Blog Outline

In 52 brief snapshots we will try to paint a picture of Jesus as hinted at, indicated, outlined and glimpsed in the Old Testament. We will not be providing a comprehensive study but we hope it will be both accessible and helpful to you and serve to deepen both your understanding of, and relationship with, the greatest man who ever lived.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Thank you

Well done for sticking with 'Glimpses of Jesus through the Old Testament' during 2016. We hope you enjoyed it. We certainly gained a lot as we put it together.

When we embarked on this project we never claimed that it would be comprehensive in its scope! Exhausting the Old Testament for hints, echoes or glimpses of Jesus is not possible this side of heaven. One glimpse per week for a year was our aim and we hope that the 52 posts we produced gave you insights and, more importantly, encouraged you to mine the riches of God's word for more.

We therefore thought that we should finish the blog by beginning 2017 with an encouragement for you to read with your Bible with your eyes open. As you enter into the New Year why not look for more glimpses of Jesus? We thought we would give you a couple of passages we ran out of space for. They may help to get your searching started:
Genesis 3:21 - God made coverings of skin to cover the shame of Adam & Eve
Genesis 4:4 - God was pleased with the sacrifice of the firstborn of the flock which Abel offered
Psalm 72:1-20 - A description of the righteous King
Micah 7:14-20 - The shepherd who pardons iniquity, demonstrates love & compassion, and removes sin

And a last worship video:



We'd love to hear what you find! And also we’d love to see or hear any creative responses you produce!

May you continue to fall in love with Jesus as you discover Him on every page of Scripture and gaze upon His beauty.

Bernice & Simon


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.


Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Purifier

Malachi 3:1-4

Malachi’s prophecy concludes the Old Testament. Chapter 3 opens with God promising to send a messenger who will prepare the way for God Himself to come (v1). This echoes Isaiah’s words about ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight’’ (Isaiah 40:3). Malachi finishes his prophecy by describing the messenger as Elijah (4:5,6).

The gospel writers explicitly identify John the Baptiser as this messenger (Matthew 3:1-6, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-6, John 1:19-23). He styled himself as ‘The Voice’ and brought a message of repentance which called people to get ready for the One who was coming. He went even further and identified Jesus as, ‘The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world’ and the One on whom the Spirit descends and remains (John 1:29-34). His message was not about himself but pointed as a very clear signpost to the long-awaited Messiah.

As we read on in Malachi’s prophecy we see the promise that the Lord Himself would come suddenly to His temple (v1) and usher in a day when there will be purification and refining of people so that they will be able to present offerings in righteousness (vv2-4). The priesthood is to be restored back to being able to please God with their offerings. Sin is to be burned up, smelted and cleansed. The twin features of holiness and righteousness are to once more characterise the worship of God’s people. And God is once again to be in residence amongst His people as He returns to His temple.

But He is not going to come to His Temple simply to be present. He is going to arrive on a mission. A mission to deal with sin. A mission to usher in God’s kingdom. A mission to redeem for God’s own possession a pure people who are zealous for good deeds. A mission that will lead to the extension of God’s family across the earth through adoption of many sons.

So this final Old Testament glimpse of Jesus in fact points us to the next glimpse of Jesus. But this next glimpse would be more than a glimpse. The next glimpse would be a call, a signpost, a pointer, an identifier, a voice crying out to people to get ready for a full view of the Promised One.

Everything was now set up. Everything was ready to go. The signs had been given. The prophets had spoken. The patterns had been laid out. The men and women of faith had looked and seen. Century after century of hints, glimmers, shadows, clues and promises were over.

Next would come the unveiling.

And so history paused….waiting for the moment….

‘But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons’ (Galatians 4:5,6).

Further reading:    John 1:1-34      Galatians 4:1-7       Titus 2:11-14

Worship video:



To think about:
John the Baptiser pointed to Jesus. How does your life point to Jesus? Does the atmosphere change when you walk into a room?

Creative Response:
Artwork by Crystal Stine


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Return of the King

Zechariah 9:8-10

Conquering kings arrive on great stallions. Conquering kings arrive with pomp and fanfare. Conquering kings arrive followed by an army with banners, flags and news of victory. Conquering kings arrive having vanquished the enemy and ready to take the plaudits and honour which accompany the making of history.

Not so this king!

In this prophecy Zechariah describes how the enemy will be beaten (vv1-7) and how God Himself will surround His people to prevent further oppression (v8). The capital city, Jerusalem, will rejoice and be filled with shouts of triumph (v9), as would be expected for the return of the king.

However, this king looks different. Instead of a mighty horse, He will ride a donkey. Instead of the external signs of victory such as royal clothes and crowns, He is marked out by the internal qualities of humility and justice (v9). Instead of bringing a trail of conquered prisoners, He brings salvation.

This humble king may arrive on a lowly donkey but He ushers in a large kingdom ‘from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth’ (v10) which will be marked out by peace to all nations.

This scene would have appeared farfetched to Zechariah’s listeners but it did actually happen! All four gospel authors write of the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry when He, the King of Kings, entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. The crowds acclaimed Him as a victorious king who is blessed by God shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!’ (see Mark 11:9,10).

As that procession into Jerusalem happened very few people would have recalled the words Zechariah followed with in verse 11. The prophecy talks about this being fulfilled with the ‘blood of the covenant’ (v11) which again brings the cross into view. We know that this triumphal King on a donkey would end up crucified just one short week later.

