The Word of Christmas

Have you ever looked at how the story of Jesus is told in the Bible?  The writers of the Gospels all start their accounts differently.  Matthew starts with Jesus’ genealogy beginning with Abraham.  Mark just jumps into the story of Jesus’ ministry, starting with John the Baptist’s introducing Jesus.  Luke gives us the most details of the story of Jesus’ birth starting with the announcement of the coming birth of John the Baptist.

The Apostle John, however, begins his account in what might be an unexpected way to many.  He starts with Creation.  John’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the Divine Son of God who pre-existed his coming on that first Christmas.  He is the Divine “Word” of God who spoke the world into existence.  John appears to be speaking to the Greek audience in his time.  The Greek philosophers had postulated that life itself must have some underlying, foundational core of logic upon which the whole world rested.  They called this the “Logos” (that’s Greek for “word”).  John says that Jesus is that “Word.”  He is life itself.  He is the light of humanity.

John tells us of Jesus’ birth, but does so in one sentence:  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14a).  That one statement says a lot!  John says that the pre-existent Son of God took on humanity.  He came to us in a human body and took up residence among us.  John identifies this God/man as Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

This Christmas when you look at the manger scene, remember what you are seeing:  the Divine Word who spoke the world into existence has humbled Himself (cf. Phil. 2:5-11), taking on the form of a helpless baby, so that He can take away your sins!  Now that is truly a gift beyond compare!

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The Quest – Day 17

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 12, 2006 which is the 17th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 17 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

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Day 17 – A Golden Rule

Apply the Golden Rule to everything you say and do every day with everyone

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

We call this verse the Golden Rule for a couple of reasons. First, like valuable gold, Jesus placed it at the top of the list of most important things He said during His earthly ministry. Second, following this rule results in the best kind of life we can live. Let’s look closer at what Jesus says here.

Jewish tradition as well as world religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, all urge us to: “Do no harm to others.” But Jesus reverses that thought into a positive command. Treat others with the same acts of kindness and goodwill that you would enjoy receiving. In other words, pursue joy and happiness for others. Think of the kind of party you would like to have, then plan that kind of party for someone else. Think of a really nice gift, then buy that kind of gift for a friend. Include those who frustrate and aggravate you on your list of possible recipients. Don’t forget to put your enemies on that list as well.

Jesus not only gave us an example for following the Golden Rule but also gave us the inspiration to follow it. He called us to a life that leads to peace and harmony in our relationships with others. He called us to a life of wholeness with this rule.

Jesus further gave us the strength and power to follow this Golden Rule. This love for which we quest does not find its source in us. It flows from God Himself. That’s why we must continually remind ourselves that it’s not ours to produce; it’s ours to receive. We must accept this gift of love from God and then pass it along in the same measure in which we have received it. So we find that living out the Golden Rule is impossible without a close personal relationship with God through the Spirit of Christ living in you.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how your quest keeps bringing you back to the need of a close personal relationship with God?

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

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Build your faith today and every day by applying the Golden Rule to everything you say and do with everyone.