Tag Archives: Jesus is God

Being Made Perfect Through Suffering (sermon that was preached)

This is a sermon I preached a bit ago.  I wanted to share it please ignore the improper grammar I did not correct it.  I believe the message speaks to trouble we as a world, but even more pointed as THE CHURCH, are going through today.

“Today I want to speak about suffering I want to speak about grace and our need for both.  The question is how do we act in suffering?  Do we accept grace?  Are we willing to follow Christ no matter what?  If the unreasonable is asked of us are we willing to do this?

Suffering is something everyone goes through.  Some go through more than others but it seems that when we are going through suffering no one else can ever understand.  Lets be honest there is nothing new under the sun.  Sorry teenagers we are not able to understand your angst. We were never teens, we never went through hormonal changes and we were never tempted with things that are sinful.  We never had parents who could not understand. And worst of all Our parents had the gall to tell us that we would have to suffer from our own kids in the same way we made them suffer.  Now that is scary.  Teens think about that before you put your parents through anymore suffering.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

Often times we get so lost in our suffering that we are not able to see others and the suffering they are going through.   We often lose perspective.  We get lost in ourselves to the degree we actually get mad at God or even question God’s existence because we do not believe that the suffering is fair or that if God was good we would not go through this.

Lets be honest sometimes the suffering is not fair.  Bad things happen to us to no fault of our own.  It is true sometimes we do not deserve our suffering.  I know an eight year old who suffered through years of molestation by her father she did not deserve that.  BUT sometimes our suffering is fair.  Sometimes we do deserve our suffering.  Have you ever known that person who makes very unwise choices and gets themselves in all kinds of trouble?  I am sure we all have.  Once they get into trouble they go looking for someone to help them.  Someone usually steps up and helps.  Then they are okay for a bit and get right back into trouble again because they just keep making the same unwise choices.  They are suffering a lot due to their own choices.  On top of that those who are helping them are suffering a lot because of the choices they are making.

If you claim to believe that God is who He said He is then does it matter?  I say this because if He is who He says He is then He knows and has allowed the suffering to take place.  He has a purpose for that suffering.  He is trying to accomplish something and this is the only way it can be accomplished.  He needs something from you or out of you or in you and this is the only way to have it done.

Are you willing to accept unfair suffering?  Are you willing to accept a suffering that is on you because of someone else?  Are you?  Are you willing to accept suffering that you have caused yourself?  Are you willing to accept the suffering you deserve? Are you?  

Often people complain that they are suffering but they caused it themselves and they say it is not fair.  Christ suffered.  He did not deserve it.  He did not earn it.  He did  nothing in any way that would justify His suffering.

Are we not supposed to follow the example of Christ?  Are we not to desire to be like Christ?  Are we not to follow the example that Christ shared with us?  

I Peter 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps

Christ who was without sin still had to suffer to be made perfect.  So why do we think we do not need to be made perfect?

Hebrews 2:10 For it is fitting for Him, for whom all things, and through whom are all things, in

bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

I want to bring this to our minds so we can think through this.  If Jesus , who did not sin, had to suffer to be perfected how much more suffering do we need to go through to be like Christ.  Even though He was without sin He still had to be perfected for the purpose of satisfying the offering.  So think of it this way not all imperfection is sin.  I know we often think that all the imperfections in us are sin but that is not true.  Christ’s example is proof of that.  

To understand the concept of Jesus needing to be made perfect and how not all imperfection has to do with sin lets take a look at the military.  When someone joins the military they are sent to boot camp.  The purpose of boot camp is to re-educate someone on how to think how to obey.  If they goof up is that a sin. NO.  If they do not know how they are supposed to act is that a sin. NO.  They are trained this is the purpose of boot camp.  In this way Jesus had to go through training to be prepared for the cross.  Remember He was human he had to learn proper grammar, math, reading and so on.  He was not born with this information.  Was He sinning when he misspelled a word? Or got a math problem wrong?  NO of course not.  In the same way He was not sinning just because He was born not able to die on the cross it was a process.  This process He went through was tough.  It brought a lot of suffering to Him and He learned endurance.  He learned how to endure suffering by keeping in good relation with the Father.  He learned that the more suffering He had the closer to the Father He had to be.  Was it sin that He did not know this?  NO.  How would a 8 year old know this?  It took Him 33 years to be ready to die on the cross.  That was 33 years of preparation for His main purpose death on the Cross.   He suffered through out.  He was our example.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer while delivering a sermon in 1934 entitled “Our God is a suffering God” says this:

