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Posts Tagged ‘the Messiah’

Verse 52: “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,”

Some years back when DC Comics was re-introducing Plastic Man to their readers (Plas, being a hero from the Golden Age of Comics, was being updated to the modern age), they ran a 4-issue limited series to re-introduce people to the comic crime fighting capers of Plas and his sidekick, Woozy Winks. In issue #3, Plas pursued Woozy to California; Woozy had become brainwashed into joining the religious cult of a modern-day Atlantean prophet named Rama Lama (whenever his name was pronounced, a retainer would ring a bell on a staff and the sound would go, “Ding Dong”…yes, this was for comic effect.) In the midst of trying to save an old beggar-looking man who accused Rama Lama of being a fraud (which he was), Plas and Woozy rescued the man from Rama’s horde of followers. They began to wonder about this old man, who kept claiming over and over that HE was the real Atlantean wizard (whenever they asked him how he knew relevant facts about the case, he’d say, “because, I’m a wizard!”) The three tried to thwart Rama’s scheme; all the while, the beggar kept insisting HE was the real Atlantean wizard. You see, the music and dancing festival Rama was sponsoring was a ploy to get them all to kick-start an earthquake to destroy California. However, the festival was being held along the San Andreas fault, and kick-started a massive earthquake too soon! Plas used his stretching powers to try and keep the fault from opening, but of course lacked the strength. Suddenly the old beggar chanted a corny spell, temporarily endowing Plas with the superhuman strength to close the fault and save the day, which he did. When things calmed down, they asked him how he did that…to which the beggar replied, “because…I…am…a wizard!” They finally believed him, as he explained that he was the last remaining wizard of Atlantis, and that the state of California was the Atlantean continent that he “accidentally” shunted into North America years ago (“that’s why people out here are just a touch peculiar…it’s the residual magic in the land!”) The funniest running gag of this episode was that the “crazy guy” that everyone thought was nuts, turned out to be what he said he was….it’s just that no one would listen to him.

Stephen is turning the history lesson into a pointed accusation against the council; he demonstrated through historical fact that the forefathers of Israel always persecuted the prophets God sent, even the ones who proclaimed the coming Messiah. And then…point blank…he accused them of killing the Just One (Jesus) themselves, making them just like their forefathers, murderers and betrayers! A footnote in my Holman Bible states it thusly: historically, when sinners are confronted with the truth, it makes them mad…or it makes them repentant.

What if you knew that you were about to deliver the last message you’d ever speak…what would you say?

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verse 15: “And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”

Shepherd 1: “Sure is a quiet night tonight.”
Shepherd 2: “Yes, just like all the other nights.”
Shepherd 1: “Yes. Except for the occasional wild animal threatening the sheep, it’s really pretty boring out here.”
Shepherd 2: “Yes. Nothing ever really happens out here at night.”

Now, I am not saying that that’s what the shepherds “watching their flocks by night” said on that first Christmas night. I can only imagine it was work as usual for them. I can imagine I might think these thoughts if I were in their shoes. During Biblical times, being a shepherd was one of those jobs not known for its prestige or fame. It was a common job that was necessary.

But that night was different.

It was to these shepherds that the most spectacular invitation on record was given. An angel told them of the Good News, that the Promised One, the Messiah, was born this night on earth. The angel and heavenly chorus announced the event to these common laborers. God could’ve announced the birth to any type of citizen He wanted to….but He chose the shepherds. After all, when you think about it…what more appropriate people to tell the news about He who is the Good Shepherd, He who is the Lamb of God… than to shepherds?

Merry Christmas!

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