Category: Christology

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: An Act of Love and Humility

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: An Act of Love and Humility

We live in a society where it is the “norm” for the rich and powerful to be ordering people around, while the poor and the lowly people are the ones serving. In this article, we will delve into a passage where our Lord Jesus changed this standard through His example.

You must be familiar with the scene where Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, recorded in John 13:1-17. (See also Matthew 26:14-39 & Luke 22:24-27.) But for us to conclude this as an act of love and humility on the part of our Lord, a good grasp of the Jewish custom of those days is much-needed.

Background of the Passage

Prior to Jesus’ meeting His disciples at the Upper Room, we read that Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Sunday, and on Monday He had cleansed the Temple. Tuesday was a day of conflict with the religious leaders as they sought to trip Him up in order to get evidence to arrest Him. Wednesday was probably a day of rest, but on Thursday He met with His disciples in order to observe Passover.

*Note: If you’re wondering how I came up with this flow of events, they are recorded in Matthew 21-25.

And reading from Luke’s account (Luke 22:24), we see that while Jesus was nearing the time of His death, His disciples had been arguing who of them would be appointed to the highest cabinet post in Jesus’ coming government.

Jesus Loved His Disciples to the End

When Jesus asked to meet with His disciples, He recognized that it was the time for Him to be glorified through His death, resurrection, and ascension (John 13:1). From the human point of view, it meant suffering, but from the divine point of view, it meant glory.

Jesus knew He would soon leave this world and return to the Father who sent Him, having finished His work on earth (John 17:4). At the Last Supper, on the night before He was about to suffer and die and be betrayed by Judas, Jesus did something interesting for His disciples to show them that He loved them even to the end.

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

Here’s the scenario: The evening meal was in progress and as the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot to betray Jesus and knowing that the Father had put all things under His power, Jesus got up from the meal, took off His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him (John 13:2-5).

Yes, the Savior did all that! So, what’s the big deal? It was customary in those days that whenever guests came to dinner, the house slave would wash the guest’s feet which were dirty from the dusty roads. There were even garbage and animal wastes on the roads because animals traveled up and down the same streets.

People in the olden times wore sandals

People wore sandals without socks in those days, making their feet very dirty. Take note that in the Jewish custom, people eat dinner around a low table so they didn’t sit on chairs. Instead, they leaned on pillows with their dirty feet exposed behind them. (This could be similar to Japanese or Korean dining today.) Isn’t it hard to enjoy a meal when there is a very bad smell?

However, at the last supper which was held at a private home, there was no slave present, and apparently, none of the disciples had offered to wash the feet of Jesus and the others. Then Jesus did something that must have almost seemed crazy; He began to do the job of the lowest household servant.

Imagine the reaction of the disciples. They must have been so shocked that there was stunning silence while Jesus was washing their feet one after the other. He comes to Peter who probably was able to regain his composure to echo what each of them must be thinking (John 13:6).

Customary Jewish or Japanese Dining
Photo Credits: Vix.com

Regarding the relationship between a teacher and his disciples, a teacher had no right whatsoever to demand or expect his disciples to wash his feet, in accordance with the Jewish laws and traditions. How much more unthinkable for the master to wash his disciples’ feet?

The Meaning & Significance of What Jesus Did

There are several reasons that prompted Jesus to wash His disciples’ feet. Apart from the obvious reason that their feet were dirty and needed washing, Jesus wanted to teach them humility and love. And as their Lord and teacher, He wanted to teach them by setting an example for them to follow.

Jesus knew better that actions speak louder than words. The disciples who had been following Jesus for 3 years must have heard Jesus preach multiple times about love and humility. Yet, they were still quarreling among themselves who should be greater.

And why was no one willing to humble himself and wash Jesus’ feet? Because they could not do this without having to wash the others’ feet as well – a clear admission of inferiority among their fellow competitors for the top position in their hierarchy.

Whoever wants to be great must be servant of all

It must be pride and feelings of animosity. Apparently, their sinful nature was still very much a part of them. So when Jesus wanted to teach His proud and arguing disciples about love and true humility, He didn’t just say it; He showed it.

In the succeeding verses (John 13:12-17), Jesus explains the reason behind His action and calls His disciples to follow His example. Jesus is saying we should serve others. If Jesus who is our master and Lord of all would choose to lower Himself to do the job of the lowest and least important servant by washing His friends’ feet, then we should always be willing to serve others.

Closing Thoughts

The servant (slave) is not greater than his master; so if the master becomes a slave, where does that put the slave? On the same level as the master! Jesus said “we ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14-16). This is the attitude that marks His followers, especially among church leaders.

While the foot-washing is a powerful lesson in humility, let us not overlook the truth behind it, which is that Jesus did all this out of love. Love was what motivated Jesus to wash His disciples’ feet and He is telling us today that when we humble ourselves and serve, it should be out of love, not out of a sense of duty or responsibility.

Although foot-washing during Bible times was very common, it’s not common today. However, there are many things we can do to serve others as an act of love and humility. What practical examples from your everyday life can you give where Jesus’ example should be followed?


*Recommended Resource:

Full Service: Moving From Self-Serve Christianity to Total Servanthood by Siang-Yang Tan

Is servanthood a way to lead or a way of life? Leadership has its place in Christian ministry, but God calls us, first and foremost, to servanthood. Servant is not a modifier for some other activity but the foundation of the Christian life.

Siang-Yang Tan calls the church back to its primary role of being servants of Christ and other people. This genuine Spirit-inspired servant attitude will enable you to enter more deeply into God’s rest and grace and will revolutionize your life and ministry.

Lessons from the Transfiguration

Lessons from the Transfiguration

There are lessons to learn from every passage in the Bible. The incident known as the “Transfiguration” reveals to us four aspects of the glory of Jesus Christ as King. This event is recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and although the 3 authors do not use the word “transfigure,” they all describe the scene (See Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-13 & Luke 9:28-36).