Further reading:        Luke 19:28-40

Worship video:


To think about:
Jesus is the king! His kingship is one which looks different from the power and might of the world. Try to describe what Jesus the king means to you.

Creative Response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The King in the midst of his people

Zephaniah 3:8-20

The book of Zephaniah is about judgement and, like many prophecies relating to this theme, it is not comfortable reading. The book climaxes with the appearing of the King who judges the evil which has been done and leaves a humble and lowly people who will take refuge in the name of the Lord (v12). This people have some characteristics which lead us to think about their King.

The first characteristic of this people is holiness. They will have purified lips (v9) with which they will call on the name of the Lord. They will ‘serve Him shoulder to shoulder’ (v9) indicating a total commitment to His cause. Not only that but they will also ‘feel no shame because of all your deeds…for I will remove them from your midst’ (v11). In addition, this remnant will ‘do no wrong and tell no lies’ (v13).

The second characteristic is joy. The people will shout for joy in triumph and will rejoice and exult with all their heart (v14). The reason for this joy is threefold: firstly, salvation both from judgment and their enemies (v15a), secondly, the clearing away of enemies (v15b), and thirdly, security because ‘the King of Israel is in your midst’ and so they have no need to fear anymore (v15c).

The third characteristic is restoration. It is interesting to note that this people will include the lame and the outcast (v19). It seems that the King is not in the business of restoring the fortunes of the elite but instead will take those who are ashamed and bring them praise and renown (v19). And the praise and renown is ‘in all the earth’ (v19). God doesn’t do things in half measure!

The fourth characteristic is the presence of the King. Twice it is promised that the King will be in the midst of His people (vv15, 17) giving flashbacks to the idea of the Tabernacle and God dwelling amongst His people. But the King will be among them as a mighty warrior who also sings quietly over them with His love and rejoices over them with shouts of joy.

This paints a beautiful picture of the aim of Jesus’ work. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to restore the fortunes of many. He came to bring freedom from sin and create a holy people. And He came so that He could dwell among His people in victory and joy so they could be a people who enjoy His presence.

Further reading:       1 Peter 2:4-12

Worship video:

To think about:
To what extent would you say that these four characteristics are present in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit for help in developing these characteristics.

Creative Response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

'This One will be our peace'

Micah 5:5a

Following on directly from our considerations of Micah 5:1-5a  in the previous post, the final phrase of that prophecy is worth a little more consideration.

As we discovered last time the references back to the greatest king Israel ever had, King David, are clear in the passage. The birthplace is the same (1 Samuel 16:1-13). The image of the king as shepherd of the nation is the same (see Psalm 78:70-72). The leading out of strength in God is the same (see 1 Samuel 30:6).

However, there are some differences. The extent of the kingdom will be greater than David’s as it will reach to the ends of the earth (v4). But most crucially this king, in contrast to David, will be their peace. David had wanted to build a temple for God but God had told him not too as he had shed so much blood and it would be his son who would reign in peace who would build it (see 1 Chronicles 22:8,9).

The king Micah describes in this prophecy is instead characterised by peace. Note, though, how this king is not described. He is not described as being a peaceful king, or a king who brings peace, or as a king who oversees a peaceful time. Instead the King is described as being our peace. It is the King Himself who is the peace.

In Ephesians 2 Paul helpfully makes this explicit for us:
‘But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace…’ (vv13, 14a)

He goes on to say that Jesus preached peace to all those who were near and far off and that we now through Him all have access in one Spirit to the Father (vv17,18), and that He has made peace through the blood of His cross (see Colossians 1:20).

We have peace with God because Jesus Himself is our peace. A king born into the obscurity of Bethlehem has the mission of reconciling the world back to God. He can only do it because He Himself is our peace:
‘This One will be our peace’

Further reading:      Ephesians 2:11-18        Colossians 1:20

Worship video:
   

To think about:
As with most things to do with the Kingdom of God our thinking is turned upside down. Jesus IS our peace – he isn’t bringing peace. Asking Jesus to be our Saviour means we have that peace living inside us. How does this peace manifest itself in your life? How can you model peace to those you meet?

Creative Response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Born in Bethlehem

Micah 5:1-5a

It is an incredible thing that the place of Jesus’ birth is predicted accurately. The small town of Bethlehem in Judah is identified as being the place from which ‘One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel’ (v2). Although known as the ‘city of David’ (Luke 2:4) it was actually a fairly small town. Its fame came solely from the fact that King David was born there. Micah even describes it as ‘too little to be among the clans of Judah’ (v2)! That God chose it as the birthplace of His Son is surprising, to say the least.

If there is one thing in life you are definitely not able to influence, it is where you are born! You have no choice in the location of your birth. You just arrive when you are ready to arrive! The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem is remarkable when we consider the events surrounding His birth. His parents lived in Nazareth and were only present in Bethlehem at the time of His birth because they were compelled to register there as part of the census which Caesar Augustus decreed (Luke 2:1-4).

Jesus ‘should’ have been born in Nazareth. But actually God had declared in advance where He was to be born. Far from controlling where Jesus would be born, Caesar was simply an instrument in the hand of God ensuring that His plan came to pass! And so the King of kings was born in Bethlehem.

Micah then goes on to prophesy that this king is going to unite the nation (v3) and He will ‘arise and shepherd His flock’ (v4). This is language which reminds us again of David, the shepherd-boy who became king (see Psalm 78:70-72 and An eternal line of kings post). He led the nation in a way which pointed towards One who would come who would be like him.

