Archive for November, 2016

TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy

November 29, 2016

As children, we are encouraged to live by universal principles of honesty, hard work, respect, and fairness. We all like the concept of being fair, but it is a lot harder to apply in daily life. None of us want to be on the end of being disfavored, but all of us want favors. So do we really want fairness in our lives? I would say only when it is unfavorable for us. It is a bit hypocritical to clamor for fairness only when it is unfavorable for us. We are not upset when the favor falls on us. TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy

Despite that, we should TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy. In terms of those ruling over us or who have authority, Jesus provides commentary about how we should respond. Let’s look and see what He had to say.

Mark 12

38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

Jesus’ warning was against the teachers of the law who were supposed to represent the truth of God to the people; however, Jesus condemns how they have behaved. They have the appearance of doing good, but at the heart of their actions, they are out for themselves rather than taking care of those who are most vulnerable. The reference to the long robes has been noted as they do not engage in any work of consequence and effort to assist anyone. Their penchant for desiring respect in how people greeted them is another indicator of their selfishness and hypocrisy. They want respect but are not respectable in their interactions with those whom they desire respect. TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy. They want the most important seats and places because they know that they are not really all that important. They know they are a farce, but that does not discourage them from those behaviors nor those impure desires. None more offensive than preying on widows. Instead of truly praying for widows, they preyed on widows using their position to teach lies and exact money from them by manipulating their thinking.

TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy and the consequences of their actions. The Word says, “These men will be punished most severely.” Likewise, those of us who should serve and lead will be required by God to give account on how we led people. Did we lead pretentiously or sacrificially? Jesus is the model of the teacher and leader who led sacrificially which is opposite of how the teachers of the law led. They led for themselves and about themselves.

How are you leading? Are you out for yourself or are you out for those whom you lead? Is it about you or is it about God Almighty? Are you more concerned with you look or how you look at God? Jesus serves as our ultimate model, but the Word is filled with many others who served God with right motives – out of service to Him for the good of those whom He had given us. TRUST: Jesus’ Warning about Hypocrisy. Let’s pray that we do not fall into the trap of serving ourselves. Remember, “These men will be punished most severely.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth

November 28, 2016

Over the past few days since Thanksgiving, I have truly reflected on the blessing of having a relationship with Jehovah through Jesus Christ. In John 14:6, Jesus declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus knew who He was, but many people did not and still do not know who He is. It was His mission to reveal to mankind that He was God’s means for man to enter into a personal relationship with God as He intended for man before man’s fall. Adam’s trespass created division and separation from God for all mankind. Jesus’ incarnation, death and resurrection affords us the opportunity to know God. TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth

TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth. In Mark 12, we see Jesus sharing that truth with authorities/power structure and others in the temple. Like many of man today, they were unaware of the person of Jesus or His identity.

Mark 12

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David?36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’

37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

The large crowd listened to him with delight.

Jesus taught by framing questions from the knowledge that people had. He used their knowledge to lead them to a greater understanding of the truth.TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth. In the text today, Jesus references Psalm 110:1 in the question that He frames for the authorities. The question was “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? Jesus knew that the Lord David was speaking of was Himself, but the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders did not know who He was. The disciples themselves had recently found out Jesus’ true identity. If you will recall Mark 8, Jesus first asks His disciples“Who do people say I am?”. Then, He asks the disciples “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus asked them not to share that with anyone at that time. Despite that, TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth.

Jesus was concerned that the leaders and teachers of the day did not know who He was. He wanted them to know, so He asked them who He was, but they were not given the understanding of this as Peter had been. When asking about the Messiah, Jesus knew who He was the Messiah, but the people did not. He asked the question to reveal to their lack of understanding of who He is.

Do you know who Jesus is? Do you know that He is the Messiah? Do you know that salvation is found in no one else? Do you know that He invites you to know Him? He reveals that many times, but one poignant time was in John 14 where He was sharing more with His disciples about His the purpose of His coming. TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth. The question is “Do you want to hear the truth?” If you do, open the Word of God reading it with the intention of hearing what He has to say to you. TRUST: Jesus Shares the Truth

TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth

November 25, 2016

In response to Jesus, we saw the people in verses 1-12 demonstrate TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. In verse 13-17, we see people reveal TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. Today, in verses 18-27, we see TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth. Today,in verses 28-34,we see TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth.

