Author: reformanda

Royal Treatment

Zechariah 10:1-12 

 This chapter the middle portion of “burden” from Zech. 9-11, followed by second “burden” in 12-14. Primary (but not exclusive) emphasis of first burden is on first advent and following period; emphasis similarly of second burden on second advent and following. If Zechariah was preaching prophet, each burden represents content or essence of single sermon, about 10 minutes long.

Jewish people needed message of hope – circumstances not looking very promising. And… was part of God’s long-range plan to keep feeding information about his intentions – iow, progressive revelation. Giving Zechariah’s contemporaries more insight into person and work of the Messiah, also for benefit of future generations.

Also needed strong reminder: watch out for drift – something God’s people of all ages susceptible to. Common for people to be slowly influenced by surroundings, adopt views / principles of the majority. Without continual support / reminders / encouragement believers at risk of drifting away from truth and getting mired in error. Zechariah reassures his hearers that those who follow the true shepherd, the Messiah, will be given Royal Treatment. and… btw, God is not happy with ungodly shepherds, he will deal with them.

A. the royal shepherd hears and answers  v.1-3

pray for rain and he sends it

don’t bother with Baal, ask YHWH to supply needs – avoid the temptations of going back to old habits

and don’t get sucked into what the world (maybe including friends) holds up as good solution

fyi, may be thunder / lightning with some of the rain – can seem like a frowning providence, not exactly what we had in mind

what YHWH sends to his people produces good – remember who the shepherd is, and how he treats / cares for sheep – he will sacrifice himself rather than sacrifice his sheep

teraphim, if they speak, tell lies

more of that culture creep – not necessarily replacing YHWH but adding to – ok to believe in God, just not exclusively

applies to their spokesmen – not always obvious who an authority figure really serves – true both then and now

caution: more distance between person and authority increases risk – books, internet, media vs. personal relationship – be sure to do your homework, check sources/accountability

make promises they cannot keep, lead in directions that cannot help – false gods have false worldview, wrong assumptions

the people are in trouble and the LORD is displeased

those acting as shepherds not effectually leading… or are leading astray – no question what God expected from shepherds and they weren’t doing it

God himself will address the problem – does not always intervene personally, this time he will… by means of Messiah

God will bring genuine transformation – quite the visual here, sheep transformed into warhorses… image of victory

certainly kind of imagery we understand more fully from NT, believers “more than conquerors” over sin and Satan, then participating in Christ’s future total victory

B. the royal shepherd comes from Judah  v.4-7

three symbols that point to Messiah and how he will care for his sheep, and he will come from tribe and land of Judah

as a cornerstone

idea referenced both OT & NT, specific connection to Messiah/Jesus – Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42 Isaiah 28:16 1 Peter 2:6-7 

cornerstone of the church, foundation – further elaboration from Paul why important in relation to the church

defines the structure – shape, pattern, location, orientation – is first piece put in place, everything else relative to it

faithfully leads the sheep – giving shape and definition to the church requires effective leadership, making sure the right people are in right places for right structure

as a tent peg

Isa 22:23-24  “I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, And he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers.”

an anchor for the hopes of the people… secures the future of the sheep – peg will not move, people can hang on to it, no need to find another peg in the future

strength, stability, security – shepherd is source of strength, firming up their confidence, giving secure footing, is perfect antidote to all fears / uncertainties

unlike false shepherds, Royal Shepherd’s promises absolutely certain, no possible chance of failure… ever

as a battle bow

taking the lead in warfare… to protect the sheep – remember who their most important enemy is, not the Philistines

greatest threat: Satan and his agents – Shepherd takes the lead in waging war against spiritual enemies, starting with Satan

two objects: sin and Satan – defeated power of both at Cross and empty tomb… sin cannot trap in captivity, Satan cannot threaten with death

Messiah victorious over both… for the sheep – not for himself that he waged war, was for benefit of sheep… although his victory will ultimately bring more glory to him

other faithful shepherds

follow on after the Chief Shepherd – this is good test: is the under shepherd following the Chief Shepherd?

will care for the sheep as he would if present – Royal Shepherd cares for his flock through them, his delegates