“I realize that the concept of our God being a suffering God is to many abhorrent but to me it is beautiful.  It is through suffering that we are able to be made ready for God for heaven for life and for Kingdom building.  How else do we expect to be free from sin free from bondage free from this world and wholly Christ, wholly heaven bound, wholly whole.  Suffering is the vehicle our God has chosen and He is participated in this in that He sent His only begotten Son to  suffer and die for us because of us because of our sin.  Without the suffering there would be no forgiveness no grace no mercy no joy.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who understood suffering.  He understood what it meant to suffer unjustly.  When he stood up to the Nazis and publicly stated they were evil.  He suffered for that.  He was given the opportunity to leave Germany and escape persecution but chose to stay.  He chose the path of greatest suffering for the purpose of Christ.  In the end he died for his stances but also in the end he gave one of the strongest public examples in the 20th century of suffering for the cross.

There are two types of suffering general suffering and Christian suffering.  General suffering covers all the misery, sickness, pain and death which is part of the human condition.  To some degree we all go through this as did Jesus.   I am sure Jesus had a cold or suffered from allergies or some sort of bodily suffering. General suffering we all partake in is something addressed in:

Galatians 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

General suffering gives Christians a great opportunity to help others…. to show the love of Christ without reservation.

It is Christian suffering we must participate in if we are going to follow Christ.  I understand that to some, what I just said is diametrically opposed to what they believe.  They believe that Christians should not suffer and that if we are truly following God all suffering would go away and the only reason we suffer is because of our own sin.  I hope the fact that Jesus had to suffer did not pass you by.  If Jesus had to suffer what sin caused His suffering.  Let me restate this one more time.  We must participate in Christian suffering if we are going to truly follow Christ.  Remember we just read Hebrews and 1 Peter where it clearly states that to follow Christ we will suffer.

Now I know there are folks who hate what I just said but I also know there are folks who know and appreciate what I just said.  Folks who have suffered both of their own accord and from no fault of their own.  They understand suffering.

What is Christian suffering.  This is simple.  Christian suffering is our participation of God’s suffering at the hands of an ungodly world.  The degree we suffer because we identify with God is the degree we participate with Christ in the suffering He had to endure.

Often we ask why is there so much suffering in this world? Fair question.  Oft though we get the pat answer that it is because of sin.  This may be true but it is easy and does not struggle with the very real problem with pain.  This does not struggle with the purpose of suffering.  The answer of “it is because of sin” does not have any struggle in it at all.

We must struggle we must suffer and we must have an answer when someone ask the legitimate question of why is there so much suffering in the world.  I realize that most people will not be satisfied with the answer.  They may not understand your answer.  BUT if your answer comes from the point of being as a result of suffering then it will RING true and they will know that.  Their spirit will testify as to the validity of what you are saying and then a real conversation will be made possible.   Even though often that question is a smoke screen to the real question they have.  The real problem they struggle with and the real reason they do not want to serve God or admit God.  The real question is simple.  Why has there been so much suffering in my life?  They personalize it.   Once someone gets to the point of personalizing their problems then you have made it.  You  now have the opportunity to use that suffering that you have been through to serve someone else.  To help someone else.  To fulfill your Kingdom responsibilities.

People do not want to get to personal.  If they do they will have to address things that they have buried deep.  They will have to face sins they have done and sins that others have done to them.  They will have to come out of the darkness into the full light of day.  Where nothing can hide.  

There are things in life we want to hide from.  We place it up in the proverbial attic way in the back in a box but it is really never gone.  We always know it is there we always are aware that it has some sort of power over us.   That deep in the recesses of who we are there is some evil that has root and is trying to take over.

What do we do?  We hide.  We deny.  We run.  We pretend.  We ??

