The real date of Jesus’ birth

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-10, 14-15, 17, 21 NKJV

Have you ever said, “I’m not Jesus”?

Bless those who persecute you?  Bless and do not curse?  Don’t take vengeance?  Overcome evil with good?

Jesus blessed those who reviled Him, and even prayed that God would forgive those who murdered Him.  But can God really expect me to be like that?  After all, its true: I’m not Jesus. Neither are you.

Much is made over the exact date of Jesus’ birth.  But the most important thing isn’t when He was born, but that He was born.

And because of His birth, today can be your Nativity.

No, you’re not Jesus. 

But is Christ in you? 

Are you crucified with Christ?  Can you say that Jesus Christ now lives His life in and through you, and that you no longer live?

Although you’re not Jesus, Jesus Christ can be born in you today. 

Today can be your Nativity.


Wish I would’ve seen this quote before my sermon yesterday …

Referring to the bread from heaven and water from the desert rock God provided the ancient Israelites in the wilderness, E.J. Waggoner wrote:

“They showed that Christ dwells in the heart by faith just as really as the emblems are received into the body; and that just as really as those emblems are assimilated, and become flesh, so really does Christ, the Word, become flesh in all those who receive Him by faith.  Christ is formed within by the power of the Spirit.”

– from “The Everlasting Covenant: God’s Promise to Abraham and the World”, Chapter 26, under the subheading The Real Presence.  Emphasis supplied.

Innocent Blood

Un bacio, originally uploaded by Mr-Pan.

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” Matthew 27:3-6, NASB

I find it deeply ironic that the priests, the ones who professed to cleave to Moses’ law with a vice grip – the men who were responsible for helping people make propitiation for their sins through the sacrificial system – were the very ones who told the remorseful Judas, when he admitted his sin, “Hey, that’s your problem!”

They didn’t know it, but that attitude accurately reflected their new role. No longer would they have anything at all to do with the forgiveness of sins. The One whose murder they cherished with all the strength of their fierce jealousy would now be the means of direct access to God, and forgiveness could be obtained directly from His throne. The words of the prophet Ezekiel were coming true before their eyes:

‘Thus says the Lord God , “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? … [the] sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them… therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord … “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep… Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out… I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest” … (Ezekiel 34)

Jesus took their place – He is our Shepherd and High Priest.

Judas obviously understood the concept of blood-guiltiness as set forth in the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 19:10, 13). He now had the guilt of innocent blood on his head (the priests would later take the guilt upon themselves and declare it over their children as well). In the Old Testament, blood-guiltiness was not incurred, or could be forgiven, if the person didn’t mean to kill the other person, or if the dead person was found within the city limits but no one knew who had killed him or her. Only if the murder was pre-meditated and motivated by hatred did the victim’s closest of kin have the right to kill the guilty one.

And so, the priests, too, took upon themselves the unforgivable kind of blood-guiltiness. As we will see in the following verses, the Scriptures set this concept up in the minds of its readers through types and enacted parables:

  • Jonathan, speaking to King Saul about David, a type of Christ: “For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; … why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause?” (1 Samuel 19:5). In Ezekiel 34:23-24, written long after the historical King David died, Jesus is referred to by God as His servant David.
  • Jeremiah, also acting as a type of Christ, having been sent by God to prophesy to mankind, uttered words that could well have been spoken by Christ Himself: “Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, and on this city and on its inhabitants; for truly the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.” (Jeremiah 26:15)
  • See also 2 Samuel 3:28, Jeremiah 7:6, Jeremiah 22:3, Jonah 1:14

See, their hearts were full of murder, they brought false witnesses, they coveted what was not theirs, and committed idolatry in placing their traditions over the word of God; they would murder the very Son of God, but they were still concerned with how “lawful” it was to put the 30 silver shekels back in the temple treasury. Talk about hypocrisy.

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True Freedom

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NASB)

I once heard Pastor Alejandro Bullon say in a sermon that the difference between God and Satan is that God wants to lift us up, and the devil wants to push us down and step on us. I have found this to be true in my own life. At my lowest point, I felt completely insignificant and unlovable. I felt like nothing I said or did mattered, because I didn’t matter. Knowing that God and my family loved me didn’t seem to make any difference in my state of mind.

I now recognize that every time I felt the message that I was worthless pushed into my mind, it was exactly what the devil wanted me to think.

Jesus, on the other hand, has a different way of seeing me. When I was down, He lifted me up. When I felt unlovable, He professed His love for me. And as much as the devil wants to make us feel bad about ourselves, the truth is that we are priceless in the eyes of the One who loved us enough to die in our place.

This is the essential difference between Christ and Satan. Christ is about selfless love, while the devil is about self-love. That’s it. People say that it’s irrational to believe in Jesus. But what’s really irrational is to choose to ally with someone who hates you over Someone who loves you.

The devil claims that God wants to oppress us. That is the most absurd, sinister, and hypocritical statement ever made. The truth is that he is the one who wants to oppress us. Consider what happens to someone who is demon-possessed. We read in Matthew 9:32 and 12:22 about demon-possessed men who were mute, and the latter was also blind. In Matthew 8:28 we read about two demon-possessed men who were living in tombs and were so violent that no one could pass by anywhere near them. In Mark 5 and Luke 8, the demoniac was naked, living in a cemetary, cutting himself with stones, filthy, and screaming at the top of his lungs. Make no mistake: this is what the devil does to people when he has complete control over them. How is that liberating? On the contrary, it is oppression in it’s cruelest form. That is the existence the devil wants for us. He accuses God of doing what he himself actually longs to do.

Now consider what became of that man when Jesus came into his life. Mark 5 says that when the townspeople came to see what had happened, they found the formerly demon-possessed man calmly seated, clothed, and in his right mind, and “he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed” (verses 15, 20).

So you see, Jesus is the real Prince of freedom, not the other way around. Jesus is the One who loves you. He is so committed to you that He left untold glories to become a human being on this earth, live a sinless life, suffer persecution, and die in your place, so that you wouldn’t have to be a slave to the devil and sin any more. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36)! Jesus said that He, the Truth, would make us free (John 14:6; 8:32). He laid down His life for you, and He took it back up again to live forevermore (John 10:17-18). “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Don’t believe the lies that Satan tries to tell you. You are no insignificant person. You are the object of God’s infinite love. If you feel crushed and broken, draw near to Jesus as you are. He is there waiting to pick up the pieces of your broken life. In His loving arms, you will find true freedom.