How A Shy Deacon Became Bold! II Corinthians 5:17

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

In my first church, many years ago, I was the newly installed pastor. A few weeks in we had our first deacons’ meeting. Seven of the men of the church, comprising the deacon board, sat with me at a church basement table. I chose one of them, and asked, “Bob, will you open the meeting with prayer?” I considered that a reasonable request for a long-standing deacon. Bob was silent for a moment or two, then he looked at me and said, “Couldn’t say a word.” I was taken aback! I certainly didn’t expect that answer! But not to belabor what I considered an embarrassing moment, I then asked another deacon, and he opened the meeting with prayer.

Bob was a man in his 70’s. He had been a deacon in that church for fifty years! And he Couldn’t say a word…of prayer to open a deacons’ meeting? I kept an eye on Bob, and after interacting with him over the next months, I discovered a shy but faithful churchman who had been a member of the church since he was baptized at around twelve years old. After that first deacons’ meeting, I didn’t ask him to pray again……….until………

About three years into my pastorate, I contacted a husband and wife evangelistic team to come to our church for revival services each night for a week. Bob and Peggy Boyd, whom I knew from a few years before, agreed to come. Weeks before we planned for a successful seven days of services and, for a small church of about 60 active members, the meetings were well attended.

Some background: We had a vibrant Bible study group of young adults each week at the parsonage. I had been invited to a Bible study at the Catholic church in town led by a young Deacon who was soon to be ordained as a priest. I became friends with this young man, about my age, and I was pleased to attend his ordination. But he was to be assigned to another parish, so he asked the other priests and Deacons in the large parish to take over his Bible study, but no one wanted the added responsibility! So he asked me! The next week about six young adult Catholics met at the Baptist parsonage! The Bible study grew over the next three years to over 20 young adults and teens, most of them Catholic!

Highlights of the revival week of meetings:

  • Bob Boyd, the evangelist, preached powerful sermons! At the close of the service every night he gave an invitation. Anyone so moved was to come forward…
   ✞   ...anyone who wanted to accept Jesus as their 
       Savior! And Bob (or I) would further explore 
       their decision and pray with them.

   ✞   ...anyone who had drifted away from the Lord, 
       and desired to re-commit their life to Him! We 
       would question those who responded and pray 
       with them.

   ✞   ...anyone with other burdens with which they 
       needed help! We would counsel with them and 
       pray.
  • The second night, when the invitation was given…
   ✞   ...Cathy came forward in tears, needing for-
       giveness and restoration into her faith. 

   ✞   ...Linda, from our Bible study, came down the 
       side isle all smiles, wanting to publicly de-
       clare her decision to trust Christ as her Savior 
       and Lord! 
  • The people who attended each night seemed to enjoy the services. But not much else was happening as we neared the final day of meeting! I was concerned because I felt my congregants and guests needed to be renewed in their Christian faith to a more dynamic level. So I fasted and prayed Friday night and through Saturday, asking God to pour powerful blessings on that last service!
  • That last night, as Bob Boyd gave the invitation, I asked to speak. With tears I told the congregation of my concerns that after the revival meetings, the spiritual life of the church would continue pretty much as it was before……rather dead!
  • The invitation continued. I looked up and saw Bob, the deacon, coming forward! I asked him, “Bob, why are you coming?” He told me, “I want to accept Jesus as my Savior! I about fell over! But I quickly recovered and led him in prayer as he asked the Lord to come into his heart and life – this man who was a deacon in the church for fifty years……without being connected to God through Jesus Christ!

Bob’s life changed! I could see Christ being formed in him day by day! And thereafter, he had no problem with vocal prayer! What happened? It is the fulfillment of II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

By the way, his son, Bob, was an early member of the Bible study, and is a dedicated Christian man to this day.

The Old and The New

Galatians 5:16, 17

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Galatians chapter 5 is a primary Scripture to understand the two natures in every Christian, the old and the new! We’ll start with Galatians 5:16 and 17:

   Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the 
   lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the 
   Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these 
   are contrary to one another, so that you do not do 
   the things that you wish.

We are all born with the old nature, which is also called the flesh (see Galatians 5:16 above; and many other Scriptures); sinful flesh (see Romans 8:3); the old man (see Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9); and sin that dwells in me (see Romans 7:17, 20).

How did we acquire this sinful nature?

  • According to Genesis chapters 1 and 2, God made man perfect. Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness….So God made man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26, 27).
  • Man, perfect but untested, was then tested. Satan tempted him, and he fell! In falling into that first sin, he acquired a sinful nature. Adam, being the Federal Head of the human race passed that sin nature to every human being since!
   ✡   “Federal headship states that God sovereignly 
        appointed Adam as the representative head of 
        the human race, so that whatever obedience or 
        disobedience Adam chose would be imputed to 
        his posterity” (sharperiron.org/article/fed-
        eral-and-natural-headship).

   ✡   Romans 5:12 is the Scripture that lays out the 
        result of Adam’s fall into sin (this is from 
        the Lexham English Bible): “...just as sin en-
        tered into the world through one man, and death 
        through sin, so also death spread to all people 
        because all sinned.”

   ✡   So we all are born with a sin nature!

How does this sin nature manifest itself in humanity? Paul describes the manifestation this way in Galatians 5:19-21:

   Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: 
   adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idol-
   atry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, out-
   bursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, 
   heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, 
   and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just 
   as I also told you in time past, that those who 
   practice such things will not inherit the kingdom 
   of God. 

Did you notice the way Paul finished his list of 18 sins? “…and the like….There are more manifestations! Paul gives another longer list of 25 manifestations of the sin nature in Romans 1:28 through 32. We should then discern that the sin nature is utterly corrupted and rotten, controlled by Satan!

In God’s eyes, our sin nature is beyond renovation and redemption! That’s why when we accept His Son Jesus into our hearts and lives as our Savior, He creates in us an entirely new nature! As it says in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away, all things have become new.

  • Well, the old things, the old nature, is not entirely passed away………yet! It will be someday when we leave our mortal bodies behind at death or the Rapture! (see I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I John 3:2, 3).
  • Until then, Christians have both the old sinful nature and a new godly nature!

The new godly nature manifests itself through believers also! But instead of works that manifest through the flesh, the godly nature is designed to produce the fruit of the Spirit! Here is what Paul says in Galatians 5:22 through 25:

   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
   longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
   gentleness, self-control. Against such there is 
   no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified 
   the flesh with its passions and desires. If we 
   live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 

The Christian WILL manifest either the fruit of the Spirit in their life, or the works of the flesh!

  • I will again quote our featured Scripture of Galatians 5:15 and 16, but this time from the Easy-to-Read Version :
   So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads 
   you. Then you will not do the evil things your 
   sinful self wants. The sinful self wants what 
   is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants 
   what is against the sinful self. They are al-
   ways fighting against each other, so that you 
   don't do what you really want to do. 

We are to subdue the sinful self and pursue what the Spirit lead us to do! It is part of learning Spiritual Warfare! Between May 6 and June 21, 2013, I posted on Gems for Living 21 Gems entitled “Know Your Enemy!This is a good beginner’s course on Spiritual Warfare! But a good synopsis of subduing the sinful self and pursuing what the Spirit leads us to do follows:

  • Starve the old sinful self!
Romans 6:11 through 14:

       Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be 
       dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in 
       Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let 
       sin reign in your mortal body, that you 
       should obey it in its lusts. And do not 
       present your members as instruments of un-
       righteousness to sin, but present your-
       selves to God as being alive from the dead, 
       and your members as instruments of right-
       eousness to God. For sin shall not have 
       dominion over you...

   Colossians 3:1 through 3:

       If then you were raised with Christ, seek 
       those things which are above, where Christ 
       is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set 
       your mind on things above, not on things on 
       the earth. For you died, and your life is 
       hidden with Christ in God.

