Jesus: Carpenter, Teacher, King
Jesus: Lion and Lamb by Chrissie Angell
Many Old Testament prophets foretold the birth of Jesus. Yet so many details about His birth were unexpected. He was born to a simple carpenter and his young wife, not a wealthy or important family by earthly means. He was born in a manger, not a royal palace. Angels announced His birth but to lowly shepherds of all people. Not at all the scene of a royal birth by our standards.
But nothing about Jesus would align earthly standards. When I think of two of my favorite names for Jesus, it is clear that He was meant to break all of our worldly ideals. How else could He be both a lion and a lamb? Yet, that is precisely who Jesus is.
When John the Baptist first saw Jesus, He cried out, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:12, ESV)
Jesus was born into this earth to take our sin and shame by being the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He is the final sacrifice needed for all of humanity’s sins, past, present, and future, to be forgiven. Only the Lamb of God was perfect and holy; only His blood was worthy of the sacrifice required. With the death of Jesus Christ, the Passover ritual of the Old Testament is no longer needed because His blood provided a whole, eternal sacrifice for all of humankind who would accept it.
Jesus was born to be the Lamb of God! That is what we celebrate at Christmas.
The Lamb of God is the only One worthy to open the scroll and the seven seals and usher in His eternal Kingdom (Revelation 5:5). In Revelation 5, John interchangeably addresses Jesus as both the Lamb and the Lion. Jesus came to earth the first time as a lamb, with the mission of being the sacrifice for our sins. That is what we celebrate when we remember the First Advent each year.
But friends, the best is yet to come! Soon, our Savior and Lord will return as a fierce warrior, as the Lion of Judah. The Second Advent will bring the judgment and wrath of the Holy God who will crush His adversary, the devil, once and for all.
It will also begin the reign of the rightful Heir and King, Christ Jesus, the Lion of Judah. When He returns, “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea” will cry out, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13, ESV)
The Lamb of God came to pay the price for our sins. He will return, this time as the Lion of Judah, to conquer His adversary and rule for eternity. Come, thou long-expected King!
Jesus: The Bread and The Life by Diana Dodd
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10, 11
When I came across this passage in Isaiah, I immediately thought of Jesus, the Word of God (John 1:1). God sent Jesus forth into the earth for a purpose: to teach us about the Father, about our broken relationship with Him, and how it can all be fixed. God sent Jesus into the world to redeem us.
In Isaiah 55:10,11, God compared His word to rainwater that brings forth seed, which is then made into bread, and over the course of His ministry, Jesus compared the word of the kingdom of God planted in the hearts of men to seed planted in a field. (Matthew 13:1-33). And Jesus referred to Himself as “the bread of life” (John 6:35). (Interestingly the translation for Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born, is “house of bread.”)
When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness Satan told Jesus to prove He was the Son of God by turning a stone into bread. Jesus answered saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4)
We can’t live without Jesus, our bread. We may survive, but we won’t really live. And He said He came so that we would have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Abundant life in Jesus means no longer fearing death or judgement and knowing that regardless of the difficulties we face, God is with us, and that everything will work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
God said His word would accomplish His purpose and succeed in its mission, and Jesus did just that. He was sent to redeem a people for God from every tribe and nation and tongue (Revelation 7:9). He did it by offering Himself as our teacher, our healer, and our protector. By giving Himself as the propitiation for our sins, He protected us from the wrath of God, and He is standing at the right hand of the Father right now, still protecting us by interceding for us. And He stands ready to come back at any moment to vanquish evil once and for all.
As we celebrate Christmas and the first coming of Christ, may we also look forward to the day of His return when we will see His glory for ourselves, “glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).