JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 10

JESUS AT AGE 12

“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46 ESV).

“Under the law, attendance at the feasts in Jerusalem was obligatory for boys from the age of thirteen, a birthday that was a milestone in the life of a Jewish boy, when they became a Son of the Commandment or Bar Mitzvah.”1

Being the Son of GOD, even at the age of 12, He could have been teaching and disputing among the teachers—demonstrating wisdom far beyond their grasp as He did later in His life. But as the Son of Man, He had to learn obedience (Heb 5:7-8). “Christ himself would not run, no not on his heavenly Father’s errand, before he was sent.”2

“[JESUS] contents himself to hear with diligence, and to ask with modesty”3 of the learned men of the Jewish faith. As the Son of Man, He went through life “in the style and manner of a learner.”4

When his distraught parents finally found their ‘lost’ adolescent, he replied by saying, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ (Luke 2:49). Jesus’ reference to God as ‘my Father’ is a radical statement of a unique, intimate relationship; with God, of which he was already fully conscious. Jesus referred to God the Father using the affectionate Aramaic expression ‘Abba.’5

But, “His relationship with His Heavenly Father did not nullify His duty to His earthly parents. His obedience was an essential part of the obedience He rendered on our behalf (Heb. 4:4; 5:8-9). He had to fulfill all righteousness.”6

Throughout His life He had a compassionate interest in His FATHER’s house. The temple in Jerusalem was the “Temple of the LORD”; His FATHER attached His name to it. To JESUS the temple represented His FATHER’s presence on earth.

Once, possibly two times the Gospels recorded Him cleansing the temple of unholy activity quoting Old Testament scripture: “[M]y house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isa 56:7 ESV, [Mark 11:15-17]). “[Z]eal for [the FATHER’s] house has consumed me” (Ps 69:9 ESV, [John 2:13-17]). At such a young age, what a joy it must have been for him to be in His FATHER’s house.

“Jesus Christ is made wisdom . . . all that infinite wisdom that is in Him as God, and all that infused wisdom which He had as God-man wherein He grew.”7

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man”(Luke 2:52 ESV).

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(10) He Sat on the Steps

            1. Leon Ritmeyer, “Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple at Passover,” 8 April 2017, ritmeyer.com, 28 January 2021 https://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/08/twelve-year-old-jesus-in-the-temple-at-passover/.

2. William Burkitt, “Luke 2:46,” 1700-1703, Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-46.html#verse-wbc.

            3. Burkitt, brackets mine.

            4. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, “Luke 2:46,” 2021, JFB Commentary, 28 January 2021 https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=jfb&b=42&c=2.

            5. The ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheeaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition, 2011) 2516.

            6. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 66.

            7. Joseph S. Exell, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:24,” 1905-1909 The Biblical Illustrator, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/1-24.html#verse-tbi.

            8. Leon Ritmeyer, “Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple at Passover,” 8 April 2017, ritmeyer.com, 28 January 2021 https://www.ritmeyer.com/2017/04/08/twelve-year-old-jesus-in-the-temple-at-passover/.

            9. Ritmeyer.

            10. Ritmeyer.

            11. “ . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24 ESV).

            12. “making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;” (Proverbs 2:2 ESV).

            13. Joseph S. Exell, “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:24,” 1905-1909 The Biblical Illustrator, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/1-corinthians/1-24.html#verse-tbi.

            14. “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him . . .” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV).

            15. John Piper, “The Son of God at 12 Years Old,” 11 January 1981 desiringGod, 28 January 2021     https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-son-of-god-at-12-years-old.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 9

GRACED WITH SPIRIT

“God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38 ESV).

“And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:40 ESV).

“[Jesus] was continually filled with new degrees ‘of wisdom.’ [T]his growth was the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit.”1

Thus, JESUS as the Son of Man was “graced with the SPIRIT.” And I, once redeemed can say I am “graced with the SPIRIT.”

Jesus utilized all of the resources given to him in his humanity. He loved and meditated on God’s Word; he prayed to his Father; he trusted in the wisdom and rightness of his Father’s will and Word; and very significantly, he relied on the supernatural power of the Spirit to strengthen him to do all that he was called upon to do.2

“Christ at all times performed his preaching, worked his miracles, and yielded perfect obedience, in entire dependence upon the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.”3 “He was led of the Spirit, taught of the Spirit, and strengthened in the Spirit. He was constantly dependent upon the Spirit.”4 CHRIST did exactly what we are called to do.

