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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of Matthew’

How Much Mercy Do You Need?

CC Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

Just in case you were concerned that all this talk of mercy and justice was only an Old Testament concept; today I share the words of Jesus.  Matthew records Jesus’ scolding words in Matthew 23.  If you are afraid to come to Jesus because of some sin you carry, if you have never accepted the amazing gift of God’s grace and mercy that Jesus embodies, if you think becoming a follower of Christ is all about following rules, keep in mind the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 23 are not for the “sinner.”  Jesus never spoke harshly to a sinner.  God didn’t sacrifice His only Son to lord your sin over you or simply for the pleasure of reminding you how wrong you are.

Too Weary to Love

Jesus’ words in this passage are for those who claim His name.  Jesus’ words do sting, only because God wants His followers to be HIS ambassadors, not free agents who claim His name.  The call of the Christian is not to make our own rules.  The call of Jesus is not to disregard the rules.  The call of Jesus is to give the rules the proper weight.

A few days ago, in the post, Accept No Substitutions I shared my real-life experience with the concept Jesus was trying to get across.  As I read this passage, it stings my heart because I’m content to do my best at what I’m good at doing.  I will, in essence, give a tithe of my spices; for me that’s easy.  Jesus is saying that isn’t enough.

When I look at the call to be merciful, just and loyal, it’s then I realize I underestimate my need for God’s mercy.  How can I possibly be merciful to others, if I don’t completely understand the magnitude of God’s mercy to me?    How can I act justly if I see others as different from me in our need for a Savior?

Seeking God’s Mercy

This month as I’ve read about and pondered the notion of justice and mercy I’ve come to realize how my heart harnesses and stifles God’s goodness.  I’ll admit, I need salvation.  I’ll admit, I need grace.  I’m reluctant to admit I need mercy. Remember, mercy is not getting the punishment you deserve.  If I’m reluctant to admit I need mercy, I’m not very likely to act in mercy toward others.

Have you asked God for His mercy?  How much do you think you need?  A few weeks ago, I would have shrugged at both of those questions.  I’ve come to realize I need an infinite supply of His mercy.  I can follow the rules good enough to be accepted by those around me, but I need a huge, daily shot of God’s mercy; more than I ever realized, to be truly obedient.  I need God’s mercy not only to be obedient in my motives and actions, but also to make sense of the world around me.

Lamentations 3 is one of my favorite chapters.  I looked at it differently today.  Life is a constant barrage of consequences, inconvenience, suffering and in some cases pain.  In the middle of all of that, regardless of the situation, God offers new mercy each morning.

For what?  To make it through the day.  Each day, I need to rely on God’s mercy for the events of the day.  I need God’s mercy; not for some Herculean task but simply to make it through the day.  I need mercy.

How about you?

Father, thank you for your infinite mercy.  Thank you for giving it freely.  Help me truly understand your desire, not for robotic obedience, to act in justice and mercy and to seek a deeper relationship with You.

By • February 14, 2014 

Reblogged from http://blog.febc.org/faith/much-mercy-need

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THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST

This is an article we first posted, on the first day that we began this blog’s journey, and we have reposted it again around Christmas time, every year. So here it is again:
Once when Jesus was traveling with His disciples He asked them ‘Who do people say that I am?’ Wherever Jesus went, large crowds of people followed Him and they witnessed the miracles He performed and they observed the words He spoke in His sermons. Many of the people probably wondered who Jesus was.  But then in Luke 9:18-20 Jesus asks Peter, His disciple, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ and Peter answers ‘God’s Messiah’! Peter spoke with lots of conviction, yet his faith had a long way to go, there would even come a point in his life later where he would deny that he even knew Jesus. Peter and the disciples would become men of faith after they saw the resurrected Christ and it was then they could profess that Jesus was truly the Son of God.

In every age since the first followers of Jesus made their profession of faith in him, men and women of faith have had to come to terms with who Jesus is and what he means for them.As we go into the Christmas season, celebrating the birth of the Messiah, take a little time to reflect on these passages that the Scriptures heralds about the deity of the Messiah. Who is Jesus Christ to you?

