Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Life of Christ- Part 15

We are slowly coming to the close of Jesus' earthly ministry. He has been going all over Israel trying to show His people that He is their promised Messiah.
He had many different disciples, but only 12 that He personally chose out. And, He was trying to get these men to understand that when He was gone they would need to carry on the ministry. But, they were having trouble learning, too.
Mark 9:33-34- And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
The disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. But, when Jesus asked them about their argument, they were ashamed and wouldn't answer Him.
Luke 9:47-48- And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.
Matthew 18:3-5- And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
The disciples were worried about being the greatest, but Jesus knew that they needed to worry more about being humble. They needed to become to like children who believed what they were told.
Luke 10:1-3- After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Jesus sent out other men, besides the 12 that He had chosen. These men were sent out in pairs and they were suppose to preach to all the places around Israel. They were going to go to people who didn't want to listen, and wouldn't be nice. But, there were some that were praying for the truth!
Luke 10:17-20- And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
When the men returned to Jesus, they were so happy to give a report of all that had happened. They were able to do miracles like Jesus had. They were even able to tell devils to leave people alone, and the devils listened!
Jesus warned them not to be excited because of all the things that they were able to do, but to be excited that their names were written down in heaven.
Luke 10:21, 23-24- In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Jesus rejoiced that only the humble could understand the mysteries of God. He told His disciples that there were many wise and noble people who would never get to see or hear the things that they were blessed with viewing and listening to.
Matthew 11:27-30- All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The things that Jesus said to His disciples were very wonderful! But, there were things that only those disciples would be able to do. Jesus didn't give everyone the ability to perform miracles, but He did give everyone the ministry of telling others about Him. And, He promised that He would accept anyone who would come to Him!
The miracles that the disciples could do would certainly make them proud. They had to remember that God uses the humble!
Matthew 18:10-14- Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
Jesus said that the disciples shouldn't d ignore the children, because children have a special place with God. He listens to children's prayers very closely!
Jesus wanted them to understand that God wanted ALL people to be saved, especially innocent children. He warned the disciples not to preach only to the grown ups.
Mark 8:27-30- And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
Jesus asked the disciples who people said that He was. He already knew, but He wanted the disciples to understand that THEY knew who He was. When Peter answered Him that He knew He was the Christ, the promised Messiah, Jesus told them not to tell anyone yet.
Then He tried to tell them what was about to happen.
Mark 8:31- And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
The disciples didn't like hearing that He would be killed!
Mark 8:32-33- And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
When Peter said that shouldn't happen, Jesus called him Satan!
Jesus knew that the devil didn't want Him to obey God. The devil was trying very hard to get Jesus to sin. He was trying very hard to get Jesus killed.
Jesus needed His disciples to know that the only way for Him to be the promised Messiah was for Him to die.
Mark 8:34-37- And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Luke 9:25-27- For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
Jesus told His disciples that they would have to be willing to give up some things in this world to get the gospel to the lost. And, if they were willing there would be a great reward in heaven!
But, if they decided to hold onto the things of the world, then they would get no rewards in heaven.
And, if a lost person decided they would rather have treasures in this world than ask Jesus to save them that they would lose more than just riches, they would lose their soul in hell.
Then, He told them that some of them wouldn't die until they saw the kingdom of God. That didn't mean that they would live forever, it just meant that He was going to do something spectacular for someone one day!
Matthew 17:1-3- And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
The Bible has something very special about it. The words that it uses have secrets behind them. Jesus took some of his disciples to a high mountain after six days.
Psalm 90:4- For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
II Peter 3:8- But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The six days are like six thousand years. Jesus was letting His disciples know that something would be different in the world six thousand years after Creation.
The disciples were Peter, James, and John, and they saw something amazing! They saw Jesus in His glorified body- the holy body that He had in heaven.
And, they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Him. We don't know what they were talking about, but it is important because this is another secret.
Revelation 11:3- And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Moses and Elijah are going to come back to the earth. They will have mortal bodies, but will be able to work miracles like Jesus sent those disciples out to work. This would all happen some time in the future.
Mark 9:5-6- And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
Peter and the other two disciples were afraid. They went up onto a mountain and all of a sudden, Jesus was glowing brightly and talking with two other men who had appeared out of nowhere!
Peter said that they should make tabernacles for these men and Jesus. He may have said this because it was close to the Feast of Tabernacles.
Matthew 17:5-6-  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
While Peter was talking a voice came from the cloud. They couldn't see anyone talking, but they could hear it. It scared them so badly that they fell down on the ground with their faces hidden.
Matthew 17:7-9- And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
When Jesus roused them, they looked around and saw that the splendid sight was gone. Jesus was back to the way they were use to seeing Him. He told them not to tell anyone else what they had seen until He was risen from the dead.
Mark 9:10-13- And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
The disciples still didn't understand that Jesus was going to be killed and that He would be dead for three days and then He would live again. So, they didn't know what that meant.
But, they were curious about something else, too. There was a Scripture in the Old Testament that said that Elijah would show up before the Messiah came.
Malachi 4:4-5- Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Jesus told His disciples that Elijah would come before the Messiah appeared. He would come back six thousand years after Creation before Jesus showed up to destroy the enemies of Israel and He would set up His throne on the earth and rule as King!
