Sunday, September 29, 2013

HE KNEW

The young lad of twelve, in the temple in Jerusalem, was interested in more than a ‘Bar Mitzvah’.  He knew God as His Father and knew that He was on a mission according to God’s will ( Luke 2.49 )


            After Jesus was  identified and anointed by the Holy Spirit at the river Jordan, He eventually went to Nazareth and in the synagogue He opened the scroll of the Old Testament  at Isaiah 61. After reading the prophecy of a Messiah who would bring mercy to the people, He turned and said,” Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing “. He knew His calling as Messiah, the Christ.
        Another day He said to a cripple man, “ Your sins are forgiven you “.  Correctly the religious leaders said  “who can forgive sins but God alone?"  Jesus knew their reasoning and reinforced the point  - He could forgive sins (as God) as well as reverse the sickness  flowing from sin. He knew their thoughts and He knew who He was.

        On various occasions ( as the feeding of 5000 ) , the people wanted to make Him their leader and king. To any ambitious Rabbi, this would have been the moment of opportunity, but for the Lord of glory, man’s approval and praise was a very small thing. He knew His path of service was determined by the Father’s will, which meant sacrifice not success.  (John 10)
        When it came to His teaching and parables, much indicated that He knew the future development of the Kingdom of God. e.g. the sowing of the seed, the growth as a mustard seed etc and the later parables include the king departing for a long time, later to return to reap the harvest and reward His faithful ones. All earthly kings establish themselves in power and glory, knowing it will not  last.  This king saw His future beyond the horizon and in God’s time. He knew tomorrow like today.

Some of His prophetic utterances have already been fulfilled. This gives credence to those yet to be fulfilled. A very obvious one is the prophecy  regarding the destruction of the temple – He said” the days will come when there will not be left one stone upon another” (Luke 21.6).   This is precisely what happened in AD 70. Others could be quoted. He knew history forward as well as backward.
            As the days of service to the people passed, his face turned to Jerusalem.  Not  there to be crowned, but from His own lips He identified the greater purpose of His journey – to die as a ransom, to give His life for the sheep, to give His flesh for the life of the world, to be lifted up, reconciling the world unto Himself.  It was this burden that was slowly and  deliberately  revealed to the twelve Apostles. He knew He would be rejected by the leadership of the Jews. He knew He would be betrayed. He detailed to them that He would be handed over to the Gentiles for mockery, insults, and unjust execution. But interestingly, most of these foretelling concluded with Him announcing that He would rise again from the dead. ( Luke  9.22 , 44 etc ) To add to the significance of this foretelling, in Luke 24, the angel said “Remember how He spoke to you”.  He knew the tomorrow of suffering, but turned not away from it.

Many  more foretellings  are to be searched out e.g. as Jonah, as Moses lifted up the serpent..., a baptism to be baptised, the beloved son killed etc.

I come closer to His last visit to Jerusalem  - He weeps over the city because He knew they would make the  wretched choice to reject Him. As  He approached the city, He knew the correct prophetic way from the Old Testament, for the Messiah to present himself to the people. He mounts the donkey and this time accepts the praise and hosanna’s of the crowd. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord”

This is no ordinary man - this is the Son of God who knew all things!

To be continued – Comments  and questions johnmckee@internode.on.net

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A good man - a tribute to David

He was a Christian gentleman. He lived for God, for his family , for others. His consistent faith in God enabled him to live righteously, generously and with definite purpose - for the glory of God.
    Let us who feel the loss, treasure the memories of the past and look ahead with steadfast hope  as he did.

     I  present from his bible the inner spring that motivated him to live with purpose and to die with hope.

