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‘Ang Pagkabuhay na Muli—Ito Ba
See page 11
Vol. 2 No. 3
Is God everywhere? Is he in every leaf of every tree? Does he permeate the cosmos with his being? Is he in every blade of grass? Well, yes and no. God is in every blade of grass in the same way I am in a transceiver I built years ago and later sold. You might even find some of my DNA in that radio, because I got a little careless with my tools. But I am not there. I am here. God is in every blade of grass in the same way my wife is in the little painting she did years ago when we were playing with oils. But if you think you can put your foot on God when you walk across the grass, you are badly mistaken. I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened. It has probably happened over and over again in history, but somehow, we have been sold a bill of goods about what Andree Seu calls "A lower case, upper story god who was the ‘ground of being.’" Whatever in the world that means. God is not everywhere. He is where he wants to be when he wants to be there. (Continued on page 4)
Could you recognize "another Jesus"? ...
Who is Jesus?
The Bible mentions "another Jesus". Is the one you worship the Jesus of salvation?
Possibly one in three of earth's population would claim to be `Christian'. They believe, of course, that their faith was founded by Jesus Christ just under two thousand years ago. It's generally believed that one mid-winter day he was born in a stable and lived some thirty years in Palestine before beginning a ministry during which he laid the principles of a brand new faith - Christianity. He was `framed' by the Jewish religious authorities and handed to the secular Romans - who crucified him one morning. He died that afternoon. Death, however, didn't hold him, for he was resurrected three days and three nights later, and is alive today. Fact or Fiction? The whole concept of a historical Jesus has been debunked as myth. It's a way to convey some profound truths - but Jesus himself never existed, goes the story. Never mind that this flies in the face of inconvertible testimony from ancient sources. (Continued on page 2)
From page 1…Let's examine, though, some of the real myths that surround this most historical of those who inhabit history's hall of fame.
The New Testament (e.g., Acts 17:2) record clearly evidences the disciples observing the `Jewish' Sabbath actually God's Sabbath, the festival of Unleavened Bread (I Corinthians 5), Pentecost (or feast of Firstfruits (I Cor. 16:8), Atonement - the `fast' (Acts 27:9). The apostle Paul sums it up this way, speaking to the Jewish leaders in Rome near the end of his life: "I have committed nothing against the people or customs of our fathers" (Acts 28:17). Earlier he had in a court of law refuted his accusers saying: "Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple nor against Caesar have I offended anything at all" (Acts 25:8). Old Time Religion. Paul was simply reflecting the teaching of Jesus. Our Savior did not overturn the `old time religion' the faith of the Scriptures. He built on it. The New Testament is his final testimony, until his return, to the Father's revelation. Constantly Jesus would refer to the writings of Moses and the prophets. The divine Law, he said, was now to be `written on the heart' - inward. Jesus magnified the Law of God insisting that not only should we submit to it in practice but even in our thoughts (Matthew 5-7). It's not just sin to murder but it is sin to even hate, for example. If we are to be his disciples we must abandon our own humanly devised traditional observances. In contrast to modern Christianity, Jesus and his first disciples positively upheld the teachings of the Old Testament. There is no `immortal soul'. The divine Law is at the heart of true religion. There is no heavenly reward and no fire that will endlessly consume the unrepentant. And, as we have seen, there is in the religion of the Bible no Christmas, no Easter, no 'saints days'. Most, indeed, of modern Christianity's cherished beliefs are totally absent - often condemned - in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles! Observed objectively the Bible and modern Christianity appear as two totally different religions. The terminology is the same. The lead characters are the same. But the substance is different with only occasional overlap. Paul warned of 'a different gospel which is not another' (Galatians 1:6-7). It sounded similar, it used the same words, it included similar concepts - but it was 'another'. A devilish deception. False prophets abounded then - as now. 'Deceitful workers' Paul called them to the Corinthian brethren. They pretended
Depending on culture, Jesus has been portrayed by a variety of physical racial stereotypes. He's `like one of us' - black, or white or yellow or brown. And with 'our features'. But whatever our perception of him, Jesus was born of a woman of Judah in Palestine, and there's no Biblical indication that he differed from those around him. However the Jews of the time may have physically looked at that moment of history Jesus was one of them! His physical characteristics are irrelevant to his mission. Much of the story - as peddled in Christian circles - is indeed fiction. He was not, for example, born in December. He did not die on a Friday, nor was he resurrected on Sunday. Nor did Jesus introduce a brand-new religion! The Bible does, though, give us a rounded picture of an individual born into a law-abiding religious family. He grew up in a Jewish family with several brothers and sisters. He looked like his fellow countrymen, ate like his fellows, worshipped like them. In general he was part of the local culture. Worship. Take the way Jesus worshipped. Like all his co-religionists he attended synagogue on the seventhday Sabbath and observed the divinelyappointed annual festivals passover and Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. The Bible traces his attendance at and support for these `holy convocations' or services. Nor did his death change his attitude to these holy days. Even in those tumultuous last days of his life Jesus made provision for the disciples to observe the festival of Unleavened Bread after his death. He rose from the dead as the `Firstfruits' at the very time when the Jews celebrated the cutting of the firstfruits grain harvest. He then marked the beginning of his church by sending his Spirit on the traditional `Day of Pentecost'. These days, in other words, were shadows - faint images of the reality which was fulfilled in him. Christian Practice. And what of the first Christians? Had Jesus left special instructions secret instructions - that all this should change? Secret - for nowhere do we find in the entirety of Scripture that his disciples should now abandon these age-old holy days and substitute Christmas, Easter, All Souls, saints days etc!
to be true Christians - yet preached 'another Jesus' (2 Corinthians 11:4). And no wonder, says Paul "for Satan himself transforms himself into an 'angel of light'. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:13-15). Is the Jesus you know the real Jesus? Could you possibly have received 'a different spirit', a 'different gospel' (v.4)? According to the Scriptures that's a possibility! Paul elsewhere urges his readers to 'examine yourself whether you are in the faith'. Dramatic Struggle. So - how did the primitive faith change? Why does modern Christianity differ so vastly from the life-style and the teaching of Jesus? Christianity was born into a world in religious turmoil. In the eastern Mediterranean countries the ferment was dominated by Greek thought - a philosophy that had been hammered out over several centuries. The ancient - and Biblical - concepts of the nature of man were replaced by a universal notion of inborn immortality. First century religion was deeply influenced by those ascetic practices forcefully condemned by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Colossian Christians. Because the religious foundation of the Old Testament was rejected the floodgates opened to any and every practice under the guise of `being led afresh by the Spirit'. But as Paul wrote to the young evangelist Timothy (2 Timothy 3:14-17): "...you must continue in the things you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you
have learned, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus". What were the `Holy Scriptures'? None other than the books we know as the Old Testament, for the New was not yet written. Beguiled by the false notion that Christians had no need for the divine Law, the majority rejected God's Sabbath, the annual holy days, the ethical code of Scripture leaving an open door for a host of `pagan' practices. The apostles battled against this slippery path into lawlessness to no avail. It opened the way for the great Babylonian mystery religion to take over the church of God. It was a different Jesus, a different Gospel, a different spirit. Christians embraced a lawless spirit - powerfully condemned by Jesus and his apostles. Jesus warned that his way was tough. It would divide families. It would invite persecution and death for many who followed him. And in our day it is a minority religion. Not a couple of billion but a tiny handful of believers struggling against a tide of lawlessness in and out of the Christian church. The late first century churches (Revelation 2 & 3) had sunk into this spiritual mire. As then, so too now, Jesus' call to the vast majority of those who profess to know him is `change now' - abandon lawlessness. To those who obey, his message is `stay faithful'. /James McBride, Churches of
God—In Person… (from page 1)
Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?" (Psalms 94:8-9). We know that we can’t hide from God, but if he doesn’t want to see or to hear, no power in the universe can make him. God does not have to watch every sex crime, every foul murder of a child perpetrated on his world below. It is not a question of divine ability or presence, but of divine will. Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2). Increasingly, even skeptics are being forced to admit that evolution simply can’t account for everything that is. But even admitting the irreducible complexity of the cell, many are still not ready to admit to the idea of God. So they are left with design without a designer.
It may be a new Deism, an idea that God created all this, but left immediately and has no further interest in what he made. It is a silly idea on its face, but what lies behind it? I think there is a simple fear of acknowledging the reality of a personal God, because a personal God will have ideas. He will have preferences. He may even have demands. He may expect things of us that we don’t want to do. He may have standards we don’t want to live up to. But hiding your face from God won’t make him go away. God, knew what would happen when men were finally forced to admit that they can’t explain intelligent design without a designer.God knew that they would then invent a god for themselves who is an impersonal, cosmic force. A God who is everywhere and nowhere at the 3
same time. Because an impersonal god, would not make any demands on how we live our lives. Knowing this would happen, God took steps to ensure that men could know that he is personal. He came in the flesh. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-15 KJV) This strange construction is only an introduction to an idea. It is not the idea itself. It presents a paradox, a favored approach to an idea in Jewish thought. How can something be God and be with God at the same time. I know, in English we speak of a man being beside himself, but this is not English, it is Greek, and that is not what is going on. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Now we have a small problem. What is the antecedent of "him." Is it God, or the one who was with God? But then, isn’t the one who was with God, also God? In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. I can’t help wondering if John doesn’t intend this as a kind of poetry. It certainly reads that way. To say, "In him was life," is rather more than saying "he is alive." I am alive, but I don’t have what this one has. In him was life, says John the
poet. That life equals light. The light shines in darkness and the darkness just doesn’t get it. It is a poetic way of saying that light penetrates darkness while darkness cannot penetrate light. Light and darkness are complete opposites. This is an important idea, called in philosophy, antithesis. Modern thought does not like antithesis. We prefer to think that nothing is really black or white, darkness or light. Nothing is either all good or all bad. John wants us to get this straight, right from the start. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that
Light./ Ronald L Dart, Born to Win (CEM)
Did Jesus Christ exist prior to his human birth?
