Friday, December 9, 2011

From the Distant Past

Tuesday – December 6

Micah 5:2-4 (NLT)
 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
      are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
   Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
      one whose origins are from the distant past.
 3 The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
      until the woman in labor gives birth.
   Then at last his fellow countrymen
      will return from exile to their own land.
 4 And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
      in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
   Then his people will live there undisturbed,
      for he will be highly honored around the world.
Don’t you love how bits and pieces of the same imagery are woven throughout the tapestry of scripture? I especially love the reference here to the Lord’s role as our shepherd.
I am very “behind” on this advent blog because of preparing for and being away for Grandma Layton’s funeral, my husband’s dear maternal grandmother. I appreciate the godly heritage she gave to my husband and to me and our children.
But I am determined to meditate on every scripture I “assigned” to myself for this advent! So here it is Friday and I’m up to Tuesday.
This passage in Micah is a primary source of the knowledge that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. It was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. And then, at the perfect time, Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem, a small town in the area inhabited by the tribe of Judah, a small town of King David. As we meditate on these passages day after day, it is glorious to see the picture emerging from so many different prophets writing at so many different points of history, to see so many details fulfilled through the life of one person, Jesus.
Bethlehem still exists, and has historically been the home of thousands of Palestinian Christians. Sadly, these Christians have mostly been forced out or frightened out in the unrest and terror of recent decades.
We’ve meditated at length on Jesus coming from the lineage of King David as prophesied. A new twist in this passage is the phrase “one whose origins are from the distant past.” There is a lot to chew on in this passage, but I am going to focus on this one phrase and share some scriptures treating Jesus’ distant past. I hope you will enjoy and be blessed by reading and thinking about these verses today. Jesus is not some “new kid on the block.” The awareness of him as Messiah/Christ/Savior is some 2,000 years old, less than the awareness of some spiritual leaders. But Jesus himself has been “around” forever (not speaking figuratively), and he is not a spiritual leader but is in fact God.

Colossians 1:15-22 (NLT)
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
      He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
 16 for through him God created everything
      in the heavenly realms and on earth.
   He made the things we can see
      and the things we can’t see—
   such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
      Everything was created through him and for him.
 17 He existed before anything else,
      and he holds all creation together.
 18 Christ is also the head of the church,
      which is his body.
   He is the beginning,
      supreme over all who rise from the dead.
      So he is first in everything.
 19 For God in all his fullness
      was pleased to live in Christ,
 20 and through him God reconciled
      everything to himself.
   He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
      by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
 21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

John 1:1-14 (NLT)
 1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
      The Word was with God,
      and the Word was God.
 2 He existed in the beginning with God.
 3 God created everything through him,
      and nothing was created except through him.
 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
      and his life brought light to everyone.
 5 The light shines in the darkness,
      and the darkness can never extinguish it.
 6-9 God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.  John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.  The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
 10-13 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.  But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

There are many others, but these are two of my favorites. They give me joy every time I read them. I pray they give you joy as well. And if you have any questions about these scriptures, or any insights to share, please ask or share!


  1. What beautiful comforting, joyous words. All of it is exciting but the passages that really strike me today are "Christ is the visible image of God", For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ", and " the light shines in the darkness and the dark ess can never extinguish it". The last one gives me so much comfort regarding my children, even though they are lost in the forest of darkness, there is the light that can never be put out and enables them to find the path back home! Praise be to the compassionate God of heaven who does not abandon us .

  2. Amen! Thank you, Michelle! I pray your children soon journey back into the light.