Christmas advent. We are coming toward the end of our look at the life of Jesus through scripture. The first section of His life was seen through verses focused on prophecy, arrival, and early life.
The next section of verses looked at Him as the Son, second person of the Trinity.
We proceeded into looking at Jesus as the Son and His preeminence, His works, and His ministry. Under ministry & works, I chose verses showing His attributes and aspects of being servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and compassionate healer; and His attributes of omniscience, having all authority and power, and sinlessness.
This section of verses that show Jesus’ life are focused on His earthly ministry. We’ve seen Him as servant, teacher, shepherd, intercessor, and now Healer.
Jesus healed people of their afflictions and diseases. He healed Mary who had 7 demons. He healed the woman who’d had a blood issue for 12 years. He healed lepers, even touching them, a dramatic split from protocol. He healed the Centurion’s servant from a distance. Whether with a word or a touch, the power of Jesus to heal was demonstrated. He healed the blind, the sick, even the dead. He healed Peter’s Mother-in-Law. Strangers or friends, he healed. He did this to who He was who he said He was- from God and Son of God, Messiah, and the prophesied one.
He did this to show His omnipotence. He healed to show His compassion. The word Splagchnizomai, meaning compassion, is used 12 times in the New Testament, and each time it’s used it’s Jesus feeling it. Prior to the NT, the word when used meant courage. Splanchnizomai is not the only word used for compassion in the NT but it is distinctly used with Jesus and in the context of His healings.
Jesus took the term a step further and used it to define the attitude that should capture the life of every believer. In the parable of the unforgiving servant, the master had compassion and forgave the servant’s debt (Matt. 18:27). The prodigal son’s father had compassion on him (Luke 15:20). The good Samaritan had compassion on the injured traveler (Luke 10:33). Jesus had compassion on the crowd (Mark 6:34). People needing help asked Jesus for compassion (Mark 9:22; cp. Matt. 9:36; 20:34). Source: Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
People who need help are the ones who need compassion. Jesus is a God of compassion and He demonstrated this in His willingness to heal.
This word is used 12 times:
Matthew 9:36: “when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted,” Matthew 14:14: “a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed” Matthew 15:32: “his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because” Matthew 18:27: “lord of that servant was moved with compassion and loosed him, and forgave” Matthew 20:34: “So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately” Mark 1:41: “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and” Mark 6:34: “much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were” Mark 8:2: ” I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me” Mark 9:22: “him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help” Luke 7:13: “Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said” Luke 10:33: “where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion” Luke 15:20: “his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran,”
How can we know God unless He reveals Himself to us? The creation confirms His existence, but what does the creature know of His attributes, Person, or Power? Unless He teaches us about Himself, we will not know. God sent His Son Jesus to earth as a born-babe, to live the full life of sinlessness under the Law, and to teach us about Himself. He was prophesied to die as the atoning sacrifice, and then rise again to receive His people through His work on the cross. Grace abounds.
Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is God. Jesus co-existed in eternity with God, perfectly self-sufficient and satisfied with His communion with the other two persons of the God-head.
But God…loved us and He sent His Son Jesus to seek and save the lost, enacting this magnificent plan of the sacrifice, the cross, the resurrection- the Gospel.
Jesus was and is and is to come. He existed before time and He will be living after time ends. His incarnation and life on earth, death, and resurrection means He will be brining his people into eternity with Him, to live as co-heirs of all there is. Angels aren’t eternal, they had a moment when they didn’t exist but then were created. Humans aren’t eternal either, we have a moment when our own creation begins (Adam & Eve, in the Garden, then all of us in the womb.)
The verse today affirms these truths. Jesus said “Before Abraham was, I AM.” I am, meaning He is always in the present. All of those who are in Christ Jesus are also given the gift of eternity…to be with Him, to dwell with Him in joyous worship, to serve Him forever.
Propitiation. A hard word to pronounce…and a hard word to understand, but we have to try, since the verse says this is the reason God sent His son.
that by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners. In Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (1893)
An offering that turns away the wrath of God directed against sin. According to the NT, God has provided the offering that removes the divine wrath, for in love the Father sent the Son to be the propitiation (or atoning sacrifice) for human sin (1 John 4:10). Pocket dictionary of theological terms (1996).
The Easton’s definition uses the word ‘consistent’. God is able to do anything but it would not be consistent with His holy character to abandon his promise to punish wrongdoers for their sin. He could turn away His wrath by deciding to do so, but it would destroy His perfectly just nature to be capricious. No, God is consistent, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8). “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed“. (Malachi 3:6).
So He sent His Son to be that sacrifice and absorb God’s wrath for our sins, though Christ was sinless.
Many people worshiped Jesus during His earthly ministry. They bowed before Him and called Him the Messiah, Son of God, or other titles indicating they knew they were worshiping the one True God. Some people worshiped extravagantly. We think of Mary with her bottle of expensive nard, or David worshiping God with all his might before the ark processional.
No one came farther or brought more expensive tokens of worship than the Magi, known as the Wise Men from the East. Their journey of about 900 miles was difficult, fraught with danger, and took months. Their gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh were expensive. But that was nothing to them. They journeyed, they found the child, they knelt before Him in humble worship. Though they themselves were considered rulers of sorts, when they saw His place they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Matthew 2:9). They knelt before a little child and presented their gifts of adoration.
During this Advent, let us do the same. We do not have the blessing of an incarnated Messiah to bow to, that will happen later, but we can rejoice today with exceeding joy and present to him our precious gift: our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. (Romans 12:1).
We’re in the section of the 30-day Advent flow of the prophecies of Jesus’ coming, his arrival, and his early life. Yesterday’s scripture picture was “The Babe has arrived” and the scripture was from Luke 2.
How can we go any further without pondering that He, the King of Glory, the Infinite, left glory to be wrapped in human flesh and dwell among sinners? To seek and save the lost, humbling himself not only as a God-Man, but departing His heavenly home of glory where He constantly received His due worship… To be rejected, despised among men, and killed. All for us, rotten sinners.