GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION
LESLIE M. JOHN
Copyright © Leslie M. John 2013 All Rights Reserved
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- My mission is to proclaim the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ as revealed to me through Holy Bible and from various teachers, preachers, and commentators. This is my voluntary service to God in the name of His only begotten Son Lord Jesus Christ.
- I share the truth of knowledge of God with others with good intention of bringing them to the knowledge of the living God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. My mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ and not converting forcibly anyone to Christianity. One may accept or reject any or part of my writings/teachings. No offense is meant to any individual or any religion or any organization. Please visit http://www.lesliejohn.net/
III. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and desire that all Jews may accept Lord Jesus as their personal Savior and Messiah.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalms 122:6)
- I firmly believe in the saying of Jesus, who said:
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” John 6:44.
My efforts to teach or preach are of no use unless Lord Jesus Christ Himself intervenes and the Father draws a person unto Him.
All Scriptures in electronic format are from King James Version (KJV) from Open domain.
This book brings out the marvelous truths about Lord Jesus Christ’s, teaching, healing power, and the gift of salvation that He offered to those who believe in Him, and about His death by crucifixion, His burial, and His Resurrection.
“And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them” (Matthew 8:2-4)
Leprosy is a sign of sin. Notwithstanding any theory the medical science would say about Leprosy, it was under the control of God who could turn incurable Leprosy as transient that could be arrested, and could turn that which could be arrested to last permanently, as He wished. Lord Jesus Christ healed leper fully as we read in Matthew 8:2-4.
A leper approached Lord Jesus Christ, and worshipped Him and prayed to him that if He willed He can make clean. The leper believed that Lord Jesus Christ can heal him and, therefore, asserted very firmly that, if Lord Jesus Christ willed, then He can heal him. Seeing how the leper believed in Him, Jesus touched him saying, “I will, be thou clean”. The man was fully healed of leprosy immediately and was cleansed. Jesus said to him not to tell anyone but go the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony.
- The leper worshipped Jesus
- The leper prayed to Jesus
- The leper acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus
Worship is to bow down and pay respect. The word is translated from Greek transliterated word “proskuneo”, (Strong’s number 4352), which means to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand or to prostrate oneself in homage.
It can be seen that the leper prayed to Jesus that if He willed He can make the leper clean. Why did leper use the word ‘clean’, instead of ‘heal’. Hebrew transliterated word “tahowr” (Hebrew Strong’s Number 2889) and Greek transliterated word “katharizo” (Strong’s number 2511) mean to cleanse, purge, purify. Obviously leprosy is un-clean, impure, and needs to be purged and cleansed.
There are three things that Jesus told the cleansed leper to do.
- Tell No man (Until he sees the priest to show that he was healed of leprosy)
- Offer the gift to the priest as Moses commanded
- Bear it as a testimony in order that he may be admitted into society (Cf. Lev 14:1-32)
Lord Jesus Christ came into this world in the form of a servant, and in the likeness of man, and did many miracles and wonders. He taught repentance and the way to salvation. He said:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6)
Lord Jesus Christ bore our sin that was worse than leprosy disease in order that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Whoever repents of his/her sins and confession by mouth that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and believes that God raised Him from the dead shall be saved.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9)
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him” (Matthew 8:5-7)
The centurion, who approached Jesus to heal His servant, was a gentile from Roman Army. Because it was against the Mosaic Law for a Jew to mix up with Gentile, it would have been an awkward situation for Jesus, who was a Jew, to enter Centurion’s house. However the Lord said He would go to centurion’s house and heal his servant.
God was against the children of Abraham marrying Canaanite women because the latter were idolaters. Such prohibition was present even before Mosaic Law was given. (Cf. Genesis 24:3, Genesis 24:37, Genesis 28:1). Thereafter, God chose Israel as His nation and the people of Israel as His people. The LORD prohibited Idolatry and, therefore, prohibited mixing up with Canaanites and other nations. However, considering the fact that Moses married a Cushite woman, it is evident that God was not angry with inter-racial marriages. God was against mixing up with Gentiles because they were idolaters, and not because they were of different races. God was angry with Solomon because he married women who were idolaters. This obviously shows that even among the children of Israel there were many races. According to Jewish Encyclopedia there was a large population of Ethiopians among Israelites.
Incidentally, centurions were held in very good light in the Scriptures. There are at least five references about Centurions.
- “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him” (Matthew 8:5)
- “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54)
- “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band” (Acts 10:1)
- “But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands” (Acts 24:7)
- “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band” (Acts 27:1)
The Centurion, who approached Jesus, realized the awkward situation that the Lord would face, and said to Him that he was not worthy that Jesus should go into his house. He pleaded with Jesus that He may speak the word ordering healing of his servant, and trusted that his servant would be healed, by the word of Lord Jesus. He knew and trusted in the spiritual authority and power of the word of the Lord. He cited his own authority over his soldiers under him and servant. He said that he could command one to come and another to go and they all, including his servant, will obey his commands.
Lord Jesus Christ would not have been wrong even if He had gone under the roof of centurion’s house because He was the Son of God. At one point he said that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. According to Mosaic Law Sabbath day violator could be killed by stoning.
“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” Mat 12:8
Jesus marveled at the faith of the centurion and said to them that followed Him that He did not find so great faith even among Israelites. Giving utmost importance to faith that saves a person and healing that he/she would receive Jesus said that many shall come from east and from west and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, whereas, even the children of Israel may lose that privilege because of their faith in Him.
Lord Jesus Christ then commanded the centurion to go his way and said that his servant was healed and, surely, his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
“And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, [so] be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour”. Matthew 8:13
“And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them” (Matthew 8:14-15)
Jesus healed a leper and Centurion’s servant and then at Peter’s house He saw Peter’s mother-in-law laid and sick of a fever. Jesus touched her and the fever left her and she arose and ministered to them.
Even though this is very short narration in the scriptures where it is seen that Jesus healed his disciple’s mother-in-law it brings out few interesting thoughts.
- Can a servant of the Lord be married?
- Is healing possible?
- Was any prophecy fulfilled when Jesus healed the sick?
The first thought is:
Peter was an ardent disciple of Lord Jesus Christ and he was a married man. If marriage of any servant of the Lord was prohibited in the Bible, then Peter could not have been His disciple. If the successors of Peter were to lead unmarried life then it would be their personal choice. Imposing conditions that they should be unmarried is not according to Scriptures.
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4)
The second thought is:
We Christians are not immune to sickness but as long as we are in this world in our fleshly bodies we do suffer from sickness; surely the laws of nature apply to us. However, when we pray to God to have mercy on us and heal us from our sickness, He will deliver us from our sickness or heal us with or without medicines. The healing is purely according to His plan, His will and if it is for His glory.
When God allows persistent sickness in us or when we do not receive healing, it is essential that we realize that He has different plan for us, and His ways are always good for us who believe in Him. It is my personal testimony that I never felt shortage of God’s love and care either for me, or for my family even though I had surgery more than sixteen years ago. I am taking medicines and I believe that faith in God does not prohibit us seeking medical help or medicines.
Apostle Paul was apprehensive of his possible glorification by others over the Lord who sent him, and affirms that there was given to him a thorn in his flesh, whatever it was, and he called it as ‘messenger of Satan’ to strike blow on him constantly in order that he might not exalt above measure. He besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from him, but notice the reply he received from the Lord, and how he consoles himself.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The third thought is:
After healing Peter’s mother-in-law Jesus healed many that were possessed with devils and those who were sick. Matthews, the Gospel writer, records that prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled.
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17)
It was not only true for spiritual healing but for physical healing as well. Isaiah’s prophecy says:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed”. (Isaiah 53:4-5)
“But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:27)
There was great multitude of people following Jesus as they saw the miracles done by Him. They saw how a leper was healed; they saw how centurion’s servant was healed and they also saw Peter’s mother-in-law was healed. When Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law, who was suffering from fever, He was not trying to diagnose her disease, nor was He trying to console her but His touching was a powerful healing-touch that healed her fully. There was no trace of fatigue left in her nor was she feeling tired anymore but she rose up and ministered unto them.
Jesus looked at the crowd that expected more miracles from Him, and said to them to go to the other side of the sea, which was “Sea of Galilee”. Just before leaving to the other side of the sea He had conversation with a scribe who expressed his desire to follow Him; but Jesus showed him how hard it was to follow Him. When Jesus spoke to another he expressed his difficulty in following Him; but Jesus said to him to follow Him. He said that those who are spiritually dead may go and attend to their earthly needs. Thus two different types of men were introduced to us; one that half-heartedly expressing his desire to follow Jesus, and another with full of excuses when the Lord asked him to follow.
As Jesus entered the ship to go to the other side His disciples followed Him. His sailing by the sea helped future generations to have hope in the Lord that He helps those that seek His help. Jesus chose to go by sea-way instead of going by the road-way in order that His journey by the sea would be of much comfort to those who usually undertake travel by sea. It was going to be a sure sign for future sailors that they can pray to Him for their safe journey and seek His help.
Jesus was taking rest just as any human would do after tiresome job. Jesus, the Son of God, taking rest shows us that He was fully human when He was in this world. He was tired and was sleeping but He was not as deep in His sleep as Jonah was, many years ago, in the ship while trying to escape to a possible secure place from the task he was assigned. In Jesus we have our salvation and He is our redeemer.
As they were journeying there arose a vigorous tempest in the sea so much that the waves from the sea covered the ship. Indeed, everyone in the ship, except Jesus, was afraid of the tempest. Their nerves started shrinking as they saw the tempest even when the creator of the seas was right there in their midst.
How often we also fear, in spite of having faith in Jesus, that some misadventure would overtake us. The Lord would have to remind us through some servant of God or through His word that He is always there with us. Indeed, He is our comfort and sustainer. It is worth recollecting Psalmist’s comforting words.
“O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD” (Psalms 31:23-24)
Jesus could have ordered the sea to be calm even before they started their journey, or when they were sailing, but He preferred not to do so, and He showed that He was in control of the situation, over waters and the storms in order that His disciples may become stronger in their faith in Him. When the severity of the storm increased the disciples were afraid. The disciples went to Lord Jesus, who was sleeping in the same ship, and awoke Him. They begged saying “Lord, save us: we perish”. They were praying for not only themselves but on behalf of all the sailors who were in the ship. They thought the storms would drown the ship. However, they realized that the Lord of the sea was in ship, and He would be able to save them. Therefore, they prayed to Jesus to save them and Jesus heard their prayer.
Jesus admonished them that they were fearful because they lacked faith. Then He arose and rebuked the winds and sea and there was great calm. The men in the ship marveled at the miracle and wondered about the power that Jesus exercised on storms and on the winds that they obeyed His command.
Indeed Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior. Much more than the comfort that we have that our Lord has the power over storms we cast our burden on Him and rest in His arms because He gave us salvation free of cost. While those whose sins are not forgiven and do not have Lord Jesus Christ as their savior would have to gnash their teeth in the “Lake of fire”, where fire never quenches, we will be with Him for ever and ever.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:26)
Lord Jesus, the Son of God, had power to subdue not only diseases namely leprosy, fever etc. and over the storms but He also had power over demons.
Jesus was in the country of Gergesenes and He saw two possessed with devils that were coming out from the tombs. The residence of these demons was among the dead in the tombs and they were so fierce that no man could pass by that way. Devils love to be among, and in the hearts of, the dead spiritually. When the devils saw Jesus, who was the Son of God, they realized His divinity and cried out as to why He was out there where they reside because they had nothing in common with Him. They belonged to the kingdom of devils and Jesus was from the kingdom of God.
It was evident from the incident as we read in Matthew Chapter 12:24-30 where Pharisees accused Jesus that he cast out devils with the help of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. The devils are united when they fight against the children of God and they do not divide among themselves to split their kingdom.
Jesus perceived their thoughts and said to them that every kingdom divided against itself will end up in destruction of its own kingdom similar to that of a house that is divided itself would not stand. He then questioned Pharisees if Satan casts out Satan how would his kingdom stand. If that was so, the kingdom of Satan would, then, be divided. Jesus proceeds further by giving answer that if He casts out devils from them by the Spirit of God; surely the kingdom of God comes into them.
Satan and his angels have nothing to do with the incarnate God, Lord Jesus Christ, who relinquished His glory in heaven and came down to earth in the form of servant and in the likeness of men. Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father are one, as He himself stated.
The devils feared that Jesus was there to torment them before their due time. Obviously, the devils had their own time given out by God Himself, and, therefore, the devils asked Him as to why He was there and questioned Him if He was there to torment them before their time lapsed. It is worth recollecting Job’s story here.
When Satan was in the presence of God and the ‘sons of God’ came before God Satan also came along them to Him. It was God who started the conversation first and He said to Satan as to whether he saw a righteous man, Job. Then, Satan sought permission to afflict Job and then see if Job still remained without cursing God. On hearing this challenge God gave permission to Satan with limited power over Job that he may afflict but not touch his soul. From this it is evident that Satan has no power over the child of God to test or afflict over and above the limits permitted by God. Satan cannot over step the limits that God prescribes.