Jesus’ humanity is an example for believers, as it has to do with how we live our lives. The Christian life should be an imitation of the life of Jesus. We are called to live our lives as He lived His. Just as Jesus was tempted, endured suffering, and faced hatred, so as Christians we will also face those things in the world.5

“Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Pet 2:21 ESV).

“Jesus’ life of obedience and faithfulness is an example to us when we face temptation since we have the same resources that Jesus relied on to fulfill His ministry: the Word of God, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.”6

“It is the Holy Spirit who also dwells in believers, thus creating, sustaining, and determining in them that life which is the life of Christ.”7

JESUS, coming from heaven to earth, was led by the SPIRIT to show earthlings the operations of His FATHER. Thus, He became our big brother—our example of how we can depend totally on the HOLY SPIRIT to live as our FATHER wishes. The SPIRIT changes us from stuck-in-the-mud-of-the-earth, GOD-hating, self-serving people to be fitted to carry out our FATHER’s desires.

“The Son of God became the Son of Man, that we, the sons of men, might become the children of God.”8

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(9) Graced With SPIRIT

            1. John Owen, “Work of the Holy Spirit in and on the Human Nature of Christ,” 2018, Monergism, 28 January 2021 https://www.monergism.com/work-holy-spirit-and-human-nature-christ.

            2. Bruce Ware, The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013), 84 quoted in Simon Turpin, “Why Did Jesus Take on a Human Nature?” 14 June 2016, Answers in Genesis, 28 January 2021 https://answersingenesis.org/jesus/why-did-jesus-take-on-a-human-nature/.

            3. G. I. Williamson, The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company, 1964, 2004) 100.

            4. Samuel Chadwick, The Way to Pentecost (Fort Washington, PA: CLC Publications, 2000, 2014) 79.

            5. Simon Turpin, “Why Did Jesus Take on a Human Nature?” 14 June 2016, Answers in Genesis, 28 January 2021 https://answersingenesis.org/jesus/why-did-jesus-take-on-a-human-nature/.

            6. Turpin.

            7. G. I. Williamson, The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company, 1964, 2004) 255.

            8. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Children of God, Life in Christ, Studies in 1 John (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993) 3:19.

            9. “And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge . . .” (Isaiah 11:3-4 ESV).

            10. “ . . . you were washed, you were sanctified . . .” (1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV).

            11. . . . you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV).

            12. “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might . . .” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV).

            13.  “And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. . . .” (Isaiah 11:3 ESV).

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 8

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

As He grew in wisdom, realizing more and more firmly His mission from His FATHER, He came to the point where His FATHER’s desire was to make His mission official. And so He came to John the Baptist to be baptized.

“Jesus’ baptism inaugurates his ministry and fulfills God’s saving activity prophesied throughout the OT.”1 “[J]esus as God’s Son is confirmed: at his baptism by a voice from heaven and his anointing by the Spirit.”2

“When he went to be baptized, says John, ‘I have need to be baptized of you, and come you to me?’ (Matt 3:14-15); as if he had said, ‘You have no need at all of it.’ But says Christ, ‘Suffer it to be so, now; for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.’”3

Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them. This act of baptism was a necessary part of the righteousness He secured for sinners. This first public event of His ministry is also rich in meaning: (1) it pictured His death and resurrection; (2) it therefore prefigured the significance of Christian baptism; (3) it marked His first public identification with those whose sins He would bear; and (4) it was a public affirmation of His messiahship by testimony directly from heaven.4

The festivals and seasons of the Christian year (or liturgical calendar) offer a way to order the annual life of the church according to the life of Christ and the events of salvation history. At this festival of the Christian year, we not only remember Jesus’ baptism, but we celebrate our own: the baptism we share with Christ.5

“Jesus identifies with the sinful people he came to save through his substitutionary life and death.”6

“[A]ll who have been baptized into Christ were baptized into his death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4 ESV).