We need grace.  What is the purpose of grace? unmerited favor to put it simply.    Grace is not easy it is not  a quick prayer one says that will inturn free them from all things that are bothering them.  With grace comes suffering. With grace comes hardship.  This is why so many run from grace.  They run they hide they try their darndest to keep the status quo.   sooner or later it catches up. Grace brings to the forefront all the darkness (thankfully not all at once) and releases you from it.  This is why it is unmerited favor.  You have not earned this but God gives it to you anyways.  The problem comes when you run from it.  When the suffering comes you turn and hide.  You deny.  You pretend.  You do what you have to do so that you can protect yourself how you think you need to be protected. Eventually though it catches up.

Has it ever caught up to you?  Have you been in the deepest darkest night and there it is?  I am sure you understand what I am saying.  That thing that has power over you.  Could it be a lie you spoke?  How about a lie you live?  How about something sexual you have done or something sexual someone else has done to you?  Could it be pride?   Sin brings suffering true even if it is someones elses sin.  You can suffer for someone else’s sin.  

We come back to grace.  Grace is costly and hard.  Easy grace is cheap and has no value.

Dietrich Bonhoefffer states in his book The Cost of Discipleship:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

From <http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/29333.Dietrich_Bonhoeffer>

When we understand that last sentence “Costly grace is the Incarnation of God” then WOW our lives are about to change.  We are not able to learn that and stay the same.  We are not able to understand that statement and stay the same we must make a decision and that will either draw us nearer God or we will have to turn our back on Him.  There is no in between with God.

When we understand that God considers grace to be costly so much so that He gave us His only begotten Son to die upon a cross.  The death of a criminal.  The death that you and I deserve not the death He deserved.  He did not deserve any death.  Death came as a result of sin the Garden.  The reason Jesus could not be held the in the grave is because He had no sin to hold Him in the grave.   Christ suffered for us so that we can have grace to be forgiven to be freed to be whole.

Grace is not cheap because God is not cheap.  The work that Jesus did is not cheap.  The cross is not cheap.  The  nails in His hands are not cheap.  The nails in His feet are not cheap.  The thorns in His brow are not cheap.  The stripes on His back are not cheap.  The blood He shed is not cheap.  The hatred that was heaped upon Him is not cheap.  The anger that was heaped upon Him is not cheap.   No friends grace is not cheap and it is not easy.  It is hard.  Hard as nails.  Hard as thorns.   Hard as whips.  Hard as flesh being torn from His back.  Grace is hard it brings suffering.  We must participate in His sufferings to find perfection.  To be made perfect we must live in grace.  The beauty is when we find grace…… we find Jesus is there with us.  He shows us the way the path the center. We were lost and He opens the way.  We were blind and He gives us site.   Suddenly the storm the hardness the suffering is not so bad.  His burden is light His yoke is easy.

Okay friends suffering is a must otherwise we would not grow.   We would not change.   We would not be able to be more like Christ.  In the end our Goal is to be more like Christ.  

Lets switch modes for a moment.  When someone has surgery there is pain and suffering involved.  We find this normally acceptable, because the point of the surgery is to fix us.  We are to be made well through this surgery even though it is painful and will often cause a lot of suffering afterwards.

My point here is that suffering is not always bad.  God uses suffering to refine us and do surgery to our lives both physically and spiritually.  God sees us for who we are and He understands the mess we really are.  In fact He understands our mess more than we do.

C.S. Lewis put it true when he said , in his book The problem with Pain, this:

“I have been trying to make the reader believe that we actually are, at present, creatures whose character must be, in some respects, a horror to God, as it is, when we really see it, a horror to ourselves. This I believe to be a fact: and I notice that the holier a man is, the more fully he is aware of that fact.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

From <https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2976220-the-problem-of-pain>

Yes our character is a horror to God.  Sin is a horror to God. Our character is racked in sin and needs to be cleansed thoroughly.  Needs to be completely transformed.  We need to be a new creation. The closer one gets to God the more real this is.  The more we understand the necessity to die.  That there is nothing of myself that is good.   Ouch that is hard. Nothing at all.  Nothing.

Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells with in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

Romans 3:10 As it is written “There is none righteous, not even one;

Isaiah 64: 4-9  ….. for all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away……..

Is there any doubt.  We can’t be good enough.  We can’t please God by being good or by doing good or by any means that is within us.

The degree we suffer is directly proportional to the degree we fight God in this process.  There will always be suffering in our lives there will always be pain in our lives.  The more we fight God as He uses this pain and suffering to change us the more pain and suffering we feel.

I say to you today.  One simple thing.  Let go of it.  Let go of having to be right.  Let go of the pain someone else put on you.  Let go of your hidden sin.  Your shame.  Your lies.  So what if others know.  So what if you are embarrassed.  So what.  Truly they have their own shame and guilt to deal with.  They have their own embarrassments to deal with.  You have to stand before God and be judged.  You have to answer for yourself they are not going to pay your penalty for you.  They are not going to hell for you.  Be Honest, Be faithful, Be Honorable.  Let go of it.  Let it all out.  Do not hold back be FREE,

I say to you today what Joshua said to the children of Israel thousands of years ago.

Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

God gives this to you today.  Choose make that choice.  No longer sit on the fence but choose you today whom you shall serve.  Do not allow suffering to sway you but grab on with both hands and be excited about what God is doing.

there is an Old Negro spiritual and it makes a simple and pure statement :

Free at Last

Free at Last

Thank my God I am Free at last.

 

Who wants this freedom?”

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The Three most Holy Days for Christians (part 3 of 3)

Of course this day is Resurrection day or as we call it Easter.  The reason this day is on equal standing is simple without the resurrection the rest would have been a big waste of time.  You can say this for each of the three most Holy Days.  You are not able to have one with out the other.

The reason we want to celebrate this is to remember, learn and understand the resurrection and what it means.  The first thing it means is He is alive.  It also means He has conquered death so we can believe His promise to live forever in heaven with Him and His Father.  He showed Himself to hundreds of people multiple times.  Can we believe the testimony?  I do when tied in with Biblical prophecy and the rest of the Bible then their testimony lines up and makes sense.  In the end though it is a matter of faith.  The only time there will be proof is when Jesus comes back again or when one dies and stands at judgement.

There are not many who dispute His death only this who dispute whether He ever lived or not. I will not make that argument here though in a future post I will.   The Bible states much about His death and resurrection and I already went over that in part two of this series please refer to that for more information.

His resurrection is now the focus.  In Mark 16:5-7 you will find a simple story of He is no longer in the grave.  The proof is He is no longer there.  He is going to meet everyone in Galilee.  They were told to wait there.  They waited.

Why is the resurrection important?  The resurrection substantiates all that went before.  All the claims that were made by Jesus, being the Son of God,  being sent from the Father and all the miracles He performed.  His resurrection substantiates it all. When He claimed Godhood and when He claimed that we will live forever with Him He substantiated all this by His resurrection.  He empowered the work that went on prior to His death and He led the way through Him dying.  His death shows us the example of honor, humility, restraint, LOVE, grace, mercy, and so forth. By His resurrection we see that all that He went through was not in vain and thus all we go through in this world will also not be in vain. For we will live in Heaven with Him for eternity.  This produces hope.

We have something to look forward to something to make all the pain, all the suffering, all the battles we go through okay.  Not only okay but worthwhile and beneficial.  We now have a reason to believe and work hard towards this goal.  The goal of an eternal relationship with God.   We can understand how what we give up here is nothing compared to what we receive.  In fact in time what we give up here we will not even see as giving up.  How do you really give up something that was not ours to begin with.  The only real thing we have is our relationship with Jesus and since He is alive we are able to have this relationship daily.

Why should we celebrate His resurrection?  Simply to live.

The Three most Holy Days for Christians (part 1 of 3)

There are three days that stand out above the rest on the Christian Calendar.  The first would be Christmas (the Birth of Jesus) the second would be Good Friday (the Death of Jesus) and the third would be Easter Sunday (the Resurrection of Jesus).  I want to take a look at each of these and see how they are pivotal in the Christian world and how each one should be portrayed and why.  I will not make a determination as to which is more important I am of the opinion that they are equally important and are at the top of all history with nothing even near it in importance.