   I John 2:15 through 17:

       Do not love the world or the things in the 
       world. If anyone loves the world, the love 
       of the Father is not in him. For all that 
       is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the 
       lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – 
       is not of the Father but is of the world. 
       And the world is passing away, and the lust 
       of it; but he who does the will of God abides 
       forever. 
  • Feed the new godly self !
   Mark 12:29 through 31:

       Jesus answered...“The first of all the com-
       mandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our 
       God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the 
       Lord your God with all your heart, with all 
       your soul, with all your mind, and with all 
       your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 
       And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall 
       love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no 
       other commandment greater than these.”   

In John 14:15 Jesus also said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.So
the first of all the commandments could read like this:
…you shall OBEY
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.


We can’t love and obey the Lord perfectly, but we can ask Him for His help
as we try!
(see Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12, 13).

   Philippians 4:8:

       ...whatever things are true, whatever things 
       are noble, whatever things are just, whatever 
       things are pure, whatever things are lovely, 
       whatever things are of good report, if there 
       is any virtue and if there is anything praise-
       worthy — meditate  on these things.

      Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ 
       [the Bible] dwell in you richly....I Thessalonians 5:14 through 22:

       Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who 
       are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold 
       the weak, be patient with all. See that no 
       one renders evil for evil to anyone, but al-
       ways pursue what is good both for yourselves 
       and for all. Rejoice always, pray without 
       ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this 
       is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
       Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise 
       prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what 
       is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

There is so much more in the Bible concerning those things we should be
doing, and things from which we should abstain!
And in it all, the Lord’s
powerful help to live a life pleasing to Him!

The sinful nature or the godly nature:
we WILL manifest one or the other!

“Behold, I Make All Things New” – III

Revelation 21:3-5

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

We are considering Revelation 21:3 through 5 where God has shown the Apostle John a vision of “…a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1). We have seen in the last Gem why the Lord is going to make a new heaven and earth. But this is not the only new creation God is making or has already made! It might be of value to review the last Gem where it is explained why He has created a new godly nature, called the new man in Ephesians 4:24.

In II Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” But there are several new things that lead up to or flow out of this new creation!

  • The old naturally-born person is infected by a sin nature! As it is written in Isaiah 64:6, “…we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” (see also Isaiah 59:2). “…our rigthteousnesses…are the very best we can do in our own strength!Fithy rags righteousnessesare unacceptable before our holy God! What, then, is acceptable before Him?
   God’s standard is shown in Matthew 5:48 – “Therefore 
       you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven 
       is perfect.No human being can achieve such perfec-
       tion...

   ✞   ...except One! That One is He who, being God, also 
       became a human being! Jesus’ righteousness is per-
       fect!

   Having taken our sins (our filthy rags) upon Himself 
       and fully paying for them by dying in our place, He 
       now offers us His perfection as a clean white robe 
       for us to wear forevermore! This exchange is beauti-
       fully shown in II Corinthians 5:21 – “For He [the 
       Father] made Him [the Son] who knew no sin to be sin 
       for us, that we might be made the righteousness of 
       God in Him.
  • To accomplish this new creation the LORD gives the repentant sinner a new heart and spirit! Here is what is written in Ezekiel 36:25 and 26 (see also Ezekiel 11:19):
     Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall 
     be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness 
     and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart 
     and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart 
     of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of 
     flesh.

   Jesus referred to this in John 3:3 and 5 as being born 
   again! (see also I Peter 1:23).
   ✡   In ancient Hebrew thinking, the heart was much more 
        than the organ that pumps blood through the body. 
        Here is how the jewishencyclopedia.com explains the 
        Biblical concept:

	   The seat of the emotional and intellectual life. 
           "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of 
           it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23), re-
           fers to the moral and spiritual as well as the 
           physical life....The three special functions, 
           knowing, feeling, and willing, ascribed by mo-
           dern psychologists to the mind, were attributed 
           to the heart by the Biblical writers....The 
           heart [is]...the seat of thought [,]...the seat 
           of emotion [and]...also the seat of volition. 
           It is self-directing and self-determining.

   ✡   The heart of stone is a heart hardened to the spir-
        itual things of God. The heart of flesh is a heart 
        tender and open to the things of the Lord. 

So having “…a new heart and…a new spirit within you…” (Ezekiel 36:26), what other new things should appear?

  • A new way of thinking! Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8:
     Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever 
     things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever 
     things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever 
     things are of good report, if there is any virtue and 
     if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate [think] 
     on these things. 
  • A new way of talking and acting! Here is what the apostle said in Ephesians 4:29 through 32:
     Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but 
     what is good for necessary edification, that it may 
     impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the 
     Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the 
     day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, 
     clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with 
     all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, 
     forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave 
     you.
  • A new radiance! Now what can this mean? Consider Phlippians 2:14 and 15
     Do all things without complaining and disputing, 
     that you may become blameless and harmless, child-
     ren of God without fault in the midst of a crooked 
     and perverse generation, among whom you shine as 
     lights in the world....

   We all shine as lights in the world in one way or 
   another! For Jesus said in Matthew 6:22 and 23:

     The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your 
     eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 
     But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full 
     of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you 
     is darkness, how great is that darkness! 

   God forbid that we shine darkly! I wrote a Gem on April 
   17, 2013 called Black Light Christians. In it I explain 
   more fully this concept of our radiance.
  • A new song! Psalm 40:1 through 4 is a good example (see also Psalms 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa 42:10; and Revelation 5:9):
     I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to 
     me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a 
     horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet 
     upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a 
     new song in my mouth — praise to our God; many will 
     see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Blessed 
     is that man who makes the Lord his trust....
  • New friends! When I became a Christian at age 19, I stopped associating with several of my old friends and acquired new friends. You see, with my former friends, we got into a lot of trouble – drinking, stealing, lying, fighting, taking advantage of others, etc. And so a warning in…
   ...I Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: 
       Evil company corrupts good habits....I Peter 4:4 (Easy-to-Read Version) – “Now 
       those ‘friends’ think it is strange that you no 
       longer join them in all the wild and wasteful 
       things they do. And so they say bad things about 
       you.

These are just a few of the new things that God creates in and through us! But a word of caution: We will manifest this…new and living way…” (Hebrews 10:20) only as we allow Him to do His work in our lives! For we can resist Him, and fight Him, and push Him away…and He permits us to oppose His will if we so choose! Remember, we have a new godly nature, but we also have our old sinful nature, and the old battles against the new! We will look at this further in the next Gem.

“Behold, I Make All Things New” – II

Revelation 21:3-5

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

In our featured Scripture of Revelation 21:3 through 5, God has shown the Apostle John a vision of “…a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1). But why are the first heaven and earth not acceptable in the Lord’s sight, so much so that He has to make heaven and earth totally new? After all, the first heaven and earth apparently are acceptable in His eyes during the thousand-year (Millennial) Kingdom (see Revelation 20:4, 6).

There are two pertinent Greek words that are translated ‘new’:

  • καινός (pronounced kahee-nos’) and meaning, “…new (especially in freshness)….Strong’s Greek Dictionary.
  • νεώτερος (pronounced neh-o-ter’-os) and meaning, “…recently born, young, youthful…” Thayer’s Greek Definitions.

It is the first of the two, καινός , that is used to describe the new heaven and earth. This is important because it can mean that the new is very similar to the old heaven and earth, but totally refreshed! It is not the old made over, but the new will not be unfamiliar to us who inhabit the new heavens and the new earth!

It is much like the concept of what is called the old man and the new man in Ephesians 4:20, and 22 through 24 (1965 Bible in Basic English) concerning…

   ...the teaching of Christ which was given to you....that 
   you are to put away, in relation to your earlier way of 
   life, the old man, which has become evil by love of de-
   ceit; and be made new in the spirit of your mind, and 
   put on the new man, to which God has given life, in 
   righteousness and a true and holy way of living. 

