Archive for October, 2010
|Jesus & His Disciples Last Meeting, the Great Commission, and Jesus’ Accension
Mark 16:15-19; Luke 24:50-53; John 21; Acts 1:1-14
FAR UP IN Galilee, away from the reach of their enemies, a group of men and women met together on a mountain-side and waited for the appearance of their Lord. And Jesus came to them there, and talked in other days. And they rejoiced to see him once more and worshiped him; but some doubted that he was really the same Jesus who had been nailed to the cross. One day after this meeting some of the disciples who had been fishermen returned to the Sea of Galilee. The familiar sight of the water and fishing-boats floating about on the surface stirred within Peter’s heart a desire to again go fishing. So he told his companions, and they said, “We will go with you.”
All that night the men stayed in their ship, toiling with their net; but not one fish did they catch. When morning came they drew near to the shore and saw a stranger standing there beside a fire of coals. He called to them and asked whether they had any fish.
They replied that they had caught none, and he bade them cast their net into the water once more, this time on the right side of the ship. They obeyed, and now the net was filled.
John, the disciple who often went with Peter and James, now whispered to his companions, “It is the Lord.”
And immediately Peter wrapped his fisher’s coat about his body and jumped overboard to swim to shore, so eager was he to come to Jesus. The others remained in the ship and brought it to the landing. Then Jesus commanded them to bring some of the fish they had caught, and Peter drew the net from out of the water. In it they had taken one hundred and fifty-three large fishes, yet the net was not broken. Then Jesus asked the men to come and eat, for he had already prepared fish and bread on the burning colas.
After they had eaten, Jesus talked with Simon Peter, the disciple who had denied him at the time of his trial. He asked Simon three times if he loved him, and each time Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Simon believed that Jesus knew all things, and he felt sad because Jesus asked him this same question the third time. Then he remembered how only a short while ago he had denied three times that he ever knew Jesus. Now he declared three times that he loved him, and Jesus told him to feed his lambs and sheep.
Simon Peter had heard Jesus speak a parable one day about the Good shepherd, who gave his life for his sheep. And he knew that Jesus had called himself the Good Shepherd. Now he understood that Jesus had died for the sins of the people, and he believed that men and women were the sheep whom Jesus meant that he should feed. Not their bodies, but their souls were hungry to be fed, and Jesus wanted Peter to leave his work as a fisherman and become a preacher of the gospel. In this way he could feed the people.
Then Jesus told Peter words like these: “When you were a young man you went wherever you wished, but when you shall become an old man you shall stretch out your hands and another shall carry you where you do not wish to go.”
By these words he meant that when Peter should grow old he would be put to death because he loved Jesus.
Then he said to Peter, “Follow me.”
Simon Peter turned about and saw John standing by. At once he asked, “Lord, what shall this man do?”
But Jesus said, “Never mind about John’s work; see that you follow me.”
Forty days passed by, and during these days Jesus often spoke with his disciples about the kingdom of God. Still they did not understand that it would not be an earthly kingdom, like the kingdom of David had been. At last the time came for their farewell-meeting.
During this time Jesus appeared to his disciples and “when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
While they talked earnestly together, Jesus said, “John the Baptist baptized you with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”
And some of the disciples asked, “Will you at that time restore the kingdom of Israel?”
But Jesus said, “It is not for you to know the plans of the heavenly Father; but you shall receive power from heaven when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and this power will cause you to witness boldly to me in Jerusalem, in all the country of Judah, in Samaria, and in the farthest parts of the world. But do not go away from Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit is given to you.”
While Jesus talked to them they were standing together on the Mount of Olives, and suddenly the disciples saw him being caught up into heaven. They watched until he disappeared from sight in bright clouds, after which they saw him no more. But still they stood gazing upward, hoping to catch one more glimpse of their departing Lord.
Then two angels came and stood beside them, clothed in beautiful garments of white. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven will come again in the same manner as he went away.”
Then they left the place and went into Jerusalem, into a room up-stairs, where they met together with other friends of Jesus to wait and pray until the promised Comforter should be given to them.
No longer were they sorrowing; for now great joy filled their hearts because they knew that Jesus was really the Christ.
(8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.)
Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour. Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering.
In Jesus’ name
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
The revelation of God in nature prepares us for His revelation in the Scriptures. Ultimately, Jesus Christ reveals Himself as Savior. This was the experience of the Magi (Matt. 2). the light of nature led them to the light of the Word, which led them to the Light of the World.
The Bible meets the needs of the human heart. No other book is like it. It is God’s testimony. Its name is the Law of the Lord. The sun is to creation what the Law is to God’s people, bringing light, warmth, life and growth.
The Bible’s nature is perfect and pure. The Bible is called the fear of the Lord because we need a reverential, holy, awesome fear of God (v.9). We teach God’s Word because it enlightens (v.8). We trust it becasue it is true and righteous (v.9). We treasure it because it is more desired than gold (v. 10). We may even “taste” the Word and test it.
The Bible satisfies every need. It converts the soul. It warns us. There is great reward in keeping the Law. It’s a wonder that with God’s revelation in nature and Scripture so many people are blind.
