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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jesus' Dash

When you visit a cemetary and look at the tombstones, you will see the person's birthdate and then the date of their death. I've heard lessons before about how the "dash" - what's in between the two dates - is what matters.  Maybe I've even posted about it in the past.

Today I was thinking about Jesus and his "dash". Jesus didn't need a tombstone because he wasn't going to be staying in the grave very long. In fact, he had a big stone in front of his burial cave and it was soon rolled away, wasn't it?

Christ's birth is celebrated on December 25th. However, most, if not all, Bible scholars agree that most likely December 25 was not Jesus' birthdate. I just noticed the other day that even my NIV study Bible notes that it most likely wasn't December 25th. I've seen reasons listed why it was most likely in the spring and reasons why it was most likely in the fall. But, we know that He was born and we read of His miraculous conception and His humble birth. I just love reading that story, don't you!?

And then we know of His death, celebrated at Easter each year - and that date is different every year. But we know HOW He died. On a cross. For you and for me.

So, what about Jesus' "dash"? What did He do from birth until death, at age 33?

1. Birth - Born in a manger in Bethlehem. Luke 2:6-7

2. Shepherds visited. Luke 2:16

3. Eight days old - Jesus was circumcised in Jerusalm and blessed by Simeon at the temple. Luke 2:25-35

4. Jesus went with his parents to Nazareth and he grew.
"And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him." Luke 2:40

5.  The Magi (or wise men) visit Jesus - sometime after 8 days old and under 2 years old. 
(Note:  The Magi didn't visit Jesus at birth as is often depicted in Nativity scenes and in songs.  We know this because the Bible says the Magi "came to the house" Matthew 2:11 and also because of King Herod's decree in Matthew 2:16, "When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi."
Also you may note that the Bible never says there were three wise men, but that they brought three gifts of "gold and of incense and of myrrh"

6.  Jesus is 12 years old and goes with His parents to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem.  He stays behind without His parents knowing.  When they find Him three days later, He is found in the temple courts listening to the teachers and asking them questions.  Luke 2:42-48

7.  Jesus goes back to Nazareth with His parents and is obedient and He grows.
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

8.  Jesus is baptized at about 30 years old and begins His ministry.  Luke 3:21-23

9.  Jesus is tempted by Satan. Luke 4:1-14

10.  Jesus begins preaching.  Matthew 4:12-17

11.  Jesus calls His first disciples.  Matthew 4:18-22 and following chapters

12.  Jesus heals many, performs miracles, speaks in parables as He teaches, and designates His 12 apostles from among the disciples. (Throughout the gospels.)

13.  Jesus is rejected in his own hometown.  Matthew 13:53-58

14.  Peter confesses that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Jesus says that upon that confession, His church will be built. (Note:  Not the building, but the people.) Matthew 16:13-19

15.  The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread where the last Passover meal is served.  Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper to be done in rememberance of Him.  Luke 22:7-20

16.  Jesus prays, knowing that He will soon give His life on the cross.  Luke 22:39-44

17.  Jesus is arrested.  Luke 22:47-53

18.  Jesus is on trial. Luke 22:66 - 23:25

19.  Jesus' death at age 33...the ninth hour.  Luke 26-46

20.  Jesus is buried on a Friday.  Luke 23:50-56

21.  On the first day of the week (Sunday), Jesus is risen!  Luke 24:1-8

22.  Jesus appears to some women and to His apostles (Eleven now, minus Judas), and others Matthew 28:9-15

23.  Jesus tells His disciples what they are to do: 

A.  Make other disciples all over the world, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them (the new disciples) to obey His commands.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19-20

B.  He opens the minds of the disciples so that they could understand the Scriptures. They were to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations.  They were witnesses because they actually saw Jesus and His miracles.  "What the Father has promised" would be the Holy Spirit, which would give them the ability to do miracles, too.

"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."" Luke 24:45-49

24.  Jesus' ascension.  Luke 24:50

So, there is Jesus' dash.  What is your response to His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection?  Many all over the world are happy to celebrate December 25th, or perhaps think about Him all month long. But, when the Nativity scenes are put away in a box on December 26 or by January 1, Jesus is forgotten.  He's left in their minds as a sweet little baby, never allowed to "grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor".  He's never allowed to become their Savior.

And then there's Easter.  Some may also think of Jesus then, too.  But, is that really what Jesus and God want?  During our Lord's Last Supper - the Feast of the Unleavened Bread - Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me".  Do you suppose Jesus meant to only remember Him on Christmas and Easter?  Of course not!  Jesus wants us to remember His dash - remember His life  and what He did for us all year long.

There's another thing, though about Jesus' dash.  It doesn't end at all because He's alive still today!  He's in Heaven with God and will return to this earth some day.  I look forward to that day, don't you?  It's at that point the "dash" in our life will be very important.  How are you living out yours?


A.Marie said...

Good Morning! You are such a eloquent writer! I really liked this post...When you look at all that Jesus did, and what He did for all of us, you wonder why people continue to harden their hearts towards Him!

Have a wonderful day! :)

Wa Wa Waughs said...


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