Mathew and Mark state that the transfiguration took place “six days after” Jesus predicted His suffering and death while Luke says “about eight days after.” However, these statements do not contradict; Luke’s statement is the Jewish equivalent of “about a week later.”

4 Aspects of the Glory of Jesus Christ as King

1) The Glory of His Person

As far as the gospel record is concerned, the transfiguration was the only occasion during Christ’s earthly ministry when He revealed the glory of His person. The word “transfigure” or “transform” gives us the English word “metamorphosis,” which means “a change in appearance that comes from within.” It’s like when a caterpillar builds a cocoon and later emerges as a moth or butterfly, this is due to the process called metamorphosis.

When Jesus transfigured before Peter, James and John, the glory of His person was not reflected, rather, it radiated from within. In other words, the change on the outside that the three disciples saw came from within Jesus as He allowed His essential glory to shine forth (See Hebrews 1:3).

2) The Glory of His Kingdom

The appearance of Moses and Elijah is highly significant. These two particular persons from the Old Testament represent the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah), both of which find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (Luke 24:25-27; Hebrews 1:1-2). Moses had died and his body was buried (Deuteronomy 34:5-6), but Elijah had been raptured to heaven (2 Kings 2:11).

When Jesus returns, He will raise the bodies of the saints who died and will rapture the living saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Every single word in the Old Testament will be fulfilled and God’s glorious kingdom will be established (Luke 1:32-33) as promised. And just as the three disciples saw Jesus glorified on earth, so God’s people will one day see Him in His glorious Kingdom on earth and will actually reign with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 4:4-6).

3) The Glory of His Cross

The disciples had to learn that suffering and glory go together. Peter opposed Jesus’ going to Jerusalem to die (Matthew 16:22) for he was thinking like a human being. After all, most people want to escape suffering and death. So Jesus had to teach Peter that apart from His suffering and death, there could be no glory. Peter certainly learned the lesson, for in his very first epistle he repeatedly emphasized suffering and glory (1 Peter 1:6-8, 11; 4:12-16; 5:1-4).

Discipleship means denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Christ (Matthew 16:24), but you cannot do that if you selfishly stay on the mount of glory. When Jesus said that anyone who wants to be His followers must do the above, He was saying that whatever happened to Him would happen to them as well. If there was a cross in His future, there would be one in their future.

*Note: Today, a cross is an accepted symbol of love and sacrifice, but in those days, the cross was a horrible means of capital punishment. The Romans who came up with this would not even impose it on a Roman citizen, for this terrible death was reserved only for their enemies.

Philippians 2:8-9

By the way, we need to keep in mind that Jesus is talking about discipleship in Matthew 16:24-26, not sonship. We are not saved by taking up a cross and following Jesus, but because we have placed our trust in the Savior who died on the cross for our sins. We become children of God first, and then we become His disciples.

To become a disciple, we need to “turn from our selfish ways” in order to give ourselves wholly to Christ and share in His shame and death, as described in Philippians 3:7-10, Galatians 2:20 and 1 Peter 4:12-16). The good news is, suffering always leads to glory and that is why Jesus ended His sermon with reference to His glorious Kingdom (Matthew 16:28).

4) The Glory of His Submission

When Jesus told His disciples that He would have to suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed but be raised the third day (Matthew 16:21), Peter could not understand why the Son of God would submit to evil people and willingly suffer.

The transfiguration was God’s way of teaching Peter and the other disciples that Jesus is glorified when we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. The Christian’s philosophy is “Yield yourself to God!” in contrast to that of the world’s which is “Save yourself!” And so, as Jesus stood there in glory, He proved to the three disciples that surrender always leads to glory.

Jesus, who was in very nature God, humbled Himself and submitted in complete obedience to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross. As a result, God the Father exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:6-10). Jesus has set the perfect example of ultimate obedience for us to follow. If we do as Jesus had done, that is, submit to God in all our ways, God is glorified.

Final Thoughts

We may have had glorious, personal experiences of encounter with the Lord Jesus during our devotion and worship; we may even have a spiritual “transfiguration” experience each day as we walk with the Lord. But as wonderful as “mountaintop” experiences are, they are not the basis for a consistent Christian life.

When we surrender our body, mind, and will to God, He will transform us from within so that we are not conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). As we behold our Savior in the Word, we are “transfigured” by the Spirit. This experience is known in theology as “sanctification,” the process by which we become more like the Lord, which is the Father’s goal for each of His children (1 John 3:2).

Arguments Against the Deity of Christ

Arguments Against the Deity of Christ

Belief in the deity of Jesus Christ is essential to salvation (Romans 10:9; John 8:24). Yet, this precious doctrine is attacked mercilessly not only in the west but even within the “Christian world.” In this article, I will be presenting the arguments and Scriptures used by these opponents against the deity of Christ.

Jesus Christ is not God …


1.
Because He had flesh and bones, and God being a spirit, has neither flesh nor bones – John 4:24; Luke 24:39

Answer: Jesus Christ as man had both flesh and bones but as God, He was spirit.

This objection arises from the problem of the dual nature of the Savior. In order for the invisible God to become visible, He must become flesh and bones. Jesus assumed flesh and bones merely for the incarnation. As God He is eternal but to be our Redeemer it was necessary that He become a partaker of humanity.

Jesus is fully God and fully man

a) Jesus is a dual personality.

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5

b) God was manifest in the flesh.

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in
the flesh, 
justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” – 1 Timothy 3:16


2.
Because Christ had a beginning and God had no beginning – John 8:42; Psalm 90:2

Answer: Jesus as a man had a beginning when He was conceived of the Holy Spirit but Jesus as God is without beginning and without end.

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” – John 8:58

The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from beginning, before there was even an earth.” – Proverbs 8:22-23


3.
Because He has been created, and God isn’t; God is the creator – Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14

Answer: The correct translation of Revelation 3:14 is something like this, “He was the witness of the beginning of the creation of God.” Jesus is not a creation but a witness of the creation.