[B]aptism is understood as an acting out of faith. Baptism dramatically portrays what happened spiritually when you received Christ: Your old self of unbelief and rebellion and idolatry died, and a new you of faith and submission and treasuring Christ came into being.7

“On this day, we celebrate not only Jesus’ baptism but ours as well, for our baptism is rooted in Christ. Baptism joins us to Christ and his church, and with all of the baptized we are called to share in Jesus’ ministry.”8

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(8) JESUS CHRIST Submitted to Baptism

            1. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1825.

            2. ESV Study Bible 1953.

            3. John Owen, Communion with the Triune God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007) 296.

            4. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 72.

            5. “Baptism of the Lord”, Presbyterian Mission Agency, 3 July 2021 https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/baptism-lord/.

            6. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1825.

            7. John Piper, “What is Baptism and How Important is it?” 20 July 2008 desiringGod, 2 February 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/what-is-baptism-and-how-important-is-it.

            8. “Baptism of the Lord”, Presbyterian Mission Agency, 3 July 2021 https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/baptism-lord/.

            9. Wakefield, quoted in “Commentary on Matthew 3:15,” 1832, The Adam Clarke Commentary, 2 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/matthew-3.html.

10. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21 ESV).

            11. “You shall . . . praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you” (Joel 2:26 ESV).

            12. “. . . those whom he predestined he also called . . .” (Romans 8:30 ESV).

            13. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh . . .” (Joel 2:28 ESV).

            14. “John answered . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16 ESV).

            15. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3 ESV).

            16. “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6 ESV).

            17. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4 ESV).

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 7

EPIPHANY

“The glory of the LORD is his manifested presence with his people.”1

The term Epiphany is taken from the Greek word for ‘manifestation; and is a date to celebrate the incarnation of Christ. In some traditions the season of Epiphanytide ends on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season. In most Protestant churches, though, Epiphany is usually just celebrated on the Sunday closest to January 6.2

“Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.”3

The Cambridge English Dictionary calls Epiphany “a Christian holy day that celebrates the revelation of the baby Jesus to the world.”4

God’s ultimate purpose in redemptive history is to create a people to dwell in his presence, glorifying him through numerous varied activities, and enjoying him forever. The story begins with God in eternal glory and it ends with God and his people in eternal glory. At the center stands the cross, where God revealed his glory through his Son.5

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim 2:5 ESV).

It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that He might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to His sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure His favour, purchase a peculiar people, give His Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation’ (Westminster Catechism, 1643).6

“God with us. Applied to Christ in the highest and most glorious sense: God incarnate among us, He is still Immanuel, God with us; once He came among men and identified himself with them; now He saves men and identifies them with Himself.”7

“That almighty Friend we now have in heaven, in whose hands all our high interests are placed, though once ‘Man of sorrows’, was, and is, no less, at the same time, one with the Father.”8

“Christ is God over all, blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 9:5 ESV).

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(7) Linking Clay with the Divine

            1. Joe Carter, “9 Things You Should Know About the Christian Calendar,” 1 December 2019, The Gospel Coalition, 3 July 2021 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-know-christian-calendar/.

            2. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1503.

            3. “Epiphany,” Wikipedia Wikipedia, 26 January 2021 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_(holiday).

            4. “Epiphany,” The Cambridge English Dictionary The Cambridge English Dictionary, 26 January 2021 https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/epiphany.

            5. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 2495.

            6. Arthur W. Pink, “The Mediation of Christ,” Studies in the Scriptures, (Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library) XI (January 1932) : 2.

            7. Philip Schaff, “Commentary on Matthew 1:23,” 1879-90, Schaff’s Popular Commentary on the New Testament, 18 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/scn/matthew-1.html.

            8. R. Hawker, 1825 quoted in Arthur W. Pink, “The Mediation of Christ,” Studies in the Scriptures, (Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library) XI (January 1932) : 3.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 6

JESUS IS FULLY GOD, FULLY MAN

Christ possesses the fullness of the divine nature and attributes (Col 1:19). In Greek philosophical thought, matter was evil; spirit was good. Thus, it was unthinkable that God would ever take on a human body. [The Apostle] Paul refutes that false teaching by stressing the reality of Christ’s incarnation. Jesus was not only fully God, but fully human as well.1

“Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:5-7 ESV).

