Jesus and Angels

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
(Hebrews 1:6)

Reflection:
Angels appear in Scripture as important and powerful beings. However they bear no comparison to Jesus Christ. Although He was ‘made a little lower than the angels’ we see Him become the object of their worship. God says ‘let all God’s angels worship Him’ and at the news of His birth

  • “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:13-14)

The writer to the Hebrews stresses this point on a number of occasions.

  • “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? (Hebrews 1:5)
  • “To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (Hebrews 1:13)

About Jesus Christ God said,

  • “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the sceptre of your kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8)
  • “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” (Hebrews 1:10-12)

The writer finishes by saying that all angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. By comparison Jesus Christ is our salvation, our Lord, our King and our God. If all the angels worship Him how much more should we!

Response:
Acknowledge the Lord Jesus as your Lord, your King and your God – and your eternal salvation.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus I bow before You and Your Name above all names. You are my great and wonderful Saviour and my glorious Lord, and I kneel in humble awe and gratitude at Your feet. Amen.

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Saviour of Sinners

“After he had provided purification for sins,
He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”
(Hebrews 1:3)

Reflection:
We have looked at Jesus Christ as the pinnacle of God’s revelation, as the Lord of Creation and as the Son of the Father. Now we move on to see this Divine Son as the Saviour of sinners as well.

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners from the wrath of God and from everlasting separation.

  • “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)
  • ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15)
  • “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

Jesus was not an angel who had volunteered or one of the heavenly host forced to sacrifice himself, nor was He an arbitrary human selected by God because of some nearly perfect characteristic. He was and is God the Son.

  • “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-7)

And now, having achieved the purpose for which He was sent, He sits in glory, majesty and power at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. And in this position He has not abandoned us but continues to pray for us.

  • “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25)

Jesus Christ is totally committed to us and to our salvation. We see it in His coming amongst us in human likeness, in his death upon the cross on our behalf, in His ongoing dedication of Himself to prayer and in His presence within us through the Holy Spirit.  This same Lord Jesus is coming again.

Response:
Jesus is God my Saviour and my Lord

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I owe You both my present and my future life. Thank You for Your total commitment to me through yesterday, today and tomorrow, and for being both my beginning and my destination. Amen.

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God the Son

 

 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory
and the exact representation of His being”
(Hebrews 1:3)

Reflection:
Jesus is God cloaked in human flesh. Even so, from within Him shines forth the majesty, power and authority that belongs to God and is an integral part of Him. This is the only way in which God could reveal Himself to us, for otherwise the truth of His warning to Moses would become evident,

“You cannot see my face, for no-one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20)

In the same way that a seal or rubber stamp leaves an exact impression of itself so Jesus is the exact impression of God – no more and no less. And as God’s glory radiates outwards from the Lord Jesus we also discover that He is in fact the glory of God. God’s glory is focussed into Him and through Him. This enables us to see that God’s glory is not merely that of shattering power but instead the glory of suffering love. He does not aim to crush humankind and subject them to mindless servitude, like many of the kings of the earth. He instead seeks to liberate us and raise us into the privileged position of beloved and honoured daughters and sons – forgiven, cleansed, healed and transformed.  This He does by coming to serve us, love us and to die for us.

Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God is the Light of God and the Light of the world. He is the Love of God and the Love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. He is the Life of the world and the eternal Life who is God’s gift to those who believe.

In every possible sense of the word He is Immanuel – God with us. And it is before the blazing power of His Name and before the blinding truth of His being that

“Every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”  (Philippians 2:10-11)

Response:
Who is Jesus Christ to me?

Prayer:

 Please open my eyes Lord – I want to see Jesus for who and what He truly is. Amen.

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Lord of Creation

 “His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things,
and through whom He made the universe”
(Hebrews 1:2)

Reflection:
It should not surprise us that “The Majesty of Genesis 1, the Intimacy of Genesis 2 and the Forgiveness hinted at in Genesis 3 are all found in Jesus Christ.” For it is through this same Jesus that God “made the universe” and who now sustains it.

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3)
  • Sustaining all thing by His powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3)

The whole of Creation is dependent upon Jesus Christ. He is its beginning and its end – its source and its final destination or goal – and its ever-present sustainer.  And as the Son of the Father He is also ‘heir of all things.’ (v2)  He is now and forever the Lord of Creation.

  • “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church” (Ephesians 1:22)

If the life of Jesus Christ had been permanently ended upon the cross then creation itself would have come to an end as well. Instead He opened the door to a new life for us in His resurrection. Whether we are believers or not we depend entirely upon Jesus Christ for our ongoing existence. As believers we trust in Him for our eternal life.

