Day #46: Good Tidings of Great Joy

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:8-11, KJV


Can you imagine? What must it have been like for these shepherds, when the angel came to them and announced the birth of Christ the Lord? This coming of the Messiah had been greatly wondered about for centuries, and now it was happening. And it was these humble shepherds that God chose to tell first of all, before anyone else, that His Son was born. So, when the angel proclaimed that he was bringing good tidings of great joy, he was in no way exaggerating, for this was the most wonderful news that mankind had received in a very long time.


And the news was only going to get better!


One of the reasons that we read the Word of God is to remind us of the Good News of Jesus Christ. In a world that seems to be filled with only bad news, it sure is nice to keep in mind these good tidings of great joy!


Today's reading is Luke chapter 2. It is filled with the Good News that we all need to keep a proper perspective in a world that is desperate for such good tidings as these. 

Day #45: So That We May Know

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,

it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Luke 1:1-4, ESV


After having read the first two Gospels, Matthew and Mark, you will note some differences in the way that the Gospel of Luke is written. Luke is a physician. What difference does that make, you may be wondering? Doctors are usually pretty orderly in the way they set out to do things. As an example, think about the way a doctor treats a patient. They typically will get the patient's charts to see their history, then talk to them to find out what is going on, then examine them, then and only then, they will treat the patient. An orderly pattern such as this helps the physician to best do his or her job of treating the patient in the right way. 


Note how Luke sets out to present the events of Jesus' life: In his own words, he has closely examined the history of what has taken place and then he sets down an orderly account so that we may know the certainty of what we have been taught. Of course the main thing that gives us confidence is the fact that Luke, like all of the other writings of the Bible, is inspired by God, so its narrative contains no flaws because God would not have permitted error in His holy Word.


So that leaves us with this important point: We can be certain of the things that God wants us to know! And in this particular book, God wants us to know the most important events of the life of Christ. And for all the seekers of the meaning of life down through all of the ages of men, when it gets down to the essence of what they seek, isn't it simply a certainty of why we are here and what we are here for? The beauty of God's Word is that it not only tells us that, but it tells us in such a perfect way that we may indeed know for certain all that God has for us. This is why we read!


Today's reading is Luke 1. For those who like order, this particular Gospel will provide just that. 

Day #44: He is Risen!

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!"

Mark 16:5-6, NIV


"He has risen!" I don't imagine that there is a more important statement in the entirety of Scripture than this. While we are all well aware of the importance of Jesus having shed His blood for our sins, it would have been for naught had He not then risen from the grave those three days later. In fact, it is because He arose from the dead that we have hope. Perhaps the apostle Paul said it best when inspired to write the following:


"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection."

Romans 6:3-5, NIV


This is the hope that we have! For all who are obedient to the Gospel and are serving God is His way, we too will rise from the dead and take part in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. This is the hope that we have, and this is why we are reading! As a famous man was once so fond of saying, "Isn't God Good"!


Today's reading is Mark chapter 16. It tells us all about the hope that we can all share in this time when hope is so desperately needed.



Day #43: Jesus Didn't Come Here to Save Himself

Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, "So" You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself." In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but He can't save Himself. Let this Christ, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe."

Mark 15:29-32, NIV


I used to wonder why Jesus allowed the people to insult Him as they did. I wondered why He didn't just come down from the cross and save Himself so that these wicked men would be silenced and so that He would not have to die. But of course, there is a reason for everything that Jesus did, and there was a very obvious reason for Jesus not doing as these wicked men who were taunting Him suggested:


Jesus did not come into this world to save Himself, He came into this world to save us!


"The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."

I Timothy 1:15. ESV


Jesus knew this truth. Paul showed that knew this truth. And now we know this truth as well. The question is, "What will we do about it?" That's the reason we are reading: To find the answers to the truths that God wants us to know, and then to live our lives according to these truths... otherwise, Christ would have died in vain.


Today's reading is Mark 15. It reveals much about the love that Jesus and God have for us.

Day #42: Do What You Can

But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me."

Mark 14:6, NASB


This is certainly one of the most beautiful events of Jesus' ministry here on earth. In a life filled with doing wonderful things for others, here we have a circumstance where someone actually does something wonderful for Jesus. A woman, Mary, is so overcome by Jesus' kindness that she breaks an expensive vial of perfume and anoints the feet of Christ with it. It is such a beautiful act that it is told about in all four accounts of the Gospels - one of the few events to have such a distinction. As we continuing reading, Jesus says, "She has done what she could..." Mark 14:8, RSV


The strange thing (though maybe not so strange, when you think about it) is that she was immediately criticized for her "waste" because the perfume that she used to pour on Jesus' feet was very expensive. As it turns out, it was Judas who was the primary critic. He accused her of wasting something that could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor, when all the time we find that he was just a thief looking to get something for himself.


Just think about the simplicity of what has been done: A woman did what she could! Yet this was such a novel occurrence that it became one of the most noteworthy events of Jesus' ministry. That being the case, maybe there is a lesson for us, today. Maybe, if we will follow Mary's example and do what we can, we too might find that our lives can actually be pleasing in the sight of God.


And that truly would be a beautiful thing! Are you doing what you can?


Today's reading is Mark chapter 14. It is definitely worth your consideration!