It was a similar situation here and, therefore, the devils asked the Son of God as to why He was there before it was their due time. The devils besought Lord Jesus to allow them to enter swine by the sea side. Jesus permitted them to enter swine which, thereafter, ran violently into the sea and perished. The keepers of the swine learnt that Jesus cast out devils from two men and the devils were allowed to enter swine which ran violently into sea and perished. Then, they requested Him to leave their city. In spite of the fact that Jesus did miracle to deliver the men from the devils the people preferred that the deliverer should leave their city. It can be observed that even in our present day similar situations prevail where people prefer to live in sin and entertain Satan that brings temptations and torments excluding God from among them.
Inasmuch as the chief angel of the angels, the creation of God, rebelled against God and became Satan, the adversary, the Satan is somewhat equal but not fully so in status to that of the mighty angel Michael and far below in status and power to that of God. This is evident from the fact that Michael fought once with the devil successfully to take the body of Moses, and next successfully fought and delivered the messenger who was held by the dragon for twenty one days before he went and revealed prophecy to Daniel. Yet another time John saw in his vision that there was a great war between Michael and his angels who fought Satan down to defeat and his place was not found any more in heaven.
Jude bore record that even when Michael the archangel was contending with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses he did not bring railing accusation; but rather said “The Lord rebuke thee”. God hid the burial place of Moses and no one knew until this day where he was buried. God Himself took care of the burial of his servant Moses. The evidence that Moses appeared along with Elijah during the transfiguration of Jesus indicates that Moses was raised despite fierce opposition from Satan.
“So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day” (Deuteronomy 34:5-6)
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 1:9)
When Daniel fasted to know the truth about the end days a messenger came to him and said that when he was on his way to reveal the prophecy to him Satan who was in the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him for twenty one days; but Michael the archangel helped him and that is how he was there to reveal how the last days would be.
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days” (Daniel 10:13-14)
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven” (Revelation 12:7-8)
There are few facts that we can learn from the dispossession of the devils from the two men by Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, this is strong evidence by the fact that Jews abhorred swine in general, that Gentiles also lived in Israel during the period when Jesus was on this earth. Secondly, the devils knew their destiny on this earth and also their destiny in the “Lake of fire” after “great white throne” judgment (cf. Rev 20:11). Thirdly, Jesus wanted to teach the people that the devils do harm men just as they did to the swine and, therefore, He allowed the swine to be destroyed instead of men in whom they resided. Lord Jesus was and is the only deliverer from such torment and sin. Fourthly, it was in the Almighty God’s power to take away the possession of the owners of the swine and destroy their possession. (Ref. Matthew 8:28-34)
The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled when Lord Jesus departed from Galilee and went from Nazareth to dwell in the beautiful land called “Capernaum” for most part of His ministry. Capernaum was upon the seacoast in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim (Ref. Genesis 49:13 and Isaiah 9.1-2)
As the fame of Jesus quickly spread like wild fire because of He performed miracles, healed the sick, and cast out evil spirits from many people, many gathered at the home where Jesus was once preaching. The crowd thronged in that home in so much that there was hardly any space to move about.
Although Jesus did miracles and healed many His primary purpose was to preach repentance and to let them know that the “Kingdom of heaven” was at hand. Yet, people who came to Him did come with much hope that He would heal the sick and cast away unclean spirits that afflicted people.
There was one sick with palsy who was helped by his four friends. They brought him on a bed to the home where Jesus was preaching. There was so much crowd in the home that there was no way for the four friends of the man that suffered from palsy to enter into the house and bring the sick man before Jesus. Undaunted, they took the patient straight onto the roof-top of the house, removed a part of the roof, and let the patient down from the roof to be right before Jesus.
No doubt there was interruption to the preaching of Jesus, yet He had compassion on the sick of the palsy because of the faith of his four friends. Jesus appreciated the faith of the four friends and said to the palsy ‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee”.
Here was an important point made by Jesus and that was to forgive sins of the palsy. Few questions arise from what Jesus did. Firstly, why Jesus said his sins were forgiven, secondly was Jesus authorized to forgive sins, and thirdly could Jesus restore the sick with palsy to full health. The patient was on bed which indicates that he suffered the highest form of paralysis.
There were scribes who reasoned vigorously as to who Jesus was that he said “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee”. They considered it as blaspheme. Although their question seemed to be reasonable, primarily because they all believed that except God no one could forgive sins of a man, yet it was because of their ignorance of the knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ. Jesus was the son of God, very God Himself. Lord Jesus perceived their thoughts and questioned them if it was easier for Him to forgive sins or to say to the palsy to rise up, take his bed and walk. He emphasized on the point that He had the power to forgive sins and He did exactly that. He granted the man forgiveness from his sins and then He said to the man sick with palsy to rise up, take up his bed and walk.
Apostle Paul testified about Lord Jesus Christ as follows:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:12-15)
Another point that comes to our notice here is as to whether the sickness was due to his sin or on account of some other reason. Scriptures show that sometimes sickness is the result of sin and some cases exist for the glory of God. Not every sickness is because of sin in man but many times it is for the bringing glory to the Lord. The examples are blind man, who was healed. Lazarus was raised from the dead.
“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:2-3)
“Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:3-4)
The existence of Law in any society invites a class of scholars who devote assiduously to the Law. In the Bible also there is mention of such scribes.
According to New Testament and Flavius Joseph, Jewish historian the major sects of Jews were (1) Pharisees, (2) Sadducees and (3) Essenes.
Pharisees were wealthy who separated themselves from common people. They were proud, haughty, self-righteous, and held common people in disrespect (Ref. John 7:49). They said about others that they do not know the Mosaic Law and, therefore, they are cursed.
“But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed” (John 7:49)
They believed that fate governed the world, in angels, justification by obedience to Mosaic Law and by the merits of Abraham, immortality of souls, and resurrection. They sought important positions in society, sought praises in religious worship; they prayed in the corners of the streets to be seen by public and gave much importance to external cleanliness, ceremonial washings and ablutions. Jesus condemned their pretense and hypocrisy.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7)
However, there were honorable men among them namely Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and Simeon etc. (Ref. Mark 15:43, Luke 2:25, John 3:1)
The teachings of Jesus stirred up contentions among them and they tried to play down His teachings.
One a Sabbath day while Jesus was teaching in synagogue He saw in the audience, a man, whose right hand was withered. Scribes and Pharisees watched very closely to see if Jesus healed the man, with withered hand. They waited to find an accusation against Him. According to Mosaic Law violation of Sabbath invited stoning by death.
“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people”. (Exodus 31:14)
Sadducees neither believed in resurrection nor in angels, or spirits or fate. They believed that the soul of the man perishes with the body. They believed only In Old Testament and tried to become high-priests. “Essenes” are not mentioned in the New Testament.
The teaching of Jesus was centered on repentance and to let them know that the “Kingdom of heaven” was at hand.
Jesus knew the thoughts of scribes and Pharisees, who were in the congregation in the synagogue on the Sabbath day when Jesus was teaching, and said to the man who was suffering from withered hand to rise up and stand forth in their midst. The man stood forth. Then, Jesus asked them if it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath day or to do evil and to save life or to destroy it. He then, said to the man to stretch forth his hand and he did. The man’s withered hand was restored whole as the other hand. The scribes and Pharisees were angry on Him and went away. They could not do any harm to Him because His time was not yet come.
“And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other” (Luke 6:10)
On the last day of “feast of tabernacles” Jesus said… “…if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39)
Jesus went to Cana second time where He performed His first miracle by turning water into wine at a wedding. During his second visit to Cana he saw a nobleman coming to him with a fervent request that Jesus should visit his home at Capernaum to heal his son, who was on death bed. The narration of this healing is recorded only in John’s Gospel.
The Gospel writers did not identify the sequence of miracles and healings performed by Jesus, and, therefore, it is hard to identify which miracle and healing were the first ones to be performed by Him. However, the miraculous turning of water into wine at Cana is thought to be the first miracle and the healing of Nobleman’s son was thought to the first one. Or, this healing could be one among the others recorded in Matthew 4:23; thus making a point that sequence is not as important as the gist of the message conveyed through the miracles and healings.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23)
Nobleman wished to see signs and wonders in order to believe in Jesus just as others wished to see. Jesus said to him “…Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” John 4:48
The nobleman insisted without ceasing that Jesus may visit his home and heal his son. Perhaps, he thought the only way to have his son healed was by inviting Jesus into His house and presenting the patient physically before Him in order that Jesus may perform miraculous healing; but Jesus spoke and immediately nobleman’s son was healed.
Jesus showed to the nobleman, as also to others, that His word was enough to heal his son. Jesus said to him “Go thy way; thy son liveth”. The nobleman believed that his son would be healed and went his way. On his way home his servants met him and told him that his son was healed and he lives. The nobleman was curious to know the hour of his son’s healing and they said “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him”. The nobleman knew that it was the same hour when Jesus said to him “Go thy way; thy son liveth”. This miraculous healing of nobleman’s son helped him and his family to believe in Jesus. (Ref. John 4:43-54)
This reminds us the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:4 and also another healing he performed on Centurion’s servant.
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4)
“And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matthew 8:13)
How often we forget that God spoke His word and everything in heaven, earth and in the seas came into existence. Believe in Jesus and receive salvation free of cost. Salvation cannot be bought with silver or gold or good works; it is received by faith in Jesus Christ and that God raised Him from the dead.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24)
In what seems to be a small passage in the book of Luke 7th chapter verses from 11-17, we have glimpse of life after death, the resurrection. We have the hope that we are not going to be non-existent after death, but that we will live, after death, to be with our Lord for ever and ever.
Jesus had been compassionate to all those who sought His intervention in their lives seeking either healing or the truth about the ‘Kingdom of God’.
It is a small city where Jesus performed this miracle of raising the dead to life. He was going with His disciples into a small city called “Nain”, where He saw a dead boy. The dead body of widow’s son was being carried out of the city in an open coffin. As He was passing by He saw this dead body and knew that the boy was the only son, the only sustenance of the widow. There was a crowd of people in the funeral procession, and there was a crowd of people who followed Jesus to witness His miracles, and to listen to His teaching. He taught the words of wisdom, repentance and life in His kingdom.
When the Lord came near the coffin he saw, and had compassion on the widow, and said to her “Weep not”. In usual circumstances His words “Weep not” would have angered the widow and the people in the funeral procession as well; but He being the Son of God, touched the bier first, and spoke His powerful words. The funeral procession stopped and the widow, perhaps, looked forward for some answer.
Jesus did miracle; that which would seem to others as improbable. He called the dead boy, as if he was alive saying “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise”. This reminds of Paul’s quote in Romans 4:17 where he recollects God’s promise to Abraham speaking in past tense, as if God had already made Him the father of many nations, and in quickening the dead; calling those things which were non-existent as though they were existent (Ref. Genesis 17:5)
“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were”. (Romans 4:17)
To the surprise of all onlookers, the dead boy sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave the live boy to his widow mother. It was all because of Lord Jesus Christ’s compassion on the widow, who had only one son, and he was her only refuge. She was left destitute when her son died. This was, indeed, a very pitiable situation, even in the sight of men. The Lord being compassionate, was moved in His heart, and voluntarily stepped forward to help the widow. Even before anyone asked Him to help the widow, or even before the widow prayed for help, He had compassion on her, and touched the bier, and then, brought life back into her dead son.
No doubt, seeing such an unusual act, fear came upon all and they glorified God. They proclaimed that which they understood about Jesus, and said, a great prophet rose among them and God visited them. That rumor of Jesus spread forth throughout Judaea, and throughout all the regions. (cf. Luke 7:11-17)
God sent His one and only begotten Son, Lord Jesus Christ, into this world and He did miracles and wonders and healed sick. He cast out unclean spirits from men. He gave a glimpse of life after death. He showed that death is not cessation of life, but there is life beyond death. Although those whom He raised to life such as the widow’s son, the daughter of Jairus, and Lazarus, who died again, in His own death and resurrection, He showed that those who believe in Him will have everlasting life.
Jesus took our sin upon Him and gave His life on behalf of us in order that we might have salvation free of cost. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one can have everlasting life unless his/her sins are washed in His precious blood.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14)
On the day of feast of the Jews, i.e. the Passover feast, Jesus went up to Jerusalem where at the ‘sheep market’ also called ‘sheep gate’, there was a pool which had five porches, and which in Hebrew language was called “Bethesda”.
The pool was of great interest because an angel went there at a certain season and troubled the water in the pool. Upon troubling the water, the first sick person, such as impotent, or blind, or limp, or withered, who gets into the water, was made whole of whatever disease he had.
There was a man, suffering from an infirmity, lying at the pool for thirty eight years, and being unable to get into the pool by himself, when the water was troubled, and no one to help him to get into it, continued to suffer, while someone else got into the water before he could. Jesus saw him lay there, and knew that the man was at the pool for many years, and therefore, had compassion on him, and asked him if he wished to be made whole. The impotent man answered and said to Jesus that even before he attempted to get into the pool, when the angel troubled the water in it, someone else got into it, and was made whole. Then, Jesus said to him to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk”.
