Firstborn Son

*

Luke 2.7a And she brought forth her firstborn son

Mary was a virgin when the Holy Ghost came upon her and she conceived. She knew beforehand that she would bear a son, and that His name would be called Jesus. This was her firstborn.

As I read this in Luke Chapter 2, I thought of the firstborn of the human race. Adam and Eve were created, but not born of a woman.

Genesis 4.1, 2 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 

Cain was Eve’s firstborn, the firstborn of the entire human race. His younger brother, Abel was born next (we don’t know if they were twins, since the verse doesn’t indicate that Eve conceived again after Cain).

But the firstborn of the human race killed his younger brother. This is a manifestation of Jeremiah 17.9, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Every human ever born of man and woman has a desperately wicked heart. We are a race steering ourselves to death.

And then there’s Mary. We don’t know much about Mary prior to the conception and delivery, and again not much afterward. Did God pick her because she was so good? Mary had the same deceitful and desperately wicked heart that everyone else has. But she was a virgin, we know that (Luke 1.27); she humbly accepted all that her Almighty God told her through the angel Gabriel (Luke 1.28 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her); and sang a praise to God her Savior (Luke 1.46 – 56).

Luke 2.7a And she brought forth her firstborn son

Jesus was God’s firstborn (and only!) Son, too: John 3.16 (my emphasis) For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God offered salvation for the human race by offering His only and beloved Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice. God loves us just as much as He loves His Son. God cannot love anyone less, because He is perfect, and He has only perfect love.

Jesus remains the only perfect example of human flesh submitting to the complete authority of God, every moment of every second of every day that He lived on Earth. He had no sin (1 John 3.5 And ye know that he (Christ) was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.)

There’s quite a difference between the firstborn of the human race and the firstborn of God through the human race. Jesus had a human heart, but that heart was in perfect submission to His Heavenly Father. Because of that, He had perfect peace always; He was in perfect communion with God always

We can strive to have the same peace of Jesus: God gives us a new heart when we acknowledge Him as rightful Lord and Savior, when we bow humbly before Him and confess our sin. God made us a new creature (2 Corinthians 5.17), with the mind of Christ (2 Corinthians 2.16).

We can humbly acknowledge that the throne of the universe (and my heart) belongs to God, and that He is right and just. How often do we give God His place, vs how often do we imagine ourselves on that throne?

Even though we are born of the human race with deceitful and desperately wicked hearts, God, in His love, has made a way, through His firstborn, for us to not only be with Him forever in Heaven, but to live here on Earth with Him in perfect peace (Isaiah 26.3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee).

* Image from TheTorah.com

Anguish in the Palm of His Hand

As we live in the palm of God’s Hand, we often suffer pain from death, physical hurt, mental anguish, broken relationships, separation, inability to fix things, hurtful words, and broken expectations.

Sometimes we bring pain upon ourselves; but often there are circumstances we cannot avoid. God always has reasons for tribulation in our lives. The most basic reason is to bring us closer to Him. Whatever is going on, God knows all about it: He is close to you, He loves you, and He wants to be your Number One Comfort.

When you are experiencing trying times, resist the temptation to fear. Remember that you live in the palm of His Hand. Give your situation, your feelings, your confusion to God, talk to Him about it, explain why it hurts so much. He wants to be your Confidante. He is your closest and best Friend.

God feels this pain with us, and He gives us Words to express our feelings.

As you speak with God, explore how you’re really doing. Think of David’s example in Psalms 25:

16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. 18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

 David acknowledged his need to confess his sins and be forgiven in order to fully receive the peace and joy that God offers. Make sure you have no sin standing in the way of complete freedom before God.

In Psalms 103, we are reminded of all the blessings God showers upon us. He IS good! He DOES love us! Remember how good He is. Read the words, remember what God has worked in your own life, and praise Him:

1 {A Psalm of David.} Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. 19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

A few more verses to comfort:

Romans 8.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

1 John 4.18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Psalms 56.3, 4 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

And a reminder in a precious hymn:

Tell It to Jesus

From http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/t/e/l/l/tellitto.htm

Words: Ed­mund S. Lo­renz, in Frö­liche Bot­schaft­er, 1876. Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Jer­e­mi­ah E. Ran­kin in Gates of Praise, 1880.

Music: Ed­mund S. Lo­renz

Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Have you sins that to men’s eyes are hidden?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Are you troubled at the thought of dying?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
For Christ’s coming kingdom are you sighing?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Rethinking Peace

RethinkingWhatPeaceMeans

Peace may not be what you think it is. It is not the index and middle finger raised, with or without a smile. It is not everyone accepting each other as they are; it is not tolerance. It is not remaining silent just to “keep the peace.” It is not forcing onto others what we think is right (even if we are right).

eiréné: one, peace, quietness, rest (from eirō, “to join, tie together into a whole“) – properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace

Peace is when we are one with God; when God has joined all the parts together to make us whole. In the beginning there was peace because, in the beginning, there was God. God was whole, He was the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In His peace, He created man, and man had peace with God – man was whole.

Peace means standing right before God. It means that God can look upon you and accept you into His heavenly home. Peace is a clean line of communication between you and God. Peace is when God looks upon you as holy.

Man broke himself when he sinned. We all are born in sin and are broken (Psalm 51.5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.).

Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He is the only means of standing righteous before God. Jesus is the only clean line of communication with our Heavenly Father. Jesus is the only way to Heaven.

Isaiah 53.5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

When we have peace with God, we may or may not have “peace” with our fellow man. We can act as Peacemakers (and that is our God-given task); how others receive us, and our words, is between them and God.

God’s grace is the means of peace with Him. Read the words of the hymn, Grace Greater Than Our Sin. Realize the sin inside you. Repent of it, receive salvation through Jesus Christ. Have peace with God. Then, whatever may be going on in the world around you, you will experience deep, satisfying, unalterable, unexplainable peace.

Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Julia Harriet Johnston)

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see his face,
Will you this moment his grace receive?