But, Elijah would come back in spirit before the Messiah would show up the first time, too. Jesus told His disciples that Elijah had already shown up, just not the way everyone expected.
Matthew 17:12-13- But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist came with the same spirit and power that Elijah had lived, and so John was considered to have fulfilled that role.
LUke 9:43-44- And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.
Jesus was trying His hardest to prepare them for what was about to happen, but they just didn't understand.
Matthew 17:22-23- And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Jesus told them again and again, but they couldn't get it. They were sorry, perhaps because He kept saying that He would die, or maybe because they weren't able to comprehend. But, they would soon find out what He meant.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Life of Jesus Christ- Part 14

The religious leaders of Jesus' day were suppose to not only know the Scriptures, but also obey them. However, these religious leaders made things hard for those around them.
When Jesus showed up, he wasn't the Messiah they expected would come.
Matthew 12:36-42- But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Jesus preached only the law. He followed the law. He obeyed the law. But, He didn't follow the traditions that the religious leaders thought that He should, and He showed mercy and compassion and was forgiving when the religious leaders were hard and strict and unrelenting.
Matthew 15:1-3- Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
They took the laws of God and mixed them with traditions and made people sinners for not following them.
Mark 7:3-4- For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Jesus wanted them to see that their traditions went against some of God's laws, but they didn't want to hear what He preached.
Matthew 15:6b-9- Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mark 7:9, 13- And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.  Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Matthew 15:10-12- And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand : Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
The religious leaders were offended that Jesus would say that they were sinners. They thought they were so righteous and that their ways were what God wanted. They were so blinded by their own righteousness that they wouldn't even listen!
John 8:12-13, 17-19, 23-24- Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Jesus was sent to show all mankind how to be saved. He was going to keep the law, and also become the sacrifice required by the law. He is the only one who could ever encompass all that the law desired.
But, these religious leaders thought that they were good enough. And since Jesus didn't do what they did, or say what they said, or follow their doctrines, they thought that He was a terrible liar- a deceiving sinner.
John 8:28, 32- Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Jesus knew their hearts. He knew the hatred that they had for Him. And, He knew that they had already come to the decision that He must die.
John 8:37, 43-45, 47, 58-59- I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Jesus told them that they were not the children of Abraham, because Abraham listened to God's words and obeyed them. He told them they were the children of the devil, because the devil thinks his way is best and ignores what God says.
Then He tried again to tell them that He was their Messiah. He was the Son of God who was there during creation and was there before Abraham. But, they were angry with Jesus and tried to kill Him right there!
But, Jesus knew the time and the place where He would be killed. And it wasn't that time. He walked away from them and left.
John 7:1-  After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
Just because the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus didn't mean He stopped doing what God wanted of Him. He didn't go around openly proclaiming that He was the Jesus, but He still went around doing miracles and preaching.
John 10:1-2, 4, 11, 27-28-  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Jesus wanted all Israel to know that they were sheep in need of a shepherd. And, He was the Shepherd.
But, they didn't understand Him. So, He tried to explain a different way.
John 10:6-7, 9- This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Jesus said He was the door. He was trying to tell them that He was the door to heaven. He was the only way for any of them to be saved! But, for them to have the ability to acquire salvation, He had to die.
John 10:17-18- Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
He wanted so much for them to understand, but they just couldn't... or rather, they wouldn't!
John 10:23-25- And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
They asked Him to say whether He was the Christ- so He told them that He did tell them, and He did miracles in His father's name. He was saying that His father was God.
John 10:31-33- Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
But, when He told them the answer to their question, they tried to stone Him to death, again!
John 10:39-42- Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there.
Jesus left them again and when somewhere else. But, the time was slowly slipping away. His time on this earth was coming to a close.
Matthew 12:9-14- And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
The religious leaders thought that if they could accuse Jesus of breaking the law they could justify killing Him.
Mark 3:3-5- And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Jesus knew what they were trying to do. He asked them if it was a sin to do good. But, they had learned not to argue with Jesus, so they didn't say anything.
This made Jesus angry! They didn't want to hear. They didn't want to understand. They didn't want to even try. They only wanted one thing.
Mark 3:6- And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
They wanted Jesus dead. And, they were soon going to get their chance.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Life of Jesus Christ- Part 13

John says at the end of his gospel that if all the miracles that Jesus did while on the earth were written down that the world could not contain the amount of books they would fill!
The Bible only tells us of a few of the blessings that Jesus bestowed on those around Him while on the earth.
Mark 7:24-26- And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know [it]: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
Matthew 15:24- But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
A Gentile woman found Jesus as He was walking. She had heard of all the wonders that He had performed in her village. She had a daughter who had a devil living inside of her, and she was hoping that Jesus would heal her.
Jesus kept walking along as she was pleading, seeming to not hear a word that she said. But, the disciples heard her every plea and it was annoying them, so they asked Jesus to send her away.
Matthew 15:24-25- But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Jesus said that He was sent by His father to Israel only. He was not suppose to deal with the Gentiles- not yet.
She came and fell down and worshiped Him and begged Him again to heal her daughter.
Mark 7:27-28- But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
But, Jesus called her a dog, and said that a man with a family would feed His own children the food that was prepared, not give it to the animals.
What an offensive thing to say! How could someone who was the Son of the Creator of the universe say that a human being was as low as an animal?
What would you have done?
