Friday, January 3, 2014

"And so it was fulfilled!"

Day #7:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - January 4th

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 1-2 …

People today try and try to find something to satisfy the desire to be "fulfilled" … to find meaning in the daily existence we call "life."  Yet, as you read Matthew's gospel record of Jesus' birth you will hear him often using the word "fulfill" or "fulfilled."  As a Jew writing to his fellow Jews, Matthew was aware that many did not believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the "Anointed One," the "Christ."  The same is true for many reading the Bible today.  There is often little understanding of what led up to Jesus' birth and why the circumstances of His birth are so important to know and to believe.

Imagine not having the Old Testament Scriptures and reading the genealogy of Joseph in Matthew 1.  "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David, the son of Abraham" (vs. 1).  Who is David and who is Abraham?  And verse 2 is no better:  "Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers."  So what!?!  And then all of the names that follow.  Do we really need to read this?  What is there to understand??

It is here that many lose their way before they even get started, yet all this points to the fulfillment of promises made hundreds of years before, in fact, more than two thousand years before.  God's promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are recorded in the book of Genesis, chapters 12 -50, and it is in Jacob's blessing of his son, Judah, that we find these words:  "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until HE comes to whom it belongs, and the obedience of the nations is HIS" (Genesis 49:10).

God had promised and so it had to happen as God said.  While the kingdom of Israel was divided and the rulers of the northern kingdom of Israel came from many different ancestral lines, the tiny nation of Judah was ruled over by ONE line, the line of the tribe of Judah, which included King David.  Even during and after the exile to Babylon, the line continued until Jesus was born.  In every detail leading up to His birth God was at work to FULFILL that which had been written … what God Himself had promised through the prophets.

Jesus was and is "Immanuel," "God with us."  He is "JESUS," "the LORD saves."  He is the One who was to be born in Bethlehem and He is the "Branch" of Isaiah 11:1:  "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse (David's father); from HIs roots a Branch will bear fruit."  The Hebrew word, "nazar" means "branch," so He grew up in Nazareth and was called a "nazarene."  Details, planned by God so that there could be no doubt that Jesus was and IS the promised One.

Place your hope in Jesus today and know that through faith in Him you have peace with God, the forgiveness of your sins and life ETERNAL!!  If you believe in Him, He is with you now, He will be with you forever, and you are HIS.  "Rejoice in the Lord" for, indeed, "It was fulfilled!"  "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ Jesus" (II Corinthians 1:20).  True fulfillment comes in knowing, loving and serving Jesus!

"Father, as I read your Word I am amazed at Your wisdom in planning our salvation through the coming of Your Son, Jesus, into this world.  I believe that He came in fulfillment of Your promises and I trust You to keep every promise You have made.  May my life bring You glory as I live with You and for You, today and every day.  In Jesus' name, I pray.  Amen"

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