(The following list is excerpted from Tyndale’s Wilmington guide to the Bible pp.346-348, 616-618)

The Deity of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world-

  1. His deity was declared by angels

  • by Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-33)

  • by Gabriel to Joseph (Matthew 1:20-23)

  • by Gabriel (?) to some shepherds (Luke 2:8-11)

  • by Gabriel (?) to some women (Matthew 28:5-6)

2. His deity was declared by the Father

  • at his baptism (Matthew 3:16-17)

  • at his transfiguration (Matthew 17:5)

  • shortly before his passion (John 12:27-28)

3. His deity was declared by his mighty miracles (John 20:30,31: 21:25)

4. His deity was declared by his powerful sermons ((Luke 4:32; John 7:46)

5. His deity was declared by his accurate prophecies (Matthew 26:32)

6. His deity was declared by his sinless life

  • as attested by Pilate (John 19:4)

  • by Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19

  • by Judas (Matthew 27:4)

  • by the dying thief (Luke 23:41)

  • by the Roman centurion (Luke 23:47)

7. His deity was declared by demons

  • as he healed a maniac (Matthew 8:28-29)

  • as he healed a man in Capernaum (Luke 4:33-34)

  • as he healed many in Capernaum (Luke 4:41, Mark 3:11)

8. His deity was declared by those who worshipped him

  • the shepherds (Luke 2:15)

  • the wise men (Matthew 2:2,11)

  • a leper (Matthew 8:2)

  • a ruler (Matthew 9:18)

  • a Gentile mother (Matthew 15:25)

  • a Hebrew mother (Matthew 20:20)

  • a maniac (Mark 5:6)

  • a blind man (John 9:38)

  • an apostle (Thomas) (John 20:28)

  • all apostles (Matthew 14:38; 28:9)

9. His deity was declared by Satan (Matthew 4:3, 6)

10. His deity was declared by himself

  • He referred to himself as the Son of God (John 9:35; 10:36; 11:4)

  • He forgave sins (Mark 2:5, 10)

  • He is man’s judge (John 5:22, 27)

  • He is the author of life (John 5:24, 28, 29)

  • He is to be honored like the Father (John 5:23)

  • He alone can save (John 10:28; Luke 19:10; John 14:6

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Come Thanksgiving Day each year, many of us give the nod to Pilgrims and Indians and talk of making ready for a harsh first Winter in the New World.

But for the Christian, the deepest roots of our thanksgiving go back to the Old World, way back before the Pilgrims, to a story as old as creation, with a two-millennia-old climax. It’s a story that keeps going right on into the present and gives meaning to our little lives, even when we’re a half a globe removed from history’s ground zero at a place called Golgotha.

You could call it the true story of thanksgiving — or you could call it the Christian gospel viewed through the lens of that often undervalued virtue known as “gratitude.” It opens up a few biblical texts we otherwise may be prone to downplay.

Here’s the true story of thanksgiving in four stages.

Created for Thanksgiving

First, God created humanity for gratitude. You exist to appreciate God. He created you to honor him by giving him thanks. Appreciating both who God is and his actions for us — in creating us and sustaining our lives — is fundamental to proper human life in God’s created world.

As he describes in Romans 1 what’s gone wrong with the world, the apostle Paul gives us this glimpse of the place of appreciation in the created order:

Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Part of what the first man and woman were created to do is honor God by being thankful. And part of what we exist to do is honor God by being thankful — and thus the numerous biblical commands enjoining gratitude.

Humanity was created to appreciate God. But as we’ve already seen from Romans 1, ingratitude wasn’t far away.

Fallen from Thanksgiving

Second, we all have failed miserably in appreciating God as we should. In her book on gratitude, Ann Voskamp gives memorable expression to the failure of the first man and woman — and the devil before them — to rightly experience and express gratitude.

From all of our beginnings, we keep reliving the Garden story.

Satan, he wanted more. More power, more glory. Ultimately, in his essence, Satan is an ingrate. And he sinks his venom into the heart of Eden. Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.

Isn’t that the catalyst of all my sin?

Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives.  We hunger for something more, something other. (One Thousand Gifts, 15)

Satan the ingrate spawns unthankfulness in Adam and Eve, who pass it along to all of us. Both before our conversion and after, we are unthankful people. This is so painfully true.

And we not only fail to be thankful like we ought, but we also fail to get the balance right between physical and spiritual. Two obstacles often stand in our way to God-exalting gratitude. You could call them “hyperspirituality” and “hyperphysicality.”

Perhaps hyperphysicality is all too well known in 21st-century Western society at large. A milieu of materialists is so unaware of spiritual reality that even when there is gratitude for the physical, the spiritual is neglected, if not outright rejected. We can be thankful for the temporal, even while we couldn’t care less about the eternal.