However, the king who is in view in this prophecy will be even greater. This king will have an extensive reign, ‘will be great to the ends of the earth’ (v4) but will rely entirely on God by leading ‘in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God’ (v4).

But as well as all this we read that ‘This One will be our peace’… David was a king of war, a warrior king who had established the nation through a campaign of force (see 1 Chronicles 28:3). This new king, this eternal, worldwide king, this shepherd-king is starkly different: This One will be our peace!

Peace in the land.   Peace for the people.    Peace with God.

Further reading:       Matthew 2:1-12

Worship video:

To think about:
We are now in the time of Advent in the church calendar when we think about the coming of Jesus. It is also a time of great pressure with presents to buy, food to plan, cards to write and parties to attend. How can you find peace in all the distractions?

Also at this time we can think about the world and pray for the peace Jesus brings to break out right across our troubled globe.

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The sign of Jonah

Jonah 1:17

The story of Jonah is well known and one of the Old Testament accounts that makes it into most children’s Bibles and Sunday School teaching plans. It would be worth reading through the account as a whole (it’s only 4 short chapters in length) and seeing where the above verse fits in to the story.

In summary, Jonah was told by God to go and preach to the people of Nineveh and call them to repentance. Jonah did not like this idea and so headed off on a ship in the opposite direction. God caused a fierce storm to arise, resulting in Jonah being thrown overboard to save the ship and crew. ‘And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights’ (1:17). Jonah cried out to God from his underwater whale-cavern. God heard his prayer and he was spewed back onto dry land. He then headed off to Nineveh and preached the message God had given him. All the people of the city repented and turned to God. Wow!

In Matthew 12 the scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign. He replies by saying that although their generation craves a sign, ‘no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’ (Matthew 12:39,40). Jesus goes on to say that the current generation should be reacting to His message in the same way that the Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah. Jesus’ generation had no excuse because the person they were hearing was One who is greater than Jonah.

The sign of Jonah:

Three days and three nights in the belly of a fish for Jonah resulted in a whole city being saved.

Three days and three nights in a tomb for Jesus resulted in the whole world being saved.

Further reading:     Matthew 12:38-42

Worship video:

To think about:
The story of Jonah is about obedience. Have there been times when God has asked you to say or do something which you have ignored? How did that work out?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

'Out of Egypt I called My son'

Hosea 11:1-4

The prophet Hosea calls out, ‘When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son’ (v1). This draws our minds back to the events immediately following the Passover. The Passover was where the firstborn son in each Egyptian household died while each Israelite household was protected by the blood of the lamb. This led to the miracle of the Israelites being encouraged by Pharaoh and the Egyptians to leave their country (Exodus 12:29-51).

This release from Egypt is a defining narrative within the context of Scripture and the history of God’s people. The Israelites left slavery, bondage and fear and embarked on a journey that would bring them to a land of life, freedom and promise. However, this was not an ingenious human plan. This was the call of God to a nation: ‘Out of Egypt I called My son’ (v1).

Upon leaving Egypt things were by no means simple. There was still the rather large problem of the Red Sea, which God miraculously parted to allow the people through (see Exodus 14,15), and the fact that the land they were to inhabit was currently occupied. However, God did not let this fledgling nation stumble in the wilderness. Instead He took them in His arms and demonstrated a deep fatherly love for them (vv3,4). He cared for the nation, nourished and fed them, nurtured and loved them, and eventually led them into their inheritance.

In Matthew 2:13-15 we read that Joseph went down to Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus as they fled from Herod. Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1 which, as we have seen, echoes the great rescue of the nation which God had brought about centuries beforehand.

It transpires, then, that this seminal event where God rescues His people out of Egypt actually points forward to a time when God will call His very own Son out of exile in Egypt. Only, by supreme divine twist, this time the rescue is not of the person coming out of Egypt. Instead the rescue will be by the One coming out of Egypt.

The Son is called out of Egypt in order to rescue others!

Further reading:      Matthew 2:13-15

Worship video:
The story behind the song:

Took me out of Egypt


To think about:
Think about how God rescued you. How did God take you in His arms and show His love for you?

Creative response:
Artwork from Jubilee Kids


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Son of Man

Daniel 7:9-14

In this incredible vision God gave to Daniel we are given a view right into the very throne-room of heaven.

The vision opens with the Ancient of Days, God Himself, sat on His throne (v9). His appearance is awe-inspiring - dazzlingly white clothing and pure white hair while seated on a throne with wheels blazing with flames (v9).

The throne-room Daniel sees is actually a court with books of judgement ready to be opened and judgement passed (v10). In front of the throne is a river of fire (v10), representing judgment, and thousands and thousands standing before Him awaiting the judgement (v10).

The judgement is related to the earlier part of the vision (vv1-8) where four great beasts - a lion, a bear, a leopard and ‘a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong’ (v7) - are described. These four beasts represent four kings (v17) who rise up and rule over kingdoms on the earth. However, they are not kings who honour God and they are not kingdoms where God’s rule is followed. They are therefore judged (vv11,12).

At this point we obtain our glimpse of Jesus. He comes ‘with the clouds of heaven’ (v13) and approaches the Ancient of Days. He is presented before Him. Then, in contrast to those who have just been judged, He is given ‘dominion, glory and a kingdom’. All the peoples of the earth from every nation language, tribe and tongue will serve Him. The dominion He is given is everlasting and His kingdom is everlasting.

