I have been
reminded from Zimbabwe that a new article is overdue.- thank you. I have been
very busy doing a course in TEASOL – to teach English as a second language. If I
was much younger, this skill would enable me to travel many places teaching
English, however I shall be content to help the many migrants in Toowoomba.
Now for something I have been enjoying from John 12:
This chapter concludes the public ministry of our Lord. It
hassome very serious conclusions about
the final judgement of all who have rejected Jesus Christ as the Lord from
heaven. But the part I find encouraging is the inclusion, by the writer, of the inquiry of the
Gentiles to see Jesus. On several occasions John the writer highlights the
grace of God embracing the whole world (John 3:16).
Some will remember the chorus
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
And so He does.
Gentile philosophy was about triumph by strength of might or
argument, but the Lord by contrast says His path to triumph is through
humiliation and His death on a cross (Lifted up).
On several occasions the Lord made it clear that “he who
humbles himself will be exalted” and most important is for this exaltation to
be done by the Father. Glory here and now is very temporary. Honour in the next
life will be forever.
Luke presents much detail surrounding the life of Jesus – external evidence and
internal evidence. It would seem as though he interviewed many people and then correlated
the biography of Jesus in chronological order. This includes dates, rulers and
places that have been ratified by archaeologists and history.
account of an angel appearing to Mary is most significant. It tells of heaven’s
involvement in the appearing of Jesus and the character of the child to be
record of His birth brings in many different persons as witnesses – Angels, Shepherds,
Simeon, Anna etc.
records the incident in the Temple when the boy Jesus astounds the doctors of
law with His questions.
Luke gives much detail about the adult life of Jesus. His baptism, His temptation in the wilderness by the devil,
His visit to Nazareth where he was rejected. He moved to Capernaum, where the
people praised Him, but the Lord Jesus moved on to the many villages around the
sea of Galilee. Over and again He is presented as the dependant man, who spent
much time in prayer to God. His journeys were marked by compassion for the
needy. His words brought life and hope to perishing people. He was seen as one
who was not obsessed with money, but instead gave much, even Himself for
glorious Names attributed to Him by Gabriel remained ever true, but His claim to be the Messiah was vindicated by
His humble service to God and mankind. Miracles He did for others. Recovering
the lost was His priority.
His connections with His disciples He was both demanding and compassionate.
Taking up the cross to follow Him was fundamental, and yet as He understood how
fickle they could be, He showed love and forgiveness.
takes us deep into the holy suffering of His sensitive soul as in the garden of
Gethsemane where He prays in agony. The
perfect man (the last Adam), is seen to understand the pain of rejection and crucifixion.
The record of the cross is graphic and the grief real.
end – a man who did not fail, now raised
up from death to be seated at God’s right hand, honoured at the highest place
Read the account of Luke for yourself. If you have no Bible, send me an email - I have spares
John Wesley, who here makes six key practical points:
If you desire to read the Scriptures in such a manner as may
most effectually answer this end, would it not be advisable,
(1) To set apart a little time, if you can, every morning and
evening for that purpose?
(2) At each time, if you have leisure, to read a chapter out of
the Old and one out of the New Testament; if you cannot do this, to take a
single chapter, or a part of one?
(3) To read this with a single eye, to know the whole will of
God, and a fixed resolution to do it?
In order to know His will, you should,
(4) Have a constant eye to the analogy of faith, the connexion
and harmony there is between those grand, fundamental doctrines, original sin,
justification by faith, the new birth, inward and outward holiness;
(5) Serious and earnest prayer should be constantly used before
we consult the oracles of God; seeing ‘Scripture can only be understood through
the same Spirit whereby it was given.’ Our reading should likewise be closed
with prayer, that what we read may be written on our hearts;
(6) It might also be of use, if, while we read, we were
frequently to pause, and examine ourselves by what we read, both with regard to
our hearts and lives….
And whatever light you then receive should be used to the uttermost,
and that immediately. Let there be no delay. Whatever you resolve begin to
execute the first moment you can. So shall you find this word to be indeed the
power of God unto present and eternal salvation.
The writer begins with the
greatest glory of Jesus :-
“The Son of God”
thistitle lies the greatest expression
of God represented in the person of the Son. No greater glory is seen in Jesus.
This is the one who could look up into heaven and say “Father... the glory that
I had with you before the world began.....” (John 17).
But from this point, Mark’s
gospel describes the very active servant of Jehovah. In chapter one He is the
servant promised in the Old Testament. Then He is the servant identified with a
sinning people by baptism (He did no sin, but gave His life as a ransom for
sinners). At this beginning His voice is clear – “The kingdom of God is at
hand, repent and believe the Gospel.”
As the servant of the Lord moves forward,many wondered at His miracles.
greater glory lay in this – He did not claim or seek glory for Himself. Proud
humans claim the glory of success for themselves, but not the Lord Jesus. Mark,
the failing servant, highlights the frequent calls by the Lord to sacrificial
shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and
servant of all.”
This humility was exemplified in the Lord Himself:
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,
and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
In one sense there was good reason to question whether He was
the Messiah – no human glory, no human credentials, no army etc, Yet His claim
to be the Messiah, the Son of God was so clear :
Mark 14:62“I am, and
you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with
the clouds of heaven”
Wherein was the problem – they knew not the scriptures (eg
Isaiah 53) nor the power and purpose of God.
