and came to Jerusalem.
And how did that star go before them in the little five-mile walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem as verse 9 says it did? And how did a star stand "over the place where the Child was"? The answer is: We do not know.
There are numerous efforts to explain it in terms of conjunctions of planets or comets or supernovas or miraculous lights. We just don't know.
And I want to exhort you not to become preoccupied with developing theories that are only tentative in the end and have very little spiritual significance.
I risk a generalization to warn you: people who are exercised and preoccupied with such things as how the star worked and how the Red Sea split and how the manna fell and how Jonah survived the fish and how the moon turns to blood are generally people who have what I call a “mentality for the marginal”.
You do not see in them a deep cherishing of the great central things of the gospel -
the holiness of God,
the ugliness of sin,
the helplessness of man,
the death of Christ,
justification by faith alone,
the sanctifying work of the Spirit,
the glory of Christ's return and the final judgment.
They always seem to be taking you down a sidetrack with a new article or new tape or book. There is little centered rejoicing.But what is plain concerning this matter of the star is that it is doing something that it cannot do on its own: it is guiding magi to the Son of God to worship him. There is only one Person in Biblical thinking that can be behind that intentionality in the stars - God himself.
So the lesson is plain: God is guiding foreigners to Christ to worship him. And he is doing it by exerting global - probably even universal - influence and power to get it done. Luke shows God influencing the entire Roman Empire so that the census comes at the exact time to get a virgin to Bethlehem to fulfil prophecy with her delivery.
Matthew shows God influencing the stars in the sky to get foreign magi to Bethlehem so that they can worship him.

This is God's design.

He did it then.
He is still doing it now.
His aim is that the nations - all the nations (Matthew 24:14) - worship his Son.

This is God's will for everybody in your office at work, and in your neighborhood and in your home. As John 4:23 says, "Such the Father seeks to worship him."
At the beginning of Matthew we still have a "come-see" pattern.
But at the end the pattern is "go-tell".
The magi came and saw. We are to go and tell. But what is not different is that the purpose of God is the ingathering of the nations to worship his Son. The magnifying of Christ in the white-hot worship of all nations, the reason the world exists.

From WE HAVE COME TO WORSHIP HIM (Matthew 2:1-12)

By John Piper, (See full Sermon at SERMONS.)


Darkness Before the Dawn

The year 1809 was considered to be a very bad year. Napoleon Bonaparte was leading his invincible army across Europe, altering the face of the map. However, that year the following men were born: Abraham Lincoln, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Alfred Tennyson, William Gladstone, and Felix Mendelssohn.
It was a dark night in many ways when God hung a star in the eastern sky to announce the advent of His Son. It was a dark night politically, economically, morally, and religiously. But it was the darkness before the dawn. Jesus came, and the world has not been the same since.

See: Isa 9:2; John 8:12


"Jesus is God spelling Himself out in language that men can understand."

S.D. Gordon (summarizing John 1:14)

-- Bruce Demarest, Jesus Christ, The God-Man, p. 41. See: Gal 4:3-5


In Jesus divine omnipotence moved in a human arm;
In Jesus divine wisdom was cradled in a human brain;
In Jesus divine love throbbed in a human heart;
In Jesus divine compassion glistened in a human eye;
In Jesus divine grace poured forth in human lips.

-- Lloyd Cory, ed., Quotable Quotations, p. 61. See: John 1:14; Col 2:9



When the song of the angels is silent
When the star in the sky is gone
When the kings and princes are home
When the shepherds are again tending their sheep
When the manger is darkened and still.

The work of Christmas begins --
To find the lost
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry
To rebuild the nations
To bring peace among people
To befriend the lonely
To release the prisoner
To make music in the heart.

-- Howard Thurmond in Parables Etc. See: Isa 61:1; Luke 4:18-19; Luke 19:1


Christmas means that:
He descended that we might ascend (John 6:38, 14:3).
He became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9, Jas. 2:5).
He was born that we might be born again (John 1:14, 3:2,7).

He became a servant that we might become sons (Phil. 2:7; Gal. 4:6, 7).
He had no home that we might have a home in heaven (Matt. 8:20; John 14:2).
He was hungry that we might be fed (Matt. 4:2; John 6:50).
He was thirsty that we might be satisfied (John 19:26).
He was stripped that we might be clothed (Matt. 27:28; Gal. 3:27).
He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken (Matt. 27:26; 28:20).
He was sad that we might become glad (Isa. 53:3; Phil. 4:4).
He was bound that we might go free (Matt. 27:2; John 8:32-36).
He was made sin that we might be made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).
He died that we might live (John 5:24, 25).
He came down that we might be caught up (1 Thess. 4:16, 17).