We are made new when we put our faith in Jesus Christ! This is how Paul describes it in II Corinthians 5:17: “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

  • Just as we were born into our humanity through the conception of our parents; and then birthed into the world nine months later from our mother’s womb, so this new creation is birthed by the Holy Spirit into the image of our God!
   That’s why Jesus, when talking with Nicodemus in 
       John 3:3, 5 and 6, said this: 

          Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is 
          born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God
          ...he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
          That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that 
          which is born of Spirit is spirit.

       And you can’t get a spiritual being from fleshly 
       (human) progeneration!

   ✞   In order to be spiritually born again, we must......recognize that we are sinners (see Romans 
            3:10-19, 23; Ephesians 4:22), in rebellion 
            against God (see Isaiah 48:8; Colossians 1:
            21), and under His condemnation! (see John 
            3:18).

       ➔   ...accept Jesus Christ as our Savior (see 
            Luke 2:11), confess our sins to Him (see 
            I John 1:9), trusting that His sacrifice 
            on the cross was totally sufficient to 
            take away our sins! (see I Peter 1:18, 19; 
            I John 1:7). 

   As it says in John 1:12, “...as many as received 
       Him, to them He gave the right to become children 
       of God, to those who believe in His name.
  • We are all sinners, shot through and through with sin! God had to give us a new nature, a godly nature (by a new birth) to be reconciled to Him!

If we apply the same reasoning to “…a new heaven and the new earth…” (Revelation 21:1), perhaps we can begin to understand why God will…make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5).

  • The devil (Satan, Lucifer) is also called “…the god of this world…” (II Corinthians 4:4 – in 9 of the 17 versions I have on my e-Sword Bible computer application). How did he become the…god of this world…?
   ✡   In Genesis 1:26, “...God said...“...Let us make man in Our image, according 
          to our likeness; let them have dominion over 
          the fish of the sea, over the birds of the 
          air, and over the cattle, over all the earth 
          and over every creeping thing that creeps on 
          the earth.”Man and woman, God’s highest creation, was given 
        dominion over all the earth! But that dominion 
        was transferred!

       ➔   When Adam obeyed Satan instead of God 
            (read Genesis chapter 3), that dominion 
            became the devil’s!

       ➔   That’s why, when Jesus was tempted on 
            the mountain, in Luke 4:5 through 7 it 
            is written:

              Then the devil, taking Him up on a high 
              mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms 
              of the world in a moment of time. And 
              the devil said to Him, “All this author-
              ity I will give You, and their glory; 
              for this has been delivered to me, and 
              I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, 
              if You will worship before me, all will 
              be Yours.Satan could not have offered Jesus authority over all 
    the kingdoms of the world, if it was not his to give! 

       ➔   Just consider the devastation the world is 
            experiencing now and through the ages. If 
            our Heavenly Father was directly in charge 
            of the world, He would be a pretty poor God! 
            But He has allowed the devil to rule for a 
            time until, as it says in Revelation 11:15, 
            “The kingdoms of this world have become the 
            kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and 
            He shall reign forever and ever!
  • The world, like our old sinful nature, is shot through and through with sin! God is not going torepairthe old world! You might say, “It is beyond repair!He is going to create…new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (II Peter 3:13).

We will continue to see the new things God creates in the next Gem.

“Behold, I Make All Things New” – I

Revelation 21:3-5

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Revelation 21:3 through 5 is what I have chosen for our featured Scripture. And I can’t think of a better three verses to challenge us in the new year of 2022!

   And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, 
   the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell 
   with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself 
   will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe 
   away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no 
   more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no 
   more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  
   Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make 
   all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these 
   words are true and faithful.” 

Why did I select this Scripture?

 It is the New Year!
   New resolutions are made in the New Year!
     Many people would like to turn over a new leaf!
       Only ONE can honestly say, “I make all things new.”
         And only ONE can make it happen in the New Year!

Now I know that if we take the book of Revelation in a somewhat chronological order, Revelation 21 belongs to the Milleniel Kingdom established after Jesus Christ returns to rule the earth! But the lessons these verses can teach us can be a great engouragement here and now!

Revelation 21:3 – “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

What did God say in Revelation 21:3?

  • “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men….” The word tabernacle can be used either as a noun or a verb. This is shown in Revelation 21:3 from the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible:
      And I heard a great voice out of Heaven, saying, 
      Behold, the tabernacle [noun] of God with men! 
      And He will tabernacle [verb] with them, and they 
      will be His people, and God Himself will be with 
      them as their God.    
This is what God did in the Old Testament! He 
        directed through Moses to build the tabernacle, 
        the tent in the middle of their encampment in 
        the wilderness where the LORD would meet and 
        talk with Israel’s leaders (see Exodus 40:34 
        and 38). 

   And this is what Jesus did in the New Testament! 
       It is recorded in John 1:1 and 14 (Modern King 
       James Version): “In the beginning was the Word, 
       and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
       ....And the Word was made flesh and tabernacled 
       among us....”

       ➔   He took on the tabernacle (the tent) of 
            the flesh of mankind and dwelt in that 
            tabernacle of flesh on earth; and has 
            tabernacled thereafter in that human 
            body, now glorified in heaven!

       ➔   What truly encourages me is Jesus now 
            tabernacles in me by His Holy Spirit, 
            and will someday give me that glorified 
            body so I can tabernacle with Him for-
            evermore!
  • …and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
   ✡   A similar command was originally given to the Jews: 

       ➔   Exodus 19 – “...obey My voice and keep 
            My covenant, then you shall be a special 
            treasure to Me....”  

       ➔   Leviticus 26:12 – “...let them make Me a 
            sanctuary, that I may dwell among them....Didn’t Jesus tell us in Hebrews 13:5 and Matthew 
       28:20? “I will never leave you nor forsake you....
       I am with you always, even to the end of the age.✞   What does this mean for me and other Christians in 
       the future?

       ➔   Revelation 20:2 – In His kingdom we will ...live and reign with Him a thousand 
            years...” 

       ➔   I Thessalonians 4:17 – “...we shall always 
            be with the Lord.”

Revelation 21:4 – “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things are passed away.

  • In this phase of life, there certainly is death, sorrow, crying, and pain! All of these too often characterize this earthly life.
   ☹   And these four characteristics are heightened by 
        the Covid pandemic! 

   ☹   But many other human conditions can cause  death, 
        sorrow, crying, and pain! 

       ➔   economic hardships  

       ➔   dysfunctional family relationships

       ➔   disease (other than Covid) that ravaged 
            those who are dear to us.

       ➔   personal crises, such as addiction, mental 
            illness, low self esteem, and many other 
            things that can seem out of control!

   ☹   I have dealt with chronic pain from degenerative 
        joints, as well as clinical depression for most 
        of my adult life! By the way, I am doing quite 
        well with good doctors and counselors, proper 
        medication, a wonderful understanding wife, and 
        of course a great God! 
  • Oh, what a blessing to be forever in a place with my Lord, and free from death, sorrow, crying, and pain! Praise God,…the former things [the things that cause death, sorrow, crying, and pain] are passed away.

Revelation 21:5 – “Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.

  • …He who sat on the throne…
   ✞   God the Father in heaven is enthroned with Jesus 
       at His right hand! (see Hebrews 1:2, 3). He is 
       the ultimate ruler!

   ✡   Psalm 2:12 – And the human rulers of earth are 
        cautioned to “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, 
        and you perish in the way, when His wrath is 
        kindled but a little. Blessed are all those 
        who put their trust in Him.
  • “Behold, I make all things new.”
   Revelation 21:1 – “And I saw a new heaven and a 
       new earth, for the first heaven and the first 
       earth had passed away....”

