Thursday, May 31, 2012

REWARD OR LOSS?

In writing to the church in Corinth, Paul tells the members that there will be a judgment concerning Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This judgment pertains to "the things done in the body, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).  In the sequence of events, many scholars place this judgment very shortly after The Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), before God in Heaven/Paradise.  This is so the "Beautification" or the "blemishlessness" (Ephesians 5:27) of the Bride of Christ or the Church can be complete by the burning up of any works that do not bring God glory (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
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"So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." - 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  

 "...to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." - Ephesians 5:27

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." - 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
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In the words of Rick Renner, the Bema Seat, another name for "the judgment seat of Christ, is described in the following way (Sparkling Gems From the Greek, p.184-185) -  

"This judgment will not be in regard to our salvation, for if we are at the judgment seat of Christ, we are already eternally saved.  However, that day will determine our reward.  Those who fulfilled the assignment Jesus gave them will receive a reward (1 Corinthians 3:14).  Those who were not obedient will still be saved, but they will have no reward to show for their lives (1 Corinthians 3:15).  

Jesus expects us to do something with the gifts, talents, abilities, and assignments that He has entrusted to us.  Therefore, since we know that a day of reckoning awaits us, let's do everything we can to please Jesus.  Let's live in the constant awareness that one day we will stand before Him to answer for what we did in this life."

The Parable of the Ten Talents exemplifies this message to us well (Matthew 25:14-30).

"If you were required to stand before Jesus today and to answer for your personal record, what would the records reflect about you?"

Are you active?  Are you living out God's plan for your life?  If you don't know His plan for your life yet are you involved in some way to advance the kingdom and/or edify His Body - The Church?

The Scripture in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says that if what a person has done does not survive the fire of testing - the person will suffer loss - "he/she will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames".  This is not a good scenario.  Find a ministry that clicks with you and the Holy Spirit and move in His power and guidance, the Scripture promises you will not regret it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"DON'T CRY"

There are times in our lives when situations and circumstances get the best of us and even as Christians surrendering the issue a thousand times - we break down and cry.  Crying is the physical manifestation of physical, mental, and spiritual pressures that has to be released somehow or we will find ourselves in a very unhealthy state.  Venting in the right manner is always healthy.  I know this first hand, I have been in several scenarios that play this scene out.  The challenge comes, the weight seems too heavy, I have a good cry about it and then the Holy Spirit comes along and says, "I understand, but you can stop crying now."  Then He proceeds to lead, guide, and direct me in the way I should go and  sometimes He just takes care of it all.  A few Biblical examples can testify to this pattern.

In Luke 8:52-55 it says, "Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. 'Stop wailing,' Jesus said. 'She is not dead but asleep.' They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.  But he took her by the hand and said, 'My child, get up!'  Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat."  


A child is dead.  People are not simply crying, they are wailing - a stronger and louder form of crying.  Jesus' first instructions are for the people to "Stop wailing".  Then Jesus proceeds to raise the child from the dead for it says, "Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up."
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The second Biblical example is found in John 11:33-44.  This is the account of the Death, Burial, and Raising of Lazarus.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." 40 Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." 

If Jesus or the Holy Spirit does not say outright, "Don't Cry", either Jesus or the Holy Spirit may come along side someone and weep with them as Jesus did here.  Symbolically you could take when Jesus said, "Take away the stone" as the Stop Crying command.  This would sure stop my crying and give me a moment of pause.  Plus, look what happened when Jesus came along side and empathized - the next thing they knew, Mary and Martha had their brother back from the grave.
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The final example I'll bring to the table (albeit I'm sure there are more) is found back in Luke 7:13-15.  

"When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don't cry.' 14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, 'Young man, I say to you, get up!' 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother."     

