Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daily Devotional Thursday 22nd December

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6-7 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charels Spurgeon

Morning

"Yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant."
2 Samuel 23:5

This covenant is divine in its origin. "He hath made with me an everlasting covenant." Oh that great word He ! Stop, my soul. God, the everlasting Father, has positively made a covenant with thee; yes, that God who spake the world into existence by a word; he, stooping from his majesty, takes hold of thy hand and makes a covenant with thee. Is it not a deed, the stupendous condescension of which might ravish our hearts forever if we could really understand it? "HE hath made with me a covenant." A king has not made a covenant with me--that were somewhat; but the Prince of the kings of the earth, Shaddai, the Lord All-sufficient, the Jehovah of ages, the everlasting Elohim, "He hath made with me an everlasting covenant." But notice, it is particular in its application. "Yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant." Here lies the sweetness of it to each believer. It is nought for me that he made peace for the world; I want to know whether he made peace for me! It is little that he hath made a covenant, I want to know whether he has made a covenant with me. Blessed is the assurance that he hath made a covenant with me! If God the Holy Ghost gives me assurance of this, then his salvation is mine, his heart is mine, he himself is mine--he is my God.

This covenant is everlasting in its duration. An everlasting covenant means a covenant which had no beginning, and which shall never, never end. How sweet amidst all the uncertainties of life, to know that "the foundation of the Lord standeth sure," and to have God's own promise, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." Like dying David, I will sing of this, even though my house be not so with God as my heart desireth.

Evening

"I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk."
Ezekiel 16:10

See with what matchless generosity the Lord provides for his people's apparel. They are so arrayed that the divine skill is seen producing an unrivalled broidered work, in which every attribute takes its part and every divine beauty is revealed. No art like the art displayed in our salvation, no cunning workmanship like that beheld in the righteousness of the saints. Justification has engrossed learned pens in all ages of the church, and will be the theme of admiration in eternity. God has indeed "curiously wrought it." With all this elaboration there is mingled utility and durability, comparable to our being shod with badgers' skins. The animal here meant is unknown, but its skin covered the tabernacle, and formed one of the finest and strongest leathers known. The righteousness which is of God by faith endureth forever, and he who is shod with this divine preparation will tread the desert safely, and may even set his foot upon the lion and the adder. Purity and dignity of our holy vesture are brought out in the fine linen. When the Lord sanctifies his people, they are clad as priests in pure white; not the snow itself excels them; they are in the eyes of men and angels fair to look upon, and even in the Lord's eyes they are without spot. Meanwhile the royal apparel is delicate and rich as silk. No expense is spared, no beauty withheld, no daintiness denied.

What, then? Is there no inference from this? Surely there is gratitude to be felt and joy to be expressed. Come, my heart, refuse not thy evening hallelujah! Tune thy pipes! Touch thy chords!

"Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed

By the Great Sacred Three!

In sweetest harmony of praise

Let all thy powers agree."

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Today's reading: Micah 4-5, Revelation 12 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Micah 4-5

The Mountain of the LORD

1 In the last days

the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.
5 All the nations may walk
in the name of their gods,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD
our God for ever and ever....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 12

The Woman and the Dragon

1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days....

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

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Advent-Header-2011
Each Wednesday in Advent, we read a passage from the Bible and consider what early church writers had to say about it.

Opening prayer

Open our hearts, O Lord, and enlighten us by the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may seek what is well-pleasing to your will; and so order our doings after your commandments that we may be found meet to enter your unending joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord. --Bede

Scripture reading: Matthew 1:18-25
(read on Bible Gateway)

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.


