The Good Shepherd

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

John 10:14 (NIV)
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—”

John 10:14 (MSG)
“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me.”
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“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]” -AMPLIFIED

Jesus, Himself, declared that He was the Good Shepherd. We have spent the last few days looking at the fact that He was The Lamb, but now we will see that He is also the shepherd. Not just any shepherd, but The Good Shepherd.

John, the writer of the book, pointedly writes the words of Jesus in such a way that we have no doubt that Jesus knows whose is His and vice versa. “I know my sheep and my sheep know me!” This is a deep mutual relationship; much like the relationship between the Father and His Son.

John Gill shares these thoughts on this passage: “Christ has an universal, special, distinct, and exact knowledge of all his sheep, as they are the choice of his Father, as his Father’s gift to him; and as his own purchase; he bears an affectionate love to them, and takes special care of them; indulges them with intimate communion with himself; and owns and acknowledges them as his, both here and hereafter.”

John, the Beloved, spends much time on the symbolism of Jesus as the Good Shepherd; for Jesus is the Caretaker of God’s children. The title of shepherd conveys a whole lot of duty and responsibility. No worries though, Jesus is up to the job.

Jesus told His listeners in John 10:27 this: “The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.” -(AMP)

Peter, the Apostle, reminds us that once we were lost sheep, having no idea which way to go. But then Jesus found us. “You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.” -1 Peter 2:25 (MSG)

The Good Shepherd does whatever needs to be done in order that the sheep may be safe. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep in His care. The hired hand is not like the shepherd caring for His own sheep. When a wolf attacks, snatching and scattering the sheep, he runs for his life, leaving them defenseless. The hired hand runs because he works only for wages and does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me. As the Father knows Me, I know the Father; I will give My life for the sheep. There are many more sheep than you can see here, and I will bring them as well. They will hear My voice, and the flock will be united. One flock. One shepherd. The Father loves Me because I am willing to lay down My life—but I will take it up again. My life cannot be taken away by anybody else; I am giving it of My own free will. My authority allows Me to give My life and to take it again. All this has been commanded by My Father.” -John 10:11-18 (VOICE)

The Good Shepherd is watching over you and taking care of you. He leads you in the paths that you need to go in and provides for your every need. (Read Psalm 23)He realizes that as sheep we are defenseless and dependent on Him. He would have it no other way. He knows that we tend to wander off and get in to all sorts of trouble, but He still loves us. He is willing to leave the 99 to go look for the one who has traipsed off alone headed for trouble.

Take time today to give thanks and praise to The Good Shepherd who is always watching over you.

“Now may the God of peace, who brought the great Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, back from the dead through the blood of the new everlasting covenant, perfect you in every good work as you work God’s will. May God do in you only those things that are pleasing in His sight through Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, to whom we give glory always and forever. Amen.” -Hebrews 13:20-21 (VOICE)

My Prayer:

Thank you Good Shepherd for always being there for me; watching over me and caring for me. You lead me beside those still waters. You protect and provide for me. In fact, I know without a shadow of a doubt that you would do whatever needed to be done to save me from ; for you laid down your very life for me once before. Help me to be in tune to your voice so that I am obediently following you wherever you may lead me. Help me to be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord, I pray.

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The Lamb III

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)

Part III:

Isaiah 53:7-9 (NIV)
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7 (MSG)
He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.
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“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth [to complain or defend Himself]; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before her shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” -AMPLIFIED

Isaiah was the one who prophesied that this Lamb would be the Messiah; our suffering Servant. Isaiah said, “So he was despised and forsaken by men,
this man of suffering, grief’s patient friend.
As if he was a person to avoid, we looked the other way;
he was despised, forsaken, and we took no notice of him.
Yet it was our suffering he carried,
our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness.
We just figured that God had rejected him,
that God was the reason he hurt so badly.
But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.
Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
The injuries he suffered became our healing.
We all have wandered off, like shepherdless sheep,
scattered by our aimless striving and endless pursuits;
The Eternal One laid on him, this silent sufferer,
the sins of us all.” -Isaiah 53:3-6 (VOICE)