In true form to the ‘Servant
gospel’, it concludes thus – “ He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the
right hand of God.” (16:19)
Well did the prophet say “Behold My servant”(Isaiah 42)
Read it for yourself and discover the glories if the Servant
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glories are many. As I outline some, may you be inspired to search the Bible
(1st book of the New Testament) introduces the glory of the King. He
presents the family rights of Jesus as the ‘son of David, the right to sit upon
the throne of Israel as promised to David one thousand years before. God kept
the line of heirs intact and now the wise men come seeking the ‘King of the
His moral glory shines in this – Jesus knew He was destined to sit on David’s
throne, but instead of grasping for that recognition, He waits for the
appointed time, He submits to the path of the Father’s choice, He let’s
scripture be fulfilled – both in terms of suffering and ascendancy.
record of Matthew would appear, to human reasoning, as a record of failure –
the king wearing a crown of thorns! The king of the Jews dead at 33 years! The
warriors of the King hiding in fear and Satan’s grip establish over Jew and
lies the unusual glory of God –
defeat He makes victory,
poverty He makes riches,
weakness He makes strength,
out of darkness
He makes light,
nothing He makes everything!
of Jesus, is just the beginning of many new glories. Matthew’s biography of the
king does not finish in defeat. The real story is just beginning – the king ‘lives
forever’, the king is exalted by God to ultimate authority, in a dominion greater
than Israel, His subjects number millions beyond the Jews and His glories are
seen, not only in Himself, but also in the multitudes who follow Him.
King gave a promise – “ you shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of
heaven with power and great glory”Matthew 24:30
live so much for the present. We pray so much for our comfort and health and
wealth . When the Lord Jesus was here, He cared for people in their human
needs, but pointed to the greatest need – to be right with God.
identified our troubles as coming from Satan and ourselves. This means instead
of seeking remedies for our discomfort, we rather need to be right with God.
beginning is to repent:
to be honest about our wandering ways,
to confess our sins
to admit that we listen more to the Devil’s media than we do to the word of God
to own up to the reality that we have not given God the honour and worship He
anyone who takes this humble place of saying “God is right and I have been
wrong” – to all such the blessings of God flow like a river.
is given to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Eternal life is a gift for all who receive the
Lord Jesus Christ
-A new kind of life is commenced for all who
choose to follow Jesus.
-The Holy Spirit lives in all who yield to
Jesus Christ as Lord
-Hope and purpose are real in life and eternity
for everyone who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ.
present help in all the stresses and troubles of life is very real.He does not promise atrouble free life, but He does promise to be
with us so that we can be overcomers.
Please notice that His blessings are not
what we earn – they are free gifts of His love, paid for by the death and resurrection
of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Start reading the Bible in John chapter 1
“To as many as received Him, to them He
gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believed in His
Shepherd became a soldier and then, after many years , was crowned King.
have expected his songs to be filled with times of victory and triumph.( He did
defeat the giant, he did win many battles, he did rule well). Some were songs
of praise for God’s blessings, but most were the outpouring of grief and pain
as He calls out to God for wisdom and strength to overcome the difficulties of
life. In fact, some seem to be asking the question of God – Why?
is one of these. I recommend that you read it.David admits his unworthiness, his depression and his fear. Yet in it
all is his longing to know and enjoy the presence of the LORD.
we seek for great things, thinking that happiness comes from wealth or easy
times. God knows our hearts, and He wants to use broken vessels from which the
light might shine.
caught the meaning of this :
is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” –therefore I
will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ
may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Let me summarize.
Christian is not a measure of how much one knows, or how successful one is. It
is rather knowing God more and more through Jesus Christ the Lord. This is then
lived out as servant, as a son, as a steward dependant upon and directed by the
living Lord in heaven.
Psalm attributed to David – Psalm 145 has a beautiful conclusion:
will speak the praise of the Lord
all flesh bless His holy Name forever and ever”
“As the Father has loved me, so have I
loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in
my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I
have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be
complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love
has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
— John 15:9-13
Our one real chance at loving others is if we fully receive the
love of God for us and let it change our entire perspective on our
relationships with others. But this won’t happen by a casual remembrance of the
love of Jesus. When Jesus said, “Remain in my love,” he meant we are to dwell
there. We are to be conscious every hour of the day that the bedrock truth of
our lives—the core of our identity—is we are loved by Jesus the Christ. Keeping
our focus on the cross is the way to remain in his love.
Ponder This: What do you have to say to
Jesus who laid down his life for you?
speak out, tell others He has saved you from your enemies.”
verse of the song identifies a Christian
distinctive. – speaking, singing because of grace.
religions are the imposition of rules and regulations by some form of
dominating hierarchy. In contrast , true Christianity was intended to be the
expression of gratitude for grace received. It was Jesus who said to the healed demoniac :
to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you.”
when love has conquered for us , and in us that we reach out to tell others.
, self centred Christian is not really a
interesting measure of grace at work in a believer is the ‘singing’ to the
Lord.One who lives on the level of the
world has no song. The believer who enjoys victory over sin and the world will sing, or at least try to. (Maybe like David, to the
sheep, or like me , to the Kookaburras’ ! ).
to yourselves in Psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs,singing and making melody in your hearts to
the Lord.”Ephesians 5