Lets start with Christmas.  This is the time we celebrate Jesus’s birth.  We all realize that He was not born on Christmas day but this is a day that we use today to remember His birth and why He was born.

Matthew 1:18-25 

18 Now the birth of Jesus [r]Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been [s]betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned [t]to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for[u]the Child who has been [v]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for [w]He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this [x]took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name [y]Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph [z]awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 [aa]but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

This passage give us the essence of what took place.  There are many more passages like this in other books.  The base concept we need to understand as Christians is that Jesus came from Heaven and took residence here on earth.  He did this of His own free will.

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ isLord, to the glory of God the Father.

This passage clearly states that by Jesus leaving heaven He willingly took a lower station in life for the express purpose of following the will of God the Father.  Jesus was born into humble circumstances and lived in the same manner the whole time He honored His heavenly Father even to the point of death.

Why is this important?  Why make such a big deal of His birth?  Why not just honor His ever near presence?  All good questions and worth asking.  The point of Christians celebrating Jesus is to recognize His coming.  There are many amongst us now and through out history who have stated that Jesus never existed and that He was made up for the express purpose of supporting Christianity.  There are a number of ancient documents outside of Christianity that support His being born.  Most folks believe He lived even if they do not believe He is God.

The birth of Christ is a big deal for a number of reasons the foremost being that God became man and dwelt amongst us.  God dwelling among us is fantastic in fact so much so many question the viability of this statement.  This is where Faith steps in.  God expect us to have faith and without faith we are not able to please Him.  He wants folks who will make the choice to believe He does not want robots who are forced to serve Him.

I believe we are indeed supposed to honor His ever near presence.  I think we should at all times do this.  When looking at Christmas from this perspective it is important to think of the celebration of His birth as a singularity in time.  A time where God intersects with man in such a way that the entire world changed.  Think of our calendar system for just one example.  Our calendar system is based off of the birth of Jesus.  This singular moment when God became man and came to earth where God lived with us (as in the garden yet different) where God was our friend, confidant, teacher, servant, savior and more.  This is the one key pivotal moment in all of history where the One who started it all who spoke one word and history began is with us.  That is you and me He is with you and me.  It is this reason we celebrate Christmas.  I realize that the date we celebrate is not His actual birthdate but since no one knows His actual birth date it works for me.

The next article in this series will be on Good Friday.

 

Jesus (?) Part B

I am going to continue directly where I left off.  If you have not read part A of this article it wont make a lot of sense to you.

 

Verse 6

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To [j]fall on Him.

Even though we have all done wrong, we have all blown it, He has taken upon Himself the only option for giving us a chance to get back into a good relationship with God the Father.  Sin must be dealt with before we are able to get back into good standing with God the Father and this is what Jesus did by taking the “iniquity of us all to fall on Him”.

Verses: 7 & 8

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the [k]living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

The suffering continues.  It is very disconcerting to even read about it but it is a reality that we as humans must all face at sometime.   We are forced to eventually face the cross and deal with it either in this life or the one to come.

Jesus kept humble.  He did not complain that He was innocent and that He did not deserve this.  He allowed them to lead Him like an unknowing animal to be killed.  Even though He knew in fact He knew so well that even before the earth was made. He knew by making the earth He would have to go through this.  He did it anyways.  The punishment was ours and He took it.  This is big.  The beat down he took was horrific.  He died after someone put three very large nails through his hands and feet then raised Him off the ground so gravity continuously pulled Him towards the earth.  That alone had to make the pain intensified by the mathematical value of gravity. (not a math guy here)  What I am saying is it was bad.  Take a moment and visualize to yourself what Jesus did in order that we may have a good relationship with the Father.  He planned this from the beginning.  He knew that mankind would not last long with out sin and yet He still made us and went through all this.  This is love.

Verse 9

His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

He died with men who were rightly wrong and deserved their punishment.  In fact while all three were there on crosses the other two even stated that they deserved it.  One in fact realized Jesus did not.   Even though He died the death of a criminal He was honored by the burial of a rich man.  This happened because He was not violent nor was He a liar.  There are none of us who can say that.