C. the royal shepherd gathers his flock  v.8-12

he calls for them

John 10:3-5, 16  the royal shepherd knows his flock – when he calls, he knows without error when all are present

the flock knows the voice of their shepherd – the ones who really belong to the flock will hear and respond to Shepherd’s whistle, wherever they may be

the shepherd does all necessary to bring them together – all of Good Shepherd teaching of NT applies to Royal Shepherd, his personal care for his sheep… individually and collectively

they will be a large flock

just like in Egypt, time in captivity / exile not intended to destroy – intended to be purifying experience

sowed/scattered/dispersed for purpose – also intended that they act as witnesses, producing fruit/harvest in “foreign” places

expected to live “normally” even in exile – increase into huge flock – Shepherd intends sheep will not put life on hold because of circumstances… still need to be doing sheep-ish things

includes significant growth – remember the Lord Jesus is to be “the firstborn among many brethren

if newly reconstituted earth to be our eternal home, have to be enough of us to manage it well – will take huge number of people, enough to “fill the earth”

he accompanies and strengthens them

passes through the waters – Royal Shepherd not watching the drama from shore… he’s out in the stormy waters with the sheep

this Royal Shepherd a God like no other, comes down to “level” of sheep and raises them to new / better standing

subdues the waters – does so by his presence and action… remember disciples in the boat!!

when circumstances would overwhelm sheep, Shepherd modifies them and goes through storm with them

strengthens his sheep – once again, he does so for a purpose… so they will live as God’s people should, incl. witness

both words and witness are important in this life – next life, proper behavior of sheep will be a given

The Royal Shepherd is still caring for his flock today, messages of hope and promise still apply to his flock. Much to encourage his people, to give us confidence as we pursue the tasks he has appointed to us. We can count on his leading, growing, protecting, strengthening his flock And… his presence with his people more powerful and pervasive than in Zechariah’s day – we are indwelt, equipped and empowered by Holy Spirit in even richer and fuller way. One more thing – are even closer to that great day – maybe we will be the ones who see Jesus return to bring this age to a close! Until that time… 

Living with Hope and Holiness in a Hostile World

1 Peter 1:1-2

As Pilgrims Living Counter-Culturally what do we do? How are we to live if we are to carry out Christ’s mandate to love God, love our neighbor, and make disciples? And what should we expect to encounter in the process?

cf. 2 Cor. 3:2-3 “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” NIV

Everybody who is reading that letter in each one of us should read a message of hope, see us as examples of holiness. As world / culture around moves further away from biblical norms, the hopeful and holy Christian becomes easier to spot. Peter’s two letters intended to encourage believers living in 1st century culture with many similarities to our own, one in which Christian is expected to live counter-culturally.

This world is not our home nor is it the source of our hope. Yet we do have a permanent home… waiting for us, and we have a hope that is both “a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Heb. 6:19)

A. Christians live in a hostile world

ever since the Fall, has been hostility present in world: between serpent and woman, his offspring and hers – will continue until new heaven and new earth

They were and we are pilgrims / exiles.

temporary residents – might turn into permanent resettlement, but no guarantees… given or looked for – hoping to find safety, way to provide for daily needs, worship in peace

not seeking citizenship – probably would not have rejected it, but… apt to come with more liabilities than assets, hindrances than helps – having goals, using methods often contrary to God’s word

not putting down cultural roots – ultimate destiny not here in this world, had little appeal because looking for / investing in better city

They were “of the Dispersion”.

had been scattered because of persecution – life had become uncomfortable enough wherever they were… decided time to move

would be considered displaced persons, scattered (or broadcast) by God’s purpose throughout region with God’s intent they should bring forth fruit / multiply / make disciples there

perhaps from both “Rome” and “Jerusalem” – same word Luke used following Saul’s persecution, group may have included both Jews and Gentiles – either way were in Gentile territory at that time

They were and we are living in hostile territory.

religious hostility – if there were Jewish enclaves in N Turkey, Christians not welcome… either into Jewish church or social circles

not welcome in pagan society because they refused to follow accepted practice, Christians would not want to go to their church

political hostility – emperor-worship increasing so Christian rejection of pagan gods seen as lack of loyalty to / attack on the state… and neither would be tolerated

were free to worship any god they chose as long as they at least burned incense to Caesar – sounding more like our times

B. Christians can live with hope in this hostile world

We can have hope because we have been chosen by God.