Matthew 15:27-28- And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Many would have gotten angry, and even argued that they were worth much more! But, this woman heard something that they had not. She heard that there was hope.
You see, when the children are eating and they drop something on the floor, the animals in the house are allowed to eat it! She knew if she accepted that He called her an animal, that He might just drop a blessing down for her.
Jesus acknowledged her humbleness and was impressed by her willingness to lower her own self worth just to receive this petition.
Mark 7:29-30- And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
She had faith that Jesus would bless her and He did! He gave her the answer she was seeking and her daughter was healed!
Many times we would see more blessings from the Lord if we would only humble ourselves. But, we don't learn. The disciples couldn't have compassion on this woman, and so they didn't understand why the Lord would ignore her. I bet they didn't understand why He blessed her either.
Mark 8:22-23- And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
When Jesus got to town, there were people who asked Him to heal a blind man.
Jesus first took the man outside of the town. Why? Why would He take a blind man and lead him out of familiar surroundings?
Not only that, but Jesus spit on the blind man! I wonder what that man was thinking as he was being led about and spit on?
Mark 8:24-25- And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
First, the man had strange sight. He saw men as trees. That is curious.
Jesus could have easily healed this man correctly the first time. But, He wanted us to know something by this miracle.
Men as trees, what could it mean? Man's first sin was associated with a tree. Christ would be crucified on a tree.
Paul used this illustration in Romans.
Romans 11:16-17; 19-21 - For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
And, Jesus, Himself, said this-
John 15:5- I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Jesus is the vine, or the base of the tree. All those who come to Him are the branches of the tree.
First, Israel was called to the Lord God Almighty- that's why Jesus came to the Israelites, because He was their promised Messiah.
But, when they rejected Him the invitation was then given to all- Jews and Gentiles alike. And, those who ask Him to save their souls will become part of His tree- they will become branches on His royal family tree!
Jesus healed this man in two steps so that someone would take note of what was said and search the Scriptures to find the reason!
John 8:1-2- Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
Jesus was always trying to teach the Israelites the Scriptures. He wanted them to understand that the Lord God Almighty was more than they had come to believe. He wasn't only judgement. He wasn't only anger!
But, the religious leaders couldn't look past that. When they read the Scriptures that was all they saw. And, they were going to do everything in their power to try to prove that Jesus couldn't possibly be who He claimed to be.
John 8:3-5- And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
The religious leaders brought a woman who had committed a very serious crime. It was their law to kill this woman for her crime, but they wanted to see if Jesus would follow the law.
They brought her to Him and accused her of the wickedness. She just stood there saying nothing. She knew the law. She knew she was guilty. And, she knew the punishment must be coming.
John 8:6-8- This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
Jesus acted as though He hadn't heard them. He got down and with His finger wrote something in the dirt.
What was it that He wrote? Was it the Scripture that said that both the man and the woman that had sinned were to be put to death? Was it the Ten Commandments? We don't know. But Whatever is was, when He said that the person who hadn't sinned could kill her, they were convicted!
John 8:9- And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When the last one had left, Jesus and the woman were the only ones of that company left.
John 8:10-11- When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Jesus asked the woman if there was anyone left that accused her of sin. She knew that the only one who could rightly accuse her was someone who hadn't sinned themselves- And, that was Jesus.
But, Jesus wasn't come to condemn lives- He was come to save them! And, so He forgave her, but told her not to sin anymore!
Jesus often forgave those who others wouldn't. And when He forgave, He never brought their sin up again.
Luke 7:36- And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
Luke tells us of a story where Jesus went to eat with a Pharisee, but Mark tells us something about that Pharisee that Luke doesn't.
Mark 14:3a-  And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat,
This Pharisee was a leper- he had the deadly disease which should have separated him from all human contact. Yet, here he was throwing a party!
Luke 7:37-38- And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Exactly what had happened to make this woman decide to do this, we don't know. We do know that she had heard of Jesus and she wanted to show Him how much she loved and appreciated Him.
Mark 14:3b- there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
This box of ointment was very costly! She was giving Him something that was expensive. To be used, the box must be broken taking away all value of cost and removing any other purpose for it's use. And, she was using up something that was precious on someone whom she deemed worthy!
This act was full of adoration for the Lord. She was crying because it was from her heart, and she was using her hair to wipe his feet, which probably meant that she wasn't prepared to be so emotional and so she brought no towel.
Matthew 26:8-9- But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
The disciples were probably the first to start complaining out loud. But, they weren't the only ones who thought ill of the woman's actions.
Luke 7:39- Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
The prideful Pharisee had already judged and condemned this lady. He must have heard of or known about her reputation, because he was certain she was a sinner.
But, all this was going on inside his mind. He didn't say any of this out loud.
Can you imagine a man that had the walking death, leprousy, talking wickedness about a woman who showing kindness and love?
Lukd 7:40-42- And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Jesus knew what the disciples were whispering about the woman. He knew what the leper was thinking about her. So, he addressed the leper and asked him who would love the most- someone who was forgiven a little or someone who was forgiven a lot?
Luke 7:43-47- Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Jesus told the leper that, even though the woman was a sinner, she was forgiven for her sins. She loved the Lord so much because He had forgiven her for so much.
The leper had, also, sinned since all men are sinners. But, he never sought forgiveness for his sins.
Luke 7:48-49- And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
Some people began to question who Jesus thought He was to be able to forgive sins. The just never learned! He was the only one who could truly forgive sins.