       ➔   II Peter 3:10 – “...the heavens will pass 
            away with a great noise, and the elements 
            will melt with fervent heat; both the earth 
            and the works that are in it will be burned 
            up.”

       ➔   II Peter 3:13 – “Nevertheless we, according 
            to His promise, look for a new heaven and a 
            new earth in which righteousness dwells.✞   But those who have put their faith in the Lord 
       Jesus Christ will not perish (see John 3:14-16).

       ➔   We will be transferred to that ...new 
            heaven and new earth...” 

       ➔   We ...shall reign forever and ever.” 
            (Revelation 22:5).
  • Write, for these words are true and faithful.Praise God! We can depend on what our Lord says!

I took some extra time to write and post this Gem because I wrote it twice! I worked on the first one for three days, but I didn’t like the direction it was going, so I did not complete it. I took extra time to write this one, the first of a two or three part series. I will post this first Gem of the series for Tuesday, January 4th.

“Mary, Did You Know…? ” – V Galatians 4:4-6

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

     But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent 
     forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 
     to redeem those who were under the law, that we might 
     receive the adoption as sons. And because you are 
     sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into 
     your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 
     4:4 through 6).

It was the fullness of time when Mary brought the baby Jesus into the world. It was just the right time for the Messiah to make His entry into humanity! I’m sure Mary had questions, and the modern classic by Mark Lowry puts forth those queries Jesus mother might have had about her divine Son!

Once again, here are the lyrics of “Mary Did You Know…?”

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has come to make you new?
     This child that you've delivered
     Will soon deliver you!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
     And when you kiss your little baby
     You've kissed the face of God!

     Mary, did you know?
     The blind will see!
     The deaf will hear!
     And the dead will live again!
     The lame will leap!
     The dumb will speak
     The praises of the Lamb!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
     This sleeping child you're holding
     Is the Great I Am!

     Oh, Mary, did you know?

We are on the last stanza, so let’s begin to finish this series:

  • Mary did you know That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
   ✡   Isaiah 9:6 and 7 is the main prophesy that shows 
        Jesus as the Lord of all creation:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and to establish it with judgment and justice
From this time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    The fulfillments in the New Testament are several. 
       Here is perhaps the main one, Colosians 1:15 through 
       17:
    
           He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, 
           the firstborn over all creation. For by Him 
           all things were created that are in heaven 
           and that are on earth, visible and invisible, 
           whether thrones or dominions or principali-
           ties or powers. All things were created 
           through Him and for Him. And He is before 
           all things, and in Him all things consist. 
  • Mary did you know That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
   ✡   There is a great prophesy in Psalm 2:6 through 12, 
        in which God the Father says to the rebellious 
        nations...

           “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of 
           Zion. I will declare the decree: The Lord 
           has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I 
           have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will 
           give You the nations for Your inheritance, 
           and the ends of the earth for Your posses-
           sion. You shall break them with a rod of 
           iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a 
           potter's vessel.’” Now therefore, be wise, 
           O kings; be instructed, you judges of the 
           earth.  Serve the Lord with fear, and re-
           joice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest 
           He be angry, And you perish in the way, 
           when His wrath is kindled but a little. 
           Blessed are all those who put their trust 
           in Him.

   ✞   This prophesy is fulfilled in the New Testament. Here are two fulfillments:

       ➔   In Ephesians 1:20 through 22 (International 
            Standard Version), Paul writes about Jesus’ 
            power and authority: The Father...

               ...raised Him from the dead and seated 
               Him at His right hand in the heavenly 
               realm. He is far above every ruler, 
               authority, power, dominion, and every 
               name that can be named, not only in the 
               present age but also in the one to come. 
               God has put everything under the Mes-
               siah's feet and has made Him the head 
               of everything for the good of the church
               ....The seventh angel in Revelation 11:15 an-
            nounced, “The kingdoms of this world have 
            become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His 
            Christ, and He shall reign forever and 
            ever!”

Yes, Mary…know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation!

  • Did you know That your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
     See the prophesies and fulfillments concerning the 
     Passover Lamb in the previous Gem, “Mary Did You 
     Know...?” – IV
  • Did you know…This sleeping child you’re holding Is the Great I Am!
...the Great I Am!I AMis the name God pro-
        claimed for Himself in Exodus 3:13 through 15, 
        when He commissioned Moses to lead the Israel-
        ites out of Egypt!

           ...Moses said to God “...when I come to 
           the children of Israel...and they say to 
           me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say 
           to them?” Then God said to Moses, “I AM 
           WHO I AM....Thus you shall say to the 
           children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to 
           you.’ ...This is My name forever....” 

   Most Bible scholars recognize that seven times 
       in the gospel of John Jesus fulfilled this Exodus 
       three prophesy, identifying Himself asI am...:

       ➔   John 6:35 – “I am the bread of life.” 
            (See also John 6:41, 48).

       ➔   John 8:12 – “I am the light of the world.” 
            (See also John 9:5).

       ➔   John 10:9 – “I am the door.” 
            (See also John 9:7).

       ➔   John 10:11 – “I am the good shepherd.” 
            (See also John 10:14).

       ➔   John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the 
            life.”

       ➔   John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth, and 
            the life.”

       ➔   John 15:5 – “I am the true vine....   But I see three more times, all in John chap-
       ter 8. And these three are VERY important! I 
       will quote all three from The Literal Trans-
       lation of the Holy Bible, because several 
       versions, including The New King James Ver-
       sion, add an italicized ‘He’ after ‘I am! 
       Any italicized word in a Bible translation 
       has been added, and is not in the original 
       manuscript! This was done to help the reader 
       to better understand the passage. However, 
       it confuses the understanding of the origi-
       nal words and their intent!

       ➔   John 8:24 – Jesus said to the unbe-
            lieving Jews,Therefore, I said to 
            you that you will die in your sins. 
            For if you do not believe that I AM, 
            you will die in your sins.”

       ➔   John 8:28 – “Then Jesus said to them, 
            ‘When you lift up the Son of Man [in 
            crucifixion], then you will know that 
            I AM...’”

       ➔   John 8:56 through 58:

               “Your father Abraham leaped for 
               joy that he should see My day, 
               and he saw, and rejoiced.” Then 
               the Jews said to Him, “You do 
               not yet have fifty years, and 
               have You seen Abraham?” Jesus 
               said to them, “Truly, truly, I 
               say to you, Before Abraham came 
               to be, I AM!” 
  • Oh, Mary, did you know? She was brought up in a culture that emphasized the Scriptures. So had she posed these questions in the lyrics of “Mary Did You Know…?” she most likely did know at least some of the answers to these questions!

Yes, Mary…the sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I AM!

Now, the question is…

Do YOU know the truths
put forth in this provocative modern classic?

“Mary, Did You Know…? ” – IV Luke 1:46-49

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

     And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my 
     spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has 
     regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for 
     behold, henceforth all generations shall call me 
     blessed. (Luke 1:46-49).

All generations indeed have called Mary blessed! For God entrusted her to bear the Messiah, Jesus Christ! The lyrics of the modern classic by Mark Lowry, “Mary Did You Know…?” raises questions which Mary may have posed as she looked into the eyes of her newborn infant Jesus!

Here are the lyrics:

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has come to make you new?
     This child that you've delivered
     Will soon deliver you!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
     And when you kiss your little baby
     You've kissed the face of God!

     Mary, did you know?
     The blind will see!
     The deaf will hear!
     And the dead will live again!
     The lame will leap!
     The dumb will speak
     The praises of the Lamb!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
     This sleeping child you're holding
     Is the Great I Am!

     Oh, Mary, did you know?

We are examining the last three lines in the third stanza! The first of these three is…

  • Mary, did you know?…The lame will leap!
The Old Testament prophesy is found in Isaiah 
        35:5 and 6:    

           Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, 
           and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 
           Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and 
           the tongue of the dumb shall sing. For wa-
           ters shall burst forth in the wilderness, 
           and streams in the desert.  