Reflections from the church fathers

The Simple Mystery of the Conception (Chrysostom): Do not speculate beyond the text. Do not require of it something more than what it simply says. Do not ask, "But precisely how was it that the Spirit accomplished this in a virgin?" For even when nature is at work, it is impossible fully to explain the manner of the formation of the person. How then when the spirit is accomplishing miracles, shall we be able to express their precise causes? The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 4.3

The Mystery of His Divinity (Anonymous): But in explaining that his birth happened in a way quite beyond human nature, he reveals the mystery of his divinity. It was not fitting that the only Son of God should be born in the human way. For he was born not for himself but for humanity. He was indeed born into flesh that would undergo corruption. But Christ was born in order to heal corruption itself.... Note that Mary was betrothed to a carpenter. Christ, betrothed to the church, was about to fashion for humanity salvation in its entirety and his entire work from the wood of the cross. Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 1

His Corporeal Birth and His Humanity (Chromatius of Aquileia): John, however, addresses the issue of Jesus' divine birth in the preface to his Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. This was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him and without him nothing was made." The Evangelists help us to recognize both the divine and corporeal birth of the Lord, which they describe as a twofold mystery and a kind of double path. Indeed, both the divine and the bodily birth of the Lord are indescribable, but that from the Father vastly exceeds every means of description and wonder. The bodily birth of Christ was in time; his divine birth was before time. The one in this age, the other before the ages. The one from a virgin mother, the other from God the Father. Angels and men stood as witnesses at the corporeal birth of the Lord, yet at his divine birth there was not witness except the Father and the Son, because nothing existed before the Father and the Son. But because the Word could not be seen as God in the glory of his own divinity, he assumed flesh to demonstrate his invisible divinity. He took from us what is ours in order to give generously what is his. Tractate on Matthew 2.1

Not by Chance (Anonymous): "Now all this came to pass." What is meant by "all"? That the virgin would marry her kinsman, that she would be preserved chaste, that the angel would speak to Joseph in a dream that he would be instructed to accept her as his wife, that the boy would be called Jesus and that the Virgin would bring forth the Savior of the world. "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, saying, 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son.' Grace is witnessed through the prophets so that the Old and New Testaments may harmonize, grace may compensate for the weakness of the learned and what was predicted long ago might not seem to happen solely by chance.Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 1

Closing prayer

Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says, "He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head." For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the Son of man, so that human beings might in their turn become children and heirs of God? Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace. --Augustine

Today's Advent reading is from
Ancient Christian Devotional, edited by Oden and Crosby.
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FRB-Christmas-Story-BookCover-SmallReading 16: Jesus, the Son of God, is Baptized

When John grew up, he traveled from place to place telling people that the Messiah was coming and that they should change their ways. He did this to prepare them for the Messiah. Then he baptized them in the river to show that their hearts were clean. One day, Jesus came to be baptized too.


Matthew 3:13-17
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Further Study

JUST THE FACTS
  1. What did John say to Jesus when Jesus came to be baptized? (v. 14)
  2. What happened when Jesus came out of the water? (v. 16)
  3. What did the voice from heaven say? (v. 17)
LET’S TALK
  1. Jesus never sinned. So why did the Holy Spirit need to come down on him?
  2. Why do you think it was important that God made this announcement?
WHY THIS MATTERS

The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of Jesus’ work on earth. The Holy Spirit came down to give him the power to do miracles and heal people, to teach, and to do all the other things he came to do. God called Jesus his Son, encouraging him and announcing to everyone that he was the Messiah.

POINTS OF INTEREST

3:13 The Jordan River runs north to south from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The distance between the two seas is 65 miles, but the Jordan, because it winds its way south, is actually 135 miles long. Before modern times, the Jordan was about 100 feet wide and three to ten feet deep, except when heavy rains in winter and spring caused it to flood.
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Family Reading BibleToday's reading is from:
The Family Reading Bible

Additional resources:

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A Christmas Devotional

FLESH

The word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us. - John 1:14

Not only did the Son of God become a baby, but also he became flesh. Divinity joined to corporeal muscle, blood and bones. In this humbling of the eternal Son of God, the Word who was with God from the beginning and was God, chose to begin in the way all flesh does-as a newborn.

But what does "flesh" really mean? Doesn't it sound a bit crass?