But hyperspirituality is often particularly dangerous among the so-called “spiritual” types, even in the church. We can be prone to mute God’s physical goodness to us out of fear that appreciation for such would somehow detract from our thanksgiving for spiritual blessings.

In our sin, we fail again and again to get the proportions right. Only with divine redemption are we able to grow toward a balance that goes something like this: Christians are thankful for all God’s gifts, especially his eternal gifts, and especially the surpassing value of knowing his Son (Philippians 3:8), the Spirit-become-physical.

Redeemed by Thanksgiving

Third, God himself, in the person of his Son, Jesus, entered into our thankless world, lived in flawless appreciation of his Father, and died on our behalf for our chronic ingratitude. It is Jesus, the God-man, who has manifested the perfect life of thankfulness. If you’ve ever tracked the texts where Jesus gives his Father thanks, you’ll know it’s quite an impressive list.

Matthew 11:25 [also Luke 10:21]: “At that time [note the context of unrepentant and unthankful “cities where most of his mighty works had been done,” verse 20] Jesus declared, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will . . .’” John 11:41: “…they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me…’” [Jesus then raises Lazarus from the dead.]

Matthew 15:36 [also Mark 8:6]: Jesus “took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples…” [See also John 6:11 and John 6:23 which refers to the location as “the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks”]

Luke 22:17–20 [also Matthew 26:27 and Mark 14:23]: “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’” [And so following Jesus’s pattern, Paul in Acts 27:35 “took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it…”]

1 Corinthians 11:23–24: Our “Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it . . .”

Jesus is not only God himself but also the quintessentially thankful human. The God-man not only died to forgive our failures in giving God the thanks he’s due, but also lived the perfect life of appreciation on our behalf toward his Father.

Freed for Thanksgiving

Finally, by faith in Jesus, we are redeemed from ingratitude, and its just eternal penalty in hell, and freed to enjoy the pleasure of being doubly thankful for God’s favor toward us — not only as his creatures, but also as his redeemed.

It is fitting for a creature to be in a continuous posture of gratitude toward his creator. And it is even more fitting for a redeemed rebel to be in an ongoing posture of gratitude toward his redeemer. The kind of life that flows from such amazing grace is the life of continual thankfulness. This is the kind of life in which the born-again Christian is being continually renewed, progressively being made more like Jesus.

And so the apostle Paul encourages Christians to have lives characterized by thanksgiving.

Colossians 1:11–12: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 2:6–7: “as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Colossians 3:15–17 [note the hat trick (3x) in this one text]: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Ephesians 5:20: “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Only in Jesus, the paragon of creaturely appreciation, are we able to become the kind of persistently thankful people God created us to be and fulfill the human destiny of thanksgiving. For the Christian, with both feet standing firmly in the good news of Jesus, there are possibilities for a true thanksgiving which we otherwise would never know.


Thanksgiving posts from David Mathis:

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FOUR PORTRAITS ONE JESUS

with Dr. Mark Strauss

PART 1

07.22.13

Each of the four gospels offers a unique portrait of the life and ministry of Jesus. But how do we use these different perspectives to experience our Savior in a tangible way? Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 2

07.23.13

Though it is the second book of the New Testament, Mark’s gospel was probably written first. Unlike the other gospel writers, he mostly focused on Christ’s power and authority. Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 3

07.24.13

Jesus said He was the Messiah, but there were many who doubted the validity of His ministry. This is why the Gospel of Matthew is important in understanding how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 4

07.25.13

The apostle Paul may have written more ‘books’ of the New Testament, but his companion, Luke,wrote more words. Find out how the first Christian historian showed us that the gospel is for all people. Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 5

07.26.13

He was the disciple whom Jesus loved and the final author of the four gospels. John may have written in simple Greek, but he had profound things to say about the deity of Christ.Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

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PART 6

07.27.13

Each of the four gospels offers a unique portrait of the life and ministry of Jesus. But how do we use these different perspectives to experience our Savior in a tangible way?

Listen | Send to a Friend | Order a copy on CD

http://www.haventoday.org/program-archives-by-date.php

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Palm Sunday –Jesus Declares His Kingship

 

You can listen to the audio here from Desiring God, John Piper.