But, Jesus paid no heed to their arguments. He still had the disciples to deal with.
Mark 14:6-9- And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Jesus told the disciples that this woman had accomplished something that no one else would ever be able to do- she got to anoint the holy Lamb of God before his death.
Mark 7:50- And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
What a wonderful thing to be forgiven! And to have the assurance that you are at peace with the Lord!
This story will be forever told throughout history because someone loved enough to give the best and expected nothing in return. But, in return she got something that she never could have found elsewhere.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Life of Jesus Christ- Part 12

Jesus worked many miracles while He was on this earth. But, He also enabled others to do so.
Luke 9:1-6- Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
The disciples were sent out by Jesus to heal, to preach, and to help others. They went out with only what they had on them. Everywhere they went, they were to find someone who was willing to receive them and they would stay and eat with that person. They weren't to bother with finding food or jobs for money- their one job was to preach and heal.
The disciples obeyed Jesus and found that others were willing to help them with their own needs when the disciples took care of their problems.
We have people today who obey Jesus like this. We call them pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. They go about telling others about Jesus and trying to win souls from a devil's hell.
The men who obey this calling today don't have the special abilities that Jesus gave the disciples- healing. That was only given to certain Jews during Jesus' time on earth, and shorty thereafter.
Luke 9:10- And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
Jesus often tried to go somewhere quiet and peaceful where it could just be himself and the Lord God Almighty. He knew how important time alone in prayer was. But, it was rare that He ever got alone time.
Luke 9:11-12- And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.  And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.
Jesus couldn't help but have compassion on those who were trying to seek Him. He left His time of solitude and spent the day healing and teaching them.
When dusk was close to settling on the horizon, the disciples told Jesus that He needed to send the people away to eat somewhere. They described the location they were in as a desert.
Matthew 14:16- But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat .
John 6:5-7-  When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
Jesus didn't want to send the people away hungry. He asked Philip where they could buy bread.
Philip used to be a tax collector. He was very good with Math and as he sat there calculating, He told the Lord that a certain amount of money wouldn't be enough to buy bread.
Perhaps he chose this amount because that's how much they had. But, Christ had asked Philip for a reason. You see, Judas Iscariot was the one who kept the money for the group.
Christ was going to show Philip that He could use anything, even the smallest amount to provide.
John 6:8-9- One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
Another disciples said that there was a young boy who had a few small bread rolls and a couple of small fish. This little boy understood what the disciples didn't- Jesus could do great things if only we would offer Him what we had.
John 6:10a- And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place.
Jesus was going to work a miracle with that young man's lunch! He told the disciples to make the people sit down on the grass.
Remember the disciples calling it a desert place? Well, it wasn't a dry, sandy desert like you were thinking. It had grass. It was more hospitable than the disciples were being!
John 6:11-  And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
Jesus took that small lunch and thanked God for it. Then He slowly broke off pieces and handed them to His disciples to pass out. Each time He pulled another piece off the disciples were amazed! It just kept coming!
After a while, the disciples and everyone else had eaten all they could, and there were left-overs!
John 6:12-13-  When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Jesus doesn't waste things. He told the disciples to gather up  what was left, and it filled 12 baskets! Those small dinner rolls not only fed everyone, but filled up a bunch of baskets afterwards.
Do you suppose Jesus let that little boy take the left-overs? Maybe.
Jesus was trying to show His disciples that He could take care of them and their needs with only a little bit, if they would only learn the lesson!
Matthew 14:21-  And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
So, there were 5,000 men. And, who knows how many women and children! They liked that Jesus could fill their bellies.
John 6:14-15- Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
As the man watched the disciples gather the fragments into the baskets, they began to make plans. If they made Jesus their king they'd never go hungry again! They were going to force Him to take the position.
But, Jesus wasn't here to rule as king- not yet. And, so He told the disciples to head over to His next meeting place. Sent the crowds home, and slowly slipped away to finish His prayer time with the Lord God Almighty.
Matthew 14:22-24- And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 
Mark 6:47-50a-  And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled.
It was about the fourth watch- that meant that it was close to the sunrise. This is very significant. You see, it will be during the fourth watch of the church age that Jesus will call His saved away. We call this the rapture.
The disciples saw a man walking on the water, like he was going to walk straight to the other side, and they were scared! They thought perhaps this was a ghost, and they cried out in fear.
Matthew 14:27-29- But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
Jesus calmed the men down and told them that it was He who was on the water.
Peter decided to see if it were truly Him, and asked if He could walk out on the water to meet Jesus. Jesus told Peter to come ahead.
I can just imagine Peter putting one foot over the side of the boat. Cautiously placing it on the water to see if his foot got wet. But, it didn't! It was almost like he was stepping onto another part of the boat.
Looking at Jesus, he sat on the edge of the boat and put his other foot down. As he carefully stood up on the raging sea, it was like he was standing on a moving floor. He looked at Jesus as he started to walk towards Him.
Matthew 14:30-31-  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Peter was doing great until he started to look around himself. The wind was blowing wildly, and the peaks of the waves were so high and moving so fast. As his focus left Jesus, his heart filled with doubt.
And, with fear and doubt inside, he began to go under the water.
He cried out for Jesus to help him. And, before he was all the under, Jesus was there. He picked Peter up and asked him why he doubted. Did he really think that Jesus would let him drown?
