Posted by: pastortomvabeach | December 10, 2014

Thought for the Week December 14, 2014

My wife and I are reading through an Advent devotional reading guide on You Version. It is written by Greg Laurie, who is an award-winning author, evangelist, and public speaker, and the Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. A couple of days ago the reading was from John 8:24, Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins, and was titled, Why the Virgin Birth of Jesus?

At first glance there doesn’t seem to be a connection between this verse in John and the virgin birth or to Christmas for that matter. But Laurie takes us right to the heart of what Christmas is all about. Let me share with you the entire devotional reading:

“Larry King once said that if he could choose one person to interview from the course of human history, he would choose to interview Jesus Christ. King said that he would like to ask Jesus ‘if He was indeed virgin-born.’ He added, ‘The answer to that question would define history for me.’ Larry King understands that the Virgin Birth is a big deal.

“If you are a Bible-believing Christian, then you can’t dismiss what the Scriptures teach on this topic. I would even take it further and say that if you don’t believe that Jesus was supernaturally conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, then you can’t really be a Christian.

“This is an essential part of Christian doctrine. If Christ was not conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, if His biological father was indeed Joseph, then He was a sinner. And if He was a sinner, then His death on the cross did not atone for my sins or yours.

“The fact is that because Jesus was supernaturally conceived in Mary’s womb, He was fully God, yet He was also fully man. Jesus said, ‘Unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.’ (John 8:24). In other words, ‘If you don’t believe that I am God, then you are not really a believer.’

“I AM is God’s own statement about Himself. When Moses wanted to know what to say when people asked who had sent him, God told him, ‘I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14).

“That is why the Virgin Birth is such an essential teaching. Christ was not God because He was virgin-born; He was virgin-born because He was God.”

Just for clarification, in John 8:24 where it says, if you do not believe that I am He, the original language does not have the word “He” there, it simply says, if you do not believe that I AM. Jesus identified Himself multiple times in John’s gospel (and in others) as I AM. A couple of times that he did this, the Jewish leaders immediately set out to stone Him. They knew that He was saying, “I am God,” and as far as they were concerned that was blasphemy which was punishable by stoning.

So did you catch the last line of Laurie’s devotional? Jesus was not God because He was virgin born; He was virgin born because He was God! How much difference does it make for your joy and gratitude at this time of year to know that God came in the flesh and He did it for you? Just thought this might help you to focus on the real reason for Christmas.

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