Matthew 21:1-17

When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3 “If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’” 6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. 8 Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. 9 The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant 16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?” 17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

What I would like to do this morning is help you hear Jesus’ own declaration of his kingship. I want you to see from Matthew 21:1-17 how Jesus says, “I am your king.” And I would like to do it in a way that makes sure you see the nature of his kingship now and the different nature of his kingship when he comes a second time. And I want you to see and feel the difference because the nature of Jesus’ kingship now is creating a season of salvation in world history during which you can still switch sides and be saved from his wrath and judgment. There is still time – even now this morning – when you can accept the amnesty that King Jesus holds out to you, and renounce your allegiance to self and success and money and family and physical pleasure and security – and whatever else rules you more than Jesus. And you can bow and receive Christ as your King and swear allegiance to him, and be on his side with everlasting joy.

The Kingship of Jesus Will Look Different Than It Does Now

To help you feel the wonder of this brief season of salvation in world history – and yes I say brief, though it has lasted 2000 years; compared to how long we will exist in heaven or hell, it is very brief – to feel the wonder of this brief season of salvation in world history consider that the day is coming, and perhaps soon, when the kingship of Jesus will very different than it is now. Here is a description of that kingship, as John saw it in the last book of the Bible:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

When the kingship of Jesus appears in the skies like that, it will be too late to switch sides. “Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6:2). I believe that is what Matthew is trying to say to us this morning in the way Jesus proclaims his kingship in Matthew 21:1-17. What he wants us to hear – what Jesus wants us to see – is that, yes, he is king, yes his kingship is not provincial or tribal or national, but international and global and universal. But it is for now meek, lowly, welcoming, seeking, forgiving, patient. He will, in a matter of days, shed his own blood to save all who will accept his free gift of amnesty and come over to his side. And until he comes again this is the wonder of his kingship. It saves sinners.

So let’s watch him make this declaration. I just want you to see him. I want you to hear him. Rivet your attention on Jesus this morning. He will win you. He will heal you. He will save you.

There are four ways that Jesus declares his kingship in this triumphal entry. All of them are Jewish. He was a Jew, and he was fulfilling Jewish promises of a coming king and Messiah. But all them are bigger than Jewish. Remember this gospel is going to end in chapter 28 with the words, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). Jesus knows that he is the king over all nations, not just Israel.

So let’s listen and watch as he declares himself King of the Jews and King of the nations.

1. Jesus Declares His Kingship by Riding on a Donkey (Zech. 9:9)

First, notice Matthew 21:1-5. Jesus sends two of his disciples to get a donkey. Verse 2: “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.” Why? What is he doing? Why does he want a ride into Jerusalem on a donkey? Never before has he done such a thing. Matthew tells us why in verses 4-5, “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion [that is, to Israel], “Behold your king is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”‘”

This is a quote from the prophet Zechariah (9:9). Jesus has chosen to act out the fulfillment of this prophecy and to declare his kingship in the action of riding on a donkey. This means, yes, I am king, for that’s what the prophet says it means: “Behold your king.” “But,” he is saying, “I am gentle and lowly. I am not, in my first coming, on a white war-horse with a sword and a rod of iron. I am not coming to slay you. I am coming to save you. This time. Today is the day of salvation.

But is he only coming for the “daughter of Zion,” Israel? Listen to the context in Zechariah 9:9-10 – and Jesus knew the context –

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion [his kingship] will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.

That’s declaration number one. Jesus very intentionally acts out the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 and declares his humble, gentile, saving, Jewish and global kingship. And invites you to receive it.

2. Jesus Declares His Kingship by Cleansing the Temple (Isa. 56:7)

Second, in verses 12-13 Jesus acts out another Old Testament text. It says he “entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.” Don’t think that this meek, gentle, lowly Savior-King was without passion for his Father’s glory!

Then to explain what he is doing he quotes Isaiah 56:7. Verse 13: “And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer;” but you are making it a robbers’ den.’” There are two things that make this action and this Old Testament quote so significant. One is that the context in Isaiah is about the coming kingdom of God, and so Jesus is putting himself in the position of the coming king. And the other is that the context is global, not just Jewish. Listen to Isaiah 56:6-8.

Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord. . . 7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. . . . For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” 8 The Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

So when Jesus chooses a prophetic word to interpret his action in the temple, he chooses one that underlines his coming on a donkey as king and the fact that his kingship is “for all the peoples.” It’s for you this morning. He is jealous to open his Father’s house to you for prayer.

3. Jesus Declares His Kingship by Healing (Isa. 35:4-6)

Third, in verse 14 it says, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.” Imagine what an impact this must have had. We are talking about the most public place in the city – the temple. We are talking about blind people, and people who can’t walk – lame, paralyzed people. Not people with headaches and sore throats. This was a public demonstration of something. What?