Mark 6:51-52- And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Why do you suppose their hearts were hardened? We don't really know.
John 6:21-  Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
Matthew 14:33-  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
Others that were on the boat came and worshiped Jesus. They realized that only the son of God could do that!
Matthew 14:34-35- And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;
Jesus was back in the place where he had healed those possessed with Legion- the devils. They had told so many people about Him that when they realized Jesus was back, they started bringing all the people who were sick to Him so He could heal them.
Mark 6:56- And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
Jesus just went about his ministry as usual.
But, remember those men who were plotting to make Jesus their king? They came to find Him.
John 6:22-24-  The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
These men were determined to crown Him king! They searched until they found Him.
John 6:25-26- And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
Jesus knew what was in their mind. He knew what they were planning. He told them that they needed to seek Spiritual bread and not just look to fill their bellies. But, they didn't care to understand.
John 6:28-31- Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
They pretended to want to know God's will, but really they just wanted another free meal.
John 6:35,40-  And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Jesus tried again to tell them that He was their Messiah. He wasn't there to fill their bellies, but to take care of the payment for their sins. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:41-42-  The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
When Jesus didn't give them free food again, they turned on Him. They said that they knew His family and His heritage. They knew where He was from and who His parents were.
John 6:61-64, 66-70-  When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
Jesus had more than 12 disciples that followed Him; though, there were only 12 that He specifically chose. Some of those other disciples left after listening to this message.
Jesus turned to Peter, one of the men that He chose, and asked Peter if He would leave, too.
Peter knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. He said He wasn't going anywhere!
Jesus said that He chose only 12 of them to be His personal disciples. And He knew who would betray Him, because He knew that there was something about one of them that made Him a devil.
Matthew 15:29-31- And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus went out into a mountain and there came many to Him that were needy. He spent time healing and helping them. He spent 3 whole days ministering to them.
Mark 8:1-3-  In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.
Jesus knew that there were those present that hadn't eaten in three days. He didn't want them getting hurt on the way home because of this.
Mark 8:4- And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?
They just didn't learn! They had already seen Jesus feed a large amount of people with a boy's lunch. Didn't they realize that He could do that again?
Matthew 15:34-35-  And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
Jesus asked what they did have. And one of the disciples said they had seven loaves and a few fish. That was more than last time!
Mark 8:6-8- And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.
Again, Jesus thanked God for the food, broke it into pieces and gave it to His disciples to pass out, and fed everyone. Again, they had left-overs to gather up.
This time there were seven baskets of remaining food.
Perhaps God was telling them that He could take care of them every day of the week?
How could they not understand?
Mark 8:9-10- And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away. And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.
Mark 8:11-13- And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.
The moment Jesus stepped off the ship He was confronted by the Pharisees who wanted a sign. Always with wanting a sign!
Jesus sighed. He wasn't going to give them anymore signs. He turned around and got back on the boat and left.
Mark 8:15-17-  And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?
Jesus was thinking about the destructive effects of the things the religious leaders and Romans taught. He was trying to warn His disciples not to get tangles up in those things.
But, the disciples thought He meant literal bread. They just couldn't understand. He fed 5,000 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish. He fed 4,000 men with 7 loaves and a few fish. He could easily satisfy their hunger. It was their lives that He was talking about.

Many times today we get looking at our circumstances and we forget all the blessings that God has already given to us.  And, we shouldn't get tangled up in the cares of this world, or listen to false preachers. We need to remember Jesus words and follow His direction, and let Him provide for us- light for our path, provisions for our needs, and guidance in which direction we should move.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Life of Jesus Christ- Part 11

Even though we have already talked about the many different miracles that Jesus did while on the earth, there are more mentioned in the Bible.
Luke 7:1-6a-  Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them.
As Jesus was entering a certain city, some Jewish elders came to Him to ask Him a favor. There was a Roman Centurion who lived there and this soldier had a servant that was sick. This Roman was good man who not only cared for his servants, but also for the people who lived in the city with him. He helped them to build a worship building.
The elders were asking Jesus if He would go and heal the Roman's servant that was sick. Jesus hearkened to their request and started following them towards the Roman's house.
Matthew 8:5-9-  And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
While Jesus was on His way, the Roman came and told Him that He didn't have to come all the way to His house. He knew how commands worked- he told someone to do something, and they did it. He had faith that if Jesus told the sickness to go away, that his servant would be healed.
Matthew 8:10-12-  When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus was amazed that someone had that much faith! He turned around and told the people that were with Him that there would be Gentiles who would come from all over the world to be with the Jewish forefathers, but there were Jews standing there with Him that would be sent to hell because of their lack of faith.
Matthew 8:13-  And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
So, the Roman went back home and found his servant healed.
Luke 7:11-12- And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
On his way into another city, Jesus saw a funeral procession. There was a dead man being carried out of the city for burial. As Jesus was looking at the funeral goers, his eyes caught sight of an old woman. Jesus knew that this woman had already lost her husband, and now she was going to bury her only son. She would be all alone!
Luke 7:13-17- And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
Jesus brought the man back to life and showed him to his mother. Everyone around was amazed! Only two other times had a prophet ever brought someone back from the dead- Elijah and Elisha.
Jesus went back across the sea of Galilee to the area where he had met the demon possessed men. He was now accepted by these people because of the report of the demon possessed.
