Archive for January, 2017

Another Amazed by Jesus but Does not Acquiesce

January 31, 2017

In the post TRUST: Astonished, Amazed or Offended by Jesus, I wrote that being astonished, amazed or offended are not novel reactions or emotions. They have been around for centuries, from the beginning of time. I am sure the first humans, Adam and Eve were astonished and amazed at what they saw and experienced. After the fall of man, I am sure they offended one another too. After reading Mark 5-6, we see those reactions surface again but in response to Christ.

The Greek word for marveled or amazed in those passages is thaumazō (thau-mä’-zō). It is the same word used in Mark 15:5 and 15:44. Strong’s translates it in the following : marvel (29x), wonder (14x), have in admiration (1x), admire (1x), marvelled (with G2258) (1x), vr wonder (1x). It means to wonder; by implication, to admire:—admire, have in admiration, marvel, wonder.

In Mark 15, we see Another Amazed by Jesus but Does not Acquiesce. This time, it is Pilate who was the sixth Roman procurator of Judah and Samaria who ordered Jesus to be crucified. Why? Pilate favored pleasing man over what is right or over God. He was a people-pleaser not a God-pleaser.

Mark 15

Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”

But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Another Amazed by Jesus but Does not Acquiesce. Pilate marveled at Jesus or was amazed at Jesus. Why did Pilate wonder or admire Jesus? I believe that Pilate wondered at Jesus because of Jesus’ response or lack there of. He was being accused of many things by the chief priests. The text tells us that Jesus still made no reply. The NKJV states it like this “But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.” Likewise, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the did not understand Jesus’ manner for giving no reply.

While they wondered at Jesus, it did not lead Pilate nor the Jewish hierarchy to value, honor or surrender to Jesus. The chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law were more absorbed  in their self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. Pilate was more concerned about pleasing the people than doing what was right or surrendering to Jesus. Another Amazed by Jesus but Does not Acquiesce.

Where are you? Are you Another Amazed by Jesus but Does not Acquiesce? Luke 23:24-25 says, “24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.” Let’s learn from Pilate. We should surrender and follow Jesus.

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The Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

January 30, 2017

Jesus does not deal in excuses. He has not nor will He ever deal in excuses. There is no reason for Him to hear or accept excuses, because, He has made appropriations for our sins and faults. He understands our human frailty which is why He came. In John 12:27, Jesus said, “27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Like the Savior, we must own up to our frailties not seeking refuge in excuses. Jesus knows that “The Spirit is Willing, but the Flesh is Weak

Mark 14 , we see Jesus’ insight into that fact in His interaction with the disciples. First, Peter, after hearing Jesus recall a prophecy that supports Jesus’ claim of the disciples falling away, vows to not fall away. Jesus tells him that not only will he fall away, but he would disown Him three times. Then, He shows the disciples that they might have the right intention of supporting Him, but they just can’t follow through on their own. He takes Peter, James and John with Him to Gethsemane as He prepared to be betrayed. He asks them to watch and pray; yet, they could not do it as they fell asleep three times. Then we see Peter’s actual incident of disowning Jesus three times as He had prophesied.

27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered.’

28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.

68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

What can we take away from this passage? A lot. I am sure that I have not captured it all as I am not the Almighty. What I do see is that when Jesus says something will be, it will be. I need to trust the Word of God. Secondly, I see that we may have great intentions, but we falter. Jesus told Peter, James and John that “The Spirit is Willing, but the Flesh is Weak“. I wonder what could be different if we did not falter in belief? I wonder what could be different if we did not fail to pray? I wonder what could be different if we walked in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than in our own strength?

As I wondered, God led me to Acts 3– where He showed me that He would do great things in and through me and that people would be offended because of what God would do through me. I must be ready to accept that I will be rejected by man. I must not be afraid, so like Jesus, God can bring glory to Himself through me. Contrast that with the motives of the chief priest in Mark 15:10 – it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. Father, I don’t want to live life out of self-interest anymore. I want to live life in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Teach me how to surrender to the Spirit moment by moment. Help me, as you say in Philippians 2:13, by working in me to will and act in order to fulfill your good pleasure. Acts 9:31 echoes what Pastor Benson presented for us this year during our time of consecration and prayer – “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” 2 Corinthians 10 gives a strategy for victory. Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” 1 John 1:7 tells us that we will have fellowship with one another if we walk in the light. 3 John 1:3 says that people will rejoice when we walk in the truth because their testimony will be as such. 

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Christ is the remedy1 John 4:4 tells us that “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 5:4-5 says, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” Father, help all who call you Lord and God to overcome this world by walking in the Spirit through faith in you.