Was and is Jesus God? Did Jesus not exist prior to his birth as a human being? Or was and is Jesus God and did he exist prior to his human birth as the Apostle Paul seems to indicate in his writings?
Defining Arguments Once an argument is defined it is half won. Those who believe that the Godhead is composed of only one person (known as the “One God” theory) state the following simple argument: 1) God cannot die. 2) Therefore, since Jesus died, He cannot be God (part of the Godhead). Another tactic used by those who believe this theory is that it is first assumed that what we call 'God' is one -- meaning only one person. Using this definition it is therefore concluded that only the “Father” can be God and Jesus cannot be. It is also asserted by those believing God is one person that Jesus did not call himself God and if he were God why didn’t he tell people that he was God? This argument (which uses flawed logic known as arguing from silence) is not valid because it could also be argued that in the gospels (especially Luke) Jesus doesn't refer to himself as “Lord” either. In fact, Jesus tended to avoid referring to himself as the Messiah and mostly used the title “son of man.” Can mere humans be sinless? The New Testament is very cautious to avoid any hint of polytheism (which is the belief in and/or worship of more than one god or in many gods). There is only one God – the Old Testaments says so, and Jesus said so (Mark 12:29-30). But, the man Jesus is a unique man. He was a sinless man according to the New Testament (1Peter 2:22-24; 1John 3:5; 2Corinthians 5:21). But, according the
both Old and New Testament passages, no human person can be sinless (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 130:3; Proverbs 20:9). The Bible clearly states:
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God " (Romans 5:12).
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
The Time Leading Up To Christ Ideas of pre-existence flourished among the Jews during the intertestamental period (the time period between the old and new testaments). There was the idea of the existence of the “Son of God”. Many, but particularly Philo’s speculations on God’s eternal wisdom, fostered it. There were many apocalyptic ideas about the coming of the “Son of Man” who was considered already existing and hidden with God. There were many rabbinic ideas even of the pre-existence of the Torah – God’s law – that they believed already existed before it was given. Other ideas of pre-existence were of “paradise” and even the Messiah’s name. Satan usually counterfeits God’s truth. So, when John wrote the “prologue” to his gospel, he brought the truth of the preexisting Word by stating: “And the Word (Greek: logos) was God.” No such statement was ever made about any of the other “pre-existing” people or things. The Son of God Those who believe that God can only be one person say that Jesus was the “son” of God but so are we. They point out that angels were called “sons of God” as well as the nation of Israel and its king. They quote James Brady, “The title Son of God undoubtedly stems from Old Testament texts such as 2Samuel 7:14f and Psalm 2:7, in its association with the Davidic King.” In other words, they imply that the title “Son of God” as applied to Jesus is no more than applied to angels, Israelites or the king of Israel. Please note that when the Bible talks about Jesus it calls Him “THE” Son of God with the definite article. The rest of us are referred to as “sons of God” or “a son of God” or merely as “sons”. So, what does the New Testament say about “the Son of God”?
Consider the following New Testament passages: “Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1John 5:5). “He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he that believes not God has made him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave his Son” (1John 5:10).
Was Jesus GOOD? Here is an interesting passage that opponents to the deity of Jesus quote. A man came to Jesus and said,
“Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, 'Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.' ” (Matthew 19:16-17)
Great weight is placed on the fact that Jesus wouldn’t even call himself “good”. But was He good? Of course he was and many New Testament passages show that Jesus used the same Greek word for “good” to refer to other men and things. Those who quote this passage to say that Jesus rebuked a man for calling him “good” pass right over the statement of Thomas in the Gospel of John when he said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” John records no comment from Jesus. Now, why not rebuke Thomas right there and then? “Hey, Thomas, don’t call me God. I don’t even let men call me “good” let alone call me “God.” You’ve just committed blasphemy!” In the Book of Revelation on two occasions when John was overwhelmed with what he saw and bowed before an angel, he was told to worship God only (See Revelation 19:10 and 22:9). The New Testament definitely shows a much greater reverence, exaltation and praise for the risen Christ than for the flesh and blood Christ. Jesus did not want anyone to look on flesh and blood as “God.” Can't use Elohim Proponents of the “one God” theory are correct when they assert that the Hebrew word “Elohim” used for God (Strong's Concordance #H430, used in verses such as Genesis 1:1-31, etc.) cannot be used to prove that God is more than one person. While it is used in the plural for false gods, angels, and judges, it is mostly used with singular verbs when speaking of God. However, there a number of passages where it is used with a plural verb as well. These, however, are in the minority and cannot be used to PROVE that "Elohim" means a plural of persons. But at the same time, one cannot state with certainty that Elohim cannot be more than one. For further study, some passages discussing the deity of Jesus which are explained away by those who believe in "one God" include John 1:1-14, 18, 30; 3:13; 6:62: 8:58; 10:30; 17:5.
Do these passages make you think that being the Son of God is light or trivial? You can’t be saved unless you believe Jesus is the Son of God. But some would say that we are all “sons of God” and that this designation does not elevate Christ to any major exalted position and certainly not to deity itself! Really? Read this:
“He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life” (1John 5:12).
How important is the Son of God?
“These things I have written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1John 5:13). Speaking of converted Christians we read:
“If they shall fall away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6). “Of how much sorer punishment, do you suppose, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite to the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29). “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, (which means) Father” (Galatians 4:6).
"But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him." (1Corinthians 8:6, KJV)
Now, if Jesus is not “God” then the Father is not “Lord.” In some of my sermons I show how the New Testament gradually brings the Father and Son together and blurs the distinction between them. The Worship of Jesus Evidence shows worship of Jesus began in early Palestinian Jewish Christianity . In the earliest Christian community Jesus was already understood to be at God’s right hand in heaven, risen from the dead, and active in the Church by His Spirit, and coming in the future as king, ruler and judge of the world. He was God’s end time revelation and the source of our final salvation as well as the source of the enthusiasm of the Spirit that was present in the Christian worship services. He was and is the focus of all Christian relationship, through Him, to God. Psalms and hymns celebrating His exaltation by God and God’s work of salvation through Him were sung and composed from the earliest times. Acclamations and prayers addressed to Jesus go back also to the earliest times. For instance we have the Aramaic cry: Marantha (Our Lord, come!) (1Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20). This was preserved in Aramaic in the Greek speaking churches, which indicates its very early origin and shows the expectation of His appearing as well as our present religious relationship with the one who is to come. The New Testament evidence for personal prayer to Jesus as a regular feature of early Christianity has been very much UNDERESTIMATED and virtually neglected by those who believe God can only be one person. Paul Prayed To Jesus Here are a few examples of such prayers:
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ " (2Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV).
Notice that it is the Spirit of Christ in us that allows us to call God our Father! Our sonship depends upon Jesus’ unique sonship!
“God is faithful, by who you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Corinthians 1:9).
Conversion and coming to God is really being called into the fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“As the Son, He is the image of God from the beginning…” (Colossians 1:15-18).
And we are predestined to be conformed to the image of the Son (Romans 8:29).
“And when all things shall be subdued to him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to him that put all things under him that God may be all and in all” (1Corinthians 15:28).
Herein lies the key to all the New Testament. It is only meaningful to speak of the Son in view of God’s revelatory action. For this reason Father and Son are really one in this activity. God and Lord The New Testament (especially Paul’s writings) refers to “God the Father” and to “the Lord Jesus Christ.” In many Old Testament passages we find the words “LORD God” or “Lord GOD”, but Paul does not use these two words together. Almost always, “God” is God the Father and “Lord” is the Lord Jesus Christ. Some have insisted that 1Corinthians 8:6 is proof that Jesus is not God.
Note that in most all of Paul’s writings, “Lord” refers to Jesus Christ and “God” refers to our Father in heaven. For Paul and .
“for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1Corinthians 8:6, NIV). “Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 6
May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1Thessalonians 3:11-13 NIV).
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13).
Note how Paul separates God and Lord. But they overlap in functions.
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV).
This passage is quoted in Acts 2:21 referring to the Lord Jesus and belief in Him. But it is a quote from Joel 2:32 which reads,
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD (YHWH) shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD (YHWH) hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD (YHWH) shall call.”
Note here that “our Lord Jesus Christ” and “God our Father” are both asked to strengthen us in every good deed and word.
“May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance” (2Thessalonians 3:5 NIV).
Note that the Lord here is probably the Lord Jesus. But He is to direct our hearts into God’s love and Christ’s endurance. Note how these functions become very indistinguishable.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2Thessalonians 3:16 NIV). “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:20).
Both Paul and Luke took this passage referring to YHWH and applied it to Jesus! In the Old Testament people called on YHWH. See Psalm 17:1. But the New Testament talks of calling upon the Lord (Jesus). See Acts 9:14,21; 22:16; 2 Tim. 2:22. Who can be worshipped but God? He does not share His glory with another. Jesus has to be equal with God in order to accept the worship and praise given to Him (Philippians 2:6-9). In the Form of God Philippians 2:6-9 is a most powerful passage:
"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: . . ." (Philippians 2:6-9, KJV)
Jesus is the Lord of peace. Is that Jesus or the Father. When Paul says, “The Lord be with all of you” is he excluding the Father? Do you see how many problems we get into when we try to be too technical in separating Christ and the Father? Stephen prayed to Jesus “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59-60). To call on the name of the Lord Jesus is what it means to be a Christian.