“Our Lord emptied Himself, but the Father gave to His self-emptied Son the fullness of His Spirit. He did not cease to be God, but He became in all things human and was subject to such conditions as were possible to human nature possessed of His Spirit.”2

Fully GOD: “Jesus did not give up any of his divine attributes at the incarnation. He remained in full possession of all of them. For if he were to ever give up any of his divine attributes, he would cease being God.”3

Fully man: “He was not only a man in appearance and likeness, but in reality, having the same common nature, distinguished by the same specific differences, but united to his own eternally divine nature.”4 “Jesus did not cease to be fully human after the resurrection. He will be a man forever as he represents redeemed humanity for all of eternity.”5

[A]ll proceeds from the Father, through the Son, and is by the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit who formed Christ’s human nature, and directed the whole tenor of His earthly life. Nothing was undertaken but by the Spirit’s directing. The right use of the faculties of His soul owed their exercise to the Holy Spirit who fully controlled Him.6

Just as JESUS, the Son of Man navigated life on earth, so must I. “Jesus’ humanity means he is a true example and pattern for human character and conduct. ‘For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps’ (1 Per 2:21; cf. 1 John 2:6).”7

The two mysteries which exist in the manhood of Christ exist also in the ransomed soul; the presence of the Spirit, and the union with the Son of God. Each soul in grace is a partaker of the Divine Nature. The pure nature of Christ is the instrument of the Spirit in the soul. [T]ransformation of our nature is being accomplished, and His character gradually impressed.8

“The full flood of my life is in the perfect understanding of God and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had.”9

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(6) Fully GOD Fully Man

            1. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 18.

            2. Samuel Chadwick, The Way to Pentecost (Fort Washington, PA: CLC Publications, 2000, 2014) 79.

            3. Matt Perman, “How Can Jesus be Both God and Man?” 5 October 2006, desiringGod, 28 January 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-can-jesus-be-god-and-man.

            4. Thomas Coke, “Philippians 2:7,” 1801-1803, Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 18 January 2021 https://pro.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/philippians-2.html.

            5. The ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition, 2011) 2517.

            6. A. W. Pink, The Holy Spirit (Pensacola, FL: Mt. Zion Publications), http://www.mountzion.org, 32.

            7. The ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition, 2011) 2518.

            8. W. H. Hutchings, “Commentary on Ephesians 1:17,” 1905-1909, The Biblical Illustrator, 28 January 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/ephesians-1.html.

            9. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1935, Fifty-fifth printing) August 31st.

            10. “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10 ESV).

11. Isaac Watts, The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) 302. Oliver Holden, Hymn tune: Coronation, 1792.

            12. “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect . . .” (Hebrews 2:17 ESV).

            13. “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,” (Hebrews 2:11 ESV).

            14. “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things . . .” Hebrews 2:14 ESV).

15. Isaac Watts, The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts, Book 1, Hymn XVI, (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) 302. Oliver Holden, Hymn tune: Coronation, 1792.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 5

THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

“Christmas is the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church. The traditional date goes back as far as A.D. 273.”1

When we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating the moment in history when prophecy was fulfilled. God came to be with us. It was the beginning of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. An act He didn’t have to take part in but He chose to out of love.2

The central truth of the Christmas story is this: the Child of Christmas is God; Christmas is not about the Savior’s infancy; it is about His deity. The humble birth of Jesus Christ was never intended to conceal the reality that God was being born into the world. Without forsaking His divine nature or diminishing His deity, He was born into our world as a tiny infant. He was fully human, with all the needs and emotions that are common to us all. Yet He was also fully God—all wise and all powerful.3

It was only in the Babe of Bethlehem that the whole of God’s character shone forth, that men might not merely find Him and bow before Him, but trust in Him and love Him, as one who could be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. A God in need! A God weak! A God fed by mortal woman! A God wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger! God has been through the pains of infancy from the nature of the babe on its mother’s bosom, to the nature of the full-grown and full-souled man, fighting with all his powers against the evil of the world. All this is His, and He is all; that no human being, from the strongest to the weakest, from the oldest to the youngest, but may be able to say, “What I am, Christ has been!4

Christmas is not about pretending that everything is great and we don’t struggle or suffer. Christmas is about acknowledging that sometimes things are not great and we do struggle and suffer, even at Christmas—and that God knows this, God hears us, and God has got involved for us. You live in a world that has been visited by its Maker. God showed up. God didn’t send Moses. God came himself. That’s how committed he is to your good.5

[W]e are all poor and desperate, so we all need the promise bound up in that baby. We are in need of a way out of our poverty of soul and the desperate state of our human condition. We find it in this child lying in a manger, who was and is Jesus Christ, the long-promised Messiah, Seed, Redeemer, and King.6

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Cor 1:20 ESV).

