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Posts tagged ‘christian’

Alphy and the Lord’s Prayer!

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What’s It All About, Alphy?

Alphy the WOWChurch Cat has a new book out! Alphy the WOWChurch Cat is on an adventure! In this book, his adventures take Alphy to explore the Lord’s Prayer – perhaps the most misunderstood prayer of all!! What will he find? You will have to read to find out! Come and discover with him!Check the preview video out and the Amazon links…

40 pages. Fully illustrated. UK Price is £4.99 and USA price is $9.99! Every purchase helps me out and I also put a percentage to good causes close to my heart !

Purchase at Amazon UK – Purchase at Amazon USA – Purchase at CreateSpace USA

Let me know what you think!

Alphy!

 

Jesus the Risen King

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Jesus the Risen King

1 Corinthians 15v1-8: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, all tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb. What do these four Gospels say about the resurrection and Jesus’ rising from the dead?

Let us first look at the sequence of events over the period of time after Jesus death till He ascended. Some of the sequence events have more than one Gospel reporting them, but for brevity, I will only give one reference to Scripture.

The tomb is empty

  • Two Marys watch the burial: Matthew27v61, Mark 15v47, Luke23v54-55,
  • Roman soldiers guard the tomb: Matthew 27v62-66,
  • Women prepare spices then rest: Luke 23v56,
  • An angel rolls the stone away: Matthew 28v2-4
  • Women arrive at dawn with spices: Matthew 28v1, Mark 16v1-4, Luke 24v1-3, John 20v1
  • Angels appear to women: Matthew 28v5-7, Mark 16v5-7, Luke 24v4-8,
  • Women dart back to tell disciples: Matthew 28v8, Mark 16v8, Luke 24v9-11, John 20v2
  • Peter and John investigate the empty tomb: Luke 24v12, John 20v3-9
  • Peter and John go home: Luke 24v12, John 20v10
  • Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb: John 20v11
  • Mary sees two angels: John 20v12-13

Jesus’ appearances

  • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: Mark 16v9, John 20v14-17
  • Jesus appears to the other women: Matthew 28v9-10,
  • Women report to the disciples: Mark 16v10-11, John 20v18
  • Guards testify to the priests: Matthew 28v11-15,
  • Jesus meets two people on the Emmaus Road: Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32,
  • Jesus appears to Simon Peter: 1 Corinthians 15v5, Luke 24v34,
  • 2 report to disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24v33-35,
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples less Thomas: Luke 24v36-43, John 20v19-24
  • Disciples report to Thomas: John 20v25
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples and Thomas: Mark 16v14, John 20v26-29
  • Jesus appears to seven people: John 21v1-14
  • Jesus questions Peter 3 times: John 21v15-23
  • Jesus appears to 500 people: 1 Corinthians 15v6
  • Jesus appears to James: 1 Corinthians 15v7

Evidences for the resurrection

These facts remain for the resurrection:

  • The changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus. They changed from defeated, cowardly people to victorious, brave people.
  • Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so. Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles.
  • The multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.
  • The survival and inordinate growth and impact of the early church. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus’ would people really have risked persecution and death for a knowing lie?

Dealing with Doubters

  • Lets say Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Surely the authorities would have produced his dead body in order to quench the new movement! But they didn’t.
  • Secondly, would the disciples have really risked death for telling and maintaining a lie about the risen Jesus? They were beaten, confused and defeated men until they saw Jesus truly did rise from the dead. After seeing Him, they were transformed and victorious people.
  • Thirdly, somebody stole the body. Hardly likely, and if that did occur, for what reason? How would they have got past the Roman Guard and moved the stone a great distance from the tomb?
  • Fourthly, Jesus didn’t die but merely fainted and recovered consciousness in the tomb. Even the sceptics disagree with this theory, one of whom said “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life”.
  • Fifthly, they all went to the wrong tomb. Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done.
  • Lastly, Jesus didn’t die on the cross but somebody was substituted for him. This is certainly untenable, given the rigidity and strict record keeping of Roman rule and with the eyes of the Jewish hierarchy watching.