So far in the passage from much of the power Jewish power structure or authorities of the day, Jesus has endured efforts to disregard, to discredit and to deceive Him. Now, we see an attempt to debate Him, but as with the other attempts, Jesus, through His teaching, disses them too. He disarms them all.

Mark 12

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth. One of the teachers of the law indicates that this person has been well trained and is now teaching and training others in the Mosaic Law. We can fully surmise that this person would have been an expert in his day. In fact, the text tells that he made an assessment of Jesus’ response to Sadducees. “Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”” The teacher of the law recognized the soundness and authority of Jesus’ response about the resurrection, so he decides to enter the fray of challenging Jesus’ authority. Remember, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him in Mark 11:28 asking 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” … “And who gave you authority to do this?” Rather than give them a simple response as they wanted to use against Him, Jesus demonstrated His authority. Despite that, we see TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth.

In the verses today, TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth is observed in the question asked by one of the teachers of the law. He asked “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Up to this time, we have to remember that God’s Word was considered what we now call the Old Testament of which the law or Mosaic text was highly esteemed. In another attempt to trap Jesus, the teacher wanted Jesus to respond in a way that demeaned or decrease the value of the law. Jesus, being omniscient, was aware and used His response to defeat this attempt to Debate the Truth. By virtue of the question from the teacher of the law, Jesus was supposed to choose among the commandments the one that was the most important. Jesus did not respond accordingly. His response morphed the guided question into the proper perspective and position. Essentially, Jesus redefines the pursuit of God. He positioned His response akin to 1 Samuel 15:22 which says “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LordTo obey is better than sacrifice,  and to heed is better than the fat of rams”. The most important law is love manifested in love for God then love manifested for mankind. For Jesus had already said “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. ” (John 14)

Again, Jesus had triumphed over His challengers by teaching them not by demeaning, beating or over powering them through force. He simply loved them. He loved them enough to overlook their evil intentions to not only teach them the truth in Word but also in deed. TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth, but Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is what He is. He just lived what He is and thus triumphed. His desire for us is live in love and triumph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth

November 23, 2016

In this passage of Mark 12, I have been pleasantly engaged by the Spirit of God. In fact, this morning I arose later than I normally do. After eating breakfast, the Spirit called to me asking if I was going to come back to the Word for Him to give me the other titles for the rest of the passage. I stalled for a moment. Then the Spirit of God said to me, “what on Sports Center will not be repeated, but what I have to say will not be.” I turned off the television; opened the text; read the text, and asked the Spirit to speak to me. My ignoring what I should be engaged in first this morning was tantamount to what was doing in the verses I read. We can TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth.

I sat and ate thinking that I could just go on this morning without giving God the time He deserved first in my life. I was trying to deceive the truth, but I really was deceiving myself. Thank God that He did not allow me to languish in that self-deception. He pursued me just as we see Jesus pursuing people in the text and teaching them.

Mark 12

18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too.23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

In response to Jesus, we saw the people in verses 1-12 demonstrate TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. In verse 13-17, we see people reveal TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. Today, in verses 18-27, we see TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth. On Friday, Lord willing, we will see TRUST: People seek to Debate the Truth.

How do we see TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth in the passage (18-27) today. First, let us make sure that we have a common understand on deceive. I agree with dictionary.com‘s definition of deceive which is to mislead (to lead or guide wrongly intentionally or not) or falsely persuade others. In the verses reviewed today, how does man Seek to Deceive the Truth, Jesus Christ?