This one ‘like a Son of Man’ (v13) is surely none other than the One through whom all nations of the earth will be blessed and the One who will sit on the throne of David forever. During His ministry Jesus speaks of His return as the Son Man coming on the clouds of heaven (Matthew 24:30) and even at His trial before the Sanhedrin He quotes this verse to the high priest, which ultimately leads to His ‘conviction’ (Matthew 26:63-66).

Many of the themes of Daniel’s wonderful vision are picked up in Revelation. In chapter 1 we see a more detailed description of ‘one like a son of man’ (Revelation 1:13). Chapter 5 describes the throne room of heaven where it becomes clear that the Lamb is the Son of Man and the universal scope of His dominion, power and kingdom is described.

Further reading:      Philippians 2:5-11      Revelation 1:4-20     Revelation 5:1-14

Worship video:

To think about:
Both the descriptions in Daniel’s vision and in the book of Revelation are incredible. Spend some time looking at the imagery contained in the passages and then give glory to God through worship.

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Heart-Cleanser

Ezekiel 36:22-38

This prophesy of Ezekiel begins with Israel being gathered from the nations and brought back to their own land (v24). This builds on the theme of the scattered flock being gathered by the great Shepherd (see Ezekiel 34 and the God’s Shepherd post).

However, once this gathering has taken place there is to be a total transformation given to the people. They will be sprinkled with clean water and become cleansed from their filthiness and all their idols (v25). More than that, they will be given a new heart and a new spirit in them (v26). But more than that, they will be given God’s own Spirit in them who will cause them to live in a way which honours God (v27). And even more than that, they will be cleansed from their iniquities and they will live in places no longer desolate (v33).

So how can this transformation happen?   The short answer is ‘Through Jesus’!

Cleansing in the Old Testament involved being sprinkled with the blood of animals (see Hebrews 9:19-22). Ezekiel is drawing on this picture of God’s designated way of being cleansed. However, in Jesus, the cleansing now happens because of His blood rather than the blood of animals (see Hebrews 9:11-14). And this Jesus-cleansing goes much deeper and cleanses our consciences. It is because of this deep-cleansing by the blood of Jesus that we have the confidence to enter the holy place (Hebrews 10:19) and we can have full confidence that we have had ‘our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.’

This image of being sprinkled with blood in order to be made clean may seem strange to us but Peter summarises it well at the start of his letter: ‘To those… who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.’ (1 Peter 1:1,2)

So in chapter 36 Ezekiel didn’t only give us a glimpse of Jesus. He gave us a glimpse of how the Father gathers, the Son cleanses and the Spirit sanctifies.

Further reading:     Hebrews 10:19-25      1 Peter 1:1,2

Worship video:

To think about:
Do you enter the holy place with the confidence that Hebrews 10 describes? If not, ask the Holy Spirit to help you. If you do, think about what it is that gives you that confidence.

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice



Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

God's Shepherd

Ezekiel 34:1-31

The model of godly leadership laid out in Scripture is one of servant leadership. The leader is appointed not to lord it over the people but to shepherd the people and guide them in living God’s way. The authority of the leader is delegated by God to them. The leader should thus should reflect the heart of God in the way they lead.

Verses 1-10 of this passage paint a picture of self-serving leadership which promoted the comfort of the shepherd over the needs of the flock. This stands in stark contrast to the picture of the good shepherd in Psalm 23 where the needs and protection of the sheep are the foremost priority of the shepherd. The vacuum created by the poor leadership described by Ezekiel resulted in the people being scattered, hurt, broken and abandoned.

God therefore declares that, ‘I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out’ (v11). His heart is always for His sheep, His people. His search will bring the scattered flock from the nations. They will be gathered to a safe place where there will be rest and pasture (v14), nourishment (v15), healing and restoration (v16).

However, God goes further and declares that He will select His own shepherd, the Ultimate Shepherd, who will be a servant of God (see the Servant posts) (v23). What comes to light here is the fact that this Ultimate Shepherd will be of the line of David.  Since Ezekiel prophesied after David had died, he can’t be referring directly to David. Instead he is prophesying that One will emerge who would be of the line of David. He will be one who will faithfully shepherd the people. He will feed them (v23) and he will lead them back to God (v24).

This, therefore, is a passage of great hope and optimism as we see God’s people being gathered and restored in order that they may fulfil their destiny. But for this to happen there needs to be a day when they are provided with His shepherd who will burn with compassion for the lost sheep of Israel and provide a way of leading them back into the blessings of God.

And in Jesus that day would come!

Further reading:     Matthew 9:35-38

Worship video:


To think about:
Jesus’ mission on earth was to lead people to God. Our mission is the same – that our lives point to God. That people see Jesus in the way we speak and act. What changes do you need to make so that people can see more of Jesus in you?

Creative Response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The new covenant

Jeremiah 31:27-34

The people of Israel were a covenant people. A covenant is a two-sided agreement. Both parties pledge to keep the promises they have made. God had made a covenant with the nation after they had been rescued from Egypt and brought out to Mount Sinai. There He promised to be their God and they would be His people (see Exodus 19:1-6 and Deuteronomy 5:1-21). Clearly, in the case of this covenant, God kept His side of the agreement but the people did not. But, it wasn’t even that they messed up a little bit on a rare occasion. Instead, they consistently proved themselves to be entirely untrustworthy, sinful and unfaithful.

