(local monk walking in first century house recently uncovered in Nazareth)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.
12/23- John 1:11
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Calvin abridged: Here is displayed the absolutely desperate wickedness and malice of human beings. Some would interpret this verse as saying: “When Christ came down into the world, he did not enter into another person’s territories, for the whole human race was his own inheritance.” But I believe a better interpretation is that this refers specifically to God’s chosen people. The Son of God had chosen a home for himself in one nation. But when he appeared there, he was rejected showing the full wickedness and blindness of people. But in doing this, he removes possible offense toward the people of God. For if he was despised and rejects by that nation to which he was especially promised, who would have believed he would be the Redeemer of the whole world? Here both the noun and verb are emphatic: “He came.” This is a new and extraordinary kind of presence so that we might have a closer look at him. “Into his own”- God adopted a particular people into his family. Christ was first offered to his own household, and had the right to this throne. God complains similarly through Isaiah: “The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib, but Israel does not know me” (Isa. 1:3). Though he has dominion over the whole world, yet he represents himself to be especially the Lord of Israel whom he had collected into his sacred fold.
Thoughts: Jesus came to us. That is what we celebrate at Christmas. This was not a fairy tale- or anything like the myths of Greek or Indian mythology where God comes down in human form. He came into real history. Yesterday it was announced that archaeologists had discovered a house from the time of Jesus in Nazareth- probably one of fifty in the town. It gives us a glimpse of the kind of house Jesus lived in- see link to pictures: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/21/AR2009122100706.html?hpid=sec-religion). He came to real, specific places, spoke to eyewitnesses who testified to his coming, his dying, and his resurrection. Even Roman historians mention his coming. Like Josephus (ca. 90 A.D.) or Tacitus- who writing about 90 A.D. said, “Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius”.
Prayer: Lord, when you come to us, open our ears that we might hear your voice; open our eyes that we might see you at work in our lives; soften our hearts that we might respond. Thank you that you came at Christmas, and you are alive and come to us still.