First, the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. Their first error was coming to Jesus rejecting the truth. They did not believe in the resurrection; yet, the response that they sought to evoke from Jesus hinged on the resurrection. God was particular about Mark including that fact about the Sadducees, so we could learn how we come to Jesus in error. The second error they made was being ignorant about what happens for believers in the resurrection. I presume they did not seek to find out because they rejected the truth/reality of the resurrection. How many people will make this same mistake about God? They don’t believe in Him, so many other positions will be forfeited because they fail to believe in Him. Lastly, the final error I see, I am sure there are more, is that under estimated who Jesus is – they did not count on Him being God who is able to identify their errors and point them out to them using the scriptures which they initially came to Jesus under the guise of believing. TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth 

Jesus was masterful, pun intended, in His response to them. First, He listened. That is the hope anyone has who does accept Christ as Lord and Savior – Jesus is willing to listen. By His grace, He then responded. The Sadducees had attempted to Deceive Jesus because they themselves were deceived, but because of His mercy and grace, Jesus listen and taught them again. He gave them an assessment of how they arrived in their condition.  24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? This is true for us all – we are in error because we don’t know Scriptures or the power of God. When I reflect, that is so true. When not in out right rebellion, I make poor decision because I either don’t know the Scriptures or I fail to remember or recall the power of God. This was the error of their ways and led to them being deceived. TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth and are themselves deceived. 

Look at your life to see where you may be deceived. Click the link to learn more about being deceived. verses on being deceived

Whether intentionally or not, remember TRUST: People Seek to Deceive the Truth

TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth

November 21, 2016

In the post TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth, we saw how the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders sought ways to disregard the TRUTH, Jesus and His Word. Now, we see the next step is TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth.

Let’s move to the following verses in Mark 12.

13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at him.

In response to Jesus, we saw the people try to disregard the Truth in verses 1-12. Now in verses 13-17, we see people try to discredit the Truth. By Truth, remember I am referring to Jesus and His Word. Ib John 14:6, Jesus declares “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Remember, John 1 tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Knowing this, it sets the foundation for people responding to Jesus as God and the Word of God.

When chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders saw that they could not disregard Jesus because of the people, we can see from their responding actions that we can TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. If one cannot disregard Jesus, he/she seeks to discredit Him. In the passage above, the Pharisees and Herodians (ruling family empowered by Roman leaders) engage in the fray to resist Jesus as Lord and God. Their actions are symbolic of how all mankind respond to Jesus. If one cannot disregard Jesus, the next tactic is to discredit Him.

Jesus shows His divinity by being aware of what they were trying to do. We see throughout the Gospels Jesus convey that He knows and judges the thoughts and motives of man just as the written Word judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Because people want to be lord of their own lives, we can TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth. Despite that, Jesus’ divinity and authority supercede whatever actions man takes.

Jesus asked them “Why are you trying to trap me?” This is His statement to them that I know what you are trying to do, but I am still God – watch this. He asks them to bring Him the coin. Then, He displays His superior wisdom in His response. Consequently, in response to TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth,  it also conveys that Jesus’ efforts are not altered or halted by man’s efforts. Look at how they respond to what Jesus shows them – they were amazed at him.

TRUST: People Seek to Discredit the Truth; however, God has a plan to respond to that as well. He simply demonstrates His divinity in a greater extent. Are you seeking to truly respond to Jesus or are you seeking to disregard or discredit Him? If so, your fate will be the same as the Pharisees and Herodians. You will be amazed at Jesus and without excuse when judges you at the final judgement.

TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth

November 18, 2016

There has been a lot in the national media lately about a “reckless disregard for the truth”. Yourdictionary.com quotes Webster’s New World Law Dictionary for reckless disregard. Reckless disregard is defined as an act of proceeding to do something with a conscious awareness of danger, while ignoring any potential consequences of so doing. Reckless disregard, while not necessarily suggesting an intent to cause harm, is a harsher condition than ordinary negligence. Proving a defendant’s “reckless disregard for the truth” is the standard for success of a plaintiff in a suit for libel. TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth

That is true in a court of law, but in God’s court, Jesus will not have to prove anything. A person’s life will be on display. His/her actions will be the testimony. Since God is omniscient, He will not display our lives against the truth for Himself but for us. Jesus, the judge, will evaluate each person by their response to truth. He Himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) In Mark 12, Jesus provides a glimpse of how we will see our lives against the truth and how we can TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth.

Mark 12

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.