“ . . . called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1Corinthians 1:2).
Most scholars believe that Paul was quoting a hymn already sung in the early church. The phrase “being in the form of God” has been explained away by those who believe God can only be one person. They say, “The text does not say he was God.” In other words he was in the form of God but not God. But, to be fair, we have to consider the rest of the passage. We see that he emptied himself and took the “form of a servant (slave).” Now, was Jesus the “servant” of God or was he just in the form of a servant but not really a servant? On the night he was betrayed he said, “I am among you as he that serves.” The book of Acts refers to Jesus as “servant.” If “in the form of God” does not mean he was equal with God, then “in the form of a servant” does not mean he was a servant! The Greek words, “in the form of,” are the same! Written by:
David L. Antion / BibleStudy.org
YHWH and the Lord Jesus "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed" (Romans 10:11). This appears to be a quote from Isaiah 49:23 that refers to those who wait on YHWH will not be put to shame. Is Paul applying a YHWH passage to Jesus Christ the risen Lord? It appears he is.
mourning the Son whom God had miraculously given her. Innocent of any crime against God or humanity, Jesus had been betrayed, arrested, scourged and condemned. Now, from the cross, Jesus' thoughts reached above his pain and rejection. Instead of being consumed with his own pain and misery, Jesus asked forgiveness for those responsible for the evil done to him — by extension, all who ignorantly go the way of sin and death. 2) "You will be with me in paradise" Jesus next spoke to encourage one of the criminals crucified with him. Both criminals, likely thieves or murderers, Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross
Jesus shared in our humanity. He set an example for us, suffered for us and was victorious over sin and death in his work on the cross. His victory, both in his death and his resurrection, enables us to be reconciled to God and restored to fellowship with him. While hanging on the cross, Jesus spoke of: 1. Forgiveness (Luke 23:32-34) 2. Hope (Luke 23:39-43) 3. Care (John 19:25-27) 4. Loneliness (Mark 15:33-34; Matthew 27:45-46) 5. Suffering (John 19:28-29) 6. Triumph (John 19:30) 7. Reunion (Luke 23:44-46)
Jesus Christ spent his final hours of human life nailed to a cross. Despised and rejected by the world he came to save, history's only perfect person took upon himself the consequences of our sins. The Bible records that on that spring day, from a hill outside Jerusalem, Jesus spoke several times. No one Gospel writer records all his sayings. Matthew and Mark describe one. Luke and John each give us three. Together, these sayings constitute a powerful message from our Savior's heart during the hours of his greatest personal agony. They reveal Jesus' innermost feelings as he poured out his life for us. 1) "Father, forgive them" Only Luke tells us that Jesus, shortly after he was crucified, prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Nearby were Roman soldiers gambling for his clothes, common people whipped to frenzy by the religious leaders, and gawkers who came for the hideous spectacle. The Jewish elders mockingly said they would believe in him if he saved himself (Matthew 27:42-43). On his left and right were two criminals condemned to die with him. Not everyone at the foot of the cross was hostile to Jesus. Women who had followed him during his ministry and some of his disciples now came forward. His mother, Mary, was
He admitted he deserved to die (verses 40-41). He, too, had mocked Jesus earlier, but now he rebuked the other criminal. We are not told of any other conversation between this second criminal and Jesus. Perhaps only Jesus' example and prayer, which he overheard, moved him so deeply. He said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (verse 42). Jesus replied by offering him hope for the future: "I ten you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (verse 43). Like the first criminal did, most people reject Jesus Christ. Their petitions to God thus go unanswered. However, all who surrender to Jesus receive not only strength to face the present, but also lasting hope for the future. There is a future beyond the grave. Eternal life in God's kingdom awaits those who will embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior. 3) "Woman, behold your son!" Jesus honored and showed concern for his mother. When it seemed impossible for him to help anyone, he provided for Mary's care through his trusted friend John. "When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, `Dear woman, here is your son,' and to the disciple, `Here is your mother.' From that time on, this disciple took her into his home" (John 19:26-27). 4) "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"For the first time, Jesus' thoughts were on himself. He cried out, "'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'- which means, `My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"' (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Many have puzzled over Jesus' seeming doubt. Was Jesus afraid? Had his Father deserted him in his greatest need? Jesus was quoting the first portion of Psalm 22:1, a prophecy
early on joined bystanders in reviling Jesus (Mark 15:32). Luke tells us, "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: `Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!'" (Luke 23:39). This man wanted only escape from his pain. The gulf between them remained, because this faithless criminal had no desire to know his Savior and repent of his sins. But a miraculous change occurred in the other criminal. He came to believe. This man was just as guilty as the first.
of the Messiah's suffering and exaltation. We sometimes forget that Jesus was fully human. Yes, he was God in the flesh, but he was also subject to all the feelings of mind and body that any of us feel. Jesus spoke these words after three hours of darkness had covered the land (Matthew 27:45). Jesus hung on the cross alone, where he took our place to feel the pain and anguish that sin causes. There, in the darkness and pain, bearing the burden of our sins, Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy: "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:4-6). Soon Christ would savor the sweetness of eternal victory over sin and death. His final three statements came in rapid succession. 5) "I am thirsty" Death drew near. The time of final sacrifice was close. Jesus had endured — and overcome
— the heat, pain, rejection and loneliness. He could have suffered and died in silence. Instead, unexpectedly, he asked for help. "Knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, `I am thirsty"' (John 19:28). Jesus asked for a drink and received vinegar, fulfilling David's 1,000-yearold prophecy (Psalm 69:21). "Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink" (Matthew 27:48). The man who had hurried to answer Jesus' request said: "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down" (Mark 15:36). 6) "It is finished" Jesus had finished his work on earth. His sixth message was one of triumph: "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, `It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (John 19:30). Jesus' humility rings in his words. His was not a vain, I-showed-you attitude. He did not even say, "I did it." He claimed no credit. He asked no pity. To the end, Jesus' mind was on the work he came to do. He announced, for all to hear, "It is finished." 7) Jesus' final words Matthew tells us, "And when Jesus had cried out again
in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit" (Matthew 27:50; see also Mark 15:37). Only Luke preserves Jesus' words: "Jesus called out with a loud voice, `Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.' When he had said this, he breathed his last" (Luke 23:46). God is love, and Jesus' ministry showed what love is. He gave himself for us. He preached his last sermon most effectively, by both word and example. In his last seven statements, he affirmed God's greatness and glory. God's work goes on Jesus' example and words on the cross bore fruit even before his death, when the repentant robber acknowledged him as Lord and appealed for his mercy. On that Passover so long ago, Jesus finished his own mission as a human on earth. But his work goes on now in his church. Christ's followers today preach his gospel of salvation. They show his love for fellow humans. And they look for his return as King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the wonderful message of good news that Jesus Christ preached the day he died for all.
The ABC’s of Victory
Although things are not perfect Because of trial or pain Continue in thanksgiving Do not begin to blame Even when the times are hard Fierce winds are bound to blow God is forever able Hold on to what you know Imagine life without His love Joy would cease to be Keep thanking Him for all the things Love imparts to thee Move out of "Camp Complaining" No weapon that is known On earth can yield the power Praise can do alone Quit looking at the future Redeem the time at hand Start every day with worship To "thank" is a command Until we see Him coming Victorious in the sky We'll run the race with gratitude X alting God most high Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but... Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!
The Meaning of
Paul tells us that we should strive to be "sincere and without offence" in his first address to the Corinthians. Could Paul have been thinking along these lines? Notice: "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth," 1Corinthians 5:8. The Greek word for sincerity, , is number 1505 in Strong’s and is defined as: clearness, i.e. (by implication) purity (figuratively):--sincerity. The root meaning is to be 'genuine', 'unmixed', 'without deceit'. Are we as believers being genuine and sincere in our mission to serve the Most High God, or are we apt to cover the imperfections that are inherent to humans? God knows all things, and it is in vain to attempt to cover up deceitful ways. Judged by Sunlight Another Greek word for sincere is number 1506, and is found in Philippians 1:10: , judged by sunlight, i.e. tested as genuine (figuratively):--pure, sincere. By some accounts of the Corinthian potters, a person could check the purity of the vessel by adding hot water (if wax is present, it will melt) or by holding it up to the sunlight and observing it with a critical eye. Jesus the Messiah is the "Light of the World" (John 9:5). If we are held to the light and brightness of His countenance, will the cracks and flaws in us be open to scrutiny and correction, or will we be found in contempt, being vainly covered for outward appearances? If there be any "wax" in our lives, let us repent and remove it while there is still time.
"Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth," I Corinthians 5:8
What does it mean to be "sincere"? Are we sincere in our relationship with our God and His Son? In making the point of sincerity, many have given the analogy of ancient pottery makers in Corinth. As the stories go, there were many fine pottery makers in the Roman world, and it turned out to be a lucrative business. The pottery would be formed, then placed into an oven to cure. The well-respected potter would inspect his pottery after firing, and if any cracks were found, the vessel would be discarded and he would start over. Naturally, this would increase the overall price and value of fine pottery. Given the same situation, other less reputable potters would take the blemished vessel and rub wax into the crack, perhaps melting it somewhat, then paint over the imperfection and sell it as if it were pristine. These individuals could sell their pottery for cheaper prices, thus undercutting the sincere pottery makers. This prompted the honorable pottery makers to hang a sign over the entrance to their stores: sincerus ... meaning this store has pottery without wax. The actual definition of the Latin word means to be pure or clean. Whether the stories of the ancient pottery makers are true is debatable -but the idea of being "without wax" in our personal lives with Jesus is valid. Imperfections
A Living Sermon
I'd rather see a Christian than hear one any day, I'd rather have one walk with me than simply show the way, The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear, Fine counsel is confusing but example is always clear, And the best of all the preachers are the ones who live their creed, For to see the good in action – that's what everybody needs. I can soon learn how to do it if you'll let me see it done, I can watch your hand in action but your tongue too fast might run. And the sermons you deliver may be very wise and true, But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do, For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give, But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live. I'd rather see a Christian than hear one any day!
Ang Muling Pagkabuhay Ni JesuKristo
Ito Ba Ay Totoo?
Gaano kahalaga ang pagkabuhay muli ni JesuKristo sa Kristiyanismo? Gaano kahalaga ang muling pagkabuhay ni JesuKristo sa iyo?
Para kay Apostol Pablo, sa pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo umiikot ang doktrina ng Iglesia noong unang siglo. Pansinin ang kaniyang isinulat sa I Corinto 15:14, “At kung si Kristo’y hindi muling binuhay, ay walang kabuluhan nga ang aming pangangaral, wala rin naming kabuluhan ang inyong pananampalataya.” Ang mga ito’y mabibigat na salita, mahalaga sa ating pananampalataya bilang isang Kristiyano. Gayun pa man, ang mga ibang “pantas” sa ngayon maging ng ibang “naliliwanagang kaluluwa” ay hinahamon ang kredibilidad ng pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo. Tayo ay tunay na nabubuhay sa isang panahong mapag-alinlangan. Sa mga Gawa 1:3, mababasa nating: “Na sa kanila (mga apostol) nama’y napakita rin siyang buhay, sa pamamagitan ng maraming mga katunayan, pagkatapos na siya’y makapaghirap, na napakikita sa kanila sa loob ng apatnapung araw, at nagpahayag ng mga bagay tungkol sa kaharian ng Diyos.” Ang mga apostol ay saksi sa buhay, kamatayan at pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo. Subalit hindi lamang sila. Maging si Apostol Pablo ay sumulat sa 500 katao na nakasaksi sa nabuhay na muli na si JesuKristo. (I Corinto 15:3-8). Sa ating kapanahunan ngayon, ang isang bagay ay napagtitibay sa pamamagitan ng dalawa o tatlong saksi, gaya na rin ng nagsasaad sa Biblia (Mateo 18:16). Subalit dito, sa usaping pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo, mahigit sa 500 saksi ang nakatala sa salita ng Panginoong Diyos!
Para sa nakararami, ang Biblia ay napakabigat tanggapin o napakahirap intindihin. Di ba ang Biblia ay naglalaman ng mga kuwentong Ang mga apostol ay saksi sa buhay, patungkol sa makapangyarihang kamatayan at pagkabuhay namuli ng paglalang; isang malakihang Bakit napakaraming saksi? buhay ni JesuKristo. Maging si Bakit ito isang mahalagang usapin? pagbaha sa ibabaw ng lupa; ang Apostol Pablo ay sumulat sa 500 Simple lamang: kung hindi natin pagkahati ng dagat; ang mahimalang mga pagpapagaling; katao na nakasaksi sa nabuhay na mapagtitibay na si JesuKristo na ang mga makapangyarihang anak ng Panginoong Diyos ay muli si JesuKristo. I Corinto 15:3-8 pagtugon sa mga panalangin; ang nabuhay sa mga patay, paano natin pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo at marami pang iba? pagtitibayin ang ating pananampalataya na tayo at ang mga Marami rin ang umaaming sila ay Kristiyano ngunit hindi sila mahal natin sa buhay ay mabubuhay ring muli sa mga patay? (I Corinto 15:12). lubos na naniniwala rito. Alam din ng mga apostol ang pagdududa ng mga taong nakapag-aral. Tunghayan ang 2 Timoteo 3:7, bilang halimbawa. Sa makabagong panahon, sa kabila ng pagdududa ng maraming nakapag-aral at walang kinikilingang mga mananaliksik ay tinanggap nila ang pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo. Ito ay dahil sa maraming pagpapatunay ng mga taong nakasaksi sa mga pangyayari. Maraming Mga Katunayan Ang mga salitang “maraming mga katunayan” ay hiniram at ginamit sa ibang mga paksa, gaya ng patunay sa paglalang. Subalit ang mga salitang ito kung ating iintindihin ay tumutukoy rin sa pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo.
Ang pagkabuhay na muli sa mga patay ay mahalaga sa Simbahang Kristiyano at sa darating na kaharian ng Panginoong Diyos sa lupa – kasama ang isang buhay na JesuKristo bilang Hari ng mga hari at Panginoon ng mga Panginoon.
Kaya paano tayo makatitiyak na si JesuKristo ay nabuhay sa mga patay? Ang atin bang pananampalataya ay kailangang walang basehan o may mga patunay para sa isang muling nabuhay na JesuKristo? Ang Pagkabuhay na muli ay bahagi ng pundasyon ng Kristiyanismo at mapatutunayan ito. Subalit suriin muna natin kung ano ang sinasabi ng mga pumupuna at nag-aalinlangan. 11
Ang Pagkabuhay Bang Muli Ay Isang Kathang-isip Lamang? May tatlong basikong kaisipang ipinapanukala ang mga pumupuna, na makapagpapaliwanag sa muling pagkabuhay ni JesuKristo. Kung tutuusin, ang pangyayaring maraming kaisipang ibinibigay ang mga tao upang magpaliwanag ay isa lamang indikasyon na mayroong kabuluhan ang pagkabuhay na muli. Ang unang kaisipan ay tinatawag sa ingles na “swoon theory,” na nagsasaad na nagkunwari si JesuKristo sa kaniyang kamatayan. Kung hindi siya totoong namatay sa krus, hindi siya magbabangon sa mga patay sa libingan. Ang kaisipang pagkukunwari sa iyong kamatayan na may nakatarak na tabak ng isang sundalong Romana sa iyong tagiliran ay tila baga mahirap paniwalaan. Nakipagsabwatan ba si JesuKristo sa sundalong Romano para lamang magkunwaring magtarak ng tabak sa kaniyang tagiliran para maging makabagdamdamin ang kaniyang pagarte? Alam ng mga taong military kung ano ang kamatayan; sapagkat bahagi ito ng kanilang gawain. Ang sundalo ay maaaring ipinakikita sa karamihan ng tao na ayaw maniwalang si JesuKristo ay patay na, na siya ay tunay ngang patay ( Juan 19:34). Ang detalyeng ito ng kaniyang pagkamatay ay pinagtibay bilang isang tunay na patotoo (Juan 19:35).
babaling sa mga kathang kuwento. Makikita nating ang tatlong teoryong ito at ang kanilang uri ay talagang ganoon – mga teoryo, opinion at pagbabakasakali, subalit hindi totoong nangyari o patunay. Kulang Ba Sa Katotohanan Ang Biblia? Marahil ang iba ay tinatanong ang pagkamakatotohanan ng muling pagkabuhay ni JesuKristo. Maraming tao ang nagpapalagay na ang Biblia ay isa lamang sa mga ito. Ito ay isang lehitimong pagpuna. Ang Biblia ay isang aklat na ngayon. Noong una, ang Bagong Tipan – kung saan nakapaloob ang mga patotoo sa pagkabuhay na muli – ay kinapapalooban ng 27 magkakahiwalay na aklat at liham o sulat. Ito ay isinulat ng di bababa sa walong may-akda at may iba pang nagbigay ng kanilang mga salaysay na di malaman kung ilan pa ang mga ito. Daang taon ang ginugol para pagsamasamahin ang mga magkakahiwalay na patotoong ito bago nabuo sa isang aklat na madaling basahin. Ginawa ito para mapadali ang pag-aaral at dahil din sa inspirasyong ibinigay sa mga taong nagpatotoo nito. Ang Matandang Tipan, na naglalaman ng mga propesiya at mga basehan na si JesuKristo ay mamamatay, ay kinapapalooban ng 39 na magkakahiwalay na aklat na iniakda ng iba’t-ibang manunulat at mga nag-ambag. Si Moises halimbawa ay isinulat ang unang limang aklat. Subalit kapansin-pansin na iba ang tumapos ng huling kabanata habang itinatala nito ang pagkamatay ni Moises.