Significance of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1v22; Acts 4v33, Acts 17v18). But what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

  • The resurrection proved and vindicated all Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to His being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53v10-12; Acts 2v36; Acts 3v13-15; Romans 1v4).
  • Declared God’s approval of Jesus obedient service and the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises, resulting in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ, which was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2v32, Romans 4v24-25)
  • Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15v12-58, Romans 8v10, 2 Corinthians 4v14; 1 Peter 1v3 & 21)
  • As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5v10; Hebrews 6v20, 1 Peter 1v21).

Jesus still meets people today

As Jesus is still living, He meets with people at the present time. How does He do this?

  • Jesus walks with us, whereever we go and in particular in the darkest periods of our life. Just as he did with the two people on the road to Emmaus, he walks with those who proclaim to follow Him (Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32)
  • Jesus speaks whenever the Bible is faithfully preached and read from, just as He opened the eyes of those on the Emmaus road when He explained the Scriptures (Luke 24v27).
  • Jesus meets us in the Communion, with the bread and wine, which symbolise His flesh and blood.

For more to think about please do read John 20 & 21. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How does my faith journey compare to that of Thomas’?

Q2. What can I learn from Peter and the responses he gave?

Q3. How do I still encounter the risen Lord in my daily walk with Him?

 

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Jesus Last Teaching

83. Partake – Jesus Last Teaching

“But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.” (John 16v5-7)

In these last few chapters before He is crucified, Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples and giving them some final teaching before He departs. Several times He has told them He is going away (John 13v33; John 14v3-4, 19, 28). Today we are going to go quickly through John 15-16

Disciples must bear fruit for the kingdom! (John 15v1-16)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15v1-2)

As usual Jesus uses Old Testament language, for in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is often seen as a vine (Jeremiah 2v21; Psalm 80). However as a vine, Israel had not produced fruit that God had expected as explained in Isaiah 5v1-2 “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.”

With Jesus describing Himself as the true Vine, the implication is clear that the nation of Israel was but an imperfect precursor to His perfect self. With Jesus as the vine, all believers are the branches, and all believers draw spiritual nourishment from Him. As part of this nourishment, sometimes pruning is required (John 15v2). Cleansing is also required in order that fruit be borne from the Christian Disciple. This cleansing is through regular confession of sin and partaking of Holy Communion as explained in the foot-washing scene of John 13. To prove to others they are His followers and His disciples, Jesus tells them they are to continue loving Him and also to sacrificially love others joyfully (John 15v12-14). By doing these things, which is now their mission statement, they will bear much good fruit for God’s greater glory (John 15v8). The same is true of us today, if we are Christian Disciples.

Disciples will suffer for the kingdom (John 15v18-27)

John 15v18: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

Having spoken of love and bearing fruit, Jesus now declares a warning and the context into which He is sending them. We learn from this passage that opposition to Jesus’ message is unavoidable. The first opposition is that of the old nature attacking the new nature. Christian Disciples, Jesus said, were called out from the world (John 15v19). Christian Disciples upon conversion belong to a different place and are heading for a different place . Secondly, opposition is to be expected simply because of who Jesus is (John 15v21). Christian Disciples share in the life of Jesus and the way the world treats Jesus is the way the world treats all His disciples (John 15v20-21). Thirdly, opposition comes through revealing evil. Jesus, as the Light of the World, exposed evil and sin through His words (John 15v22) and works (John 15v24). At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus commanded all those who follow Him, to also be “lights of the world” (Matthew 5v14-16). This is done by consistently ensuring that our works and words match our lifestyle and that no hypocrisy will be found. Opposition brings persecution, and regularly throughout history, Christian believers have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus. In our own time, perhaps the most persecuted century of all. Being a Christian is not an easy decision, but it is worth it. It is also endurable because of three things: God still remains Lord God despite all; .we share in Jesus’ own sufferings and therefore have fellowship with Him (Philippians 3v10) and by being persecuted, it shows we belong to Him (John 15v19).

The main reason all opposition can be endured is because the Christian Disciple is not alone. God the Holy Spirit witnesses with the Christian Disciple (John 15v26). Not as a supplementary person filling a perfunctory role, but rather as the pioneer going out to testify about Jesus ahead (John 15v26) of the Christian Disciple (John 15v27).