   This prophesy concerns Jesus’ whole miraculous ministry! 
   The third category of miracles mentioned is, “...the 
   lame shall leap like a deer....”  This is the only pro-
   phetic reference of the lame being healed that I could 
   find in the first 39 books of the Bible. But once is 
   enough when it comes to God prophesying of things to 
   come!

   ✞   There are four fulfillments concerning Jesus healing 
       the lame in the gospels:

       ➔   Matthew 11:2 through 6 – When John the Baptist 
            sent his disciples to confirm that Jesus was 
            indeed the Messiah, Jesus answered, “The blind 
            receive their sight...the lame walk...lepers 
            are cleansed...the deaf hear, the dead are 
            raised...the poor [receive] ...the gospel....
            And blessed is he who is not offended because 
            of Me.”

       ➔   Matthew 15:30 – “...great multitudes came to 
            Him having with them those who were lame, 
            blind, mute, maimed, and many others. And 
            they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He 
            healed them.”

       ➔   Luke 13:11 through 13 (Contemporary English 
            Version) – “...a woman...had...an evil spirit 
            for eighteen years. She was completely bent 
            over and could not straighten up....Jesus 
            called her over...‘You are now well.’ He 
            placed his hands on her, and...she stood up 
            straight and praised God.”

       ➔   John 5:2 through 9 – At the pool of Bethesda 
            in Jerusalem, Jesus healed a man who could 
            not walk for thirty-eight years!...Jesus 
            said to him...‘Do you want to be made well? 
            ...Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And 
            immediately the man was made well....And there are three instances of the apostles heal-
       ing the lame through the power of the Holy Spirit!

       ➔   Acts 3:1 through 8 – A lame beggar asked 
            alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. 
            Peter and John saw him, and Peter said, 
            “Look at us....Silver and gold I do not 
            have, but what I do have I give you: In 
            the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, 
            rise up and walk.” The man jumped up and 
            walked for the first time in his life!  
            And ...he entered the temple with them 
            — walking, leaping, and praising God.”

       ➔   Acts 9:32 through 35 – Peter went to Joppa 
            on the Mediterranean coast. “There he found
            ...Aeneas...paralyzed...[and] bedridden for 
            eight years....Peter said to him, ‘...Jesus 
            the Christ heals you. Arise....’ Then he 
            arose immediately.”

       ➔   Acts 14:8-10 – Paul and Barnabas, on their 
            first missionary trip to Asia Minor, found 
            at Lystra a man crippled from birth and 
            couldn’t walk. “Paul, observing him intently 
            and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 
            said with a loud voice, ‘Stand up straight 
            on your feet!’ And he leaped and walked.

Yes, Mary, the blind will see!

  • Mary, did you know?…The dumb will speak The praises of the Lamb!
   ✡   That the dumb will speak is prophesied in Isaiah 
        35:5 and 6 (as featured in “Mary Did You Know...” 
        – III):

           The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and 
           the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 
           Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and 
           the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters 
           shall burst forth in the wilderness, and 
           streams in the desert.

   But the most specific part of the  “Mary Did You 
   Know...” lyrics isThe dumb will speak the praises 
   of the Lamb!The more involved Old Testament prophesy about 
        the Lamb concerns the Passover lamb! Here are 
        just some of the prophesies:

       ➔   Exodus 12:3 and 5 – “On the tenth day of 
            this month every man shall take for him-
            self a lamb....Your lamb shall be without 
            blemish, a male of the first year.”

       ➔   Exodus 12:6 – “...the whole...congregation 
            of Israel shall kill it at twilight.”

       ➔   Exodus 12:7 – “And they shall take some of 
            the blood and put it on the two doorposts 
            and on the lintel of the houses where they 
            eat it.”

       ➔   Exodus 12:8 – “...eat the flesh...with un-
            leavened bread....”

       ➔   Exodus 12:46 (Easy-to-Read Version) – “Don’t 
            break any of the lamb’s bones.”

       ➔   Exodus 12:13:

               ...the blood shall be a sign for you 
               on the houses where you are. And when 
               I see the blood, I will pass over you 
               and the plague shall not be on you...
               when I strike the land of Egypt.

   ✡   Another reference that ties Jesus to the Lamb is 
        found in Isaiah 53, that great prophetic chapter 
        describing the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus 
        Christ over 700 years before He was born! In verse 
        7 it is written: 

           He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He 
           opened not His mouth; He was led as a 
           lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep 
           before its shearers is silent, so He 
           opened not His mouth.

   ✞   The fulfillment is clear from what John the Bap-
       tist said in John 1:29: “The next day John saw 
       Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The 
       Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’”

   But there are other New Testament Scriptures of 
       fulfillment. Consider the six prophesies mention-
       ed above concerning the Passover lamb:

       ➔   Exodus 12:3 and 5 – “...without blemish
            ...a male of the first year...,”  ful-
            filled in...

           ❏   I Peter 2:22 – Jesus...committed 
                no sin, nor was guile found in His 
                mouth....He was without blemish!

           ❏   Luke 3:23 (English Standard Version) – 
                “Jesus, when He began His ministry, 
                was about thirty years of age....He was in the prime of life, as a 
                lamb of one year old would be.

       ➔   Exodus 12:6 – The lamb was...killed by 
            the whole congregation at twilight...” 
            fulfilled in...

           ❏   Luke 23:18 and 21 – “And they [the 
                Jews] all cried out...‘Crucify Him
                ...!’”

           ❏   Mark 15:34, 37, 42 through 45 – 
                Although Jesus died “...at the 
                ninth hour...,” about three in 
                the afternoon, His body was not 
                taken off the cross until that 
                evening, when at twilight, Jos-
                eph of Arimathea claimed Jesus’ 
                corpse!

       ➔   Exodus 12:7 – The blood applied to the 
            doorposts and lintel, was fulfilled in 
            the crucifixion, where the stain of 
            Jesus’ blood was on the upright and 
            crossmember of the cross! 

       ➔   Exodus 12:8 – “...eat the flesh...with 
            unleavened bread...,” fulfilled in...

           ❏   John 6:53 – “Jesus said...‘...un-
                less you eat the flesh of the Son 
                of Man and drink His blood, you 
                have no life in you.’”

           ❏   The unleavened bread speaks of His 
                sinlessness!

       ➔   Exodus 12:46 – None of the lamb’s bones were 
            broken, fulfilled in John 19:33. The common 
            practice to hasten crucifixion death was for 
            the Roman soldiers to break the legs of the 
            one crucified, so that he could no longer 
            push up on nailed feet to exhale. “But when 
            they came to Jesus and saw that He was al-
            ready dead, they did not break His legs.”

       ➔   Exodus 12:13 – When the angel of death saw 
            the blood on the doorway, he passed over that 
            house, and did not kill the firstborn, ful-
            filled in Colossians 1:19 through 22:

                ...it pleased the Father that...by 
                Him [Jesus] to reconcile all things 
                to Himself...having made peace 
                through the blood of His cross. And 
                you who once were alienated and en-
                emies in your minds by wicked works, 
                yet now He has reconciled in the body 
                of His flesh through death, to pre-
                sent you holy, and blameless, and 
                irreproachable in His sight....

   The dumb will speak The praises of the Lamb!

       ➔   Matthew 15:30 and 31 (Contemporary English Ver-
            sion):

               Jesus...healed...all...People who had 
               never spoken could now speak. The lame 
               were healed, the crippled could walk, 
               and the blind were able to see. Every-
               one was praising the God of Israel.”

       ➔   Revelation 5:6 – John saw “...in the midst of 
            the throne...stood a Lamb, as though it had 
            been slain....”

       ➔   Revelation 7:9 through 12:

               ...a great multitude...crying out...
               saying, “Salvation belongs to our God
               ...and to the Lamb!...Amen! Blessing 
               and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and 
               honor and power and might, be to our 
               God forever and ever. Amen.”