We’ve already been told at least once. When John the Baptist was in jail he sent and asked Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” In other words, are you the coming king of Israel, the Messiah? And Jesus sent this word back to John in Matthew 11:4-5, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk.” In other words, “Yes. I am the coming king.”

Why? Why does the healing of the blind and the lame in the temple after coming into Jerusalem on a donkey mean: I am the coming king? Because in Isaiah 35 the prophet describes the coming kingship of the Messiah like this: ” Take courage, fear not. . . . The recompense of God will come, But He will save you. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened. And . . . Then the lame will leap like a deer” (35:4-6).

Jesus comes on a donkey, lowly and gentle and patient; he comes cleansing his Father’s house to make it a house of prayer for all the nations; he comes healing the blind and the lame – all to show what his kingship is now in part, and will be fully in the age to come. It is not just a kingship over other kings, but over disease and all nature. We will not just be safe and sick when he comes. We will be safe and whole – absolutely whole. Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation. Trust him. Receive his amnesty. Become his subject.

4. Jesus Declares His Kingship by His Response to Children (Psa. 8)

Finally, Jesus declares his kingship by the way he responds to what the people and the children are doing and saying. In verse 8 the crowds are spreading their cloaks on the road in front of him. This is what they did when kings were crowned in the Old Testament (2 Kings 9:13). In verse 9 the crowds were shouting, “Hosanna [salvation!] to the Son of David [the hoped for king like David]; ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (These are words from Psalm 118:25-26.)

Then in verse 15 the children were shouting the same things: “Hosanna to the Son of David.” In other words, “The king is here, the king is here!” But the chief priests became angry. So they said in verse 16, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” Now I think they could just as easily have said, “Did you hear what those crowds said? Did you see what they were doing when they put their cloaks on the ground?” They can’t believe Jesus is letting all this stand unchallenged.

Jesus answers their question with one simple word. And then an absolutely astonishing quote from Psalm 8. They say, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” And he answers in verse 16b, “Yes.” “Yes, I do. I not only hear it. I planned it. And I receive it. I would gladly receive it from you. And he would gladly receive it from us!”

Then, he ends this section by quoting Psalm 8, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” What is so astonishing about this is that it refers to God. “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! 2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength [or: praise] Because of Your adversaries.” Don’t miss this. Jesus receives the praises of little children and then explains it by quoting a psalm where children are praising God.

The King Has Come and Is Coming

So here is the concluding declaration and invitation: Jesus came the first time, and he is coming again, as the king over all kings. King of Israel, king of all the nations, king of nature and the universe. Until he comes again, there is a day of amnesty and forgiveness and patience. He still rides a donkey and not yet a white war-horse with a rod of iron. He is ready to save all who receive him as Savior and Treasure and King. Come to him. Know him. Receive him. Live your life in allegiance to him.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

24 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment

Reblogged from rodi in http://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/b-palm-sunday-33/

Bible Study, Christ, Salvation, Word of God, Jesus Christ, Eschatology

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Every Calvary Step Was Love

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Today is Palm Sunday, and so begins our journey with Jesus from Jerusalem’s gate to Golgotha’s cross to Easter’s triumph.

In this Holy Week, we begin with “Hosanna,” walk solemnly toward “Crucify him,” and finish elatedly with, “He is risen!”

Here we see Jesus’s love for us in every intentional step. In one sense, every step he ever took was for us. He was born to die. He came to give his life. His public ministry was ever a steady drumbeat toward Calvary. But in his last week, the quickly moving story begins to run in slow motion. Roughly half the Gospel accounts are dedicated to chronically these final days.

Five years ago, John Piper wrote a memorable Holy Week meditation on Jesus’s intentionality and intensity. As intentional as were his steps toward death, so intense was his love for us.

If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love. Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.”

And so to feel more deeply the love of Jesus for us, it helps to see more clearly how intentional he was in doing it. Here are the five ways Piper mentions for seeing Jesus’s intentionality in dying for us.

1) Jesus himself made choices precisely to fulfill the Scriptures.

“Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52–54)

“I could escape this misery, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:54)

2) Jesus repeatedly expressed his commitment to go to Jerusalem — into the very jaws of the lion.

“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” (Mark 10:32–34)

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)

3) Jesus spoke of his suffering in the words of Isaiah.

“I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6)

4) Jesus handled the injustice of it all by trusting his Father.