It is this theme which the prophet Jeremiah picks up. Jeremiah 31:32 outlines the problem: God had made a covenant with Israel but Israel had broken it. This covenant mirrored the marriage covenant but Israel had not honoured her faithful husband.

But God had not given up! Instead He planned to introduce a new covenant, a better one (v31). This new covenant, instead of being external, would be internal (v33). Instead of being written on tablets of stone, would be written on their hearts (v33). Instead of them being taught about knowing God, they would actually know their God (v34). Instead of the covenant highlighting their sin, it would ensure that their sin was dealt with (v34).

So how could such a thing possibly happen? Well, the new covenant needed a mediator, someone through whom the covenant could be introduced. This mediator would be Jesus (see Hebrews 8:6, 9:15). The new covenant could only be instituted when a death occurred and so Jesus’ death would inaugurate the new covenant (Hebrews 9:15-22). This in turn would open up the way for the Holy Spirit to write the law on our hearts and enable us to know our God.

Jeremiah’s promise of a new covenant points us to consider Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant!

Further reading:     Hebrews 8:1-9:22


Worship video:


To think about:
As Christians we are covenant people. The New Testament is full of God’s promises to us. What promises of God are you standing on?

Creative Response:
art work by Esther


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord

Isaiah 61:1-11

This prophecy describes a person anointed by the Spirit bringing about significant change in the lives of individuals and also having a global impact. It is a magnificent picture of God’s Anointed One and the transformation He will generate.

As in Isaiah 11 it is the Spirit of the Lord who will empower this person to conduct their ministry. But this is not an isolated occasion when the Spirit comes and empowers someone for a short period of time. Instead, this passage describes the resting of the Spirit upon the person and an anointing that remains for an indefinite period of time. The image is of someone who will live a life that is influenced, guided and empowered by the Spirit.

In verse 1 we see described the impact of this person on 4 different groups of people: the poor receive the good news, the brokenhearted are bound up or healed, the captives are given liberty and the prisoners granted freedom. This is part of the ‘year of the favour of the Lord’ (v2), otherwise known as the Jubilee. This was a year which was dedicated to God and involved the redemption of people and property (see Leviticus 25). People were able to return to their family inheritance and land. Slaves were released from servitude. Situations were put right. All this was part of the proclamation of the good news.

Alongside the ‘year of favour of the Lord’ there was another aspect, which Isaiah describes as the ‘day of vengeance of our God’ in verse 2. There was a requirement for the people to live God’s way and thus receive the blessing of the Jubilee. But if they didn’t then a day of judgement would come instead of a year of favour. It is worth pondering the contrast of timescales of ‘day of vengeance’ and ‘year of favour’!

The prophecy goes on to describe the many contrasts and blessings that this person will usher in: comfort and gladness instead of mourning (v3), praise instead of weeping (v3), rebuilding instead of ruins (v4), raising up instead of devastation (v4), blessing instead of shame (v7) and joy instead of humiliation (v7). Above all, though, will be the fact that the people will be known as belonging to God (v9) and will be clothed with salvation and righteousness (v10).

At the start of His earthly ministry Jesus attributes this passage to Himself in a startling way. He reads out the passage and amazingly declares, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’ (Luke 4:21). Not only does He reveal Himself as the fulfilment of this hope-filled prophecy but He also claims that it is fulfilled ‘today’!

And we now live as the benefactors of Jesus bringing this about as a reality for people. Jesus truly has ‘Today fulfilled this Scripture’ (see Luke 4:21).

Further reading:      Luke 4:14-21       Leviticus 25:8-17

Worship video:

To think about:
Jesus told us that we would do greater things than he had done (John 14:12) because he was giving us authority to do that. How does his authority present itself in your life? Do you believe that you have the authority to bring healing, blessing, comfort and righteousness?

Or
‘The prophecy of Isaiah 61 is about the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord resting on His servant. Given that as Christians we now have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us how does your life reflect the transformations described in the passage?’

Creative Response:
Art work by Esther



Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Servant (5): The servant and sin

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

There is so much that could be commented on in this fourth Servant Song that the least I could do was write a second post!

Last time, we looked at the physical suffering the Servant would endure as part of His mission. This time we will look at what will transpire to be the ultimate reason for His mission: The Servant is going to deal with sin.

Verse 4 begins by indicating that the suffering of the Servant was not simply poor judgement on His part or human jealousy on the part of others but instead that the Servant would suffer for ‘our griefs (or sicknesses) and our sorrows’ (v4). The phrases then stack up one after another:
‘He was pierced for our transgressions’ (v5)

‘He was crushed for our iniquities’ (v5)

‘The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him’ (v6)

‘He was cut off from the land of the living for the transgression of my people…’ (v8)

‘He would render Himself as a guilt offering’ (v10)

‘My Servant will justify the many as He will bear their iniquities’ (v11)

‘He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors’ (v12)

The Servant’s mission was focussed on the defeat of sin. His sacrifice would rid sin of its power to enslave, kill, maim and destroy.

And yet this seems inherently unjust. The transgressions, sins and iniquities are those of others, not the Servant Himself. His suffering was all to be on behalf of others. The result is that others will be saved and healed (v5). Those who should have been punished walk free while the ‘Righteous One’ (v11) suffers.

And note that this is for many (vv11,12). The One will suffer for many. His sacrifice will be sufficient to deal with the sin of all.