Denying JESUS

January 28, 2017

In a strange but human way, we make and project distasteful and degrading attributes on the Apostle Peter. While we laud Peter for his unreticency, we disparage him for most of the things we read about him. Why? As a people, we love to blame and exalt ourselves above others. Simply, we are sinful. The pride we exhibit for such a great servant of God is indicative of us all. Peter did not act alone as we all are complicit in Denying JESUS!

Denying JESUS  was not Peter’s sole claim to fame. I believe that Peter’s denial is a window into the sole reason Jesus went to the cross – redemption, the Just for the unjust. By the grace of God, the story of Peter does not end at his three denials of Jesus. It really is the beginning of God’s picture of His love, grace and mercy. As you know, Peter was restored by Jesus and was instrumental in the spread of the Gospel as well as being responsible for several books in the Word of God.

Mark 14 is one of the four places in scripture that captures Peter’s instance of Denying JESUS.

66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.

68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

I am no Spurgeon (+), so I would like to share some of his points about this matter.

  • Peter’s denial greatly increased the grief of the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Peter’s fall and restoration are thus fully recorded to set forth the greatness of our Redeemer’s saving power in the immediate prospect of His cruel death upon the Cross.
  • Peter’s denial provides instructive lesson for us concerning the frailty of the best of men; therefore, trust wholly to your Master, but never trust in yourself.

Only God could make something beautiful and good out of Denying JESUS. Again, He illuminates another truth found in His Word. Romans 8 tells us that “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified

Every time we doubt; every time we disobey; every time we disbelieve, we are guilty of Denying JESUS. Hallelujah for Peter’s heartfelt and personally experienced words from 1 Peter 3:18 – 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” The chief priests, elders, teachers of the law, Herod, Pilate or any of us can rob God of His glory. God has illustrated that the worst commissions of sins, Denying JESUS, could not stop His plan for redeeming man.

Peter and one of the criminals on the cross reveal that we all can be redeemed from Denying JESUS; however, “whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.(John 3:36). There is no recovering or restoration for one who dies in that state. Surrender control of your life now and stop Denying JESUS.

They All Condemned Him to be Deserving of Death

January 27, 2017

Who deserves to be condemned to death? According to the Death Penalty Information Center, one who deserves to be condemned to death in Georgia are Murder with aggravating circumstances; kidnapping with bodily injury or ransom when the victim dies; aircraft hijacking; treason. The New York Times reported that Dylann S. Roof, the unrepentant and inscrutable white supremacist who killed nine African-American churchgoers in a brazen racial rampage almost 19 months ago, an outburst of extremist violence that shocked the nation, was condemned to death by a federal jury on Tuesday.

Typically, we lean toward those who have committed crimes that are deemed as violent and heinous as ones who deserve death, but we all are aware that some people condemned to death were not guilty. Mounting evidence shows that innocent people have been sentenced to death and that serious legal errors infect the administration of capital punishment: 156 people have been exonerated and released from death row. For every nine people executed in this country, one innocent person on death row has been identified and exonerated (eji). Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned.

As Mr. Stevenson has shown, innocent people have been deemed deserving of death. Jesus is the epitome of unjust declarations of death. The text in Mark 14 tells us that They All Condemned Him to be Deserving of Death despite the mounting evidence that He was not guilty or deserving of death.

Mark 14

55 Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. 56 For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.

57 Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, 58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59 But not even then did their testimony agree.

60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 61 But He kept silent and answered nothing.

Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”

62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”

And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

65 Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands. (NKJV)

Why did others and Jesus receive death sentences that they did not deserve? I am not sure about the others, but the bible tells us why the chief priest, elders and teachers of the law condemned Him to death.

John 11:47-54

47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”

49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples. (NKJV)

They All Condemned Him to be Deserving of Death. Essentially, Jesus was condemned to death because of envy or selfishness. Verse 48 says, “If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” Verse 53 tells us “Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.” Likewise, we too condemn Jesus in our own lives by our selfishness or idolatry, so we, like the chief priest, elders and teachers of the law, are guilty of condemning Jesus. The irony of it all is that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus never has been deserving of death, but He assumed our penalty, so we could know God.

Who deserves to be condemned to death? Romans 1 tells us that is man. Listen to what that text tells us. “29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Despite that, They All Condemned Him to be Deserving of Death.

Mark 1:15 tell us that “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

TRUST: The Son of Man will go just as it is Written about Him.

