Jesus The Servant

Jesus The Servant

 Mark 12:29 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”:

Jesus repeatedly made reference to His deity for which the Jews had sought to kill Him, and yet He quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4, that “The Lord our God is one Lord.” There are not two or three Gods and yet Jesus claimed to be God just like God the Father. This union is a great mystery that defies human understanding but can be accepted and believed.

Jesus in His pre-existent state was in the form of God. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is God manifested in the flesh…1 Timothy 3:16. However, Jesus did not demand or cling to His rights as God. He laid aside His Divine rights and privileges in order to take the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of man. He further humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the Father, even to the point of death. This was the supreme sacrifice that identified Jesus totally with humanity and enabled God to redeem mankind. By dying a criminal’s death upon the cross, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Deuteronomy 21:23, and bore our curse in His own body. This redeemed us from the curse, opened wide God’s blessing of justification through faith in Christ, and gave us the promise of His Holy Spirit…Galatians 3:13-14.

The Creator became the creation; the Lord became the servant; the Highest became the lowest. All of this was done because of God’s great love for us.

The Resurrection Power

The Resurrection Power

 Matthew 22:23 “The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,”

The Greek word used here for resurrection means “a standing or rising up.” The resurrection is a major theme of New Testament teaching. Out of the 13 sermons in the book of Acts, 11 stress or simply mention the resurrection.

Man consists of three parts – a spirit, a soul, and a body…1 Thessalonians 5:23. The body is mortal while the spirit and soul are immortal. At death, man’s body goes through the decomposition process and returns to its original elements.

At the resurrection, man’s departed soul and spirit are called forth from either heaven or hell. The material elements of the body are raised up, reassembled, and united with the spirit and soul. Thus we have the complete personality of the individual reconstituted. Everyone will be resurrected – some to life, and some to damnation.

The hope of the believer is the resurrection unto life. The natural, earthly, terrestrial, corrupt, weak, mortal, vile body is said to be raised, changed and fashioned into a spiritual, heavenly, celestial, incorrupt, glorious, powerful, and immortal body. This is the completion of everything that has been purchased for us in Christ.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:12-17 that if there is no resurrection, then our faith is vain and we are yet in our sins. It is the resurrected life of Jesus that brings spiritual life into us and the resurrection of the body that brings physical regeneration, reconstituting us into the very image of God. The transformation from this physical condition to our glorified bodies will be a huge difference, but the power of God can accomplish it easily. If the Lord can work that miracle, then surely, He can heal our bodies and free us from other bondages.

Our Righteousness Is In Christ

Our Righteousness Is In Christ

 Matthew 22:11 “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:”

In this time, it was customary for the host to provide their guests with wedding garments to wear to the wedding. It was an insult of the highest degree to refuse to wear the clothing provided since the guests were brought in directly from the highways and streets. The wedding garment speaks of the righteousness of Christ that God so graciously provides for all who accept His invitation into the kingdom. It must be put on by both good and bad… Matthew 22:10.

Right standing before a holy God is not to be achieved in keeping the law but in humble trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. No one, who is trusting in his own righteousness, can have the benefit of Christ’s righteousness. The righteousness that gives men relationship with God is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, and it comes freely through faith in Jesus Christ.

The way we obtain this righteousness is by putting faith in what Christ has done for us. When we place our faith in Christ, then the righteousness that Jesus obtained by His faith becomes ours.

Through faith in Jesus, we can receive the very righteousness of God as a gift. God’s righteousness is infinitely more in quality and quantity than man’s puny righteousness. No one can ever be justified in the sight of God based on his own righteousness which comes through acts of holiness. One must have God’s righteousness which only comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Paul said in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” This is “the righteousness of God.”

Faith Is A Muscle

Faith Is A Muscle

 Matthew 21:26 “But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.”

Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” These men were seeking to snare Jesus in His words, but they couldn’t because He was safely trusting in the Lord. It was easy for Jesus to “turn the tables on them” and catch them because they feared man… John 5:44.

Jesus had already shown that all of their works were done so that they could be seen of men… Matthew 6:5. They were not really seeking to please God, but were doing all their religious works for the praise of men. It is totally vain for a man who is bound by the fear of man to try to intimidate a man whose trust is totally in the Lord.

When David fought Goliath…1 Samuel 17, everyone mocked him because of his belief that he could win. Goliath was a giant and he was only a small boy. But David said something very important in his defense. In 1 Samuel 17:34-37, David revealed that this was not the first time he had depended on God for a victory against something bigger than himself. He had already killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands. He KNEW he could defeat Goliath with God’s help. Faith must be developed much like a muscle. Those who wait until the day of the contest to start training are going to lose. That’s not the way it works in the natural or the spiritual.