The Miraculous Birth

Many of the world's well-known personalities, both actual and mythical, have claimed a miraculous birth.
The Greeks said Perseus was the son of Zeus (Jupiter), and that his mother was Danae, a virgin.

Jupiter, the king of gods in Roman mythology, was called Zeus by the ancient Greeks.

His father was Saturn, and Jupiter was called an Olympian because it was believed he lived on Greece's Mount Olympus. He was the god of the heavens and the ruler of gods and men. According to mythology,
Jupiter came down from heaven in a shower of gold.

According to a Hindu myth, Krishna was the son of a virgin Davaki.
And the Greeks said that Alexander the Great, the son of Philip of Macedon and Olympias, was begotten by a serpent. His mother fired young Alexander's imagination by telling him that he was a descendant of Achilles and that his father, Philip, was a descendant of Hercules.

It was believed by the Romans that Caesar Augustus, the first of the Roman emperors and the one sitting upon Rome's throne when Jesus was born, was conceived by a serpent as Augustus's mother lay asleep in the temple of Apollo.

These fables believed by ancients failed to compare, however, with the birth of Jesus Christ. Conceived by the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the sinless Savior.

See: Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:26-35


May the Christmas GIFTS remind us of God's greatest gift, His only Son.
May the Christmas CANDLES remind us of Him who is the "Light of the world."
May the Christmas TREES remind us of another tree upon which He died.
May the Christmas CHEER remind us of Him who said, "Be of good Cheer."
May the Christmas FEAST remind us of Him who is the "Bread of Life."
May the Christmas BELLS remind us of the glorious proclamation of His birth.
May the Christmas CAROLS remind us of the song the angels sang, "Glory to God in the Highest!"
May the Christmas SEASON remind us in every way of Jesus Christ, our King!!

-- Lighthouse Newsletter, December 1995, p. 1.

See: Psa 112:4; Isa 7:14; Isa 9:2; John 1:14; John 9:5; 2 Cor 4:6


God's infinite compassion.

Compassion lies at the heart of our prayer for our fellow human beings. When I pray for the world, I become the world; when I pray for the endless needs of the millions, my soul expands and wants to embrace them all and bring them into the presence of God. But in the midst of that experience I realize that compassion is not mine but God's gift to me. I cannot embrace the world, but God can. I cannot pray, but God can pray in me. When God became as we are, that is, when God allowed all of us to enter into the intimacy of the divine life, it became possible for us to share in God's infinite compassion.

-- Henry Nouwen in Seeds of Hope. Christianity Today, Vol. 42, no. 3.

See: Jn 15:9; Ro 12:10; Eph 4:32.


Christmas is more than tinsel and toys

"Christmas is more than tinsel and toys, trees and toddies, gifts and greetings. It is not merely a word of goodwill lightly spoken and soon forgotten in the raucous cries of conflict. Christmas is a message of peace on earth among men who are pleasing to God.
It is Immanuel, God with us.
It is God bending low to lift men up our of the sin and mire of a world which has forgotten God and His will for lost men.
It is God in a cradle, the Eternal in a tender baby's flesh and form"

(My Favorite Illustrations). Herschel Hobbs


The Incarnate Christ

The late, great president of Princeton University, Dr. Francis L. Patton, wrote in his godly way: "The only hope of Christianity is in the rehabilitating of the Pauline theology.
It is back, back, back to an incarnate Christ, and the atoning blood, or it is on, on, on to atheism and despair."
There is only one way we can avoid ultimate despair and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

See: Gal 6:14; Eph 2:13; Heb 9:13-14; 1 Pet 1:18-19


O ever homeless stranger,
Thus dearest friend to me;
An outcast in a manger,
That thou might'st with us be!

Come now, and view that manger-
The Lord of glory see,
A houseless, homeless stranger
In this poor world for thee.

There see the Godhead glory
Shine through that human veil,
And, willing, hear the story
Of love that's come to heal.


The Greatest Question

Television talk-show host Larry King made a very perceptive comment when he was asked who he would most like to have interviewed from across history. One of those he named was Jesus Christ.

"What would you have asked Him?" Came the rejoinder to Mr. King. "I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin born,because the answer to that question would define history."


TWO BABES IN A MANGER

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage.

About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. These Americans relate the following story in their own words:

It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.

Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.

Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the babyís blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.

The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boyís manger, was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately - until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.

Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I donít have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldnít, because I didnít have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift.

So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him for always." As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him - FOR ALWAYS. Iíve learned that itís not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.