Response:
I owe my existence to the Lord Jesus Christ

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You are my Way, my Truth and my Life – now and forever. Amen

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Son of God

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets
at many times and in various ways,
but in these last days
he has spoken to us by his Son”
 (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Revelation:
Next Sunday the Christian Church begins the season of Advent. It marks the start of the Church’s year as it prepares to celebrate the birth amongst us of Jesus Christ the Son of God. We will start our journey today, and begin this week to look at Jesus Christ as the Divine Son.

This Jesus Christ, about to be born into the world, is the pinnacle of God’s revelation of Himself and of His purpose.  Throughout history as recorded in the Old Testament God has revealed Himself and His will through His chosen and appointed prophets. However this revelation was both partial and progressive as He began to unfold His will before His people and respond to their attitude towards Him.

In Jesus Christ His revelation of Himself is both complete and final. The Christ becomes God’s last word to His world for there is nothing more to be added in terms of Himself, His purpose and His love. Jesus Himself would put it this way,

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”
(John 14:9)

The Majesty of Genesis 1, the Intimacy of Genesis 2 and the Forgiveness hinted at in Genesis 3 are all found in Jesus Christ.  He controls the powers of nature and exercises His will with a word, offers life and purpose to those around Him, and extends forgiveness to the fallen sinners.

To understand more of the Father we study and follow His Son Jesus.

Response:
 Contemplate the wonder of the Son of God being born amongst us. This is Immanuel – God with us. (Matthew 1:23)

Prayer:

Lord open my eyes to the truth and wonder found in the person and revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ – and help me to receive Him more fully into my own life. Amen.

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Singing over you

 

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
 he will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zephaniah 3:17)

 

Reflection:
I remember very clearly God showing me something one day when my granddaughter came to play. Actually she came mainly to sleep, until hunger pains awoke her. She was 8 weeks old and my job was to keep her asleep until it was the right time for her to wake up! I held her in my arms as I mulled what I was doing on the computer, and spent quite a lot of the time watching her face, and the movements of her hands and arms. She stirred at one stage and lay looking at me, so I talked to her and even ‘sang’ softly. She just lay and listened. After a while I played her Susan Boyle’s lovely version of ‘Silent Night’ which is on my computer, and she drifted quietly off again. They were precious moments – almost an hour of them. In a way I was also taking great delight in her, quieting her with my love and rejoicing over her with singing.

We don’t often think of God doing such things with us – treating us as His beloved children – and yet they are both hinted at and referred to in Scripture. The whole Bible is an account of God’s great love, and His continual reaching out for a relationship with the people He formed to be His own. The life and message of Jesus is one of wonderful love, compassion and ministry, and His interaction with people in need is heart-warming.

If I, as a human father and grandfather, can enjoy such moments with my daughters and granddaughters then it is an indication of the love and intimacy which our heavenly Father wishes to have with His children. He said to me once, commenting on the actions of my own daughters, “Your children don’t have to ask your permission to sit on your lap, and lean against your heart. They know that is where they belong and it is, therefore, their right. Just so, My children belong on My lap, leaning against My heart and with My arms around them.”

As grown men and women we can look upon such things as childish – and yet so many of us long spiritually for just such moments of love, intimacy and comfort.

  • “Come to Me” says Jesus, “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
  • And God also says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 40:10) – your God and God of all the situations in your life.

Response:
Ponder and pray these wonderful promises, until they become a part of your belief and relationship with our wonderful Father. Trust Him and His breathtaking love.

Prayer:

Father God, please help me to let You love me, to trust Your love and to rest in Your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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God’s Love

“Bring the fattened calf and kill it.
 Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again;
he was lost and is found”
(Luke 15:23-24)

Reflection:
We have looked at the fact of God delighting in His children and His joy over the lost sheep who is found again. The full extent of that joy of perhaps best expressed in the story of the Prodigal Son.

Having insulted his father by demanding the early payment of his inheritance the younger son had left home, squandered his inheritance in wild living and was now dragging himself back again to seek forgiveness and help. There was nothing about him that could possibly have merited anything other than a frosty and bitter reception.

However, Jesus paints the picture of the father – who represents God – searching the distant horizons and longing for a glimpse of his boy. When eventually he sees him he does not wait in a forbidding and silent stillness. Instead he throws his dignity to the four winds, runs and embraces his son and, without waiting to hear the apology, demands from his servants the best robe, sandals and the ring of status and authority. Then he calls for a special party to celebrate the safe return of his son. The past is forgiven and forgotten – all that matters now is that they are together again.

For all His might, majesty and power this is the longing in the heart of God for you and for me. He wants us back again – back with Him where the past may be forgotten, the present celebrated and the future provided for.  His heart, His home and His holiness are open to us. This is where we belong and where we will thrive and become complete. This is what the Cross achieved for us.

Response:
Imagine dragging yourself unhappily and guiltily back to God and being met by a thunderbolt of love that engulfs you in its arms and wets your cheek with tears of joy.