The Bible is the book of our heart. Every time we read a book, watch TV or listen to a speaker, something is being written on our hearts. Let God write His Word on your heart. The heart sees what it loves. When we love the Lord with our hearts, we see Him in creation and in the Scriptures.
If God is your Redeemer, He can be your Strength. Live acceptably in His sight, allowing the meditation of your heart to please Him. Then your life will be what He wants it to be.
God is more than the God of creation and the Scriptures; He is the God of redemption. If your heart is filled with Him and yielded to Him, you can have victory over sin. Don’t simply worship the God of nature. Get into the Word of God and let God get into you.
There isn’t a man or woman anywhere, I am convinced, who does not long for tenderness.
When I was in college, a girl who lived on my floor in the dormitory was pursued by a number of ardent young men on the campus. When the floor phone rang, we assumed it was for her. She was the kind who “could have anybody,” it seemed, and treated most of them with casual carelessness. But one young man in particular would not be discouraged in his efforts to win her, even though she kept him at arm’s length and declined some of his invitations. She made light of his attentions, as she did of many others’, but was given pause one day when a bouquet arrived.
Like any woman, she eagerly snatched the card from its tiny envelope. Although one is supposed to be able to “say it with flowers,” we all want plain English, too.
On the card were two words: Tenderly, Bill.
I think it did her in. She was a buoyant, outgoing, attractive, sometimes flippant girl, but that word pierced the armor. When she showed it to me, it gave me a whole new vision, through a single powerful word, of what that man was made of. He was not handsome by any means. He was rather ordinary, in fact. But suddenly I saw him as strong and unusually desirable. I had not known that tenderness was an absolutely essential ingredient in a man, but I knew it at once, when I saw the card, and mentally added it to the list of qualifications I would need if I ever found a husband.
They come in a tasty blend of sweet, sour and salty. They can also be deadly.
Yes, craving for that piece of dried sour plum can kill you, albeit slowly.
Many types of dried fruits imported from China, Taiwan and other Asian countries have been found to contain high levels of lead.
On Thursday, the Government restricted 18 important brands of dried fruits found to have lead content of between 0.11 and 30.3 parts per million (ppm) or milligram (mg)/kilogramme (kg).
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said only dried fruit products other than these brands would be allowed to be sold in the country.
“Under Regulation 38 of the Food Regulations 1985, the level of lead accepted is two parts per million. Action will be taken if the lead content exceeds the amount,” he said.
Those who distribute food products deemed to be harmful to health can be charged under Section 13(1) of the Food Act 1983. They can also be fined up to RM100,000 or jailed up to maximum of 10 years or both if found guilty.
Liow said the ministry would ensure that the brands of banned dried fruit do not enter the country.
Lead is a metal that can be absorbed into the body over time.
Excess consumption, especially by the young, can lead to serious health problems, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies.
Lead also poses risks to pregnant women and infants.
Malaysia’s move to bar the 18 brands of dried fruits comes in the wake of last Friday’s move by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory against eating dried fruits imported from Asia.
Testing results in Texas found that dried plums and products containing dried plums contained lead as much as 300 times the acceptable level.
The FDA doe not have lead limits specifically for prunes, but the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has advised avoiding consumption of any amount of lead.
The warning, however, did not apply to prunes from the US.
[Ā’hăb] – father’s brother
1. The son of Omri, and his successor as the seventh king of Israel (1 Kings 16:28-33: – 29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years.
30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.
31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.
32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria.
33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him).
The Man Who Wanted Another’s Vineyard
Ahab was an able and energetic warrior. His victories over the Syrians pushed the borders of his kingdom to the border of Damascus. Great renown became his, also great wealth indicated by the ivory palace he built for himself
1 Kings 21:1; – 1 Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
1 Kings 22:39: – 39 As for the other events of Ahab’s reign, including all he did, the palace he built and inlaid with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?
Success, however, made him greedy for still more. Not since Solomon’s time had a king been so victorious as Ahab, and what was a little matter like Naboth’s vineyard to one who had grasped so much? With his wealth, Ahab bought all he wanted. One tenant, however, could not be bought out. Sentiment, affection and tender memories were more to Naboth than all the king’s money.
Ahab could not say “All is mine” until the vineyard on his estate was his. First of all, there was no flaw in Ahab’s advances. A fair price and richer land were offered Naboth. The sin came after Naboth’s refusal to sell, because of a thousand sacred ties. Ahab sinned in not entering into a poorer man’s feelings. Naboth was not obstinate. His vineyard was a sacred heritage, a precious tradition. If we are to be Christlike we must be considerate of others.
Ahab’s next fault was that of making an awful grievance of his disappointment. He acted like a spoiled child and in a sulky fit told of failure to secure the vineyard to Jezebel, his strong-minded wife. Ahab and Jezebel are the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth of this inspired story. Ahab played into his wife’s hands, and those hands were eager to shed blood.