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(5) Shepherds Rejoice

            1. Rachel Dawson, “What is Christmas: Understanding the History and Origin,” 03 November 2020, Crosswalk, 06 April 2021 https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/what-is-christmas-understanding-the-history-and-origin.html.

            2. Brittany Rust, “What is the Meaning of Christmas?” 01 December 2020, Crosswalk, 06 April 2021 https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/what-is-the-true-meaning-of-christmas.html.

            3. “What is the Real Meaning of Christmas?” Grace To You, 06 April 2021 https://www.gty.org/library/questions/QA70/what-is-the-real-meaning-of-christmas.

            4. C. Kingsley, “Commentary on Luke 2:7,” 1905-1909, StudyLight, 06 April 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/luke-2.html.

            5. Matt Chandler, An Even Better Christmas (thegoodbook company, The Village Church, 2018) 25.

            6. Stephen Nichols, “The Real Meaning of Christmas,” 04 December 2020, Ligonier, 06 April 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/blog/real-meaning-christmas/.

            7. Isaac Watts, The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) 292.

            8. Watts, 497.

            9. John W. Work, adapter, “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” Hymnary, 06 April 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/while_shepherds_kept_their_watching.

            10. Nahum Tate, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” 1700, Hymnary, 06 April 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/while_shepherds_watched_their_flocks_by.

            11. Isaac Watts, The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) 497.

            12. “The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1 ESV);

            13. John Gill, “Commentary on Isaiah 9:6,” The New John gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 06 April 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/9-6.html#verse-geb.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 4

ADVENT WEEK 4 – LOVE

Love is the greatest of all the virtues on the Advent wreath and encompasses Jesus’ entire purpose for being on earth. Christ connects all the Advent candles. Through him, we can have hope, peace, joy, and love.1

“It was a holy night. God’s glory came to earth and wrote a love letter to the world in the form of a newborn baby.”2 “God made His love visible.”3

And certainly the greatest truth about Christmas is that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Christmas is really the effect of which God’s love is the cause. God’s love for mankind then is evident in the offer of the gospel to all people. And the path to the gospel has been given to everybody.4

This was the most loving act ever performed in history, for there has never been and can never be a gift greater than the life of the Son of God given for the “sins of the whole world.” Without God’s Spirit indwelling them, people cannot look to the love they have for others or even the “love” they have for God as an example to be emulated for we are born self-centered and remain so unless the Holy Spirit changes our hearts.5

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son” (1 John 4:10 ESV).

Christian love comes from God Himself. This love is not natural to fallen humanity. It originates in God and is a divine gift to His people. When we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given a capacity for this supernatural love that has God as its source and foundation. [N]ot every human being who loves another is born of God. The kind of love of which he speaks comes only from regeneration. Without the Holy Spirit’s transformation of the human heart, no one has this capacity for love. No unregenerate person has this kind of love, and no regenerate person lacks such love. Therefore, a person who does not have the ability to love in the way John describes has not been born again. “Anyone who does not love [in this manner] does not know God.”6

The Father sent his Son to make his worst enemies into beloved children, and yet he’s crowded out by other, more earthly details — the kind of details that can be finely painted on ornaments. [W]e have an almighty Father of infinite wisdom and relentless love, a Father who authored that first Christmas and every one since. Nothing compares to the Creator of the universe sending the radiance of his own glory, the exact imprint of his nature, into his creation. Let Christmas remind you that the Son was sent, in love, from heaven, and that you are sent, in love, on earth.7

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(4) GOD Came to Us

            1. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Love and the Christ Candle for Advent. Week 4,” 21 October 2020, Christianity, 26 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-love-and-the-christ-candle-for-advent-week-4.html.