Mark 5:21-23-  And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
A man had heard of the miracles that Jesus could preform. His poor little daughter was sick- so sick she was close to dying. He asked Jesus to come heal her.
Mark 5:24-29- And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
As Jesus was following the man to his house, he was passing through a large crowd of people. In the crowd was a very sick woman. She had a bad sore that always bled and never got better. She had tried going to the doctor to get it fixed, but the doctor couldn't help her. For 12 years her sore would continue to bleed.
She knew if she could only touch Jesus that she would get better. She made her way through the crowd and touched just the edge of his clothing. And guess what? She felt her sore stop bleeding.
Mark 5:30-33-  And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
Jesus turned around and asked who had touched Him. Do you think He didn't know?
I'm sure He knew! He just wanted others to know what had happened.
The poor woman was scared. She may have thought that she was going to be in trouble. She came out of the crowd and fell down before Him telling Him what had happened.
Do you think Jesus was mad?
He wasn't.
Matthew 9:22-  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Mark 5:35-  While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?
While Jesus was reassuring the woman that everything was okay, some people came from the man's house where Jesus was headed. They had sad news- the little girl had died.
The poor man probably broke down crying. But Jesus had good news.
Mark 5:36-37-  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.
Jesus told 3 of His disciples to follow Him and He left the rest of the people behind.
 Mark 5:38-41a- And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Jesus went to the man's house and saw people crying. He told them that all would be okay, she was just sleeping. But, they knew she had died, and so they started to mock Him. When would they just learn to believe?
Mark 5:40b-43- But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
Jesus sent all those doubters out and only kept 3 of His disciples and the girl's parents in the room. Then He took the little girl by the hand and told her to wake up. And she did! She got up and started walking around the room!
Can you just imagine the joy that filled her parents hearts?
Jesus said to give her something to eat. And He went His way.
Matthew 9:27-28a-  And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this?
Two blind men were now following Jesus begging Him to heal them. They followed Him all the way to the house He was going to stay in.
When they wouldn't give up, Jesus asked them if they believed that He could heal them. Perhaps they had some doubt in their hearts.
Matthew 9:28b-29- They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Jesus said that they would be healed according to their faith. Do you think they truly believed?
Matthew 9:30-34- And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.  But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
As these blind men were going out to tell all who would listen what had just happened to them, some people came with a man that could neither hear nor speak.
This man had a devil living in him, and the people wanted to know if Jesus could cast out the devil.
Jesus not only made the devil leave, but He also healed the man so that he could hear and talk. Everyone just thought that was so wonderful!
Well, not everyone. Those jealous religious rulers were still plotting how they could get rid of Jesus. They said the Jesus controlled the devils because He was their prince.
What awful people to say the Son of God was the Prince of devils. They were saying that Jesus was Satan.
But, Jesus just ignored them and went on His way.
John 5:1-  After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Jesus went to celebrate one of the Jewish holy feasts at Jerusalem.
John 5:2-4- Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
How amazing! Once every once in a while all the sick would gather around this pool so that they could have a chance at being healed when the angel came down.
When had this started? We don't know. All we know is that only one person could be healed each time.
John 5:5-6-  And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed. He probably thought that Jesus was asking him if that's why he was there.
John 5:7-  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
The man had been unable to walk for 38 years! He wanted so badly to be able to get to the water and be healed, but he wasn't quick enough. Someone always beat him to the pool.
John 5:8-11- Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
The man was healed by Jesus. He picked up his bed like Jesus had told him to and started walking away. Can you imagine how happy he was?
But, his joy was about to be taken away by some mean old religious leaders.
John 512-15- Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
The religious leaders wanted to know who had healed him, but he had no clue. Jesus came up to him in the temple and told him that it was He would had healed him. Jesus knew that it was because of sin that this man had been lame for so long, and He told the man to straighten up and stop sinning or something worse would happen to him.
He went and told the religious leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.
John 5:16-18-  And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
The religious leaders wanted to kill him because He did miracles on the sabbath, but also because He said He was equal with God. Why wouldn't they listen?
He was the Son of God. He was their Messiah. But because He wasn't the God they thought He should be they were going to reject Him.
They were going to find a way to kill Him.
And they were going to seal their doom!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Life of Jesus Christ- Part 10

While Jesus was on the earth, he showed us what it means to have compassion. He talked to those no one else would. He taught people how to be kind to others. And he healed those that had lost all hope of ever being healed.
Luke 13:10-11- And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
There was once a poor woman that had been bowed over for 18 years. When she walked, all she could see was her feet. Others barely thought of this poor woman, but Jesus saw her while he was teaching in their worship building and He had compassion on her.
Luke 13:12-13- And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
Jesus healed her and she began praising God! What do you think others in the area did when they saw this?
Luke 13:14-17- And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
The religious rulers were angry that Jesus healed her on the Sabbath day. They didn't think that it miracles should be done on their holy day. But, what better day to bring praise to God?
Jesus fussed at them for their lying ways. They themselves would let their animals out of the barn on the Sabbath day- that was considered work. All Jesus did was speak and let this woman stand up!
When Jesus reminded them of their morning chores they were ashamed. And, those who knew the woman and saw the miracle started worshiping God with her.
It wasn't only in the worship centers that Jesus would heal people. There was once a man that approached Him while He was walking. This man had the dreaded leprousy- the walking death.