We find no evidence in the Bible that the Father created Jesus or that Jesus is a “lesser God” than the Father. The Bible reveals that from eternity Jesus has the same substance, glory, power, and authority as the Father and the Holy Spirit.

“And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” – Colossians 1:17

When Jesus is called the “first born of all creation,” it does not mean that Jesus was created. Rather, it speaks of the preexistence of Christ. He is not a creature but the eternal Creator.

And every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I hear saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever.” – Revelation 5:13

A created being cannot and will not receive worship due only to God.


4.
Because God is not a man (Hosea 11:9) and man is not God (Ezekiel 28:2), but Jesus was called man – John 8:40; 1 Timothy 2:5

Answer: Hosea does not say God could not assume human form of the body and flesh. Nothing is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17-18). Since God is all powerful He can be manifest in the flesh.

Here’s a video of Nabeel Qureshi answering a Muslim’s question on the Trinity.

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23

Jesus was both true God and true man in one person without an intermingling of the two natures. Emmanuel means “God with us.”


5.
Because He called God His Father – Matthew 27:46; John 20:17

Answer: The relationship between Jesus and God the Father has always been that of a “father and son.” So it’s not surprising that even as the human person, Jesus called God His Father. In Hebrews 1:8, God calls Jesus “God” but that does not lessen the Father’s position of deity.

But to the son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.” – Hebrews 1:8

The relationship between God and Jesus Christ


6.
Because the Father sent Jesus to earth – John 8:42

Answer:  Jesus volunteered to come. But even so, the Father sending the Son to earth does not lessen His position as the Almighty God.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” – John 10:11

The co-equal, co-eternal persons of the Trinity are one in divine nature. However, each divine person has a distinct role in salvation and a voluntary submission of roles in the work of redemption. The Son took on human flesh and submitted to the Father by giving His life on the cross.


7.
Because God is His head – 1 Corinthians 11:3

Answer: God the Father and Jesus have the same exact nature; they’re both divine but their relationship is different. God the Father is the head of Christ because Christ was eternally begotten of the Father. But this does not mean that the Father is greater or higher than the Son.

“And now, O Father, glorify me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” – John 17:5

In a triumvirate, it is necessary that one be the chairman but that does not mean that he is greater than the other two. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal but for administrative purposes, the Father acts as the executive administrator.


8.
Christ is not God, but He is the Son of God, just as we may become sons of God – John 3:16

Answer:  When we call Jesus the Son of God we mean that He is of the same nature as God. Fathers create things unlike themselves, but they beget sons like them.

C.S. Lewis explained it this way:

When you make (or create), you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, and man makes a computer. But when you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a bird begets eggs which will turn into little birds, and a beaver begets little beavers.

So when we say, “Jesus is the Son of God,” we simply mean that Jesus is God.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

By conversion, we become a “son of God” (John 1:12), but Jesus Christ is the “only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16), a unique and special position. God’s Son is equal to the Father (Philippians 2:6), and the saints become an heir with Christ.


9.
Because the Father gave Him power – Matthew 28:18

Answer:  Jesus was, always has been, and always will be God. As God, Jesus has the same power as the Father and the Spirit. When Jesus said that all power and authority has been given to Him, that would include the power that brought the universe into existence.

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” – Colossians 1:16

In Philippians 2:5-8, the Son surrenders this power and God restores or returns it to Him after the resurrection. It was always His but He voluntarily yielded it.


10.
Because He was made Lord by God – Acts 2:36

Answer:  How could Jesus be made Lord if He was already the Lord? Jesus was not made Lord by God in the sense that He was made into something He was not already. He was not made Lord in the sense of a promotion.

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” – Colossians 2:9

Acts 2:36 is dealing with Jesus’ status as a man-made under the law and in a lower position. It is in that sense that He was made Lord and Christ by God the Father.


11.
Because He is subject to God and He says that the Father is greater than Him – 1 Corinthians 15:28; John 14:28

Answer:  John 14:28 has often been thought to mean that Jesus is something less than the Father. However, this statement is not referring to Christ’s nature but rather His position. When Jesus came to earth, He came in the form of a servant. He voluntarily chose subjection; it was not imposed on Him against His will.

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross.” – Philippians 2:8


12.
Because Christ died and God being immortal cannot die – 1 Timothy 1:17

Answer:  People say that Jesus can’t be God because He died and God cannot die. We have to understand that Jesus has two natures: God and man. It was the human nature that died on the cross, not the divine nature.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” – Hebrews 2:9

Jesus as man died but Jesus as God could not and did not die (Hebrews 2:9, 14). In the person of Jesus Christ, who is a man with the divine nature, we see a biological death, not the death of the divine being who is God.


13.
Because He prayed to the Father and addressed Him as the only true God – John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6

Answer:  This objection ignores the fact that the Son co-exists with the Father; they are one. We need to understand that the Father and the Son had an eternal relationship before Jesus took upon Himself the form of a man.

Jesus prays to the Father - John 17:3

Being fully equal with the Father in nature, Jesus’ manner must be seen more as a supplication and conversation rather than a lesser being who is praying to a greater being.

*Related Article: Death Penalty for Sin, Eternal Life in Christ 

Conclusion

Nothing has changed after 2,000 years. The attack against the deity of Jesus Christ persisted up until today. While the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is God, there are still many groups that deny His deity. From Muslims who teach that Jesus was just a prophet, to the Jehovah Witnesses who reduce Him into a messenger sent by the Father.

The doctrine of Christ’s deity is important to the Christian faith as it not only authenticates the authority and inspiration of Scripture; it also the basis for a believer’s eternal salvation. In other words, if Jesus is not fully God, we have no salvation and ultimately no Christianity.