            2. Matt Tullos, “Advent Devotional (Week 5): Christ,” 25 November 2015, Lifeway, 26 March 2021 https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/devotions-christmas-advent-week-five-christ.

            3. Mary Brack, “Advent Week 4: Love,” 18 December 2016, Grace Church, 26 March 2021 http://gracetoledo.org/2016/12/advent-week-4-love/.

            4. John MacArthur, “The Love of God, Part 1” 4 Dec 1994, Grace to You, 22 October 2021 https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-77/the-love-of-god-part-1.

            5. “The True Love of God” 2 June 2010, Grace to You, 22 October 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/true-love-god.

            6. R.C. Sproul, “The Holy Love of God” 25 June 2014, Ligonier, 22 October 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/holy-love-god.

            7. Marshall Segal, “The Forgotten Giver of Christmas” 5 December 2020, Desiring God, 22 October 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-forgotten-giver-of-christmas.

            8. Quina Aragon, “Advent Week 4: A Savior is Born,” 16 December 2020, Christianity Today, 31 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-4-savior-is-born.html.

            9. Frederick M. Lehman, “The Love of God,” 1917, Hymnary, 31 March 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/the_love_of_god_is_greater_far.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 3

ADVENT WEEK THREE – JOY

“Advent is a journey to joy, but it is not we who are traveling. Joy is coming to us.”1

This third week in Advent, let us remember that the good news of Jesus’ birth has the power to bring us great joy this Christmas season. [J]oy that flooded the hearts of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the hosts of heaven, and Mary and Joseph is the joy that still has the power to overwhelm our hearts with rejoicing.2

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10 ESV).

“The words are expressed in the same kind of language that was used by kings and emperors when a new heir was born. It was the Birth Announcement of a King.”3

“The angel opens his discourse by saying, that he announces great joy. By calling it great joy, he shows us that this blessing is so great and boundless, as fully to compensate for all the pains, distresses, and anxieties of the present life.”4

“We find joy in the truth of what God has already done and in the anticipation of what is to come, in the expectancy of God’s faithfulness. Joy overtakes uncertainty when we see how God works in unexpected ways to fulfill promises.”5

[T]he distinguishing nuance of joy is that it lasts beyond the moments of happiness. It can be present when the shine of Christmas cheer dulls or even tarnishes. Biblical joy is an attitude that God’s people adopt, not because of happy circumstances, but because of our hope in God’s love and promises.6

“We find joy in our current circumstances by choosing to remember the joy that Jesus’ redemption of our lives brings, redemption that is only possible through his birth, death, and resurrection.”7

“Let us learn to be so delighted with Christ alone, that the perception of his grace may overcome, and at length remove from us, all the distresses of the flesh.”8

In our present challenges, we anticipate the returning King, who with ‘salvation and power and glory’ will bring the hope of the fulfilled kingdom into being. We look around us at the brokenness of our world, and in the power of Jesus’ life and love, choose joy anyway.9

“You made known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:11 ESV).

ENDNOTES

(3) Earth Receives Her CHRIST

            1. John Piper

            2. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Joy for Advent? Week 3,” 16 December 2019, Christianity, 23 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-joy-for-advent-week-3.html.

            3. Peter Pett, “Commentary on Luke 2:10,” 2013, Peter Pett’s Commentary on the Bible, 23 March 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-10.html#verse-pet.

            4. John Calvin, “Commentary on Luke 2:10,” 1840-57, Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, 23 March 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-10.html#verse-cal.

            5. “Advent Week 3 – The Candle of Joy,” 13 December 2020, Mill City Church, 23 March 2021 https://millcitychurch.com/advent-week-3-the-candle-of-joy/.

            6. Kala, “Advent Week 3: Joy,” 13 December 2020, The Porch Followers of Jesus, 23 March 2021 https://www.porchsf.com/devotionals/2020/12/13/advent-week-3-joy.

            7. “Advent Week 3 – The Candle of Joy,” 13 December 2020, Mill City Church, 23 March 2021 https://millcitychurch.com/advent-week-3-the-candle-of-joy/.

            8. John Calvin, “Commentary on Luke 2:10,” 1840-57, Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, 23 March 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/2-10.html#verse-cal.

