“Consider Jesus”. Wow! Listen. Did you hear it? Did it stop you in your tracks? Those two words should cause one who says they are a disciple of Jesus Christ, to pause and...consider...Jesus. There are so many things that come to mind! Where do we start?
Elohim, God Almighty, has always been. He is not a created being. He is the Creator. He is the three in One, the Triune God.. As we consider Jesus we must first recognize that He always was, and He truly is I Am. When God spoke, Jesus brought it into being. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:1-4)
As if that was not magnificent enough, He is, Immanuel, God with us! “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” (Matthew 1:23)
This is Jesus of Nazareth that walked this earth! Have you truly considered that truth? Have you really considered the extraordinary miracle of His presence walking, talking and living as a man in Israel? Have you truly “considered” His life, His feelings, His determination to walk out His plan? Have you truly “considered” what HIs life on earth was like? Have you ever “considered” walking as He walked? Take your time to really allow the Spirit to speak to you.
“Consider Jesus” who had just been baptized by John the Baptist and the heavens opened and the voice of God spoke, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased’.” (Matthew 3:16-17) Have you ever stopped and really listened to the voice of God speaking these words aloud for everyone in attendance to hear? Can you hear the Holy Spirit speaking those words to your spirit right now? What is your response? When God speaks there must be a response from us. No response is still a response and one that reveals that our hearts are cold and hardened.
Are you beginning to really consider the absolute magnificent workings of the plan of sending Jesus to earth? First the Holy Spirit appears to Mary and then Joseph and then a star announces His birth. Now the heavens open and a dove descends and the voice of God rings out! There is nothing “natural” to mankind’s thinking about Jesus! We truly need to let this sink in and realize the enormity of this truth before we move on. Don’t let familiarity rob you of the significance of these events and the greatness of our God! Even more miraculous is that all of these events are the fulfilling of prophecy which the Lord God spoke through His prophets!
“Consider Jesus” who has just had God announce the beginning of His ministry on earth and He is immediately led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. Ever been in the wilderness? That is not usually a good place to be, unless God has led you there. But for Jesus, it was a very significant place because He would regularly go out into the wilderness to be alone with His Father. Did you catch that? We need the wilderness to get alone with God! We need to get away from all the busyness, all the distractions, all the interruptions and just talk with our Father. It is essential to our life. If we are living our lives without this “time alone with the Father” we are living below the plans of God for our lives. God can’t work supernaturally in our lives if we never stop and regularly meet with Him. That is a dangerous place to be, “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (2 Timothy 3:5) Scripture tells us to avoid those who “talk the talk but don’t walk the walk”. Why? Let me turn it around and ask you a question. Do you really want to get advice from someone who is giving you “their opinion” rather than the counsel of God? Think carefully about this question and allow the Holy Spirit to search you and see if you have fallen into this place. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Now we are able to address exactly why Jesus was led into the wilderness at the very beginning of His ministry. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1) God does deliberately lead us into situations to be tested. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) Are you a son or daughter of the Most High God? If so, you, too, need to learn obedience. Our sin nature is still there and we need to learn how to master it. Left up to ourselves, we would always choose the easy road but that is not the way of the Lord. Just as Jesus was tempted by the devil and used Scripture to defeat him, so must we learn to use the sword of the Spirit to gain victory over sin and death! “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“Consider Jesus” who hated the sin that separated Him from mankind so much that He voluntarily became a fetus in the womb of a young girl, placed there by the Holy Spirit, to live as a man on His created earth. He came with one purpose...that purpose was to die...to make the way, the only way, that you and I could ever be redeemed and enter into relationship with Him. The only way that God could accept you and me was through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ! He was the ONLY sacrifice that was pure and without sin. His blood was the redemption price. And what a price!
He didn’t wait for us to want to be in relationship with Him. That would never be possible. Sin had so corrupted man that man thought he could be his own god. “as it is written, ‘THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE. THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING, THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS; WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS; THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN. THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.’” (Romans 3:10-18) (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3)
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” (1 Peter 3:18) “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13) And yet He came to redeem you and me. As I take in the magnitude of this truth I am deeply humbled. I am undeserving of His great love but He extended His hand to me when I was deep in sin. Oh what a Savior! The depth of His love is unfathomable!
Remember the magi who sought out the Christ child? These magi were Jewish believers that had been taken to Babylon in captivity but had not returned to Jerusalem. They knew the Scriptures and had watched diligently for the sign that would announce the birth of the Messiah. Every aspect of Jesus’ birth was prophetic, even the gifts that the magi brought. We always hear about the gold, the frankincense and the myrrh and how precious they were, but that is not what we should be focused on. Yes, gold is the most precious metal and signifies riches. What does riches have to do with our Messiah? He is rich in grace and mercy and love! His lovingkindness is so great that He willingly died for us so we could spend eternity with Him! His death is the perfect illustration of the refiner’s fire! Is there a more precious gift that He could give? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Frankincense is used in the incense offering. Jesus is the sweet “fragrance/aroma” that brings us healing but more importantly, here it signifies that He is the offering! Myrrh signifies His upcoming death. Myrrh was used in the spices to prepare a body for burial. If you recall the Romans also tried to give Jesus some wine mixed with myrrh to cut the pain while He was hanging on the cross and He refused it. “They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.” (Mark 15:23) Consider the significance of these gifts.