Disciples will have resources in the Kingdom (John 16)

The first resource that Christian Disciples have is, as we have already seen, the Holy Spirit. After all, He is the real evangelist. In conjunction with Him, the Christian Disciple has three resources to use: proclaiming, counselling and discipling.

Proclaiming (John 16v1-7): this is the proclaiming and elucidating work about Jesus that the Spirit performs. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection (John 16v14). If Jesus did not go back to glory, and the Holy Spirit was not sent, then the pioneering work of the Holy Spirit would be missing from evangelism and mission. Not only does the Holy Spirit direct people to Jesus, but take them to Him.

Counselling (John 16v8-11): As well as proclaiming about Jesus, the Holy Spirit speaks to people’s hearts personally – one to one. He convinces people hearing of God’s Word of three things: their own sin (John 16v8); their separation from a righteous God (John 16v10) and also in regards to the judgement of Satan and all who follow him (John 16v11). In these three things, a person is led to the Cross in order to confess their sin and need of Jesus Christ and the salvation only He can provide.

Discipling (John 16v12-16): Once bought to faith, the Holy Spirit performs several tasks for the Twelve Disciples: He will guide them into all truth and develop what is coming in the future (John 16v13). The New Testament is the product of this work and that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For the Christian Disciple today, the Holy Spirit helps them to apply the Bible to their life in order that Jesus Christ be glorified (John 16v14).

The second resource available to the Christian Disciple is Jesus Himself! (John 16v16-33)

His presence! The twelve disciples will experience sorrow and loss when Jesus is crucified. But after the resurrection, their sorrow will turn to great joy – similar to the exceeding joy after the pains of childbirth! Christian Disciples today also have Jesus’ presence with them, particularly when engaged in doing the work of an evangelist!

His provision! Through answered prayer, joy abounds (John 16v24)! Prayer is gong to be of prime importance for the twelve disciples as it is a way to ensure unabated joy!

His position! Jesus has overcome the world (John 16v33) and nothing can prevail against Him!

For more to think about please do read John 15-16 and ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. As a Christian Disciple, what fruit am I producing?

Q2. Why do I suffer and endure persecution for being a Christian Disciple?

Q3. How does knowing that the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus before me, help me in my evangelism?

Q4. When was the last time I showed exceeding joy for the reasons Jesus gives in John 16?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you.

 

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Paypal Donate By using this Paypal Donate button you will be helping to provide these resources… Prayerfully consider how little or how much you may like to donate. Paypal is totally secure and is operated by the same people as eBay. There is absolutely no obligation to do so if you desire not to and all downloads will continue to be free of charge… Thank you

Jesus Reaches Out

81 Partake – The Christian Disciple and Jesus Reaches Out

In the previous Podcast we saw two different people approach Jesus differently. We saw the rich young ruler who was eager and keen to meet with Jesus, running and kneeling before Him, only to leave in sorrow at the cost of discipleship. We then saw Nicodemus coming at night to Jesus in order to check out what Jesus was all about for himself. This time we will see two more people encountering Jesus under different circumstances, as He reaches out to them.

1. Woman at the well John 4

John 4v1-4: The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria.

Now we come to see somebody who accepted Jesus for who he was. Jesus went via Samaria as it was the shortest route back to Galilee. It was hot. Jesus was thirsty and wanted a drink. His disciples had gone into town to get food. So he asks a Samaritan woman to fetch him some water from the well. That he asked a Samaritan would have been bad enough, but to also talk to a woman!

The woman

We don’t know the name of this anonymous woman. But by looking at this conversation between Jesus and her, we discover several things about her?

  • That she was a Samaritan. There was equal animosity between Jews and Samaritans, hence the end of John 4v9: “(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.” This could equally be translated as “for Jews do not ask any favours of the Samaritans”. The Samaritans were a mixed race people of both Jewish and Assyrian descent from the time of the division of Israel into two parts and the annexation of the Northern kingdom by Assyria. 2 Kings 17 tells us that Assyria repopulated this area.
  • She was an outcast, that’s why she was fetching water at the hottest part of the day! This was probably due to her sexual immorality having had 5 husbands and currently in a 6th relationship (John 4v18).
  • She was waiting for the Messiah (John 4v25)

Jesus

What does this tell about Jesus?