purposeful on God’s part – according to his foreknowledge – no part of our hope depends on our genius or ability… is all God’s doing

hostility present in world is not outside God’s divine plan; God’s plan to call us out of kingdom of Satan into kingdom of his dear Son not random act either

chosen with purpose for a purpose – some of most hopeless people in world those who have no sense of purpose, no reason to think there is purpose in anything beyond this life – not so for a Christian

a holy people devoted to obedience – may not know all the details, almost certainly a good thing, do know basic outline: live righteously, soberly, godly in a hostile world

We can have hope because we have been saved by the Triune God.

is all God’s work that completely saves us (obedience is result, not cause) – have been saved and are being saved, all three Persons actively involved in our salvation

selected by the Father – apostle Paul tells us we were “chosen in him before the foundation of the world” – iow, incl. in God’s eternal purpose, not last minute deal to be adopted into God’s family

sprinkled by the Son – sprinkling an essential part of OT sacrifice and purification imagery – Son has redeemed us at cost of his own life, washed away all our uncleannesses and replaced with his righteousness

sanctified by the Spirit – is the mark of the Spirit that distinguishes from mark of the Beast – are set apart, identified and devoted to specific purpose: holiness of life that outwardly reflects Spirit’s presence

We can have hope because we enjoy God’s multiplied grace and peace.

an ongoing supply of grace and peace – continually receiving confirmation of God’s ownership: he keeps giving peace in midst of hostility, grace we need to stay faithful in hard circumstances

an adequate supply – sufficient for us to meet expectations – tempted to ask “Lord, are you sure? You want me to do that?” and he says “Yes, I am sufficient for you”

NOTE: not only can live with hope, we should live that way – we of all people, objects of God’s great blessing, should be able to look past present, have confidence in God and his plan for our future

C. Christians can live with holiness in a hostile world

We are set apart by the Spirit.

for a different purpose – our purpose includes important aspects of this life but is not limited to this life – includes things now that have significance later

with a different motivation – not personal gain, acclaim / affirmation of society; instead, love for God demonstrated by obedience, leaving results to him

using different methods – especially with regard to spiritual matters, our methods determined by what God and Word dictate

We are being empowered by the Spirit to obey.

experience of early church – filled with the Spirit – only after that they got really fired up and effective; when filled, they did!

remember what Paul said – written by the Spirit – letter needs to be readable, not masked / distorted by lots of “world” stuff

and… led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14) – can count on the Spirit to lead us – ask for his help, depend on his help, he will do his part

We are being purified by the work of the Spirit and the blood of Christ.

God loves us while sinners… but doesn’t leave us that way – the more we do our part to follow the Spirit, less like the world we become and more like Lord Jesus

and sinners don’t need a “pre-treatment” to get good enough for God to save them – lost people need to hear that

the blood washes away our past – can never rightly say that are things we’ve done that God can’t forgive – nothing in our past should hold us back, nothing in past should keep lost from coming to faith in Christ

the Spirit works in us in our circumstances to conform and equip – no hint of promise anywhere in Peter’s writing that God would change his peoples’ circumstances – instead he changes us in our circumstances to equip for other circumstances

The worse the world gets around us, more noticeable holy and hopeful Christians will be. Greater opportunities for God to show his power in and through us, use us as instruments of his peace to bring good news of Gospel to others. Are we up for the challenge? God certainly is, will enable us individually and as church family to do his will.

 

44. Are you thus without understanding also?

Mark 7:18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him?

Read: Mark 7:14-23; Matthew 15:10-20 

 Setting:

somewhere in Gallilee, Capernaum as home base (Mark 6:53, 56) – Pharisees and scribes challenge him about disciples: why do they break tradition… iow, what kind of heresy are you teaching them

See: Mishnah, Yadaim 1.1, 2.3; log: 2/3 pint, between 10 and 11 ounces

Jesus’ response to Pharisees/scribes: Isaiah was right; more concerned with externals than right-motivated obedience to God

Jesus’ response to people: “nothing that enters a man…”; disciples question Jesus (Matt. 15:12); he then makes it plain, again, Pharisees/scribes are false teachers who refuse to accept truth

then Peter asked for explanation of the “parable” – need audio button: what did disciples’ question about Pharisees “say” about their opinion?