Points for possible expansion are:
I. Ahab established idolatry. He was a dangerous innovator and a patron of foreign gods
1 Kings 16:31-33: – 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.
1 Kings 21:26: – 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.
II. He was a weak-minded man, lacking moral fiber and righteousness
1 Kings 21:4: – 4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.
III. He was the tool of his cruel, avaricious wife
1 Kings 21:7-25: – 7 Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him.
9 In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people.
10 But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”
11 So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them.
12 They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people.
13 Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death.
14 Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”
15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.”
16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.
17 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite:
18 “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it.
19 Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’ ”
20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD.
21 ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free.
22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.’
23 “And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of [a]Jezreel.’
24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.”
25 (There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife.
IV. His doom, along with that of Jezebel, was foretold by Elijah (1 Kings 21:22: – 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.) and by Micaiah (1 Kings 22:28: – 28 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”).
2. The name of the false prophet who was in Babylon during the exile, and was roasted in the fire by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 29:21-23: – 21 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: “I will hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes.
22 Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘The LORD treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.’
23 For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and in my name have spoken lies, which I did not tell them to do. I know it and am a witness to it,” declares the LORD).
(41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.)
And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
|The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus; Doubting Thomas
Luke 24:13-48; John 20:19-31
THE PASSOVER FEAST had ended, and some of the visitors at Jerusalem were returning to their homes. Along the roadway leading from the city of Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, seven miles distant, two men were walking slowly, with bowed heads. They were friends of Jesus, and they were troubled about the news that had come to the city just before they started on their journey. As these men talked together about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, and about the women’s message that early morning, suddenly a stranger joined them and asked, “Why is it that you are so sad? What are you talking about so earnestly?”
The men replied, “Can it be possible that you have not heard about the sad things that have been happening during these few days past?”
And the stranger asked, “What things?”
The men began to tell this stranger about Jesus of Nazareth whom they had hoped would deliver their nation from the rule of the Romans and set up a kingdom. They told him how the chief priests and rulers had become jealous of him because he was such a mighty prophet, and how they captured him and caused him to be crucified. They told him that Jesus had died on the cross and that his body had been buried by loving friends in a nice, new tomb.
“And this is the third day since these things happened,” they said, “and this morning some women of our company astonished us by saying they had gone early to the tomb and had seen that his body had been taken away. But they said angels were there, and the angels said he had risen from the dead. Then some of our own number hurried to the grave and found that it was indeed empty, but they did not see the angels nor did they see our risen Lord.”
The stranger listened patiently, and when they had finished he began to talk to them about the teachings of Moses’ law and of the prophets concerning the promised Redeemer of Israel. He showed them by the word of God’s book that Jesus, the prophet of Galilee, should suffer these very things and rise again the third day if he would really be the Redeemer for whom they were longing.
And the men listened silently, wondering who this stranger could be.
Presently they came near to the village of Emmaus, and the two men asked the stranger to stop with them until the next morning, as the day had nearly ended. So he stopped with them.
And when they sat down to eat their evening meal he took bread, blessed it, and gave it to them, and they knew at once that he was Jesus, their risen Lord. But he disappeared from their sight.
Now the two men understood why the women who had seen the angels seemed so full of joy. They, too, believed in the risen Lord, and their hearts were filled with gladness. They rose up from the table and hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples that they had seen the Lord.
The deep shades of night had fallen over Jerusalem when the men at last came to the house where the disciples and some of their friends were gathered together. When they entered the room they saw that a change had come over these people who had been so sad.
Now every one seemed happy, and excited about something. “Jesus is indeed risen,”they cried joyously, “for Peter has seen him!”
Then the women told how he had appeared to them on their way to Emmaus, and how they had not known him until he had blessed and broken bread at their evening meal.
While they talked together suddenly Jesus himself appeared in their midst. And they were frightened, for the doors were closed when he entered and they supposed he was a spirit.
But he spoke to them and said, “Why are you fearful? See my hands and my feet; touch me, and see that I am not a spirit, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as I have.”
Then he asked for something to eat, and they gave him a piece of fish and some honey, which he ate before them. Great was their joy on beholding him once more in their midst, after they had seen him so cruelly tortured and killed.
But Thomas, one of the disciples, was not present when Jesus appeared. And he would not believe when the others told him that they had seen the Lord.
He said, “Except I see in his hands the print of the nails and put my fingers into the nail-prints, and except I thrust my hand into the place where the spear cut his side, I will not believe.”
A week passed by, and again the disciples were together in a room, the doors being closed, and this time Thomas was with them.
Then Jesus appeared as suddenly as he had come before, and he said to them all, “Peace be to you!”
While they were wondering at his strange coming he called Thomas and said, “Behold my hands, and put your finger into the print of the nails; and put your hand into the place where the spear cut my side. And do not doubt, but believe.”
Now Thomas worshiped Jesus, saying, “My Lord, and my God!”
To him Jesus said, “You believe because you have seen, but blessed are those who will believe though they do not see me.”
Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness to me. Thank you for your peace even in the midst of the storms of life. I know that you are with me, and I can stand strong because you will lead me into victory all the days of my life.
In Jesus’ Name