It was the Sabbath day when Jesus healed the impotent man, and the Jews saw the man walking with his bed. They said to him that it was the Sabbath day, and it was unlawful for him to carry his bed. Violation of Sabbath invited death by Stoning as per Mosaic Law.
“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people”. (Exodus 31:14)
However, the man, who was healed of his disease, said to the Jews “He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk”. The Jews insisted on him to identify the man who healed him and asked him to walk with his bed on the Sabbath day; but the man did not know, who He was, because of great multitude and also because Jesus had left the scene after the incident.
Jesus saw the man in the temple and said to him “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Jesus cautioned the man that if he sinned again worse could come upon him.
The man departed from the temple and told the Jews that it was Jesus, who healed him. Therefore, the Jews followed Jesus to see how they might take hold of him and slay Him because he healed the man and said to him to walk with his bed on the Sabbath day.
What if the man thought of disobeying the command from Jesus to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” thinking that he was already there for thirty eight years lying on the bed waiting for miraculous healing? When Jews asked him who that was who healed him, the man could not say who he was! He could identify Jesus only when he saw Him for the second time in the temple.
The answer is that he would have remained impotent forever; but he chose to obey the command from Jesus in faith.
Jesus healed the man who was helpless, and gave what seemed to be an impossible command demanding great faith and obedience. The man was obedient to the command by faith and eventually he rose up and walked with his bed.
Secondly, Jesus gave an additional command that he should not sin again, otherwise, the worse could happen. We have a lesson here that sinning after being healed of sickness could result in worse coming upon us. The man’s obedience and faith healed him. (Ref. John 5:1-14)
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12)
While Jews thought of doing harm to Jesus after a fierce argument over His authority to forgive sins and heal the sick, He left the Temple unharmed, which proves that He was not only human in all respects but He was divine, as well. After leaving the temple He saw a man born blind, and took compassion on him even before he asked for favor. It seems there was a belief during the days of Jesus that spirits waited for body, and they that were born with deformities in their bodies were those who sinned when they were in spirit form. Those beliefs are heresies.
If spirits committed sin and took the form of body, every spirit, having committed sin would take similar deformity in his body-form. A child in the mother’s womb cannot commit sin and take a deformity in its body at birth; but everyone is sinner by virtue of being the offspring of Adam. It is within the knowledge of God as to the purpose and the kind of deformity a child is born with. Man is not supposed to make guess-work. God has revealed to man what is necessary for him to live a life of peace in Him, and He kept other things secret for Himself.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
The belief that spirits wait for bodies and occupy bodies is heresy, and it contradicts what the Bible says. God created man out of dust and sin entered into the world as a consequence of Eve and Adam transgressing the commandment of God. That sin from Adam was passed onto all mankind. It is not because the spirits committed sin that they had the deformities in their bodies, but it is because the sin was passed on from Adam to everyone in the world that everyone has to be redeemed of one’s sin. Thus by “one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and death passed upon all men”. Every individual, therefore, needs to be reconciled unto God.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19)
There is no one who is righteous and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Everyone needs savior and without one’s sins are forgiven one will have his eternity in the ‘lake of fire’, but the gift of God is salvation and whosoever believes in Jesus shall have everlasting life.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6)
The disciples questioned Jesus as to who sinned in the case of the man who was born blind; was it his parents, or he himself? Jesus answered and said neither his parents sinned nor he sinned, but that the works of the Father should be manifest in him. However, we are not supposed to make suppositions that every man born with deformity is made to be born in order to bring glory to the Father.
Then, Jesus went on to say that He has to do the works of the Father, and after having said thus he healed the man born blind from his birth.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10)
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:4-5)
Jesus answered the question, from His disciples as to whether it was because of the blind man’s sin from birth, or the sin of his parents that he was born blind, saying that the man was blind not because of his sin, or of his parents but that the works of the Father may be glorified in him. He said, it was apt that He should heal him, because the dark days are ahead soon. He affirmed that as long as He was in this world, He was the light of the world.
While the Pharisees watched if Jesus healed him on the Sabbath day, He not only healed the blind man but he made clay on the ground from His spit. He, then, applied the clay to the eyes of the blind man, and then said to him to go and wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Jesus was clearly showing that if the work involved on Sabbath day is for doing good for some body it is not a violation of Sabbath command.
The man’s neighbors wondered and watched with surprise that he, who was blind from his birth, was able to see with his eyes. Some of them accepted the fact that he was the same blind man, while some others did not believe that he was the same man; but the blind man boldly acknowledged that it was he who was blind.
On inquiry the blind man gave a testimony that a man named Jesus made clay on the ground with his spit, and applied it to his eyes, and then said to him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. He continued saying that he obeyed the command from Jesus, and went washed his eyes in the pool of Siloam, and thereby he was healed. On further inquiry as to where Jesus was; he said he did not know where He was.
The blind man, who was healed, was brought before the Pharisees because Jesus healed him on the Sabbath day. They were curious to know who healed him. They never saw anyone born blind receive sight, and, therefore, argued within themselves, and some said Jesus was from God, while some others said He was not from God because He did not keep the Sabbath Command.
This difference of opinion brought division among them and they questioned the man as to what he thought about Jesus. The man said He was a prophet. His thinking was apt because until then Prophets came and spoke the word of God. Jesus was not only Prophet, Priest, King but He was the Son of God. Many prophets came until then, of whom John the Baptist was the last one, and Jesus was the Son of God, the very God Himself.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
Lord Jesus Christ was the only begotten of the Father and was sent into this world to save sinners. He had the power to forgive sins. He forgave the man with Palsy at the Bethesda pool, and he forgave the prostitute woman, who was caught red-handed, when she was sinning. Jews did not understand that He was the Messiah. Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were always after Him to find fault with Him and to harm Him.
The man answered Jews and explained to them with much patience as to how Jesus healed him, yet they did not believe in his assertion. How much God loved the children of Israel, and yet they rejected Jesus as their Messiah!
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37)
“His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind” John 9:20
The blind man, who was healed, answered Pharisees, according to his knowledge that the man, who healed him, was a prophet. However, Jews did not believe concerning the man that was healed, and they called his parents to identify their son, if he was truly theirs. Answering the question from the Jews, the parents of the man not only identified the man as their son, but also testified that he was born blind.
Pharisees were a powerful lobby among the Jews and they could cast out anyone from the synagogues, if one violated their instructions, or spoke against God, or acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ. Therefore, the parents of the man said to the Jews that they may direct their questions to the man himself, because he was grown up and is of age. They said they did not know by what miracle their son received vision.
Pharisees called the man once again and admonished him to praise God and accused that Jesus was sinner. They believed the words of Moses written in Pentateuch, (the first five books of Jewish and Christian Scriptures in the Old Testament), that the LORD God is one LORD and, therefore, rejected Jesus as their Messiah.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD” Deuteronomy 6:4
Indeed, the LORD our God is one LORD, but they did not understand the fact that Jesus was incarnate God and the LORD Himself, in the form of servant, and in the likeness of man. How sad it is that Jews understood Jesus as sinner, in spite of seeing miracles, signs and wonders from Him. They already had intense argument over this point earlier, as we read in John Chapter 5:20-30, where Jesus identified Himself with the Father.
Jesus said Father loves the Son, and as the Father resurrects the dead, the Son will quicken those whom he wishes to. The Father does not judge anyone but entire power is given to the Son, and it is the Son, who judges. When Jesus later, as we read in John 10:30, said that He and the Father are one, none understood Him clearly. The Jews took up stones to kill Him.
It is hard, indeed, for those who are not deep in their understanding to be convinced of the fact that Jesus was the savior of the world; not merely a Prophet, but He was Prophet, Priest, King of kings, born of the Virgin Mary, the Son of God, and the very God Himself incarnate in the likeness of man. He dwelt among men, died on the cross, bearing our sin, our shame in order that we may believe and receive everlasting life.
More than seven hundred years before Jesus was born Isaiah, the prophet, prophesied about Jesus as follows:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah 9:6)
Apostle Paul wrote:
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. (Philippians 2:7-11)
Lord Jesus Christ said:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” John 5:24.
“Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner” (John 9:24)
Pharisees called Jesus a sinner on the pretext that He healed on the Sabbath day, a man, who was born blind. The man answered Pharisees and said he did not know whether or not Jesus was sinner; but one thing he knew was that he was blind before, and now he has vision to see. They were curious to know the details again. The man already explained to them very clearly that Jesus spat on the ground, made clay and applied it to his eyes, and because he obeyed His command, and went and washed his eyes in the pool of Siloam, he was healed. Now, when the Pharisees asked him second time, he got annoyed at them and said “I have told you already, and ye did not hear”.
How often we listen to someone and yet, we desire the same to be reiterated, because of either unbelief or hesitate to accept the truth. The Pharisees resorted to similar attitude when they asked the man second time as to how he was healed.
The man wondered and asked them if it was because they want to become the disciples of Jesus that they want to hear about the miraculous healing again. When they heard the man speak in contempt they reviled at him saying he was the disciple of Jesus, and they were of Moses.
They ridiculed saying God spoke to them through Moses but as for Jesus, they did not know who He was, and where He came from.
The man had a dig at them saying even though they did not know where Jesus came from, and who He was, yet they marveled at His works. The man, who was born blind and was healed by the Lord, spoke the words of wisdom than did the Pharisees, who were considered to be the wise men of the day. The man said since the world began, not one incident was heard by anyone; of the kind of healing that Jesus did in him. He boldly testified that if Jesus were not of God, He could have not done anything.
Pharisees were raged in anger and cast him out of their fellowship and synagogue, accusing him that he was born in sins, and asked him how is that he ventured to teach them. They, who were in sins, judged the man that he was born in sins.
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
Jesus finding the man asked him if he believed on the Son of God, and the man wondered who the Son of God was. Then Jesus said to him that the man has seen Him, and He, who was talking to him, was the Son of God. Jesus was pointing to Himself.
The man called Jesus as “Lord”, which is to say “Master”, and said that he believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and worshipped Him.
Jesus said to the man, who was healed of his blindness that blind see and perceive who He was, but those who have sight will be like blind. He judges in order to see that those, who have eyes, may not see, and those, who are blind, may see the truth.
Some of the Pharisees heard the fierce words spoken by Jesus concerning them, and they countered Him, and asked Him if they were blind.
Then, Jesus replied saying, it would have been better if they were blind and not see rather than have eyes and not see the truth. If they said that they were blind their sins would have been forgiven, but because they were boasting that they have eyes their sin remains in them.
“Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:41)
Apostle Paul writes about Mosaic Law, which the Pharisees were very conversant, and attempted to keep in vain. The Law pointed to the guilt of a person, but it never provided salvation; and surprisingly, Jews, and likewise some in the present generation, try to keep the Law in vain, instead of depending on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and fail miserably in both the cases.
Neither they were able to fulfill the conditions of Mosaic Law, nor do they make attempts to come under the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. They try to be blind to the truth, and lose sight of the light, and the glorious things that are visible in the light.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20)
The creator is greater than the creation. Worship the creator than the creation. Moses was creation of God and he was a servant of God. Jesus was greater than Moses. Therefore, let us boast in the cleansing power of the blood of Lord Jesus Christ, rather than boasting in Moses.
The LORD gave the Law to the children of Israel though Moses, his servant, and because they failed to keep the Law, Jesus came into the world to die for all sinners that by His grace everyone, who confesses Him as the Lord, and believes in heart that God raised Him from the dead, will become righteous. Salvation belongs to Lord Jesus Christ, and it is by Him alone that one receives everlasting life.
“For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:3-6)
“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:4)
Lord Jesus made a stunning statement before His disciples that He would go to Bethany and wake up Lazarus out of sleep. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were friends of Jesus. At the first report He received from Mary and Martha that their brother Lazarus was sick, Jesus said that the sickness in Lazarus was not unto his death, but for the glory of God. He tarried for two more days at the place where He was, and then said to His disciples that He would to go Judea.
It is, indeed, so refreshing to meditate on the death of Lazarus and Jesus raising him from the dead. A very notable point is that Lazarus was not raised by Jesus immediately after his death, but after four days of his death. Jesus knew that Lazarus was sick and yet He did not immediately go to Bethany, where His friend Lazarus and his two sisters lived. Although Mary and Martha sent a request to Jesus with information, about the sickness of Lazarus, to Him, yet he tarried where He was for two days, and went to Judea, and reached Bethany, not before the fourth day, after the death of Lazarus. He was outside Bethany even though He was informed about the sickness of Lazarus, His friend.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He said that the sickness in Lazarus was not unto death, but the latter suffered it, in order that the glory of the Son of God may be manifest to all. Jesus loved Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha.