Person(s) being questioned:

the Twelve, not only Peter – “said to them“, “are you…” both plural nouns; “are you..”, “do you not perceive…” 2nd pers. pl. verbs

also, context of question as recorded in Matthew: “his disciples asked him concerning the parable”

Question behind the question:

“Are you thus without understanding just like the scribes and Pharisees?”

then Jesus asks “question behind the question” – “Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him?”

Are you struggling with knowing what God really expects? how he defines purity and holiness?

Do you not yet understand the true nature of man? (concepts of original sin, total depravity)

Expected response:

Jesus probably expected “huh?” or blank looks – what they needed to learn involved paradigm shift, radical change to significant part of prevailing worldviews

man not totally corrupt; external actions / rituals essential to earning divine favor (which was possible); other extreme, things done in the body don’t matter, radical distinction between soul and body

too big a shift for Twelve to grasp all at once, would take several years for all pieces to fall into place – enough at first to give major brain pain

Jesus’ point:

these guys especially needed right understanding on this one in order to proclaim a pure gospel – big spiritual principles at stake

Jesus not “wondering” why Twelve don’t seem to grasp his teaching because of how he delivered it – is it a parable or straightforward statement?

Jesus is concerned they have right understanding about Law and Grace, obedience and faith, nature and need –  something Pharisees and scribes lacked

OT rituals not ever intended as means to salvation – intended to teach man about God, show him his need for God

Mark 7:20 “since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)” ESV Commentary “inserted” by Peter after his vision, Acts 10:9-16 ???

if external things cannot defile a person (because they cannot alter his heart), neither can they purify a person – only who/what can change the heart is able to purify / make acceptable to God

Modern Application:

need to understand same things as Twelve about man’s nature, true need – e.g. person cleaning up their act is nice but not sufficient

at same time, following all Christian rituals (church attendance, serving in office, Bible study, witnessing, etc.) does not make someone a superstar Christian with greater privileges / benefits

when it comes to conversion, right answer to “what must I do to be saved” is to “trust in what he did for your salvation”

Acting Out: Tell-ers

Acts 1:1-11; 4:23, 31; 8:1-4, 14 

Since Paul in his crash course on Missions given to Roman church declared “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17), should expect need for Tell-ers. If there are to be hearers, must be tell-ers, too. Christ’s kingdom will grow only as the good news of salvation and eternal life through faith in Christ is publicly and confidently declared.

Need those who pray… and much need / opportunity for prayer. Need those who bring people to Christ. Also need those who tell others about Jesus. These needs addressed in all kinds of ways – may be same person filling all three roles, may also be two or more involved. Regardless of that, all of us need to be praying for all of us and lost.

So what can we learn about Tell-ers from Luke and the record of what Christ was doing in his church at the beginning?

A. begun  (1:1-2)

doing

is titled Acts of the Apostles, shouldn’t forget who started it and – “Jesus began” implies Jesus continued… through disciples

Peter to Cornelius – “Jesus of Nazareth went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

we can participate in that: those who respond in faith to Gospel message will be released from their oppression under sin and Satan… besides acts of compassion and kindness

teaching

things that lead to eternal life must be taught, not simply demonstrated or pictured – have to learn from God’s word what it means to follow Christ

besides, he said to teach disciples to obey everything he commanded… includes teaching them to teach others

delegating

one of commandments he gave – you go and reproduce yourselves – you are disciples, go make more disciples… who make more

crucial aspect of following Christ that has been largely lost in the church – maybe witnessing is everybody’s job, discipling not so much… that’s for pastors and teachers

simply put: never have been or will be enough pastors / teachers / evangelists / missionaries to reach the whole world with the Gospel

B. continued  (1:8, 11)

empowered

Jesus continuing what he started through work of Holy Spirit empowering disciples – don’t even think about trying it on your own

propagating

ripples on a pond… that covers entire world – one ripple leads to next one… our task: to be telling those within reach, people relationally close to us in one way or other

btw, should be intentional about nurturing relationships with people who are physically / geographically close… our neighbors

working

“Why are you standing here, you have work to do.” (the angel) – Jesus gave instructions, expects his followers to be actively obedient

