Matthew 2:13 “…: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”
Herod had ruled over Judaea for nearly forty three years at the time of these events. He had the title of King conferred on him by the Roman senate at the recommendation of Antony and Octavius. His accomplishments included the building of the temple in Jerusalem which was one of the most magnificent structures in the world. Most people would have thought that Herod had it “made”.
However, history reveals that Herod was extremely paranoid. He actually killed his wife and one of his sons because he feared they would take the kingdom from him. All his power and fame couldn’t buy him the peace that the angels proclaimed… Luke 2:8-14. His paranoia led him to kill the innocent children in Bethlehem. His insecurity was evident. He had everything and yet he had nothing.
In contrast, the King that Herod was trying to dispose of came humbly, not exalting Himself. He gained the acclaim of others by serving them, not oppressing them. The scepter of Jesus was righteousness; not tyranny. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice; Himself, because of His great love for people.
Today, Herod’s only claim to fame is that he was the man who tried in vain to kill the King of Kings. Remember, it is worth nothing if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul … Matthew 16:26. Make today count for God.
Luke 1:18, “And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”
Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous people who prayed for a child for many years. They felt the same disappointments and frustrations that any of us would feel and yet they kept believing God. The Lord finally answered their prayers and sent His angel to announce the good news.
What was Zacharias’ reaction? He couldn’t believe it! The very thing that he had been praying for was granted and he doubted that it was true. In Zacharias’ case he received his miracle anyway. Perhaps his wife’s faith pulled him through.
Likewise, you may be praying for the right things. You may even be sincere and earnest, but would you be surprised if those prayers were suddenly answered today? Have you made preparations for your prayers to be answered?
Before the children of Israel were actually delivered from Egypt, they ate the pass-over meal by faith. Their bags were packed and ready to go. We need to anticipate our prayers being answered.
Right now, imagine how you would feel or what you would do if the answer to your prayers was manifested this very minute. Then, as much as possible began to think and act that way. You’ll find out that your whole attitude will change as you focus on your answer instead of the problem.
John 20:21 “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
The dictionary states that to reconcile means to re-establish friendship between; to settle or resolve, as a dispute. The key to reconciliation is to effectively deal with the enmity, ill will, hatred, or hostility that caused the dispute, etc.
The enmity between man and God was sin. God took the initiative to remove this barrier through the means and agency of Jesus Christ, thus leaving man and God as friends once again.
We have received the ministry of reconciliation. That means we are in the ministry of reconciling people to God. Much of what people call the gospel today is actually alienating man from God. True, we need to show people their need for God to get them to receive His forgiveness and reconciliation, but the angry and bitter attitude some people have when confronting the sinner, is not correct.
Imputing people’s sins unto them was not the way God used Jesus to reconcile the world unto Himself. We should not focus on the problem of sin, but on the answer of God’s grace… Romans 5:20.
When you read a newspaper, you read about things that have already happened. They are not reporting prophecy. They are reporting the news. So our real job as ministers of reconciliation is to announce the good NEWS, which is an accomplished fact – that sin has already been dealt with through the person of Christ. We should say, “Now we beseech you, be ye reconciled to God. Change your mind and believe the gospel so that you may partake of what has already been done on your behalf.”
John 17:18 “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
We are not from the world. Through the new birth, we come from God and should constantly remind ourselves of this. It is not good to be too “at home” in the world. We are in the world but are not of the world. Great men and women of God have always had this attitude.
The primary reason that God chooses to use those who are nothing by the world’s standards, is so no one else can take credit for the great things that are accomplished.
If the Lord used those who had it “all together” in the natural, then they would share the glory that rightfully belongs to God alone. But when the Lord works miraculously through someone who obviously has no talent or ability, then everyone says, “This must be God.”
Not only does this keep others from misdirecting the glory that belongs to God, but it keeps the person who God uses from swelling up with pride. One of Satan’s greatest weapons against someone who is being used by God is to tempt them to think that the Lord is using them because they possess some superior virtue.
God uses “nobodies.” If we think we’ve become “somebody” (in our flesh), then we will cease being used. He will not share His glory with anyone else … Isaiah 42:8.
Mark 14:3 “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, 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.”
The spikenard was a fragrant plant, and its roots were used in Jesus’ day to make an aromatic, costly perfume and ointment. The plant, itself, grows in the Himalaya mountains at an elevation of 11,000 to 17,000 feet. For centuries, it was used by Hindus as a medicine and perfume and was an actively traded commodity. Its great cost stemmed from that it had to be transported over 6,000 miles to reach Palestine, and depending on quality, it sold for as much as 400 denarii per pound (or $750 an ounce, is the modern purchasing equivalent). That made it more valuable than gold. This ointment was worth at least two and one-half times more than the thirty pieces of silver that Judas received for betraying the Lord, which is why Judas was so upset. This perfume was worth two and one-half times what Judas thought Jesus was worth.
Judas didn’t care about the poor. He wanted to have the money that the perfume could have been sold for in his bag (he was the treasurer for Jesus) so he could steal it. This is a very serious crime that Jesus no doubt knew about, but scripture never mentions Him confronting Judas.
Judas’ reaction to this act of pure worship is typical of the reaction toward worship of many people today. Judas and some of the other disciples, thought this was a waste. That was only because they didn’t value Jesus as highly as Mary did. Mary had seen Jesus raise her brother from the dead and her heart was overflowing with love and worship. The disciples were looking on the outward things while Jesus was looking at Mary’s heart (1 Samual 16:7). Those who cannot see beyond the physical realm will be offended at others’ displays of worship. True worship comes from the heart.
John 11:33 “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”
The Greek word that is translated “groaned” expresses that Jesus was deeply moved, but not necessarily with sorrow. It was more a groan of anger at Satan who had caused all the grief Jesus was seeing around Him. Jesus came to “destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”… Hebrews 2:14, and He was grieved to see the pain that His enemy had inflicted on those He loved.
This is the type of groaning that the Holy Spirit does for us. It is not just the Holy Spirit sympathizing with us, but it is the Holy Spirit doing battle for us when we don’t know how to pray. In this case, it was the Holy Spirit doing battle through Jesus against death and the doubt of those present, that would have kept Lazarus in the grave.
Everyone who has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit has or will have this happen to them. This groaning of the Holy Spirit is not just grief but a groan of anger and resistance against Satan’s devices in our lives. Many times Christians don’t discern this because they think it is just them grieved with their situation. But this is the Holy Spirit desiring to get into intercession with us against our problems.
Although the groaning is unutterable, you can discern it, and many times people react with audible groans or other outward acts. This has led to religious doctrines and traditions that are unscriptural and offensive to many people. There is nothing wrong with us reacting to the inner working of the Holy Spirit as long as we don’t confuse our reactions with the Holy Spirit’s actions. This intercession cannot be uttered. Any counterfeits that religion may have produced only serve to illustrate that there has to be a genuine. The genuine groaning in the Spirit is priceless.