In the Bible, the word "flesh" points to a number of different realities. Literally, it means "the body," the tissues and bones and fluids that are common to any human being living anywhere in the world at any time. The body is the jar of clay in which God has placed treasures. Consequently, at another level, "flesh" can mean "humanity" or "human nature." To speak of "flesh and blood" refers to the humanness that you share with your family, friends, and people you've never met. And at a different level, "flesh" can mean "fallen, flawed, human." "The flesh" is shorthand in Paul's epistles for intrinsic human nature-broken and fallible. But there is one exception. One human life that was not flawed and full of sin-Jesus'.

"The word became flesh." It means that the Son of God became human-really, truly human-with the exception that he had no sin. Christmas is a time of awe because the best news the human race ever received was that its Creator had so much love, that he joined the human race to save it. He is a savior who experienced real hunger, real fatigue, real sorrow. He faced temptation when the Evil One tempted him in the wilderness with very "fleshy" things like power, wealth, and authority (Luke 4:1-13).

Jesus knows us, because he was one of us. Real flesh, but perfect. So on those days when we are so disappointed with ourselves because we are having a hard time controlling the flesh, this is the kind of savior to turn to.

Prayer for today:

Lord, help me to hear "the Word" this Christmas. Help me to see you for who you are in all your glory. Thank you for humbling yourself.


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Resources

About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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Late-Night Rendezvous: Nicodemus takes a risk

Today's reading: John 3

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John's Gospel tightens the camera angle, closing in on a few individual faces-a woman at a well, a blind man, a member of the Jewish ruling council-to compose an intimate, in-depth portrait of Jesus' impact on others.

Consider this conversation with Nicodemus, who comes to Jesus at night possibly in order to avoid detection. He risks his reputation and safety by meeting with Jesus, whom his fellow Pharisees have sworn to kill. But Nicodemus has some burning questions, the most important questions anyone could ask: Who are you, Jesus? Have you really come from God? Jesus responds with the image of a second birth, using words that have become some of the most familiar in the Bible.

One of Jesus' statements has probably been memorized more than any other in the Bible. In a few words it tells the story of salvation: God's love for the world, God's gift of his Son and the opportunity for anyone who believes to be saved (see John 3:16).

Keys to Life

Evidently some of Jesus' words to Nicodemus sink in, as his later behavior indicates.

John follows this conversation with a report from John the Baptist. People are questioning the radical prophet about the new teacher across the river who is drawing all the crowds. In words that echo Jesus' own, John confirms that Jesus holds the keys to eternal life. Jesus is indeed the one John has come to herald. A great prophet still in his prime, John nonetheless bows to Jesus: "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).

Life Question

How would you explain the term "born again" to someone who has never heard it?
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Today's reading is from the
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by Zondervan


A proven, common sense approach to studying the Scriptures appeals to high school and college readers (and students of all ages).


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At Issue - Prayer

1 Samuel 1:10-18

If someone called and said that you'd just won a million dollars, what would your first response be? "Wow, thanks! I'll expect it in my bank account today!" Not likely. Usually when we hear outrageous promises, our cynicism kicks into high gear. This is a natural response to most situations, except one-prayer. See, when God makes exorbitant promises (like answering our prayers of faith), he actually means what he says. He's a real "you've just won the jackpot!" kind of God. When you truly believe this, your response to prayer will be like Hannah's. You'll drop your suspicions because you expect God to answer for your good.

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True Identity: The Bible for Women
by Zondervan


The Bible that helps you see yourself as God sees you! Find your true identity in Christ through your relationship with him.
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Abiezer [Ābĭē'zûr]—father of help orin help.

  1. The son of Hammoleketh, who was the sister of Machir and daughter of Manasseh. Gideon belonged to this family (Josh. 17:2; Judg. 6:11; 1 Chron. 7:18). Perhaps the same as Jeezer (Num. 26:30).
  2. An Anethothite, one of David’s thirty-seven chief heroes, who had command of the army during the ninth month (2 Sam. 23:27; 1 Chron. 11:28; 27:12). Also the name of a district (Judg. 6:34).
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December 21, 2011

Silent Night
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).