C. described  (4:31; 8:4)

verbal

“spoke the word”, “preaching the word” – where “tell-ing” comes into play – not making it up either… inseparably connected with God’s word and its results in our own lives

notice who tell-ers are: companions of Peter and John (ch. 4), iow the Jerusalem church – “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

continued later with “those who were scattered”, not the apostles who stayed in Jerusalem – Great Commission not given only to the Apostles, through them to professionals in the church

what is described here in early days of NT church: large portion, majority, most everyone involved in some way in taking message of Gospel to others

freely

open, confident sharing of the Gospel will be opposed – was Satan at work through agency of Saul then, uses similar means today… because he hates the Gospel / Christ / Christians

persecution => scattered like seed, intended to take root in new place and produce fruit – went as missionaries, not refugees

“For the moment, Luke gives us a glimpse of the victory God is going to win out of this seeming tragedy: “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (8:4). As Everett Harrison writes, “The people went as missionaries more than as refugees.” He points out that “Luke could have used the general term for scattering but chose instead to use a word [diaspeiro] that means to scatter as seed is scattered on the ground.” This word is connected with the Jewish dispersion. Perhaps Luke is conscious of a new dispersion coming into being. With the benefit of hindsight, Luke sees great significance in these events. In fact, when he describes the preaching of the gospel to Gentiles for the first time outside Palestine, he says that the ones who did this were “those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen” (11:19).” Fernando

“Persecution does to the church what wind does to seed: It scatters it and only produces a greater harvest. The word translated “scattered” (diaspeiro, Acts 8:1, 4) means “to scatter seed.” The believers in Jerusalem were God’s seed, and the persecution was used of God to plant them in new soil so they could bear fruit (Matt. 13:37–38). Some went throughout Judea and Samaria (see Acts 1:8), and others went to more distant fields (Acts 11:19ff.).” Wiersbe

they scattered seed liberally, freely, confidently

evangelizing

“εὐαγγελιζόμενοι”, evangelizing, “proclaiming the message of good news” HCSB – too much of what we hear today is bad news, we have good news to tell and should be about it

“witness is a key word in the book of Acts and is used twenty-nine times” Wiersbe – if we aren’t seeing same things happening now as in 1st century, perhaps (in part) because we aren’t doing the same things

D. assured  (8:14; cf. Matt. 16:18)

heard

preaching, speaking, proclaiming necessary for hearing but does not automatically guarantee hearing – anyone with children can attest to that… effective communication works in two directions

when Christians from Jerusalem scattered to Samaria and beyond, Samaritans “received [welcomed] the word of God”

received

word must be received so it can produce proper response – will happen when Christ by his Spirit works through his followers

don’t put God in a box, do your part and trust God to do his part in his way in his time – too often we have our ideas about how God will work, who will hear… God may have different plan

promised

he will build his church – Christ does have a plan, he is working his plan and we are part of it – if we are working at building Christ’s kingdom, our success is guaranteed when we do his work his way

he will complete good work he has begun (Phil. 1:6) – Jesus began the work… with 12 men; one was a traitor and bailed, his replacement was a converted terrorist; the rest all abandoned him, yet came back

if Christ can use those kinds of instruments, surely he can and will use the likes of us to carry out his promise and build his church

Ordinary people are able to do extraordinary things when the Spirit of God is at work in their lives. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not a luxury; it is an absolute necessity. …while some of God’s people have a calling to evangelism, all of God’s people are expected to be witnesses and tell the lost about the Savior. Wiersbe

Incentive to get to work: “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Rewriting History

Zechariah 9:1-17 

 

Seems like everybody and his brother wants to take everything distasteful or makes certain people uncomfortable, erase it from landscape. Certainly are things about the history of any people or group that were not pleasing to God. To simply pretend they didn’t happen doesn’t change the facts. Often mandated ignorance causes its own set of problems. Israel was no exception, and neither is our nation – erasing the past does nothing to set a right course for the future.

Many would say the American experiment of “government of the people, by the people and for the people” has been a colossal failure. Similar could be said for the Israelite experiment also. What God instructed his ancient people to do after deliverance from Egypt never fully materialized. Were to purify land of Canaan, removing people who had so polluted land by idol-worship and related practices. We know how that didn’t happen – instead much of what they did set trajectory for failure, eventually disappearing from distinct peoples of the world.