The Apostle Peter spoke of the fact that Jesus was the fulfillment of this prophecy. Peter tells us, “For you know that you were not redeemed from your useless [spiritually unproductive] way of life inherited [by tradition] from your forefathers with perishable things like silver and gold, but [you were actually purchased] with precious blood, like that of a [sacrificial] lamb unblemished and spotless, the priceless blood of Christ. For He was foreordained (foreknown) before the foundation of the world, but has appeared [publicly] in these last times for your sake and through Him you believe [confidently] in God [the heavenly Father], who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God.” -1 Peter 1:18-21 (AMP)

The supremacy of this Lamb is the message throughout the final book of the Bible, Revelation. In the book of Revelation we see this Lamb being worshiped for all Eternity for the sacrifice that He made for all of mankind. The Apostle John tells us of the vision that he saw, “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” -Revelation 5:6-14 (NIV)

“For it is written [in Scripture], “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” -Romans 14:11 (AMP)

The Word tells us that one day every man, woman and child will bend their knee to the Lamb; even those who did not believe on Him. “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” -Revelation 13:8 (NIV)

Come; let us worship the Lamb of God! Hosanna to the Lamb who was slain for us from the foundations of the Earth. He was God’s answer to our problem of sin since the very beginning! Hallelujah!

My Prayer:
Lamb of God, you are worthy of all my thanks and praise. It is because of you I can have forgiveness, redemption and relationship with you. You are amazing Lord! Saying thank you does not seem to be enough. I am overwhelmed by your goodness and love. I am humbled by your willingness to die for me. I am so blessed; I am filled with wonder and joy. Help me to be ever mindful of your sacrifice; so that I do not become complacent in my relationship with you. You deserve my deepest devotion and I desire to give you my all. Hosanna to the Lamb that was slain for me!

The Lamb II

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)

Part II:
Isaiah 53:7-9 (NIV)
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7 (MSG)
He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.
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“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth [to complain or defend Himself]; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before her shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” -AMPLIFIED

We began a review of the Lamb of God yesterday; we will continue this today. As was stated, the symbolism and picture of the Lamb weaves in and out throughout Scripture. The unblemished, perfect, lamb was a significant part of Jewish culture and history. The relevance to people was so very important; for this Lamb that was prophesied about would be The Redeemer of all mankind.

Isaiah gives us a very good picture (in hind sight) of what would happen to the Lamb once He came to Earth. To those who were present at the time of Isaiah’s prophecy; I wonder if they had any understanding at all of what he was speaking of. (See Isaiah 53)

How ironic it was that the first ones to be informed of the birth of the Lamb were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. After the appearance of the Heavenly hosts to them they quickly did as the angel had bid them and hurried down to Bethlehem to see the sight of Mary and her little Lamb. They saw the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God, and quickly spread the word. Then they went back to their flocks on the hillside praising God for all they had seen and heard.

Fast forward 30 years and we find Jesus, that little Lamb, meeting up with His cousin John. John the Apostle of Jesus gives us the account of how things happened; he was an eyewitness. He tells us, “The morning after this conversation, John sees Jesus coming toward him. In eager astonishment, he shouts out: “Look! This man is more than He seems! He is the Lamb sent from God, the sacrifice to erase the sins of the world! He is the One I have been saying will come after me, who existed long before me and is much greater than I am. No one recognized Him—myself included. But I came baptizing with water so that He might be revealed to Israel. As I watched, the Spirit came down like a dove from heaven and rested on Him. I didn’t recognize Him at first, but the One who sent me to baptize told me, “The One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit will be the person you see the Spirit come down and rest upon.” I have seen this with my own eyes and can attest that this One is the Son of God!” -John 1:29-34 (VOICE)

John, the baptizer, was referring to the need for the OT Passover lambs which were now fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus’ was to be the ultimate and final sacrifice for sins.