In this account, a woman had lost her husband some time ago and now was on her way to bury her only son.  Placing myself in her shoes I would be watering the whole plant life around the area with my tears too.  Evidently this situation touched Jesus' heart too because - "his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don't cry.'"  Then Jesus did not have to touch the body.  He just touched the coffin and spoke life back into the young man - "Young man, I say to you, get up!"  And he did.
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You have heard it said, "weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." - Psalm 30:5.  This is a true statement.  However, according to how I just showed you Jesus worked - when He said, "Don't Cry" or any form thereof there was a miracle moments later, not hours or days.  So, be encouraged.  If you are in some life-challenging times right now, to the point of "a good cry" and you hear the Holy Spirit come alongside you and say, "I understand, but you can stop crying now." -  Hallelujah it's "Moving Day"!  Prepare for a move of God and to be moved by God!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

JESUS' REACTION(S).......CONCLUSIONS

We call them - The Gospels - when we should say, "I am referring to The Gospel according to.......(Matthew or Mark or Luke or John).  Four great men, with four distinctive personalities, portraying the same awesome message - The Gospel or Good News.  Digging down into each account and making these observations about the kinds of reactions Jesus had toward people, places, and things also enlightened me on how Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John viewed Jesus. 

Matthew contained a great mix of emotional reactions of Jesus.  Jesus displayed closeness to His cousin, John the Baptist, by possibly using some alone-time on a boat to cope with John's passing.  Compassion, disbelief in the disciples reasoning skills, impatience, Holy or Righteous indignation, bluntness, and woe are others on the list of emotional reactions Jesus displayed in Matthew.  However, the most re-occurring reaction was compassion.  This seemed to resonate with Matthew in a big way.  Maybe Matthew was compassionate too and that common thread is what he ended up pushing in Jesus' reactions.  Maybe it was what Matthew desired to aspire to be more like and so he documented the numerous examples for reference later.  Whatever the reason, compassion seemed to be the theme.

Mark tended to see an aggravated Jesus.  Anger, distress, perplexity with His disciples reasoning power again, secretive/private, compassionate, frustrated, indignant, valued, defensive, adamant, perturbed, scared, overwhelmed, and sad, yielded to the Father, disappointed, no reaction/ no defense of Himself, and desperate are some of the pictures Mark gives us of how Jesus reacted within His ministry.  To me this displays a Jesus that overall is not happy with the execution of The Plan.  I receive an image of Jesus about to pull His hair out over frustration.  I am sure Jesus did experience these emotional reactions, but to take just this account alone and not consider the other three Gospel tellings might lead one to perceive displacement was in action here.  According to the Jews, The Plan, was for God to provide a Priest, Prophet, and King in a militarily expected Messiahship package to save them from all their troubles and rule and reign from Jerusalem.  This did not happen with Jesus' first visit.  Little did they pay attention to all the prophecies that mentioned that their Messiah would have to come a first time as a suffering servant to pay for all of humanity's mistakes so that all who would believe in His sacrifice may spend eternity with Him and together with each other - wherever that may be.  Maybe this accumulated disappointment, aggravation, and frustration we see in the many instances in Mark not only came from Jesus' personal encounters but from Mark's focus on what the Jews saw as The Plan for the Messiah.

Then in Luke I see a definite shift of gears.  Observe the words that I drilled down to and exposed you to in the earlier blog:  Holy confidence, calm-cool-collected, stern, amazed, sympathetic, empathetic, sarcastic, teachable moment, authoritative, focused, gentleness, fed up, sick and tired, wonder, rewarding, quick, sharp, upset, discerning, crafty, cunning, excited, and confirming.  Of all these listed, the first - Holy Confidence - re-occurs enough to take notice.  The whole listing of emotions draws a graph in my mind's eye with gentleness and self-control on the bottom vertical axis and time and events on the left horizontal axis.  So, with the more time and events that transpire in Jesus' life He seems to be more definitive in who He is and what He is all about.  He draws a line in the sand and says, "This is the standard, you cannot meet it, I will meet it for you."  Maybe because Luke was a doctor he might have loved certainty when he could get it.  Anytime you have a doctor who knows what a problem is and can treat it, both the doctor and the patient are happy people.  I see that quality coming out of Luke and into his writing of The Good News.  He saw Jesus as the "Man With The Plan" and knew how to win friends and influence people in order to get to the ultimate goal.

