Each day this month, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all he’s done for us in Christ.
Since the time of the last prophet Malachi, God didn’t designate any patriarchs, kings, or prophets. There was no message from God. This 400-year silence highlights the drama of Christ’s arrival. The fulfillment of all the prophecies, predictions, and promises of the Old Testament arrived. Yet the way he came and the methods he used defied expectations.
The gospels — the accounts of Jesus’ life written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — feature many surprises.
Jesus came humbly, as a baby who needed his swaddling clothes changed, in a backward part of Israel, to a modest family. He grew up to become a carpenter and then a strange rabbi with a ragtag cohort of followers — ranging from hated tax collectors to stinky fishermen.
Contrary to those of most religious instructors, his teachings were economical, colloquial, and powerful. He lived what he preached. His parables delighted some and confounded others. He spread no jingoistic political rhetoric, yet he never stopped talking about a “kingdom of God.”
He came as an example. He had compassion for everyone. He welcomed children and fed people. He healed the sick and washed dirty feet. He saw brokenness and wept. In every encounter with ordinary people, he spoke truth and grace.
Many expected the promised Messiah to be a conquering political hero. Instead, he freed us from our spiritual separation from God.
More than anything else, he came to die. More than a martyr, he came as a sacrifice. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Jesus is the dramatic climax of God’s redemptive story. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection prove that God can lift up broken, condemned, and ordinary human beings and make them his children — cleansed, fulfilled, and empowered to share his Kingdom.
These grateful and transformed people join the celebration. It’s as if they say, “He’s here. He’s one of us. And nothing will be the same.”
Father,from all eternity, you planned to send your Son to accomplish your redemptive purposes. Your story culminates in the revealing of this amazing plan. Thank you for loving us and wanting us before Creation began, and for paying such a great cost to win us to yourself.
Throughout This Day: Ponder these questions:
- Do you ever lose your sense of wonder for all that Jesus did for you? Why or why not?
- Do you ever wish you could have been alive at the time Christ was on the earth? If so, what would you want to see?
- Why is it important to you that Jesus was human?
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