God had already changed what would expect for result from a people being absorbed into culture of world superpower. Had moved Cyrus to issue proclamation, later powers to treat Jewish cause with favor. In this second portion of Zechariah’s prophecy God declares how moving forward he will continue to rewrite the history of his people. Notice: God will do, among other things, what his people should have done by defeating their enemies. They could have succeeded with God’s help but instead tried it on their own. Good lesson there for people of all times… including ours.

First portion of book centers attention on Coming Kingdom, final 6 chapters on the Coming King. Are number of quotations / allusions to chapters 9, 11, 12, 13 in connection with Lord Jesus primarily in Gospels. Jesus of course the King in view here, seen particularly in verse 9. Obvious to us, not so much to Zechariah and contemporaries. And keep in mind, throughout rest of book, timing of events not always explicit. Prophetic perspective often does not “see” time lapse between events – present chapter looks at whole sweep from Zechariah’s day to Second Advent.

Just as important (maybe more) is the who / what / how, not so much the when. God will defeat enemies of him and his people, cause his people to triumph, will govern his people with justice and righteousness… in person of Son, the Lord Jesus.

A. enemies defeated 1-8

the wise  1-2

a heavy message for Hadrach, Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Sidon – neighbors / enemies to the north

were by no means uncivilized dummies – to think of people in those times as less advanced, more primitive comes from evolutionary worldview, not biblical one

Tyrians shrewd enough to build new city half mile offshore, successfully defended against Alexander the Great for 7 months

the wealthy  3-4

wealth of Tyre in particular had come at expense of neighbors to the south, coming in part from human trafficking carried out by others of Israel’s enemies

had used their skill and financial resources to advance their own cause at expense of others – no match for wisdom and resources of God

the warlike  5-6

Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod – leading Philistine cities, enemies to the south – continual thorn in Israel’s side for generations

they among more cruel of Israel’s oppressors – breaking up families, reducing to starvation, confiscating all Jewish means of defense for own use – God would erase them as unique people from later history

the false worshipers  7-8

these the ones who did the most damage – seducing people away from true God – deserved to be thoroughly annihilated by God… yet would preserve remnant even among them!

God doesn’t leave his people to wonder: He will defeat their enemies and will continue to defend / protect from future harm

B. king anticipated 9-10

a Savior?

call to rejoicing, celebration – the one who has made all this happen coming to the city… on a donkey, yes, a real donkey

previous kings who had come oppressed and enslaved the people, even their own – have to keep war machine going somehow

this king will be true deliverer, bringing his people out of bondage into genuine and lasting freedom

a servant?

how he will rule evidenced by how he enters the capitol – no train of captives, no loud boasting over accomplishments

this king really has good of his subjects as a priority – no campaign promises later broken, came to serve, not be served

a peacemaker

not only comes in peace to his people, he comes to bring them peace… to establish peace like no one else has or can

universal dominion

here’s one clue there’s more in view than just Jesus’ first advent – had its beginning then, is still in progress

strong implication that his dominion not limited to the church – this King’s rule will extend over all the earth (after the Rapture?)

C. people triumphant 11-17

whole host of reasons why God’s people have reason to be full of joy and celebration… because of what God has done, is doing, will do

redeemed  11

easy for us to read spiritual / redemptive overtones into this statement – looking back through cross, can see nature of deliverance from God’s perspective

restored  12

here is response to one who complains about how much must give up to be a Christian – all that has been lost due to oppression of sin will be restored… abundantly

raised up  13

may appear that enemies of God and his people have upper hand, better / higher station – only temporary, at most applies to this life but not the next

especially in our country and time, need to remember this is God’s doing and not result of political / legislative action – must both trust and rejoice in God and his provision

protected  14

matters not what direction what direction the threat to peace (shalom, well-being) comes from – God between it and his people

defended  15

if we really believe God will defend his people, then whatever comes our way is by God’s design / permission, for good not harm

saved  16

commonly think / talk about being saved from… sin, hell, etc. – don’t forget what God’s people are saved to!