Four out of the eleven qualities I mention for Jesus' reaction(s) in the Book of John are concerning avoidance.  According to John's account, Jesus did what had to be done to fulfill prophecy while dodging attempts on His life as well as wrong directions for The Plan on His life.  Other emotional reactions you see Jesus portraying are sensitivity, initiative, empathy, concern for His men, trusting in His Father, and non-verbal reactions.  So, John did record that Jesus did engage His audience, but He also fled when He saw fit.  It is interesting that John lifts this out of Jesus' experience more often than not.  Why?  I do not know for sure.  However, maybe it was because John had to do some avoiding in his own "neck of the woods" in order to continue spreading The Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

It is interesting what we bring to the table with our own life experiences.  It is no mistake these four men with these four personalities and these four lives wrote their accounts of The Good News of Jesus Christ or The Gospel.  God's word remains true. It is just amazing how He used and continues to use "Cracked Pots" to show forth His glory.  In addition, these four scribes - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - and many more in the rest of The Bible show us that Jesus experienced all these emotional reactions without making a single mistake.  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin." - Hebrews 4:15  It is so good to see God's only Son portray those emotions and not sin and it is so good to "hear" the life-challenged authors tell it.


Friday, May 18, 2012

JESUS' REACTION(S).......[Book of John]

Here I am at the 4th installment of this series on Jesus' Reaction(s).  This time it is John's turn to reveal how Jesus responded in certain situations. 

In John 5:5-8 Jesus came upon a person who had been an invalid for 38 years.  There are some interesting differences about this account as compared to others.  Observing the other healing encounters with Jesus I noticed three things:  (1) Jesus asked what do you want me to do for you?, (2) claimed that the person's faith had healed them, or (3) Jesus out right intervened and healed somebody - faith/question or not.  However, with this encounter Jesus asked the man - "Do you want to get well?" 

My knee jerk reaction would not be that respectful to Jesus.  In the nicest way I would say something like - "Jesus?  He has been like this for 38 years, don't you think he wants to be rid of this limitation?"  But there are some people that are comfortable with their misery.  In my society, I have seen people give up on the potential of decency, integrity, and responsibility in their lives and use their handicap to work "the system" to their benefit for the rest of their life.  This is not much of an existence, but these people exist and I believe that might have been one of the motives behind the probing question of Jesus because this "work the system" could have existed in the society back in Jesus' day as well. 

Another motive I believe He wanted to display was Father God's power of healing through Him right next to the healing pool of Bethesda.  We learn - "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." Here is where Jesus takes the initiative and heals the man Himself instead of helping the man to the waters of the pool.  "Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked." So, I see both sensitivity and initiative as reactions to this situation.
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Remaining in the same account, Jesus shows us a reaction of avoidance.  This healing He just administered took place on the Sabbath (wouldn't you know it).  Throughout Scripture the Pharisees had a big problem with Jesus helping people out on "their" special day.  Because of this aggravation Jesus blended with the crowd to avoid the confrontation (at least for the moment) with the Pharisees.  "The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there." (John 5:13)  It is not long before Jesus is back at it with the Pharisees (two verses I think).  Jesus reveals Himself to the man as the one who healed him and then has to confront the Pharisees standing around.
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This next reaction could be deemed avoidance also.  It could also be labeled escape or alone-time.  This is just after Jesus has fed five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.  The people were so impressed with this miracle that they were ready to make Jesus king right then, but that was not in Father God's plan.  Scripture says it this way, "After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."  Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself." (John 6:14-15)  I imagine it is a combination of all three - He avoided the people, who wanted to make Him king by force, by escaping to the mountain by Himself and probably had some great quiet-time with His Holy Father. 
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In John 8:1-11 John records the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery.  Before and after Jesus gives His response to the Pharisees and teachers of the Law concerning this woman, Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger.  What did He write?  What was it's significance?  Why was it bookends on either side of His response?  We can speculate to our heats content about this topic, but this side of heaven I just don't see a definite answer.  