*Recommended Resource: Forgotten Trinity, The – eBook By James R. White

The Trinity is a basic teaching of the Christian faith. It defines God’s essence and describes how He relates to us. The Forgotten Trinity is a concise, understandable explanation of what the Trinity is and why it matters. It refutes cultic distortions of God. It shows how a grasp of this significant teaching leads to renewed worship and deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

And amid today’s emphasis on the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, The Forgotten Trinity is a balanced look at all three persons of the Trinity.


Reference Materials:

100 Bible Lessons by Alban Douglas
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

 

 

 

What is the Significance of the Resurrection?

What is the Significance of the Resurrection?

In my previous article, “What if Jesus did not rise from the dead,” I said that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity. The Christian faith collapses if the resurrection is proven to be a hoax, because the validity of Christianity depends on the historical truth that Jesus was raised from the dead. But other than that, what is the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

The boast and glory of Christianity is the empty tomb because Christianity is the only religion with a living originator. Buddha is dead; Brahma (Hinduism) is dead; Mohammad (Islam) is dead; Marx (Communism) is dead.

The Significance of the Resurrection

Does it really matter that Jesus was raised from the dead? Isn’t it enough that He suffered and died by crucifixion in order to redeem the world? No!

A. The resurrection guarantees us that we will not remain dead but that we too will be resurrected.

After planting a church in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul together with Silas and Timothy left the city unwillingly and moved on to Athens; they intended to return to the city but were prevented (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18). Finally, Paul and Silas sent Timothy from Athens to see how the Thessalonian Christians were doing.

When Timothy returned, he reported that they were doing well. Except for one problem that concerned questions and a certain amount of anxiety that some of them were having with regard to their loved ones who had died.

Do mourn like the people who have no hope

The Thessalonians rightly understood that Christ was going to return; however, they had not considered the possibility that some of their loved ones and friends would die before it occurred. All sorts of questions were going through their minds: “What would happen to our loved ones who had died since trusting Christ? Will they miss out on the resurrection? Will those who are alive when Christ returns have an advantage over those who have died?”

So Paul educates these believers about the status of their brethren who have passed away and assures them that all those who died in Christ will be raised up when Christ returns. He told them not mourn like the people who have no hope because when Jesus returns, God will bring with Him those who have died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14).

He then goes on to say that the dead in Christ will be resurrected first and those who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet Him ahead of those who died. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then together with them, those who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

The dead in Christ will rise first

*** The Christian doctrine of resurrection assures us that physical death is not the end; death is not the termination of human existence. The grave is not the end. The body goes to sleep but the soul goes to be with the Lord (Philippians 1:20-24). When the Lord returns, He will bring the soul with Him, will raise the body in glory and will unite the body and soul into one being to share His glory forever.

B. The resurrection of Christ gives us an assurance that our salvation is an accomplished fact.

We have been separated from God because of sin (Isaiah 59:2) and we are bound to suffer eternally in hell. But because God loved us so much, He made a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and be reconciled back to God. Jesus Christ paid the penalty of our sins in full at Mount Calvary in order for that broken fellowship to be restored (John 3:16).

However, our salvation is not guaranteed without the resurrection. Our salvation was completed when Jesus died on the cross (John 19:28-30) but the resurrection confirms it. We can be confident that we have been forgiven of our sins and have eternal life because Jesus did not remain on the grave.

The Gospel

Jesus conquered death. Sin is the sting that results in death but thank God for giving us the victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Salvation rests on the resurrection of Christ but one cannot be saved without believing in it (Romans 10:9).

>>> Read: What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 

C. The resurrection proves the deity of Christ.

The deity of Jesus Christ is one of the most attacked doctrines of the Christian faith. There have been a lot of arguments against the deity of Christ, which I will be tackling in my upcoming articles. But the fact of Jesus’ resurrection is the strongest and supreme argument that Jesus is God.

Romans 1:4 specifically states that the resurrection declares Jesus as the Son of God. If Jesus were fake, a liar, impostor or a mere man, God would have left Him in the grave until the day of final judgment and condemned Him to hell.

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega

We also read in Romans 6:4 (NLT) that it was God the Father Himself that raised Jesus from the dead. The Father thus proclaims conclusively to the world the deity of Jesus Christ by raising Him from the dead.

If the resurrection is true, and it is, then Jesus is indeed the Son of God. This is the miracle on which all other miracles stand or fall.

“Resurrection is the greatest power in the world outside of the power of prayer. It surpasses the power of the atom, hydrogen, cobalt or uranium (used in nuclear reactors). These elements have the power to destroy; resurrection has the power to give life to the dead.” – Alban Douglas (One Hundred Bible Lessons)

But while the resurrection provides assurance of salvation and a living hope, it also provides assurance of judgment because the resurrection marks Jesus Christ out as God’s Son and God’s provision of grace for our sins.

There is nothing left for those who reject Christ, but to look fearfully for a day of judgment. While believers are assured of resurrection unto life, unbelievers are assured of a second death (Revelation 21:8).

Conclusion

If you can explode the historical truth that Jesus was raised from the dead, the Christian faith collapses because the resurrection is the basis on which Christianity stands or falls.

Christians can be confident that they will all be transformed when the last trumpet is blown. Those who have died will be raised to live forever and those who are living will be transformed into bodies that will never die (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

The heavenly kingdom is not made for the kind of bodies we now have, bodies of flesh and blood. So when Jesus returns as He promised, the bodies of living believers will be instantly transformed like His body and the dead believers shall be raised with new glorified bodies. Our new bodies will not be subject to decay or death.

God's kingdom is not of this world

This is the hope that believers have because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ was raised and became the firstfruits, then all who belong to Christ will be raised when He comes back (1 Corinthians 15:23).

The important question now is: Do you know Jesus Christ? Did you receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior? Have you placed your trust and hope in Him and in what He has accomplished through His death and resurrection? Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Him though he may die shall live (John 11:25).

