Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Captives no more

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Amos 9:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "And I will bring back the captives of My people Israel..." Amos 9:14

Though Amos's prophecy was a prediction to his readers (in 760-750 B.C.) of the literal return of Israeli captives, we can't help but hear the spiritual overtones.* They reverberate down to us today.

Who comes to mind as a releaser of captives but Jesus? We see Him in the Nazareth synagogue open the book of Isaiah, and hear His voice, full of authority, read these words (from Isaiah 61:1-2):

"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
       Because He has anointed Me
      To preach the gospel to the poor;
      He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
      To proclaim liberty to the captives
      And recovery of sight to the blind,
      To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
       19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” 
- Luke 4:18-19.

What is He offering healing, sight, and liberty from? John 8 tells us it is SIN.
"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' .... .Jesus answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed'" - John 8:32, 34-36.

The fact that Jesus' coming to earth was part of God's plan to free us from sin's death sentence (Romans 8:1-11) is just one more reason to give thanks and celebrate at Christmas time.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You that Your incarnation, death and resurrection made possible my release from sin's prison. Help me to experience this freedom over sin as I live controlled by Your Spirit. Amen

*"When all around is spiritual, there is no reason to take this alone as earthly. An earthly restoration to Canaan had no value except as introductory to the spiritual" - Amos 9:14 commentary in Barnes Notes on the Bible.

MORE: Only four more sleeps

Advent Calendar - December 21

Christmas Fact:

According to early Christian tradition, Jesus was born in one of the caves that local people used to shelter animals. As early as the second century A.D., pilgrims began to visit that cave. The Roman emperor Hadrian (76-138 A.D.) constructed a shrine to the pagan god Adonis over this site. In approximately 325 A.D. after the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity, the empress Helena (c. 248-328 A.D.) had the temple to Adonis destroyed and built the Church of the Nativity over the presumed site of Jesus’ birth. . . .

Today the Church of the Nativity is an Eastern Orthodox shrine. The cave in which Jesus was born lies underneath the church. Known as the “Grotto of the Nativity,” this underground chamber is a site of intense religious devotion for Christians of many different denominations.

– Encyclopedia of Christmas pp. 47,48

Virtual tour of the Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem

Bible Drive-Thru

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...