The Word tells us “Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them.” They were consciously an keenly aware that Jesus had not only been speaking of them but condemned their behavior against the truth. Jesus was conveying that God had reached out to them and had given them the truth, but they were disregarding God’s truth and way. We know in Mark 11 that Jesus condemns their behavior in the temple. It was that condemnation that caused them to ask in verse 11:28″“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”” TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth.

Like the men in Mark 11 and 12, we too know the truth; yet TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. God has shown us that He knows our thoughts and motives. He judges and will judge them. Despite that, we persist in doing our own thing because we can TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. A mere refusal to accept the truth is akin to an ostrich sticking his head in a whole despite the imminent danger surrounding it. We cannot successfully attempt to ignore unpleasant facts or situations. We see in the passage the people tried to ignore Jesus by rejecting God’s efforts to reach out to them.

TRUST: People Seek to Disregard the Truth. Are you living in constant denial of Jesus, the TRUTH? We all will be judged for how we respond to God. Don’t continue living in disregard to the truth.

TRUST: Adoption by Faith in Jesus

November 14, 2016

Adoption is act of adopting or the state of being adopted, so what does adopt mean. According to dictionary.com, adopt is to choose or take as one’s own; make one’s own by selection or assent which means to agree to. How did God agree to adopt people? 

Without doubt, the bible teaches that Israel were God’s chosen people out of all people. Despite that, it was God’s intention from before creation to provide all peole the opportunity to know Him and experience Him. We get an exerpt of a conversation between God and Abram in Genesis 18. Listen, “17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”” All along, Jesus was the one Abram’s son Isaac was leading. It reveals TRUST: Adoption by Faith in Jesus.

Now in Mark 12, Jesus lays the refines foundation for how those other than Israel will come to know God. He reveals what God intended from the beginning to those in power in Israel. Because they felt their position and power were being challenged, they fought against Jesus planning arrest and to kill Him.

Mark 12

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.

Jesus shared the parable to further convey TRUST: Adoption by Faith in Jesus. In the bible, adoption is expressed primarily in three ways:

  1. that relationship which God was pleased to establish between himself and the Israelites in preference to all other nations (the Jews)

  2. the nature and condition of the true disciples in Christ, who by receiving the Spirit of God into their souls become sons of God (the Saved)

  3. the blessed state looked for in the future life after the visible return of Christ from heaven (the Life)

John 1:12 clearly tells us how one becomes a child of God – 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Paul reiterates that in Romans 8:14 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. Ephesians 1:13 tells us that “13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal,the promised Holy Spirit,” TRUST: Adoption by Faith in Jesus.

There are other verses that convey our adoption is through faith in Jesus.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.

to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

You, like other whom I know, may reject Jesus as the Son of God and as God incarnate, but that does not alter or halt what God has determined and is executing – reconciling man to Himself through Jesus. We can reject Jesus and reject life as we are told in John 3:36 which says, “36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” TRUST: Adoption by Faith in Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: Sour Grapes Don’t Satisfy

November 10, 2016

TRUST: Sour Grapes Don’t Satisfy. There is no doubt that any of us can attest that sour grapes don’t satisfy. Whether for eating or for wine, sour grapes will not produce the intended good desired. Likewise, sour grapes is a phrase used to describe a negative attitude because one cannot have his way.

TRUST: Sour Grapes Don’t Satisfy. In Hebrews 4:12, we learn “12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”(NASB) We know that Jesus is the Word, so we see here in Mark 12 that Jesus is judging the thoughts and attitudes of the hearts of man. He is showing that He truly has authority.

Mark 12

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.

From the post TRUST: Jesus’ Authority, Jesus establishes His authority even His deity. Now, we see from the passage that Jesus knew the future, so again, He is the greatest prophet. He foretold of His death for other, so He is the greatest priest. Now, He was showing that He is the greatest to pass judgement on Israel. TRUST: Sour Grapes Don’t Satisfy

Why? The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders were fully aware that Jesus had indicted even judged their actions. In the parable that Jesus uses, He alludes to the notion presented in Isaiah 5:1-7 where God expresses his disappointment in Judah and Israel, the vineyard, produces wild grapes. As a consequence, all the building and caring for the vineyard is lost because He tears it down. Similarly, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders know that Jesus is expressing His disapproval of their attitudes and actions. Through the parable, He tells them that He, the Son of God, will also be rejected and killed by them just as it was told in the parable.

