Two thousand years ago, in the sleepy Palestinian village of Bethlehem, something happened that changed everything everywhere for everyone. History turned a corner that night when a young peasant woman gave birth to her first-born son. In that moment the Most High God, Maker of heaven and earth, stepped into our world, took His place alongside us in human history, took on the form and limitations of a human body, and suffered with us in our broken world.
As that baby grew into a man, some people (not most people, only a few) began to realize that this was no ordinary man. He said and did things that no man had ever said or done before. The authorities didn’t know what to do with such a man, so they decided that he should die. And he gave himself up to them, and he died.
Then, three days later, he rose up from his tomb and began again to teach his followers. And he commissioned them to go everywhere and tell everyone what had happened. He promised that he would return some day, and then he left them.
Two thousand years later, more than two billion people follow this man. And we find ourselves wondering what all this means? Who was this man? Where did he come from? How did he make such an enormous impact on so many people? How can we understand what Jesus means?
Several of the early leaders of the Jesus Movement wrote letters to help those early followers understand who Jesus was and what he means. In this Advent season, as we remember what happened on that incredible night in the little village of Bethlehem, we will look at a few of these early Christian writings to see who Jesus was and what his life means.
· Jesus: God’s Word to Us (John 1:1-5)
· Jesus: God in Human Form (John 1:14-18)
· Jesus: God Stepping Down to Be with Us (Philippians 2: 5-11)
· Jesus: the Radiance of the Glory of God (Hebrews 1:1-15)
· Jesus: the Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15-20)
For each devotional, there is
· a Scripture reading (the text used in the sermon)
· a meditation on that text
· a suggested activity (a carol to sing, a question to discuss, etc.)