Act now before it’s too late, for today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Confess Jesus as Lord and believe that His suffering, death and resurrection guarantee you of eternal life with God (Romans 10:9).

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb

Passover or “Pesach” in Hebrew is a feast celebrated by Jews all around the world commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. But Passover and the story of the exodus have great significance for Christians too. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Origin of Passover

The origin of Passover is outlined in the book of Exodus. God promised to deliver His people, the Israelites, from Egyptian bondage and slavery (Exodus 6:6). God sent Moses to Pharaoh, the King of Egypt with the command to “let the people of Israel go” (Exodus 6:10-11).

When King Pharaoh refused, God brought ten plagues on the land of Egypt: 1) plague of blood, 2) plague of frogs, 3) plague of gnats, 4) plague of flies, 5) plague against livestock, 6) plague of boils, 7) plague of hail8) plague of locusts, 9) plague of darkness and 10) the death of all the firstborn in Egypt. The night of the tenth and worst plague was the night of the first Passover.

God instructed every Israelite household to select a year-old male lamb or a young goat without blemish for a sacrifice (Exodus 12:5) and keep it in their house for four days. They are to slaughter the lamb on the night of the “pass over,” making sure that none of its bones are broken, and sprinkle some of its blood on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat them (Exodus 12:7, 22).

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb

The Israelites were also given specific instructions on how to eat the lamb, “with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You should eat the meal in urgency for it is the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11). In other words, the people had to be ready to travel because God will set them completely free from the Egyptians.

On that fateful night at midnight, God passed through the land of Egypt and struck down all the firstborn, both man and beasts to execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12; Exodus 12:29), and there was a great cry in Egypt for there was not a house where there was not one dead (Exodus 12:30).

But when the Lord passed through the nations to strike the Egyptians, He “passed over” every household that has the lamb’s blood on its door and did not allow the destroyer to strike it (Exodus 12:23). The blood was a sign for the Israelites on their houses for God to “pass over” them and not be destroyed. So in a very real way, the Israelites were saved from death because of the blood of the lamb.

Jesus became the Passover Lamb

Going into the New Testament, the writers referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Passover Lamb several times (John 1:29, 35-36; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6, 13:8). The significance of the phrase “Lamb of God” as it refers to Jesus is that He is the sacrifice for sin which God Himself has provided.

Just as each Hebrew family was instructed to select an animal and keep it for four days in their home to make sure it was perfect before sacrificing it to the Lord for Passover; Jesus came and dwelt among Israel. Just before Passover, Jesus moved into Jerusalem where the Temple was built along with the rest of Israel (The Triumphal Entry – Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19). Living in Jerusalem before Passover was like the lamb living in the family’s house.

In the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14), we see a foreshadowing of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. At the instruction of God, Abraham took his son Isaac to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him there as a burnt offering to God. When the boy asked where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham replied, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8).

Abraham was willing to offer his beloved son Isaac, but God stopped him and provided a ram to be sacrificed instead. On a greater scale, God provided the Lamb for us – His own Son. Two thousand years ago at Mount Calvary, God offered His beloved Son to be the sacrificial Lamb for us; a sacrifice that is truly sufficient for our atonement (Hebrews 9:12, 14).

*Read the story of Abraham and Isaac >>> When God Tests Your Faith 

Abraham and Isaac

The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices because at Passover, each family had to have a lamb, and during the year, two lambs a day were sacrificed at the Temple altar, plus all the other lambs brought for personal sacrifices. But while those lambs were brought by men to men, Jesus is God’s Lamb given by God to men.

The blood of the lamb in the Old Testament did not only serve as the protector of the Israelites but it is also seen as the atoner for them so that they could commune with God. It is because of the blood of the lamb that they were spared from death.

Jesus’ sacrifice does the same for us. It is Jesus’ blood that atones for our sins and restores our relationship with God. Just as the Passover lamb’s blood applied to the Israelites doorposts caused the destroyer to “pass over” each household, the blood of Christ applied causes God’s judgment to “pass over” sinners to give life to believers (Romans 6:23).

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system when He became the “once for all” offering for our sins (Hebrews 10:1-18). It is by His sacrifice that our communion with God is restored and by His blood covering that we are spared from eternal death.

Conclusion

The Passover was instituted by God to protect the Israelites from the final plague, the death of the firstborn. A lamb without defect was killed and its blood was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintel of the house, as a sign for God to “pass over” them, sparing the firstborn of that house.

Today, Jesus is our Passover Lamb who was sacrificed for us. Jesus’ death was the fulfillment of the original Passover night. His blood not only saves the firstborn son’s life, but every person who trusts in Him. It is because of His blood that our sins are forgiven and we are spared from God’s judgment – everlasting death.

As the first Passover marked the Israelites’ release from Egyptian slavery, so the death of Christ marks our release from the slavery of sin and death (Romans 8:2). While the Jews celebrate the first Passover as an annual feast, Christians are to memorialize the Lord’s death in communion until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Holy Communion/Lord's Supper

What is the Character of Christ?

What is the Character of Christ?

We often pray or sing, “I want to be like Jesus.” But however noble this desire maybe, what exactly do we mean by this? What is the character of Christ that we must imitate and must be conformed to as it says in Romans 8:29?

In order to be like Jesus and be conformed (or transformed) into His image, we are to emulate Him in more than just one point. And we are only able to do this if we know who Christ really is. That is why we need to know the character of Christ.

This article is an attempt to tell what kind of person Jesus really was according to the Scriptures.

A. Loving

In the Bible, our Savior’s love was manifested in two ways: to His Father and to mankind.

To the Father

Christ’s love to the Father was evident in His complete obedience to Him. Anyone reading the gospel of John cannot but be impressed with the place the Son takes in obedience to His Father’s will. Where every other man sought to do his own will, Jesus sought only His Father’s will (John 5:30; John 6:38; John 17:4; John 19:30).