Jesus puts a nail in the coffin of the question about His authority. He confirms it by this parable. He shows that He is fully aware of the scriptures as well as the prophetic fulfillment of them. Jesus expresses that He is the One who will fulfill prophecy that God has given; yet, their hearts are hardened by what God has shown them about themselves through Jesus.

Will you too reject Jesus and miss out on the salvation that He offers?  “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”(Acts 4:12)  Will you forfeit salvation for rejecting Jesus or will you surrender your life in because you TRUST: Sour Grapes Don’t Satisfy.

TRUST: Jesus’ Authority

November 9, 2016

TRUST has been the theme of what I have written about all year. Today is no different. When people think about TRUST, it is a matter of whether the person does what he/she says he/she will do as well as does the person have the authority/power to do what he/she says will be done. We project that same mindset on religious beliefs. Despite that, we must TRUST: Jesus’ Authority.

 

TRUST: Jesus’ Authority was a matter that came up over and over again in Jesus ministry. In fact, it was the pivotal point among the believers in Christ as Messiah and those who rejected Him as Messiah. Today, it is still the dividing line among people. From issues on race, politics, marriage and the like, the primary position is where people stand on accepting or rejecting Jesus’ Authority on those matters.

Remember, the same people who shouted Hosanna were some of the same people who shouted crucify Him. There position on TRUST: Jesus’ Authority changed resulting in them rejecting Jesus. Make no mistake, I am not talking about how men and women who claim to act in the name of God but fall far short Jesus’ Words and example. I am talking about how we respond to Jesus’ Authority in our own lives. As we see in Mark 11, it was in question then too.

Mark 11

27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”

31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)

33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

TRUST: Jesus’ Authority. The religious leaders of that day were looking for distractions, but Jesus was looking for disciples or followers of the good news He was sharing. The leaders asked “By what authority are you doing these things?” What things? In this instance, the immediate thing that Jesus had done was to reestablish the purpose of the temple i.e. the worship center. He had entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. After that, He began teaching about the true purpose of the temple. In teaching the people, Jesus conveyed on whose authority He was doing those things. 

While Jesus did not give them a direct answer because they already had surmised on whose authority He was acting, Jesus, by His divine response, again demonstrated on whose authority He was acting – His Own or God Almighty’s. This leads me to at least make an effort to TRUST: Jesus’ Authority. I believe in Jesus’ authority. In the gospels, Jesus raised the issue with the twelve. Listen to the dialogue between Jesus and the twelve in Mark 8.

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus had already addressed the issue of TRUST: Jesus’ Authority with the twelve. For present followers of Jesus, you should have already accepted Jesus’ authority on matters outlined in His Word and in your own personal life. After all, a relationship with Jesus is a personal relationship. If you claim that Jesus is Lord of your life, He will certainly demand that place in your life. Our lives are a series of Moments of Faith where we must demonstrate faith in Christ’s authority by TRUSTing Him through obedience.

For those who question TRUST: Jesus’ Authority, I want to submit some points by Hank Hanegraaf aka The Bible Answer Man. I have attached the article to which the points below are taken. Other readings and study can be found at the site. TRUST: Jesus’ Authority

Hank Hanegraaf wrote, “When Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples the mother of all questions, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt.16:15; Mark8:29; Luke9:20). Mormons answer this question by saying that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer; Jehovah’s Witnesses answer by saying that Jesus is the archangel Michael; New Agers say Jesus is an avatar or enlightened messenger. Jesus, however, answered by claiming that He was God…Jesus claimed to be the unique Son of God. As a result, the Jewish leaders tried to kill Him because in “calling God his own Father, [Jesus was] making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). In John 8:58 Jesus went so far as to use the very words by which God revealed Himself to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

On yet another occasion, Jesus explicitly told the Jews: “‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30–33). Jesus made an unmistakable claim to deity before the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin. Caiaphas the high priest asked Him: “‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Mark 14:61–62).