Verse 10-12

But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, [l]putting Him to grief;
If [m]He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His [n]offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the [o]good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the [p]anguish of His soul,
He will see [q]it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out [r]Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

This is intense.  Jesus was pleased to do this.  He knew what it meant.  His Father was also pleased to do this even though He also knew what it meant.  It meant that by doing this many will enter the kingdom of Heaven that otherwise would have no way to do so.  Jesus gave us this opportunity to get to Heaven by taking our punishment from us and putting on Himself which allows us to find true forgiveness.  The kind of forgiveness that means one day when we stand before Him on judgement and He says “Well done good and faithful servant” He will not remember our failings.  He will look on us with great love and joy.  He will show us mercy and grace and allow us to reside forever in Heaven with Him.  This is what His 33 years on earth did for us.  I like the part of this passage that states “He poured out Himself to death”  that means as already stated He did this completely voluntary.

Now I want to look at the John passage in chapter 5.

Verses 16 & 17

16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

The ruling religious elite of the day did not like what He was doing.  He was healing on the Sabbath and this did not work with their rules that they put in place.  They called healing someone from a horrible disease as work.  They hated Him.

In reality they hated Him because He had true power and they did not.  He did not flaunt it nor push for a higher position in society.  He did make money from it nor did he take favors for it.  He was altogether doing it for the sole purpose of honoring the Father God in Heaven.  This irked them because they wanted people to believe they had the only way to Heaven instead He taught that He was the only way to the Father and thusly to Heaven.  This claim was backed up with power.  The kind of power that healed people, that set people free, that changed lives and made things better for the everyday person not just the elite.  In fact most of the elite would not follow Him.  This shows what is in the heart of humans more often then not if it is not in my best interest I will have nothing to do with it.

Here Jesus claims to be equal with God.  When He claimed to be working on the same level as Father God that made him equal with God.  This was unacceptable.  That being said I understand why it was.  Israel had a bad history with worshipping other gods and it cost them dearly.  They did not even come close to that any more and any one who did was either killed or ostracized.  The problem at this time is not that they were concerned with someone worshipping another god it is they were concerned that Jesus was who He said He was.  This scared them more then anything.  They did not want to lose their power and having the very Son of God in their midst would do exactly that and it did exactly that.  Within a generation their power was diminished.  They figured if they could kill off the Son then they would be good but that is the problem Jesus knew they had to kill them off.  He knew this even before He came.  So they had the wrong effect.

Verse 18

For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

Since Jesus equated Himself with God the Father they now added another straw to the camels back.  In other words that just set them off all the more.  They had it.  How could this man do this.

I have said all I mean to say at this time.   Jesus claimed Godhood with the Father.  He claimed to be the one who fulfilled he prophecies that were given out hundreds of years earlier.  The real question is what do we as humans say to this.  We have to if we do not say something now we will have to on judgement day.   Judgement day is too late.  There is no chance then your decision must be while you are here on earth.  Please if you have any questions please ask. I will be happy to help.

Jesus (?) Part A

Okay, here is a biggie Jesus or “Who is Jesus?”  This is one of those questions that has volumes upon volumes written about it and by far better folks then I.   My intention here is not to answer all the arguments people have about Jesus nor is it to convince you who Jesus is it is simply to explain who the Bible says Jesus is.  This is not a hard task but at the same time the task is one of the more difficult task I have had to do for I am making a representation of who Jesus is and I do not wish to get this wrong.  When you have completed reading this post I do not expect anyone to agree with me just to understand so if you do not understand please feel free to leave a reply and explain any questions you may have.

I have decided to look at Isaiah 53 for my text about who Jesus is.  I will also use John 5:16-18. I am going to take it section by section and explain what the Bible is saying about Jesus.

Isaiah 53

1. Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender [a]shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should [b]be attracted to Him.

