Unsinkable YouVersion Devotional

The Spirit of Truth
By Danny Saavedra
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”—John 16:13 (NIV)

In John 14:6 (NIV), Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s a life-changing reality we can rest in every day, a reality that gives us security for tomorrow and satisfaction for today! 

He is the way, and in Him we find life beyond our wildest dreams! But if we want to accept Him as the way and experience the life He has for us, we must also embrace Him as the truth! 

As believers, we must embrace all of Him, in every area of our life, and we need to embrace His Word as the ultimate authority over our lives so we can live out our faith and calling—and experience the fullness of all God has for us as we become more like Jesus.

So how do we do this in a world of ever-changing truth, where right and wrong is often based on how culture feels about an issue this week? How do we navigate truth in a world where what’s true for me may not be true for you?

We do this by the power of the Holy Spirit! In John 14:16–17 (NIV), He says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.” 

Then in John 16:13 (NIV), Jesus adds, “When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” 

That sounds awesome, but how do we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit? Through relationship and obedience. When we consistently spend time with the Lord in prayer, in the study of His Word, in worship, in community with other believers, when we’re obedient to His Word, we will hear the Holy Spirit speak to us! What will He speak to us? John 14:26 (NIV, emphasis added) says that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

And so, as we listen to the Holy Spirit, we will walk in the power of the Spirit, and our lives will be defined by the fruit of the Spirit. When we do that, we’ll be able to experience the amazing, abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

DIG: How do you navigate truth? 

DISCOVER: How are you walking in truth? 

DO: Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you and guide you into truth as you navigate the world.

My 3 grandkids and some of their closest friends

Image may contain: 10 people, including Cody Smith, Mariah Cardoza and Emily Smith, people smiling, people sitting

The young man with the beard is my oldest grandson, Emily o top right by her friend Marahia with the child in their arms, and the youngest Nick the blond boy on the couch. The rest are all like an extended family and I do not remember all their names, sorry. I will see all of them soon in a few days.

The mom of some of their friends, my daughter’s best friend is sitting on the left of the couch. a beautiful Lady. Her name is Kimberly my daughter’s name is just Kim. and she is standing in front of her TALL husband Steve and next to her son, the one with the beard, LOL What a mess!

I can’t wait to see them all!

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Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity  by Kathie Lee Gifford with Rabbi Jason Sobel

 

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. — Micah 5:2

I was deeply disturbed when our tour group visited modern-day Bethlehem. Scripture tells us Bethlehem was the birthplace of Jesus, the Messiah, prophesied in Micah 5:2 sometime between 750 BC and 686 BC (seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth): “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Today, the city of Bethlehem is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and it feels — as my daughter, Cassidy, described it — “darkly oppressive.” There are military checkpoints as you enter and exit. It hardly feels joyful or anything like the way the shepherds would have experienced it two millennia ago, as a place of great rejoicing at the Savior’s birth.

Come… to Bethlehem!

More from Rabbi Jason

The Significance of Bethlehem

Shortly after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds guarding their sheep at night and announced to them,

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. — Luke 2:11

And the sign given to them was that they would find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. — Luke 2:12

Of all the possible signs that could have been given to these shepherds, why did the Lord choose a baby lying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes? Why was this so significant?

To answer this question, we need to dig deeper and explore the Jewish context in which the New Testament was written. Good students of the Bible are like detectives who ask lots of questions of the text. The first question we need to ask is: Who are these shepherds? Is there anything unique about them?

I believe these were no ordinary shepherds. They were Levitical shepherds, trained and tasked with the responsibility of tending and guarding the flocks used for sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem.

Next, we must ask, What is so significant about the location in which they found Jesus? When it was time for one of their flock to give birth, the shepherds would bring the sheep into one of the caves surrounding Bethlehem that were used for this purpose. These birthing caves were kept in a state of ritual purity since these lambs were destined to be used as sacrifices in the temple. In fact, many of the male lambs born around Bethlehem would be used for the Passover.1

Since there was no room in the local inn, Mary and Joseph used one of these caves around Bethlehem.

Messiah was not born in a stable behind some Econo Lodge or Motel Six. He was born in one of the many caves used for birthing these sacrificial lambs, because He Himself would be the ultimate sacrificial Lamb.

Not only would the location of Jesus’ birth be significant to these shepherds, but so would the fact that Jesus was swaddled in cloths.

These shepherds were responsible for making sure that the newborn lambs did not contract defects, for only animals without spot or blemish could be used as a sacrifice in the temple. Baby lambs are very clumsy when they are born, so many scholars believe that these shepherds would swaddle their newborn lambs in order to prevent these future sacrificial lambs from becoming blemished by injuring themselves on jagged parts of the cave.

