The First Person to Worship Jesus
/At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!/”
| I |
n the near future we are quite likely to witness a return to ancient attitudes toward new-born children.
To the Roman mind, life did not begin until the father of a child accepted the child.
In judicial language, the child was not a person until accepted by the father.
A nurse would bring the new-born child to the father and attempt to lay the infant on the father’s lap.
If the father received the child, it would be allowed to live.
If the father spread his legs so as to allow the child to fall to the floor, the child was not accepted.
Children were disposable.
In Rome at the time of Jesus’ birth, children were frequently cast onto the garbage heaps or thrown onto the side of the roads.
There, the infants might be eaten by roaming dogs, die of exposure, or be taken in by charlatans of the vilest, most despicable character.
Castaway children thus “rescued” might have their legs broken or suffer cruel bodily deformation at the hands of their “rescuers”.
Such severely crippled children would be more effective beggars throughout their toddler and childhood years.
Their deformities would tug at the heartstrings of compassionate donors who felt guilty at their own good fortune.
Their short lives would serve only to enrich their benefactors!
Those who anticipated Messiah’s birth considered the unborn to be human — potentially and actually.
The people of the Book were conversant with the mind of God.
Throughout the Old Covenant are those verses which speak eloquently of the individuality of the unborn.
God affirmed the personhood of the Prophet Jeremiah.
/Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,/
/before you were born I set you apart;/
/I appointed you as a prophet to the nations/.
Surely, despite having primary application to the Messiah, the Word of the Lord recorded in *Isaiah 49:1,5* has relevance to this issue.
/Before I was born the LORD called me; /
/from my birth he has made mention of my name…/
/And now the LORD says —/
/he who formed me in the womb to be his servant/.
Among the powerful statements of the person of the unborn are those which occur in *Psalm 139:13-16*.
/For you created my inmost being; /
/you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
/I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; /
/your works are wonderful, /
/I know that full well.
/My frame was not hidden from you /
/when I was made in the secret place.
/When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, /
/your eyes saw my unformed body.
/All the days ordained for me /
/were written in your book /
/before one of them came to be/.
Strong and definitive though the verses cited might be for Christ’s people, for us who are called by the Name of the Son of God, stronger still is the response of the first person to worship Jesus.
Though worshipped by angels, the unborn John was the first person to worship the Lord Jesus, and his mother, Elizabeth, was the first to lend her voice to praise of the Saviour.
These were the first in a never-ending multitude to worship Christ the Lord.
Join me, together with John, in worship of the Son of God.
*The Reason for Jesus’ Advent* — Why should it be necessary for the Son of God to be born?
Why was it necessary that He become man?
Wouldn’t it have done for Him to stand in His unveiled glory and accomplish His will?
Such questions are legitimate and deserve an answer.
For over two thousand years people have debated the purpose of Jesus’ birth, and the answers always lead us back to the Word of God.
There, within the Word, are found the answers to our questions concerning the Son of God.
Jesus once stood in unveiled glory, and those nearest Him were unable to stand before Him.
You will recall that it was /as he was praying/ that /the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning/ [*Luke 9:29*].
The Apostles (Peter, James and John) were startled out of their sleep and shortly found themselves facedown on the ground.
Had Jesus appeared in unveiled glory, everyone would have fallen at His feet in obeisance before Him.
It is a sorrowful fact, however, that merely falling at the feet of the Saviour is not worship of the Saviour.
There is a day when
/every knee should bow, /
/in heaven and on earth and under the earth, /
/and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, /
/to the glory of God the Father/.
It is an awful fact that either we worship the Son of God as our Saviour now, or we bow before Him as our Judge one awesome day.
How awesome is that scene which John saw and which he described.
/Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”/
That misplaced prayer, the falling at the thought of His judgement, is but a harbinger of what is coming, for all the lost must one day appear before His Great White Throne.
As I prepared the message, I read again *Revelation 20:11-15*.
I saw something I had never noted before.
Listen to the Word of God. /Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.
Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.
Another book was opened, which is the book of life.
The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
The lake of fire is the second death.
If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire/.
Notice that /death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire/.
No one steps into hell.
No one willingly leaps into hell.
At the last, all bravado is missing, and sinners are flung into eternal separation.
How frightful that thought!
We forget that Jesus was born to provide the means to redeem fallen creation.
He came to provide atonement for sin.
Here is a question to challenge your conscience.
“Are you a sinner because you sin?” Or “Do you sin because you are a sinner?”
Without question we sin because we are sinners.
In other words, what we are dictates our behaviour.
Since we know that /all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God/ [*Romans 3:23*], it must follow that man is inherently sinful.
If he is to please God and if he is to enjoy sweet communion with God, God Himself must provide a means to put away man’s sin … sin which is an integral part of man.