God not only rescues brand from fire, he cleans it up and makes it beautiful and useful, then puts in place of honor

blessed  17

perhaps greatest blessing, source of joy for people of God: have blessing of participating in God’s plan for the nations

we are not just passive recipients, uninvolved bystanders watching God do all the work – he allows, even expects us to serve him by serving others

and… it is a sure thing because it is God’s work we are doing – whenever we are participating in God’s agenda, can be sure of success according to God’s definition

Have much reason to be joyful – Christ is king, he is ruling and extending his kingdom according to his perfect plan. Can count on him supplying all our needs, protecting us from harm, will bring us safely home along with people from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation”.

Acting Out: Bring-ers

John 1:35-51

 

Focus will be on verses 40-51, begin reading at verse 35.  –Setting: John, the forerunner, preparing the way… had declared shortly before who he was not, then who he was, then his prophetic role (John 1:20ff) John calling others to follow after the Messiah, not himself. Some were following John, waiting / anticipating his announcement and identification of the Messiah. John got them started, as soon as they knew who Jesus was they began following Him.

Like John, Jesus and others, we are to be calling people to a person and way of life, not a program or place:

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  Matt 16:24Luke 14:27

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”  28:19-20

Even Apostle Paul used similar concepts: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1 Cor. 11:1 “Copy me, as I copy Christ.” Moffatt  iow, you copy Jesus, you follow Jesus the way I follow Jesus. Involves bringing others along to follow Jesus who bring others along to follow Jesus… Paul not talking at a pastors’ conference, was writing to dysfunctional church. Work of making disciples / followers gets messy, time-consuming, often frustrating and discouraging. Remember… Jesus who is foundation of the church said he would build it. Method Jesus uses is disciples making disciples – you can try other methods, I’m going with what Jesus said.

A. enthusiastic Andrew and Philip  v.40-42; 43-45

already followers

Andrew a follower of John, heard what John said when he called Jesus “Lamb of God” – seems like was no discussion, just abruptly stopped following John and picked up following Jesus

first thing Andrew and companion did was find out where Jesus was staying – didn’t want to lose track, intended to keep following – showed their commitment, now, to Jesus: he would be their Rabbi

next day: Jesus purposely singled out Philip, probably already acquainted w/one another, calls Philip to leave what he was doing

acted: found

once convinced they were following the right teacher, each went intentionally, found others – Andrew his brother, Philip his friend

each knew other person well enough to gauge response, expect it to be positive – knew Peter and Nathanael already interested in spiritual things

acted: spoke

almost goes w/o saying – had to be lot of expression / excitement in all of body language… words each used gave focus

notice even for all things held in common among these 4 men – language, culture, occupation, heritage – Andrew and Philip said same thing… differently

Andrew and Philip knew what would get Simon and Nathanael’s interest up, pique their curiosity – tailored announcement to have desired effect on hearer

acted: brought / led

simply saying had found the Messiah enough to get Peter on his feet – pretty simple for Andrew to go from there

something different about Andrew, too… easy for people to follow him – boy with lunch (6:8), Greeks looking for Jesus (12:20ff)

Philip had to do more work, encouraging Nathanael to respond – noticeably slower process for Nathanael, required gentle encouragement from Philip

B. inquisitive Simon  v.41-42

already curious

Simon more impetuous, waiting for more information to satisfy his curiosity – already had his radar on, probably had fair OT understanding

Andrew understood what was missing for Simon – had the interest, had the desire, had the curiosity, simply needed information

willing to act on his curiosity

didn’t have to build up foundation, then nurture a desire and encourage to act – was ready to go as soon as he knew direction

acted to satisfy his curiosity

Simon knew what he needed, believed he could get it from the Messiah – first question… is my brother right? is it really Him?

not about to wait around, had to act on his curiosity immediately – are those today in similar position, prepared by God to respond immediately to Gospel truth when presented

C. skeptical Nathanael  v.45-48a

questioned value

Nathanael more laid back, had some pretty decided views about people based on where they came from – prejudice nothing new

had knowledge of OT, incl. prophecies about Messiah – had his own ideas about how religious details ought to work out, didn’t really want to listen to what didn’t fit his prejudices

“follow me and see for yourself”

