Archive for March, 2017

Breaking Rank

March 6, 2017

Breaking Rank is defined as to march or charge out of the designated order in a military unit. (idiomatic) To publicly disagree with one’s own group or organization. In all of society, whether formal or informal, social structures exists. In the military or on the play ground, social structures exists where we must all navigate. Typically, as a people, we tend to go in the direction of the crowd. What are the conditions that cause one to be seen as one who is Breaking Rank? I submit that it is when one is in a position where he must choose one path or another.

One of the social structures in Jewish culture during the life of Jesus was the the Council or the Sanhedrin. “The Sanhedrin, is the Great Council at Jerusalem, consisting of 71 members, namely, prominent members of the families of the high priest, elders and scribes. The Jews trace the origin of this to Numbers 11:16. The more important causes came up before this tribunal. The Roman rulers of Judea permitted the Sanhedrin to try such cases, and even to pronounce sentence of death, with the condition that such a sentence should be valid only if confirmed by the Roman Procurator. In John 11:47, it is used of a meeting of the Sanhedrin; in Act 4:15, of the place of meeting.”(Vines from BLB)

The Sanhedrin or the Council was the ruling body of the Jews. If one was a part of that group, it would be seen as social suicide by Breaking Rank. This

Mark 15

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God,went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Joseph of Arimathea is one was who finally seen as Breaking Rank. For some time, we know that Joseph and Nicodemus were intrigued with Jesus and eventually followed Him secretly. We see that definitively in John 19. Joseph, as we all will, had to face that moment where following Jesus has to be decided in the open before everyone.  Luke 23 tells us more about that Moment of Faith where Joseph of Arimathea is seen as Breaking Rank with the Sanhedrin. Let’s see what Luke tells us.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

Mark tells us that Joseph went boldly to Pilate asking for Jesus’ body. In that, we see Joseph definitively place Christ as Lord of his life. Joseph put his position, his power and his money in honor of Jesus. Luke tells us that Joseph had already been seen as Breaking Rank agains the Council. He did not consent with their decision and action to falsely blame and crucify Jesus. Going against the Sanhedrin and Pilate could have been a death sentence socially and politically, but his allegiance to Christ was more important to Joseph, so Breaking Rank was simply a function of following Jesus at that moment. He used his position as a member of the Sanhedrin to gain access to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ Not only did Joseph position, he used his money to secure the burial place for Jesus.

Where did this boldness come from? 2 Corinthians 3:12  tells us “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” I am sure that God enabled Joseph to be bold in his support of Jesus his Lord. Do you have hope in Jesus that will allow you to be seen as Breaking Rank? What are the social and political structures that constrain you? When will your moment surface that causes you to be seen as Breaking Rank? Has that moment come and gone? Do you feel you have missed the opportunity to side with Jesus? Never fear, Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” If you are reading this, God is offering you an opportunity to be seen as Breaking Rank with people that side against Christ. Choose wisely.

 

 

 

Not Jesus’ Body but His Spirit

March 3, 2017

Throughout time, people ask God for all kinds of things. Some noble; some ridiculous. As a teenager, I too recall asking God for favors. In my reading the Word, I remember the mother of James and John asking Jesus a favor. In Matthew 20:21, she said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” Now in Mark, we see Joseph, while asking God through Pilate, asking for Jesus’ body after His crucifixion.

Mark 15

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God,went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

After Jesus’ death, Joseph went to Pilate boldly to ask for Jesus’ body. The NKJV states it like this “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” I am sure His boldness or courage came from God. I am convinced that God led Him to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body in order fulfill God’s redemptive plan of which the resurrection was the essential part. What does that mean to you or me when asking God Not Jesus’ Body but His Spirit.

The resurrection provides hope for all who TRUST in Jesus for salvation. In 2 Corinthians 3:12, Paul tells us “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”  I ask God Not Jesus’ Body but His Spirit. Actually, when a person surrender’s his/her life to Christ as Lord and Savior, the Bible teaches that God gives the Holy Spirit as deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. Famed commentator, Matthew Henry, wrote “Heaven is an inheritance which gives an indefeasible right to all the heirs; it is an inheritance like that of the Israelites in Canaan, which was by promise and yet by lot, but was sure to all the seed…This inheritance is entailed upon and secured to all those, and those only, that are sanctified; …Those therefore that would make out a title to that inheritance must make it sure that they are among the sanctified” We know that it is only Jesus our God, His Word and His Spirit that sanctifies which is why I ask God Not Jesus’ Body but His Spirit.

If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior, you need to humbly turn to Him for salvation. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 says, “16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” I encourage you to be bold and ask God Not Jesus’ Body but His Spirit.

Redeemed by Jesus, The Passover Lamb

March 1, 2017

In the Word of God, there is so much foreshadowing and prophecy that it is unreal. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19) We see from that text that man’s redemption was wrought by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. In the cross and the resurrection, we see that man is Redeemed by Jesus, The Passover Lamb.

The gospels give us an account of how man is Redeemed by Jesus, The Passover Lamb

Mark 15

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”….

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached,

The day on which Christ died is called “the Preparation” in Mark 15:42; John 19:31; in John 19:42“the Jews’ Preparation. The reference to Preparation would be to the 6th day of the week where there was a need of preparing food for the Sabbath. In Mark 14:12 , we we see  Jesus and the disciples discussing preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and The Passover. This feast symbolized the removal of sin in the life of Israelite believers (Ex. 12:14–20). The Passover meal fell on the first day of this feast (v. 1 note; Ex. 12:14, 15), the fourteenth day after the beginning of the Jewish year (Ex. 12:6).

Redeemed by Jesus, The Passover LambJesus died at Passover, the feast that celebrates how the blood of a lamb protected the Israelites in Egypt from God’s wrath. Jesus’ death shows the profound continuity in the divine plan of redemption (crf. 1 Corinthians 5:7). In the order of these feasts is affirmed the priority of God’s act of salvation (Passover and redemption) over against all our works of righteousness (Feast of Unleavened Bread and the believer’s putting away of sin).

Jesus embodied the foreshadowing of the Passover in Exodus. Jesus also fulfilled the prophecy to Abraham where God said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” God was accounting for the fall of man that was initiated with Adam and Eve. Back then, God knew that man would be Redeemed by Jesus, The Passover Lamb.

Have you been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb? Hebrews 9:22 says, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (NKJV) or 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NIV) Without Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, each person will be accountable to God for his/her own sins. Romans 6:23 tells us “For the wages of sin is death”.  Be Redeemed by Jesus, The Passover Lamb and live escaping death, the eternal separation from God.