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Partakers Christmas Thought 23 December 2021 – Christmas 26

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Partakers Christmas Thought

23 December 2021

Mary

Part 5: Why did Mary have to be a virgin?

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’
34 ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
(Luke 1:29-35)

A good question to ask now is in relation to today, is why did Mary have to be a virgin? We know that the God-man, Jesus, as a human does not have a father and that as the Son of God he had no mother. The Holy Spirit, through whom Mary conceived, is not just any spirit, but it is God himself whose act must be understood spiritually and not physically.

In the Podcast today, we seek to answer the question of why Mary needed to be a virgin, in order to be the mother of Jesus Christ.

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Partakers Christmas Thought 12 December 2021 – Christmas 15

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Partakers Christmas Thought

12 December 2021

Looking Ahead to Christmas – Part 15

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion –
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy
instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendour.

(Isaiah 61:1-3)
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked.

( Luke 4:14-22)

Here the prophet Isaiah gives two contrasting certainties: “the year of Yahweh’s favour” and “the day of vengeance of our God”. The year of honour, as we shall see has already started. We don’t know when it will end, but we know that it will. The day of vengeance will be in the future sometime. Again we don’t know when that will be either. But we know it will all happen quickly, suddenly and without warning (Isaiah 60:22). Therefore people need to be ready and alert! The time of when it will occur is not known, but it is known who will end it – Almighty God.

The Servant Messiah speaks without being introduced this time, and is the preacher in the year of the Lord’s favour. This preaching is probably a referral to the rams horn that ushers in the Year of Jubilee as established in the Mosaic Covenant (Leviticus 25:8-55). The Servant Messiah’s preaching will usher in a time of grace, justice and freedom – just as the ram’s horn introduced the Year of Jubilee. The phrase to “proclaim liberty” is used in both the year of Jubilee and in this the year of the Lord’s favour. This proclaimed year of the Lord’s favour starts when the Messiah comes the first time and will cease when He returns again. The word “year” is not a fixed period of time as we know it, but is rather to be seen as symbolic of an extended period of time.

This Servant Messiah is anointed with the Holy Spirit of God. This Good News was to be preached to the humble, the poor and poor in spirit – the Good News is news of freedom, liberty, grace and justice! The comfort they will receive should the offer be taken up, is one of being released from condemnation for sin through the Messiah’s offer of forgiveness – that is grace! Because of this grace, three things will be occur for these people who have accept the offer, here referred to in Isaiah 61:3 as “trees of righteousness” : they will display or reflect the Lord God’s glory and splendour; they will be priests of the Lord God service; and will inherit all things!

In the podcast today we continue looking ahead to Christmas and its consequences, by seeing what the prophet Isaiah had to say concerning the proclamations of the coming Messiah Saviour. What were these proclamations? How does this Messiah Saviour speak these proclamations and to who? What relevancy does this have with Jesus Christ?

 

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Partakers Christmas Thought 11 December 2021 – Christmas 14

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Partakers Christmas Thought

11 December 2021

Looking Ahead to Christmas – Part 14

1 Open your doors, Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedars!
2 Wail, you juniper, for the cedar has fallen;
the stately trees are ruined!
Wail, oaks of Bashan; the dense forest has been cut down!
3 Listen to the wail of the shepherds:
their rich pastures are destroyed!
Listen to the roar of the lions;
the lush thicket of the Jordan is ruined!

(Zechariah 11:1-3)

So far in our Christmas journey, we have seen that the future is full of wondrous glory for the coming Servant Messiah and all those who choose to follow Him! It is a future of hope, joy, excitement, awe, wonderment and glory. But that is only one side of the future. In Zechariah 11, we come to another part of the future; the part of the future which is for all those who would reject God’s Servant Messiah. While Zechariah talks in picture language and symbols, the overall message is startlingly clear: those who reject the Messiah, will in the future be rejected by Him! But we are not given the full details here, but rather are told the why it will happen.

Here in Zechariah 11:1-3 we see this judgement coming. The strong barriers of the door are removed! There are no barriers strong enough to escape the judgment of God Almighty. Fire will destroy the mighty cedar trees (Zechariah 11:1), tall pines will fall wantonly (Zechariah 11:2) and fertile land will be decimated as will the places where lions inhabit (Zechariah 11:3). Why are the shepherds crying out in dismay and angst? Not for the land, the trees and animals! No! They were crying out in anguish because of their loss of income! They were too busy ripping off those the people they were meant to lead, rather than leading the people rightly and righteously. They were leaders only for what they could get out of the position they held. They were corrupt, deceitful and arrogant. How were the mighty cedars destroyed and barriers broken down? History tells us that the Roman Empire swept through Lebanon, subduing the entire Lebanese leadership & independent authority under its mighty power. To further illustrate this, Zechariah is asked to role play two Shepherds: a good Shepherd and a foolish Shepherd.

