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Advent Calendar:
Celebrating Meeting Jesus

* Days 1-9 Days 10-15
Day 16 Day 17 Day 18 Day 19 Day 20 Day 21 Day 22 Day 23 Day 24 Day 25

December 16: Simon from Cyrene

Simon from Cyrene probably never met Jesus before the day he was pulled from the crowd and made to carry the cross to Jesus' crucifixion.

But Jesus made a big and lasting impression upon him in that short period of time. Simon's experience was later mentioned in Luke 23:26, Mark 15:21, & Matthew 27:32

Ray Stedman's sermon on Mark 15 tells of Simon the Cyrene in "The Awful Penalty" account of the crucifixion,
and in his sermon on Luke 23: "The Bludgeonings of Chance"

Pastor Stedman talks further of how sometimes chance encounters we have, like Simon had with Jesus, give us the chance to speak in Jesus's name and tell parts of His gospel message. Such encounters arranged by Holy Spirit, can lead people we meet to Christ.
      See "A Possible Witnessing Strategy"
      See "Bringing People Face to Face with Jesus Christ"

Read more on evangelism - witnessing & soul winning of Jesus (Stedman)
Read more on Simon of Cyrene (Wikipedia)

(for more information on Simon the Cyrene, read Luke 23:26, Mark 15:21, & Matthew 27:32)

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December 17: Criminals and Thieves

How do you evaluate your life? How does God evaluate your life? How does your government evaluate your life? Different perspectives give different answers.

Thirty-three years earlier, Jesus' mother Mary looked like someone who was guilty of having disobeyed the Law, when from God's persective, she was blessed and chosen. And now Jesus was being crucified after Pilate and Herod both found him irritating, but innocent of the charges (Luke 23:14-15).

Sharing the death penalty, two felons met Jesus. Their focus was not on him, but on their own fear and anger and pain. A lot of people milling around this scene of capital punishment were focusing on Jesus. The rulers who wanted him dead were mimicing him, and some of the soldiers joined in, saying "He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God." (Not all thought this: see Acts 5:38-39.) One of the men hanging next to Jesus personalized the harassing: "If you are Christ, save yourself and US."

But the other man had a different perspective. Was this the first time he had met Jesus? Was this insight along the lines of Peter's? (Matthew 16:17) "Don't you fear God?" he asked. "All three of us are condemned to die. And the two of us are getting what we deserve for the things we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong!" And to Jesus he said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

(for more information, read Luke 23:39 and Witness Christ's crucifixion for yourself from the former Christian Bikers Network, Christian Branch; closed in recession of the 2000s)
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December 18: Mary of Magdala

Mary Magdelene met Jesus when every indication was that she would never see him in this life again. Coming to the tomb before sunrise, Mary came with others expecting to help finish the Jewish burial of Jesus' body. Because they knew that Jesus said he would rise again, his enemies had sealed the entrance to the tomb with a huge stone and stationed guards by it to keep Jesus' followers from faking resurrection. (Matthew 27:62-66)

But Jesus continued doing unique things. The stone was rolled away from the tomb, and he wasn't there. The linen that had been wrapped around his body was there. It wasn't unwrapped, it just laid there - empty.

Some time later, when Mary Magdelene saw Jesus, she thought he was the gardener and that he had moved Jesus' body for some reason. It wasn't until he spoke her name that she recognized him. And with that, truth came into clearer focus with new meaning. When Jesus had talked about being crucified and rising the third day, no one knew how it would work. Now that it had happened, a lot of promises in Scriptures took on new meaning.
(for more information, read Luke 24, Matthew 28, Mark 16, and/or John 20
Witness Christ's resurrection for yourself from Christian Bikers Network, Christian Branch)

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December 19: Cleopas of Emmaus

Two men who had followed Jesus were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus the day Jesus' body was found to be missing.

A third man came up and walked along with them. "What are you talking about?" he asked.

One, named Cleopas, said, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who doesn't know what things have just happened?"