Also, note that this is God’s will and work. He causes it to happen (v6) and ‘The Lord was pleased to crush Him’ (v10).

Dealing with our sin required the crushing of the sinless One.

Shocking.

Terrifying.

Freeing.

Further reading:     1 Peter 2:21-25

Worship video:


To think about:
Jesus took our sin upon himself so that we might walk in freedom. When we repent, God forgives us and we are free. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there are still areas of your life where you are not totally free.

Creative Response:
'Sin Entangles'  artwork by Esther


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Servant (4): The suffering Servant

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The fourth Servant Song is well-known, oft-quoted and utterly shocking. The previous Servant Song  had indicated that the Servant would suffer mistreatment and now Isaiah goes into much more detail as to what that would look like.

He begins by describing how the Servant’s physical appearance would not indicate the royal heritage He had (v2) and that people would be surprised by the way He looked. The language ‘For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground’ (v2) reminds us of ‘the shoot from the stem of Jesse’ (11:1) and echoes of that prophecy which held out so much future hope.  Here, the Servant initially wouldn’t stand out in appearance (v2) but also the way He looks following mistreatment would make Him despised and not someone you would even want to look at (v3).

But then Isaiah goes on to describe the horrors of the extent of the Servant’s suffering. He would be pierced (v5), crushed (v5), chastened (v5), scourged (v5), oppressed and afflicted (v7), taken away (v8), cut off (v8), killed (vv8, 12) and poured out (v12). This litany of physical suffering is shocking in its breadth as well as its brutality. So many hands would inflict so many wounds. They would try to extinguish the Light of the World and snuff out the life of the One who gives breath.

And yet, one feature stands out in remarkable contrast. In spite of the excruciating physical suffering the Servant will not cry out (v7). There will be no attempt by the Servant to talk Himself out of things or to justify or to argue or to protest His innocence. Instead He will humbly accept His mission and follow it through to completion.

This mission completion will lead to the Servant justifying many by bearing their iniquity (v11) and being poured out to death as He bears the sin of many in order to intercede for them (v12).

What a Servant!

What a Saviour!

Further reading:       John 19:1-37

Worship video:



To think about:
Listen to the worship video again and then find some way to respond to the suffering of Jesus on the cross and reflect on His sacrifice.

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Servant (3): The Servant’s completed mission

Isaiah 50:4-9

This third Servant Song reveals some shocking insights into the mission of the Servant.

The first thing to note is that the Servant is going to carry out the mission which God entrusts Him with. ‘I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back’ (v5). He is going to be given instructions by God and carry them out in full. This sounds impressive even at first glance, but then we read that there will be consequences to this obedience. Following God’s mission through to completion will lead, shockingly, to mistreatment by others. It will lead to being beaten, having His beard pulled out, being humiliated and being spat upon (v6). This has a very different feel from what was communicated in the first two Songs. The Servant is not going to be universally well-received. His mission will only be completed if He undergoes personal suffering. The Servant’s mission, as we have seen, is to be a light to the nations (this needs to be link to previous post) and, as such, is solely for the purpose of saving others. Yet this will not be recognised and instead He will suffer.

However, the Servant can take heart from the fact that the Lord God Himself will help Him. The Servant will not be ashamed or disgraced (v7) even though the actions towards Him will aim to do exactly that (e.g. pulling out His beard). God will vindicate Him (v8) and help Him (v9). Ultimately there will be no case to answer for the Servant and none will be able to condemn Him.

Jesus, at the end of His earthly ministry prayed, ‘I have accomplished the work You have given Me to do’ (John 17:4). In this prayer Jesus anticipates the glory which is due to follow His suffering (v5). In His mind, God will not abandon Him through the human humiliation of the cross and all the suffering that came before it. Ultimately He will be vindicated and glorified by God.

Further reading:       John 17:1-12

Worship video: 


To think about:
Have there been times when your words or actions have not been well-received? How did you deal with this?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Servant (2): A light to the nations

Isaiah 49:1-13

The second Servant Song reveals that a key purpose of the mission of the Servant was to draw people back to God. This had two different elements: bringing Israel back into relationship with God, and drawing all the nations of the earth to God.

Isaiah states it as follows: ‘To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him’ (v5). This is a hugely significant message, particularly given the situation at the time where the nation of Israel was facing a pretty bleak future in exile. However, the promise of the Servant brings hope that His mission will result in the nation being stirred to return to God and enable God to restore relationship with His people.

In the following verse the scope of the mission widens even further: ‘It is too small a thing that you should be my Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations, so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’ (v6). Clearly God has big plans for the mission of the Servant. Not only will He draw the nation of Israel back to their God, but through Him He will bring light to the nations and provide a way back to God for every tribe and people group. This has echoes of the promise to Abraham (A blessing to all the nations) which was that all nations of the earth would be blessed through him.

At the dedication of Jesus described in Luke 2:25-35, Simeon picked up on these two themes. Simeon blessed the child Jesus saying that He will be ‘A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel’ (v32). He realised that the baby was going to be significant in both the restoration of Israel and in the salvation of many people from all nations. The apostle Paul agreed that Jesus fulfilled this and summarised that ‘the Christ … would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles’ (Acts 26:23).

And Jesus described Himself as follows: ‘I am the Light of the World’ (John 8:12). There is no doubt that Jesus fulfilled this element of the Servant’s mission!

