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|Posted on September 19, 2016 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
Session 4 - 1 Peter 2:24-25 – Living as Strangers – Day 5
1 Peter 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.
The whole reason Jesus left His throne in Heaven and came to earth was for our redemption. Oswald Chambers, quoted in My Utmost for His Highest, expressed this well:
“The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption.”
We bear the image of our Savior and are covered with His robe of righteousness because He became our sin-bearer on the cross. We died to sins when we trusted in the One who died in our place. Jesus has healed us of our spiritual distress, our sin, and made us whole by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We will only be completely physically healed when we are with Him in Heaven where there will be no more suffering, no more pain, no more tears. When I was in a high place of intercession and impatient about own healing, the Lord let me know that healing is mine; but the timing is His. We rejoice when the Lord provides healing this side of heaven, but we can all hope with certainty for ultimate healing when we are with Him forever. I (Susan) am so grateful that God is able, willing, and eager to use me now, just as I am, before my ultimate healing is manifest in my body.
1 Peter 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Before surrendering to Jesus, we were lost sheep wandering aimlessly. But the Good Shepherd now holds us securely in His hand (John 10:27-28). Praise the Lord!
Isaiah 53:5-6 (AMP) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,We have turned, each one, to his own way; But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing] To fall on Him [instead of us].
Challenge: Write out a description of your life before you came to know Jesus as Savior. Contrast that with a description of your life in Him. Share your before and after story with a friend. This is your testimony! We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and by our testimony.
Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
|Posted on September 3, 2016 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
Session 2 – 1 Peter 1:17-19 – Be Holy – Day 3
1 Peter 1:17 (HCSB) And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence.
If a person claims God as Father, i.e. is a Christian, her behavior should reflect that she is her Father’s daughter. God judges impartially, not in the sense of condemning the Christian since we know the Christian’s salvation is secure, but a judgment leading to rewards. He judges His children fairly and objectively, knowing not only their deeds but the motives behind them. What does Peter mean by “conduct yourselves in fear”? Are we to be in abject terror of Father God? We are to reverence and respect the Father as well as be in complete awe of His power. We are to obey His will because as His children, our desire should be to bring Him joy, pleasure, and honor. We must remember that loving fathers discipline their children out of love not hate. Understanding that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere should make one pause before acting in any way that would dishonor Him. However, He is also merciful and gracious to those who trust in the salvation purchased on the cross by the blood of His Son.
Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Psalm 34:11 (AMP) Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you to revere and worshipfully fear the Lord.
There are consequences when we do not live in obedience to the heavenly Father, but these are the result of His love for us.
Hebrews 12:5-7 (ESV) And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
1 Peter 1:18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
We should desire obedience out of gratitude to the Father and the Son for the sacrifice made on the cross. He redeemed us, bought us out of slavery to The Law which was impossible for mere human beings to obey completely. Our sin nature makes it impossible to be holy enough to interact with a Holy God. Jesus could not purchase our redemption with money or the most valuable possessions on earth. The only payment acceptable to God was the perfect sacrificial Lamb, the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ blood paid the price of our sin debt on the cross and freed us from that striving. Now our obedience is made possible by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In essence God enables us to earn the rewards He desires to give us as we yield ourselves completely to the Spirit’s control. Through the Spirit’s power we can live in agreement with God’s will and purpose for our lives. Our lives are no longer empty and aimless. We have a God-given purpose to fulfill as long as He chooses to leave us on planet Earth.
Challenge: The phrases “fear the Lord” and “the fear of the Lord” are used many times in both the old and new testaments. Use a good concordance or www.biblegateway.com to look up several of these to gain a better understanding of what this means. Look up the words used for fear in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
|Posted on August 8, 2016 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
Prophecy Fulfilled – He was Pierced
John 19:31(ESV) Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.
Jesus was dying on the cross at the same time the Passover lambs would be sacrificed and prepared for the Passover Feast on Friday evening. Jesus and His disciples had celebrated Passover the night before (Thursday) due to two ways of reckoning days by Jews from different areas (MacArthur Bible Commentary). This allowed for the lambs to be sacrificed over four hours instead of two since each family brought a lamb for sacrifice. So the final, perfect Lamb was slain at Passover which celebrated the angel of death passing over the houses of the Jews in Egypt who had the blood of the sacrificial lamb on their doorposts. How fitting that Jesus conquered sin and death on the day of celebrating deliverance from death! Jesus’ blood was not painted on the door posts of the homes. It was poured out on the cross creating a doorway to heaven, the way for those dead in their sins to be made alive in Him.
The Romans usually left the person on the cross until he/she died naturally of suffocation due to no longer having the strength to push with their legs to rise up and breathe. Then they left the corpse on the cross for the birds to feast on. However, this was not permitted by Jewish law, so the Jewish leaders asked that those on the cross have their legs broken rather than be hanging there on the Passover Sabbath.