Do you remember this verse from the Song of Solomon? “What is this coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all scented powders of the merchant?...” (Song of Solomon 3:6) Can you smell the fragrance of our Beloved? He has been raised from death to life and the sweet perfume is the fragrance from His offering!
As I am writing this I began to smell a sweet fragrance. A peace came over me as I stopped to smell the aroma. It was like being wrapped in the loving arms of my Savior and He was telling me how pleased He was that I was sharing His message. I don’t tell you that to brag, it is very humbling for me to know that I am in the will of my Father. I know that I was to share that with you to encourage you. I’m sure there are many of you who desire that sweet relationship. It comes through obedience and time spent in the Word and in prayer. I would encourage you to read the Song of Solomon devotional, www.songofsolomondevotional.com. It is truly a love story of the Bridegroom and His bride and her journey to lay aside the old thoughts, habits and sins and to learn to embrace His ways. You will find that you will be able to “consider Jesus” in a truly new light of revelation!
There are two additional verses in the Song that we need to study when we are “considering Jesus”. “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5) As we have just read in the previous verse, Jesus was raised to new life and the sweet fragrance of His life, His victory over sin and death swept forth throughout the land. And now we see that He has a companion coming up out of the wilderness with Him. Is that you, dear loved one? Only a person who has died to sin can be in fellowship with the Lord. The Apostle Paul states it very clearly for us. “...How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2) “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:24)
“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” (Romans 6:10) So must we! Jesus clearly stated that our new nature would be reflected in our hearts as well as our actions, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) Love is an action word. It is not a feeling that depends on our circumstances or emotional state. Our heart has been changed! We obey His Word because we are in agreement with Him. We desire to be vessels that He will use to show others His love. We desire to keep our eyes on our eternal home and not bound to this temporary existence in which we live. We seek HIs ways by reading our Bibles and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts of sin in our lives. We allow Him to teach us how to live a godly life. Biblically this is referred to a circumcising our hearts, removing the old thoughts, desires, sin and having a new heart that is in covenant with the Living God. “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;” (Colossians 2:11) Through our prayers we ask and depend on Him to guide us on the path that God has chosen for us. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Now for the other verse in the Song of Solomon we need to look at. “My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts.” (Song of Solomon 1:13) When I consider this verse I am reminded of another verse that is very dear to my heart. “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44) Jesus is our treasure and He is worth more than all the money in the world! We are to keep Him close to our hearts and His sweet fragrance will pour forth from our lives and we will have peace in our hearts because He is our firm foundation. We are to keep Him close to our hearts at all times. That does not mean dwelling on His death (which the myrrh did represent) but the sweet fragrance of His risen life! His gift of an eternal home in the Kingdom of God to those who believe He is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the only Beloved Son of God! It is the gift to those who acknowledge their sinful natures and repent of all that sin in their lives and turn from those wicked ways and have the Holy Spirit guide them in all righteousness! It is daily dying to self so that Christ may reign in our lives.
“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
I pray that your heart has been touched as you have been reading, as mine has as I’ve been writing. As I have come to this place I felt that I had not finished what the Lord wanted to say so I set the computer aside and asked Him how to close this message. Faithful, as always, the next morning as I was listening to a message from a local congregation, the teacher began speaking and I knew that the answer was in the message.
God is always testing us and challenging us. If He isn’t testing you or challenging you, I am going to ask that you pay careful attention to what the Holy Spirit is asking us today. What does salvation mean? Biblical salvation, not man’s “repeat after me prayer”, but what is the salvation of the Lord? Probably about 99% of you responded with John 3:16! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Believes is an action word, it is not stagnant, it means that one has experienced Christ, he has come face to face with his sin nature and has been convicted so much so that he acknowledges he deserves to die. But when he pours out his sorrow before the Lord he experiences the refreshing washing of waters which regenerates him and he becomes a new man. He hungers to know more of Jesus Christ! “for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28) “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13) “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
Do you remember the parable of the sower? “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:5-8) The disciples missed the whole point of Jesus’ teaching so they asked Jesus to explain it to them. “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” (Luke 8:11-15)
Can you identify yourself in this parable?
My dear friends, do you have ears to hear? “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) The Word of God is alive! Allow Him to speak to you today! “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;” (Hebrews 3:1) “but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’; AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’” (Hebrews 3:6-11)
“For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,” (Hebrews 3:14) “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Abba Father, I thank You for Your love and for Your Word to us today. I bow before You as I “consider Jesus” and truly allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the raw truth of His life, death and resurrection. I pray that ears will hear and eyes will be opened to the truth that our relationship with You is not to be stagnant but alive and growing in Your mercy and grace. We are called to become mature in our relationship in You, To become mature we must continue to move forward and grow in intimacy with You, we are to live “in Jesus”. May each of us reading Your Word today ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to follow You because we love You and desire to do Your will. This I pray in the blessed name of our Messiah, Jesus Christ, who made the way for us to enter the Holy of Holies by the cleansing of His blood. Amen.