However, we do have a non-verbal reaction by Jesus to His own question that speaks volumes of His mission.  Concerning the crowd and the charge brought against her by the crowd Jesus said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."  Because no one is without mistakes or sin, except God - the crowd left one-by-one.  "At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there."  Notice, the woman knows she has done wrong, but Jesus has not left nor thrown a stone in response to His own question because....He is without sin!  And as God's Son, who knows No sin, He forgives and challenges her to leave her life of sinfulness.   "Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'  'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.' 
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In a culture where you are going to declare that you are the in-flesh Son of the One and Only God, The God of the Jews - you better expect some resistance.  Even with their Scriptures calling for their Messiah to visit the way Jesus was visiting, The Jews missed His first visitation.  Jesus' first visit was as the ultimate Servant.  Jesus' second visit will be as Sovereign Ruler.  Jesus "shows His cards" and almost pays for it with a stoning  in John 8:58-59"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"  At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."  Jesus avoids the crowd once again.  
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When it says, "Jesus wept." in John 11:35, I don't think it only means because it was over His friend's death Lazarus.  I also believe that Jesus was weeping because others were saddened - "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15)  Also, look at the previous verse, the one before verse 35 (Jesus wept).  It says, "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied."  So, with those already mourning joining Mary and Martha mourning, it was not a great leap of discernment to see how Jesus' heart would be moved and then His own person moved to tears.  Jesus empathized.
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In John 12:36 we have another instance of avoidance.  Jesus speaks about His death in this passage (20-35), then ends what He has to say and slips away to hide.   "Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them." 
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Jesus' reaction to His arrest was concern for His menJohn 18:7-9 says, "Who is it that you want?  If you are looking for me, then let these men go." 
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Jesus' reaction to an alternate way of acquiring His Mission - violence by the sword - was met with the healing of the infraction and the continuation of the original plan.  John 18:10-11 - "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)  Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"  Luke is the one who records the healing of the servants ear.  "But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him." (Luke 22:51) So, Jesus reaction was to get back on track however He heard the Father instruct. 
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Jesus' reaction before the "Mob Boss" of the Pharisees, Annas, Caiaphas's father-n-law was one of the most wordy.  John 18:19-24 records -

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.  "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.  Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."  When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded.  "If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"  Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. 

Before Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate Jesus would not come out and say about Himself, of His own will that He is Prophet, Priest, King and Son of God.  He would always say something like - "It is as you say." or confirm what somebody has or has not said about Him.  I believe this kind of reaction was in the fulfillment of prophecy - "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)  
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Even facing Roman authority - Pilate and certain death, Jesus trusted in His Heavenly Father.  "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"  Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." (John 19:10-11)  
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Without to much duplication from the other Gospels this is what I researched from the Book of John as Jesus' Reaction(s).  I hope some or all of these observations blessed you.  I will be submitting a conclusion or summary to this series next to tie a bow on everything.  Hope you enjoyed this edition - God bless you. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

JESUS' REACTION(S)...[Book of Luke]

Part three of this series is Luke and his contributions to showing us additional reactions by Jesus.  Let us observe these and attempt to glean some deeper understanding.
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An early reaction from Jesus came when He stayed behind in the Temple after He had visited Jerusalem with His "parents" for Passover.  Mary and Joseph came looking for Him and when they found Him His reaction was "Why were you searching for me?  Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"  (Luke 2:49)  Born by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus knows His true identity at an early age.  He questions Mary and Joseph's looking for Him almost sarcastically, challenging His need for their protection.  Then He questioned their lack of knowledge on where to look for Him in the beginning - The Temple, His Father's House.  Jesus was 12 years old here and comes across kinda cocky (albeit Holy, which He can pull off anytime perfectly) to me here because Mary and Joseph didn't understand and "Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them."  After this event, the reader does not pick up Jesus' life until much later when He is starting His ministry around age 30.  I'll call this reaction a Holy Confidence in who He knew Himself to be - The Son of God. 
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Jesus was calm, cool, and collected in Luke 4:28-30 because He knew the time had not arrived for Him to die and this definitely was not the manner in which He would die for the sins of the world.  "All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.  They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.  But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way."
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Jesus was stern in calling out a demon.  Luke 4:35 records, "'Be quiet!'  Jesus said sternly.  'Come out of him!'"
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It is not often you see Jesus amazed.  However, in Luke 7:9 it states, "When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, he said, 'I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.'"  Wow!  Christ is amazed and gives out an incredible compliment - rare.
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Jesus reacts with sympathy and probably empathy too in Luke 7:13 where it says, "When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don't cry.'"  This woman had lost a husband and was on her way to bury her only son when Jesus came along.  Go to the passage for the rest of the story.
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This next reaction we probably needed to have been there to hear Jesus' tone.  However, reading the entire account of Luke 7:36-50, the main verse (7:40) comes across as a little sarcastic.  A tone that you would use with someone in a teachable moment.  The verse reads, "Jesus answered him, 'Simon, I have something to tell you.'" Jesus goes on to tell the Pharisee, whom He was staying with, how he was missing the mark.  Simon missed all the cultural traditions of being a good host.  Washing off someone's feet, greeting them with a kiss, and anointing them with oil was a good way to treat someone in your home.  Simon struck-out on all of these and the "sinful woman" (John identifies her as Mary), present in the house, gave all she had because of her blessing from the Lord.......home-run.
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Another example of Holy Confidence is found in Luke 8:22-25, specifically verses 24-25.  The whole passage reads - 

"One day Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let's go over to the other side of the lake.' So they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, 'Master, Master, we're going to drown!' He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  'Where is your faith?' he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, 'Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.'" 