Friend to Friend
Christmas Day. I imagine if you're like most of us, you are still scurrying about with last minute Christmas preparations. What do you think the angels were doing on that first Christmas Eve? Do you think the heavenly host had one last choir practice before their concert on the hillside? Do you think God was making sure that everyone was in their proper places on the kingdom stage before the curtain rose to begin the grandest drama of all time? Do you think the Holy Spirit was hovering low over the entire world, stirring the hearts of men and women to receive the greatest gift of all?

I'm not sure what was happening in the heavenly realm the night before Jesus was born. But I do know that my heart is full of joy knowing that tomorrow we celebrate Jesus' birth once again.

Perhaps you have sung the words to Christmas carols hundreds of times in your life. But today, I encourage you to pause and read the words to one of my favorites as if you are seeing them for the first time. Read slowly. Ponder the words. "Glories stream from heaven afar"...picture it. "With the dawn of redeeming grace"...savor it. "Christ the Savior is born"...celebrate it.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
'Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Let's Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, My heart quietly waits in anticipation of the grand celebration that tomorrow brings. Thank you for the gift of Your Son. Thank You for redeeming grace.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

The Girlfriends in God, Mary, Sharon, and Gwen, pray that you will have a joy-filled Christmas Day celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We love you!

Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about

how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com



Looking for more daily inspiration?

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Samantha Reed

December 21, 2011

All by Myself
Samantha Reed

"My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted." Psalm 25:15-16 (NIV)

Don't look his way, my heart and mind insist.

I don't want to look. Then again, I do. Though I did not check the "Plus One" box on my RSVP card, I wish I had. I wish I hadn't come alone. Maybe then I wouldn't gravitate to him.

He's reckless and destructive. I know better, but he's the only one who can relate to me. Even so, I avoid eye contact; I must trick him to believe she doesn't need me anymore.

I succeed, until another joined-at-the-hip couple walks into the holiday party. My resolve walks out. He walks up to me, extends a knowing hand. Fingers entwine, I fall in his snare. My stomach lurches. I hate him. I hate Loneliness.

I hate feeling alone and attending life all by myself.

We float from couple to couple. Each marriage, baby, holiday, life-is-grand story runs together like mud. The mud Loneliness slings my way: You'll never have this. You'll be lonely forever.

I can't look at their joy. Instead I turn my eyes to him as I mutter repeatedly through my clinched jaw and cinched heart: Do. Not. Cry.

A deep breath holds back the lonely tears, the lonely years, the lonely fears.

His cruelty seeps in my pores as we make our way from conversation to conversation. Christmas carols in the background promise it's the best time of the year and tell tales of sleigh rides taken with loved ones. Lovely sentiments, but they make me feel even more alone in a crowded room. How can two hours feel like thirty years?

By the time the clock chimes an acceptable hour to bid my goodbyes, I'm eager to be gone. One step out the door and I lower my guard too soon. Loneliness has saved his best for last. Powerfully, he beats me down with lies until I believe: I will always be all-by-myself.

Then Loneliness walks off; leaves me there, ironically, alone.

Compassionately, a different hand reaches down. One that is gentle and healing. Let me help you up. Rough night, huh?

I look up to see His scared hand extended. How'd You know I was here?

He tells me He's been there the whole time, always near. And even though He knows, He asks for details, dreams, despairs. We talk until I can hear His assurances over the barrage of Loneliness' discouragement.

Hollow parts of my heart fill with the lavish warmth of Jesus' courage. Truth soldiers through my thoughts, throwing shields up against the deception. And I know Loneliness can't be my "Plus One" - my go-to guy. I need to rely on my Only One - my Always Near.

It's time to break-up with Loneliness for good. Not just at parties, during holidays or weekends with nothing planned. Because truth is, Loneliness also courts my friends who are married, have children and all that I long for. Loneliness tags along whether alone or surrounded by family and friends, on special days and ordinary days.

There's only one way to keep Loneliness from being a constant companion in life. I must fix my eyes "ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare" of feeling alone. I need to invite Him to attend the lonely times with me, and hold my hand, keeping me company with the truth that He is always by my side.

And the next party I'm invited to? I won't go all by myself. Instead I'll invite the Lord as my "Plus One."