"What things?" the man asked.

So the two told him about Jesus, the prophet they had hoped would be the one to redeem Israel. But he had been crucified. And now 3 days later, some of the women who followed Jesus said they had seen an angel, who said Jesus was alive! Even though the womens' explanation made no sense (Luke 24:11), some of the men checked out the tomb. The body was definitely gone.

"Don't you believe the prophets? They said the Christ had to suffer these things and THEN enter his glory." Then the man started with Moses, explaining what he and each other prophet had said in the Scriptures about the Christ. At Emmaus, the man kept going, but Cleopas and his friend invited the man to spend the night with them.

At dinner, the man took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, just like Jesus did the night before he was arrested.
Just like...       just like...       "Jesus!"       And Jesus disappeared.

(for more information, read Luke 24:13 on)

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December 20: The treasurer from Africa, an Ethiopian

The black man was rich, well educated, and baffled. He had been to worship in Jerusalem, and now was on his way home to Ethiopia, via chariot. On the ride home, he was reading the book written by the prophet Isaiah (53:7) aloud, but not understanding much of what it meant.

Along the way, a man ran up to the chariot, asking if he understood what he was reading.

"No, I sure don't. What does this mean:

   'He was led as a sheep to the slaughter,
    and like a lamb dumb before his shearer,
    so opened he not his mouth...'

Who is the prophet talking about? Himself? Someone else?"

The stranger, Philip, then showed the man how this message applied to Jesus. Soon the man asked to be baptised, and after he was, Philip disappeared and the man went home, rejoicing.
(for more information, read Acts 8:26-40)

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December 21: Saul, aka Paul

Saul was a purposeful young conservative. He believed in the God of his fathers with all their traditions, and he zealously opposed anyone who would change and contaminate the life of obeying the Law. He knew what he believed and how to be a security guard of the faith.

The people who followed Jesus and his teachings were the worst offenders he found. One of them, Stephen (see also Acts 7), had been a definite threat, but Saul finally had him arrested and stoned to death.

But then, on just another trip to arrest and remove these Jesus people, this time from Damascus, Saul saw a blinding light. People with him heard a voice, but saw no one talking. The experience was for Saul, and his whole perspective changed because of it.

    How does God come into the life of a person not looking for change?

    How can Jesus change the life of a strong-willed person?

Check it out for yourself, in Acts 9 and Gal 1:13-29.

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December 22: Timothy, from Greece

Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother who raised him as a Gentile to know and believe in the Jewish Scriptures. When Timothy met Paul (Dec 21), Paul had been debating with people for several years, talking about Jesus and what he meant to both Jews and Gentiles.

Maybe Timothy interested Paul because of his Jewish and Greek background.

Timothy and Paul not only became friends, but they also worked together, introducing other people to Jesus in their teaching and in their lives.

Once when the two were in different cities, Paul wrote to remind Timothy of the training he had had since the time he was a child, learning the holy scriptures, and that it is through learning, understanding, and believing these scriptures, the Bible, that people who couldn't see and meet Jesus in person can now meet and see him today.

Read more about living life with Christ during hard times in 2 Timothy 3
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December 23: Pricilla and Aquila

Aquila and his wife, Pricilla, were living in Italy, making and selling tents, until Claudius ordered all Jews to leave Rome. But what the Roman Emporer planned as a means of punishment and discrimination, God had planned in advance for reasons of his own. (see Gen. 50:20)

Soon after the couple settled in the Greek city of Corinth, one day Aquila met Paul, who also made tents for a living.

(No, evangelists and pastors aren't always salaried by a church to teach and preach.)

The couple invited Paul to stay at their house in Corinth and work with them in their business.

Every Sabbath they all went to the synagogue, where Paul tried to persuade as many Jews and Greeks as he could that Jesus was the Christ.

When Paul left Corinth to tell the people of Syria about Jesus, Aquila and Pricilla went with him as far as Ephesus (in Turkey). The couple stayed there, introducing and encouraging any Ephesians who wanted to know Jesus. Of the people they talked with, a church began meeting in their house.