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

5) Jesus was under no constraint, but acted completely voluntarily.

“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:17–18)

Piper concludes,

When John says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16), we should feel the intensity of his love for us to the degree that we see his intentionality to suffer and die. I pray that you will feel it profoundly. (The Intensity of Christ’s Love and the Intentionality of His Death”)

May his love for you be evident in every intentional step we track this Holy Week.

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by David Mathis | March 24, 2013 

Reblogged from http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/every-calvary-step-was-love


The readings begin today for the new ebook Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week from John Piper. Download it for free in multiple formats here, and join with us in journeying with Jesus.


John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Question: “What is the Tribulation? How do we know the Tribulation will last seven years?”

 

Answer: The tribulation is a future seven-year period of time when God will finish His discipline of Israel and finalize His judgment of the unbelieving world. The church, made up of all who have trusted in the person and work of the Lord Jesus to save them from being punished for sin, will not be present during the tribulation. The church will be removed from the earth in an event known as the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The church is saved from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Throughout Scripture, the tribulation is referred to by other names such as the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6-9; Joel 1:15; 2:1-31; 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2); trouble or tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30; Zephaniah 1:1); the great tribulation, which refers to the more intense second half of the seven-year period (Matthew 24:21); time or day of trouble (Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15); time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).
An understanding of Daniel 9:24-27 is necessary in order to understand the purpose and time of the tribulation. This passage speaks of 70 weeks that have been declared against “your people.” Daniel’s people are the Jews, the nation of Israel, and Daniel 9:24 speaks of a period of time that God has given “to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.” God declares that “seventy sevens” will fulfill all these things. This is 70 sevens of years, or 490 years. (Some translations refer to 70 weeks of years.) This is confirmed by another part of this passage in Daniel. In verses 25 and 26, Daniel is told that the Messiah will be cut off after “seven sevens and sixty-two sevens” (69 total), beginning with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. In other words, 69 sevens of years (483 years) after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah will be cut off. Biblical historians confirm that 483 years passed from the time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the time when Jesus was crucified. Most Christian scholars, regardless of their view of eschatology (future things/events), have the above understanding of Daniel’s 70 sevens.
With 483 years having passed from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the cutting off of the Messiah, this leaves one seven-year period to be fulfilled in terms of Daniel 9:24: “to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.” This final seven-year period is known as the tribulation period—it is a time when God finishes judging Israel for its sin.
Daniel 9:27 gives a few highlights of the seven-year tribulation period: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” The person of whom this verse speaks is the person Jesus calls the “abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15) and is called “the beast” in Revelation 13. Daniel 9:27 says that the beast will make a covenant for seven years, but in the middle of this week (3 1/2 years into the tribulation), he will break the covenant, putting a stop to sacrifice. Revelation 13 explains that the beast will place an image of himself in the temple and require the world to worship him. Revelation 13:5 says that this will go on for 42 months, which is 3 1/2 years. Since Daniel 9:27 says that this will happen in the middle of the week, and Revelation 13:5 says that the beast will do this for a period of 42 months, it is easy to see that the total length of time is 84 months or seven years. Also see Daniel 7:25, where the “time, times, and half a time” (time=1 year; times=2 years; half a time=1/2 year; total of 3 1/2 years) also refers to “great tribulation,” the last half of the seven-year tribulation period when the beast will be in power.
For further references about the tribulation, see Revelation 11:2-3, which speaks of 1260 days and 42 months, and Daniel 12:11-12, which speaks of 1290 days and 1335 days. These days have a reference to the midpoint of the tribulation. The additional days in Daniel 12 may include the time at the end for the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46) and time for the setting up of Christ’s millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:4-6).
In summary, the Tribulation is the 7-year time period in the end times in which humanity’s decadence and depravity will reach its fullness, with God judging accordingly.
Recommended Resource: Understanding End Times Prophecy by Paul Benware.

 


 

What’s new on GotQuestions.org?
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What does it mean that love does not boast (1 Corinthians 13:4)?
What does it mean that love is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4)?
What does it mean that love is not rude (1 Corinthians 13:5)?
What does it mean that love is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5)?
What does it mean that love is not easily angered (1 Corinthians 13:5)?
What does it mean that love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5)?
What does it mean that love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6)?
What does it mean that love always protects (1 Corinthians 13:7)?
What does it mean that love always trusts (1 Corinthians 13:7)?
What does it mean that love always hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7)?
What does it mean that love always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7)?
What does it mean that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8)?

 


 

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