  • Tells us of his genuine humanity. He was tired, drained, hot, thirsty and hungry – normal human feeling and reactions.
  • Jesus contravened tradition in that He spoke to a woman who was a Samaritan and a sinner. Respectable Jewish men never did that sort of thing!
  • He showed great humility by asking for a drink of water, he was putting himself in her debt.
  • He knew the woman’s life of sinfulness (John 4v17)
  • Tells us of his divinity, when he offered her the water of eternal life (John 4v14).
  • He was able to spiritually satisfy (John 4v14)
  • Loved the woman, and gave her the most revealing and explicit statement we have in the Gospels as to who He really was (John 4v26).
  • In showing love for the woman, he transcended cultural barriers. Ordinary Jewish men would never ask a Samaritan woman for a drink! Hence the disciples reaction in John 4v27! But Jesus is no ordinary man, his love is for all, whether they be rich, learned, male, female, wanted and unwanted!
  • Shows us that Jesus’ offer of salvation is for all people, and not just the Jews.

The woman misunderstood the living water He offered as she probably thought he meant running water or water from a river! But the living water Jesus offered was spiritual water to cleanse her from sin and give eternal life. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, God is described as “a fountain of living water” (Jeremiah 2v13; Jeremiah 17v13).

When the disciples returned, the woman left her water jar and went back to the town to tell other people about Jesus (John 4v29-30). Many people came to faith in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony (John 4v39-42) and knew Him as the saviour of the world (John 4v42).

As Jesus’ ministry continues, we know that He spoke to people regardless of their social status, education, nationality or gender.

2. Woman caught in adultery (John 8v1–11)

John 8v1-6: But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

 

Jesus, as all Rabbis and teachers did, was at the temple teaching and talking with people. It was also part of the role of the rabbi/teachers to ascertain what to do in certain difficult moral and legal situations. As part of this role, the Pharisees dragged an unknown woman charged with adultery. Likewise with the Samaritan woman, we don’t know this woman’s name either! The Pharisees lay a trap for Jesus. If Jesus said to stone the woman, then the Romans could arrest Jesus for it was Roman law that any death must be conducted by them and not by others. If Jesus says to release the woman, then the Pharisees would say that Jesus is contravening Scripture and the Law of Moses. So what does Jesus do? He writes in the dirt (John 8v6). We don’t know what He wrote, but from the Greek word for write, we understand that He was seemingly writing a report and that when in he says in John 8v7 “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”, He is in fact saying “If any one of you is without this sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” So if any of the Pharisees had not committed adultery, whether in the mind or the actual physical act, then they could have stoned her. As it was, they left one by one, the oldest first (John 8v9).

He must have also been indignant at the way the Pharisees who were hypocrites were quick to condemn others, so maybe Jesus was reminding them also of Jeremiah 17v13: “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water.So instead of passing judgement on the woman and also by eluding the trap of the Pharisees, Jesus passed judgement on the judges. Jesus having forgiven the woman of her sin, then charges her to leave her life of sin (John 8 v11). This reminds us that with the forgiveness of sin, comes a responsibility to live a life worthy of Jesus and to pursue righteousness.

With both these woman, Jesus showed His compassion and forgiveness. These two woman were outcasts of their society, but Jesus showed them mercy and forgiveness and loved them. We read of the many people coming to faith because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony. There is no room in Christianity for actions and attitudes that defy Jesus ever-reaching and all encompassing forgiveness and love. His Gospel as He always shows is for all people everywhere, regardless of gender, race, age, culture or social status.

 

For more to think about please do ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. What do these two examples tell of us Jesus’ attitude towards sin?

Q2. How am I sometimes like the Pharisees in condemning others?

Q3. What can I learn about evangelism from both Jesus and the two women?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you.

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By using this Paypal Donate button you will be helping to provide these resources… Prayerfully consider how little or how much you may like to donate. Paypal is totally secure and is operated by the same people as eBay. There is absolutely no obligation to do so if you desire not to and all downloads will continue to be free of charge… Thank you

Jesus Encounters

80. Partake – The Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Encounters

We know Jesus spoke to and interacted with large crowds. The Sermon on the Mount, the feeding of large crowds just a couple of examples. But we also have records of his encounters with individuals and their reaction to him. People who we talk to about Him, often have three reactions: rejection (either in sorrow or anger); more to think about it; and acceptance. We are going to look at two encounters that we find in the Gospels, what Jesus had to say to them and their subsequent reactions: his encounter with the rich young ruler and his meeting with Nicodemus. Next time we will look at two examples of those who accepted and believed in Him.