A Christmas Creed I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.

I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.

I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.

I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible:

I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother's arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God's love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.

I confess my ever-lasting need of God: The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.

I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world


We Are Not Abandoned
by Rick Ezell

God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).


I heard Steve Brown on the radio telling about the ugliest car he had ever seen. It had a large gash on its side; the door was held together with bailing wire; many places on the car were rusted out. The muffler was loose and, with every bump, was hitting the street sending sparks in every direction. It was hard to tell the original color of the car. The rust had eaten away much of the original paint, and so much of the car had been painted over with so many different colors that any one of them, or none of them, could have been the first coat. The most interesting thing about the car was the bumper sticker.
It read: “This is not an abandoned car.”
We live in a fallen world. It is ugly and depressing. Everywhere we turn we find tragedy and heartache. We are sitting on the verge of disaster. But it is not just the world. It’s us. Sometimes the effort to keep on keeping on doesn’t seem worth it. Guilt, loneliness, hurt and fear become constant companions. One wonders sometimes if any of it makes any difference. One wonders if anyone, especially God cares. But a long time ago, in a manger, a baby was born. It was a sign.
It read: “This is not an abandoned world.”
When Jesus came, God gave us the assurance that he had not abandoned us. He visited our planet letting us know that he was involved and that he cared. What the angel said to the shepherds was the same thing God is saying to us today,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV) .
Even though we may not understand all that is happening to us and to our world, we are in good hands. God is not in a panic; he is still in control of our world. While circumstances may indicate panic at every turn, God came to us to say that he can understand the complexities of humanity and will touch people where they hurt the most.

“This is not an abandoned world.”

From Sightings of the Savior
Copyright 2003 Rick Ezell
One Minute Uplift Weekly Email Devotional 03/01/07

The Wonder of Wonders

By J.Sidlow Baxter

"He gave His only-begotten Son."— Jn. 3: 16.

That word "gave" has in it the force of "gave up". As an old commentator says. “God not only gave His Son to the world, but for it”. That meant the birth in the cattle-shed at Bethlehem, the struggle with poverty at Nazareth, the carpenter's bench, the being "tempted in all points like as we are", the suffering of reproach and the being "acquainted with grief", the shame and the spitting, the purple robe and the crown of thorns, the iron spikes and the deadly spear, the awful darkness, and the "tasting of death".
Oh, there is titanic meaning in Paul's words, "He spared not His own Son."

Was ever a gift like the Saviour given?
He leaves the bosom of the eternal Father,
and comes to the bosom of an earthly mother.
The Son of God becomes the Son of Mary.

The Infinite becomes an infant.

He who holds the world in His arms is held in the arms of a frail woman.

He whose garment is space, whose house is the universe, whose chariots are the clouds, and whose diadems are the stars, is wrapped in swaddling bands, and laid in a manger.

He leaves the palace-beautiful of heaven, for the stable, and the work-bench, and the having
"not where to lay His head".

He lays aside His celestial insignia, for the peasant dress and the purple robe.

He puts aside His sceptre of universal sovereignty, for the reed of mock royalty in Pilate's hall.

He leaves the throne of heaven, for the Cross out-side the city wall.

He who is the Prince of life bows His head in death.

He who is without sin becomes the Sinbearer. The Christ of God becomes the Crucified.

He who is the Father's delight becomes the God-forsaken.

He who lit the stars lies in the dust.

He comes.He toils,He hungers and thirsts,

He weeps. He suffers, He bleeds and dies!……for God so loved the world that He "gave up" His only-begotten Son.

Oh, how different is God's giving from men's! In all too many instances, men's giving is for self-advantage; their giving is a subtle form of getting; but God gives out of pure beneficence.
Men's giving can only be to a certain extent: but God's is without limit. Men's giving is usually in response to urgent cries for help: but God gives to those who neither realise their need nor appreciate His gift.
Men's giving is usually to friends: but God gives His gift of gifts to those who are alienated and rebellious; for, as the Scriptures say, "Christ died for us"; and "In due time Christ died for the ungodly",
and again "

When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son " (Rom. 5: 8; 6 :io).

At the wonder of such redeeming giving, Edward Young breaks forth:

A pardon bought with blood! with blood divine!
With blood divine of Him I made my foe!—
My species up in arms! not one exempt!
Yet for the foulest of the foul He dies,
As if our race were held of highest rank,
And Godhead dearer as more kind to man!
Oh, what a scale of miracles is here!
Its lowest round high planted in the skies;
Its towering summit lost beyond the thought
Of man or angel.

By J. Sidlow Baxter


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