       ➔   In Revelation 13:8 Jesus is identified as...the Lamb slain from the foundation of 
            the world.

So yes, Mary…even The dumb will speak The praises of the Lamb!

“Mary, Did You Know…? ” – III Luke 1:35

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The angel’s message to Mary in Luke 1:35 was profound:

     ...the angel...said to her, “The Holy Spirit will 
     come upon you, and the power of the Highest will 
     overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who 
     is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

We are examining the modern classic by written by Mark Lowry, “Mary, Did You Know…? ” The lyrics are also profound, in light of Old Testament prophesies and New Testament fulfillment!

Here are the lyrics:

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has come to make you new?
     This child that you've delivered
     Will soon deliver you!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
     And when you kiss your little baby
     You've kissed the face of God!

     Mary, did you know?
     The blind will see!
     The deaf will hear!
     And the dead will live again!
     The lame will leap!
     The dumb will speak
     The praises of the Lamb!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
     This sleeping child you're holding
     Is the Great I Am!

     Oh, Mary, did you know?

The third stanza is different from the first two and the fourth. There are several prophesies implied, and most of them are in one section of Scripture in Isaiah 35! Let’s look at verses 1, 2, 5, 6, and 10 (Easy-to-Read Version):

     The dry desert will rejoice. The desert will be glad 
     and blossom. It will be covered with flowers and dance 
     with joy....This will happen because all people will 
     see the Glory of the LORD.... Then the eyes of the 
     blind will be opened so that they can see, and the 
     ears of the deaf will be opened so that they can hear. 
     Crippled people will dance like deer, and those who 
     cannot speak now will use their voices to sing happy 
     songs....The LORD will make his people free...Glad-
     ness and joy will fill them completely. Sorrow and 
     sadness will be far, far away. 

The entire chapter of Isaiah 35 is a prediction of the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus Christ returns to earth as King and Judge, and will rule the world from Jerusalem! But during His first advent Jesus began His ministry by preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Now you can’t have a kingdom at hand without a King also at hand! So during His three plus years of His first advent, Jesus proved He was the coming King by manifesting several of the miracles described in Isaiah 35! So let’s consider what is described in this third stanza of “Mary, Did You Know…?”

  • Mary, did you know? The blind will see!

We covered the blind being healed in “Mary Did You Know?” – II.

The prophesy (one of several in the Old Testament) 
        is mentioned in the above passage in Isaiah 35:5, 
        “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened so that 
        they can see....

But healing in John 9 of the man born blind is an especially amazing miracle! Here are verses 1, 6, and 7:

     Now Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from 
     birth....He spat on the ground and made clay with the 
     saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with 
     the clay. And He said to him, “Go wash in the pool of 
     Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and 
     washed, and came back seeing.

      John 9:18 – The Pharisees found out about this mir-
       acle, but would not accept the man’s testimony that 
       Jesus miraculously healed his blindness!

      John 9:20, 21 – So they called in the man’s parents 
       and questioned them: “We know that this is our son, 
       and that he was born blind. But by what means he 
       now sees we do not know....He is of age, ask him.”

       ➔   They deferred from answering the question 
            concerning their son’s healing because “...
            they feared the Jews. For the Jews had a-
            greed already that if anyone confessed that 
            He [Jesus] was Christ, he would be put out 
            of [excommunicated from] the synagogue.”  
            (John 9:22).

       ➔   According to Vincent’s Word Studies, being 
            “...put out of [excommunicated from] the 
            synagogue......was called thrusting out, and lasted 
              for thirty days at least...The excommun-
              icated person would not be admitted into 
              any assembly of ten men, nor to public 
              prayer. People would keep...the distance 
              of four cubits from him [even his wife!], 
              as if he were a leper. Stones were to be 
              cast on his coffin when dead, and mourn-
              ing for him was forbidden...so...the pen-
              alty which the blind man's parents feared 
              was probably separation from all religious 
	      fellowship, and from ordinary intercourse 
              of life for perhaps thirty days.

   John 9:30 through 33 – The man healed of blindness 
       was not so timid! He boldly stated to the Pharisees: 

       	  Why this is a marvelous thing, that you do 
          not know where He is from, and yet He opened 
          my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear 
          sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God 
          and does His will, He hears him....If this 
          Man were not from God, He could do nothing.

   John 9:34 – This enraged the Pharisees, and they 
       “...answered and said to him, ‘You were completely 
       born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ And they 
       cast him out.   John 9:35 through 38 – Later, Jesus 

	  ...found him [and]...and said to him, ‘Do 
          you believe in the Son of God?’ He answered 
          and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may be-
          lieve in Him?’ And Jesus said, ‘...it is I 
          who is talking with you.’ Then he said, 
          ‘Lord, I believe!’ And he worshiped Him.

Yes, Mary, the blind will see!

  • Mary, did you know? …The deaf will hear!
   ✡   Again, the prophesy is in Isaiah 35:5: “...and 
        the ears of the deaf will be opened so that they 
        can hear.The fulfillment is exemplified in Mark 7:31 through 
       35 – Jesus came to the southwestern shore of the 
       Sea of Galilee

          ...they brought to Him one who was deaf and 
          had an impediment in his speech....And He 
          took him aside...and put His fingers in his 
          ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 
          Then...He sighed, and said to him, “Ephpha-
          tha,” that is, “Be opened.” Immediately his 
          ears were opened, and the impediment of his 
          tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.

Yes, Mary, the deaf will hear!

  • Mary, did you know? …the dead will live again!
   ✡   While there is no direct prophesy in the Old Test-
        ament concerning the Messiah raising the dead, 
        Isaiah 26:19 tells us this: 

          Your dead shall live; together with my dead 
          body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you 
          who dwell in the dust; for your dew is like 
          the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast 
          out her dead.

Nine of the seventeen translations I have in my Bible study computer application link “...together with my dead body...” with the first part, “Your dead shall live....” For instance, the Lexham English Bible (a quite literal translation of original Hebrew/Greek /Aramaic texts) translates the first part of Isaiah 26:19 as, “Your dead shall live; their corpses shall rise.” So while there may not be a direct prophesy here concerning the Messiah rising from death, there certainly is the implication!

   ✡   Isaiah 26 is a poetic song about the coming king-
        dom and the attending blessings – a kingdom over 
        which the Messiah will reign!

      We know Jesus is the Messiah! He even welcomed 
       Peter’s confession in Matthew 16:16, “You are the 
       Christ, the Son of the living God.”

       ➔   ‘Messiah,’ according to Strong’s Hebrew 
            Dictionary means “...anointed; usually a 
            consecrated person (as a king, priest, or 
            saint); specifically the Messiah.”

       ➔   ‘Christ,’ as in Peter’s confession, also 
            means,anointed, that is, the Messiah, 
            an epithet of Jesus....” (Strong’s Greek 
            Dictionary)  

   So if Isaiah chapter 26 refers to the coming king-
       dom, over which Jesus, the Christ will reign...

       ➔   ...then I Corinthians 15:20 comes into 
            play: “But now Christ is risen from the 
            dead, and has become the firstfruits of 
            those who have fallen asleep.”

           ❏   Firstfruits were brought from the 
                first of the harvest as an offering 
                signifying an expectation of a com-
                ing (large) harvest! (see Proverbs 
                3:8, 9).

           ❏   The risen Jesus Christ is the first-
                fruit of a vast number (harvest) of 
                believers whose bodies will be raised 
                to life at His Second Coming!...then Isaiah 26:19 is a prophesy of Jesus’ 
            resurrection, as well as that of Christians!   