1. Rich young ruler Matthew 19:16-26 Mark 10v17-22 Luke 18:18-27

Mark 10v17: As Jesus started on his way; a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.'”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

This story is in all three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke describes him as a wealthy ruler (Luke 18v18-27). Matthew describes him as a young man (Matthew 19v16-26). In Mark’s account, he is simply a man (Mark 10v17-22). Put altogether that makes him a rich young ruler. He runs up to Jesus and falls on his knees before Him. He wants eternal life, wants it now and so asks Jesus about it. When he calls Jesus a good teacher, Jesus responds “No one is good—except God alone.”

Now Jesus could have been correcting the young man, but more likely Jesus was asking: “Do you know what you are saying and how close to the truth about me you are?” This young man had fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus (Mark 10v19). However when Jesus said to the young ruler that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, the man left rejected.

That was a step too far for the rich young ruler. He wanted his riches and also eternal life but Jesus said he couldn’t have both. He remains the only man who left Jesus’ presence sorrowful, and that due to putting his trust in his riches & wealth alone. Now riches are not necessarily wrong but they do make trusting fully in God very difficult (Mark 10v23).

2. Nicodemus John 3v1-21

John 3v1-3: Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[

Nicodemus wants to know more about Jesus and investigate Him personally, instead of following the majority of the other Jewish leaders. What do we know about Nicodemus?

  • Member of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin
  • A leading teacher and learned scholar of the Scriptures
  • From other sources we know he may well have been from a family of wealthy landowners
  • Protested against Jesus’ condemnation without a trial (John 7v50-52)
  • Took gifts to anoint Jesus’ body (John 19v39-40)

Nicodemus was probably one of the many looking for a kingdom of God based around a political Messiah; hence him admitting that due to his miraculous signs, Jesus must have been from God. They wanted a Messiah who was a political leader who would lead Israel to be a shining light for the whole world to come to Jerusalem and worship the one true living God. However, Jesus corrects Nicodemus and says that it is not through a new Israel that God’s kingdom will be seen, but by being “born again”.

Three times in this conversation, Jesus repeats about being “born again”. What does “born again” mean?

  • It is not a physical rebirth and nor is it merely a turning over a new leaf.
  • It is not baptism because Jesus has not instituted baptism yet!
  • It is the new covenant, which Nicodemus should have known about it (Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36). It is being born with water and spirit – cleansed of sin and indwelt with the Holy Spirit
  • It is being born from above, which is looking to the one who has come down from heaven. For the phrase “born again” can also be translated “born from above”.
  • It is looking to Jesus and trusting in him just as the ancient Israelites were saved by looking at the bronze snake (Numbers 21v8)
  • It is on an individual basis just as physical birth is. Nobody knows the date and time of their own birth unless they are told by somebody!

Jesus seemed astonished that the teacher didn’t already know that, being as Nicodemus was a highly educated and learned teacher!

 

So there we have 2 different reactions to Jesus: The rich young ruler who left full of sorrow; the Jewish leader who left with more to think about regarding this Jesus. In each encounter, Jesus is remarkably comfortable with all two people. He loved the rich young ruler (Mark 10v21)His love surrounded them, just as His love surrounds all people today. His message of salvation, through Him alone, is for everybody of all time.

For more to think about please do ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Please read Mark 10v17-22. What things may be hindering me from fully trusting in God for all things?

Q2. Read John 3v1-21. What does this Scripture tell me about God’s salvation?

Q3. How does Jesus’ approach to telling people about salvation inspire me to do likewise?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you

Paypal DonateBy using this Paypal Donate button you will be helping to provide these resources… Prayerfully consider how little or how much you may like to donate. Paypal is totally secure and is operated by the same people as eBay. There is absolutely no obligation to do so if you desire not to and all downloads will continue to be free of charge… Thank you

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Jesus I AM 1

77. Christian Disciple and Jesus’ I AM statements (1)

Exodus 3v13-14: Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 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.’

