The PATH, November 30-December 5, 2020
Theme: Someone suggested beginning to read the Gospel of Luke on December 1, as Luke’s Gospel has 24 chapters. If you do this you will complete Luke’s Gospel on Christmas Eve and have a greater understanding and love for the Savior who was born on Christmas Day. We will begin that reading plan this week, but first we will look into the prophecy contained in Isaiah 9.
Monday – Isaiah 9
Isaiah 9 begins with a beautiful announcement of change, “and there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish.” In other words the nation that was filled up with gloom and anguish will now be filled with freedom and joy. How does this happen? Only through the power of God! God Himself can reverse the fortunes of nations and of people at any time and at any place, however here specifically Isaiah is prophecying about the coming Messiah. When He comes, He will bring freedom and joy. He will transform hearts and situations. He will be King and this King will be called, “wonderful, counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He will be wonderful in the love that He has for His people. He will counsel them and comfort them. Isaiah later tells us that He will wipe away ever tear from their eyes. He is truly wonderful and our counselor and our comforter. Not only that but Isaiah wants us to know that the Messiah is not going to be just a person, He will be God come in the flesh. He will be the Mighty God. He will be our Everlasting Father. He will be forever faithful to us and love us as our Father. He will adopt us into His family, and He will bring peace. This peace is 4 fold. It is first and foremost fundamentally a peace with God. We can have peace with Him through the Messiah. We can also have peace with other people through the Messiah who is our counselor who dwells within us. Because of His greatness we can also have a peace in the situations of life, and because of His great love and forgiveness we can have peace within ourselves. It all starts with a relationship with this Messiah that Isaiah prophesied about, the one who is “wonderful, counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.” HE transforms nations and people. Isaiah told us He was coming and at Christmas we celebrate His birth! He is Jesus, the wonderful, counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Tuesday- Luke 1
Luke tells us here that Jesus is going to be born. This announcement came to Mary, His Mother. She was most likely young and definitely unmarried but now she was going to bear the coming Messiah. This news of course changed everything about the course of Mary’s life. It brought fear and anxiety we can be sure, but it also brought joy. So much joy that when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, the baby in ELIZABETH’s womb leaped for joy (verse 44). That is what happens with Jesus, when you believe in Him, He brings joy. Elizabeth even tells Mary this in v. 45 as she says, “blessed is she who believed…..” The word blessed in this context means happy or joyful. Elizabeth was telling Mary an amazing truth, when a person believes in Jesus, that person is given a joy that they have never had before. Joy in knowing that they belong to God the Father. Joy in knowing how wonderful Jesus is, joy in experiencing His goodness. Joy in knowing that He is always with us and that we can go to Him as our wonderful counselor and comforter. There is joy in knowing that He is the Mighty God, and that He is in control. There is joy in knowing that He is OUR Everlasting Father and that He loves us and has adopted us into His family and there is joy in knowing that we can have peace. The peace that comes from having a relationship with God. That relationship would be made possible through this baby who is in Mary’s womb. HE caused joy then and HE still causes joy today.
Wednesday – Luke 2
This glorious passage of Scripture tells us that Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for Him in the inn. We are also told about the birth announcement of Jesus. It wasn’t written in the heavens for all to see, it wasn’t given to the King in the palace, but instead to the lowly shepherds “out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night.” The announcement didn’t go to everybody but this shows us that it is for everybody. God announces the birth of the Messiah to the lowly shepherds here and to the wealthy wise men in Matthew 2. The message is clear, the Gospel is for all people. Lowly, poor Jewish shepherds and wealthy, great gentile magi. It is for them and for everyone in between. It is for us. The birth announcement of Jesus gave those shepherds hope. Hope in the midst of the routine of life. Hope in the struggle. Hope in the loneliness. 2000 years later Jesus is still doing the same thing. He injects hope into the routine of life. He gives hope in the loneliness and hope in the struggle. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Thursday – Luke 3
John the Baptist comes onto the scene in Luke 3. We have met him before back in Luke 1 when he leaped in his mother’s womb when he heard the news about Jesus. Jesus gave John joy even before John was born. An unborn baby leaped for joy because of Jesus. (Certainly there is an argument against abortion here). However John is no longer a baby here, he is a grown man, and what is he doing? Telling people about Jesus. He is preaching to people and he is baptizing people, but most importantly he is telling people about Jesus. He does so with these words, “I baptize you with water, but He who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of His sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
Imagine the scene, everyone is flocking to John and instead of lifting himself up, John humbles himself. Instead of trying to get more followers, John tells people that another person is coming that is so much greater than him that he is not even worthy to untie his sandals. This was normally the job of a servant or slave, so what John is actually saying is the one who is coming is so great that I’m not even worthy to be his slave. John was looked up to by a lot of people, but his message to them is “I’m nothing, just wait to you see Jesus.”
John’s focus is where our focus should be. We should be concerned about telling others about Jesus. We should be concerned with what people think of Him, not what they think of us. We should realize even as John did that we need Jesus. He is greater than we are. He is God and we are not, so we should trust Him and follow Him. Realizing that He is worthy because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Friday – Luke 4
Jesus undergoes all types of temptations here in Luke 4 and He triumphs over every single one of them. How does He do that? He uses the word of God. He knows it and He uses it. It is certainly a good example for us. It should motivate us to read and know God’s word. It should motivate us to know the great doctrines of the faith. IT should encourage us to grow in our faith so that we can “take up the shield of faith” when the fiery darts come from the evil one. Jesus is the perfect example for us, but this part of His story is also a reminder to us that we are weak. He endured temptation and triumphed over it, there is no way we can do that on our own. We need not only a knowledge of God’s written word, but we need a living relationship with God’s living word, which is Jesus. He will give us the strength that is needed to overcome temptation and to live for the glory of the Father.