Ang pangatlong posibilidad ay ang “hallucination theory.” Ang mga alagad ni …kung di natin mapagtitibay na si JesuKristo na JesuKristo ay biktima ng anak ng Diyos ay nabuhay sa mga patay, di natin isang klaseng malawakang Ang mga iba pang mapagtitibay ang ating pananampalataya na tayo patotoo sa Matandang Tipan: “hysteria” o pagkatuliro ng at ang mga mahal natin sa buhay ay mabubuhay Isinulat ito sa loob ng daang isip. Bakas pa lamang ng kaniyang kamatayan ay taon ng mga taong may ibaring muli sa mga patay. I Corinto 15:12 umaapaw na sa kanila. Kung ibang pananaw, subalit iyan ay totoo, mahigit 500 ang biktima ng malaking naglalaman ng karapatang katunayan, tunay na pangyayari “hysteria” at paglalaro sa isip; kasama na rito ang mga at kasaysayan. opisyal na Romano, mga opisyal na military, mga bantay sa templo, mga lider na Hudyo at iba pang kahalintulad nito. Kaya ang Biblia ay hindi mawawalan ng Kahit na yaong mga pumatay sa Kaniya ay maaaring katotohanannn dahil sa sinasabi ng iba na “isa lamang itong naglalaro rin ang isip dahil tinangka nilang hadlangan ang panggagalingan ng impormasyon.” Ang katotohanan, ito ay mga nakasaksi sa pagsasalaysay ng mga tunay na isang koleksiyon ng maraming aklat at sulat galing sa pangyayari tungkol sa pagkabuhay na muli, kaysa ipakita maraming mga manunulat, na naglalaman ng katakut-takot na lamang ang katawan at patunayang ito’y di totoo (Mga na mapapatunayang mga kasaysayan, mga pangyayari, Gawa 4:32-33:5:28). mga patotoo ng mga nakasaksi at mga detalye. Ang mga nag-aral at mga naliwanagang mga tao ay kailangang habaan ang kanilang pisi para asahang tanggapin ng mga taong may sapat na pag-iisip ang teoryang ito. Alalahanin, sa 2 Timoteo 4:3-4 ay sinasabing darating ang panahong ang mga pumupuna, nagaalinlangan at kahit na ang mga nananampalataya ay Pagdating sa pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo, ang katunayan ay inilahad at sinupotahan ng maraming manunulat na nakasaksi, na ang bawat isa ay sumulat ng magisa. Base ito sa mga patotoo ng mahigit na 500 na kataong nakasaksi, kasama na rito ang mga Romano, mga Hudyo, ang mga relihiyon, mga pinunong sibil at military. Tunay na isang kapanipaniwala kaso ang inilahad at sinuportahan, kung pipiliin nating tingnan ang katunayan. 12
Ang Katotohanan Ay Base Sa Totoong Nangyari
Ano ang kapanipaniwala o ang sinasabi sa korte na “katanggap-tanggap” na katunayan? Paano nga ang mga patotoo ng mga nakasaksi, gaya ng atin nang nasabi? Ang batas ba sa korte o hukuman na nagsusumikap na makakuha ng mga tunay na pangyayari sa isang kaso, ay tatanggapin ang nakasulat na patotoo ng nakasaksi? Kung ang Ang apat na Ebangelio – apat na isang saksi ay hindi makasisipot, nakasulat na salaysay ng mga saksi sa ang nakasulat na salaysay ay bahay, kamatayan at pagkabuhay na tinatanggap.
May kaunti pang nalalabing nakasulat na salaysay ng mga nakasaksi sa pagkakapaslang kay Julius Caesar, subalit ni wala man lamang nagtatanong sa kuwento ng kaniyang buhay at di kapanipaniwalang pagkamatay. Tinanggap ito bilang isang tunay na pangyayari sa kasaysayan. Kaya bakit ang lahat ng pag-aalinlangan sa buhay at tila baga di kapanipaniwalang kamatayan ni JesuKristo samantalang lalong maraming mga nakasulat na patotoo ang mga nakasaksi. Kung inyong babasahin at pag-aaralan ang mga nakasulat na paglalahad ng mga nakasaksi sa Mateo, Marcos, Lucas at Juan, at isaalang-alang ang katunayan, itanong mo sa iyong sarili: “ Maari bang nagkunwari si JesuKristo sa Kaniyang sariling Kamatayan?”
muli ni JesuKristo.
Ganito ang apat na ebangelio – apat na nakasulat na salaysay ng mga saksi sa buhay, kamatayan at pagkabuhay na muli ni JesuKristo. Ang mga Kristiyano ay kailangang suriin ang mga nakasulat sa mga ebangelio – ang mga nakasulat na salaysay ng mga saksi. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit iniingatan ang mga ito para sa ating kapanahunan ngayon. Napakaraming mababaw at mapatutunayang pananampalataya ang nakabase o umaasa sa kanilang mga naririnig sa mga makabagong mangangaral. Lalong mainam na basahin ang salaysay ng mga taong naroon at nakaalam ng mga tunay na pangyayari. Isang halimbawa, tingnan ang patotoo ni Lucas – ang ikatlong aklat ng Bagong Tipan. Para itala ang mga tunay na pangyayari na kaniyang nasaksihan, isinulat niya ang sunod-sunod na pangyayari (Lucas 1:1-3). Bakit? Para ang mga mambabasa, kasama na kayo at ako ay “makilala ang katunayan tungkol sa mga bagay na itinuro sa iyo.” (Lucas 1:4).
“Ang lahat ba ng daan-daang mga saksi, kasama na ang mga pinuno at opisyal ng gobyerno, ay mga biktima lamang ng isang malawakang “hysteria” o halusinasyon?” “Hahayaan ba ng mga apostol at mga alagad ni JesuKristo na sila’y lait-laitin sa natitira pa nilang buhay at pagkatapos ay kitlan ng buhay para lang sa isang bagay na alam nilang hindi totoo?” Si Apostol Pablo ay nakipagtalo sa isang hari, na sinasabing “sapagkat ito’y hindi ginawa sa isang sulok” (Gawa 26:26), na ang ibig sabihin ay hindi maaaring di mapuna. Ang iba sa mga tumutuligsa kay JesuKristo ay mga pinakamataas na pinuno ng mga Hudyo (Marcos 15:1). Ang pinakamataas na opisyal ng Roma sa Judae ay naroon din at kasama sa paghusga kay JesuKristo (Marcos 15:2).
Ang kaharian ng Roma ay napaka-organisado. Si Lucas ay isang doktor o manggagamot Tiyak na si Pilato ay may ulat ng kaganapan at tala ng mga (Colosas 4:14). Isa siyang nakapag-aral na tao na pangyayari na iniaayos at tiyak na mapapansin ang mga maaaring nagkaroon ng pagsasanay sa pagharap sa bagay na ito sa kaniyang mga totoong mga pangyayari. Ang Ang paghahari ni JesuKristo sa kamatayan isinumiteng tala ng pangyayari sa kaniyang isinulat na salaysay at ang Kaniyang muling pagkabuhay ay Roma. Ang mga opisyal military bilang isang saksi samakatuwid, nagbibigay pag-asa. at sundalo ng Roma ay naroon ay masasabi nating din (Mateo 27:27,54) at maaaring nagbigay ng ulat sa kapanipaniwala. Dagdag pa sa kaniyang ebangeliong pangyayari sa mga nakataas sa kanila. Mga mahahalagang isinulat, isinulat din ni Lucas ang aklat na Ang Mga Gawa tao sa lipunan ng mga Hudyo ang naglibing sa katawan ni Ng Mga Apostol. Sa panulat din ni Lucas nanggaling ang JesuKristo (Juan 19:38-39). mga salitang “maraming mga katunayan” (Gawa 1:3). Ang tatlo pang ebangelio ay mga salaysay rin ng mga nakasaksi, katanggap-tanggap na katunayan. Samantalang inilalahad nila ang mga katulad na pangyayari, ang mga ito’y mga aklat na magkakahiwalay na isinulat – hindi basta kopya ng bawat isa. Ang paghahari ni JesuKristo sa kamatayan (Hebreo 2:9,14-15), at ang Kaniyang muling pagkabuhay ay nagbibigay pag-asa sa Kaniyang tunay na mga tagasunod (Filipos 3:10-11). Dahil sa ang pagkabuhay na muli ay isa sa mga pinakamadaling patunayang pangyayari sa kasaysayan, maaari tayong manampalataya sa ganitong pag-asa. Sa mga pangyayaring ito, paano masasabi ng mga taong may sapat na pag-iisip na si JesuKristo ay nagkunwari sa Kaniyang kamatayan o dili kaya’y ang daandaang mga saksi, kasama na rito ang mga opisyal ng Roma, ay “histerikal” at pinaglalaruan ng isip lamang? Kapag nabasa na ninyo at isinaalang-alang ang mga totoong nangyari sa kaso, iisa lamang kahatulan. Si JesuKristo ay nabuhay, namatay at bumangon sa mga patay! Ang Kasinungalingan At Ang Tangkang Pagtatakip
na isasaalang-alang ang patotoo ng mga nakasaksi, na Ang pinakamatandang kaisipang ginagamit para di maingat atpinaghirapang mapanatitli at mapangalagaan ng paniwalaan ang salaysay ng mga saksi sa muling mga eskriba atmga pantas sa loob ng 1900 na taon, o pagkabuhay ni JesuKristo ay ginawa ng mga taong pumatay sa kanya (Mateo 28:11-15). Kabilang dako, agad-agad na tatanggapin ang mga walang kabuluhang teorya ng mga nagdududa sa makabagong panahon? isinulat ni Apostol Pablo na mahigit 500 saksi ang nakakita na si JesuKristo ay buhay Kayo ang mamili. pagkaraan ng pagkapako Ang pinakamatandang kaisipang ginagamit para di Kung wala ang nabuhay na niya sa krus. Alin ang higit paniwalaan ang salaysay ng mga saksi sa muling na kapanipaniwala? pagkabuhay ni JesuKristo ay ginawa ng mga muli si JesuKristo ay wala tayong tunay na pag-asa sa taong pumatay sa kanya. Mateo 28:11 Ngunit may 500 saksi ang nakakita na si muli nating pagkabuhay at ganoon din ang ating mga Ang mga JesuKristo ay buhay pagkaraan ng pagkapako mahal sa buhay (I Corinto masasamang pinuno at mga niya sa krus. Alin ang higit na kapanipaniwala? 15:12-23). Kung wala ang kasama nito ay lagging nabuhay na muling si JesuKristo ang bawat isa sa atin at ng nagsusumikap na magsinungaling at pagtakpan ang ating mga anak, kasama ng buong sangkatauhan, ay masasama nilang gawa. Ang teoryang ninakaw ng mga mananatili pa ring nakalugmok sa kasalukuyang panahon alagad ni JesuKristo ang kaniyang katawan ay ng krimen, gutom, utang, digmaan, droga, sakit, pagpatay ipinalalaganap pa rin hanggang ngayon. Ang mga ayaw at mga kahalintulad nito. Kung ngayon lamang ang ating maniwala sa mga totoong nangyari sa kabila ng mga buhay, ang buhay natin bilang Kristiyanismo ang siyang nakasulat ng mga nakasaksi ay biktima ng pinakakahabag-habag sa lahat ng mga nilalang ng kasinungalingang ito at pagtatakip. Maliban na lang kung Panginoong Diyos (I Corinto 15:19). Wala na tayong pagsila’y magbago, hindi sila aariing-ganap ng pagkamatay ng asa sa darating na maluwalhating kaharian ng Panginoong kanilang manunubos. Diyos sa lupa kung saan ang buhay at mapagmahal na si Ano Ang Gagawin Mo? JesuKristo ang siyang Hari ng mga Hari at Panginoon ng mga Panginoon. Ano ang gagawin mo? Tatanggapin mo ba ang Ang mga nakasulat na salaysay ng mga nakasaksi mahihina , walang basehahang mga teoriya, opinion at ay patibay ng katotohanan. Si JesuKristo ay nabuhay, espekulasyon ng mga nagdududa sa ating makabagong namatay at nabuhay na muli. Ano ang gagawin mo sa panahon o ang mga nakasulat na patotoo ngmga nakasaksi kaniyang patotoo? sa mga pangyayaring iyon? pagaaralan mo ba at maingat
Isinalin sa Tagalog mula sa “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Is It A Fact?” na isinulat ni Donald L. Hudgel ng Bible Education Services. Ipinamamahagi bilang babasahin ng Shelter In The Word, email: info@ShelterInTheWord.com; P.O. Box 197, Perry, Mchigan, 48872-0107, USA.