(for more information, read Acts 18)

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December 24: Apollos

Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew from Egypt who met other followers of Jesus after moving to Ephesus. Not only did Apollos know the Scriptures extremely well, but he also had been instructed in the way of the Lord.

What a speaker he was!

Sometimes when Paul taught, he could talk so long into the night that people fell asleep (see Acts 20:9), but Apollos spoke with a lot of enthusiasm. Timothy sometimes needed to be reminded not to be timid (see 2 Timothy 1:7), but Apollos spoke boldly about Jesus in the synagogue.

Priscilla and Aquila still attended the synagogue at Ephesus, and after hearing how accurately Apollos spoke and taught about Jesus, the couple invited him to their house. They discovered that Apollos only knew about water baptism, John's way. (Apparently, this was not uncommon because soon, after Apollos had moved on to Corinth, Paul came back to Ephesus and met some disciples who had never heard about the Holy Spirit either.)

Apollos learned from Pricilla and Aquila the way God had begun to work through believers in Christ. Jesus had promised that after his resurrection he would send his believers another comforter, the Holy Spirit. Sure enough about a month and a half after Jesus died, his believers - a group of about 120 people - were meeting together in the morning when they experienced the first baptism in the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 1 & 2). A lot of Jewish people from near and far away were in Jerusalem to celebrate a holiday called Pentecost. The believers of Jesus were in a house when they were first baptised in the Holy Spirit, and they started thanking God loudly, even in languages they really didn't know. But several of the people in Jerusalem for Pentecost understood the languages because they spoke them. And they realized that hearing God praised in those languages was a very strange thing to hear from local people in Jerusalem.

Some thought the believers were drunk, but Peter explained from what we now call the Old Testament what was really happening. Then even more people believed what God said about Jesus and what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, and they believed and then received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave believers power they didn't have otherwise.

With Jesus' baptism, the Holy Spirit passed from believer to believer. In this way, Jesus continued - and still continues - to change the lives of people who met, believe, and follow him.
(for more information about Apollos, read Acts 18:24-28; more on Pentecost)
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December 25: Jesus' gift to you, me, and others: Meeting Him

For the past 24 days, we have seen that people have met Jesus in different ways.

Some, like Moses or Isaiah (Isa 11), met him by revelation.

Some, like Matthew or Nicodemus, met him in person.

Some, like Joseph or Saul/Paul, met him in various kinds of visions.

Some, like Timothy or Apollos, met him through other people's introductions.

They met him as the Redeemer (Kinsman Redeemer).

They met him as the Messiah (aka Christ) who God had promised to send by covenants in the Jewish scriptures (Old Testament).

Some, like the Roman centurion Cornelius, met him by a double revelation, 1 to him and 1 to Peter.

Some other gentiles met him by hearing, reading, and learning the New Testament scriptures, filling a void in their lives.

Some, like the lame man at the temple, met him through miraculous encounters with others who knew Jesus.

John concluded his book saying

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21:25)

It seems that the same is true of all the ways it is possible to meet Jesus.

Meeting Jesus

  1. Mark Hagfors tells how to receive Jesus into your life.
  2. Life's Owner's Manual, Messiah's Disciples Motorcycle Ministry
  3. Jesus Who?, Back to the Bible
  4. The Kristo Movie: An evangelistic flash movie presentation of the gospel.
  5. Meeting Jesus, Bruce Crerar
  6. Meeting Jesus Again, Russell L Bennett
  7. The Way to Everlasting Life,

Continuing to Meet With Jesus

  1. DeRemer's NKJ One-Year Parallel Chronological Bible daily reading plan
  2. DeRemer's NKJ One-Year Parallel Chronological Study Bible book overview
  3. Daily Bible Reading Plan with weekly reading reminders
  4. Sween's Daily Chronological Bible Reading Plan
Merry Christmas! God be with you. Happy New Year.

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