With all that was going on - weather, tossing of the boat, activity of the men - Jesus had to be awakened.  That says a lot in and of itself right there.  If Jesus is sleeping (who said God never slumbers) and not worried about anything then why should any of them.  I hear the song "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" in my head right now.  The main verses, 24-25, state, "He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 'Where is your faith?' he asked his disciples."  Jesus knew His Father, Jesus knew Himself, and Jesus knew His men - Holy Confidence.
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We see Jesus showing an authoritative reaction to demon control in Luke 8:32 when "The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the [pigs], and he gave them permission."   
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Luke's account of Peter's Confession of Christ is different (Luke 9:18-27).  Luke's take does not report Peter receiving praise from Jesus about Father God's revelation that Jesus is the Son of God.  Instead, the next verse says, "Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone." (v.21)  Why would Jesus not desire His Disciples not to speak of The Plan?  Could talking about The Mission jeopardize it in some way?  Whether we can answer these questions right now or not, the fact that "Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone" shows me that Jesus was focused on Father God's Purpose for His life - the salvation of the world.
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Ever wish somebody you care about would just lay their job aside for a few precious moments and spend some quality time with you?  Jesus knows how you feel.  That is how I picture Jesus feeling about Martha when she said about her sister Mary - "'Lord don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!'" (Luke 10:40)  If I was answering Martha, my first inclination would be to "bark" back something at equal or greater tone, volume, and harshness.  However, observe the reaction of Jesus.  "'Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."  In this verse, all I needed to read and all I needed to hear in my spiritual ear was Jesus saying, "Martha, Martha"Gentleness is communicated through calling out her name like this and then proceeding to explain the situation.  I hear Proverbs 15:1 again - "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  
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Jesus shows us He is fed up with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law by administering many woeful statements unto them in Luke 11:39-52.
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Jesus again displays a sick and tired reaction toward a synagogue ruler concerning his double standard in Luke 13:15.  Jesus associates him with the rest of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law when He says, "'You hypocrites!.....'"    
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Have you ever heard the song by Matthew Wilder - "Break My Stride"?  If you have not, look it up and listen to it, it's fun.  Lyrics in the song say, "Ain't nothing gonna break my stride, no one is gonna slow me down, oh no, I've got to keep on moving!"  In Luke 13:31-33 it states, "At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, 'Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.'  He replied, 'Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.'  In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day--for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!" Ain't nobody gonna break Jesus' stride, ain't nobody gonna slow Him down!  That's Holy Persistence for you!
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Jesus sounds like a news reporter out in the field gathering information in Luke 17:17-18"Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?'" When Jesus asks this many questions back-to-back-to back I "stare" a little harder at Jesus.  For the situation at hand and how Jesus reacts to it with this many questions, I see Him reacting in a state of wonder.  He also reacts by rewarding the one who returned to give praise where praise is due.  "'Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?'  Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'"   
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Have you ever been asked a question, then as you were drawing your breath to reply - the person who asked the question says, "Let me answer that for you."?  Then the person proceeds to tell you how IT (the situation) is in a short synopsis or a long, detailed scenario.  Guess what?  (I'll give you time to say, "What?")  Jesus did this too!  Take a look at Luke 18:18-19"A certain ruler asked him, 'Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'Why do you call me good?'  Jesus answered. 'No one is good--except God alone.'"  If you read the rest of the passage, verses 20-30, you will find that there is no response from the rich ruler concerning Jesus' question - "Why do you call me good?". This is because Jesus answered it with - "'No one is good--except God alone.'" (He was saying, HINT, HINT - I'M GOD IN FLESH!).  Jesus' reaction to the rich ruler's initial question ("Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?") was a quick, sharp, question and answer set-up response
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In Luke 19:45-46 we see Jesus upset at the condition of His Father's House. 
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How about this one?  Have you ever "played" the I will, if you will- game with anyone in your life?  Jesus played this game the best of all!  And when Jesus plays, He always wins!  Consider Luke 20:1-8 - 

"One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him.  'Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,' they said. 'Who gave you this authority?'  He replied, 'I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John's baptism--was it from heaven, or from men?'  They discussed it among themselves and said, 'If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?'  But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet."  So they answered, 'We don't know where it was from."  Jesus said, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.'"  

