Jesus, the Gift of Life

Reading the Word

Luke 3:23–38 (ESV)
23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,
24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,
26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,
38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Understanding the Word

Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus’ family tree. We looked at it in yesterday’s reading. Today we read Luke’s record of the same. However, do not mistake them as the same thing. Matthew was focused on showing that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah from the lines of Abraham and David. Luke is focused on something else. He traces his genealogy all the way back to Adam, the first man.

Why does Luke take us al the way back to Adam? Because he wants to show us that Jesus is the new man who is going to right the wrong of the first man. Adam had failed and brought the world under the curse of sin. Jesus was the one who would live a righteous and holy life and take the curse away. Adam brought death into the world. Jesus was bringing life for all who would believe.

Christmas is a time to remember our Savior, who came to take away the sins of the world. What a wonderful gift!


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Jesus’ Family Tree

Reading the Word

Matthew 1:1–16 (ESV)
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,
4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,
7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,
8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah,
9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud,
15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

Understanding the Word

Many people enjoy tracing their family tree. There are many books and websites dedicated to showing a person how to do it and to aid in uncovering the data. It is fun and interesting to see where our ancestors came from and to consider how we ended up where we are today.

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a family tree for Jesus. The genealogy that we read in Matthew is not just trivial information or there because Matthew thought it was a fun exercise. No, Matthew has an important message connected to Jesus’ family tree. The details are listed in verses 2-16, but the summation is found in the very first verse. Jesus is the Messiah (or Christ), the son of David and the son of Abraham. Jesus is the long-expected Messiah from the line of David and e is the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. The details are there to prove that this is true.

The people had been waiting for many years for these promises to be fulfilled and now they were. What an amazing time! God was doing great things in the world by sending his Son as Savior. We celebrate his coming every year at Christmas knowing that his arrival changed the world forever and proves that God has a plan for this world and for us.


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At Just the Right Time

Reading the Word

Galatians 4:4–7 (ESV)
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As a child, I remember always looking forward to Christmas. Of course, I liked the gifts, but I also liked many other things about the season as well. I enjoyed the lights and decorations. I enjoyed the snow and visits with family and friends. And I enjoyed the songs and special church services where we remembered the reason for the holiday. However, as a child, it always felt like Christmas was far off. It only comes once per year and a year was just so long to wait!

When Jesus was born into the world, the Jewish people had been waiting and waiting and waiting. In fact, they had been waiting for four hundred years for Jesus, the promised Messiah. God had sent word through his prophets that the Messiah would come, but then he stopped talking. For hundreds of years the people had no new word from God. They only had the old promises. But God fulfilled those promises and he fulfilled them at just the right time. Galatians 4:4-5 tells us, “…when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

We may sometimes feel like God is taking too long or that he is not working, but Jesus’ birth reminds us that God is at work, even when he seems silent. We can trust that he will fulfill his word at just the right time.


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God Keeps His Promises

Reading the Word

Luke 1:67–79 (ESV)
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Understanding the Word

Advent is a time to remember Christ’s first appearance in the world and to look ahead to his return. As we think about the birth of Christ at this time of year, it is a reminder that God keeps his promises. At the birth of John the Baptist, his father rejoiced. Why? Because John the Baptist came into the world as the fulfillment of God’s word found in Malachi 3:1 and Malachi 4:5-6. John was the promised forerunner who was to prepare the way for Jesus Christ.

When Zechariah understood what was taking place, he praised God with the words we read from Luke. His words of praise were because he trusted in God’s promises and now they were being fulfilled. He proclaimed, ““Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” The Messiah was coming into the world, just as God had said.

As we celebrate Christmas and Jesus Christ’s arrival in the world, let us be encouraged that God keeps his word. Jesus came just as the prophets said he would. He will come again just as God’s word tells us. We celebrate that Jesus came and we look forward to his future return. Praise God!


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Looking for Justice

Reading the Word

Isaiah 9:6–7 (ESV)
6  For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7  Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We are entering the season of Advent. This is a time of the year when Christians reflect on Christ’s coming into the world over two thousand years ago and also look forward to the day when he will come again. The word of God tells us that when Christ returns and sets up his kingdom, it will be a time of peace and justice as the King of kings rules over all. We currently live in a world with much turmoil and injustice as we and our rulers are influenced and motivated by our sinfulness. What a day it will be when there is truly justice for all.

Leading up to Christmas, we will continue to look at Jesus’ birth and what it means for us. Be sure to subscribe so you can follow along. Consider sharing these posts with your friends to encourage them this holiday season.

Tell of All His Wondrous Works!

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do included a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 105:1–6 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
4 Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
6 O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

His Love Endures Forever

Reading the Word

Psalm 107:1–3 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Once again, we read a psalm with a call to give thanks to the Lord. This psalm focuses our attention on the steadfast love of God. This refers to his covenant faithfulness. God promised his people that he would always be with them and never fail to fulfill his promises. In the context of Psalm 107, God demonstrates his steadfast love by rescuing his people from trouble. Over and over throughout this psalm, the people call out to the Lord and he responds by delivering them.

The redeemed of the Lord have much to be thankful for. We have been delivered! We called out to God to save us from our sins and he did that. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we could go free. May we remember God’s steadfast love for us this Thanksgiving season and pause to give him thanks!


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Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

Reading the Word

Psalm 100:1–5 (ESV)

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we continue to think about reasons to be thankful, Psalm 100 is a passage we cannot miss. This psalm calls on “all the earth” to come before the Lord with praise and singing. God is our Creator and we belong to him. He is a good God who shows his steadfast love to us. He stands by us even when we are not very lovable.

The steadfast love of God is on display throughout Scripture. Sinful mankind continually rebels against him, but God shows grace over and over again. His love is so great towards us that he sent his Son into the world to save us. Romans 5:8 states:

but God shows his love for us in that while we still sinners, Christ died for us.

This is truly something to be thankful for. Our Creator has not abandoned us, but still loves us and has sent his Son into the world to save us. What a great God!


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Wait for the Lord

Reading the Word

Psalm 33:1–22 (ESV)

1 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

4 For the word of the LORD is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.

8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13 The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist calls us to shout for joy to the LORD, to praise him, and give thanks. Why? Because God’s word is trustworthy. God has given his word to his people and we can know that he is faithful to fulfill that word. It is the same word that spoke the world into existence and it is from the same God who rules over all things. Therefore, we wait for the LORD, who is our hope and shield and we trust in his name. He is our hope.

If you have ever asked “Why is this happening to me?” or wondered if God as forgotten you, this psalm is for you. It is a reminder to us all that God’s word is secure and that we can count on it. The promises that God has made in Scripture to his people will be fulfilled. So we can be encouraged that God has not forgotten us. He is the God of steadfast love and will deliver his people.


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I Will Give Thanks to the Lord

Reading the Word

Psalm 9:1–20 (ESV)
1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.
5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.
7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13 Be gracious to me, O LORD! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
17 The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
19 Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!
20 Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a praise of God’s deliverance of Israel from their enemies. The writer states in the opening that he will “give thanks to the LORD” with his “whole heart” and “recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Praise is always a response to something. When we praise God, it is because of who he is or what he has done, either in the past, the present, or promised future. We should especially focus our praise on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the focal point of all of Scripture. Yet, we often fail to remember the things God has done for us, so we fail to praise him as we ought. We fail to see the little things that transpire each and every day or we fail to see God’s hand at work in those little things. Take time today to think about how God has shown his goodness to you. He has done so in Christ and he has done so in so many smaller ways. Take time to praise him with thanksgiving.


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