Marvin A. McMickle is the president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. A pastor for more than 30 years, he has also taught preaching at New York, New Brunswick and Princeton Theological Seminaries. From 1987-2011 he was Senior Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio. He was the Professor of Homiletics at Ashland Theological Seminary from 1996-2011. Upon leaving Ashland he was voted by his faculty colleagues to be Professor Emeritus. He is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He was elected to be the 12th President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in 2011.
In his book The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer made the following observation: "It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply." To put it another way, God cannot do much with people who have not passed through a time of suffering, sickness, sacrifice or struggle. How can we be a blessing to people who are going through the hardships of life if we ourselves somehow have been exempted from such hardships?
Christians have laid claim to this passage as one of the many Old Testament passages-along with Isaiah 9:6-7; Micah 5:2 and others-that seemed to point hundreds of years beyond the time they actually were written to foreshadow the appearance of Jesus Christ. In this instance, the idea that a "virgin will conceive and bear a child" as recorded in Isaiah 7:14 is seen as being fulfilled with the birth of Jesus as described in Matthew 1:18-23.
Jesus and John the Baptist are two men who are linked together in all four of the gospel narratives. In Luke, they are linked together from before their birth. John was the miracle child born of Zechariah and Elizabeth when she was well past the age of giving birth. Jesus was the miracle child born of Mary and of the Holy Spirit while she was still a virgin; fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 where a virgin (almah) would bear a son (Luke 1:26-38).
According to the Gospel of Matthew, Palm Sunday was the first time Jesus ever appeared in the great, bustling city of Jerusalem. Jesus knew that His ministry would not be complete and His mission would not be successful unless and until He took His gospel message from the small towns of Galilee in the northern part of Israel and declared it in the great Temple in Jerusalem.
As you may know, Cleveland, Ohio, is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That's because back in the 1950s, there was a disc jockey by the name of Alan Freed who worked for an AM radio station in Cleveland. He began referring to the music of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley as "rock 'n' roll music." Even though the inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame take place in New York City, the origin of the term rock 'n' roll music began in Cleveland.