Titus 1:1    " remind them ......... to do good"  Many can testify that David did  'good'     -   good in character, good in words,  good in generosity, good in the family.    But what was it that made him good?  He had a good parentage, he had a good wife,  but the real secret is revealed in the verse following.
Titus 3:4-7


But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

* Kindness - God chose to look our way
* Love  - God acted in our best interest
* Mercy  - God pushed back the judgement which we deserved
* Washing - God removing the stain and habits of sin
* Renewing  -  God changing the motive, purpose and direction of life
* Grace -  God giving good even when we don't deserve it 
         These are the things which David welcomed into his life.  This change of character is not through religion or reform, but through Jesus Christ.  The Lord Jesus was once crucified to pay the debt of our old life, and is now risen and ascended to give us new life - eternal life.
What is this 'eternal life'
      Some scoff at the idea of an afterlife, or the notion of rising from the dead.
Well, the sheaf of wheat very well illustrates resurrection. As a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies,  then it springs forth into life - one seed producing many seeds. So is the resurrection of the dead.
 Another voice is the voice of many who have been to the other side and back again - all testifying to consciousness beyond death. I have worked with such . But beyond the voice of man is the voice of the Lord Jesus.  David believed that Jesus told no lies. So let us listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.
John 10.9 'I am the door, by me if any one enter in, he will be saved.'
   -- the invitation for all to enter into the Shepard's care.
John 10.11 ' I am the good Shepherd and I give my life for the sheep'
   --  the price He was willing to pay for the life of the sheep.
John 10;27 ' My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.  I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.'
   --- David listened often to the Shepherd's voice as he read this Bible. He knew the Lord and followed Him. He could claim this eternal life, as  a gift from God.
   Eternal life    --  being secure in the family of God
                     --  Inheriting the character of God (changed)
                     --  Enjoying the home of God (heaven)
                     --  To know God through Jesus Christ our Lord
All this because the God loved the people of this world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
It was this eternal life that enabled David to live life with purpose and to face death without fear.

Another verse from Titus 2:13

  " Looking for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
   David enjoyed a little booklet ' Herald of Hope'. He had his eyes on a hope beyond the horizon. Beyond the struggles, disappointments and successes of life, he looked for the day when the Lord Jesus Christ would be victorious over all evil, and all believers would be gathered home.This is God's glorious tomorrow, when every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

I stand today next to David and beseech all ' be ye reconciled to God'

 I close with a beautiful Hymn:
"What a day that will be

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Imperatives in the life of the Lord Jesus

"Must"       -    in John's Gospel

"Even so Must the Son of man be lifted up"  John 3.14      Salvation for all could only be through the cross, and only for those who look to Him in faith.

"He must increase, I must decrease" John 3.30     John, the man sent from God, pointed people away from himself to Christ.

"He must go through Samaria" John 4.4             The Lord Jesus deliberately  seeks out  the woman of Samaria to give Living water, to meet her greatest need.

" I must work the work of Him that sent me" John 9.4       For Him the priority was to do the Father's will and so for us - now is the time to work. Opportunity will soon be over.

"Them also I must bring"  John 10.16     The vision of the Lord embraced Jews and Gentiles to be together in one flock.

"The Son of Man must be lifted up."   John 12.34      The death of the Lord on the cross had a distinct purpose    - for the sin of the whole world both Jews and Gentiles.

"He must rise again from the dead"   John 20.9     For God to fulfil His plans, Christ must rise from among the dead ones.  Through His resurrection and ascension, all believers have received the Holy Spirit.

Contributed by David Story of Cleve

Sunday, September 1, 2013

His Knowing

" And when the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him" Luke 22.14
   This simple statement means what it say - the time to celebrate the Passover feast had arrived. The flow of communication to the Apostles in the following discourse is quite astounding and revealing.
        He makes distinct prophetic statements concerning His impending death. He claims many prophetic Old Testament scriptures as to be fulfilled in Himself. This has several significances, one being that the disciples understood a most significant sign of the Messiah was His ability to know all things (Johnn16). I would like to write a few articles on the foretelling of Jesus, in particular relating to His death . He not only knew the history of the past, but He knew history before it happened!
        This is also true of His knowledge of people He knew them too well, yet He chose to love them!

       The wonder of it all........ that Jesus loves me

John the Apostle puts it so well
"Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end"  (John 13.1)

Let none say 'no one ever loved me'   - God so loved the people of this world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.