Day 2: Jesus
The Bible is the story of Jesus. It is important that we understand who the person of Jesus is. Jesus was a man, and He was the manifestation of God. John describes Jesus as the Word of God. As if God’s words came to life, to build relationships, and to send a message.
As you have probably heard the story in the past, Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was 100% man and 100% God. I know that does not add up with earthly math. Think about that for a while. 100% man means when he was born, he cried, he pooped, he sneezed, he had feelings and emotions. He was tempted in every single way that you and I are tempted. That’s why he can empathize with us. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, as your Christmas nativity scene reminds you. Although he probably was not born on December 25th. December 25th was chosen by the church of Rome in 336 A.D. during the rule of Constantine when he made Christianity the religion of the empire. He probably chose December 25th for some political reason. The best guess is that Jesus was born sometime in late spring or early summer.
Jesus’ parents fled to Egypt for a few years to hide out because their life was in danger by Herod the Great, who heard about the coming king and felt threatened. After all, he was expecting a literal king. Herod the Great had all the children under the age of two killed to avoid any risk of dethronement. Therefore, Jesus’ parents ran.
After a few years, they settled in Nazareth, which is southwest of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was well known in his small town. When word started getting out that He was the son of God, the people that knew him growing up had a hard time believing it. However, this should not be discouraging to you, because by the end of Jesus’ life, even his half-brother who wrote the book of James strongly believed he was the Son of God. I mean, it would have taken a miracle for my brother to believe I was the Son of God, and even then, I’m not sure he would buy it. So, we can know with confidence that something happened that was strong enough evidence for James not only to believe but be willing to die a martyr in the name of Jesus.
Despite the beautiful picture of Jesus carving wood, he was likely not a carpenter. More evidence shows that he was a builder, construction worker, possibly even specialized in mason work.
Some of these facts are just fun to know, but some of them are crucial to our relationship with God. First, it helps our understanding of what he experienced on the cross. Because of our sin, we deserved the harshest punishment that ultimately leads to death. For Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice that would take the place of all future sacrifices, he needed to experience the same pain that we would experience if we were to pay for our sins. So, when Jesus was on the cross, he was in pain, he cried, he bled just as you and I would. It was excruciating beyond belief. Then he died.
Second, because of Jesus’ humanity, he can become a perfect example of what our life should resemble. If he was not human, then we could call it quits on trying to live like Him, but everything
Jesus did in His humanity, we are capable of doing. Living with compassion, love, humility, patience, kindness, and serving others. Jesus came so we may experience God’s love in a way we had never been able to in the past and so we could show His love to others. You have been given all of the power to live as Jesus lived.
Scripture of the Day
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him, all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
– John 1:5