What is life all about? What is the purpose of one’s existence? What is to be gained in life? What do people live for? When we say “so and so” is my life, we mean that all of our attention, our focus, and our purpose for living, is directed towards and revolves around that person. In a similar way, we need to be totally consumed with Christ and His life. True life is only to be found in Christ. It is not to be found in prestige, fortune, fame, or things, but only in the one who is life – Jesus Christ.

Our Words Are Alive

Our Words Are Alive

 Mark 11:14 “And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.”

Notice that this verse says that Jesus “answered” this fig tree. The tree had not spoken to Him verbally but it communicated that it had figs by the leaves on it. It is a fact that a fig tree should have figs by the time the leaves are evident. A fig tree actually produces green figs before the leaves appear and if no figs are produced by that time, then the tree will not have any figs that year. This fig tree was professing something that it didn’t have even though it was still too early for figs.

Not only plants, but other things can communicate with us too. Circumstances can tell you that you have failed. Your body can tell you that your prayer didn’t work – the Lord didn’t heal you, etc. You need to follow Jesus’ example and answer these things with a positive statement of your faith.

What good could it do to talk to a tree or an inanimate object? God created the heavens, the earth, and everything that is in the earth, by His words… Hebrews 11:3. The whole creation was made by and responds to words. Our words, when spoken in faith, release either life or death… Proverbs 18:21. They also affect people, things, and circumstances. We can release the power that is in faith by our words.

Speaking God’s Word in faith brings the Holy Spirit into action. In Luke 4, when Jesus was tempted of the devil for forty days, it was the Word of God that Jesus used to defeat the enemy at His temptation. We must take advantage of God’s Word by placing it in our hearts so that the Holy Spirit may bring it forth at the appropriate time to accomplish a complete and total victory.

Speak to that mountain in your life.

Jesus Paid Our Debt

Jesus Paid Our Debt

 John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”

There is still a future judgment of the world coming, where the wicked will be separated from the righteous and cast into the lake of fire. This verse refers to the sins of the world that were about to be placed on Jesus and that He would suffer our punishment.

Jesus suffered the punishment for our sins, so there is no reason why we should suffer for them too. The price for sin has already been paid by the only one who could fully pay it and that is Jesus. All Jesus asks of us to make His redemption ours, is faith in Him as our Lord.

Sin has a wage it must pay and no one can avoid payday without faith in Jesus. Anyone who does not receive the new birth will be held liable for all the wrong they committed as a result of their sinful nature. However, those who receive the new birth through faith in Jesus, don’t have a sin nature and therefore, will not receive the payment of death.

Physical death as well as every result of the sin nature (i.e. sickness, depression, fear, etc.) is only a by-product of the spiritual death that was already inside of us. The Lord told Adam that in the day he ate of the forbidden tree, he would surely die…Genesis 2:17. Adam didn’t die physically that day but he did die spiritually. Physical death came 930 years later for Adam… Genesis 5:5, as a by-product of his spiritual death.

Eternal life is a gift. The dictionary defines a gift as “something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation; a present.” We have nothing to do with earning this gift. All you have to do is receive it by faith.

The Miracle Of The Donkey And Colt

The Miracle Of The Donkey And Colt

John 12:14-15 “And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.”

This is the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. Notice how specific Zechariah’s prophecy is and how exactly it was fulfilled. Zechariah prophesied Jesus not only riding an ass, but also a colt (unbroken), the foal of an ass. Zechariah also mentioned the people rejoicing greatly and shouting which certainly came to pass on this day.

All four gospels include a triumphal entry, but only Matthew records a donkey with a colt. A simple explanation to a so-called “contradiction” is that Jesus rode the colt while the other donkey went along. No doubt, He rode each animal part of the way.

Not only was it a miracle that Jesus knew about the ass and its colt, but also where they would be. God also worked some kind of miracle in the owner of these animals so that he would be willing to release them. It is possible that the Lord also revealed to this man that Jesus would need his animals.

Perhaps he was just a devoted follower of Jesus who gladly surrendered them when he knew Jesus was the one wanting them. Either way, it was just as much a miracle that the owner was willing to surrender them as it was that Jesus knew exactly where they would be.

Jesus hadn’t been in Jerusalem in quite a while and there is no indication that He had made previous arrangements with anyone there to obtain this ass and its colt. This was nothing less than supernatural knowledge imparted to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. As Jesus did, let God’s gifts flow through you today.

Worship From Your Heart

Worship From Your Heart

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 Samuel 16:7. Those who cannot see beyond the physical realm will be offended at others’ displays of worship. True worship comes from the heart.