In the podcast today we continue looking ahead to Christmas and its consequences, by seeing what the prophet Zechariah had to say concerning the rejection of the coming Messiah Saviour. How does Zechariah talk of this rebellion and how is it illustrated? What relevancy does this have with Jesus Christ?

 

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Partakers Christmas Thought 10 December 2021 – Christmas 13

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Partakers Christmas Thought

10 December 2021

Looking Ahead to Christmas – Part 13

1 ‘Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendour.’ 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

(Isaiah 55:1-7)

Recently we looked at the City of God which is to come. It will be a time where all those who have accepted God’s invitation into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, will live and worship the Lord God Almighty for ever! Who is this invitation for? This invitation to join is to all people of all races and nationalities! But they have to respond to the call! Have you responded to this call? It is still not too late!

“Come”, cries Almighty God through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 55:1). Come! The gates to my City are open to all who believe! There is no entry charge, its free! This food is free for all! What is this food? It is mercy and pardon. Mercy from God and pardon for sin for all those who respond to the call God has put out. The invitations have been sent! Have you accepted this invitation yet?

This is the everlasting Covenant (Isaiah 55:5-6) or the new Covenant we have talked about and was proclaimed by other prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Just as each of the previous covenants had a symbol to authenticate the agreement, so does this! Noah’s covenant had the rainbow, Abraham had circumcision and Moses had the sprinkling of blood. This new and everlasting Covenant will also have a sign! The sign is disclosed in Isaiah 55:13 as an everlastingly transformed universe! Amazing! This is the climax of Isaiah so far! Therefore, the Messiah Servant must suffer in Isaiah 53! This new everlasting covenant does not cancel the other covenants, but rather fulfils them. The result of the Messiah Servant’s work will be everything that Almighty God has promised, and all promises of God will find their Amen in the Servant.

In the podcast today we continue looking ahead to Christmas and its consequences, by seeing what the prophet Isaiah had to say concerning the God’s invitation to the world via the coming Messiah and an everlasting Covenant between God and humanity! How does Isaiah talk of this Covenant? What are the details of this everlasting Covenant? How does this relate to the future promises of God? What relevancy does this have with Jesus Christ?

 

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You can now purchase our book about the story of Christmas by clicking or tapping on this link here which will take you to Amazon!

Partakers Christmas Thought 8 December 2021 – Christmas 11

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Partakers Christmas Thought

8 December 2021

Looking Ahead to Christmas – Part 11

1 Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime;
it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people,
and plants of the field to everyone.
2 The idols speak deceitfully, diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.
3 ‘My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders;
for the LORD Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah,
and make them like a proud horse in battle.
4 From Judah will come the cornerstone,
from him the tent peg, from him the battle-bow,
from him every ruler.
5 Together they will be like warriors in battle
trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.
They will fight because the LORD is with them,
and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.

(Zechariah 10:1-5)

During the time of Zechariah, the Temple was being rebuilt. The Temple, as you may or may not be aware, was central to Jewish worship. Indeed, central to Jewish life. But who would help give advice and solve the multitude of problems they were facing? Who cared about them? Well, Zechariah speaks into their situation with wise words. He has already likened the nation of Israel as being like sheep, and that God is their shepherd

“Yahweh their God will save them in that day as the flock of his people; for they are like the jewels of a crown, lifted on high over his land. “ (Zechariah 9:16)

Throughout Zechariah 10, it is repeated again and again, that God will care for and bless them. But in order to receive the blessing and care, the nation of Israelites must respond appropriately!

In the podcast today we continue looking ahead to Christmas and its consequences, by seeing what the prophet Zechariah had to say concerning the coming Messiah’s leadership. Zechariah call Israel to respond to God, but how are Israel to respond to God? How does Zechariah describer the leadership of the coming Messiah? How does any of this have relevancy for Jesus Christ?

 

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You can now purchase our book about the story of Christmas by clicking or tapping on this link here which will take you to Amazon!

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