HUMILITY: The precious gem of the Christian Crown
Paul was led to prophesy nearly two thousand years ago, that in our age, the last days before the return of Christ and the new age of the Kingdom of God on earth, HUMILITY would be a rare gem. "For people will be.....PROUD, ARROGANT AND CONTEMPTUOUS BOASTERS.....INFLATED WITH SELFCONCEIT....." (2 Timothy 3:1-4; Amplified Bible).
We have had, and still have, those who lead nations of various political groups, who do nothing but boast of their greatness. These are individuals who are inflated with conceit about what they would do IF in a position of power. On the other hand, those that already are in powerful positions brag of the great things they and their party have
done for the benefit of their nation and mankind. We have had, in the past, those who shout and threaten to annihilate others in war. Unfortunately, these individuals are still with us.
We have those with earthly riches who are arrogant and domineering toward those with few earthly riches. Then we have those that are poor in material goods being proud and contemptuous of the rich. There have been, and no doubt will be again, those in the world of sports who claim "I'm the greatest" and time proves they were not so great after all! Yes, and even in the place that you would least expect to find it - RELIGION there's PRIDE and CONCEIT RAISING its INFLATED HEAD. Some religious leaders of different denominations feel they must always be in the limelight of their church papers, magazines, news letters, etc. Many individuals think they are indispensable, no matter how old they are and there is no one else that can preach, teach, or broadcast like themselves! We could go on relating examples to the opposite of HUMILITY, which is evident in our society today. Truly the genuine gem of HUMILITY is a rare jewel. In the WORLD BOOK DICTIONARY the word HUMBLE is defined as "...having or showing a feeling that one is unimportant, weak, poor, etc...modest in spirit, not proud, deeply or courteously respectful...without wrongful pride in oneself or in accomplishments..." EXAMPLES OF HUMILITY There was a man who had great wealth, notoriety and prestige. He treated his servants very well. He helped the poor and needy. He gave to widows and orphans In his realm. He was not obsessed with his wealth or position and he was true to his wife in body and mind. Idolatry was not a part of his worship. This man had no hatred for anyone, including his enemies. He shared his home with travellers and was known for his hospitality. All of these accomplishments and more were this man's badge, and if any man deserved to be proud and boastful, it was this man. And that was his weakness. He was CONCEITED and SELF-RIGHTEOUS. His name was Job. Read the narrative in Job chapter 31 and 32:1. Finally, the Lord spoke to Job and brought him to see that even with all his abilities and good deeds, he was nothing compared to the Almighty. (Read Job 38 through 41). Humility became a part of Job's character when he uttered these words, "Therefore (I now see) I have (rashly) uttered what I did not know...I had heard of you (only) by the hearing of the ear; but now my (spiritual) eye sees you. Therefore I loathe (my words) and abhor myself, and repent in sackcloth and ashes" (Job 42:3-6).
It took some drastic measures on God's part (by allowing Satan to do some painful things to Job) to bring Job to true REPENTANCE and HUMILITY. I guess God could have used another method, but for whatever reason He chose the ones He did). Human nature is such that many, it seems, have to be brought low before HUMILITY is their own experience. With many who are brought low, we find PRIDE and CONCEIT a big part of their personality too. So the proverb, "PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION, AND A HTY SPIRIT BEFORE A FALL" (Proverbs 16:18) becomes a reality. On the other hand, true honor usually comes only to those who have exhibited a humble spirit. For example, the great statesman, Sr. Churchill (who inspired the Allies during World War 2) found himself ridiculed, derided and made a political exile In his own country. All because he dared to warn his country that Hitler was out to conquer the world. It was not until war broke out that Mr. Churchill was honored by being called to lead the British nation against Hitler. The proverb says, "...before honer is HUMILITY" (Proverbs 18:12). A person with true humility will exhibit the quality of character that acknowledges areas of weakness in his/her own abilities. When Moses was called of God from the burning bush to lead Israel out of Egypt, he did not answer by saying he was great and that the Lord had made a wise choice in choosing him. No, Moses humbly came before his Creator, confessing the weak areas of his character; public speaking with eloquence was not one of his gifts! (See Exodus 3:10-11 & Exodus 4:10). Moses went down in history as one of the greatest men, and it Is recorded of him In Numbers 12:3, "Now the man Moses was very meek (humble) above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." The great prophet Isaiah when called to prophesy against Israel and other nations, immediately saw his sins and weakness of character and confessed them (Isa. 6:1-7). Jeremiah also humbly said he was too young, to immature to speak (Jer. 1:6). The man God used to write more of the New Testament than any other author was Paul. He wrote, "For I am less than the least of all saints..." (I Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8). Paul's weakness and sins (though under the blood of Jesus) kept him constantly HUMBLE as he reflected on his life. How many of those that God has used to speak and do his work still remain humble, even though they have experienced success, at least as the world defines success? (It is difficult to remain humble and not become proud and egotistical when men give you acclaim). Only the resurrection and history will tell.
When John the Baptist (whom Jesus said was fulfilling the prophecy of Elijah to come, Mt. 17:11-13, and that none among men had risen who was greater Mt. 11:11) was asked if he was Elijah, or the Christ, or a great prophet, he answered, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias..." (Jn. 1:19-27). Although John must have been told of the manifestations of God to his parents concerning his birth; although he must have known as a boy and a young man that he was destined for a great commission to Israel, still he remained humble. His is one of the greatest examples of true HUMILITY in the entire Bible. HUMILITY IS TEACHABLE Another characteristic that exhibits itself in those that have the gem of humility in their crown, is the ability to accept and to seek counsel from others. Humility knows the wise truth of the proverb that says, "in the multitude of counsellors there Is safety" (Prov. 11 :14). Notice how the meek man Moses was able to accept the wise counsel of his father-in-law (Exodus 18:13-27). He not only accepted it, he acted on it. This example brings us to the realization that no one man is an island unto himself. It is a true saying that there is strength in numbers. A truly humble person will acknowledge that he is not the sum total of all wisdom, knowledge and understanding. That he can only do so much, spread himself just so thin, before he becomes a shattered physical wreck. A meek and humble person will realize that others have God given talents and abilltles, and will be delighted to use these attributes to enhance the whole. He will be glad to delegate responsibility and share the betterment of the whole. He will show trust and confidence in them (not forever looking over their shoulder) but always there to strengthen and assist when needed. Again, read Moses' example in Exodus 18, where he chose able men to help him govern Israel. HUMILITY'S GREATEST TEST Perhaps the greatest test for anyone in exhibiting humility (a test that many, who have enjoyed the acclaim of others while in a position of authority, fail) is to humbly step aside in favor of another person or group. This is the crucial test. Many gifted and talented people in various walks of life have humbled themselves in all facets of physical living except this one area - a willingness to relinquish power and control. They always must be in control and make the final decision or veto the decisions of others, thus keeping themselves as the supreme and only authority. The failure of not passing this final test means they have not been able to achieve total or GODLY HUMILITY.