Isaiah 41v4: “Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD -with the first of them and with the last—I am he”

John 8v58: “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was, I AM”.

On seven other occasions in John’s Gospel, John records statements where Jesus said “I AM”. These are unique to John and are not recorded in the three other Gospels. For this Podcast we will look briefly at four of them and the next Podcast will discuss the remaining three. Here Jesus is reinforcing His claims to be God because when he says “I AM”, he is referring back to the time when God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3v14 and through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 41v4 That’s why in John 8v59, they picked up stones in order to kill Him for blasphemy. This was in accordance, so they thought, with Deuteronomy 13, which dictates that anyone who tries to turn people away from the living God is to be stoned to death. They knew Jesus was claiming to the very God they thought they worshipped.

John 6v35, 48, and 51: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; this bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Three times in this passage, Jesus refers to Himself as the living bread. By this He meant that He was the only one who could satiate the appetite and yearning of every person’s spirit. For those He was speaking to, bread was a basic staple food for living, just as it is for millions of people today. Jesus indicates when saying He is the bread of life, that He will supply all needs! Just as He said to the woman at the well in John 4v4, that whoever drinks His living water, shall never again go spiritually thirsty. When Jesus referred to the manna in the desert (John 6v49) he talked of it being merely temporary despite being a gift from God. He however as the true bread of life would give permanent satisfaction and life everlasting to all those who believe and follow Him (John 6v51)! But this bread He offers, has to be eaten; has to be taken up by the person wanting spiritual life! Note the inference to His impending sacrifice on the cross at the end of John 6v51!

 

John 8v12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

Jesus is at the Feast of Tabernacles! One of the great symbols of that Feast was Light! At the end of the feast, when the lights are extinguished, Jesus said that he was the light of the world! Throughout the Old Testament, light is an important symbol. There is the pillar of fire and cloud leading the nation of Israel on their journey (Exodus 13). In Psalm 27v1, the Psalmist describes God as “my light”. The nation of Israel was to be God’s light to all the world (Isaiah 49v6) so that God would be the world’s light (Isaiah 60v19-22). So by referring to Himself as the light of the world, Jesus is saying it is He who shines light into peoples spiritual eyes and gives them understanding which in turn leads to them seeing their need of God and His ability to satisfy their spiritual needs.

 

John 10v7-11 and 14-15: Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

 

Throughout the Old Testament, God is seen as a shepherd and His people are the sheep of is keeping. The sheep are always God’s even though He temporarily entrusted them to people such as Moses to care and tender them. Therefore Moses and others like him such as the true prophets, were forerunners to Jesus. Here Jesus proclaims that He is the door or gate to salvation! It is through Jesus that salvation is found and through Him alone as the door or gate, people are led safe and sound into spiritual freedom, spiritual light and spiritual sustenance. Unlike others who come only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus offers spiritual safety & nourishment. Jesus does not just offer a way out, but also a way in! The security offered by Jesus is because He is always in close proximity to those who follow Him. Jesus calls all those who follow Him by name (John 10v3) and they know each other.

Jesus is the great shepherd only through the sacrifice he must make for His sheep. Here Jesus is looking ahead to the sacrifice He makes on the Cross. His love for all of humanity compels Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. Just as all shepherds will endanger themselves for the safety of their sheep, so too will Jesus endure the pain and suffering of the Cross, so that people can be led into safety of God’s kingdom. It is in this role of shepherd, that Jesus exhibits true leadership, which is self-less and sacrificial. Ezekiel 34v11 tells of God searching out for his sheep among all nations, and this is fulfilled through Jesus. Through His perfect, obedient and voluntary sacrifice on the Cross, not only will salvation be available to the Jews but also to those of other nations (John 10v16).

 

For more to think about please do read XXXXX. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Read John 6v25-59. How does Jesus being the bread of life encapsulate His whole message?

Q2. Read 1 John 1. If Jesus is the light of the world, how am I to live as His follower?

Q3. Read John 10v1-21. As a Christian Disciple, what benefits does Jesus as the shepherd offer me?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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Jesus’ Identity

75. The Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Identity

Mark writing in Mark 8v27-33: Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ. Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

This section of the Bible contains the verse, which divulges Jesus’ identity, when Peter calls Him the Christ or Messiah or Saviour (Mark 8v29). In the preceding few verses Jesus and the disciples were in Bethsaida and there is the incident where Jesus healed the blind man.