“John’s clear pronouncement that Jesus is God’s Lamb is worthy of our attention, and the Lamb he identifies is worthy of all our adoration!” -Robert A Charnin (Reformed Worship)

In Acts 8:26-40 we find Philip giving testimony to the Ethiopian eunuch of the Lamb of God. The eunuch was reading our text from Isaiah, but having difficulty understanding it. The writer of Acts, Luke, tells us this, “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” -Acts 8:35 (NIV) (Notice: all Scripture points to the Lamb.)

Behold the Lamb! Tomorrow we will conclude our review of The Lamb of God.

My Prayer:
Oh Lamb of God, your love for me floods my heart with peace, comfort, and great joy. You recognized my need for saving even before I was born. You loved me so much that you were willing to be despised and rejected by men. No other god has ever, nor will ever do what you have done. You, the perfect Lamb, are the answer to all my needs. You are the fulfillment of all prophetical Scripture. You, Jesus, the Lamb, are the answer to God’s Promise. Thank you for being that perfect Lamb. I love you.

The Lamb

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)

Part I:
Isaiah 53:7-9 (NIV)
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7 (MSG)
He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.
*********************************************
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth [to complain or defend Himself]; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before her shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” -AMPLIFIED

This Child that was born over 2,000 years ago was prophesied to be like a lamb led to the slaughter, silent before His sheers, 700 years before it had actually happened. Ironic that He would hold this title; since it was the lamb that was the price for sin since the incident in the Garden of Eden and throughout Jewish history. The Lamb is symbolically woven in the tapestry of the Bible throughout its pages. Some scholars believe that every book in the Bible makes reference to the Lamb.

The first reference that we find citing the sacrifice of a lamb was that with Cain and Abel. (Though there is reference made of God Himself taking animal skins to clothe Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21; it is not stated that they were lamb skins.) These two boys of Adam and Eve came with offerings to God. Cain brought the first-fruits of his crop and Abel brought from the best of the firstborn of his lambs. God was pleased with Abel’s gift, but not so much so with Cain’s. “By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.” -Hebrews 11:4 (MSG)

We are reminded through Scripture that it would be God Himself who would provide the Lamb. Case in point: when God told Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son Isaac. We find that God provided the substitute; a perfect picture Of what Jesus would do for us. “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.” -Genesis 22:6-8 (NIV) Take note of Abraham’s response to Isaac,
“God Himself will provide the lamb!” What a prophetic word! Exactly what God’s plan had been from the very beginning!

Next we must look quickly at the Passover lamb; which is a foreshadowing of the coming Lamb of God. The Passover lamb was to be slain and its blood applied to the doorposts of the home as a sign to the Angel of Death that this household was a follower of the One, True God and they were to be passed over. (You can read more about the first Passover in Exodus 12.) “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” -Exodus 12:12-13 (NIV)

As was previously stated, the story of the Lamb weaves in and out throughout Scripture. Every story, genealogy, song and detail points to the Lamb, who was to be our Savior. We will continue with this analysis tomorrow. Today, take time to think about and consider The Lamb and how He has touched your life.

My Prayer:
Lamb of God, you are the One who has made relationship with God the Father possible. Thank you! Thank you for your willingness to become to Earth to be my sacrifice and pay the price that I could never pay. Thank you for your Story that is very evident throughout the pages of your Word. I find such comfort and peace in reading what you have done for me. Your love is so obvious in the pages of your Word. Lamb of God, thank you for all you are and all you have done for me.

Prince of Peace

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)

Luke 2:14(NIV)
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:14 (MSG)
“Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”
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“Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.” -AMPLIFIED

The angles sang to Him on His birth-day so many years ago. It must have been a glorious sight for those who had the benefit of attending that concert. These angels pointed to the Giver of the Greatest Gift ever given. “Glory to God in the highest Heaven!” They worship and gave glory to God; just as they were created to do. (As were we.)