January 26, 2017

In life, we have a lot of things written about us as people. Some of those things are true and some are not. Just look around at magazines that surround cash registers. Just look at the internet and all that it contains about people, even you. Have you ever done a search of yourself? If you are not famous or have written a lot, you will be amazed at what you will see. There is one text though that intrigues me and has convinced me – The Word of God i.e. the Bible.

As I began to reread Mark 14 to see what God would speak to me about writing today, I got trapped in a thought that arose from one verse.  The excerpt below is when they were partaking of the Passover right before Jesus’ death.

17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”

20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

What the Spirit of God illuminated was the statement TRUST: The Son of Man will go just as it is Written about Him. The Spirit led me to a search in the bible for “just as it is written” and then “written

God is saying to me and to you that we must TRUST His Word. What had Jesus said that revealed how it would go for Him. In Mark 8:31, Jesus told his disciples how He would go.

The verse reads “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” In Mark 14 and 15, we see that prophecy being fulfilled.

The Reformation Study Bible addresses what Jesus says in verse 31:

must. Behind this small word is all the weight of scriptural prophecy and divinely ordained necessity (9:31; Luke 22:37; 24:7, 26, 44). Jesus’ predictions concerning His death and resurrection come out of His understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures.

suffer many things. The prediction of the suffering Messiah comes particularly from Is. 52:13–53:12. See also Zech. 9:9; 12:10; 13:7; and the Old Testament generally for the theme of the righteous sufferer.

elders. Lay members of the Sanhedrin, the court that governed Jewish affairs. The court was composed of elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law (the scribes).

chief priests. Jesus predicts that the wealthy high-priestly families who were affiliated with the Sadducees will be involved in His death.

after three days. See Hos. 6:2. This is also a conventional expression for a short period.

rise again. See Is. 52:13; 53:10; cf. Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13, 14.

TRUST: The Son of Man will go just as it is Written about Him. The reality is that all those events transpired just as Jesus said. The Word of God substantiated itself in itself. The point is that we should trust the Word of God. Remember that Jesus is the Word. 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.” Jesus is all those things. We can trust the Word. We can trust Jesus because it will go just as it is written about Him.

TRUST: The Son of Man will go just as it is Written about Him. Furthermore, all will go in our lives just as it is written. While we do not know what will specifically happen to us at each moment like Jesus, we are required to TRUST God like Jesus did. We can trust Him because what He says He will do. What has been written about us that we know of? A great deal. 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us “20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” We don’t know all of the promises God has made. What I mean is we can’t remember them all even if we were able to write them down line by line as we read the the Word. Despite that, God’s Word is true and should be TRUSTED. Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” We can take from this that the number of our days that are written in His Book are numbered. We will get no more or no less. Acts 17:26-28 tells us “26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” There is so much contained in those three verses, but I want to focus on the fact that verse 26 tells us God chose the times and places for all of us to live. Not only are the days of our lives ordained but when and where as well.

There is no mistake that I live where I live, work where I work at this very time in my life. I believe it is all written. I can TRUST: The Son of Man will go just as it is Written about Him. Consequently, I can TRUST my life will go just as it is written about me. As such, it would behoove me to search the scriptures for everything written about me, so I can be confident in the midst of betrayal and denial in my life. Jesus knew who was going to betray Him, how it would happen and when it would happen. It is His focus on God being sovereign and that things would go just as it was written that gave Him peace. I want peace. Jesus said, “26 But the Advocate, 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. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14)

TRUST: The Son of Man will go just as it is Written about Him. Likewise, it will go for you just as it is written. Father, Matthew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Give me an unquenchable hunger and thirst for righteousness. Father, Jeremiah 15:16 says, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” Please make your Word my joy and heart’s delight for I bear your name Lord God Almighty. You deserve me to live in such a way to honor you and your servant Jesus’ sacrifice. Father, bless me in those ways. Make me hunger and thirst for your Word.

Join me in pursuing God through His Word, so we will know what has been written.

TRUST: Some Times, It is time to Talk.

January 25, 2017

In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon tells us “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” We also learn that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak” In the post TRUST: Some Times, It’s Best to be Silent, Jesus modeled when and how to be silent. In that post, I shared that the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together to bring people to come and give false testimony about Jesus. During that time of false accusation, Jesus remained silent. He did not respond to the false testimony or lies. The high priest stood up and asked Jesus “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” Jesus did not because it was not time. Jesus stood on the principle found in  1 Peter 2:23 says, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”” Jesus TRUSTED God, God’s promises, God’s testimony about Himself; therefore, Jesus did not have to respond to the false testimony.

Though that is true, we learn when Jesus did respond. It reveals TRUST: Some Times, It is time to Talk. 