Jesus was sure of His work on the earth and that He had to fulfill the will of the Father. He refused to answer quickly on three occasions. Once when, Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, requested Him to help the host of the marriage at Cana. Second time, when the mother of Zebedee’s children came to Him with her sons, and prayed that her two sons may be granted the privilege to sit, one on His right hand, and other on the left, in His kingdom. Third time, it was when Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus requested help from Jesus when their brother was sick. However, He answered the first request and the third request according to the timing of Father and His time. The second request was in the power of the Father to grant and not in His power, and, therefore, He said:
“…to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father” (Matthew 20:23b)
In spite of the disciples of Jesus pointing to Him about the impending danger, He chose to go to Judea, where Jews waited to kill Him. Jesus questioned them if there were no twelve hours in a day! Jesus was, obviously pointing to them about the availability of limited time at his disposal to fulfill the will of the Father, even if it involved danger to His life. He also knew that no one can do any harm to Him before His hour came.
Jesus explained to them that a man, who walks in the day, does not stumble because he sees the light of the world. On the contrary, he, who walks in the night, stumbles because of absence of light in him.
Jesus, having replied His disciples their question, in a way perhaps not clearly understood by them, surprised them with another statement that Lazarus, their friend, was sleeping, and He would go and awake him out of sleep. The disciples of Jesus, who were surprised to hear from Him that Lazarus was sleeping, thought, indeed the latter was sleeping, and was in good health; but Jesus spoke of the death of Lazarus.
“These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep” (John 11:11)
The truth was that in the sight of Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Lazarus was sleeping, but in the sight of men, he was dead.
“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead” (John 11:14)
God knows all things and He does everything according to His will and His purpose. Lazarus was raised and the Father’s name was glorified through Jesus, the Son of God.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
Jesus and His disciples decided to go to Bethany, where Mary and Martha waited for Him, seeking His intervention, when their brother Lazarus was sick. Jesus knew that Lazarus was dead even before he left for Judea from the place where He was.
Just before Jesus left for Bethany from Judea, He said to His disciples, that He was glad that He was not at Bethany. He delayed in order that He may bring glory to the Father, and thereby those who watched may believe in Him. He was sure of bringing back Lazarus to life. When Jesus came into Bethany along with His disciples, it was already four days since the dead body of Lazarus was in the grave.
Thomas, who was known as Didymus, said to his fellow disciples that they all must go to Bethany along with Jesus, even if it meant death to them. It was a very firm decision and He believed that all good things come from Jesus.
Bethany was fifteen furlongs away from Jerusalem, and many Jews came to Martha and Mary to comfort them, after the death of Lazarus. Obviously, this shows that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were very popular in Bethany, and they had very good friends, who had close fellowship with them.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming to their home, she went out, and met Him where He was. Mary, who perhaps was disappointed at the death of her brother, sat still at home. Martha was enthusiastic, and had zeal for the Lord. Her brother’s death did not prevent her from meeting Jesus. She said to Jesus that if He were present at their home, when Lazarus was sick, the latter would not have died. Her faith was great that, even in those trying circumstances, Jesus would be able to bring some good for them, by praying to God, who, as she believed, will surely answer His prayers.
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21)
Jesus assured Martha that her brother, Lazarus would rise again. However, she thought in a different way that Lazarus would arise from the death at the last day. Then, Jesus said…
“…I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” John 11:25
We were all dead in trespasses but He has quickened us and promised us everlasting life. Even though we walked according to the course of this world, obeying the prince of the power of the air, “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind”, God in His mercy loved us, and gave salvation to us, in response to our yielding to the pleasures of our Lord Jesus Christ, and accepting Him as our Savior. (Ref. Ephesians 2:1-6)
Our eternal abode is with the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will raise us from the dead. Death for a believer is similar to sleep in the Lord, and the soul of the believer will be with the Lord immediately it leaves the physical body. He who believes in Jesus will live, even though he was physically dead. Man’s physical body, which is devoid of soul and spirit, is dust that returns to dust; but believers’ bodies will arise one day, as glorified bodies, when Lord Jesus Christ comes again. Bible says there is no other way and those who do not believe in Him shall have their eternity spent in ‘lake of fire’.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the death and, before He raised him, He asked Martha if she believed that whoever believes in Him shall never die. Jesus was not referring to physical death, but He was referring to spiritual death versus everlasting life. Martha said she believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world as prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures.
It is time for those, who have not believed in Jesus, to take time to repent, and turn to Lord Jesus Christ. Believe Jesus is the Lord, and that He was raised from the dead. Death has no victory over a believer in Christ.
“Jesus wept” (John 11:35)
After Martha acknowledged that Jesus was the resurrection, and the life, and that He was the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come according to prophecies in the Old Testament, she was comforted within herself, and, thereafter, not sitting quite to watch as to what Jesus was about to do, she ran to her home and whispered in the ears of her sister, Mary, that Jesus was coming to the town. Martha’s belief and assertion were extremely commendable, for she not only gave testimony about Jesus, but she ran to tell her sister about the Lord. Her Lord was the Christ, the Son of God, who came into the world according to the prophecies. Her Lord comforted that her brother, who was dead for four days then, would rise again.
Now, when Mary heard from her sister that their friend Jesus was coming to the town, she ran to Him, not taking cognizance of the Jews, who were in the home, comforting her after the death of Lazarus. It was a solemn occasion, when friends of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, were in their home, sharing their grief, and yet, the arrival of their Lord, was greater to her than any occasion. Mary left home, immediately she came to know about the Lord, and met Him where He was.
The Jews, who were in their home, comforting them, thought Mary ran to the tomb, to weep over his brother, Lazarus. The Jews, who comforted her at home, also went to the place where Mary went and continued comforting her. Obviously, the fellowship Mary, Martha and Lazarus, had with the Jews at Bethany was great. They not only comforted Martha and Mary at their home, but also followed Mary, when she ran to see Jesus.
On seeing the Lord, Mary’s immediate complaint was similar to that of her sister, Martha, who said earlier that if Jesus were present at their home, when Lazarus was sick, their brother would not have died.
“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:32)
The Lord saw Mary and also the Jews, who were with her, weeping. Filled with humanity, Jesus groaned in spirit and was troubled within Him, depicting His great love towards the needy and sorrowful. Jesus shared their grief at the grave of Lazarus and He wept. The Jews marveled at the love Jesus had towards the family. The Lord loved the family, who loved their Master.
The family of Lazarus had very close fellowship with one another, and yet Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus after four days of his death, because His priority was to bring glory the Father in heaven, and also to see that His disciples and others have greater increase in faith when He does an exceptional miracle.
His priority was to speak about the kingdom of heaven at Judea on His way to Bethany. He knew that He would surely raise Lazarus, but before that He had some obligations to fulfill. That is the reason why He questioned His disciples as to whether there were no twelve hours in the day. The Jews knew the importance of accomplishing their tasks within twelve hours of the day, and Jesus was on this earth with a definite task from the Father, to fulfill within the limited time that He had at His disposal.
It is very important that we have fellowship and comfort in the Lord, one another in sorrows and painful situations.
Wishing Grace in the name of Jesus Christ, Apostle Paul writes to the Church of God at Corinth that God will confirm them unto the end that they may be blameless, and then asserts that “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord”. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
The mystery of calling Gentiles unto salvation was not known in other ages, but it was revealed during the days of Apostle Paul, who wrote “That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel”. Paul preached unsearchable riches in Christ “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9)
John testified about Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has seen physically as follows:
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3)
Jesus is the Lord. Believe in Him and receive everlasting life.
In the presence of Martha, Mary, and the Jews, who were weeping and comforting the bereaved family, Jesus commanded to remove the stone, which was laid over the cave, where the dead body of Lazarus was laid to rest for four days then. Martha looked at Lord Jesus and said to Him “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days”.
This was the same Martha, who said to Jesus earlier that she believed in Christ that He was the Son of God, who was to come into the world, as prophesied in the Old Testament. This was the same Martha, who said to Jesus that He was the resurrection and life, and later ran to her home to tell Mary that the Lord was coming to Bethany.
Now, when Jesus commanded that the stone covering the grave of Lazarus be removed she says “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days”. Speaking about man, his length of days on this earth, and his riches, Psalmist says:
“Behold, thou hast made my days [as] an handbreadth; and mine age [is] as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state [is] altogether vanity. Selah” Psalm 39:5
If only God were to punish us according to the measure of our sins, we would not have deserved forgiveness or be able to stand before God. However,
”…God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Lord Jesus Christ paid price for our sins, made us righteous and justified. There is no condemnation to those who believe in Him.
Jesus admonishes Martha reminding her that if she believed in Him she will see the glory of God. Then, they took away the stone from the place where Lazarus was laid to rest. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes and prayed to the Father. In His prayer Jesus thanked the Father for hearing His prayer and said that the Father always hears Him. He prayed so in order that those who stood by Him may believe that the Father sent Him.
Jesus, after praying, cried out with a loud voice “Lazarus come forth”. Notice Jesus called the dead man by his name; else, perhaps many dead would have come forth. The voice of Jesus was so powerful that the dead Lazarus rose to life and came forth. Another very noticeable fact is that the hand and foot of Lazarus were still bound with grave-clothes, and his face was bound with a napkin.
Comparison with the rising of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, much later, when His hour was come, would show that the napkin that was bound on the face of Jesus was laid aside nicely folded, indicating that He Himself unloosened His bindings, and then folded the napkin that was bound on his head, and placed it at the side where His head was laid.
There was no assistance required for unloosening the wrap around the dead body of Jesus in the tomb. The tomb was covered with a stone, which was sealed and Jews made sure that no one stole His body. There was no scope of spreading false rumors that He was not raised from the dead, and yet there are many, in some circles, in the present generation, spreading false rumors that He did not die on the cross, nor did He rise from the dead. Indeed, Jesus died according to Scriptures, and there is evidence secular history as well. He appeared before many men, at different intervals, for forty days after His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven. He showed nail marks on his hands and feet to Thomas. He was the first-fruits.
Lord Jesus Christ commanded that Lazarus be unbound of the grave-clothes and the napkin that he may go. Thus, Lazarus was raised to life only to die again later because he was mortal, but Lord Jesus Christ was the Son of God, in the form of man, and therefore, His body did not see corruption in the grave and He rose in glorified body, which could pass closed doors, eat fish, appear and disappear at His will instantly at desired place.
It is the blessed hope of all believers in Christ that the dead will rise and receive glorified bodies, instantly, and those who are alive will follow them in similar glorified bodies, transformed at the twinkling of an eye, when they are ‘caught up’ at the coming of Lord Jesus again. (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, and 1 Corinthians 15:52)
Matthew Chapter 8 records a series of miracles done by Lord Jesus Christ. In his own words Matthew says that the prophecy was fulfilled in the performance of miracles by Jesus. The healing Jesus brought about on the sick was not only on their physical condition but on their spiritual condition as well.
As Isaiah prophesied in chapter 53 He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. Jesus was fully divine and fully man when He was on this earth. He was born Jew and His first ministry was primarily to His own people. However, His own rejected Him and salvation is given to gentiles. Nevertheless, the healings He brought on people as recorded in Matthew reveal to us some marvelous truths.
The first healing recorded in Matthew Chapter 8 was of healing the leper. According to Mosaic Law the touching of a leper is prohibited; but Jesus, who was divine, has gone beyond His earthly conditions and touched the leper and healed him. The second healing recorded in the same chapter was on the servant of gentile official. The third one was on the mother-in-law of His disciple, Peter.
The ways adopted by Jesus in healing the sick were different on different occasions. First it was touching the leper who was suffering from the loathsome disease which was considered as a sign of sin. The Jewish leper had no social and religious privileges and yet this leper was restored by the compassionate Lord Jesus. The leper was healed and restored based on his prayer and his faith. According to Mosaic Law there were specific conditions to be fulfilled in cleansing a leper. However, Jesus, the Lord of all, touched him, healed him and said to him to go to the priest and offer the gift as Mosaic Law demanded in order that it may bear testimony to them.
In the second healing that the Lord brought on the servant of a gentile centurion the word of the Lord was sufficient to heal the servant who was at far distance from the scene where the Centurion was pleading with the Lord. The centurion had great faith and prayed to the Lord to say a word of healing and believed that the word of the Lord was powerful to heal his servant. According to his faith and prayer his request was granted by Lord Jesus Christ.
In the third healing that the Lord brought about was according to His own voluntary will that He exercised in touching the mother-in-law of Peter after seeing her and her condition. She was restored to her normal health and she got up immediately to serve Him and His disciples. It is not known whether or not Peter’s mother-in-law had faith or believed, and yet as the record bears witness the healing on her was performed at the behest of the will of Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Later in the evening of the same day there were many unnamed and unnumbered sick that were brought to the Lord and He had compassion on all of them. There were those who were demon-possessed and there were those who were sick and the Scripture records that Jesus cast out devils and the spirits with his word and healed all that were sick. It is the sovereign will of the Lord that prevailed and prevails and not as man would expect God to react to their prayers and expectations.
Submit to the Lord that He may exercise His will according to His purposes. In doing so, we will be blessed.