These angles also sang of peace on Earth…and many of you may be wondering where the peace comes into the story. Remember, it was Isaiah we prophesied that this Child would come as the Prince of Peace. “Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways—He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6 (VOICE)

In a World that is surrounded by wars and rumors of wars it is often difficult to find any peace. It may be especially hard to understand how Jesus could be the Prince of Peace in a World that is full of chaos and strife. It seems that no one cares about anyone else. It is basically a dog eat dog World.

The peace that the angels sang about and the peace that the Child would be overseer over or Prince of was a little different than what people were expecting. It had nothing to do with political stability; those wars and rumors of wars. Nor did it have anything to do with the mentality of the “world”, that dog eat dog mindset. It had everything to do with having spiritual harmony with God.

This peace was different, it was a special peace; given by the Prince of Peace Himself. “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]” -John 14:27 (AMP)

This peace brought constant companionship. For Jesus Himself promised His followers this; “I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:20b (AMP)

This peace, if we choose to accept it, will guard our hearts and minds; The Apostle Paul conveyed this truth to the Philippians. “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” -Philippians 4:6-7 (AMP)

In this World that is full of hate, violence, chaos and war; yes, we can have peace, “shalom”. Shalom in the Hebrew means unity, accord, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, and tranquility. This Peace comes only through the Prince of Peace, though.

The Prince of Peace is available to all who will choose to accept Him. Will you accept His gift of Peace today?

My Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for your gift of peace; available to whomsoever will. I accept the peace that you have made available to me. I am so thankful for the fact that you are ever with me. I am grateful for that peace that passes understanding; and for the fact that it will guard my heart and mind. In this World that is often more than I can bear, I am so blessed in knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Prince of Peace, please fill my heart with the peace that only you can give. I will trust in you and rest in the peace that you have made available to me.

The Child IV: God-man

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Listen carefully, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).” -AMPLIFIED

As has been stated before, Isaiah prophesied of the coming of the Messiah some 700 years before it actually took place. Throughout the book of Isaiah we find reference to various prophecies that the birth of this Child would fulfill. Today we will address the fact that the Child would be both God and man.

Isaiah tells us, “A virgin will conceive and give birth to a son.” By definition a virgin is someone who has never been married, or had sexual intercourse. This is someone who is chaste, pure, untouched and considered a maiden; in other words someone who has never been with a man.
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan is noted as saying this about the Incarnation; “Here is the Ancient of Days becoming a babe in Bethlehem. Here is He who thunders in the Heavens, crying in the cradle. Here is the One who made all flesh now being made of flesh. Here is He who could summon the legions of angels and He’s wrapped in swaddling clothes…the Mighty God becoming a helpless child.”

There is a great significance in this virgin birth. It was Luke who wrote of Mary’s encounter with the Angel. Luke records, “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen carefully: you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and eminent and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” -Luke 1:30-33 (AMP)

This Child, that the virgin would carry, would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. We need to recognize something in order for us to completely understand what is being conveyed here; the sin nature is passed down from generation to generation through the father. Paul told the Romans, “So then as through one trespass [Adam’s sin] there resulted condemnation for all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” -Romans 5:18 (AMP)

This Child would be born without sin. He would have no sin nature. The book of Hebrews tells us; “It is only fitting that we should have a High Priest who is devoted to God, blameless, pure, compassionate toward but separate from sinners, and exalted by God to the highest place of honor.” -Hebrews 7:26 (VOICE)

The significance of the virgin birth is this: this Child, born of a virgin, without sin, would break the cycle of sin. “When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. Because you are now part of God’s family, He sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts; and the Spirit calls out, “Abba, Father.” You no longer have to live as a slave because you are a child of God. And since you are His child, God guarantees an inheritance is waiting for you.” -Galatians 4:4-7 (VOICE)

The significance of the virgin birth is this; Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit; God was His Father. This means that His lineage was a sinless one. Because of this Jesus is able to save His people from their sins. Hallelujah, what a Savior! This is the miracle and mystery of Christmas!

