stay tuned for part 2 the explanation.
stay tuned for part 2 the explanation.
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.
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.
8 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 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.
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.
5 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.
This is only going to be a quick note on the Providence of God. There have been volumes written on this topic and in no way am I going to attempt to comprehensively cover this topic here. I wont even give a theological definition to the word providence since there is large divide in that as well. The reason I am doing this, is that I am reading in Acts. When I read in Acts I see the providential hand of God everywhere. I see where God moves behind the scenes and how He effects change in the world, without others even knowing that it is happening.
Lets take a look at the apostle Paul. Starting with his standing over Stephen’s murder. Here he was standing over and approving of Stephens murder. Who knew that Stephen’s sacrifice would be the start of Paul’s conversion? Even though Paul did not know it, this is the point where Paul starts on his path to conversion. Stephen’s martyrdom and the imprisonment of christians gives Paul the credentials needed for him to get the letter from the Jewish High council to go to Damascus and arrest those who are part of the Way. It is along this road where God intervenes directly. While he intervened indirectly prior to this, now he directly confronts Paul.
I am not going to re-hash the story you can read it in Acts 9. Read it, it will be worth your time. What I am looking at today. God’s providential hand was directing events even though most people would not have understood that. It is rare that while we are in the midst of events someone understands that Gods providence is at play. Hindsight is 20/20. It is easy for us some 2000 years later to look back and see all the different things that were happening at the same time to see Gods providence taking place. Remember the folks at the time did not know everything that is taking place nor did they see the big picture they did not have the internet with instant information at their finger tips information could take days or even weeks to travel to someone depending on that persons connections. God created circumstances so that the big picture could take place. Those circumstances were hard, and even cost many their lives but, in the end Gods providence was fulfilled and Christianity spread all over the world.
Lets take a look at Paul and his going to Jerusalem for the second time since his conversion. On his way to Jerusalem he made many stops and at each stop he was told by prophetic message not to go bad things were going to happen. He heeded them but chose to go on anyways. Even with the warning he knew what the Spirit wanted; which was for him to go to Jerusalem. He did not know that he was going to be beaten almost to death by a mob. He did not know that he was going to be almost tortured by Romans, or have a plot to kill him thwarted by his nephew. He only knew he had to go and that bad things were going to happen. He had to be a witness for Christ and the consequences be damned.
From here he did not realize that all this would lead to him being a witness for Christ to Caesar then be freed and do yet another missionary journey possibly even into Spain.
All these circumstances were difficult and in many cases people paid the ultimate price but all were in the Providence of God. He wanted these things to happen so that the good news could spread and be most effective. The original persecutions that happened in Jerusalem was used to move the good news past just the Jewish homeland. This was the beginning of the spread. Remember Jesus stated that first to Jerusalem, then to Judea, and then to Samaria and finally then to the uttermost ends of the earth.
God set it out ahead of time but, the human understanding did not see this. They were stuck in Jerusalem and Judea. This forced them to move forward and God’s providence was being fulfilled.
How do we apply this to our lives? That is a great question. I am glad you asked. We often do not see God’s providential hand at the time we are a part of it. We often complain, get depressed, fight what we are going through and even blame God and say that it is unfair. When we do this we are forgetting that God’s providence has a purpose in all things. There are no accidents in the Christian life. All things have a purpose. A purpose to bring this world to Christ. What we go through even if at the time we can not see it God has a purpose in it. He has providence.
Remember when we came to Christ we gave him ourselves. We did not say to him here I will follow you when I want to but I will follow You. I will go where You lead. I will suffer as You have suffered. I will bless those whom You bless and curse those whom You curse. Remember birds of the air have nest, the fox has a hole in the ground but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head. That is us. Remember the Son of Man must suffer many things. It is through suffering that we are refined. The refining process stinks. It is not something we want to go through but as Christians we gave Him everything that means we no longer have providence over ourselves but Christ does. Christ has providence now we gave Him everything and He gives everything to the Father.
The ultimate providence is in the Father and if you really want to get philosophical the only true providence is in the Father and always has been. There is none other.
This short piece is something to chew on.
Mercy is so incredible. Why God shows mercy to us is a mystery to me. That He shows mercy to us is not a mystery. The scripture is abundantly clear that he does. I do understand that it is due His love. I love my children and due to that I do show them mercy. I have a base understanding but somehow I do believe His showing us mercy goes much deeper and even much more painful then that.
I do not find that mercy is always easy nor painless. In fact at times it is down right one of the hardest things to do. Remember true mercy us undeserved and unearnable (new word) and even frequently unreasonable. I know that as humans we like to think that we all deserve mercy. If you deserve mercy then you really have no need of it for by the very nature of deserving mercy you would have nothing to need mercy for.
I will use a simple example. If I park my car in a metered parking spot and I do not put money in the meter I have done something I am not supposed to do. I am now in the need of mercy. Now as I come back to get my car I find a officer of the law ticketing my car. I go to him and say please do not ticket my car. He says why? in turn I state that I ask for mercy. He now has the choice to grant me mercy or not. He would not be wrong to write the ticket. In fact not only would he not be wrong he would be following through with the commission the great people of the city gave him. If he chose not to ticket my car that would be merciful. If he chose to ticket my car that would be fair and right (even if I do not like it).
I have done nothing to earn his mercy in fact I have done something to earn his punishment (ticket). Now the car next to me did put money in the meter and after he finishes writing me the ticket he looks at their meter and keeps on going. That person has no need of mercy they have done properly and in return find no punishment. Mercy can not by its very nature be earned.
Take a look at Joshua 11:20, Isaiah 55:1, Ezekiel 39:25 and Romans 9:18 and reconcile them with your concept of mercy. Mercy is not so fluffy and easy as many make it out to be. Mercy is hard to do but healing to the one who receives it.
This blog is new and I would love to get conversation going so please feel free to comment and leave your thoughts.
We all know the question which came first the chicken or the egg well when speaking of Grace and Faith we must ask which came first? The truth is I am not so sure you can have one without the other. The fact is we are saved by Grace but with out Faith there can be no Grace. This provides for great discussion please lets focus on what is Grace (provide Scripture) and how it relates to Faith.
This concept of Grace is so powerful that as I think on it I go into a deep contemplative state. I can not help to be amazed by the Grace that God has shown me so please meditate on the concept and the state of Grace. Then write about it thanks.
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:
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.