Finally, Jesus claimed to possess the very attributes of God. For example, He claimed omniscience by telling Peter, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times” (Matt.26:34); declared omnipotence by not only resurrecting Lazarus (John 11:43) but by raising Himself from the dead (John 2:19); and professed omnipresence by promising that He would be with His disciples “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Not only so, but Jesus said to the paralytic in Luke 5:20, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” In doing so, He claimed a prerogative reserved for God alone. In addition, when Thomas worshiped Jesus saying “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28), Jesus responded with commendation rather than condemnation.

With all of that, God gives all of us a choice. I urge you to TRUST: Jesus’ Authority. 

TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain

November 8, 2016

According to Wikipedia, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865. As a traditional Christmas Carol, it tells of the birth of Jesus with the repeating chorus of Go, Tell It On The Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere; Go, Tell It On The Mountain That Jesus Christ is born.

Like several songs that were variants of it, today’s post uses it as a springboard for TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain. The primary focus of the post is not to talk primarily about Jesus’ birth but to demonstrate what the Savior told His disciples to do in prayers offered in faith. It is the anecdote to TRUST: The Lord is with Me; I Will Not be Afraid. In that post, the question was raised about how to deal with our fears. It was to TRUST God rather than to fear a circumstance.

Let us see Jesus demonstrate and delegate TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain to His disciples; thus, He tells that to us as well. Mark 11

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

In the text above, Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer. He was teaching them that prayers offered in faith are the key to have God answer one’s prayers. Specifically, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen” In truly, Jesus means I am telling you the truth. You can trust this, have confidence in what I am about to say. While Jesus was speaking to His disciples, He did not exclude anyone. In fact, His words were inclusive – if anyone. That applies to you and me. The operative condition is not anyone but the one who “does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen”. This is what Jesus meant when He said TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain.

TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain is not an option for any believer if he/she wants to have his/her prayers answered. We know that Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 7:24-25 says, “because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” It is through Jesus that we have access to God, but it requires faith in Christ to activate the response from God. Remember, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1.

Symbolically, TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain is a reference to that huge thing, challenge, trial, circumstance or situation that is real in your life. The mountain represents something that you cannot scale or cross on your own, but with the intervention of God wrought by your faith, you can scale or cross that mount. In fact, Jesus says that you can remove the mountain -“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen”. It has been noted that “The phrase about removing mountains was a quite common Jewish phrase. It was a regular, vivid phrase for removing difficulties.” We should also note that Jesus was not offering this to His disciples as an elixir that would remove unpleasantries from their lives, so they could live problem free and abundant lives in terms of possessions. Clearly, we discern that their lives were not the model for that popular thought of our day. He was telling them how to live their lives, so that the character and power of God could be manifested as they navigated the mountains of their lives. TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain

TRUST: Go, Tell It on the Mountain. God expects every believer to see Him as the source of their strength and the one to whom they can tell on the mountain. Tell God about the mountains in your life. God tells us that the prayer offered in faith in who He is, His Person/character, and what He can do, His power, will lead to us overcoming the mountain.

What is the huge thing, challenge, trial, circumstance or situation that is real in your life today? God wants us to trust Him with it. For me, this is so on time. I am facing some real challenges to my faith – A Moment of Faith if you will. God is giving me the opportunity to exercise my faith in Him or to have, what Charles Stanley has coined, a Faith Failure. I don’t want to fail in faith because God is not pleased and my lack of faith will not only negatively impact me, but my family as well.

Lord, just as Asa did, I come before you as my only hope. You left Asa’s prayer as an encouragement and model for me, for us all. in 2 Chronicles 14, Asa said,

11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

I know that you hear me because I have received you and have believed in your name. Through Christ, I have trusted in you. I come to you in faith and humility as my only hope to Go, Tell It on the Mountain in my life at this moment – this Moment of Faith. You are my righteousness, my one defense and my confidence to say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’. I believe that you will throw it into the sea because you live to manifest your power in and through me. Lord, I believe. Thank you Lord Jesus. Father I thank you for the restoring of my peace and my faith. Hallelujah – now, I await the hurling of the horse and rider into the sea.