Jesus Christ delighted in His Father’s will, even if it meant death for Him, for we hear Him speak of it as an expression of His love to the Father in obedience, where He says in John 14:31, “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.”

* Through His death, Jesus not only kept the law to love the Lord His God with all His heart and His neighbor as Himself, but His obedience to His God and Father infinitely transcended what was required of man by the law; for Jesus’ life of obedience exhibited God’s nature and character of love.

What is the character of Christ
Photo Credits: Revolution Church

To mankind

Christ showed His love first by coming to earth from heaven. The opening verses of the gospel of John and Philippians 2:5-8 present Jesus Christ in divine glory, existing in eternity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, as the creator of all things, and as the one who has life in Himself. Yet, He willingly left His throne, emptied Himself of His Godhead form to become a man that He might pay the penalty for our sin and save us from punishment in the lake of fire.

The supreme proof of the love of Christ was voluntarily dying for us (John 15:13). Sometimes people may give their lives willingly for a friend, relative or other “good” people who they deem as worthy, but Christ’s love goes beyond that.

The love of Christ toward mankind was demonstrated in so many ways, but He ultimately proved it through His suffering, death and resurrection. Christ’s love extends even to those who are most unworthy of it. He gave the most He could give for those who deserved it the least. Romans 5:6-8 says that Christ died for the ungodly and He died for us even when we were still in our sins.

* Knowing how much Christ loves us and what He had to sacrifice in order to save us, must compel us to love Him by submitting to Him and obeying Him. As Christ showed His love to the Father through His obedience, we also show our love to Him by obeying Him (John 14:15; 23-24).

John 14:15

* How do we love like Jesus? Only He can provide the strength and ability to give the same love to another person. God loves us unconditionally and He wants us to love Him and love others the same way (Matthew 22:37-39). To love others unconditionally means putting others’ needs above our own and doing what’s best for them regardless of how we feel.

B. Holy

Holiness means free from defilement; so to say that Christ was absolutely holy is to say that He is absolutely pure. The New Testament teaches clearly that Jesus was and is absolutely holy, for He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; and 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Moreover, Jesus did not commit any sin and always did which was correct and pure. He manifested his holiness in loving righteousness and hating inequity as seen in His cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-22) and His denunciation of sin and hypocrisy (Matthew 7:3-5; Matthew 23:27; Romans 12:9).

Jesus hates sin so much that He was willing to die on Calvary to defeat sin and offer righteousness to all who believe in Him (Romans 3:25).

“The sinlessness of Christ does not merely serve as an example to us. It is fundamental and necessary for our salvation. Had Christ not been ‘the lamb without blemish’ He not only could not have secured anyone’s salvation, but would have needed a Savior Himself. The multiple sins Christ bore on the cross required a perfect sacrifice and that sacrifice had to be made by one who was sinless.” R.C. Sproul (Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)

* God calls us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16) and to be holy means to be “set apart” or to be “separate.” When God calls us to holiness, it means that we are to be set apart from the world unto God, separate from all sin. The Bible exhorts us to not conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2) but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

We are called to be like Christ

* This is the stage in our salvation called “sanctification,” where we grow in our spiritual walk with the Lord by reading and meditating the word of God and applying them in our lives.

C. Meek and humble

Meekness

Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

The concept of biblical meekness must not be confused with wimpiness or fear, lack of strength and moral character. Meekness is the attitude of the mind that is opposed to harshness and contentiousness. It manifests itself in gentleness and tenderness toward others. Jesus was meek and yet He spoke out boldly, even knowing that it would lead to torture and execution.

Jesus Christ manifested meekness in not breaking the bruised reed or quenching the smoking flax (Matthew 12:20), in his gentle and tender reproof of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him (John 13:21; 27), in His gentle rebuke of doubting Thomas (John 20:29), in his tender rebuke of Peter’s self-confidence and unfaithfulness, and in praying for His murderers (Luke 23:34).

Humility

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

Jesus was not only meek, He was also humble. But you might say, “Christ isn’t humble. How could He be humble when He is Lord of creation? If being humble means seeing oneself lower than others, then of course God cannot be humble.”

What does it mean to be humble? Like meekness, humility is a word that is often misunderstood and a quality that is often viewed as weakness. Funk and Wagnalls defines humble as being free from pride or vanity; being modest, respectful and unpretentious.

Jesus Christ was humble for He sought not His own glory (John 8:50), washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:4-5), kept silent under outrageous charges (Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 2:23), associated with publicans and sinners (Luke 15:1-2) and humbled himself even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8).

Jesus washes His disciples' feet
Jesus washes His disciples’ feet

* 1 Peter 3:15 is a text that challenges Christians to defend their faith; we are to make a case for Christ but present it with gentleness and respect. Christians are not called on to condemn those who are curious about our hopefulness. Nor are we vindictive, vengeful, proud or insulting to those who disagree. We display a Christ-like character of meekness and humility by explaining it without harshness or dismissiveness.

D. Compassionate

The word compassion, as it is used in the Bible means, “to be moved inwardly, to yearn with tender mercy, affection, pity and empathy.” It refers to the deepest possible feelings.

The Bible tells us that God is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15). Jesus Christ exemplified all of His Father’s attributes and characters, including compassion. The gospels tell us how Christ was moved deeply in his inner being by the needs of those around Him and He demonstrated it with actions.

When Lazarus died, Jesus felt compassion for His friends and wept alongside them (John 11:33-35). Jesus was moved with compassion by the suffering of others that He healed the large crowds who came to Him (Matthew 14:14), healed the blind (Matthew 20:34; John 9) and cleansed the lepers (Mark 1:40-41; Luke 5:12-15).

We also read in Matthew 9:36 and Mark 6:34 that Jesus was moved with compassion over the multitudes. When He saw them wondering and weak without a shepherd, He saw the great work that needed to be done and He started teaching them.

