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.

November 16 – Prophecy: Ressurection

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (Psalm 16:10 ESV)

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:10, 11 ESV)

For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ (Acts 2:25-28 ESV)

1000 years before Jesus David prophesied concerning his resurrection. About 300 years later Isaiah prophesied the same thing. The Messiah would not stay buried.

The resurrection was the most pivotal moment in all of history. It changed everything. And it was foretold by a couple of guys generations before the birth of Jesus.

November 13 – Prophecy: Borrowed Tomb

And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9 ESV)

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 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. (Matthew 27:57-60 ESV)

Isaiah lived and prophesied about 700 years before the time of Jesus. His writings have so many references to Christ that his book is often referred to as the fifth Gospel. One of Isaiah’s predictions was that Jesus would be buried in a tomb given to him by a rich man.

Joseph of Arimathea was a rich councilman, and a secret follower of Jesus. He used his political power and wealth to influence the Romans to give him Jesus’ body for an early burial. All of it happened so fast that Jesus was buried on the same day he was crucified.

Joseph played a pivotal part in the history of Christianity. Do you think he knew how important his tomb would be when he was having it cut? Probably not. But he took his wealth and power and offered them to God to be used for His purpose. It is an incredible lesson.

What we have is not ours alone. We are stewards. How can we use it to bless others? How can we put our assets to work for God’s plan?

October 29 – Prophecy: Lots & Bones

I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. (Psalm 22:17, 18 ESV)

so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, (John 19:24 ESV)

One thousand years before the birth of Christ David foretold some explicit details of our savior’s murder. He saw the nature of the bloody scourging which would leave him bloodied and exposed. He saw that the executioners would cast lots for the Messiah’s clothing.

David was far from a perfect man or king, but he was called a “man after God’s own heart.” Not because of his perfection, but in-spite of his imperfections. David was a guy that had the ability to overcome his own hangups and follow God’s will for his life. David wasn’t perfect, but God used him to prophecy about the coming of another king—a perfect king.

David’s prophecies came true. Jesus was scourged until his ribs and bones were exposed. It was horrible. He was killed on the cross, and his murderers gambled for his clothing. And while the specific details of Christ’s death are gruesome and tragic, the end result is glorious, and beautiful. That God would use imperfect people to point ahead to the perfect one, sent to rescue us from our imperfection, is pretty incredible!

October 19 – Prophecy: With Transgressors

Promise: Isaiah 53:12
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:38

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12 ESV)

Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. (Matthew 27:38 ESV)

Around 700 B.C. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be killed with sinners. Indeed he was crucified between two criminals, one of which came to the faith while hanging on the cross nearby The Lord.

Jesus’ mission was to find and save lost people. He came after the transgressors. All of us fall into that category. It is only because of his redemptive work that we find ourselves looking back on that term in the past tense of the word.

Jesus was consistently seen with transgressors, sinners. He kept company with them regularly. He dined with them. Talked with them. And died with them. He knew his mission. And he accomplished it.

October 18 – Prophecy: Crucifixion

Promise: Psalm 22:16
Fulfillment: Luke 23:33

For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— (Psalm 22:16 ESV)

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. (Luke 23:33 ESV)

The Old Testament king David prophesied about a thousand years before Christ’s birth that Jesus would be crucified. A prophecy that was written hundreds of years before the invention of crucifixion—clearly alluding to the horrible way in which Jesus would be nailed to the cross.

The mere thought of having nine inch metal spikes driven through my hands and feet is horrendous. Yet Jesus knew all along that it was to be his fate. As a kid he must have seen other men crucified. I wonder what passed through his mind.

Jesus did not shy away from that which he had set out to do. He followed through, even as he was pierced through. He knew the promise of Old Testament prophecy, and he embraced the markings of his messianic destiny, even as he secured the promise for our eternal salvation.