Sharing the Word

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Harry Martinez

“Tis the season to be merry” so goes one of the favorite songs of Christmas.  There are abundant reasons to have a “happy heart:”  the freedom which is enjoyed in this country, the opportunity for Christians to pursue God’s plan for their lives, the joy of having friends and family, individual and national prosperity,  the availability of places to worship and hearing the Word of God taught throughout the land without fear of reprisal. These are all Divine blessings from a loving Heavenly Father.  Moses challenged the Exodus generation with God’s commands …  “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God” (Deut 11:26-28 NASB).   The Psalmist said … “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (Ps 33:12 NASB). While these passages must be primarily interpreted as pertaining to the Israelites, there is application toward any nation who honors the Lord God. It is an indisputable fact that our nation has prospered because it was founded on principles gleaned from Scripture.  While Israel remains a people that God has chosen to be His mouthpiece that is not occurring at the present time.  The Body of Christ has been given the responsibility and privilege to … “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20 NASB).  Thus the disciples were commissioned to preach the gospel – and the Apostle Paul wrote … “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3-4 NIV).  But God’s redemptive plan did not begin with the Cross for that was its grand finale.  As in a magnificent symphony much had to occur before the climactic ending of the selection.  Such was the seemingly quiet prophetic utterance by Isaiah that … “the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  In actuality, the pronouncement rang throughout the universe as God would become flesh and enter into human history.  This would not be a distant god who men seek to reach through human effort, but rather, the true God, maker of heaven and earth who would condescend to assume humanity while still possessing Divine essence, now to be known as the God-Man.  What joyous reverberations must have been heard throughout God’s  angelic realm?   An unheard of event would occur by which a young woman would become pregnant and still maintain her virginity.  It would truly be a virgin pregnancy devoid of the human procreative act, for God would speak Mary’s womb into a state of pregnancy.  John would pen … “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).  God’s plan to provide salvation through the God-Man had become a reality.  From its first announcement in the Garden by the pre-incarnate Christ that the seed of the woman would destroy the power of Satan, and then through succeeding centuries, Israel and indeed all mankind waited for the prophets message to be fulfilled … “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isa 9:6a) NIV).  That promised day came and the angels proclaimed His birth … “for behold, I bring you good news of  great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10b-11 NASB).