Luke 5:12- And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
This man shouldn't have been in the city. He was suppose to live outside the city. Because of the leprousy, he wasn't allowed to be near his friends or family. He couldn't even shake their hand or give them a hug. He had to live alone.
It had been such a long time since the leper had felt even the touch of another person.
Luke 5:13-15- And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
The first time someone laid a hand on the leper in along time was the time Jesus had compassion and healed him. He could now go home to his family!
There was another time that Jesus was teaching and some men brought their friend to Him to be healed.
Mark 2:1-3-  And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.  And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
Jesus was preaching inside of a house. The house was packed, there were so many people that not another one could fit through the door!
Luke 5:17-18- And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
These men had brought their friend to Jesus, but they couldn't get him into the house. There were so many people! Perhaps the lame man thanked them, but told them not to worry about it. Maybe someone suggested giving up.
However it happened, someone had an idea!
Mark 2:4- And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
Can you imagine? As Jesus was preaching, suddenly the roof started to be pulled away. Sunshine streamed through the hole in the ceiling. And then, something blocked the sun. It was slowly lowered into the room until everyone could see that it was a portable bed with a lame man on it.
Matthew 9:2- And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Jesus took note of the friend's faith. They knew that if they could get this man to Jesus that he would be healed. Sometimes, when we don't have faith we need to rely on the prayers of our faithful friends.
What an odd thing to say to someone who wanted to be healed! Your sins are forgiven.
Mark 2:6-7- But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
The religious rulers had learned not to outright rebuke Jesus. So, they kept their angry words inside. But, Jesus is God, and He can hear things even when we don't say them aloud!
Matthew 9:4-6- And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
Jesus scolded them for their thoughts. He was not only able to heal the outside of the body, but He was able to forgive the wickedness on the inside, too. He could do that because He was God! The religious leaders just refused to acknowledge it.
Luke 5:25-26- And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.
That man stood up, picked up his portable bed, and went home. He probably started out cautiously. But, in the end, I bet he was running and jumping and praising God!
Some of the people that saw this were afraid, they thought it strange that a man would rebuke the religious leaders, and then tell someone who was lame to walk. But, what was even more strange was that the man did walk!
Mark 2:12- And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
Others were amazed at God's mercy on this man. They glorified God!
Mark 5:1- And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
Jesus and His disciples went across the Sea of Gallilee and then they got to the other side, there was a frightful sight awaiting them!
Matthew 8:28- And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
Two demon possessed men met Jesus and His disciples. I'm sure the disciples were afraid!
A man who would later write the book of Mark, described one of these wild, demonic men!
Mark 5:3-5- Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
What a horror!
But, Jesus wasn't afraid. He was God in the flesh. And the devils inside those two men knew it!
Luke 8:28-29- When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
Jesus had told the devils to come out of the man, but they didn't want to leave. They pleaded with Jesus to let them stay.
Matthew 12:43- When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
They didn't want to wander in dry places. So, Jesus talked with the devils.
Mark 5:9- And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
These poor men were not possessed with just one or two devils, but with a legion of them. Do you know how much a legion is? It's 2,000!
Matthew 8:31- So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
The devils asked Jesus if He would let them go into the pigs that were there in the country. That way they wouldn't have to wander in dry places.
Mark 5:13-14- And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
Jesus allowed the devils to enter into the pigs. And the moment they went into the pigs, they made the pigs run down a steep hill into the sea. And, all the pigs drowned.
The men that were watching the pigs were afraid and ran to the city to tell everyone what had happened.
Matthew 8:33- And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
Now, God had commanded the Jews was back during the time of Moses that they weren't suppose to eat pork. So, why were there pigs in the country? Why were they raising them?
Those in the city were curious to see if what these pig farmers said was true.
Luke 8:35-36- Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
They went out and saw the two men sitting at Jesus feet. The men that they had tried to bind in chains, but they would break the chains and escape. The men that had cried and screeched in the night and woke their children with fright! These men were now clothed and sitting and behaving themselves.
Do you suppose the villagers thanked Jesus?
They didn't.
Matthew 8:34-  And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
Instead of thanking Him, they asked Him to leave.
Surely, someone could think of a friend or family member that could be healed by Jesus!
But, perhaps, they only thought of how much money they just lost when their pigs drowned themselves!
Luke 8:37- Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
The whole country asked Him to leave.
So, Jesus turned around and went back to the ship He had just got off.
Mark 5:18-20- And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
The now healed demon possessed wanted to go with Jesus. But, Jesus had a job for them. He needed someone who could tell others about the mercy of God.
Someone needed to show that the Messiah had come. Someone that the villagers would listen to.
These men did just that! And, the next time Jesus came to their shores, they accepted Him and heard His teachings.
Jesus wants us to tell others about Him. You may think that you're too little. Or, maybe you think no one would listen. But, there's someone who needs to hear about Jesus from you.
And, who knows how many souls you can lead to the compassionate Savior if you just try!

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Life of Christ- Part 9

While Jesus was going about all Israel and Samaria teaching and healing and telling others about God's message, John the Baptist was sitting in a Roman prison.
This prison was not like anything we have today. There was no lights or air conditioning. There were no books or outside time. There may not have even been a bed or toilet.