* Compassion is not just pity and sympathy; it needs to be accompanied by a desire to help change things. Compassion moves us to do something! It is not enough to have pity for someone. We need a deep awareness of the suffering of others and have the desire to do something for others.

Be compassionate

E. Prayerful

Jesus was a man of prayer. Being one of us while on this earth, Jesus was subjected to the same temptations, joys, sorrows and frustrations that affect us all today. And through it all, Jesus did not simply offer up prayers and petitions; He prayed with passion.

Why did Jesus pray? Prayer was an important part of Jesus’ life because it was His way of communicating with God the Father. Having an eternal relationship with the Father, Jesus enjoyed talking to Him continually and regularly. Jesus’ prayer life also serves as a model for Christians to follow. Just like our Lord Jesus, we need to pray and rely on the power of God every day to help us walk with Him, whether in a season of great success or great trial.

How did Jesus pray? Jesus prayed all night (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12), He prayed in submission to the Father (Matthew 26:42), He prayed openly to the Father for miracles (Matthew 14:19; John 11:41-42), He prayed before great experiences such as baptism, temptation, etc. (Luke 3:21; John 6:15) and He prayed for others (Matthew 19:13; John 17:6-12).

Jesus not only taught His disciples to pray but also told us to do likewise (Matthew 6:9-13). And although Jesus sometimes prayed with His disciples (Matthew 14:13; Luke 9:28; Luke 22:31-32), He often sought to be alone in prayer (Luke 5:16, and He ended His earthly life with a prayer (Luke 23:46). Jesus Christ is still praying for us even now in heaven at His Father’s right hand.

No man prayed as Jesus prayed. To Him, prayer occupied no secondary place. Prayer was the secret of His power, the law of His life, the inspiration of His toil and the source of His wealth, His joy, His communion and His strength.

* If we are to act like Christ, our prayer lives must be conformed to His. Jesus modeled a lifestyle of prayer and He is still our example today. We do not have to sweat blood in our prayers but we can be passionate about prayer. The Bible exhorts us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), whether we need anything from God or not, for God loves it when we earnestly and passionately seek and trust Him.

Pray for one another

* To pray without ceasing does not mean we put our life on hold and be on our knees all the time. Prayer is our means of communicating with God, which we can do anytime, anywhere. But even if we can talk with God upon waking up or while getting ready for work, in the car and even when we are at work, it is still important to set aside a specific time of the day to commune with God. This is what is known as our “quiet time,” our appointment with God in order to pour out our heart to Him, worship Him and listen from Him.

* In the same way that Jesus prayed for others, we also ought to pray for one another and for everyone with all prayers, petitions and supplications (Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:1). How is your prayer life???

Conclusion

The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ to be the perfect standard by which to measure our character, personal growth and development as a Christian. But how are we supposed to imitate Christ and be conformed to His image?

If we are going to develop the character of Christ, we must aim to really do it. Let us build our life on the teachings of Jesus by applying the principles of Scriptures to our thoughts and conduct, conforming to the will of God in all things.

When we allow the word of God to mold and renew our mind, a transformation occurs and we begin to take on the qualities of character that every child of God should have.

 

The Women in the Lineage of Jesus Christ

The Women in the Lineage of Jesus Christ

The New Testament was written at a time when genealogies didn’t normally contain even a single female name. That is why it’s somewhat unusual for Matthew to include not just one but five women in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17), especially when some of these women are shown to have rather shady characters. What could have prompted the author to include women in his account of the lineage of Jesus the Messiah? Who are these women in the lineage of Jesus Christ and what does their presence imply?

Tamar: The Liar and Deceiver

Tamar is the first woman named in Matthew 1:3 as the mother of Judah’s twins Perez and Zerah, but her story is told in Genesis 38. Tamar was the wife of Judah’s first-born Er who became a widow when her husband died The Women in the Lineage of Jesus Christbecause of his wickedness, leaving her with no children. According to Jewish tradition, Tamar’s father-in-law Judah was obligated to marry her to one of his other sons to raise up an offspring for the firstborn.

However, Onan did not want to comply so the Lord put him to death as well. Apparently, Judah considered Tamar a source of bad luck. For fear that his youngest son Shelah might die too if he married her, he told Tamar to live with her father while she waits for him to grow up.

When Tamar realized later on that she would never be Shelah’s wife as Judah had no intention of giving him to her, she decided to take matters into her own hand. After the death of Judah’s wife, Tamar took an opportunity to keep her ties with her dead husband’s family. She tricked Judah into impregnating her by veiling her true identity and disguising as a prostitute.

Judah was deceived and slept with her. God granted Tamar conception with not just one but two boys. Perez, one of the twins, is in Jesus’ lineage in fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10).

*** Tamar is often described as a prostitute for deceiving Judah into getting her pregnant and thus a blot on the family record. But if we understand Tamar in her specific context, we realize that it was Judah and his sons who failed to do the right thing of raising up children for their dead son and brother; they were the sinners in this story. Tamar had to resort to trickery in order to produce the son that would be the ancestor of Jesus.

Tamar had to veil who she was, humbling herself, in order to preserve a lineage which would eventually open the way for all to gain eternal life. Tamar was transformed from being a liar into a woman of hope; hope not only for her and her family but hope for all mankind.

Rahab: The Harlot

Rahab, the wife of Salmon, is the second woman in the lineage of Jesus Christ mentioned in Matthew 1:5. Unlike Tamar who posed as a harlot – but actually wasn’t – Rahab really was a prostitute. Her story is found in Joshua 2 The women in the lineage of Jesus Christand Joshua 6:22-24.

When Moses’ successor Joshua sent two spies into the city of Jericho to find the best way to conquer it, Rahab welcomed them into her house and hid them from the men who wanted to kill them during a search.