Jesus was so discerning, crafty, and cunning in His reaction to this inquiry.  I laugh out loud at the Pharisees every time I read this passage and how they were always wanting to trap Jesus in His words and now Jesus gave them some of their own "medicine". 
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Many of us are geared toward Food, Fun, and Fellowship!  I know I like events where all three are combined.  I doubt Jesus would call this next episode fun, but it did comprise food and fellowship and for that I believe Jesus said to His Disciples - "'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.'" (Luke 22:14)  Jesus greatly anticipated or looked forward to a meal with His inner-circle.
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In response to just a selection of people seeing Jesus risen from the dead, Jesus appears to the rest of the group of Disciples (Luke 24:36-49).  Here He confirms to them He is not a ghost but a resurrected body able to be touched and partake of food - "'Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself ! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.'  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.  And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, 'Do you have anything here to eat?'  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence."(verses 39-43)  
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Those are the major reactions of Jesus that I noticed in Luke.  John's submissions to this cause are next so keep locked into - JESUS' REACTION(S) and be blessed.
 
 

 

Friday, May 11, 2012

JESUS' REACTION(S)...[Book of Mark]

This is the second installment of a Study-Series I am submitting for your edification.  The research concerns itself with Jesus' humanity and more specifically His human reactions.  So, let us dive into what Mark has to contribute.

The first verse we come to spells out Jesus' reaction on it's own.  Mark 3:5 says, "He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, 'Stretch out you hand.'"  So, "anger"and"distress" are the two reactions to lift from this account.  I have noticed that one of the main gripes that the Pharisees had with Jesus was anything that He did on the Sabbath.  This event was one of those occasions.  The Pharisees "were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath." (verse 2)  In this instance, the Scripture does not say that Jesus knew what they were thinking or anything of the like.  However, considering the track record between Jesus and the Pharisees -"looking for a reason to accuse" was nothing new and if you were paying attention alongside Jesus, back then, you could probably see this coming a mile away.  Jesus sure saw it coming, just observe the question He asked.  "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?"  The Pharisees were silent because they knew the table was turned and they were the ones that were trapped in their own snare.  Jesus healed the man.  The Pharisees remained stubborn-hearted and even teamed up with the Herodians to try to find a way to kill Jesus (v.6).  With the condition of their souls and the way these Pharisees and others operated, it is no wonder Jesus was angry and distressed.

After Jesus told His Disciples the parable of The Sower He said this - "Don't you understand this parable? [Then I imagine the Disciples shaking their head "No" in response. Then Jesus continues - ] How then will you understand any parable?" (Mark 4:13Perplexed at their reasoning power, as a reaction, surfaces once again.  

I was actually surprised when I realized Jesus was secretive or really private at times.  There are two places where Mark records Jesus in this state of being - Mark 7:24 and Mark 9:30-31.  The first reference reads,  "Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret."  The start of the next verse really emphasizes the point of Jesus' inescapable draw to people in need, which was everybody.  The following verse says, "In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet."  Then the story of the faith of a Syrophoenician woman began. 

The second verse mentioned above concerning Jesus getting some alone time (Mark 9:30-31) pictures Jesus just leaving the scene of Him healing a boy with an evil spirit.  He and His Disciples traveled through Galilee and this time Jesus evidently called a closed/private teaching session.  We even find out what Jesus wanted to teach them in this Inner-Circle Meeting"They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.'  But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it."   Even calling this closed session and delivering this news/teaching the Disciples still did not get it.  All is not lost.  They would remember this meeting after the resurrection I'm sure.  I'm not sure why I was so surprised to see that Jesus would actually seek out some privacy.  The public demand for what He supplied was great.  And I'm sure I just gave one of the largest understatements of all time, but I can venture an educated guess at what those private times would be used for - regeneration or revival by meeting with His Father in a closed/private prayer session. 