Another key aspect of swaddling in ancient Israel was “salting” a newborn. After Jesus was born, Joseph would have washed and scrubbed Him with salt water. Practically, the salt killed any bacteria found on an infant’s body. But there is a lot of spiritual symbolism in this act as well.

Salt was symbolic of friendship and loyalty in the ancient world; it was a sign of covenant, as in the phrase “a covenant of salt” (2 Chronicles 13:5; Leviticus 2:13; Numbers 18:19). A common expression to denote friendship in Middle Eastern culture is, “there is salt between us.” A salt covenant is used to denote the eternal covenant of friendship and kingship that God made with David and his heirs: “Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?” (2 Chronicles 13:5). Jesus was not only born in Bethlehem, which is the city of David, but He was also the promised Son of David, the Messiah and King who came to fulfill the Davidic covenant — God’s promise that one of David’s descendants would live on the throne forever — and to establish the new covenant spoken of in Jeremiah:

‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah’. — Jeremiah 31:31

Salt was also an indispensable part of every sacrifice offered in the temple, as we read in Leviticus:

You are to season with salt every sacrifice of your grain offering. You are never to allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your sacrifices you must offer salt. — Leviticus 2:13 TLV

Not only was Messiah born in the same location as the temple offering, but He was also washed in salt as part of the swaddling process, which points to His future sacrifice as the Passover Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world and inaugurate the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31).

Messiah came to make a covenant with us, and He was so committed to us that He chose to die in order establish it, demonstrating how seriously He takes His friendship with us! This is what John 15:13 alludes to:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Messiah was

the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. — Revelation 13:8,

So He needed to be salted as our true sacrifice to erase our sin and bring us into a covenant friendship with the Lord. Now, that’s a true friend. Isn’t it amazing? We must make sure we are valuing His friendship and taking full advantage of it.

Not only was the process of swaddling significant to the shepherds, but I believe the actual garments in which the baby Jesus was swaddled were meant to be a sign to them as well. Let’s explore their deeper meaning.

One of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith is the menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum used in the temple. The Kohanim, the Levitical priests, lit the menorah in the sanctuary every evening and then cleaned it out every morning, replacing the old wicks with new ones.

What were the wicks of the menorah made from? The priests’ tunics. Any priestly garment that became so dirty to the point that its stains could not be washed out was no longer acceptable to be worn during priestly service. These unusable garments were not destroyed; instead, they were cut up, and the fabric was used for another holy purpose. The tunics of the ordinary priests were used to make wicks for the menorah that was to burn continually in the Holy Place in the temple.

This is speculation, but I believe Jesus’ swaddling clothes could have been made from the torn priestly garments that would have been used to make the wicks of the menorah. But where would Joseph and Mary have gotten them? My guess is that Mary got these cloths from her cousin Elizabeth, who was married to the priest Zechariah. As soon as Mary entered the home of Elizabeth, who had miraculously conceived in her later years, the unborn baby in her womb leaped, filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth cried out,

You are blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Who am I, that the mother of my Master should come to me? For even when I just heard the sound of your greeting in my ear, the unborn child leaped with joy in my womb. Blessed is she who trusted that there would be a fulfillment of those things spoken to her by Adonai. — Luke 1:42–45 TLV

So the shepherd priests, who encountered angels, went to a place where the lambs used for the sacrifices were born and swaddled. There, they saw the baby Jesus swaddled like a sacrificial Passover lamb in priestly garments that were used for the lighting of the menorah in the temple, which symbolized the eternal presence and promise of God! Now it should make more sense as to why a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger would be such a significant sign to these shepherds, for it pointed to Jesus being both the Lamb of God and the Light of the World.

1.  Mishnah Shekalim 7:4.

Excerpted with permission from The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford with Rabbi Jason Sobel, copyright Kathie Lee Gifford.

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Your Turn

This chapter of The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi was filled with facts! Things we never knew and nothing anyone taught us. Which learning was your favorite from this chapter? Come share on our blog!

COMMENT

 

Watch the Video 

Make sure you watch it to see the footage and photos from her journeys to the Holy Land and hear her inspiration for writing The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi. 

As one fan, @jillane68 said on Twitter: @KathieLGifford  I love your Spirit…. How amazing it is to see a celebrity fearlessly speaking about the most important topic for all eternity!  Jesus is the Way!! ❤️ #GodBlessYou!

We couldn’t agree more! Thank you, Kathie Lee!

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