            9. “Advent Week 3 – The Candle of Joy,” 13 December 2020, Mill City Church, 23 March 2021 https://millcitychurch.com/advent-week-3-the-candle-of-joy/.

            10. Hymn tune, “ST. PETER.”

            11. Hymn tune, “WINCHESTER OLD,” modified.

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 2

ADVENT WEEK TWO – PEACE

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isa 9:7 ESV). “This was prophesied about Jesus more than 700 year before his birth.”1

“‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (Luke 19:38 ESV).

“The Advent of Jesus is the arrival of peace. He not only made peace with God for us, but he became our peace. [N]ot only are we no longer in conflict with God, but much more in that God has restored us to a state of wholeness.”2

“The most basic meaning of shalom is not ‘peace’ but ‘complete’ or ‘whole.’”3 “Peace is not just the absence of war or conflict, but the positive presence of something else.”4

Psalm 46 declares with confidence, ‘We will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea’ (v.2). Our world, like the psalmist’s world is in collapse: racial injustice, wildfires, hurricanes, floods. Our earth is giving way and the mountains are falling into the sea.5

“And [JESUS] awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39 ESV). “His trust was so great that he could rest amid the crashing waves. Such supernatural peace is available to any of us who knows who God is.”6

“’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:14 ESV).

“The ‘peace’ announced at the first Christmas is a unique peace that only the Messiah Himself can offer, but it’s for anyone who will take it.”7 “Now He doesn’t offer peace on our terms but His. And His terms are this: total surrender, turning away from any sort of self-trust or self-righteousness.”8 “Confession and being made right with God (justification) is our starting point to having peace with God.”9

“And He gives it to those who do it like a kid—humble, wide-eyed, maybe even hesitant or through tears. Jesus gives peace to those who come to the point they truly believe HE is the answer to what they are looking for.”10

[W]here the guilt of the past is forgiven; where the trials of the present are overcome; and where our destiny in the future is secured eternally. This kind of peace has a name. We celebrate during this season that ‘to us a child is born, to us a son is given.’ His name is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.11

To purchase song book
see BOOK in main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(2) Prince of Peace

            1. Jimmy Larche, “Advent Devotions (Week 2): Peace and Shalom,” 6 December 2019, Abiding in Him Devotional, 17 March 2021 https://www.jimmylarche.com/advent-devotional-week-two/.

            2. “Advent: Week 2 Peace,” Feed the Nations, 17 March 2021 https://feedtheneed.org/tabletalk/advent-week-2-peace/.

            3. “Advent: Week 2 Peace.”

            4. Jim Lewis, “Advent Week 2 – Study Guide,” 6 December 2020, River Community Church, 17 March 2021 http://www.rivercc.org/2020/12/06/advent-week-2-study-guide/.

            5. Carmen Joy Imes, “Monday: Peace in the Storm,” 6 December 2020, Christianity Today, 17 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-2-gods-presence-and-his-promises.html.

            6. Imes.

            7. Alli Patterson, “10 Minutes to More Peace (Advent: Week 2),” 7 December 2020, Crossroads, 17 March 2021 https://www.crossroads.net/media/articles/10-minutes-to-more-peace-advent-week-two.

            8. Allen S. Nelson, “Jesus Deserves Praise,” 2 December 2019, Things Above, 17 March 2021 https://thingsabove.us/2019-advent-devotionals-week-2/.

            9. Jim Lewis, “Advent Week 2 – Study Guide,” 6 December 2020, River Community Church, 17 March 2021 http://www.rivercc.org/2020/12/06/advent-week-2-study-guide/.

            10. Alli Patterson, “10 Minutes to More Peace (Advent: Week 2),” 7 December 2020, Crossroads, 17 March 2021 https://www.crossroads.net/media/articles/10-minutes-to-more-peace-advent-week-two.

            11. “Advent Week 2: Peace,” 5 December 2016, Rivertree Church, 17 March 2021 https://myrivertree.org/church-life/2016/12/5/ravpqh4mn96r54polijbxmcmyny4m7.

            12. “. . . we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11 ESV).

            13. John Piper, “Advent Week 4 Prince of Peace,” 20 December 2020, Faithlife Sermons, 17 March 2021 https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/676674-advent-week-4-prince-of-peace.

