Sunday, December 17, 2006

Studying the Christmas Story Instead of Just Reading It

It occurred to me that I have never really studied the Christmas story.

Sure, I had read it...or portions of it many times. But, I had never really studied it.

So, this week, I have started my new study the story of the birth of Jesus from each of the gospels.

I'm learning a lot! So many subtle nuances are there, clearly for an inspired purpose...yet easily lost if I'm just reading, and not digging in.

So, I have started taking a lot of notes on what I'm learning, and chief among them is a list of prophesies that Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilled. Over and over again, the Scriptures from the gospels quote Scripture from the books of the prophets in the Old Testament.

Amazing to see them come to fruition through Yeshua.

Also...this year we are celebrating Hanukkah for the first time. Wow! We are learning so many things! Just tonight the children and I were talking about Judah Maccabee, and how God helped him and his army of men
re-take control of Jerusalem, even though their numbers were quite smaller than those of the Syrians under Antiochus.

Not surprising, though. We see that picture over and over in the Old Testament...God often reduced the size of the army before He led Israel into that God would get the glory, instead of man.

And to think...He did it again for the Maccabees!

Guess that throws that whole, "God was through with the Jews a long time ago...and now the church has become the new Israel" garbage right out the door, doesn't it?

God's faithfulness for Israel has never ended.

Or, if you need more about the Yom Kippur war?
Or, the re-establishment of Israel as a state?
Or, Or, Or....I could go on and on.

God loves Israel! They are now, have always been, and will always be...His people.

Genesis tells us that He will bless those who bless Israel and will curse those who curse Israel.

That's pretty crystal to me.

Praise be to God...we are grafted into Israel! We are one through Yeshua! There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, because we are one through Christ...who fulfilled the law and brought us all under grace.

Praise God!
Happy Hanukkah!


Laura said...

Here's something I heard a long time ago...

The importance of the scripture for Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem to register for the census is overlooked.

Luke 2:1-7
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

So, the understanding is that there had never been a census of the Roman empire prior to this decree. God used Caesar to get Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem in time for Jesus to be born there and fulfill all the prophecy about where he was to be born.

So, when we see God's complete plan, (even when He uses those who are not believers in Him like Pharaoh), His plan is perfect!

Jesica said...

That was great, Laura.

I loved when I learned that truth through Scripture...that God can even use the ungodly to achieve His purposes.

It's great application for me to remember, when life doesn't go just as I think it should...and it's because of someone that isn't following the Lord.

Thanks for the reminder! OOOH...and for the yummy brownies! :)