Elijah was a man powerfully used by the Lord, not only in preaching and warning, but also In performing great physical miracles (I Kings 17:18; 21:17-29 and 11 Kings 1:1-17). But the day came when God decided that Elijah's work should be given to another. It was time for him to step aside, to no longer be in the forefront of fame and glory. He was to relinquish his hold of power and authority. Elijah was given the ultimate test and he passed with flying colors (II Kings 2:1-18). This is one of the reasons Elijah and Moses (two of the most humble men in history) were in vision at the transfiguration of Christ (Mt. 17:1-13). Those individuals that will be in the first resurrection, at the return of Christ, will also exhibit like Moses, Elijah and others, a humble God-like spirit. They will be the ones who will be willing to follow the greatest example of humility to ever be exhibited, our LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. He, who had all perfection, glory and power, was, next to the Father in GREATNESS. He of whom it is written, "...He, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his privileges as God's equal, but stripped himself of every advantage by consenting to be a slave and to be born a man. And plainly seen as a human being, he HUMBLED himself by living a life of utter obedience, to the point of death. And the death he died was a death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him to heights, and has given him the name beyond all names. So that at the name of JESUS 'every knee shall bow', whether in heaven or earth or under the earth. And that is why every tongue shall confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of God the FATHER" (Phil. 2:6-11, Phililps translation, emphasis mine). Truly, before praise must come HUMILITY! HUMILITY IN SERVICE If there is anyone who is reading these words and is seeking for personal greatness in the eyes of mankind, whether it be in the field of politics, finance, economics, science, sports, or even religion, let him take to heart the admonition of Jesus in Matt. 20:25-28, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles rule it over them, and their great men hold them in subjection, tyrannizing over them. Not so shall it be among you; but whoever wishes to be GREAT among you must be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many..." (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine). One of the main ingredients in HUMILITY is service to others. This calibre of humility comes at great cost. It is the epitome of a laid-down life, poured out, lived out on behalf of others. Yes, it costs a great deal to experience and know true humility. For most people it's a price that is prohibitive; they simply will not pay it! THE MEEK ARE NOT WEAK
The humble person is a gracious, congenial individual who is easy to get along with. These good natured souls win friends on every side because they refuse to shove, push, and throw their weight around, they don't win their wars with brutal battles and fierce fights. They win their way into hundreds of hearts and homes with the passport of a lovely, loving spirit. But this quality of life does not come from a position of feeble impotence but rather from a tremendous inner strength and serenity. Only the strong, stable spirit can afford to be gentle. Moses was, in many ways, a powerful, strong man, yet he was the humblest of all men during his day. Jesus Christ was the perfection of humility, yet He was by no means a weak individual. Notice how He dealt with those who misused the TEMPLE of God (Jn. 2:13-17) and how, on occasions, He answered the hypocritical religious leaders of His time (Mt. 23). Jesus is the center of Christianity - He set us the complete example (I Peter 2:21) for us to follow. And as Phillip Keller, in his book "A GARDENER LOOKS AT THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT" so aptly put it on page 68, "Unless we keep clearly in view the life and the character of Christ we will succumb to the eternal temptation of living like our contemporaries, giving tit for tat, insisting on our rights, demanding our pound of flesh, stepping on anyone who trespasses against us, while all the time pushing for PROMINENCE AND RECOGNITION. This is the world's way; Christ calls us to tread In His footsteps. He tells us to deny ourselves dally (give up our right to ourselves). He asks us to take up our cross continuously (that which cuts diametrically across my selfish interest), crossing out the great "l" in my life to produce peace. None of this Is very appealing. It goes against the grain of our old nature. It is not a bit glamorous or romantic" (emphasis mine). THE BENEFITS OF HUMBLENESS Humility has a basic fruitage of three fantastic benefits. They could not be stated any better than Mr. P. Keller does in his aforementioned book, I quote from pages 169 and 170: 1) "Humility is the only seedbed from which faith can spring...ln brokenness and contrition the humble person cries
out to God for help. He reaches out to Christ for restoration and healing. He exercises faith in another because he knows he must touch someone greater than himself. 2) It is to such souls that God gives Himself gladly, freely. He draws near to those that draw near to Him. He delights to dwell with those of a broken and contrite spirit. 'The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken and contrite heart; and saves such as be of a contrite (meek) spirit' (Ps. 34:18)...ln vivid and shattering contrast we are warned explicitly that God actually RESISTS the PROUD. He does not just tolerate or indulge arrogant souls. He actually opposes them actively. This is a terrifying truth that should make any selfcentered, hty individual tremble (James 4:4-10). 3) In contrast to this, the third amazing reality about humility is the impact it makes on our fellowman. It is the genuinely humble, gentle soul who wins friends and draws around him a circle of loving associates. This quality of life draws others as surely as nectar in a blossom draws bees. The gentle genial person is the recipient of affection. People bestow on him their blessings. He is lavished with love and surrounded with compassion. The proud, arrogant, hty person has few friends, if any. He stands upon his little pedestal of pride in grim and gaunt loneliness. Others leave him alone. They ignore him deliberately. If he is so independent, let him live his own Life; let him go his own way; let him suffer the agony of his own selfishness." I will add one more benefit of HUMILITY, in fact. the greatest benefit of all. Those who humble themselves now, under the mighty hand of God, will be exalted in due time and inherit everlasting GLORY as a child of the Father in His Kingdom. "By HUMILITY and fear of the Lord are RICHES, AND HONER, AND LlFE" (Proverbs 22:4). By Keith Hunt
Permission is given to photo copy, e-mail, web site etc. any article by Keith Hunt and distribute to others. As Christians it is taken for granted that proper credit will be given not for fame but out of politeness. All praise for work we do should go to the LORD.
saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Q&A: Father, Why Have You
Question: What does it mean when Jesus said "Father, Father why have you forsaken me?" when he was nailed on the cross? Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,
Answer: This is a question that has been pondered and debated unendingly, it seems. The short answer is, God withdrew His Holy Spirit from Jesus and turned His back on him because Jesus had taken upon himself all the sins of mankind, and God (The Father) cannot and will not look upon sin. The long answer is more complicated and can become very deep, so if you have more questions about it after studying this answer WITH YOUR BIBLE OPEN, then please send me e-mail with your additional questions about this subject.
God, the Father, will NOT look upon sin! He hides His Face from it. God will not allow one iota of His Character to be changed by even observing sin. Isaiah the prophet tells us about that. Isa 59:2 "But your iniquities (law-breaking) have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." The Word of God (John 1:1) gave up ALL the GLORY, MAJESTY and POWER to become a human being (verse 14), live a perfect life as an example to us, and to become that sacrifice demanded by God's Righteous Law. When Jesus took upon Himself the fullness of mankind's sins, it was needful, in order to OBEY God's Law, that He be baptized and die because of mankind's total sins. They had all been heaped upon Him. Although Jesus lived a perfect, sin-free life, the sins of mankind which He so graciously accepted condemned Him to death. That death had to picture eternal death, so God The Father, of necessity had to withdraw His Holy Spirit from Christ as He hung there on the cross, almost dead. When Jesus knew the absence of the Holy Spirit, He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" That absence of God's life-giving, Holy Spirit will be what those unconvertible, unrepentant, incorrigible people will feel just before their eternal death at the end! It was also prophesied in Ps. 22 verse 1! HAD GOD NOT RESURRECTED JESUS (BECAUSE JESUS' OWN LIFE HAD BEEN SINLESS) THAT DEATH WOULD HAVE BEEN PERMANENT because of the sins of mankind He had accepted! How frightening that is when one understands the whole picture of salvation! The Christian Passover each year memorializes all these things and teaches us once again that we MUST be able to claim that wonderful, ultimate sacrifice of Jesus when He and God offer it to us. There ARE conditions that must be met in order to claim that sacrifice as payment for our sins. There is much, much more to all this. If this raises more questions about this subject, please e-mail me and I will do my best to serve you! Ken Browder, - Seven Times Newsletter -http://7times.org
What does the word ‘Easter’ mean in the Bible?
Question: What is meant by the term Easter in Acts 12:4? Is this Easter the Jewish Passover or a pagan festival? Answer: First, lets take a look at the verse in question along with the few verses before it: "Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. " (Acts 12:1-4, KJV) The second part of your question needs a bit of clarification and explanation. Biblically speaking, the Passover was not a "Jewish" festival although Jews (members of the tribe of Judah or citizens of the Kingdom of Judah, consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and most of the tribe of Levi) certainly celebrated this festival and still do. The Kingdom of Judah came into being when the other ten tribes of Israel (the tribe of Joseph became two tribes – Ephraim and Manasseh) split from those three tribes at the end of King Solomon's reign. The ten tribe nation was called Israel from that point forward and the citizens of the Kingdom of Judah were called Jews. The Passover festival was an Israelite festival and not just a Jewish festival – it was ordained for all 12 (actually 13) tribes to keep. The holy day or festival known as Passover was never called Easter by the first century church. The word Easter is a derivative of Ishtar, or Astarte or one of other names (such as Venus) given by various cultures to their goddess of fertility. This is the origin of Easter eggs and the rabbit (noted for its rapid procreation) as a symbol of that celebration. The King James Version Bible was written by scholars whose orientation was toward Catholic and Anglican church doctrines, and this caused some of the errors in translation i.e., the translation of the Greek word pascha, which means "passover", as "Easter" in Acts 12:4. The New International Version Bible correctly translates pascha as "passover": "After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover." (Acts 12:4, NIV) Pascha is correctly translated as Passover elsewhere in the KJV and almost all other reliable translations. Easter is indeed of pagan origin and was originally celebrated at the spring solstice as part of the worship of a pagan goddess of fertility.