Further reading:        Luke 2:25-35

Worship video:

To think about:
Why is light the image used by Isaiah to describe the Servant’s mission?  Matthew 5:14-16 calls us to be the light of the world.   What does this mean for you in the situations God has placed you in?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Servant (1): Introducing the Servant

Isaiah 42:1-9

In Isaiah’s mammoth prophecy are hidden some so-called ‘Servant Songs’. These prophetic messages talk of a Servant who is sent by God on a mission. The Servant Songs reveal elements of this mission and also give a description showing what the Servant will be like. As we look at these Servant Songs over the course of the next few posts you will see that Jesus is the ultimate fulfilment of them Servant Songs.

The Servant is first of all described by God as ‘My Servant whom I uphold, My chosen one in whom My soul delights’ (v1). It is clear that God delights in His Servant! When God speaks at both Jesus’ baptism and His transfiguration (see Matthew 3:17 and 17:5) He declares His love for Jesus and His pleasure in Him. This is a big pointer from God saying that this is the long-expected Servant.

The Song goes on to describe how the Spirit will be upon the Servant (v1). Again, looking at Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove and rests on Him (Matthew 3:16).

The ministry of the Servant will be marked out by the bringing of justice (vv1,3). The Song seems to describe that this will come about in a strange way. The Servant will not be brash or attention-seeking (v2). He will instead be someone who is gentle and considerate in his approach, His mission being marked out by not breaking bruised reeds or snuffing out dimly burning wicks (v3). We see this approach time and again in the ministry of Jesus as He interacts with the marginalised and weak in society with extreme grace and mercy. One only has to think of the woman at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8) and Zaccheus (Luke 19) to name but a few. In fact, Matthew 12:15-23 summarises some of Jesus’ ministry by quoting this Song before immediately recounting how he healed a demon-possessed blind and mute man.

So Isaiah introduces the Servant. It will transpire that the Servant is going to be God’s incredible Son who will be on a grace-filled rescue mission.

Further reading:           Matthew 12:15-23

Worship Video:


To think about:
Jesus was sent from God with a mission. Do you know what mission God has planned for you? Sometimes our mission can be just ‘for a season’. Have you had seasons where you know you have been following a mission from God? What season are you in now?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Branch of Jesse

Isaiah 11:1-10

Isaiah begins this prophecy by reminding his hearers of the pre-eminence of the family of Jesse. The royal line is already well-known to have been established through David but here it is David’s father Jesse who is identified as the ‘stem’ of the tree from which the shoot and branch will bear incredible fruit (v1).

This branch is described as having ‘the Spirit of the Lord resting on Him’ (v2). So far in Biblical history the Spirit has come upon specific people at specific times for a specific purpose (for example see Judges 6:34 and the story of Gideon). This branch is different from that as the Spirit will rest on Him. The Spirit described is a seven-fold Spirit: He is the Spirit of the Lord, of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord (v2).

The resting of this Spirit on the Branch will result in the establishing of righteousness judgement. He will not judge in the way men judge, i.e. by what they can see and hear, but instead will judge with righteousness and fairness (vv3,4). And the Branch will be dressed with righteousness and faithfulness as His belt (v5).

The result of this righteous judgement will be the ushering in of a new kingdom of peace where the whole of creation will once again live in harmony. The wolf and lamb, leopard and goat, calf and lion will cohabit (vv6,7). There will be no danger to children from deadly snakes (v8) and there will be no hurt or destruction (v9). God’s kingdom will be established with knowledge of Him filling the earth (v9). And nations will stream to the branch of Jesse (v10). He will be the rallying point and bless all nations of the earth.

Further reading:       Revelation 5:1-10

Worship Video:


To think about:
We live in a turbulent world. However we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. How can we offer or demonstrate peace to the world we live in?

Creative response:
Artwork by Esther Sweeney

Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The light in the darkness

Isaiah 9:1-7

Zebulun and Naphtali are two of the tribes of Israel which, along with tribe of Issachar, make up the region of Galilee. This is in the northern part of Israel. Israel as a whole nation is conquered and taken into captivity in 722BC. However, a decade prior to this the region of Galilee is captured by the Assyrians (see 2 Kings 15:29) and the rest of the nation doesn’t come to their aid. Thus Isaiah describes Galilee as being ‘treated with contempt’ and being a place of gloom (v1).

But the promise that follows is astounding… The people in this region of Galilee will see a great light (v2). Joy and gladness will increase (v3). Oppression will be ended (v4). The enemy will be defeated and there will be an end to war (vv4,5).

This will all come about because of a child who will be born for them (v6). This child will be special. He will be known by marvellous names:
Wonderful Counsellor - the child will stand in the royal courts and advise and guide

Mighty God - this child is God Himself!

Eternal Father - even though a child, He will represent the Heavenly Father

Prince of Peace - He is heir to the throne

This child will carry the government on His shoulders (v6) and the government He leads will be one of ever increasing influence and peace (v7). He will be the one who will finally establish the throne of David forever and will go on to ensure that it continues with justice and righteousness.

And so Jesus, when He beings His earthly ministry starts things off in Galilee (see Matthew 4:12-17). They are the first to see the Son of God in action. The part of the nation that was treated with contempt will house the eternal throne of David. Truly the light had dawned on them, even though they did not understand it.

