T H E S I S # 17

Never before had a virgin given birth. The God of the impossible did the impossible. Immanuel, “God with us”, entered humanity via a young virgin’s body and obedience.

Philippians 2:5-7: Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

God actually became a man, the second undefiled male to live on planet earth (Adam being the first). “God with us” ate what we eat, drank what we drink, was warmed by our sun, gazed at our moon, kicked up our dust, breathed our air. He became a citizen of a polluted and distressed humanity so that, as a sinless human, He qualified to be man’s redemption. Forever the redeemed will honor and acclaim “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Our precious Lord Jesus was often, perhaps always, embedded in drama. And so were those who touched His life….

“A certain woman” recognized Mary’s privilege of being His chosen vessel: “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed you.” But like all chosen vessels she paid a price: “Yes, a sword will pass through your own soul also.”

And there was “Joseph, her husband, being a just man”. “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream warning him of imminent danger, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt.’”

The Baptist, too, was a chosen vessel. “The daughter of Herodias” requested of Herod, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

Peter was commissioned by our Jesus, “Feed my lambs…. tend My sheep….feed My sheep.” Peter was executed.

“That disciple whom Jesus loved” was privileged to see Christ’s transfiguration. John was exiled.

All others of the eleven, it is thought, were martyred.

Paul was “a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel”, and with that privilege came adversities: “In stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep….”

Lazarus was a close friend. “The chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death.”

A blind man no longer blind was “cast out” of the synagogue because he refused to disavow his healer.

Those who companioned with Lord Jesus were persecuted. All who hinted He could be the Messiah were to be cast out.

It’s no different today.

“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

One might ask a discomforting question: Why are today’s North American evangelicals (etcetera) suffering such sparse persecution?