Incarnation of Immanuel #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Incarnation is a word derived from Latin, which means becoming flesh. The beautiful opening passage of the Gospel of St John (the apostle) speaks of this. John 1:14 uses the phrase ‘became flesh’.

How the immortal Son of God became a baby is a mystery. Jesus, Immanuel, is fully God and fully human.

Emmanuel (sometimes spelled Immanuel) means God with us.  Isaiah 7:14 which was quoted in Matthew’s gospel Matthew 1:22-23 and Isaiah 8:8. The prophetic book of Isaiah was written around 700BC.  The more I study the Bible, the more amazed I am about how the individual books, written by many individuals over millennia, work together to reveal the nature of God and His purpose in sending his Son to be God with us.

Did you know that the English word “Goodbye” is derived from the blessing, “God be with you”?  That expresses the idea of Emmanuel.

Previously published in my A to Z of the Names of God 2015 Emmanuel

The Advent hymn O come, O come Emmanuel introduces more names of Jesus – Son of God, Rod of Jesse, Dayspring, Key of David and Lord of Might.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4


Inheritance #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter I

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

Inheritance occurs over 200 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament it is used to speak mainly of land. God promises the people land (the promised land), which becomes their inheritance. In the New Testament the inheritance is about being adopted into God’s family and often refers to spiritual gifts.

Either way an inheritance is something given freely and not earned, although there are warnings about losing an inheritance. 1 Chronicles 28:8 Passing on the good land was conditional on behaviour. Proverbs 13:22 A good person’s wealth goes to their children, but a sinner’s to the righteous. Several proverbs are about how to treat an inheritance or to gain one.

The Book of Numbers sets out rules for inheriting from a father. The way the land had to be shared between the tribes of Israel also features in various Old Testament books. The land became their inheritance.

Psalm 78 sets out the history of God’s dealings with the people of Israel up to David’s time in the form of a warning to the people. The word inheritance appears a few times.

Proverbs 20:21 Is about claiming an inheritance too soon (as the son in an earlier story did.)

Isaiah 61:7 inheriting and joy are linked.

A story within a story

Jesus had gone to Jerusalem with his disciples for the Passover festival. He knew that his enemies wanted to kill him. This is one of the stories he told while he was teaching in the temple courts.

A landowner had worked very hard on his land, which he valued highly. He had planted a vineyard and set a wall with a watchtower around it. There was also a winepress. Then he went to live somewhere else. Before he went he rented out the vineyard giving his tenants instructions to look after his property.

Harvest time came round and he sent his servants to collect the fruit. Instead of giving them what they asked for, the tenants attacked them violently. One died and others were injured.

The landowner sent a larger group of servants to collect the fruit. They were treated similarly.

The landowner decided to send his son, who would have more authority than his servants.

The tenant farmers recognised the son as the landowner’s heir. They killed him in order to obtain his inheritance.

Jesus asked the people listening to him, what the landowner would do to the tenants.

They replied that he would bring them to a miserable end and would rent out the vineyard to trustworthy farmers, who would give him his share of the crop.

The chief priests and the Pharisees were upset by Jesus’ teaching, which they knew was about them. They looked for a way to kill him.

The story is told in Matthew 21:33-46

Other references to inheritance in the New Testament include Paul’s letter to the believers in Ephesus, the letter to the Hebrews and Peter’s first letter.


I is for Institution of Holy Communion and ‘It is finished’

My posts for the A to Z Challenge this year are all about the Easter Story, recorded in 4 books of the New Testament: the Gospels. Image in sidebar links to Theme Reveal post.

Image in sidebar or below post links to Theme reveal

The Institution of Holy Communion has already been mentioned in the posts for the Letter B and the Letter E. Holy Communion is also known as Mass or the Eucharist.

On Maundy Thursday Jesus celebrated Passover in a way, which became the basis of one form of Christian worship through the centuries.

In John’s account of Jesus’ death on the cross (Letter D and Letter C) the last words he spoke before he died were, ‘It is finished.’ John 19: 28-30

This post is published on Good Friday – the day when Jesus’ death is remembered.

My Theme Reveal contains links to the Easter story in the New Testament.