My Prayer:
Lord, You who knew no sin became flesh to dwell among us who had no relief from sin. Jesus, our Messiah came, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, to allow me to become righteous before God; when I could do nothing to save myself, God you did everything that needed to be done so that I might be saved. Hallelujah! You are such a loving, considerate, and marvelous God. Where would I be without you? I know wherever it would be, it would be a hopeless place. Thank you, God for becoming the God-man, fully God and fully man for my sake. Oh God, I am so thankful for all you have done for me.

The Child III

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)

Zechariah 2:10-12 (NIV)
“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.

Zechariah 2:10-12 (MSG)
“Shout and celebrate, Daughter of Zion! I’m on my way. I’m moving into your neighborhood!” -God’s Decree. Many godless nations will be linked up with God at that time. (“They will become my family! I’ll live in their homes!”) And then you’ll know for sure that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me on this mission. God will reclaim his Judah inheritance in the Holy Land. He’ll again make clear that Jerusalem is his choice.
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“Sing for joy and rejoice, O Daughter of Zion; for behold, I am coming, and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day and shall be My people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know (recognize, understand fully) that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. The Lord will take possession of Judah as His portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.” -AMPLIFIED

This Child was the fulfillment of many prophecies. In Zechariah alone there are 30 Messianic prophecies covering His coming, rejection, His position as High-Priest as well as His title of Branch. Considering that this book is not very long; 30 Messianic prophecies packed into conveys the importance of the Messiah.

We find this particular prophecy addressed to the Daughter of Zion which would be a personification of Jerusalem and the people that dwelt there. The prophet instructs them in the need to celebrate and rejoice. Why? Because the promised Messiah was coming to live among His people! “Sing out loud and be happy, daughter Zion, because you will see Me coming and I will live among you. I, the Eternal One, promise this.” -(VOICE)

Zechariah’s prophecies of the Messiah were given 500 years before the birth of Christ. Notice though, that God was instructing the people to prepare themselves even at this time. “Be ready. I am coming! The time is near when I will be dwelling side-by-side with you.”

Now notice something pertinent; this pledge and promise was not just to the nation of Israel. It would affect many other nations. (In fact, many translations say “godless nations”. See the texts above.) “When that day comes, many other nations will join with Me, and their people will become My people. Still I will live among you, my covenant people.” -(VOICE)

From the very beginning God knew that His love would be unto all nations. In fact, in Genesis we find God sharing these thoughts, “Then God said, “Shall I keep back from Abraham what I’m about to do? Abraham is going to become a large and strong nation; all the nations of the world are going to find themselves blessed through him. Yes, I’ve settled on him as the one to train his children and future family to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what he promised him.” -Genesis 18:17-19 (MSG)

It was the Apostle Peter who spoke of the fulfillment of this prophecy in Acts. Peter said, “All the prophets from Samuel on down said the same thing, said most emphatically that these days would come. These prophets, along with the covenant God made with your ancestors, are your family tree. God’s covenant-word to Abraham provides the text: ‘By your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ But you are first in line: God, having raised up his Son, sent him to bless you as you turn, one by one, from your evil ways.” -Acts 3:24-26(MSG)

Once again we are reminded of God’s promise to come and live among us; God with us. This Child is the consummation of God’s promise, not just to the children of Israel, but to all nations.

My Prayer:
God, Almighty, thank you for coming to Earth as the fulfillment of a prophecy and a promise. God, your willingness to humble yourself to become a man; to come and live among your children is mind boggling. And then to die for us; God you are amazing! Thank you for all for loving me so much and taking every step needed so that I can have a relationship with you. God, you are so good to me!