Clearly, Rahab has heard about the amazing works that God has performed among the Israelites during their journey from Egypt into the Promised Land that she wanted to be on their side during the battle for control over Jericho.

Her confession is evident in Joshua 2:11 where she openly acknowledged the Lord their God as “the God in heaven above and on the earth below.”

In return, the spies promised protection for her and her entire household during the onslaught. After the fall of Jericho, the promise is kept and Rahab together with her family was taken in by the Israelites. She then married Salmon and gave birth to Boaz who will marry the next woman mentioned in the lineage of Jesus Christ, Ruth.

*** Rahab took the opportunity that God has given her by saving two Israelite spies. She did not only help them by hiding them in her house but she also aided them with information for their safe return (Joshua 2:16). And when the spies promised safety for her and her household, she put her faith into immediate action by binding a scarlet thread in her window that very day (Joshua 2:21).

Rahabs’ story certainly affirmed God’s power to transform a life from both ignorance of God and a sinful lifestyle to a woman dearly loved by God and praise for her goodness. Rahab was transformed into a woman of faith, and it’s because of her faith in the promise of God’s messengers that she was later on listed in the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11 as “Rahab, the prostitute” (Hebrews 11:31) and is on equal footing with Abraham himself in James 2:21-25.

Ruth: The Pagan Gentile

Ruth was a widow and a Moabite who became the daughter-in-law of Rahab (Matthew 1:5). Her story is told in an Old Testament book named after her. Ruth married one of the sons of two Israelites, Elimelech and Naomi, when they went to the land of Moab because of the famine in Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Naomi’s other son also married a Moabite named Orpah. After ten years of dwelling there, both women’s husband died and Naomi decided to return to her native land of Judah (Ruth 1:1-5).

The women in the lineage of Jesus ChristNaomi tells Ruth and her sister-in-law Orpah to return to their own homes (Ruth 1:8). But Ruth refused and vowed loyalty to the mother of her dead husband.

Her vow has become a classic quote, often used in weddings to indicate the bride and groom’s intention of loyalty to one another. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

Ruth’s loyalty was not only rewarded when she became the wife of Naomi’s relative Boaz but more importantly her loyalty to Naomi led her to faith in and loyalty to the God of the Jews.

She becomes the daughter-in-law of Rahab and great-grandmother of David, the great king of Israel and man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).

*** Ruth’s story is a beautiful one of loyalty. She’s one of the few women for whom an Old Testament book is named. Ruth speaks to us of the enjoyment of life under the loving care of God. We can be like Ruth, for we too, have a kinsman Redeemer like Boaz – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bathsheba: The Beautiful Manipulator

Matthew does not list Bathsheba by name but identifies her only as “that who had been the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6). This emphasizes the fact that Bathsheba became the wife of King David only after committing adultery with him. After what happened between them, King David arranged for Bathsheba’s husband to be killed in battle to cover up their shame (2 Samuel 11-12).

The women in the lineage of Jesus ChristUnfortunately, Bathsheba often gets a bad rap for seducing King David by bathing naked where he could see her.

But a careful reading of the passage (2 Samuel 1:1-4) tells a completely different story. According to the Jewish law, women must be purified after their monthly periods by bathing in a ritual bath provided by the community.

Bathsheba was merely following the law, she was minding her own business but happened to attract the attention of King David who was on the rooftop.

King David was clearly the one in control here. So what did King David do? He sent someone to find out more about beautiful Bathsheba then, later on, sent his messengers to get her so he could sleep with her, despite knowing that she was the wife of one of his soldiers.

Some commentators suggest that what actually happened “was probably closer to rape,” although it was called adultery which implies mutual consent. King David took advantage of Bathsheba. How could she say no to the king? So Bathsheba becomes pregnant and David has her husband killed in order to cover up his sin (2 Samuel 11:14-16).

***Bathsheba’s story is sad, yet it presents to us the tremendous grace of God. Clearly, God held David responsible for the sin of adultery and murder, while no responsibility was laid on Bathsheba or Uriah. David’s child as a result of his sin died, but Bathsheba became David’s lawful wife and mother of his sons, Solomon and Nathan. We learn from this affair that God can transform situations and bring about newness and hope as Bathsheba was transformed into a woman who received unlimited grace.

Mary: The Virgin

The fifth and final woman in the lineage of Jesus Christ is His own mother, Mary (Matthew 1:16), who was perhaps the only Jewish woman among the women listed. Mary was a young virgin who was engaged to Joseph. In the The women in the lineage of Jesus ChristJewish culture, engagements were serious contracts between two families that usually last about a year before the couple was formally married and began to live together.

Anyone of the couple who was found to have committed sexual misconduct prior to the wedding would be penalized either by stoning to death or breaking off the engagement (divorcing her, Matthew 1:19).

Matthew gives us the account of how Joseph struggled with Mary’s virgin conception. The Bible describes him to be a good man who did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace or death (Matthew 1:18-21).

*** According to the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, “The Lord Himself will give a you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son who shall be called Emmanuel.”

It would not be remarkable for a virgin woman to get married and have a son, but for a virgin to conceive and bear a son would be extraordinary. Mary was a woman of obedience. The Bible does not tell us how Mary had the courage to tell Joseph that she was pregnant. But her courage and willingness to be the servant of the Lord (Luke 1:38) enables her to bear the shame of pregnancy before marriage to be the mother of the Messiah.


The inclusion of women in the genealogy of the Messiah reminds us that from the very beginning of God’s interaction with man, women have been a very important part of God’s plan. Although their place is not as celebrated, not as obvious and not recorded as much as God’s interaction with men because of the domination of women by men, I believe that God holds godly women in such high favor.

Even where society did not encourage the inclusion of females in genealogies, the faith of these five women was so strong they burst out of the confines of socially accepted silence. We learn that God is able to take anyone, such as you and me, who appears to be insignificant and unlikely to succeed and transforms them into important witnesses to the power of God.

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