“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with [his] word, and healed all that were sick” Matthew 8:16
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28)
Very often man thinks that he is facing temptations beyond his capacity could endure them; but the word of God says that there is no temptation which is not common to man and God is faithful not to allow us to be tempted beyond our capacity. He will also provide a way for us to escape from such temptations and anything beyond is our willful falling into sin (Ref. 1 Corinthians 10:13)
Bible says God does not tempt anyone but rather He will surely test His children to make them as perfect as man could possibly become.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13)
It was according to the plan of the LORD that the children of Israel journeyed through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea instead of going though the way of the land of Philistines; although the latter was nearer route to the Promised Land. God allowed them not to go through the land of Philistines because the children of Israel, who were slaves in Egypt for more than four hundred years, would prefer to return to Egypt in fear when they face the wars while passing through the lands of other nations (Ref. Exodus 13:17-18).
Later when they came to Kadesh-barnea, which was close to the Promised Land they decided to send spies to search out the Promised Land. God had already told them that the land was given to them but when they insisted on spying out the land He gave them over to their desire and chastised them by allowing them to wander in the wilderness for forty years before their next generation led by Joshua and Caleb possessed the land.
“Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 1:21)
How apt it is that when we find ourselves in longer route we usually do not recognize as to why the Lord is not leading us by the nearest route until we see the end result which will be for good for those who believe in Him. Paul writes:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
When the children of Israel were at the Red Sea they were afraid. They saw the sea in front of them and behind them Pharaoh’s army, his chariots and horses. As the Pharaoh’s army was fast approaching them to take hold of them the children of Israel cried out to the LORD and they questioned Moses as to why he brought them out of Egypt as if there were no graves in Egypt for their dead bodies to be buried. They thought they would die either way. If they proceeded further they would die in the Red Sea and if they did not, then Pharaoh’s army would capture them and make them slaves again or kill them in the wilderness. However, Moses encouraged them saying, “…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD…” (Exodus 14:13) and he continued saying:
“The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace”. (Exodus 14:14)
As per the LORD’s instructions Moses lifted up the rod, which was in his hand, over the Red Sea and the sea parted into two. The LORD hardened the hearts of the Egyptians and they followed the children of Israel. The angel of God, who went before them moved and went behind then and the pillar of cloud which went before their face moved and stood behind them.
The pillar of cloud was a cloud of darkness to Pharaoh and his army but it gave light by night to the children of Israel. All the children of Israel, their cattle walked on the dry ground in the midst of the Red Sea and on their right hand side and on the left hand side the waters of the parted Red sea stood like walls. After their safe passage on the dry ground in the midst of the Red Sea Moses stretched forth his rod over the Red sea again and the waters merged to become one again.
The LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the Red Sea. When the people of Israel saw that they are saved by the miracle that the LORD did they believed in God and Moses, the servant of the LORD, (Ref. Exodus 14:22-31)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28)
Elijah was a very dramatic prophet when the LORD’s spirit was on him; otherwise he was just as any one of us. There was a time when Elijah prayed and invoked fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice he placed on the altar while his contestants (four hundred and fifty of them, who worshipped Baal) could not invoke their gods to come and consume the sacrifice which they placed on the altar. Elijah was somewhat sarcastic also when they could not invoke their gods to consume their sacrifices.
A great prophet of God as he was, yet Elijah was once terrified at a woman’s threat. The woman was Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, who threatened that she would kill him by the next day at the same time after Elijah killed four hundred prophets of Baal. Elijah went to Beersheba which was in the territory of Judah and there he sat under a juniper tree. He was disappointed and crying to himself that he might die and said to the Lord, “It is enough: now, O LORD, take away my life…”
An angel of the Lord came touched him and comforted him saying “Arise and eat”. He looked around and saw a cake baked and a cruse of water. He ate and drank and lay again disappointed. The angel came again and touched him and said again to eat and drink because the journey was too great for him. He ate and drank and received strength that was enough for him to journey for forty days and forty nights unto “Horeb” the mount of God.
Elijah went and hid in a cave and there he heard the word of the LORD saying “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Elijah said that he was the only one in Israel who was so zealous for the LORD who never bowed to Baal. The LORD saw great work in Elijah and yet He found him trying to call it quits from His work, and, therefore, said to him to go and stand upon the mount before the LORD.
A great and strong wind rent the mountain and it broke the rocks into pieces as the LORD passed by but He was not in it. Then there was an earthquake but the LORD was not there in it. After these, there was a fire but the LORD was not in it, but after the fire there was a still small voice and Elijah heard it. Elijah soon covered his face in his mantle and went out of the cave and stood at its entrance. The small still voice gently asked Elijah the same question second time “What doest thou here, Elijah”.
Elijah said to the LORD that he was the only one who was so zealous for the LORD. Then, the LORD said to Elijah to go to wilderness of Damascus where he will see Hazel and Jehu. The LORD commanded Elijah to anoint Hazel to be the king over Syria and Jehu to be the king over Israel. Then, the LORD gives an important command to him and that was to commission Elishah in his place. The LORD, then, said to him that He reserved for Himself seven thousand men, who did not bow their knees to Baal.
Elijah departed from the cave and found Elisha who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him and he was plowing with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him. Note the excuse Elisha finds as he leaves his oxen and runs after Elijah and says to him…
“…Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee?” (1 Kings 19:20)
Of course, Elijah permitted Elisha to have his desire fulfilled. Elisha went home and came back after honoring his parents and then took a yoke of oxen and killed then oxen and boiled their flesh and gave it to the people. They all ate it and he arose and followed Elijah and ministered unto him until Elisha finally took over from him.
Elijah was a great prophet and yet he thought he was the only one in Israel to serve the LORD but the LORD had already reserved seven thousand for Himself. Elisha delayed to follow Elijah on reasons that could have been avoided.
The call from God is very important and urgent. There is immense blessing in following Him without putting forwarding excuses.
When Jesus said to Simon Peter and Andrew his brother to follow Him “…they straightway left their nets, and followed him”. (Matthew 4:20)
As a result of seeing miracles from Lord Jesus Christ there was a great multitude following Him, may not be much to hear message from Him, but to see they were healed of their sickness. Jesus gave commandment that they all depart to the other side of Capernaum, which was Sea of Galilee. At this time a scribe came to Him and said that he will follow Jesus wherever he went. It is quite possible that this scribe did not really want to follow but it may be that he thought of earning some finances or fame by being with the Lord. Jesus said to him that…
“The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” Matthew 8:20
Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary conceived in her of the Holy Ghost. He, who was “in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7)
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11)
It was not as easy to follow Jesus as the scribe thought it is. One of the twelve disciples betrayed Jesus and rest of them left Him when He was about to be crucified. Jesus said to them that “the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” (Matt 26:31b) and as He prophesied all of them left Him on the day He was crucified. Peter denied Him three times before the cock crew the night before his crucifixion, but later he repented and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ boldly.
There was another man, who perhaps half-heartedly, was following Jesus for reasons best known to him. Jesus asked him to follow Him but he requested permission from the Lord that he may be allowed to go and first bury his father. That was an excuse! The phrase ‘to go and bury the father’ is usually used to show indifference or to postpone an assigned task. Yet another said he may be permitted to go and bid farewell to those who are at his home. . That was an excuse too! Jesus said to him that no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God
“And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. (Luke 9:59-62)
When Jesus called Peter and his brother Andrew, fishers by profession, saying “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” they were casting a net into the sea and they did not hesitate or tell Him excuses. Similarly, when Jesus called James, the son of Zebedee and John his brother, they were helping their father in mending their nets. They too did not hesitate nor did they say any excuse. Matthew, the tax collector followed Jesus immediately when he was called. (Ref. Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 9:9)
The cost of discipleship is huge but the rewards the disciple receives are worth counting more than any treasure on this earth. No matter a follower would face hardships or persecutions for His name sake, yet they are blessed.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12)
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14)
“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3)
In the days of Noah the wickedness on this earth increased so much that God saw it and said in His heart that every imagination of the thoughts of man is evil continually and He felt sorry for having created man. God could not tolerate such sin as that prevailed during those days and punished mankind with floods. It rained for forty days and forty nights and every living creature except eight souls of the family of Noah and the selected number of animals, birds and creeping things were saved.
As the mankind increased after Noah’s period God saw that mankind sinned against Him beyond His tolerance limits and He destroyed mankind in Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone and none except Lot was saved.
God scattered the “House of Israel” for committing sin against Him. They worshipped Baal and Ashtaroth and burnt incense to them resulting in invasion of their kingdom by Assyrians who took them captive because God’s anger was kindled against them. Solomon went after many wives, concubines and worshipped their gods and the God of Israel rent his kingdom into two resulting in Babylonians taking captive of the “House of Judah”.
Man never ceased from committing sin and God always contended with the spirit of man. Prophets came and warned mankind about the destructions that would come about but men killed them. God sent His one and only Son, Lord Jesus Christ, to save man but men killed Him as well. However, Lord Jesus, was raised from the dead and now He is alive and seated on the right hand of the Majesty. God forgives any sin except blaspheme of the Holy Spirit. It is as simple as confessing that Jesus is the Lord and confess sins by mouth to Him and believe in heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. But if man keeps resisting the call from God and intentionally falls into sin time and again then God hands him over to his sinful life.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38)
In the history of mankind it can be seen that whenever man committed sin and caused anger in the heart of God man was either punished terribly or was chastised so that he may come back to Him again.
However there is comfort in the words of Psalmist who said God is compassionate and longsuffering and plenteous in mercy. God will not reject anyone who confesses his/her sins to Him and accept Jesus as their Lord.
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Psalms 86:15)
The LORD set a bow in the sky after the floods during Noah’s period and said He will remember His covenant and shall not destroy all the mankind on the earth anymore by floods. (Ref. Genesis 6:5, 6, Genesis 19:14-15)
“And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis 9:15)
Apostle Paul was a very powerful servant of God and he preached repentance and to accept Jesus as the Lord. He was the chosen servant of God, exalting the name of the One and Only God. He expressed his grief on the behavior of those, who did not glorify God and because they were not thankful to God. They rather consistently harbored wild imaginations resulting in their perception being darkened.
During the period when Paul preached among Romans he observed that they chose to become fools by exalting themselves as wise by making the incorruptible and mighty God into an idol that appeared either as a bird, beast, or creeping thing. Therefore, God gave them up to their own desires of lusts and uncleanness that took root in their hearts. They preferred to dishonor their bodies among themselves men giving up to the vile desires unto their fellow men, and women giving up to the vile desires unto their fellow women through the unnatural use of the body that is against the nature. Some of them not only committed those sins that were detestable but took pleasure in committing them despite their knowledge that such sin brings death (Ref. Romans 1:22-32)
They burned with passion one for another of the same gender working among themselves against the way God has chosen it to be, resulting in grave error and debasement of their proclaimed knowledge. They longed to enhance their desires of “unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness. They were full of envy and were whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents and covenant-breakers”.
Therefore, God gave them up to their own desires of lusts and uncleanness. This is the reason why Paul says that he was not ashamed to proclaim the gospel of Christ. The gospel is power unto salvation for those who believe in it and foolishness for those who do not believe in it.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18)
Exercising faith in Jesus helps us to grow in Him leaping from one step to another and building up oneself strong enough to face the attacks from the enemy. Troubles might come and God might chasten; yet it gives the child of God opportunity to grow continually in Him.
There is every opportunity to fall away from the truth of the knowledge of the living God because Satan is very cunning and ever-active to misguide and mislead not only those who do not believe in Jesus but also those who believe in Him. Satan is very active among the believers rather than the unbelievers. Sometimes Satan comes as a roaring lion and sometimes like one that is transformed into an angel of light.
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Are you resisting the will and call of God continually? If so, God might hand you over to the wiles of the devil and to your sinful desires; but if you repent of your sins and accept Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior there is everlasting life waiting for you. Our bodies are temples of God and Spirit of God dwells in us. If anyone defiles the temple of God it is tantamount to involving God in our defilement of the body. God never takes part in our falling but rather He helps us with chastisement to recover from the falling away from the truth. If still we follow our own ways then God would hand over us to the wiles of our evil desires and allow us to reap the consequences in the body, perhaps in the form of serious diseases. Salvation is secure unless one goes to the extent of trampling the blood of Lord Jesus Christ under his/her foot. (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Hebrews 10:26)
However, those who are saved by the blood of Lord Jesus Christ will always be in His fold never venturing to commit sins. His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
The Lord says:
“My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29)
“For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”. (Mark 9:41-44)
Taking cue from the happenings among the children of Israel we can understand the ways of God and how he detested idolatry, idolaters and those who offend the children of God.
King Jeroboam’s scheme of misguiding and misleading the “House of Israel” did not end at making two calves of gold for them and saying that those were the gods who brought them out of Egypt, but he set one of the golden calves at “Bethel” on the border between Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom and another golden calf at “Dan” which was the Northern border of his kingdom. He was successful in misleading his people to be in his kingdom and worship the idols at Dan and Bethel rather than they go to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover festival on fifteenth day of the eighth month.
