December 30 – The Hand of God

Read: Hebrews 1:1-14

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” (Psalm 110:1 ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)

I like working with my hands. In a career where my primary responsibilities usually revolve around study, communication, and spending time with people (all of which also love) using my hands to make, repair, or lift something can sometimes come as a nice change of pace. Even in the hobbies I enjoy like guitar, video games, and art—my hands are vital to the process. Hands are important.

Jesus sits at the right hand of God. It’s a place of honor for the God-man and King. It’s not a subservient place. It is equal footing. As Jesus is the Hand of God.

When I want to work to fix something I use my hands to do the job. I have to pick up the pieces, I have to make the repairs, and I have to hold the tools. God did something similar, but eternally and infinitely more wonderful than my weak analogy could ever capture.

God reached into human history, as Jesus. Jesus is the handprint of God that marks all of human experience. Jesus is the touch of kindness and measure of mercy. Jesus is the grip of compassion and strong arm of justice that guides the course of eternity. Jesus holds the rod that will rule the future of all futures forever. Jesus is the Hand of God.

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December 29 – Jesus Far Above

Read: Ephesians 4:7-10

You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there. (Psalm 68:18 ESV)

He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:10 ESV)

In about 1000 B.C. King David prophesied that Jesus would ascend into heaven. It was written that Jesus would take the the souls of departed Christians with Him. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians mentions the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Jesus did come down out of Heaven. He was murdered for our sin. He descended into the depths of the grave. He took back themes to life. And he ascended again into Heaven—first stopping by to encourage and pastor his disciples for 40 days.

Today, Jesus is far above. In metaphysical terms I believe that he is omnipresent. He is able to be everywhere always. In speaking of his exalted status as King of all—he is far above. We serve a King who sits in authority over, and even far above, all things.

How does that play out in your life? If you’re struggling with some terrible need, whatever it may be, Jesus sits in authority above the powerful captivity you might be facing in light of your need. He holds in his hand the power and authority to release a good work on your behalf. And perhaps the best thing about this King of ours who sits far a above is that he will often do just that. He is far above all, but he is not far from.

December 17 – Who Are You?

Acts 19:11-20

But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15 ESV)

The powers of darkness might know your name. They knew Jesus, they were with him in eternity past before being tossed out of heaven during their attempted coup. They recognized Paul. He had made such an impact for the Kingdom that they had taken notice. Word had spread throughout the demon ranks about the preacher Paul.

Are you on their radar? When your life takes you into contact with a new group of people do the spirits of darkness there get nervous? I think they should.

Jesus told Peter that his church would be an advancing church. We don’t just sit back and wait for people to come to us, that’s fool hardy and pointless. No, we need to step up, step out, and step into enemy territory.

Maybe the enemy will know your name. Maybe not. But when you step into the role that God has for you you will wear the adopted identity of the name above all other names, Jesus. Who are you? You are his!

December 14 – Jesus: Christ & King

Read: Acts 17:1-9

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” (Acts 17:2, 3 ESV)

Jesus died. But he didn’t stay dead. He returned to life. He ascended, bodily, into Heaven. He went before us into death, and then into resurrected eternity, to prepare the path that who belong to the kingdom of God will one day travel.

Upon his conversion Saul of Tarsus, an infamous persecutor, became an enthusiastic proclaimer of Jesus. He often went into Jewish Synagogues to teach about Jesus, no doubt hoping to bring the truth to his people. He was articulate, and intelligent, persuading a great many people to open their hearts to Jesus—the Christ and King.

It was Jesus’ role as Christ which infuriated the Jews; but it was his role as King which the legality of persecution stemmed from. Salvation can come from no source but Jesus. That hasn’t stopped a multitude of people from attempting to save themselves, but it is folly.

Just as errant is the rejection of Jesus Christ as King. People often refuse to acknowledge any authority that is not of their own making. They want the throne of their lives left alone. We like to play King, Jesus is both Christ the Savior and the King of kings.

December 3 – In Jesus’ Name

Read: Acts 3:1-10

But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. (Acts 3:6, 7 ESV)

Three little words. “In Jesus’ name.” Where I’m from they are almost the token ending to every prayer I have ever heard, and quite a few that I have prayed. But there is power in Jesus’ name. It is a special name.

Peter knew there was authority in the name of Jesus. He had experiential knowledge of the power of Jesus. Also, he had faith—and was emboldened by the Holy Spirit—to proclaim healing for the crippled man at the gate.

The name of Jesus gets thrown around a lot by people who assume that its a magic set of syllables. Too often people wrongly assume that they can declare something supernatural will happen, sprinkle the name of Jesus around—and then POOF, that thing has to happen. That’s not how it works. It has never worked like that.

Peter rightly understood that authority rested with Jesus. The power was from the Holy Spirit. And that the combined faith of the parties involved activated the work that God was looking to do in the life of the crippled man. Peter knew that in Jesus’ name he had access to God, he had access to power, but he did not have control.

November 27 – All Authority

Read: Matthew 28:16-20, 1 Corinthians 15:6

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18 ESV)

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:6 ESV)

Jesus appears to the eleven apostles and five hundred believers on Mount Tabor. He charged them to share his message. He gave them guardianship of the Gospel. And he encouraged them to rely on their representative authority based on his own complete authority.

Jesus is the ultimate authority. Many passages outlined by the Old Testament prophets speak about the ruling servant king, the Messiah. John the Apostle’s oft studied Revelations describes the story of the One and Only Jesus returning for his Bride, the Church, and initiating his eternal reign of authority.

On a practical level, we can live, love, and laugh just a little bit freer today knowing that any authority we possess is a gift from our greater authority. Jesus holds the key to the Kingdom of God. He holds the power of the Creator. He holds All Authority.

October 9 – King & Country

John 19: 12-16

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15 ESV)

Who is your king? We all have one. For the Jews of Jesus’ day they identified their king as Caesar simply out of spite. But who is our king? For many of us, our king is the person we see in the mirror every day.

And the question is a question of kingdom. What do you pronounce ownership over? Do you owe allegiance to yourself? There are a lot of good questions stirred up by the example of a bunch of super religious Pharisees rejecting God himself as their king to proclaim false homage to a pagan dictator and conqueror they showed no true love for.

The reality is that under Caesar the corruption of the Jewish Temple greatly benefited the religious bureaucracy. With Jesus as king they would lose their power base while seeing equality, fairness, and justice brought to the common people.

Just to be clear, Jesus is King. In fact, he is the King of all kings. It’s not a matter of who actually is the king, rather it is a question of who we each proclaim as our king. Self-worship and humanism are the order of the day. Placing our pride upon the thrones of our own choosing are the trend. But acknowledging Jesus as your true King, and stepping into his Kingdom is the better future.