Jesus sighed and Jesus sighed deeply.  The first time Jesus sighed it was connected with compassion (Mark 7:34).  The second time Jesus sighed, He sighed "deeply" and it is joined with frustration (Mark 8:12).  For more on these two scenarios, please see my previous blog - When Jesus Sighed.

Anytime children are involved in a scenario of any kind the antenna of parents, lovers of children, and God perk up immediately.  You see..."People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant." (Mark 10:13-14)  For being indignant Jesus did a wonderful job at controlling this emotion and not allowing it to get out of hand.  Look how He handled it - "He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."
In my mind's eye, I can see that emotion welling up in Jesus and then maybe taking a breath and remembering "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1).
You would think Jesus might remember this one with the Pharisees, but I think that was a different case and they got what Jesus had coming to them (that's a loaded statement).  ;)

In Mark 10 we find the story of the Rich Young Man.  This is the individual who seemed to have it together under The Law, but when it came to parting with his wealth, that is where it hurt him, that is what he valued.  However, observe Jesus' reaction.  Mark 10:21 records, "Jesus looked at him and loved him."  The word "loved" in the original Greek is the word Agapao.  This word Agapao means value.  Jesus was and still is in the business of valuing the lives of people.  In fact, in this case Jesus valued the man so much that He gave the man instructions on the things he lacked to inherit eternal life.  Unfortunately, the man's value system was based on worldly wealth.

Jesus got defensive in Mark 12:15 because the Pharisees tried their tired old trick of entrapment.  "Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words." (v.13)  Their question was - "Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?  Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked."  I love Jesus' response.  He first recognizes their motivation - "Why are you trying to trap me?" then asks for a visual aid - the coin of that day, a denarius - and proceeds to tell them to separate out what belongs to whom in life.  "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."  They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied.  Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him." (vv. 15-17)

Here is another telling of the Sadducees speaking to Jesus about the Marriage at the Resurrection.  This was mentioned in JESUS' REACTION(S)...[Book of Matthew] blog also.  In that previous blog I associated a reaction of bluntness with Jesus and this event.  However, the way Mark 12:24-27 presents the scenario I see Jesus reacting in indignant and adamant ways.    The verses read -


"Jesus replied, 'Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?  When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?  He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!'"

Jesus is adamant in His reaction and uses book-ends of similar phrases to emphasize His righteous indignation.  In the beginning of His response He says, "Are you not in error...?".  Then in the very end of His reply Jesus states, "You are badly mistaken!".  Paraphrased:  If you knew the Scriptures and the power of God you would not have to ask me this and show your ignorance.  The answer is there is no marriage in heaven.  Haven't you even read the book you claim to know?  You are so way off target!

In Mark 14:6 Jesus seems perturbed when some around Him cause a stir about the woman with the alabaster jar of very expensive perfume pouring it on Jesus' body.  He says, "'Leave her alone, why are you bothering her?'"  Those present and commenting were more concerned about the monetary value than human or spiritual significance.  At the end of His response, Jesus even said, "'I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.'" 

In Mark 14:33-34 we read - "He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,' he said to them."  This was the condition.  Jesus' reaction was - "Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.  'Abba, Father, everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.'"  He repeated this prayer two more times before Judas came and identified Him for the temple guards. Jesus' reaction could be seen at first as scared, overwhelmed, and sad, but then yielding to the will of His Father.

Jesus was disappointed with His sleeping Disciples and voices this disappointment in Mark 14:37 - "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Simon,' he said to Peter, 'are you asleep?  Could you not keep watch for one hour?'" 

Jesus' reaction was no reaction or no defense of Himself in Mark 14:61 and Mark 15:5.  In the first reference it states, "But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer."  The option to defend Himself was evidently not part of Father God's plan.  I imagine if Jesus did defend Himself, history would have been different.  The second reference says, "But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed."  With this Jesus fulfilled prophecy from Isaiah 53:7 - "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." 

Alone with the sin of the world on His body, God the Father turns His head away from all our sin - past, present, and future. With our sin being placed on Jesus and paid for with His life, at this time we hear Jesus' reaction, a reaction that has not been heard in or out of time, The Word of God made flesh says, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"Desperation.

Mark 16:14 records, "Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen."  Another instance of displeasure or disappointment.   

As you can see there are a variety of reactions that Jesus displayed in Mark.  I have two more books - Luke and John to pull references from and share with you.  So, stay dialed in and we will continue to see how Jesus reacted.