Here’s the “Necessary Food” Bible readings for January 2: Genesis 2:4-25; Job 1:6-12; Isaiah 2:1-5; Matthew 1:18-25 and Romans 1:8-15.
I was especially challenged today by the reading from Matthew today. But I can almost hear it now… Dr. Bartel, the Christmas story again?! I mean, we just finished taking down the Christmas tree and decorations!
Well the Matthew 1:18-25 passage reminded me of a “salvation” (or rescue) event in my life. Many of you know I am a devoted runner. Several years ago, I purchased a wonderful Garmin GPS tracking watch. Problem is, after several months of fooling around with the settings on it I really messed things up and nothing I tried to do made the situation better… only worse! Finally, in desperation, I called customer support and in a few minutes the Garmin representative solved the problem and got the watch running properly! …“Saved!”
Ever mess things up in your life? And what was the solution? … Admitting you had a problem (i.e. “repentance”) and appealing for help and trusting someone that could solve the problem (i.e. a “savior”).It was like that for me… I had messed things up in my life …as they say, “royally!” My self-will resulted in bondage and sin. I needed help – I needed a Savior! The Bible describes the human problem (including “my problem”) this way… “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!” (Romans 3:23)
So where does the Christmas story found in Matthew 1 come in you ask… In the middle of the human dilemma, called “sin, God sent an angel to the virgin Mary, and informed her she would supernaturally have a baby – the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ! He also appeared to Joseph, who was engaged to be married to Mary, and reassured him, “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bring forth a Son, and YOU SHALL CALL HIS NAME JESUS, FOR HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS! All of this happened that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us!’ … And she brought forth her firstborn Son and called his name Jesus [“Savior”]!” (From Matthew 1:18-25)
That’s right… after we had “messed things up… ‘royally’ with self-will and sin, God sent His Son, our Savior, to “save us from our sin!” I remember vividly the day I became painfully aware of the “mess” I had made of things with my sin! I acknowledged my sin, asked God to forgive me, and trusted Jesus as my Savior! He did what I could never do on my own… He took the “mess” I had made, forgave me, and “saved” me, transforming my life, and giving me “abundant life” (John 10:10)! I’ve never been the same! It worked for me – and it will work for you! Thank God for Jesus Christ, our Savior!!!