I’ve started the Murray M’Cheyne Bible reading plan again this year – I am going to attempt to blog some thoughts every day I do it!
There is far too much controversy over the creation account – especially as to whether the word “day” literally means 24hours and also whether there is a gap between v1-2 and v3. Focussing on the mechanics misses the point entirely – there is such beauty and majesty in what God has created – “it was good” and then the pinnacle of creation men and women, as our first father and mother Adam and Eve, in the image of God who were “very good”
The beauty and majesty of this poem are there to inspire worship, just as God created the heaven and the earth and mankind to worship and enjoy the presence of God intimately.
At first glance a genealogy is pretty boring unless you are into family history! A closer look, highlights some interesting characters.
Firstly unusualy for the time, 3 women are mentioned
- Tamar, who sold herself as a prostitute to her father in-law Judah to bring forth Perez and Zerah (Genesis 38).
- Rahab, who was a Gentile prostitute, who looked after the spies and was saved by God! (Joshua 2; 6:22-23).
- Ruth, the Moabitess who chose to follow God and was redemmed by Boaz – a superb type of Christ. (Ruth 1).
In the account of Christ’s birth we have the great example of Joseph who when confronted with Mary’s pregnancy did not act rashly bit considered, waited on God and heard from God through an angel in a dream
Matthew then shows the whole thing is to fulfill Isaiah 7:14 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means ‘God with us’.”
The history of the Old Covenant people of God is a mess on the human side. There was such rebellion, that God allowed Israel to be destroyed and it’s leader and nobles to be carried off into exile. After the prophecied 70 years of exile, a new Babylonian king Cyrus (prophecied as the anointed one by Isaiah) starts a return (ch2 shows only 42,00 people go back). The people who return are “Everyone whose heart God had moved” Ezra 1:5. God moved their heart to go and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.
The challenge is for us – are our hearts moved by God to build God’s house the Church? at the start of the year, it’s worth reflecting, praying and committing to build God’s Church!
Acts 1 starts in the days following Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection and ascenscion to sit at the right hand of the Father. In John’s Gospel Christ said that unless He went the Spirit couldn’t come, here his last words are to tell them to wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit is poured out, until they are baptised with the Spirit. The word baptise is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo which means to dip or immerse with a sense of a change of identity occuring. It was used when a ship sank or an onion was pickled! Have you been baptised in the Spirit? As we will see in Acts it is rarely automatic at conversion and always happens so that you know it has occured!
In verse 8 the promise is that the disciples will receive power to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. We often make much of the sign of the baptism of the Spirit being some form of utterance (tongues, prophecy and praise are all recorded in the Book of Acts as initials signs of baptism in the Spirit, although for Paul it was a healing of his blindness!). Here in v8 the sign of being baptised in the Spirit is power to be a witness. Has your power to be a witness been empowered by the Spirit? If not, then ask Him to fill you again.
Jerusalem – was where they found themselves – don’t forget most of the followers of Christ were more rural folk like Galilean fishermen, who had found themselves in the big city.
Judea – is the whole area around
Samaria – is the people who don’t like them much – the racial intermix of teh Jews left behind with the Cannanites etc
The ends of the earth is the whole world included Karakol in Kyrgystan which means the ends of the earth!
Those four zones of being a witness are a challenge for us to receive power and be witnesses where we are, the whole of West Norfolk, with migrants and maybe even get sent to the nations, if not reach the nations who are here in our area!
Thank God for his creation
Commit to help build The Gateway Church
If not baptised in the Spirit, get baptised!
Be ongoingly filled with the Spirit
Be a witness here there and everywhere.