Prayer:

O Father, open my heart to the wonder and reality of Your love foe me and help me to believe, receive and rejoice in it. Amen.

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He Loves Me

“Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
(Luke 15:3-7)

Reflection:
The depth and extent of God’s love stands in striking contrast to the legalistic attitudes of the world.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were very critical of Jesus association with those whom they deemed to be sinners. Their regulations laid down that they were to have no dealings with such people. In fact, according to William Barclay, the strict Jews had the view that ‘there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who is obliterated before God.’

Jesus view was diametrically opposed to this – and in fact He would teach that

“the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
(Luke 19:10)

This is borne out in the parable where Jesus shows that He will track down the lost – seeking to find them and to bring them safely back to their home and relationship with God. And, in each case, He tells us there will be great ‘rejoicing in heaven.’ This gives us another indication of just how special we are to God! This same Jesus is with us always through the Holy Spirit and, if we do go astray, will come after us to find and recover us.

No matter how close we are to the Lord there may yet be areas of our lives that are still ‘lost’ to Him. Rooms within us where He is knocking on the door, asking to be allowed in so that He may bring light, forgiveness, healing and restoration. His love for us is such that He cannot bear to stand by and watch us hobble along spiritually. And what joy it brings to Him when He is permitted to enter and know the blessing that it brings to us and, through us, to others.

Response:
Ask God to show you where He is knocking – and deliberately invite Him in to be Saviour and Lord in that area as well.

Prayer:

Lord God thank You so much that You tracked me down and saved me. Please help me to allow You more fully into my life so that I may be more completely a part of Yours. Amen.

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Delights in me

“He rescued me
 because he delighted in me”
(Psalm 18:19)

Reflection:
It is so easy to allow ourselves to think of God as a distant reality who frowns whenever He chances to catch sight of us. Yet Scripture is at pains to introduce us to a completely different picture.

Delight is a lovely word. It brings to mind a lifting of the heart, a face breaking into a smile, and eyes widening and sparkling with joy. It is the response that we can experience ourselves when we catch sight of someone whom we love. It is not dependent upon their having done something to please us but is a heart-felt expression of love and affection and joy. This is the understanding of the psalmist.

A similar image appears in the book of Zephaniah when he declares,

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing”
(Zephaniah 3:17)

God made us to love us, for us to know His love and to love Him in return. That is why the fruit of the Spirit gives love pride of place, as do the Great and New Commandments. It is also the reason for the Holy Spirit having love as a major ministry,

“because God has poured out his love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”
(Romans 5:5)

We can only love God because He first loved us, and the depth and extent of that love is revealed most fully in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. This love of God is not merely a word or an intellectual exercise – it is a heart-filled and eternity long passion and delight in those who have responded to Him and entered onto His new life as His beloved children.

This includes you. He has rescued you from the darkness of sin and takes great delight in you.

Response:
Savor the wonderful truth – He delights in me!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, You delight in me – even me. You love me with an everlasting love. You forgive me and build me up as your beloved child through the Holy Spirit whom You have given me. Thank You so much Father – please help me to trust in and enjoy Your love and delight. Amen.

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I Belong

“I have summoned you by name;
you are mine”
(Isaiah 43:1)

 

Reflection:
One night, in the early hours of the morning, I was up looking out at the quiet, moonlit silence. The Lord prompted me to pick up and open my Bible. I did so and found myself reading these words – the first to appear at the top of the page.

“I have summoned you by name;
you are mine”

I stood and pondered their profound and wonderful significance. For indeed He had called me by name and here was the deeply personal reminder of that calling – together with the marvellous and intensely touching affirmation – “You are Mine!”

In a world of great insecurity where to be accepted and acceptable today is no guarantee of tomorrow, where the hurts, failures and rejections of yesterday cloud our vision of today and wrap the future in a shifting mist – where the loves and lovers of this day might be gone by the next – in the midst of all this painful uncertainty – I belong. I am owned and valued. There is a Someone who says of me with love, certainty and everlasting significance, “You are mine.”

 In fact the truth is that He looked for me, tracked me down, called and reached out to me, and took me into His life and His heart. It was no passing whim, no sudden impulse to be forgotten and ignored – but a deliberate and conscious decision and act that had eternity in mind.

What is true for me is true also for each and every one of the sons and daughters of this great and wonderful God. Whatever our earthly state the eternal truth remains and will never end either here or throughout the blissful endless ages to come.

“I have summoned you by name;
you are mine”

Response:
Take a moment to receive, accept and own this tremendous truth

Prayer:

Father God I am Yours – and I rejoice with humble awe and wonder. You have called me and are transforming me day by day into the person You always intended me to be –and You will never ever let me go. Thank You so much. Amen.

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