Take verse one here “who has believed” that is one of the problems most did not believe and even those who did were wrong in their assumptions.  Jesus came into this world lowly and unassuming.  He was not the best looking guy and he did not stand out in a crowd.  There was no majesty in Him that made people say look the savior of all mankind.  In fact His own disciples did not understand until after His resurrection and after He explained to them what had to happen.  Often when we look to our leaders we want them to present a certain way when in public.  We want them to speak persuasively and to be charismatic.  This was not His way.  He was not attractive to people in anyway physically or publicly.  This would only detract from His true purpose.

Here it gets more intense:  verse 3.

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of [c]sorrows and acquainted with [d]grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Wow how powerful is that.  He was literally despised and folks forsook Him because of the message he brought.  He came to “turn the world upside down” and those in power did not want this. They wanted the status quo or if there was going to be change it needed to benefit them and the change Jesus wanted did not benefit their purpose.  Think of someone who is full of sorrow and truly knows grief.  How often do you want to be around them?  People avoided Jesus because the truth He spoke made people examine themselves and most of the time when we as humans examine ourselves we do not like what we see.  We want to hide from ourselves.  How much more do we want to hide from someone who makes us see ourselves for who we really are.  People despised Him because he did not allow them to put Him in a box.  Folks were not able to mold Him into the way they thought He should be but He molded them in the way He knew they needed to be.   There is little esteem in that kind of work.

Remember when He was on the Cross only a handful of women stayed with Him (and John the beloved) and everyone else had abandoned Him.

Verses 4 & 5

Surely our [e]griefs He Himself bore,
And our [f]sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
[g]Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was [h]pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our [i]well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

These are tough verses.  The concept of what he went through here is so painful and in many ways disgusting that most people can not contemplate it long.  His purpose for coming to earth was to become the payment for all the wrong doing we have done.  Even more then that He came to earth to heal us both mentally and physically.  When He takes someones sorrows He replaces it with Joy and when He takes someones griefs he replaces it with peace and a sureness that all is okay.  When Jesus was on the Cross before He died even God had to look away from Him.  The reason for this is because God can  not look at wrong doing.  If He does He will destroy everything.  This was the reason for sacrifices in the Old Testament.  The blood of the animals provided a covering of protection for mankind.  Now Jesus came and while on the Cross He became our wrong doings.  He did not just represent them on the cross but he actually became them.  This is a tough concept.  He had none of His own wrong doings but He took all ours and when that moment happen God the Father had to look away.  Even Jesus cried out “My God My God why have you forsaken Me.”  Jesus was in the depth at that moment not knowing where the strength was going to come from to finish.  Faith and knowing God the Father pushed Him on.

The punishment He took.  The whip on His back the very large thorns crunched into His scalp these are the things that paid the price for our healing.  We are able to go to Jesus and seek healing from Him because of this.  Because of our wrong doing He was stabbed through His side and the chastening we deserved was dumped on Him.  He suffered terribly and for nothing He did Himself.

So far you are seeing a bleak picture of who Jesus is.  This is true.  It does not stay this way.

Please stay tuned for Part B with the rest of this article.  It was too long so I had to shorten it.

 

Series: Basic Christian Beliefs: Intro

English: A cross close to the church in Grense...

English: A cross close to the church in Grense Jakobselv, Norway. Suomi: Risti kirkon lähellä Vuoremijoella, Norjassa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am starting a small series.  I would like to have great discussion with the hope that if this goes well then the concepts vetted here can be published in a book format with the intended audience to be non-Christians who are interested in understanding Christianity in its simplest form.

I want to create a small easy to read book for someone who wants to learn about Christianity with out the Christian lingo in it but it expressly states the basic beliefs of all Christians. Lets work towards this goal.

I am thinking of these few topics (I want to keep the list short) faith, forgiveness, love, hope, grace, mercy.  This is all.  Please if you disagree with me say so in the discussion area below.  I want to fine tune this prior to moving on.  You will notice that I am not talking about Christ or about if God exist.  Those topics are worthy of great discussion but that is for a different series.  I am making certain assumptions and here they are:

  1. God exist
  2. Jesus is God
  3. Bible is with out error

If you do not believe this then I am sorry this particular series is for those who do and though I eventually will have those discussions this particular series is not the place.  Thanks all and God Bless.