Mark 14

55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’”59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

62 “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.”

63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

From the text, we know that the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. Despite false testimony, they found no viable, righteous or true reason to put Jesus to death. Jesus knew that He came to die for the sins of man. He had told His disciples as much (Mark 8:31Mark 9:31Mark 10:33Mark 10:45Mark 14:21, Mark 14:41). In Mark 10:45, He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus was acutely aware of why He was here. That is where we struggle. We exchange our reason for being, to bring glory to God and to enjoy Him while doing so, for our own selfish purposes. That is when trouble begins for us. As Jesus stood before them, He reveals TRUST: Some Times, It is time to Talk. 

Earlier when they falsely accused Him, He said nothing. Now, He speaks.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

62 “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.”

Remember in Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”  Again in Exodus 6:2-3, “God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them.” The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin knew full well that Jesus was declaring that He was not only the Son of God, but that we also God Himself. TRUST: Some Times, It is time to Talk. It was time to talk. It was time to tell them who He was, why He came and what would happen on His return. 

As students of the Old Testament texts, the priest, elders and teachers of the law realized that Jesus was equating Himself with God and that He would be involved with judging the world including them just as God had pronounced judgement on Jerusalem. Daniel 7 would no doubt be on their minds. Jesus had told His disciples  “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:26). As such, He conveyed that He would be involved with the final judgement upon His return. He was only conveying that to the Jews who were not following Him.

TRUST: Some Times, It is time to Talk. When is it time to talk? When we are proclaiming the truth about God to those who need to hear the truth. Jesus did not defend Himself to them because He did not need to nor would they have believed Him which is why He tells them “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” At that, then they will truly know that He is the Son of God. It was a truly a judgement on them. The Centurion in Mark 15 was able to come into the belief that Jesus was the Son of God; yet, they would not.

If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, it is time to talk to others about who He is, why He came and why He will return.  TRUST: Some Times, It is time to Talk. Tell the Truth and shame the devil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: Some Times, It’s Best to be Silent

January 23, 2017

Growing up, I always had something to say especially in response to those who had something to say about me that was negative. I know others who are normally very docile, but the beast comes out in them when people accuse them of things they are not or did not do. It is natural for people to defend themselves. We see it all the time even with our new President. While I respect him, he, nor any other, is not the model. The model has shown us that we need TRUST: Some Times, It’s Best to be Silent.

Who is the model? Who is the example we should follow or pattern ourselves after? Jesus Christ. In Mark 14, we see the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together to bring people to come and give false testimony about Jesus. In the vernacular, they were lying on Jesus. How did He respond to lies?

60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.

The NKJV translates verse 61 as “But He kept silent and answered nothing.” Whether He remained silent or kept silent, we need to note that Jesus did not say anything. I am sure that there are a myriad of reasons why Jesus remained silent, but, I hear the Spirit saying repeatedly to me TRUST: Some Times, It’s Best to be Silent. The Spirit directed me to one verse that answers it. 1 Peter 2:23 says, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.””

What lesson is there for us? What are we to learn from the model, Jesus Christ? Hebrews 12:3 tells us Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 1 Peter 3:9 tells us “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” This is certainly not natural but spiritual. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us,(crf). Perhaps, responding in that manner would lead us into sin. As the model, Jesus always lived in a way that takes us to the higher level, the higher way.

TRUST: Some Times, It’s Best to be Silent. Why? Jesus modeled it.  It is an extremely hard tasks to do; however, Jesus remained or kept which shows that we too have a choice. Not only do we have the choice, we have the power to do so. Titus 2:11-12 conveys that to us where it says, “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” We struggle mightily in controlling our tongue and our anger.

TRUST: Some Times, It’s Best to be Silent. When is that? Jesus focused on being who He was not on what others accused Him of. When we are confident in who were are and whose we are, we do not have to defend ourselves as we are being accused or mischaracterized. Remember that great accuser is at the heart of all lies against those in Christ. We know we have nothing to prove especially to those who have shown they care not for us or for the cause of Christ. Jesus tells us to “20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”

TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence

January 19, 2017

When things go awry in life, we love to assign responsibility or fault to another. That is what we call blame. We love to play the blame game, but it is not a new phenomena. We can go back to the beginning to see this in Adam and Eve. Genesis 3 tells us that after man had violated God’s law, sinned in other words, he first hid. Seeing that he could not conceal his sin or wrong, what did Adam do? He blamed God and Eve. “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”” Adam tried to assign fault to God and Eve for what he did wrong, but TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence that God did wrong.