There are other resurrections in the Bible that are prophetic and show fulfillment:

Three in the Old Testament are prophetic:

       ➔   I Kings 17:17 through 24 – Elijah the pro-
            phet stayed at the widow of Zarephath’s home 
            during a great famine in Israel.  He sustain-
            ed her, her son, and himself by miraculous 
            provision. But her son became sick and died. 

               And he said to her, “Give me your son.” 
               So he took him...to the upper room where 
               he was staying....And he stretched him-
               self out on the child...and cried out 
               to the LORD...“O LORD my God...let this 
               child’s soul come back to him.” ...and 
               he revived. (Verses 19, 21, and 22).

       ➔   II Kings 4:18 through 37 – A wealthy Shune-
            mite couple hosted Elisha the prophet as he 
            passed through Shunem. He prophesied the 
            woman would have a son, which came to pass. 
            As the boy grew, he suffered what seems to 
            be heat stroke and died. Laid on the pro-
            phet’s bed, Elisha laid on the child, “...
            and the flesh of the child became warm...
            then [he]...sneezed seven times, and...open-
            ed his eyes.” (Verses 34 and 35).

       ➔   II Kings 13:21 (Contemporary English Version):

               Once, while some Israelites were burying 
               a man's body, they saw a group of Moab-
               ites. The Israelites quickly threw the 
               body into Elisha's tomb and ran away. As 
               soon as the man's body touched the bones 
               of Elisha, the man came back to life and 
               stood up. 

   ✞   Six more resurrections in the New Testament (besides 
       Jesus) fulfill the prophsies – three by Jesus, one 
       by the Father and Holy Spirit, and two by the apos-
       tles:

       ➔   Luke 7:11 through 17 – The widow of Nain’s 
            son!

       ➔   Luke 8:49 through 56 – Jairus’ daughter!

       ➔   John 11:1 through 44 – Lazarus of Bethany!

       ➔   Matthew 27:50 through 54 – The saints of 
            Jerusalem just after Jesus died!

       ➔   Acts 9:36 through 42 – Peter raised Tabatha 
            (Dorcas) from death!

       ➔   Acts 20:7 through 12 – Paul raised Eutychus 
            from the dead after the young man fell from 
            a window!

Mary, be assured,
…the dead will live again!

__________________________________________________________________________

We have not yet completed the third verse of “Mary Did You Know…?” And this Gem has taken much longer to research and write – about ten to twelve hours! I already missed my deadline of publishing this at 8 AM on Saturday, so I will publish this Gem on Tuesday at 8, and continue from there. Thank you in advance for your patience!

“Mary, Did You Know…? ” – II Luke 1:30-33

All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Did you notice that I never got to the featured Scripture in the last Gem? Here is Luke 1:30 through 33:

     Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, 
     for you have found favor with God. And behold, you 
     will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, 
     and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and 
     will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord 
     God will give Him the throne of His father David. 
     And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, 
     and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

This says a lot about the Messiah Mary was going to birth. And I think much of what this Scripture is about, Mark Lowry covered in the lyrics of the new classic Christmas carol, Mary, Did You Know…?

Here are the lyrics:

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has come to make you new?
     This child that you've delivered
     Will soon deliver you!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
     And when you kiss your little baby
     You've kissed the face of God!

     Mary, did you know?
     The blind will see!
     The deaf will hear!
     And the dead will live again!
     The lame will leap!
     The dumb will speak
     The praises of the Lamb!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
     This sleeping child you're holding
     Is the Great I Am!

     Oh, Mary, did you know?

We covered the truths found in the first stanza, both the Old Testament prophesies concerning the coming Messiah, and their New Testament fulfillment! Let’s go on to the second stanza.

  • Mary did you know That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Did YOU know that in the gospels, there are records of Jesus healing the blind eyes of seven men? (see Matthew 9:27-30; 12:22; 29:29-34; Mark 8:22-25; John 9:6, 7). But there are three additional Scriptures that mention the Lord healed many more of blindness! (see Matthew 11:5; 15:30, 31; Luke 7:21, 22). But let’s look at the prophesies first.

   ✡   Here are three Old Testament prophesies:

       ➔   Psalm 146:8 – “The LORD opens the eyes of the 
            blind; the LORD raises up those who are bowed 
            down; the LORD loves the righteous.”

       ➔   Isaiah 35:4 and 5 – “‘Behold, your God will 
            come...and save you.’ Then the eyes of the 
            blind shall be opened....”

       ➔   Isaiah 61:1 (The Septuagint version, abbrevi-
            ated LXX): 

               The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, be-
               cause he has anointed Me; He has sent Me 
               to bring good news to the poor, to heal         
               the brokenhearted, to proclaim release 
               to the captives and recovery of sight to 
               the blind....

      Luke 4:18 and 19 – Jesus read Isaiah 61:1 and 2 
       from the Septuagint version in the Nazareth syn-
       agogue:

           
         The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He 
         has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the 
         poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, 
         to preach deliverance to the captives and re-
         covery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty 
         those who are oppressed, to preach the accept-
         able year of the LORD.

   This was what the first advent of His earthly ministry 
   was all about! And the next three plus years proved it!
  • Mary did you know That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
   ✡   While there are no direct prophesies in the Old 
        Testament concerning Jesus stilling the storm 
        on the Sea of Galilee, there is the incident 
        recorded of a prophet about 732 BC who stilled 
        a raging storm at sea! 

   The prophet was Jonah! He was sent by God to Nineveh 
   to preach against it, warning the Ninevites of the 
   LORD’s impending judgment, Jonah didn’t want to obey, 
   and tried to escape in the other direction! Nineveh 
   was east, Jonah headed west! 

       ➔   Jonah 1:3 – “But Jonah arose to flee to 
            Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 
            He went down to Joppa, and found a ship 
            headed for Tarshish; so he paid the fare, 
            and went [on board].” 

           ❏   Joppa was on the coast of Israel.

           ❏   The location of Tarshish has been 
                lost, but many scholars think it was 
                in southern Spain.

           ❏   The quickest way for Jonah from 
                Joppa to Tarshish was to sail west 
                on the Mediterranean Sea.

       ➔   Jonah 1:4 – “The LORD sent out a great wind 
           on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest
           ....”  

       ➔   Jonah 1:11 – When the ship’s crew found out 
            Jonah was fleeing from God, they fearfully 
            asked him, “What shall we do to you that the 
            sea may be calm for us?”  

       ➔   Jonah 1:12 – Jonah told them, “Pick me up 
            and throw me into the sea; then the sea 
            will become calm for you. For I know that 
            the great tempest is because of me.”

       ➔   Jonah 1:14 – The crew didn’t want to throw 
            Jonah overboard. They...rowed hard to 
            bring the ship to land, but they could not, 
            for the sea continued to grow more tempes-
            tuous....”

       ➔   Jonah 1:15 – So the crew, with a prayer, 
            “...O LORD, please do not charge us with 
            innocent blood...they picked up Jonah and 
            threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased 
            from its raging.”

       ➔   Jonah 1:17 – “Now the LORD has prepared a 
            great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was 
            in the belly of the fish for three days and 
            three nights.   ...which is another great prophesy fulfilled! For 
   Jesus said, “...as Jonah was three days and three 
   nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the 
   Son of Man be three days and three nights in the 
   heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40).

If Jonah’s experience was prophetic, Jesus certainly 
       fulfilled that prophesy in Mark 4:37 through 39:

          And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat 
          into the boat, so that it was already filling. 
          But [Jesus]...was in the stern, asleep on a pil-
          low. And [His disciples]...awoke Him and said to 
          Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are per-
          ishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and 
          said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind 
          ceased and there was a great calm.
  • That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
The Old Testament prophesy is found in Isaiah 6:1 
        through 3:

          In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the 
          LORD sitting on a throne , high and lifted up, 
          and the train of His robe filled the temple. 
          Above it stood serephim; each one had six wings
          ....And one cried to another and said, “Holy, 
          holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth 
          is filled with His glory!”Isaiah saw God’s glory, and was devastated! (Isaiah 
        6:5): 

          Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man 
          of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a 
          people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen 
          the King, the LORD of hosts.