NOTE: Thank you for your question. As the Bible is the ULTIMATE WRITTEN AUTHORITY of TRUTH given by God, we encourage you to check our answers from God's Holy Word. May God truly bless your studies and your efforts to obey Him!
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” – Luke 6:46
Jesus’ first instructions to his disciples (talmidim) on prayer are found only in Matthew’s account (Matthew 6:5-8). In context, he had just finished talking to them about ostentatious almsgiving (Matthew 6:1-4). God does not reward good deeds done for the sake of appearances. Acts of almsgiving and philanthropy done for the praise of men will receive no reward from God. When doing good deeds, it’s best to keep a low profile. Spiritual Exhibitionism This context is important to Jesus’ discussion prayer because the theme of ostentation is carried through: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the street corners to be seen of men,” (Matthew 6:5a). Several things about this verse jump out at us. First, Jesus doesn’t say “if” you pray, but “when.” He takes it as a given that his followers would be a praying people. Second, some people, whom Jesus called “hypocrites,” deliberately position themselves to be seen by others as praying. Ostentatiously giving alms (charity) and praying are both forms of spiritual exhibitionism which Jesus condemns. Prayerful public posing and posturing are ways of getting others to say, “Oh my, look how spiritual she is – she’s always praying.” Those who gain recognition and praise from men for their gifts of charity and exhibitionistic praying have, in that human praise, the full reward for their “spirituality” (verse 5b). Jesus then teaches the correct way to pray: “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you,” (Matthew 6: 6 RSV). Note: Jesus is not here forbidding collective prayer. The early followers of Rabbi Jesus often gathered for prayer (Matthew 18:1920; Acts 16:13 etc.). Praying in a group as Christians is not the same as ill-motivated exhibitionistic praying in the public square to gain recognition from men. Prayerful Long Windedness Once Jesus had addressed spiritual exhibitionism in both deeds of charity and in prayer, he turned his attention to another dimension of prayer: long windedness: “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him,” (Matthew 6: 7-8). “Gentiles” were non-Jews – pagans or heathen. They employed in their prayers to the gods some peculiar practices. In this section, the Greek word used to describe pagan prayers is battalogeo. It appears no where else in the New Testament or in contemporary secular literature. Robert Mounce, in his commentary on Matthew, suggests that it is a word made up from another Greek word: battarizo, meaning to “stammer or stutter.” Mounce explains that “Behind the word is the practice of the heathen who developed long lists of divine names, hoping that by endless repetition they would somehow invoke the name of the true god and receive what they wished. To know and pronounce correctly the name of a god was thought to provide the power to manipulate that god,” (New International Biblical Commentary – Matthew by Robert H. Mounce, p. 56). Of course I believe that when Jesus was originally giving this teaching, he was speaking in Hebrew, not Greek. The key thought here is “many words.” God is not impressed by the
sheer volume or loudness of our words. In fact, in Judaism, one of the highest forms of prayer is silence: “Be silent, all flesh, for He is aroused from His holy habitation,” (Zechariah 2:13). Worshipful silence before God often enables us to hear the “still small voice” (I Kings 19:12). Silence can be “listening prayer.” God heard the silent prayer of Hannah, Samuel’s devoted mother though “…Hannah spoke only in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard,” (I Samuel 1:13). When we appear worshipfully before the throne of God, he “hears” the desires of our hearts and often grants them, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4). After a time of barrenness (I Samuel 1:5), the Lord granted Hanna a son who became a great prophet.
God Anticipates Any of you who have been parents have experienced the phenomenon of knowing what your children are going to say before they say it. You know when they are “on approach” what is coming next: “Dad, I need some money to buy that video game,” or, “Mom, I want to stay up later tonight to watch (whatever).” God, our loving Father, is the same, “…your Father knows the things you need before you ask him,” Matthew 6:8b). God anticipates his children. In this article we have learned that God is not impressed with ostentatious giving or praying. Those of us who perform acts of piety to “be seen of men” have, in that human approbation, all the reward we’re going to get. It’s best not to be a spiritual exhibitionist or an ostentatious giver and prayer. That’s what it means by “don’t let your right
hand know what your left hand is doing.” We also learned that God is unimpressed with overlong and overloud prayers. A silent prayer can be as effective as a noisy one – if not more so. The rule of thumb is this: The subject of the prayer dictates the appropriate length of the prayer. On occasion, Jesus prayed all night, but many of his prayers were relatively short. You can bet there were no wasted words in those prayers; everything he said had substance. Surprisingly, Jesus didn’t always pray for healing or exorcism – he simply took authority and cast out the disease or the demon. Jesus could do this because the prayer that gave him this authority had already been done. By
Which teaching of Jesus caused the LARGEST number of his disciples to leave him?
The answer to your question lies in the following verses: "Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.' . . . On hearing it, many of his disciples said, 'This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?' Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, 'Does this offend you?' . . . From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." (John 6:53-56, 60-61, 66, NIV) These words of Jesus were very confusing to many of His disciples. They just didn’t get it. Why is that? It’s because their minds were not opened to spiritual understanding at that time. Most of the people who listened to Jesus Christ’s teachings during His ministry did not have the understanding to comprehend what He was talking about. Notice: "Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. "With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: 'You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.' "But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what
you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." (Matthew 13:10-17, RSV) Just as God through Jesus Christ was not trying to save the world then, He is not even now trying to save the world, but He will in His own good time. God must get mankind’s attention first, but that will not happen until punishment is executed and man repents of his sins. Getting back to your question, most of His disciples thought Jesus was talking "literally" about His flesh and blood. That is why many turned away and did not walk with Him after that. In reality, His saying was symbolic of the bread and wine that he would introduce to His twelve disciples (apostles) at His final Passover before He suffered. Then, what was He saying to His disciples who could hear and understand? That, in order to have eternal life, one must observe the Passover annually and take the symbols of bread and wine which represent Jesus’ body and blood. The annual observance of the Passover is the true Christian’s renewal of His baptismal contract. Unless one is called to salvation and observes the Passover, he has no eternal life dwelling in him/her. Jesus Christ gave His body and blood in a great sacrifice to cover the sins of humanity. Thus, with the observance of the "Pass-over", God "passes over" our sins because they are covered by the sacrifice and blood of Christ. Notice what Paul said: "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he
had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." "In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup [annually], you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. "Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another-- if any one is hungry, let him eat at home-- lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come." (1Corinthians 11:23-34, RSV) The observance of the Passover occurs in the Spring of the year (the 14th day of the first sacred month which in Hebrew is called Abib or Nisan) and is the beginning of God’s master plan of salvation for man. God’s master plan is outlined in the keeping of the seven annual holy days or Biblical festivals of God. These are outlined in the Old Testament book of Leviticus 23. Unless
one if observing the Passover and these annual holy days, they simply can’t understand God’s plan of salvation and what He intends to do in the future. Just as in Jesus’ day, the vast majority of humanity over the last two thousand years have not understood the REAL spiritual meaning of His teachings and have not yet been called to salvation. One day, however, they will after Jesus Christ returns to this earth in all power and glory to take over the reins of government and to restore this world the way it was meant to be. After Satan is bound and mankind repents of breaking God’s laws, spiritual understanding will be opened to everyone. Notice: "And in this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees. And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil [Satan’s deception] that is spread over all nations. "He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day: "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." (Isaiah 25:6-9, NKJV) Written by: Rick / Eileen Beltz/ Biblestudy.org
Made: How Pearls are Made: Pearls are a product of pain. When a grain of sand pierces the shell of an oyster, all the otherwise dormant resources within the tiny oyster respond to the foreign irritant by caring for that sensitive spot. Over time, the sand particle is covered by healing fluids, and the wound becomes a pearl. That's true for you, too. When hardships invade your life, allow God's Spirit to shape your response. Don't be bitter. Don't rush ahead of His plan. Rest in Him. Allow Him time to turn that irritation into an opportunity for your growth – and watch a beautiful pearl emerge from your set of circumstances.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." – James 1:2-4
The next time you feel like God can't use you, just remember... NOAH was a drunk.... ABRAHAM was too old... ISAAC was a daydreamer... JACOB was a liar... LEAH was ugly... JOSEPH was abused... MOSES had a stuttering problem... GIDEON was afraid... SAMSON had long hair, and was a womanizer! RAHAB was a prostitute! JEREMIAH and TIMOTHY were too young... DAVID had an affair and was a murderer... ELIJAH was suicidal... ISAIAH preached naked... JONAH ran from God... NAOMI was a widow... JOB went bankrupt... JOHN the Baptist ate bugs... PETER denied Christ... The Disciples fell asleep while praying... MARTHA worried about everything... MARY MAGDALENE was demon possessed... The SAMARITAN WOMAN was divorced....more than once!! ZACCHEUS was too small... PAUL was too religious... TIMOTHY had an ulcer.... AND LAZARUS WAS DEAD!!!! No more excuses now. God's waiting to use your full potential! Who Are We?
The Mustard Seed Newsletter is published free by The Mustard Seed Evangelistic Association –an affiliated association committed to the publishing of the Gospel that Jesus Christ preached and as recorded for us in the Holy Scriptures. This goal is to be within the framework of the Commission set forth to His believers and followers to "go and make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). It is our hope that the Mustard Seed and its other publications will become a shared-resource and vehicle for our readers to come to know and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the Kingdom of God. You are invited to join us in this exciting and marvelous work!
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
For your question and/or comment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com/ Raul deAsis Hipe/Editor
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