Jeroboam took the lead in worshipping the idols and burning incense to them. Once Jeroboam was standing at the altar at Bethel to worship the idol and burn incense to it when a man of God from Judah went there according to the word of the LORD and prophesied saying:
“…O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee”. The prophet also said that that the altar will be rent and the ashes there on the altar shall be poured out. (Ref. 1 Kings 13:2, 3)
The prophecy of the man of God was fulfilled during king Josiah’s reign. Josiah was eight years old when he took over as king of Judah and he reigned for thirty one years. He was one of the rarest kings who did that which was right in the sight of the LORD. At the orders of king Josiah, Hilkiah the high priest of the second order, and door-keepers brought all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and all the host of heaven and burnt them and carried their ashes to Bethel. Even before the division of the unified Kingdom of Israel occurred the idolatry had its way into the kingdom ruled by Solomon. Josiah like his great grandfather Hezekiah removed idolatry from his kingdom.
The sin increases in the land when its rulers are themselves encourage it and they all face the consequences. The LORD is pleased with those who walk in His ways and Josiah was one who did that which was right in the sight of the LORD and it pleased the LORD.
During the reign of Josiah there were priests in his kingdom who ordained to burn incense in the high places of Judah, and to the entire host in heaven, and in the places round about Jerusalem. Josiah removed all the priests from their positions.
Josiah looked around and got the human bones removed from the sepulchers and burned them upon the altar and thus desecrating it. It was according to the word of the LORD spoken by the man of God as we read in 1 Kings 13:2. When Josiah saw a sepulcher that was distinct from the others he inquired about it and the people said it was the sepulcher of the man of God who came from Judah and prophesied about burning of human bones on the altar at Bethel, the very thing that he did there. Then, Josiah ordered that the sepulcher of the man of God may not be exhumed to take out his bones. In addition, Josiah also removed all shrines at the high places that the king of Israel built in Samaria and slaughtered all the priests upon the altars and burnt the human bones on them and went back to Jerusalem.
Josiah ordered to celebrate Passover festival. It was first time the Passover festival was celebrated at Jerusalem since the time when Judges ruled Israel even up to eighteenth year of his reign. (cf. 1 Kings Ch. 13 and 2 Kings Ch. 23)
Jesus speaking to his disciples said whoever gives them a cup of water to drink in His name, because they belong to Him, shall surely receive his/her reward. The Lord was very shrewd in saying that it is better for those who offend one of the little ones that believe in Him to have a millstone hang around his neck and be into the sea. He said it is better to cut off the part of the body that offends rather than allowing whole body perishing in the lake of fire (Ref. Mark 9:41-44)
Such Kings and authorities of the like that of King Jeroboam who offend the children of God offering worship to the living God will have their day to be surely reckoned with those who will be cast in the lake of fire.
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39)
Just before Jesus was arrested He went to a place called “Gethsemane”, in the Mount of Olives, along with His disciples. He took three disciples, namely, Peter, James and John, who were very close to Him, to pray. He was very sorrowful about the impending death, wherein He had to bear the sin of the world, and lay His life for our sake. His sorrow was not because He was going to be arrested, or face a trial, which of course, proved to be an illegal one, but because the sin of mankind that He was going to bear was very heavy.
It pleased the Father to bruise Him and pay the penalty for our sake and the very purpose of Jesus coming into this world, was to lay His life for our sake, taking upon Him, the curse of man and redeem us from perishing (cf. Isaiah 53:10). His love for us was so great that He relinquished His glory in heaven, emptied Himself, and came in the form of servant, and in the likeness of man. It is so amazing that God, who was so un-approachable during the Old Testament period, humbled Himself so much so that He became man for our sake, and was in this world. He was fully divine and fully man on this earth.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
Jesus taught repentance and said the “kingdom of heaven” was at hand. He was born Jew and was their Messiah; yet they did not understand the truth. He healed the sick, cast away evil spirits from those who were afflicted by them.
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples”. (John 18:1)
While He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said to His disciples to pray, and went little further and fell on His face and prayed to the Father saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”. Notice Jesus prayed to the Father that if it were possible the death that He was going to face may pass; yet He said everything may be done, not according to His will, but according the will of the Father. If He prayed that the cup may pass without laying any condition, the Father would have, perhaps, agreed, and the purpose for which He came into this world would have been defeated.
It was not the purpose of Jesus either to set aside that cup of suffering, but because He saw that the sin of mankind was so grave that He thought, for a while, it may pass away from Him; yet very quickly He added to His prayer the words “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”. Jesus surrendered Himself to the will of the Father and prayed with much intense that being in agony His “sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”.
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”. (Luke 22:44).
After praying Jesus went back to the disciples, and saw that they were sleeping and He said to Peter, “sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation”.
How often, we also sleep when God gives us great responsibility! Jesus admonished them to pray that they may not enter into temptation. True, prayer keeps us away from temptations. Prayer brings relief to our problems, trials, and temptations. God knows that we are made out of dust and, that is the reason, why He forgives us. His disciples were so dear to Him, and therefore, He consoled them saying “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak”.
Jesus went again and repeated the same prayer because bearing of sin of man was so heavy on Him and He returned to see His disciples sleeping again. They were not in a mood to answer Jesus because their eyes were so heavy. Jesus went the third time to the same place, where He went twice before, and repeated the same prayer. He came back and saw His disciples were sleeping again. He said to them “Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners”.
How sad it is that we sleep when God gives us some responsibility and then we may have to hear from Him “Sleep on now, and take your rest”. When Elijah said to the LORD that He was the only one to serve Him, God said to Him that He reserved seven thousand who did not bow their heads to Baal. God’s work will never stop if we withdraw from serving Him.
Jesus suffered for our sake on the cross. After His death, He was buried and His body did not see corruption. He was triumphant over death, and rose from the dead on the third day. He appeared to many for forty days after resurrection, before ascending into Heaven. He is seated on the right hand of the Majesty and pleading on our behalf. He will come again soon to judge the quick and the dead.
Please accept Jesus as your personal Savior and receive everlasting life.
Jesus chose twelve disciples for Him but one of them turned out to be betrayer. After Jesus ended His prayer in Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, came along with a great multitude of people, who were sent by chief priests and elders, with swords and staves. Judas Iscariot gave sign to the accompanying multitude that whosoever he kisses was Jesus, and that they could hold him fast.
The prophecy of the betrayal of Jesus, mentioned in the Old Testament, was fulfilled when Judas Iscariot betrayed Him (Ref. Matthew 27:9).
“And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD” (Zechariah 11:12-13)
Lord Jesus came into this world in the form of servant and in the likeness of man to redeem mankind from sin, but His price was determined as thirty pieces of silver. When Judas Iscariot received thirty pieces of silver the prophecy in the Old Testament was fulfilled.
Exodus Chapter 21:28-32 contain instructions as to how payment of compensation was to be made if an ox hurts man or woman. If by such hurting a man or woman dies, the ox was to be surely be killed by stoning; and its flesh shall not be eaten. By doing so, the owner of the ox is set free. However, if the ox pushed a man or woman with its horn, and if the person died, not immediately, but subsequently, the ox was to be stoned to death, and in addition the owner of the ox also was to be put to death. If a manservant or maidservant was pushed by the ox, the owner of the ox was to give the master of the manservant or maidservant thirty shekels of silver, and the ox was to be stoned. Thus the value of the manservant or maidservant was determined to be thirty pieces of silver. This is how the price of betraying Jesus by Judas Iscariot was determined.
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7)
God in His providence determined that the thirty pieces of silver used for betrayal of Jesus Christ, by Judas Iscariot, to be used for salvation of Gentiles, when that amount was used for purchase of a land, where dead bodies of Gentiles were buried.
“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me” (Matthew 27:3-10)
John in his vision saw such provision for Gentiles…
“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 11:2)
Jews held Gentiles in contempt and allotted the “Potter’s field”, which was also called “Aceldama”, and considered it as the fittest place for burying strangers who came to Jerusalem and died.
“And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood” (Acts 1:19)
Judas Iscariot committed suicide as recorded in Acts Chapter 1:15-20 where Peter, the Apostle, declared that the prophecy was fulfilled. Judas Iscariot fell headlong and his bowels gushed out when he burst asunder. Peter’s assertion was also based on Psalm 69:26 and Psalm 109:8
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6)
Jesus had embarrassing situations earlier when Jews tried to harm Him, but no one could do any harm to him, because the due time for Him to die on behalf of us had not yet come (Ref. John 7:30). Until the determined hour was come no one could do any harm to Jesus, and when the appointed hour was come, He was taken into custody by the chief priests and elders who took counsel against Him to put Him to death.
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified” (John 12:23)
The events on the day of trial, as before the trial, and after the trial of Jesus, and the plan of man’s redemption were determined by the eternal counsel of the Almighty God.
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8)
All the disciples of Jesus scattered away, from the scene when Jesus was arrested, and left Him all alone in fulfillment of the prophecy by the prophet Zechariah. (Ref. Zechariah 13:7). Peter denied Jesus three times in fulfillment of the prophecy from Jesus. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus in fulfillment of the prophecy by the prophet Zechariah (Ref. Zechariah 11:12-13)
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones” (Zechariah 13:7)
While Peter repented and chose to serve the Lord, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and committed suicide.
The chief priests and the elders of the people delivered Jesus in the morning to the governor, Pontius Pilate, for executing Jesus to death. If only they said Jesus violated their religious laws, Pilate would have let Jesus go even before the trial began, because Roman Government had no authority to deal with cases related to religious laws. Knowing this well, the Jews leveled false charges against Jesus; and the charges were related to treason, insurrection against Government.
It was only few years ago before the crucifixion of Jesus that Roman Government stripped Jews from their power to inflict Capital punishment on those who broke their religious laws. It was because they did not have any powers over Him, neither did Roman Government, unless they were given from heaven above, no one by his power could execute Jesus. Ultimately, after the trial of Jesus was over, He was found innocent. There was nothing, He did in His lifetime, which made Him worthy of death penalty. Even secular law provides chance for the accused to be acquitted of unproved charges, but in the case of Jesus, Pontius Pilate, who boasted that he had the power to execute or release Jesus, delivered innocent Jesus to be crucified. Because it was the purpose of Jesus to die for men in their stead, He did not plead for his innocence or acquittal.
All that Jesus did was good for mankind; such as healing the sick, casting away the devils from those who were afflicted by them. He taught repentance and the way to receive everlasting life. The chief priests, the Jews and the elders of people feared that Jesus would become prominent among them, and would replace them in power. Therefore, they leveled false charges against Him and were determined to see that He was put to death. They even cried that the blood of Jesus to be upon them and their children. Pilate found no fault in Jesus. Pilate’s wife was troubled in a dream about the illegal trial of Jesus and cautioned him; yet he delivered Jesus into their hands to do what they desired to do.
The last attempt Pilate made was to release either a criminal, named Barabbas or Jesus according to their choice, and they preferred Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. What a choice they made! They preferred to kill Jesus, who was good to them all His life, and to be robbed by Barabbas, the criminal. They made a choice that the blood of Jesus to be on them, and their children, at the cost of some secular benefits. They preferred lies instead of truth saying Jesus resorted to insurrection. “The Son of man” would have gone as it was written about Him, but the tragedy was that they invited troubles for them, and preferred to receive punishment from God.
It is not that we loved God first but He loved us first, and that is the reason why He sent His one and only begotten Son into this world to die in our stead. He died for our sake and was buried. His body did not see corruption and He rose on the third day and after forty days He ascended into heaven.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. (Philippians 2:8)
“And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury” (John 19:38-40)
Mosaic Law describes how a case needs to be decided based on witnesses. Among the many instructions and procedures to be adopted as to how to settle each case between individuals and nations there is one instruction that stands out as it is written in Deuteronomy 19:15 about settling an issue in case where there was a dispute between two parties about the inheritance of the land and the landmarks. The law says that one witness shall not rise up against another for any transgression but at the mouth of the two witnesses or three the matter shall be established.
Jesus quotes the same law to decide a possible case where two brothers would dispute between themselves about an issue and He gives a solution. The solution is that the offended brother should first go and tell the offender, about the trespass of the latter and if the latter concedes to the grievance of the former, it shall be settled there, or else every word shall be established at the mouth of two or three witnesses. (Ref. Matthew 18:15-16)
In the matter of the death of Jesus by crucifixion, burial and resurrection God left strong evidence, even as required by the Mosaic Law, that minimum number of witnesses that were required to establish the case was by the word of the mouth by two or three witnesses. There was multitude of witnesses; yet, the minimum required was clearly recorded in the Scriptures. There were two witnesses from high officials of the Jews and one from the Roman Government.