Further reading:        Matthew 4:12-17         John 1:1-18

Worship Video:



To think about:
Isaiah describes Galilee as being ‘treated with contempt’ and being a place of gloom (v1). So often we feel that we have been treated with contempt, or we treat ourselves with contempt and feel in a place of gloom. Isaiah was talking to a nation but how can we use this passage in Isaiah to encourage ourselves?

Creative response:
Artwork by Esther Sweeney


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The virgin will be with child

Isaiah 7:10-17

In this passage Jerusalem is under siege by the king of Aram and the king of Israel. The king of Judah, Ahaz, and his people are afraid (see verse 3). God speaks to the king and tells him to ask for a sign. Ahaz refuses to do this. God therefore speaks to him anyway and describes the sign which will indicate His coming salvation:

‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel’ (v14).

This is totally unexpected! No-one could have predicted that the sign that God would offer would be a miraculous conception and birth. This sign is against all the odds because it is simply impossible. Well, impossible unless God is involved!

This sign is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. In Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus he quotes this verse and helpfully adds that Immanuel means ‘God with us’ (see Matthew 1:23).

The message of the sign is that it has to be something God brings about in His own time. No-one else has the wherewithal to conjure up a virgin birth. But the real message behind this sign is that salvation will come about when God Himself comes amongst His people.

Immanuel! God with us!

Further reading:      Matthew 1:18-25

Worship Video:


To think about:
This passage is about the impossible. When have you seen God do the impossible in your life or someone else’s life?

Is there a way that we can prepare for the impossible?


Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice



Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The marriage feast

Song of Songs 2:4

The Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) is a beautiful book, full of the language and description of romantic love between a king and his bride. The whole book is a celebration of love. The story is poetic and describes a period of courtship of lovers as well as the marriage day itself. It tells of the mutual enjoyment, physical attraction and sexual intimacy they share. It tells of the deep emotional connection of couple in love and of their pain when separated.

Part of the story is a description of the wedding feast. The groom comes into view in his splendour:
 ‘Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And gaze on King Solomon with the crown
With which his mother has crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
And on the day of the gladness of his heart.’ (3:11)

And he is matched by his bride:
‘How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!... 
You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
And there is no blemish in you.’ (4:1,7)

This book is so clearly about the love and attraction a bride and groom have towards each other during courtship and marriage. Yet, as we saw last time, marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. So when we read Song of Songs this aspect also comes into view.

Ultimately a day will come when the Lamb will be married to His bride (see Rev 19:7) who will appear perfect and prepared for her husband (v8). There will then be a party, a feast - the marriage supper of the Lamb (v9) where we will see Song of Songs 2:4 fully fulfilled: ‘He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.’ The book of Revelation goes on to describe the bride of the Lamb in more detail in chapter 21 where she appears as a gloriously perfect city (21:9,10) with walls and streets of gold, foundations of precious stones and gates of pearls (vv15-21).

She will be an awesome sight.

A breath-taking vision.

A bride fit for the eternal King of Kings.

Further reading:        Revelation 19:7-10 & 21:1-21

Worship Video:

To think about:
What aspects of the description of the bride of Christ have caught your attention as you read these passages? How can we prepare ourselves to be the bride of Christ?

Creative response:
Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Marriage

Genesis 2:18-24

In this blog we have been moving through the Old Testament in the order we find in our Bibles. However, this week we are going back to the creation account. As we saw previously in the Creation post, God created the universe and within that he made man and woman in His own image (Genesis 1:26,27). Genesis 2 gives further detail of how God, seeing that Adam needed to have a companion in order for him to be able to carry out the task God had given him to do, created an equal being called ‘Woman’.

When the woman was created (vv21,22) and brought to Adam it is fair to say that he became quite excited (v23). He had never seen anything quite like her before! She was a creation made in God’s image, just like Adam, and they were created for each other.

The author of Genesis then sets up the principle of marriage by saying, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh’ (v24). This picture of marriage involves the leaving of one’s parents in order to form a new family unit where husband and wife are physically joined together in marriage. This provides a context for companionship, mutual support, sexual intimacy and the raising of children.

In Ephesians 5:22-33 Paul writes about marriage. He describes wives submitting to their husbands, just as the church submits to Christ as head of the church. He then describes the love which husbands should have for their wives. A husband should demonstrate love that:

- is self-sacrificial and willing to sacrifice all for his wife (v25),

- desires to see his wife increasingly reflect Jesus (vv26, 27),

- is as equally concerned about his wife as he is about himself (v28), and

- wants to nourish and cherish his wife and seek her well-being and flourishing (vv29,30).

He then quotes Genesis 2:24 which we read earlier before saying, ‘This mystery is great; but I am speaking about Christ and the church’ (v31). Ultimately, then, this bringing together of man and woman in marriage is a picture of Christ and the church.

I find it amazing that so early on in Scripture we see marriage described and within it a clear glimpse of Jesus. We should also continue to see this reflection of Jesus and the church around us every day whenever we see a marriage.

Further reading:           Ephesians 5:22-33

Worship Video:


To think about:
What aspects of marriage reflect the relationship of Christ and the church? How realistic is it to for a husband to love his wife ‘as Christ loved the church’ and what would this look like?

Creative response:
Original photo by Jalene Dort.  Journal page by Bernice


Please remember to go back to previous blog posts to see the creative responses that have been added. Click on the thumbnail pictures to view them.

Please share your creative response using the linky below. To use the linky click on 'Click here to enter'. You will need the URL from your own blog or from a photosharing website like Flickr. Alternatively share your response in the Facebook group.