The Roman prison would be made of large, strong blocks. There would be some sort of door or gate. There would be guards. Maybe there was a window, if he were lucky.
It's likely that there were bugs or rats. And, he could have  probably heard other prisoners as they were beaten or killed.
It was a lonely, dismal place. And, here John sat quite possibly for almost a year.
He probably heard the guards telling tales of things that were happening in the region. Maybe they spoke of the miracles that Jesus was performing. Or perhaps, he was able to have visitors and they told him about Jesus' ministry.
Somehow he got a message to some of his disciples.
Matthew 11:2-3- Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
John had sat in that lonely prison and had lost faith. Why was he there? He was the messenger of God sent to reveal the Messiah. But, had God forgotten about him? Why hadn't Jesus tried to free him?
He began to doubt.
The disciples took John's question to Jesus.
John 7:20 -When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
Jesus wasn't mad at John for asking. As a human he knew how hard it could be to have very little, and to feel the trouble and pain of life.
Luke 7:21-23- And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Why would Jesus tell him that he would be blessed if he were not offended? Could it be that John was offended that he was only used by God for a small purpose? Did John think that God had cast him aside after he fulfilled his calling?
Jesus knew something that we don't. He showed all the sign to the disciples of John and sent this message back.
Luke 7:24-25- And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
Maybe some of the people who heard these things were wondering about John. So, Jesus asked those who had heard him preach and seen him baptizing what they were expecting when they went to see and hear John preach.
Did they go because they expected to see someone close to royalty? They weren't going to see that from a man who lived in the wild.
Luke 7:26-28-  But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
Jesus said that John was more than a prophet. He was not just someone who God chose to become a prophet; he was created by God as a prophet with a special message- the Messiah is coming.
Only three times had God created someone by sending an angel and telling the mother that she was going to have a child for a specific purpose. Do you know who those babies were? They were Samson, John the Baptist, and Jesus.
All three were born with a divine job. And, all three would die to accomplish that job.
Jesus said that John was the greatest prophet to ever be born.
Matthew 11:12-14- And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
God had prophesied that before the Messiah came He would send a prophet. He promised a specific prophet- Elijah. Do you remember Elijah?
Elijah came during the time of wicked Ahab and Jezebel. When God's servants were being killed, and the Israelites were worshiping Baal. Elijah stood against them. He called for a time of no rain, and was fed by the ravens while living by a brook. When the brook dried up he went to live with a Gentile woman who was kept alive by a miracle of never failing oil and corn meal.
Elijah was a rough, tough prophet who stood up for God when other prophets were hiding in caves.
And, the same bold spirit that Elijah possessed was in John the Baptist. If they would accept Jesus as their Messiah, then John the Baptist would fulfill the role of Elijah.
Matthew 11:16-19- But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Jesus knew that most of the Israelites, and especially the religious leaders, wouldn't accept neither Him nor John. John came as a wild prophet whom they denied and claimed that he was demon possessed. And when Jesus' ministry started and he was compassionate and gentle they said that He was a drunkard who ate too much and associated with lowlife's.
Jesus said that wisdom is justified of her children.
Luke 7:29- And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
Those lowlife's that the religious leaders were talking about were the ones who had been baptized by John. They were the ones who accepted Jesus as their Messiah. They were the children of wisdom!
God still had something for John to learn, or say. But, the time was coming that John's life on earth would end.
Do you remember how John came to be in prison?
Matthew 14:3-5- For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
He preached against the sin of Herod, and so he was arrested and thrown in prison. But, Herod didn't condemn him to death because he was afraid that the people would revolt.
However, some time had passed. Now that Jesus was preaching, some had forgotten about John.
Mark 6:21- And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
Herod's birthday came around, and a nice banquet type party was thrown.
Herodias had kept what John said in her mind and had devised a way to get what she wanted. She told her daughter to go dance at Herod's birthday. If Herod was pleased with the dance he would offer a reward.
Herod was pleased, and he did offer a reward.
Mark 6:22-23- And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
Matthew 14:7- Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
He swore with an oath. That means he swore on his life, or on his god. His promise would be done or else evil would befall.
Always be careful what you promise, especially if you promise before you hear what you have to give!
Mark 6:24-25- And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
Oh no! Herod was sorry that he had made such a foolish promise. He promised her whatever she would ask and she wanted John the Baptist's head to be cut off and delivered to her on a serving platter!
Mark 6:26-28- And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
Herod didn't want to look like a fool for promising something and then taking it back. So, he sadly ordered the execution of John.
Mark 6:29- And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
His disciples found out that he had been killed, and they came to lay his body to rest. Perhaps his parents had already died, and they buried him in the family tomb. Or maybe, his father or mother were standing there crying watching their only son, their promise child be laid to rest. We don't know.
Matthew 14:12- And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
So, John the Baptist's life had ended. His disciples came and buried his headless body. Then, they went and told Jesus what had happened to his cousin.
As Jesus' fame started to spread, many came to tell Herod what was going on. Herod was scared! He thought that John the Baptist had risen from the dead!
Mark 6:14-16- And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
Can you imagine how Herod must have felt? But, he was wrong.
Luke 9:9- And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.
Herod wanted to see Jesus. He wanted to know if it was John risen from the dead.
No! Not John. It was someone much worse for him. It was the Lord God Almighty come in the flesh.
And, one day, Herod will stand before Him and give an account for his life, and John's death.