Now fast forward to the incarnation, man still is trying to blame God, but TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. Let’s see it in

Mark 14

53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’”59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

Try as they may, all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law “were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.” They could not find any evidence to convict Jesus because there is no wrong in Christ. Similarly, we too try to find reasons to assign blame to Jesus when things do not go the way we desire them to go. We begin to assault God’s character. We say things like “If God loved me, he would not let…” We say things like God why didn’t you stop that from happening. We say things like God is not fair. We say things like Why is God doing this to me. TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. 

When we suffer disappointment, hardship, loss or tragedy, many times we blame God because we lose sight of who He is, His character, and what He has done, His power or work. We forget Peter‘s admonition “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”We forget that God has given us power over sin, but has not taken us out of the presence of sin. For those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, Paul tells us why they blame God in 2 Corinthians 4:4.  It says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Lastly, we all forget that we can TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence that God has done wrong just all those who sought to find wrong in Jesus at His time before the cross.

Our false thoughts and statements are no more effective and valid than those who falsely testified against Jesus before the all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law. I warn all who call Christ Savior and Lord to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. We have been commanded to demolish argument and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. When we do, we see the lies that we may believe in blaming God; “21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:21-22).

TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. If you still think God is to blame, we need to again stand on the Word in Proverbs 28:26 which says, “Those who trust in themselves are fools,     but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” Lastly, you should know that Paul tells us “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

TRUST: We Can’t Find The Evidence. Believe it. 

But the Scriptures must be fulfilled

January 17, 2017

Time is a consuming concept. While God exists outside of time because of His eternal nature, man, while constrained by physical life, is confined by time. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, …” When it was time to for God to reveal that Abraham would have a son with Sarah, she laughed at the impossibility of it. In that same passage, the time for judgement for Sodom and Gomorrah was revealed. When Hezekiah was told that he would die from his illness, he desired more time. When they ran out of wine at the wedding, Jesus’ mother wanted Him to fix the situation. He said to her, “ “Woman, why do you involve me?  My hour has not yet come.”

What determines whether it is time? Jesus answers it in Mark 1:15. Jesus said, “The time has come,The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Furthermore, our passage today in Mark 14, Jesus sheds greater light on whether the time has come when He said, “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.

At the inception of the text here, Jesus knew His time to be offered as a sacrifice was about to come. That is why He went to the garden to pray. Jesus raises the matter of time again with the crowd that came with swords and clubs to capture him (v.48). He said, “Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. ” Why didn’t they arrest Jesus any of those times that He taught people? Jesus answers it. It was not time, but now it is time for Him to be arrested. Why is it time? Jesus said it would not be time “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

Jesus gives us insight into the events of our lives. Just as there were appointed times in Jesus’ life for the plan and character of God to be revealed, it is the same with us. God has determined the time and place for us to live (Acts 17:26). As Ecclesiastes informs us, there is a time for everything. God has seen and determined our unformed bodies and all the days ordained for us were written in His book (Psalm 139:16).  In Mark 14, Jesus shares when and why things happen in time – But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

What does that have to do with us? Romans 8 tells us that “26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 

For the follower of Christ, our lives are full of moments that are designed to conformed to the image of Christ (v.29), so that He will bring glory to God by glorifying us as we enter into the presence of Almighty God. What time is it? Time in of itself means nothing But the Scriptures must be fulfilled, so I am grateful for time. God is working in all of us who follow Jesus His plan to conform us to the likeness of Christ. Hallelujah. 

TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

January 16, 2017

In previous post such as More Claims: Whose the real prophet?TRUST: You Can Believe the Prophet, and TRUST: The Prophet, Promise and Power of Christmas, I have shared that Jesus is more that Savior. He is God. He is the true prophet, and He fulfills prophecy.v TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

Zechariah 13:7

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
    against the man who is close to me!”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered,
    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

That is a prophecy concerning Jesus and His disciples. Now in Mark 14, we see the fulfillment of that prophecy and others. TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.

In verse 27 of Mark 14, Jesus told them “ “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” The latter is a reference to Zechariah 13:7. 

When the crowd with swords and clubs came, we see in the text above that “everyone deserted him and fled.” It is not a slight against all who were following Him including the twelve, but it was a prophecy that had to be fulfilled. He also told them in John 16:33 that ““A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone.Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”TRUST: We Are Never Alone!

As with Jesus, God has promised and prophesied that He would never leave us alone.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace willbewithyou.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
TRUST: We Are Never Alone! If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, He has promised that you are never alone. Just as He told Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”, we have that promise too in Christ Jesus. No matter where you are you are never alone with Jesus as your Lord and Savior.