            14. Piper.

            15. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”  (Isaiah 9:6 ESV).

            16. “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility”  (Ephesians 2:14 ESV).

JESUS! In Word and Song

WEEK 1

ADVENT WEEK ONE – HOPE

“Happy New Year! The Christian year begins with the season of Advent.”1 “Advent anticipates the ‘coming of Christ’ from three different perspectives: the physical nativity in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the heart of the believer, and the eschatological Second Coming.”2

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jer 33:14 ESV).

The Christian story is essentially one of daring hope, and we proclaim it boldly during Advent. All our senses tell us that God is not here, that the world is encompassed in darkness, cold, and pain. Yet we proclaim during this darkest, coldest time that He is here, tangibly born in the flesh, present with us still today.3

If you read the Bible cover to cover, you will discover there is a lot of waiting done by God’s people. Even though God made them wait, He didn’t allow them to wait without hope. He made covenants, anointings, and promises with his people while they waited, which gave them hope.4

“Hope, in the Bible, exists as a secure assurance, a trust placed in a trustworthy God. God has not failed us in the past, and therefore, if he claims he will do something in the future, we can have a hope that he will fulfill that claim.”5

“We aren’t alone in hope for an improved political climate. The Jewish people living more than two thousand years ago were hoping for the arrival of the Messiah to rescue them and bring about a just and peaceful kingdom.”6

Revelations initial recipients were living in two overlapping realities: their assurance in the sovereign reign and glorious return of Christ; and their earthly, everyday experience of waiting and suffering. Some two thousand years later, we still live amid these overlapping realities. Here, between Christ’s first coming and his glorious return, our lives may also feel like a mix of kingdom and confidence alongside waiting and suffering.7

“In this day and age, where evil abounds and all seems lost, we can also hope that the prophecies about Jesus’ second arrival to earth will also be fulfilled.”8

“[W]ait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:7-8 ESV).

To purchase song book
See BOOK in the main menu bar

ENDNOTES

(1) In Hope Assured

            1. “Hope is a Verb: Salt’s Lectionary Commentary for Advent Week One,” 27 November 2018, Salt, 9 March 2021 https://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/advent-week-one-lectionary-commentary.

            2. “Advent,” Wikipedia, Wikipedia, 9 March 2021 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent.

            3. Catherine McNiel, “Advent Week One: A Hope Made Sure,” 2 December 2019, Awana, 9 March 2021 https://www.awana.org/2019/12/02/advent-week-one-a-hope-made-sure/.

            4. Dori, “Advent Week 1 Hope: Family Devotional,” 1 December 2018, This Full Life 5, 9 March 2021 https://thisfulllife5.com/week-1-advent-family-devotional/.

            5. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Hope for Advent? Week 1,” 6 December 2019, Christianity, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-hope-for-advent-week-1.html.

            6. Matt Tullos, “Advent Devotional (Week 1): Faith,” 25 November 2015, Lifeway, 9 March 2021 https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/devotions-christmas-advent-week-one-faith.

            7. Kelli B. Trujillo, “Advent Week 1: He Will Come Again in Glory,” 29 November 2020, Christianity Today, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/advent-week-1-he-will-come-again-in-glory.html.

            8. Hope Bolinger, “What is the Candle of Hope for Advent? Week 1,” 6 December 2019, Christianity.com, 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-candle-of-hope-for-advent-week-1.html.

            9. Robb Redman, “What is Advent?” 17 December 2020, Worship Leader, 9 March 2021 https://worshipleader.com/calendar/advent-day-19-with-steve-angrisano/.

            10. “. . . Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees”  (Romans 8:24 ESV)?

            11. Justin Holcomb, “What is Advent?” 6 November 2020, Christianity.com 9 March 2021 https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent.html.

            12. Holcomb.

            13. Arthur S. Way, Letters of Paul, Hebrews and the Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1926, 1981) 208.

            14. “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33 ESV).

            15. Mark 13:33.

            16. Charles Wesley and Henry T. Smart, “Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending,” 1758, Hymnary, 9 March 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/lo_he_comes_with_clouds_descending_once.

            17. Wesley and Smart.