Dreams and Fulfillment
But after [Joseph] had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" —which means, "God with us."
Earlier today I read a sermon of Charles Spurgeon on Matthew 1:21 and marked this paragraph:
Beloved, if we had space at this time I should like to speak about how completely Christ saves His people from their sins, how when He comes in He turns out the strong man armed with mighty force, how that strong man armed seeks to come back again, and does, as far as he can, gain a partial entrance, but Jesus drives him out again; how all the damage and foulness that were left within the house by the old tenant are gradually cleared away by Jesus, till at last His people are fully sanctified as temples of the living God.After reading Spurgeon, I got an email from a friend about her aunt with cancer and only four to six weeks to live. Next, I read Tim's blog about a friend of his who's dad died earlier today after a long battle with cancer. Tim's earlier post on the 1st was about his neice Morgan dying of leukemia. Today I've been praying for cancer patients, families and survivors.
His saints shall be without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and no sign that ever the devil dwelt within them shall remain upon them. Viewing each one of their risen bodies as a temple of God, you shall search those bodies through and not find a trace of the dominion of sin; you shall look into the heart, into the mind, into the understanding, but when Jesus has done His purging work there shall be no scar or speck to show that ever sin was there.
So completely shall He save His people from their sins that they shall be fit to dwell with angels; better - they shall be fit to dwell with God: better than that, they shall be one with Jesus, one with Him throughout eternity, the fullness of His that fills all in all. How glorious, how transcendent is the salvation which Jehovah Jesus has brought to us!
A friend of mine had been through five brain surgeries. He had spent his adult life ministering to the Arab world. When I visited him and his family in the hospital I walked into a hospital room where there were no regrets and only love. A man of God was preparing to cross over. He had little time. At least one of his three kids had one hand on him at all times. His wife was treasuring every breath. I walked over to him and looked into his distant eyes. He hadn't said a word to anyone for quite some time.
Standing next to him I began to recite Psalm 84, "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." As I spoke about heart and flesh crying out for the living God, my friend thrust his hand out into the air. His wife responded meekly, "I think you're getting through to him." I placed my hand in his. He gripped on with all his strength. Our arms taunt, I quotted the rest of the Psalm right into his eyes, which were now burning with the fire of heaven. I didn't want to blink. I was gazing into the eyes of Christ.
A week later, I was asked to share that story and read Psalm 84 at his funeral.
The Christmas season is difficult for many people for many reasons. But, keep in mind it is so much more than X-box 360 and Wal-Mart's US$250 billion in gross annual revenues. Christmas is about a little boy who's parents had to flee a dictator's obsessive infanticide. Christmas is about a young family living as refugees far from home. Christmas is about shepherds, who were not allowed to be witnesses in a court of law, being entrusted with the story. Christmas is about King Makers (magi) searching out the King of the Jews and humbling themselves in His presence. If the story were told today, Christmas would be about the Saviour of the world being born into the most hostile corner of Darfur or a small occupied town just outside Bagdad.
It is significant, that in Matthew 1-2 the words angel, dream, prophet, and fulfillment occur five times each. Who or what on earth can stop anyone born of and for heaven?
But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope."
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.