Philip capitalized on his relationship with Nathanael and Nathanael’s way of thinking – used his credibility to stir up enough curiosity for Nathanael to act

at same time, didn’t rely only on credibility… also didn’t leave Nathanael to make bad call w/o considering the evidence – come w/me, check it out for yourself, reach good conclusion based on facts

doubted what he saw and heard

Nathanael mind / opinion not easily changed – needed more than simple say-so, wanted substantial evidence… perhaps because of previous bad experience

could have been hurt by folks from FBC of Nazareth, still suffering flashbacks, not quite ready to hear they weren’t like all Baptists

D. convinced Nathanael  v.48b-51

was Jesus, not Philip who persuaded Nathanael

Philip didn’t try to change Nathanael’s mind, instead encouraged him to check out the evidence… in this case to check out Jesus

as always, Jesus could do what Philip never could – demonstrated his divine power in a way personally relevant to Nathanael

brought to where he could see and hear Jesus

this where every potential follower needs to be brought – not only to see / hear about Jesus (important preparation) but to see / hear Jesus for himself

didn’t expect Nathanael to be convinced by rational argument, put his faith in that – intended Nathanael to put his faith in Christ

brought to where he would be “discipled”

both Andrew and Philip brought friend/brother to Jesus so they could all follow Jesus together – they wanted to follow Jesus, wanted others to share in their experience / blessings

Notice: each one brought one. Didn’t send other person, said “come with me”. Was someone they already knew, had relationship / credibility, tailored their interaction to needs / desires / interests of other person.

So you bring the one next to you,
And I’ll bring the one next to me;
In all kinds of weather, we’ll all work together,
And see what can be done.
If you’ll bring the one next to you,
And I bring the one next to me,
In no time at all we’ll have them all,
So win them, win them, one by one.

And… the big goal – that Christ would be glorified in our lives, our homes, our church, and beyond. He will be glorified when he works through his disciples to make other disciples.

Lord, Be Glorified

43. Why make this commotion and weep?

Mark 5:39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”

Read: Mark 5:35-43; Matthew 9:23-26; Luke 8:49-56

Setting:

crowd on shore at Sea of Galilee; request from Jairus; progress toward Jairus’ house interrupted; interaction with woman

Jesus still speaking to the woman, messenger from Jairus’ household with news of daughter’s death, suggestion to not trouble Jesus

has arrived at Jairus’ house – “funeral” already in progress: mourning has begun, professionals engaged and present, the girl would have been buried (probably) before dark if possible

Person(s) being questioned:

professional mourners, friends, family members, servants present in the home with the dead girl

question perhaps directed at the professionals, probably members of Jairus’ household other than Jairus that Jesus had particularly in mind

(need the Play button!) – if directed at the paid actors, calling them out on their insincerity, diminishing significance of genuine grief by making show of it for money… question asked with extreme sarcasm

if (or to extent) was directed at family and friends, much different tone – intended to encourage hope, provoke consideration of important concepts

Question behind the question:

Why do you demonstrate no faith? (showed by calling in professional mourners, done by those who knew where Jairus had gone)

Why did you send for me if your confidence is so easily shaken?

What is the difference between power to heal the sick and power to raise the dead?

What do you really believe about death? the hereafter? the resurrection?

Expected response:

figured it was too late for anyone/anything to help

didn’t think you could / would bring her back to life

If you had been here, the girl would not have died  (John 11:21)

Jesus’ point:

if Jesus could genuinely heal her from her sickness, he could restore her to life – they had hope/confidence he could do the one, should have been confident of the other

their way of displaying grief indicated wrong belief about death and beyond – regardless of what they professed, were acting in hopeless way

also displayed lack of understanding about Jesus – who he was, what he had power to do, his typical response to request like Jairus made

btw, Jesus didn’t just make the girl “undead” – he restored her to life and health …”something should be given her to eat.”

and… he wasn’t there to put on a show like the professional mourners – that’s why he evicted them first; intended to show genuine compassion to parents, faith the “price of admission”

Modern Application:

God has the power (although he doesn’t always use it that way) to not simply facilitate the healing process but to restore immediately to full health and wellness

since it is God’s power in action, the starting point is unimportant – little sick, lot sick, dying, dead – he has sufficient power to achieve goal… aka resurrection power

those two “details” should inform our praying, enlarge our faith

proper euphemism has some connection with original – sleep not end of awareness/responsiveness, death not the end of existence

serves to both warn and encourage: warning to be prepared for what comes after; encouragement that parting only temporary for those with common destiny