       ➔   But in verses 6 and 7, an angel took a 
            burning coal from the heavenly altar, and 
            touched Isaiah’s mouth! He said, “Behold, 
            this has touched your lips; your iniquity 
            is taken away, and your sin is purged.” 
           
   “But,” one might ask, “Doesn’t this sound more like a des-
   cription of God the Father than of the Son?” We will get 
   back to this in a moment.

       ➔   Now Isaiah was ready to be God’s prophet! 
            And the LORD told him in Isaiah 6:8 through 
            10 what he was to preach, and what to expect 
            from his preaching:

               ....Also I heard the voice of the LORD, 
               saying...“Go and tell this people...‘Keep 
               on hearing, but do not understand; keep 
               on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the 
               heart of this people dull, and their ears 
               heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see 
               with their eyes, and hear with their ears, 
               and understand with their heart, and re-
               turn and be healed.

   However, in John 12:39 and 40, the Apostle John 
       (quoting Isaiah 6:9 and 10 from The Septuagint Ver-
       sion) writes:

          Therefore they [the Jews] could not believe, be-
          cause Isaiah said...“He has blinded their eyes 
          and hardened their heart, lest they should see 
          with their eyes and understand with their heart, 
          lest they should turn, so that I should heal 
          them.✞   What has this have to do with the fulfillment of 
       Isaiah’s prophesy? John 12:41 is the key: “These 
       things Isaiah said when he saw His [Jesus’] glory 
       and spoke of Him.” 

       ➔   The context shows clearly that, according 
            to New Testament Scripture, Isaiah witnes
            sed JESUS’ glory recorded in Isaiah 6!
            (emphasis mine).

       ➔   So Jesus has walked where angels trod!
  • And when you kiss your little baby You’ve kissed the face of God!
One of the most amazing Old Testament prophecies 
        is Isaiah 7:14 (given over 700 years before Jesus 
        was born): 

          Therefore the LORD Himself will give you 
          a sign; “Behold, the virgin shall conceive 
          and bear a Son, and shall call His name 
          Immanuel.”

      The fulfillment? In Matthew 1:21 through 23, the 
       angel told Joseph:

          “And she will bring forth a Son, and you 
          shall call His name Jesus, for He will 
          save His people from their sins.” Now all 
          this was done that it might be fulfilled 
          which was spoken by the Lord through the 
          prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall 
          be with child, and shall bear a Son, and 
          they shall call His name Immanuel,” which 
          is translated, “God with us.” 

We will continue with the third Gem on Mary, Did You Know…?

“Mary, Did You Know…?” – I

Luke 1:30-33

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

It has become a modern classic recorded by over 500 artists. “Mary, Did You Know…?” was written by Mark Lowry as a dialogue for the 1984 presentation of the Living Christmas Tree at Thomas Roads Baptist Chruch! But the music was not composed for seven more years, until Lowry asked Buddy Greene, a Southern Gospel singer and song writer to come up with a fitting tune. It took Green 30 minutes to write the music! The rest is history!

Here are the lyrics:

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has come to make you new?
     This child that you've delivered
     Will soon deliver you!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
     And when you kiss your little baby
     You've kissed the face of God!

     Mary, did you know?
     The blind will see!
     The deaf will hear!
     And the dead will live again!
     The lame will leap!
     The dumb will speak
     The praises of the Lamb!

     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
     Mary did you know
     That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
     Did you know
     That your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
     This sleeping child you're holding
     Is the Great I Am!

     Oh, Mary, did you know?

Mark Lowry certainly captured both a lot of questions Mary might have had, but also many great Bible prophesies and fulfillments!

  • Mary did you know That your baby boy will one day walk on water?

There is no prophesy in the Old Testament that the Messiah would walk on water. But He surely did, recorded in Matthew 14:25. Jesus had sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee to the other side. By the very early morning, hours later, when it was still dark, the disciples were struggling against increasing wind and waves, “…Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.Yes, He was Master over all, even to walk on water!

  • Mary did you know That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Where to start? For there are several prophesies foretelling of the saving power of the Messiah! Here are five, four from Isaiah, and one from Zachariah:

     ✡ Isaiah 49:5 and 6 – “…the LORD says, who formed Me 
        from the womb to be His Servant….‘I will also give 
        You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be 
        My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

     ✡   Isaiah 53:6 – “...He was wounded for our trans-
          gressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; 
          the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and 
          by His stripes we are healed.”

     ✡   Isaiah 53:6 – “All we like sheep have gone 
          astray; we have turned every one to his own way; 
          and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us 
          all.”

     ✡   Isaiah 53:11 – “By His knowledge My righteous 
          Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear 
          their iniquities.”

     ✡   Zechariah 9:9 – “Behold, your King is coming to 
          you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and 
          riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a don-
          key.✞   All the prophesies of God’s salvation are ful-
         filled in Jesus Christ! There are many New Tes-
         tament Scriptures that show this fulfillment. 

         ➔   I think one of the best is found in Luke 
              19:10: Jesus said, “...for the Son of Man 
              has come to seek and to save those who 
              were lost.”

         ➔   This plainly stated fulfillment is found 
              in John 3:16 and 17: 

                For God so loved the world that 
                He gave His only begotten Son, 
                that whoever believes in Him 
                should not perish but have ever-
                lasting life. For God did not 
                send His Son into the world to 
                condemn the world, but that the 
                world through Him might be saved.
  • Did you know That your baby boy has come to make you new?

In Ezekiel there are two prophesies of this divine newness – Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:29. Since God does not waste words, if something is written down twice in Scripture, such repetition designates its importance!

     ✡   Ezekiel 11:16 and 19 – “Thus says the LORD God
          ...I will give them one heart, and I will put a 
          new spirit within them, and take the stony heart 
          out of their flesh, and give them a heart of 
          flesh....”

     ✡   Ezekiel 36:22 and 26 – “Thus says the LORD God...
          I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit 
          within you; I will take the heart of stone out 
          of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.The fulfillment is described by Saint Paul in 
         II Corinthians 5:17: “...if anyone is in Christ, 
         he is a new creation; old things have passed away; 
         behold, all things have become new.
  • This child that you’ve delivered Will soon deliver you!
King David wrote of God’s deliverance in Psalm 
          56:12 and 13: “I will render praise to You, for 
          You have delivered my soul from death. Have You 
          not delivered my feet from falling, that I may 
          walk before God in the light of the living?”

     ✡   Asaph was the leading temple musician in the 
          reigns of kings David and Solomon. He wrote 
          twelve of the 150 psalms in our Bible. Here 
          is what he composed in Psalm 79:9: “Help us, 
          O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your 
          name; and deliver us, and provide atonement 
          for our sins, for Your name’s sake!The Immaculate Conception is a doctrine of the 
         Roman Catholic church that states that the Virgin 
         Mary was free of original sin from the moment of 
         her conception.” (Wikipedia). Mary was blessed in-
         deed to bear the Son of God! But was Mary sinless?There is nothing in Scripture that shows 
              Mary being more than a very human young 
              woman whom God chose to bear His divine 
              Son! And so being human, Mary had a fal-
              len nature and needed to be saved!

         ➔   Did Mary need to put her faith in her son 
              Jesus for her salvation? Yes! She needed 
              a Savior like any other person! For in Luke 
              1:46 and 47 she began her Magnificat (her 
              song of praise) with these words: “My soul 
              magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has re-
              joiced in God MY Savior.” (Emphasis mine).

     Truly, this child that she delivered, also deli-
         vered her from the penalty of sin!

There are still many more prophesies and fulfillments hinted at in Mary Did You Know…? Let’s continue with this study in the next Gem.