In John 19:38-40 two important names and their actions are recorded. The first name was of Joseph of Arimathaea and another of Nicodemus. They both were secret followers of Lord Jesus Christ for fear of the Jews and, therefore, did not openly acknowledge Jesus or follow Him openly. Joseph of Arimathaea was an honorable counselor who ardently waited for the kingdom of God and Nicodemus was a man of the Pharisees, a ruler of the Jews who ardently sought from the Lord as to how a man could enter the kingdom of God (Cf. Mark 15:43, John 3:1). Thirdly, a Roman Centurion who was gentile, and those that were with him who watched along with others at the time of crucifixion of Jesus, saw the earthquake and those things that were done, and they feared greatly saying “Truly this was the Son of God” (Ref. Matthew 27:54)
Nicodemus contributed his part of loyalty towards Lord Jesus Christ by bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes of about one hundred pound weight. He and Joseph of Arimathaea took the body of Jesus, “and wound it in linen clothes with the spices” and this they did according to the burial customs of Jews to bury a dead body.
When Jesus was crucified and it was time for His body to be buried these two disciples, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, who were following Jesus secretly came out into the open and boldly did what they desired to do, thus showing their loyalty to Jesus and bearing witness for Him.
After crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ when it was evening Joseph of Arimathaea, who was rich and influential Jew went to Pilate the governor and begged for the body of Jesus that He may take care of wrapping the body. Pilate commanded that the body of Jesus be delivered to him and when it was delivered to Joseph of Arimathaea, he took the body and “wrapped it in a clean cloth and laid it in his own new tomb that he hewn out of the rock and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher and departed”.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary kept watch over the tomb overnight. Next day the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate and said to him that when Jesus was alive he said that he will rise from the grave after three days. Therefore, the chief priests and Pharisees requested Pilate to make sure that the sepulcher was sealed and secured firmly in order that the disciples of Jesus may not come and steal the body of Jesus from the tomb and say that He rose from the dead. Pilate consented to their request and said to them to make as sure as they can to secure and see to it that no one steals the body from the tomb. Then, they went and made the sepulcher sure and sealed the stone and set a watch. In spite of all the secure measures they took Lord Jesus Christ was triumphant over death and rose from the dead on the third day. (Cf. Matthew 27:57-66 and ch.28)
In addition there is a record from the Jewish historian, Flavius Joseph who wrote in his “Antiquities of the Jews – Book XVIII Chpater3 Paragraph 3” as follows:
Quote: Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. (9) A.D. 33, April 3, (10) April 5. Unquote
And Jesus also left a strong evidence of His resurrection by leaving his napkin folded in a place by itself and not along with the linen clothes that were wrapped around His body by Joseph of Arimaethea and Nicodemus.
“Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury” (John 19:40)
On the first day of the week, even when it was yet dark, Mary Magdalnene goes to the sepulcher and sees that the stone at the door of the tomb was rolled away. She was surprised and runs to Peter and to John and says to them that the body was taken away from the tomb and she knew not where it was laid. On hearing this news Peter and John run to the sepulcher. John overtakes Peter and stoops down into the sepulcher but does not dare to enter it. However, Peter who reached the tomb after John did, went into the tomb and saw that the linen clothes which were used to wrap the body of Jesus were lying there, and to the utmost surprise the napkin that was used to cover the head of Jesus was not lying along with the linen clothes but it was found nicely folded and lying by itself separately from the linen clothes. This was clear evidence the Jesus rose from the dead.
“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself” (John 20:6-7)
It is worth recollecting how Jesus said to them that were with Martha and Mary to comfort them concerning their brother who was dead for four days then, to remove the stone from the cave, where Lazarus was laid. When they removed the stone from the cave, Jesus lifted up his eyes and thanked the Father for hearing His prayer and then called out Lazarus from the grave. When Lazarus came forth his body was still bound with clothes and his face was bound with napkin. Jesus said to them to remove the linen from his body and napkin that bound his face. (Ref. John 11:19, 41-44).
It was the tradition of Jews to bind the dead body with linen and head with napkin. Mary stood outside the sepulcher and was weeping and as she also stooped down into the sepulcher she saw two angels sitting one at the side of the head and the other at the side of the feet of the place where the body of Jesus was laid to rest. The angels asked Mary as to why she was weeping and she said to them that they took away the body of Jesus and she did not know where the body was laid. Immediately as she spoke these words Jesus stood there and when she turned back she saw Him and called Him “Rabboni” which is to say “Master”. Jesus spoke to her but did not allow her to touch Him but said to her to go and tell His brethren that He would ascend unto His Father and their Father, and to His God and to their God. (Cf. John 20:1-17)
Thus Bible makes a clear record of Lord Jesus Christ’s death, His burial and Resurrection. Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto many after His resurrection for forty days and later ascended into heaven and He is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty. He is pleading on our behalf and will come again soon. (Ref. Acts Chapter 1, Hebrews Chapter 1)
Believe in Lord Jesus Christ and receive eternal life.
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
There was a woman, named Mary, who came to Jesus, when he sat for a meal in the house of Simon the leper, at Bethany. She opened an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard; broke open the box and poured on His head, the precious ointment, which was very expensive.
Some among those who saw the woman pouring the precious ointment on Jesus’ head spoke in indignation, saying she wasted the ointment, which was worth more than three hundred pence (roughly about $41.40). They murmured that the money could have been given to poor. Jesus perceived their thoughts and said poor are always with them, but He was not going to be with them physically always. Commending her action that it signified His death and burial, He said she will be remembered wherever the gospel was preached. (Ref. Mark 14:4-9, John 11:2)
Mary had a sister named Martha and a brother named Lazarus. Once when Lazarus was sick Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus seeking His help. When Jesus heard about the sickness of Lazarus He said that the sickness in Lazarus was not unto death but it was for the glory of God, and that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Sickness could be the result of sin in a man, or for the glory of God.
After Jesus healing the man at the pool at Bethesda He saw the man in the temple and warned Him that he should not sin anymore; otherwise worse could happen to him. This shows that the sickness in that man was because of his sin, but in the case of Lazarus, and in another case, where a blind man restored, Jesus said that the sickness in them was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Even after hearing that Lazarus was sick Jesus stayed where he was and then went to Bethany after two days. When he was at the house of Mary and Martha it was already four days past since Lazarus was dead and was buried. Martha believed that Lazarus would rise in resurrection at the last day, but Jesus said to her that He was the resurrection, and the life, and whoever believed in Him, shall live.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25)
The departure of Lazarus from this earth was painful to Mary and Martha; however they were comforted greatly by Jesus who shared their grief, by weeping along with them, before showing the miracle.
“Jesus wept”. (John 11:35)
John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible. However, it brings out great truth about the humanity of Jesus. He wept and shared their grief. Jesus was fully divine and fully human when He was on this earth.
Jesus raised Lazarus from his death. Some people left the scene in unbelief, while many Jews believed in Jesus. It is evident that Lazarus was raised in his body only to die again, but when God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, His body did not see corruption, and He had the body which could pass closed doors, and appear and disappear at His will, at any place He desired to be instantaneously.
Apostle Paul by the revelation of Jesus Christ writes, in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15, about the death of believers and their resurrection. He writes that the bodies of dead in Christ shall be changed, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, into incorruptible immortal bodies, when the “…Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
When the dead in Christ rise from the dead they sing…” O grave, where is thy victory?” and those who are caught up be meet the Lord in the air, will sing…” O death, where is thy sting?”
“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me”. (Luke 22:19)
Lord Jesus Christ was scourged and was insulted with crown of thorns on His head. A superscription which read as “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” was set up over his head. He was the Messiah but the children of Israel did not realize that fact; rather they mocked Him and crucified Him on the cross (Ref. Acts 2:23). To add up to the insult they crucified the righteous and innocent Jesus in the midst of two others who were thieves.
Yet, it pleased the Father to bruise Him for our sake and for three long dark hours our sin that Lord Jesus was bearing on behalf of us was judged on the cross. It was at this time that He cried with loud voice “Eli, Eli Lama Sabakthani” which means “My God, my God why have you forsaken me”. It was the only one occasion when the Son addressed His Father as “My God, my God” because the Father forsook Him during the period when our sin on Jesus was being judged.
Some believe that the bread and the wine will transform to the actual body of Christ and His blood although the bread and the wine retain their original appearance, odor, and taste, which in other words is called “Transubstantiation”. John 6:53-54 seem to support their view.
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:53-54)
In essence we worship Lord Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind. It is not the bread and the wine in the cup that deserve our worship but the one who gave them to us to remember Him. The bread and the wine in the cup do not transform to the actual body and blood of Jesus but they are emblems that we take and by eating and drinking of them we remember His crucifixion. Belief that these emblems turn to the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ is equivalent to believing that Jesus was re-crucified; and we never want to crucify Jesus repeatedly.
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63)
The meaning behind looking at the brazen serpent was lost very quickly when the children of Israel worshipped it and made an idol of it. King Hezekiah removed during his period the high places, broke the images and cut down the groves and broke in pieces the brass serpent that Moses had made because the children of Israel burnt incense to it. King Hezekiah called the brass serpent as “Nehustan”, which means “it is mere piece of brass!” (Ref. 2 Kings 18:4). It is sad that many turn Lord’s supper into idolatry rather than remembering the crucifixion of Jesus who died for us only once and did not or does not die repeatedly.
“Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself” (Hebrews 7:27)
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”. (Hebrews 10:10)
We are asked to remember the Lord Jesus Christ’s death as often as we can. Lord Jesus Christ suffered death on behalf of us. He was buried and His body did not suffer corruption. He was raised on the third day and appeared unto many for forty days and then He ascended into heaven. He is now seated on the right hand of the Majesty and pleading on our behalf. He is coming back soon and we are given the hope of seeing Him when He comes again in the clouds. We, the believers in Christ, will be with Him for ever and ever.
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18)
The Chief Angel, creation of God, rebelled against God, and became “Adversary”, which is Satan. Michael, the Archangel, was successful in defeating Satan three times, and therefore, it can be safely concluded that Satan is not even equal to Michael, the Archangel, leave alone taking stand against God, the Almighty (Cf. Daniel 10:13-14, Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7-8).
SATAN’S ROLE IN CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS
At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, Satan knew of the curse that God pronounced on him for deceiving Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:14-15). The Legion in the man affected with evil spirits acknowledged that Jesus was the Son God (Mark 5:7-9).
Satan knew that the Son of God, Jesus, the seed of the woman, will crush his head while he attempts to bruise his heel. The victory belonged to Jesus and as it was evident Lord Jesus Christ defeated Satan at the cross, and thus paid price for our sin, in order that whosoever confesses his/her sin to Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. However, Satan was ignorant of the fact that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus would bring Salvation to man.
Satan’s main aim was to get Jesus out of his way. He tried to kill Jesus by Herod the great, who desired to have information about Jesus from Magi when they were going to worship Jesus. Satan was not successful there because Joseph and Mary departed with child Jesus to Egypt at the behest of the angel of the Lord. Satan tried to defeat Jesus by tempting Him but he failed in his attempts. He tried to harm Jesus through scribes and Pharisees, but none of them could do any harm to Him until the hour for Jesus to lay down His life by His choice at the will of the Father came by.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men” Matthew 2:16
Satan’s endeavors were always evil and towards destroying man. If only he knew that the death, burial and resurrection would have brought salvation to mankind, he would never have played a role in Jesus reaching the cross and dying on it for the redemption of mankind.
In all the attempts made by Satan, he was unsuccessful to achieve his purposes because God has the ultimate control. Satan was powerless to hold back Jesus achieving His purposes. Scribes and Pharisees desired to see a sign from Jesus but He said to them.
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. Matthew 12:40
None of them understood that Jesus was referring to His death, burial and resurrection. Likewise, when Jesus said, “…Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), neither Jews who sold merchandize at the temple, nor His disciples understood what Jesus said. Jews were wondering how Jesus could build the temple in three days, when in fact, it took forty six years to build it. Nevertheless, Jesus spoke of the temple of His body. In fact, those who crucified Jesus mocked at Him saying:
“…Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest [it] in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” Matthew 27:40
The disciples, who heard Jesus, say that He would raise the temple up in three days, did not understand Jesus when He said those words, but they remembered after resurrection of Jesus.
“When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” John 2:22
Satan is given freedom to be the ruler of this world until his time ends; however, all the events in the world are controlled by God and nothing that happens in the world happens without His knowledge. Satan cannot overstep God achieving His purposes.
Considering the fact that Satan was not permitted to touch the life of Job, it can be inferred that Satan has no power over the life of man. Satan keeps looking for opportunity to strike man and he plays havoc in the life of man, when he finds that man is left all alone by himself without the help of God. How that man is left by himself without the help of God? It is as simple as man choosing to leave God and rejecting His help continuously. God allows man to choose his way to salvation, but his choice, again was in the knowledge of God. However, when man continuously chooses to rebel against God’s ways, It is then that God hands him over to his choice (Cf. Romans 1:26-32)
It might even surprise us that God allowed a lying spirit to go and persuade Ahab, who chose to be deceived. God allowed one of the fallen angels to have his desire fulfilled in deceiving Ahab.
“Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee” (1 Kings 22:23)
The wicked wife of Ahab introduced Baal worship in the Northern Province of Israel. Ahab desired Naboth’s vineyard, and Jezebel devised cunning plan, and grabbed the vineyard. Prophet Elijah the Tishbite prophesied their ruin and eventually their blood was licked by dogs.
Ahab, the king of Israel, made a league with Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, and ventured to capture Ramothgilead, which was a strong city east of Jordan in Gad’s territory. However, Jehoshaphat desired that Ahab consult prophets. Ahab consulted his own prophets who gave a pleasing reply that he can go and capture Ramothgilead. Again, Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to consult a prophet of the LORD, if there is one, nearby. Ahab knew of one Micaiah, a prophet of God, who always gave bad report to him. Ahab was forced into sending word for him to come and prophesy. In the meanwhile Zedekiah, a prophet, came with iron horns on his head and said: “Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them” (1 Kings 22:11b).
Ahab desired to hear good prophesy from Miciah but the latter said: “… As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. (1 Kings 22:14b). Miciah sarcastically said to Ahab to go and capture Ramothgilead, but when Ahab insisted on him to speak the truth, Miciah said he saw all Israel scattered upon the hills as if the sheep had no shepherd and, therefore, everyone in Israel should return to their home in peace, which is to say Ahab would be defeated in the battle.
Ahab said in contempt to Jehoshaphat that he anticipated bad prophecy from Miciah.
“And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? (1 Kings 22:18)
Then, Miciah explains how he saw the LORD sitting on His throne and all the host of heaven stood by Him on His right hand and on His left hand. The prophet saw the LORD asking his host of heaven, as to who will persuade Ahab that he may go and fight against Ramothgilead, and the angels gave one opinion after another. In the meanwhile, a spirit came and stood before the LORD and said “I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets” and the LORD said “Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so” (Cf. 1 Kings 22:21-22)
Ahab was very angry with Miciah because he did not prophecy according to his desire, and imprisoned Miciah and afflicted him. However, Ahab eventually got killed in the battle, thus fulfilling God’s purposes.
Once when Lord Jesus Christ was in the city of Samaria certain woman from that city went to Jacob’s well to fetch water. On seeing the woman fetching water Jesus asked her water to drink; but then the woman recognized that He was a Jew. She asked Him as to why He was asking water from her because Jews had no dealings with the Gentiles.
It is worth noting here that the Gentiles are those who are not the descendants of Jacob. Samaritans are mixed generation, the offspring from Jacob’s descendants, and the Gentiles. They are those who were not proselytized to be equated with the Israelites. That is the reason why Samaritan woman could say ‘our fathers’ referring to Jacob and his descendants but she was not Israelite.
After the fall of King Solomon’s kingdom Jeroboam ruled northern kingdom, which was called the “House of Israel” with ten tribes of Jacob with Samaria as their capital city. The southern Kingdom was called the “House of Judah” with two tribes and Jerusalem as their capital city. Levites, who were priests, mixed up on both the sides. Basically, the term “Jews” specifically refers to the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, who settled in the southern part of Israel. While few kings of Judah did much of what the LORD desired them to do, not a single king of northern kingdom of Israel did what was right in the sight of the LORD.
Samaria was inhabited by the people brought into that city by the Assyrians, from the cities that they captured in war, while fighting with kings of northern kingdom of Israel. The people thus brought into Samaria settled down there, as replacement of the people, of the “House of Israel” carried away as captives by the Assyrians. The scattering of the “House of Israel” was in consequence of God’s anger against them, because they worshipped Baal and Ashteroth, the goddesses of nations. Worshipping these goddesses was encouraged by Jezebel, the wicked wife of King Ahab.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman that if she knew who she was speaking to, and if she asked for water from Him, He would have given the living water. She wondered as to how He could have given her the living water, because he had nothing to fetch water from that well, which was very deep. Further, she asked if He was greater than Jacob, who gave them the well, from which he, and his children, and his cattle drank water.
The Samaritan woman did not understand the point that Jesus was making. While Jesus was showing her the way to the “Kingdom of God”, she was thinking of earthly things. Jesus was speaking of heavenly blessings; but she was thinking of earthly blessings. Jesus said to her that whoever drank water from the well would thirst again, but if anyone drank the living water that He gave, he will never thirst again. He said that the living water in him will spring up into everlasting life.
Again the woman perceived the talk from Jesus as for earthly blessings, and craved for that living water, that He would give, in order that she may not thirst again, and cease from fetching water from the well. The conversation continued and Jesus having known her heart, and her life as well, said to her to go and bring her husband. The woman replied that she had five husbands in the past, but presently she had no husband; moreover the one whom with she was living was not her husband. Jesus appreciated her truthful confession.
After He spoke to the woman, about the living water that He would give her, if she believed in Him, she left her water pot at the well, and went to the city, and testified about Jesus, the Savior. Her testimony yielded much result when many Samaritans of that city believed on Him. They besought Jesus to stay with them and He abode there for two days and many more believed in Him.
“And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:41-42)
Lord Jesus Christ gives everlasting life to those who believe in Him. This is the time to repent and confess your sins to Him, and believe that Jesus bore your sins on Himself, and died on the cross; He was buried and was raised from the dead.
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14)
A sure contrast is evident between the living God and the idols and the advantages and the disadvantages of worshipping them. A stark contrast is seen in them as it is exposed by the Psalmist in Psalm 135 and Prophet Isaiah.
The psalmist advises the priests, who stood before the LORD, to praise Him and exalt His name above all names because the LORD is Almighty and it is pleasant to do so. The LORD chose Israel as His nation and as His peculiar treasure. From the victories and sustenance He has given them it can said with no doubt that He is great above all other gods. He did in heaven, on earth and in the seas, whatsoever it pleased Him according to His sovereign pleasure.
The LORD causes vapors to rise from the ends of the earth and causes lightening when it rains. He has in His storehouses the winds that He sends onto the earth at His will and man does not know where they come from and where they go. The LORD sends hurricanes and tornadoes to chastise the unruly and ungodly and in contrast He sends quite winds and perennial rains to the land where His people worship Him. Science would forecast to a great extent but not surely the origin, the finest details, the direction and the intensity of the wind.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8)
Neither science nor man could stop the damaging winds that come as a result of the LORD’s fury when He sends them to chasten mankind. The Lord has full command over storms and winds and rebukes them to calm down.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:26)
Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he would not let go the LORD’s treasured possession, the children of Israel, and then the LORD’s anger was kindled against them and He killed the first born of Pharaoh, and of every Egyptian and of their cattle. He caused the best of Pharaoh’s chariots, horses and horsemen to drown and die in the Red Sea. Israel rejoiced at the marvelous victory the LORD gave them over Egyptians when they walked on the dry land in the midst of the Red Sea to the other side of the sea, safely, while Pharaoh’s army sunk into its deep waters.
While the children of Israel were on their journey to their Promised Land the LORD helped Moses and the children of Israel in slaying mighty kings and defeating their nations. When Sihon, king of the Amorites, would not let pass the children of Israel through his land, the LORD humbled him to face utter defeat by the people of Israel. The children of Israel not only took possession of Sihon’s cities but they could comfortably pass through his regions (Cf. Numbers 21:21-24). Og, king of Bashan, who was a giant and powerful king of Amorites and ruled over sixty cities, was defeated by Moses and his people when the LORD struck Og with His mighty hand. (Cf. Numbers 21:33-35).
The LORD gave to the children of Israel as their heritage, the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, as their possession. The LORD’s name endures for ever and His name is to be praised. His memorial endures for ever.
Psalmist goes on to say…
“The idols of the heathen [are] silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not. They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there [any] breath in their mouths. They that make them are like unto them: [so is] every one that trusteth in them” (Psalm 135:15-18)
The LORD blessed Israel and says to them that He formed them from the womb and, therefore, not to be afraid of anything. He assures them that there is no god except the LORD God of heavens, the God of Israel, and Jehovah is His name.
The nations with idols as their gods will not be able to do any harm to them and no weapon that is formed against them shall prosper. They that make graven images are vanity. The idols do not see nor do they hear and they that worship them, no doubt, feel comfortable in this world but they are surely devoid of heavenly peace and short of any hope of their soul after their death. Bible speaks of believers that they will be with the Lord for ever and ever in heaven, where there is no sorrow or pain or disease, and they walk on ‘street of gold’ in contrast to Satan and his followers spending their eternity, gnashing their teeth, in the lake of fire where fire and thirst do not quench (Cf. Revelation Chapters 20 to 22).
“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction” (Psalms 73:18)
The workmen who make idols are men, who with their tongs and coals, fashion them with hammers with their strength. When man is hungry and thirsty he is weak and then he eats and drinks and gains strength and with that strength he makes the graven images and calls them as his gods. The idols, which are called as man’s gods, are made with the strength of man and he bows down to them seeking strength.
The carpenter stretches out his measuring tape and marks out a line and uses compass and makes a figure of a man according to the beauty of man or as he perceives his god to be like, many times much smaller than man’s stature, and places them to remain static in man’s house.
Man brings wood from Cedars, Cyprus and Oak and he makes firewood out of them for warming up his body or cook food for himself and he carves the wood into idols and puts them on pedestals not to move but to sit at one place. There is the idol sitting in a cage like a bird. What profit is there to worship them that do not see or hear or move. When their gods are to be moved to a different location men carry them on their shoulders because they cannot move by themselves. Imagine a father carrying his disabled child on his shoulder or in a wheel chair and pity on those idols when man carries them on his shoulders in a similar way from place to place. Men call them gods and the gods are carried by men. Men call them great and they are shorter than them. (Cf. Isaiah Chapters 44 and 46)
“They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble” (Isaiah 46:7)
The LORD God of Israel, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ says:
“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4)
Just as the house of Israel, the house of Aaron, and the house of the Levi, who fear the LORD are asked to bless the LORD and praise His name, we are also asked to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Individual saints in the Old Testament period offered sacrifices until Mosaic Law came into existence and they were priests by themselves. However, after Mosaic Law came into existence the entire congregation of children of Israel was called “Kingdom of Priests” but inasmuch as they violated the Law the Tribe of Levi was given the privilege to become priests. Only the high priest had the access to the Most Holy place in the Tabernacle only once a year and that was on the “Day of Atonement”.
Now that Lord Jesus Christ is our High Priest we all have access to the Father through Him and we are all priests of God. We are His “Royal Priesthood” and living Sacrifice. The Lord expects from us sincere worship in spirit and in truth. In lieu of sacrifices offered under Mosaic Law we are required to offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Cf. Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 1 Peter 2:5-9)
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36)
Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bore our sin upon Himself and died on the cross for our sake that we may be made righteous. He was buried and rose from the dead on the third day. Whoever confesses by mouth “Jesus is the Lord” and believes in heart that God raised Him from the dead will be saved. Today is the day of salvation. Confess sins to Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as your personal savior.
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea” (Exodus Chapter 15:1)
Moses, the servant of God, sang a song unto the LORD as the people of Israel joined him in praising the mighty works of the LORD. Miriam, his sister, Aaron, his brother played timbrel and danced and all the women followed them in playing timbrels and dancing.
Miriam said “…Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea” (Exodus 15:21)
After the deliverance of the children of Israel from the mighty and evil forces of Pharaoh the children of Israel and Moses sang the song of praises to the LORD and they sang praises unto the only living God who drowned and killed their enemies in the Red Sea.
The blast from the nostrils of the LORD gathered the waters in the Red sea and it split up to stand upright like heap and with the strength like that of a rock on either side of the dry pathway which the LORD made for the children of Israel and their cattle to tread on.
The outstretched and mighty hand of the LORD delivered them from the bondage of slavery and in recognition of God’s faithfulness they sang the song. They sang the excellence of the LORD and praised Him and they sang that the enemy pursued them but they were overthrown by the power of God. The pride of the enemy was brought to no effect and God blew the wind over the Red Sea.
The children of Israel walked to their safety under the mighty hands of God beyond the Red Sea and then at the command of God Moses stretched forth his hand over the Red sea and the sea returned to normal. Egyptians tried to escape against the tide of the waters, but the waters covered the chariots, the horsemen, and the entire host of Pharaoh who came pursuing after them. The LORD took off the wheels of their chariots and His right hand was glorious in power and it dashed the enemy into pieces.
The children of Israel continued singing “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Cf. Exodus 15:8, 11, Exodus 13:18-22 and 14:24-30)
The LORD reigns for ever and ever and He is with us always. The Lord never tempts any man and no temptation is greater than the capacity of a man to resist it; rather God provides always a way out to escape from the temptation when he is tempted. Submit to the Lord, be sober, be vigilant, put on His whole armor and resist the wiles of the devil, which comes sometimes like a roaring lion and sometimes like an angel of light.
There is reason for us to sing unto the Lord because Jesus paid price for our salvation. It is neither by silver nor by gold or by our good works but by the precious blood of Jesus that we have our salvation. Let us sing unto the LORD as Psalmist sang unto Him when his heart rejoiced in Him.
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” (Psalms 95:1)