1. See who Jesus is – (Mark 8v22) reveals that the faith of others apart from the blind man was also involved

There are two very obvious questions that come out of this.

Why did Jesus touch the blind man twice to heal him? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that Jesus kept on until the man could see clearly. Two things to remember though. Firstly that Jesus was unable to do miracles because of people’s lack of faith and we also need to remember that God does things in His own time and for His own purposes, but also acts in order to tell us of His love for us.

Why does Jesus tell the man not to tell anybody? Jesus didn’t want to be seen as only a healer and miracle worker.

2. Confess who Jesus is

Now we come to a climactic part of the Gospels when Jesus asks His disciples: “Who do people say that I am?

John the Baptist

  • · Jesus and John had been seen together in public and they were different in personality and ministry
  • · John came ‘in the spirit and power of Elijah’ (Luke 1v17), in a ministry of judgement, whereas Jesus came in a spirit of meekness and service.
  • · John performed no miracles (John 10v41), but Jesus was a miracle worker.
  • · John even dressed like the Prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1v8; Mark 1v6)

Jeremiah (Matthew 16v14)

  • · Jeremiah was the ‘weeping prophet’, and Jesus was the ‘man of sorrows’
  • · Jeremiah called the people to true repentance from the heart, and so did Jesus.
  • · Both men were misunderstood and rejected by their own people.
  • · Both men condemned the false religious leaders and the hypocritical worship in the temple.
  • · Those in authority persecuted both men.

In both His works and words, Jesus gave evidence to the people that He was the Son of God, the Messiah, and yet they did not get the message.

a Why did Jesus tell the disciples to keep quiet about Him?

Disciples had much to learn about Him and what it meant to follow Him.

The Jews were expecting a victorious Messiah (Isaiah 11v1-5). But they had forgotten that the Messiah must suffer and die (Isaiah 53v1-12; Luke 24v26). The Jewish people thought that the Messiah would set up an earthly political kingdom, but Jesus came to set up a spiritual kingdom that would last forever (Isaiah 9v7; Daniel 7v13-14; Luke 1v33; Revelation 11v15)

b What was the purpose of the Messiah? (Mk10v45)

Jesus’ mission was to be the Servant of the Lord, and therefore, the saviour of the world as God’s Son (John 3v16). His purpose as the Messiah was neither that He be served nor that He will lead a political overthrow of the Roman government as some had hoped. Rather, His purpose as the Messiah was to be God’s servant and give a message of hope for the spiritually poor and spiritually oppressed people.

3. Follow who Jesus is

When Jesus rebuked Peter, he was also telling off the other disciples (Mark 8v33). Remember that they did not yet understand the relationship between suffering and glory. By the time Peter had written his epistle 1 Peter, he did (1 Peter1v6-8, 1 Peter 4v13-5v10).

Some Jewish leaders taught of 2 Messiahs – one to suffer and one who would reign (1Peter 1v10-12)

Price to pay for true followers

  • · We must surrender completely to Him.
  • · We must identify with Him in His suffering and death.
  • · We must follow Him obediently, wherever He leads.

What is the reward for the true disciple of Jesus?

  • · Satan promises glory now, but in the end suffering comes.
  • · God promises suffering now, but the suffering turns to glory.

Spiritually, at this time, the disciples were still blind to who Jesus was, just as the man who was physically blind.

Our confession of Jesus is a matter of life and death (John 8v21;1 John 4v1-3). Confession of Jesus as Lord is necessary for salvation (1 Corinthians 12v1-3), when that confession is from the heart (Romans 10v9-10). Christians are called to follow Jesus, to take up their cross and this could mean nothing less than being ready to suffer and die for Jesus. If we are ashamed of Him on earth, He will be ashamed of us when the end of the world has come. He will reward those deserving the reward, and deny those who deny Him.

For more to think about please do read 1 Peter 1v1-12. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. What does Jesus’ revealed identity as Saviour offer me as a Christian Disciple?

Q2. How does knowing Jesus’ identity help me as I undergo trials, suffering and bad times?

Q3. What part does each member of the Trinity play in my life as a Christian Disciple?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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