Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7 (NKJV)
Christmas 2013This year we traveled over twelve thousand miles and visited some fifty six different assemblies in four countries. In every place we went we had a place to stay, a bed to sleep in and plenty of food. We were well received and appreciated by all.

However, when God became flesh and dwelt among men, born as a baby in Bethlehem of Judea, there was no room for Him in the inn. The Son of God was born in a manger, unnoticed by the world at large. As He began His. earthly ministry, very often He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3a). Despised and rejected! For the most part we can not really identify with that. We strive to be accepted and respected, as we were everywhere we went.

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.
Hebrews 10:5 (NKJV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us... John 1:1 and 14a (NKJV)

In past eternity it was decided that the Son would one day come to this world (Gal 4:4) and take on a human body. God prepared a body for His son. You would think that He would prepare the best, most spectacular, perfect, human body imaginable. He would be the pinnacle of the human specimen. A man's man, so to speak. But it was not so!

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. Isaiah 53:2 (NKJV)

There was nothing in the bodily appearance of Jesus Christ that would cause men to point and say "wow! Look at that man!" Nothing that would inspire admiration or astonishment. Nothing that would distinguish Him as God - the son of God. On the contrary, "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him (John 1:10-11). The world rejected Him! There was nothing in His appearance that would reflect His deity. His words...words of grace. His of God. But His appearance...just another man, seemingly.

And yet, there were a few that saw beyond the physical appearance of this baby born in Bethlehem.
...a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon...took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation. Luke 2:25-31 (NKJV)

The eye of faith saw beyond the body...a body prepared by the Father...a body like any other human body and saw God made flesh!

Three of the disciples also had the privilege of seeing what others were unable to see...His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. And so we read:

...and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light  Matthew 17:2 (NKJV).

But this body, a body prepared by the Father, was not given for glory and honor, but was given to suffer as a sacrifice for our sins and to open a way of access to the throne of grace. By a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh (Hebrews 10:20).  Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; (Isaiah 52:14). The price of our redemption! The price that was paid so that I might enter freely into the Holy of Holies; the very presence of the Father! The price is awesome beyond comprehension!

A body You have prepared for Me!

He was born to suffer. Delivered to a cruel Roman cross. A sacrifice for my sins, the price of my redemption. Eternally God. Born a man and for all eternity He took upon Himself this body; a body prepared. And so, after the resurrection; Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have (Luke 24:39). And in eternity; Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen (Revelation 1:7). The scars of God's judgement on Him for my sake will forever mark the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A body You have prepared for Me!

who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:21 (NKJV)
Words can not express our gratitude to the Lord for this year of abundance. A year full of change, challenges, sorrows, trials, disappointments, joys, fellowship, victories, abundance, peace and so much more! For your fellowship in the gospel and your friendship we are also grateful. May the Lord bless you and prosper you as your soul prospers! And, may this be the year of His appearing!

Love in Christ Jesus,
Randy & Loida Crook

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