Glories of humble beginnings, by Rev Dr John Kwasi Fosu

Introduction

Humble beginnings characterise people God uses. In other words, preparations in the wilderness precede great ministries. It is said that a journey of thousand miles begins with a step. All the exciting things you see today have their beginning smaller than the end.  This means that you must have a starting point in everything that you intend to achieve in life. There are references in the Bible. David started as a shepherd, but he became a king at the end of his life. Joseph started as a slave in Potiphar’s house but later became a prime minister of Egypt. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ had a humble beginning of being born in a manger. This study looks at the lives of Moses, David, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ with particular attention to their humble beginnings.

Moses

Like the birth of Jesus, the circumstance surrounding Moses’ birth was that of danger. Being prevented from childhood death, baby Moses was left to float alone in the river. As preparation for his ministry, Moses spent 40 years in Egypt to learn the ways of the world, the flesh and the Devil. Afterward, Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness before his ministry began (Exodus 3:1). In the wilderness, Moses had to learn the truth that walking with God was more valuable, precious, and rewarding than anything that the world and the Devil could offer (Heb.11:26). As Moses kept the sheep he learned the ways of God.

David

David is another person who had a humble beginning. Being the youngest among his brothers, David was left to tend sheep and so learned the lessons of faith while keeping sheep. His concern for his beloved sheep, enabled him, through the Name and power of God, to kill the lion and the bear that threatened to kill his sheep. Most probably, David’s devotion to his sheep caused God to refer to him as “David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart.” David’s father, Jesse did not even think that David should be present when Samuel asked him to bring his sons before him. For he had left him outside looking after the sheep (1 Sam16:1-13). Even Samuel, who was a godly and wise prophet, initially thought that Eliab was God’s choice, until God revealed Eliab’s heart to Samuel, and showed that the uninvited and despised boy David was God’s choice. David also spent many years in the wilderness, being pursued by Saul (1 Samuel 23:14, 24).

John the Baptist

The life of John the Baptist is summarized in Luke 1:80: John the Baptist grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. The wilderness in this part of the world of John the Baptist was hot, dry, lonely and harsh. This suggests that John the Baptist had lonely and difficult beginnings. Waiting in the wilderness is more difficult than the stress of work and the pain of persecution.  

Jesus

Reading about the birth of Jesus in the gospels, the humble beginnings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ becomes clear. For the baby Jesus, who would one day become a Man of miracles, teaching, and compassion began life in a manger. In the wisdom of God, God chose this stable in Bethlehem to be the birthplace. Most probably, God chose such a place to demonstrate to us the value of coming to God in humility. God could have chosen anywhere for Jesus to be born. Jesus, the King, was born in a manger and thus became vulnerable like every other human being. Jesus was born to parents who were looked down upon by many people. Before the commencement of His ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-2).

Conclusion

Reflecting on the humble beginning of our Lord and Master Jesus, it could be said, therefore, that no matter how small your beginning maybe, you have a promise of a better future. You are therefore encouraged to recognize the value of small beginnings. Start with what you have and like Jesus, Moses and David, despise not small beginnings. Instead, despise the shame of small beginnings. Have you ever had a “wilderness” experience characterized by a period of loneliness and struggle? If yes, it is most probable that God may be preparing you to be one of his significant leaders.

Prophecies concerning Christ’s birth, Rev Dr John Kwasi Fosu

Introduction

One of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ has to do with the manner of His birth as foretold in the Old Testament. This write-up therefore briefly looks at the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ’s birth. It shows that Jesus indeed fulfills the prophecies about the coming messiah. Thus, the prophecies concerning Christ’s lineage and birth is therefore presented in this material.

Prophecies Concerning Christ’s Lineage

Virgin Birth

Genesis 3:15 is biblically known as the protevangelium because it is the first prophecy (good news) about Christ. There will be enmity between Satan and Messiah, here identified by the phrase, “her seed.” The phrase “her seed” concerns Mary alone and points to the virgin birth since the Messiah is born of Mary alone. Matthew 1:16 also emphasizes this in the phrase “By whom” (GK. hes), a feminine relative pronoun, emphasizing Jesus was born without Joseph’s participation or sexual influence.

Line of  Abraham

In Genesis 12:2, God promised Abraham, “I will make your name great,” suggesting that the Messiah would come from the posterity of Abraham and that “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Matthew 1:1 and Galatians 3:16 interpret this promise (Genesis 13:15) as being fulfilled in Christ.

Line of  Isaac and  Jacob

It was through the descendants of Isaac that God would establish his covenant and institute his blessings (Gen 17:19). The line of Messianic blessings narrows further in that the blessing will not flow through Ishmael, but rather through Jacob (Gen 25:23; 28:13). Numbers 24:17 stresses a ruler (“scepter”) will come through the descendant of Jacob who will crush the enemy and have “dominion” (v. 19; cf Romans 9:10-13).

Line of  Judah

Genesis 49:10 affirms that the Messiah (as King) will come from the tribe of Judah. Messiah, of the tribe of Judah will possess the “scepter.” The king held the scepter in his hand when speaking in Public assemblies; and when he sat upon his throne he rested it between his feet, inclining towards himself. This verse also explains that Judah will sustain a lineage “until Shiloh comes.” Shiloh is variously interpreted: as a title of Messiah meaning “Man of rest;” of Messiah as a pacifier, peacemaker.” Messiah will be a man of peace. The phrase “until Shiloh comes” may be translated “Until He comes to whom it belongs.” And to Him shall be the world in the millennial kingdom.

Line of  David

Messiah will be a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16). In this promise to David (v. 16), the Lord indicated his descendant (the Messiah) would have an everlasting dynasty. (“house”); He would rule  (“throne”) over people (“kingdom”), and His rule would be eternal.” Psalm 89 expands this promise.

Prophecies Concerning Christ’s Birth

The Manner of Christ’s Birth

Isaiah 7:14 promised a sign to the unbelieving King Ahaz. The prophecy was that a virgin would bear a son who would be called Immanuel – God with us.In all seven occurrences in the Old Testament, the term “virgin” Hebrew almah never refers to a maiden who has lost her virginity. The passage has both a near and far fulfilment: in the immediate future, it was fulfilled in the birth of Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isaiah 8:3), and in the distant future it was fulfilled in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. See Matthew 1:23 for a commentary on this verse.

The Place of Christ’s Birth

Micah 5:2 identifies the birthplace of Christ as Bethlehem, a small town, too insignificant to be listed among the towns of Judah (Josh 15:60), distinguished from Zebulun (Joshua 19:15). See Matthew 2:6 for the commentary on this verse.

Conclusion

This study about the prophecies concerning Christ’s birth in the Old Testament has demonstrated that Christ is indeed the subject of the Old Testament although not in the same exclusiveness as we find in the New Testament. As part of our preparation for Christmas, it is important to remind ourselves that Christ is the long-awaited Messiah and thus qualifies to be our Lord and saviour. Worshipping Christ in this Christmas season should therefore occupy our topmost priority.