Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Daily Devotions from the Heidelberg Catechism, Wednesday, January, 5

Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg
Wednesday

Jesus Solves Our Greatest Problem

Reading:

1) Heidelberg Catechism

Q. 1 What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong---body and soul, in life and in death---to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

2) Scripture

Matthew 1:18-25: Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Comment

The catechism wants us to have comfort in life and death. But what is the biggest problem people face in life? In order to truly have comfort, our greatest dilemma must be identified and solved.

Some people think their biggest problem in life is finding a good job. Other people think their biggest problem is poor health. Still others think it is finding a husband or wife. But the Bible says our biggest problem in life is sin. Sin is our greatest problem because sin separates us from God, and God is the source of all goodness, love, life, and joy. Only a comfort that solves the problem of our sin and separation from God (which is spiritual death) can meet our deepest need.

In our text in Matthew we learn that Jesus came to solve the two greatest difficulties we face in life and in death: sin and separation from God. In verse 21 we learn that Jesus came to “save his people from their sins.” In verse 23 we learn that Jesus is “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” Jesus came from heaven to give us a comfort that meets our deepest problems of sin and death, i.e., separation from God! As we go on through the catechism we will learn more about how Jesus Christ brings us into God’s presence through his death and resurrection.

Discussion: What is the biggest problem in life, according to some people? What is the biggest problem in life, according to God’s Word? How does Jesus solve our two greatest difficulties? If the Lord is the source of all joy and blessing, can a person be truly joyful without him?

Prayer Starter: In your prayer, give thanks that God sent his Son to meet your deepest problem of sin and separation from God.


Only One Comfort

To the Tune: EVENTIDE (Abide with Me http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/PsH/442 or http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/UMH/700). Based on Lord’s Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
There’s just one comfort in life and in death,
that I belong to Jesus, not myself.
The Lord completely paid for all my sins,
freed me from slav’ry, blesses me in Him.

v. 2
The Lord cares for me in a tender way,
watches my life and leads me all my days.
My Father works out all things for my good,
bless’d in His Son and filled with gratitude.

v. 3
O Jesus, Lord, my Savior and my Song,
how bless’d in You I am to now belong.
You send Your Spirit, plant Your life in me,
and in Your Word may I Your glory see.

v. 4
There are three things believers need to know:
How great my sin is, misery also.
How I am set free from iniquity.
How I should thank God who has set me free.


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