photo credit: Noel F. <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/37563893@N00/45770871165″>Bartolo</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.’
And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel (Luke 1:76-80 NASB).”
photo credit: mripp <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/56218409@N03/39624591724″>Dog owners are more healthy</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Dreaming of a white Christmas?
Your life can be transformed; you can be white as snow every Christmas.
“Come now, and let us reason together,’
Says the Lord,
Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool (Isaiah 1:18 NASB).”
Dressed in garments white as snow…
“He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels (Revelation 3:5 NASB).”
Children make angels in the snow. The Father makes hardened sinners as white as snow.
photo credit: muhammad_elarbi <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/132357290@N05/24877953329″>The Fiery Dragon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Though not a fire breathing dragon, he was once as deadly…
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2 KJV).”
Saul (Apostle Paul) He received the transforming breath of the Holy Spirit.
“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ (Acts 9:3-22 KJV).”
photo credit: L’art au présent <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/144232185@N03/39632042804″>BELLINI Giovanni,1465-70 – Le Calvaire (Louvre) – Detail 10</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
3 “He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living [stricken to His death] for the transgression of my [Isaiah’s] people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord].
12 Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious).”
[Isaiah 53:3-12 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition]
photo credit: Angela-xujing <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/153103713@N04/36398558575″>The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
“After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now accomplished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, He said, ‘I’m thirsty!’ A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on hyssop and held it up to His mouth.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit (John 19:28-30 HCSB).”
Finished, what did Jesus mean; what was finished?
I’m no theologian but I have pondered the imponderable.
Was the agony, excruciating pain of crucifixion finished?
Yes, but I believe the statement holds much deeper meaning.
First I share an interpretation I heard many years ago. (I’m sorry that I cannot remember who shared this information). He said that in Bible times… when people were unable to pay their debts, they were arrested and put in jail. A placard was posted above their cell stating the amount they owed. The individual would serve their time until their debt was paid in full. Then the placard read, ‘It is finished!’
Jesus paid the debt I could never pay. God sent Him to earth to be the perfect sacrifice for my sin. As the spotless Lamb of God, He died in my place.
The old covenant is finished.
“Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:27-28 HCSB).”
The work of redemption is finished.
“But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:11-12 HCSB).”
Yes, forever finished!
“According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22 HCSB).”