Dear Lord, my eyes are ever on You, for only You will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you long to know you're not alone in your struggles and feelings? If so, A Confident Heart by Renee Swope is just the book for you! Chapter by chapter, Renee offers the voice of a friend who will take your hand and help you walk out of the shadows of discouragement into the security of God's love!

Visit Samantha's blog where she's giving away a set of A Confident Heart Conference Calls that are part of Renee Swope's upcoming A Confident Heart online study coming in January.

Jesus Calling: Seeking Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

His Princess, Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Application Steps:
The next time you start feeling lonely, pray this prayer:"My eyes are ever on You LORD, for only You will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish." Psalm 25:15-17(NIV)

Reflections:
A teardrop on earth summons the King of Heaven.~Charles Swindoll

Power Verses:
Deuteronomy 31:8, "'The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.'" (NIV 1984)

Lamentations 3:22-26, "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." (NIV 1984)

© 2011 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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A Rich Man Buries a Poor Man

Matthew 27:57-61 "Joseph took the body...and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away" ( vv. 59-60).

Mary Magdalene and the other women are not the only ones who show faithfulness to Jesus in His death (Matt. 27:55-56). Today's passage tells us about Joseph, "a disciple of Jesus," who is responsible for His burial (vv. 57-60 ). Joseph is from Arimathea, known in the Old Testament as Ramathaim-zophim, a town twenty-two miles northwest of Jerusalem where the prophet Samuel was born (1 Sam. 1:1-20). This Arimathean has secretly followed Christ (John 19:38), probably because Joseph's seat on the Sanhedrin (Mark 15:43 ) would be in jeopardy if the other council members found him out. Since Joseph sits on the Sanhedrin, we know that not all the religious leaders reject Jesus completely. The reverent acts of Joseph and the Pharisee Nicodemus, who helps Joseph provide Jesus with a proper burial, (Matt. 27:57-61; John 3:1-21; 19:38-42 ) show that the Jewish clergy at the time do not universally oppose our Lord.

Joseph needs all the help he can get because he must take Jesus down from the cross, wash His body, anoint Him for burial, and finally place His body in the grave. He and Nicodemus only have a three-hour window in which to accomplish this work; Jesus died at the ninth hour (Matt. 27:45-50 ) and all work must stop when the Sabbath begins at the twelfth hour. Because he is a rich man, Joseph likely has servants who are helping in the process, although even with this help there will remain more work to be done, which is why the women return to His tomb on the first day of the week (Mark 16:1). That Jesus is buried in a rich man's tomb is yet another fulfillment of prophecy (Isa. 53:9).

Jesus' fellow Israelites consider it especially charitable to provide a proper burial for someone who might not otherwise get one. No doubt this fact motivates Joseph of Arimathea; however, he is not merely doing a good deed. In coming forward to bury Jesus, Joseph identifies himself as a disciple of Christ and risks the Sanhedrin's fury. After years of following Jesus behind closed doors, Joseph makes his true allegiance known. The church father John Chrysostom exhorts us to likewise follow Jesus even if doing so might bring shame upon us (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, first series, vol. 10, p. 522).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Besides Joseph of Arimathea's faithfulness in our Lord's burial, note that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph are also present when Jesus is laid to rest (Matt. 27:56, 61). Matthew Henry writes, "True love for Christ will carry us through to the utmost, in following him. Death itself cannot quench that divine fire." Pray today that your fervor for Jesus would increase and that neither shame nor fear would keep you from following Him.

For further study:

Genesis 23

The Bible in a year:

Zeph. 3-Haggai 2

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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A Rich Man Buries a Poor Man

Matthew 27:57-61

Besides Joseph of Arimathea's faithfulness in our Lord's burial, note that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph are also present when Jesus is laid to rest ( Matt. 27:56, 61). Matthew Henry writes, "True love for Christ will carry us through to the utmost, in following him. Death itself cannot quench that divine fire." Pray today that your fervor for Jesus would increase and that neither shame nor fear would keep you from following Him.

For further study:

Genesis 23

The Bible in a year:

Zeph. 3-Haggai 2

Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

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