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (NASB) If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Jesus was cursed on our behalf as He bore all of our sin on the cross.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Even the manner of death Jesus suffered fulfilled prophecy and had been planned from the foundation of the world.
John 19:32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.
Jesus was a polarizing agent even until His last breath. One thief recognized and received Him as the Son of God and was re-united with Him in Paradise. The other rejected Him and was separated from Him for all eternity. The breaking of their legs was actually seen as a merciful act as it shortened the duration of their excruciating suffering. With broken legs, they could no longer rise up to breathe and would die quickly.
John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
When it was Jesus’ turn to have His legs broken, it was a moot point because He had already released His spirit into the Father’s arms. Since Jesus was the Father’s paschal offering that would end the sacrificial system, according to God’s instructions His legs were not to be broken. The Passover Lamb was to have no broken bones, and Jesus was the Passover Lamb.
Exodus 12:46 (NIV) It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.
Num. 9:12 (NIV) They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations.
However, even though they did not break Jesus’ legs, one soldier decided to thrust his spear in Jesus’ side to make sure He was truly dead.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
It was as if the soldier viewed Jesus as an animal he was gutting. John puts in this detail as proof that Jesus was definitely, irrefutably dead, beyond all questioning or doubt.
John 19:35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.
John is here referring to himself as an eyewitness of the crucifixion. Imagine John seeing his very own Lord, the Messiah he trusted, his best friend and confidant, expiring in such a gruesome way. His heart was surely wrenching with anguish, sorrow, and pain. He had entrusted His life to Jesus as being equal with God and had placed all his hope in Him. Now Hope was dead, hanging on a cross! John now had not only the responsibility to follow in His ways by teaching what He taught but, also, the responsibility of looking after Jesus’ mother as Jesus would if He were there. Much later John wrote these painful memories in his Gospel that others would believe his testimony and trust in Jesus.
John 19:36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
Even the brutal piercing of Jesus’ side was a fulfillment of prophecy:
Zechariah 12:10 (MSG) “Next I’ll deal with the family of David and those who live in Jerusalem. I’ll pour a spirit of grace and prayer over them. They’ll then be able to recognize me as the One they so grievously wounded—that piercing spear-thrust! And they’ll weep—oh, how they’ll weep! Deep mourning as of a parent grieving the loss of the firstborn child.
Jesus went through a multiplicity of afflictions in order to be our Redeemer, our substitute, our perfect sacrificial Lamb.
Q – Have you ever taken a lengthy period of time to just meditate on Jesus, the Suffering Servant? Have you thought about all the prophecies He fulfilled even in His last days on earth? The only word that truly describes it all is amazing. Amazing Love, Amazing Sacrifice, Amazing Grace. We frivolously use the words awesome and amazing to describe worldly, comparatively small accomplishments. Meditate today with amazement at all our awesome Lord has done for us!
|Posted on February 24, 2016 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
John 1:35 (ESV) The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
The day after John the Baptist had declared that Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus chooses to walk by him again. Perhaps Jesus walked by at that moment because He knew John would take that opportunity to say something, to prophesy about Jesus once more. Two of John’s disciples were standing there, and John said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Or as we would say, “Look! There He is, the Lamb of God!” These two disciples of John the Baptist, hearing him say this, chose to follow Jesus. John did not try to stop them since his stated purpose was to point others to the Lord, not himself. The fact that they followed Jesus meant that John was fulfilling his divine purpose of making a way for the Messiah.
John 1:38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.”
Jesus asked them what they were looking for. They did not really answer His question but addressed Him as Rabbi or Teacher, a term of respect indicating that they thought they could learn from Him. They knew that Jesus possessed wisdom they did not have, and they wanted to learn from Him. Their teacher, John the Baptist, sent them in His direction which was enough commendation for them to seek Him out. They asked where He was living at the moment. He invited them to follow Him and find out.
John 1:39b So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
The detail here indicates that John the Apostle was the other disciple of John the Baptist who followed Jesus along with Andrew. John’s first meeting with Jesus was so life altering that he remembered the precise hour of the day it happened. The tenth hour would be 10:00 a.m., so they spent the entire day with Jesus.
John 1:40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
This first meeting with Jesus was enough to convince Andrew that He was indeed the Messiah, and he rushed off to share this news with his brother Simon. Andrew was extremely excited about Jesus and wanted to share this great news with his brother before sharing with anyone else. At first, Andrew kept it all in the family. When we have exceptionally good news, shouldn’t we want our family to join in the joy with us? He told Simon that he had found the Messiah, the Christ, which means the Anointed One. Every Jewish man would know the prophecies about the promised Messiah who would be the Son of God.
John 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. The Bible does not tell us whether or not Simon came enthusiastically or was dragged kicking and screaming, only that Andrew brought him. Jesus promptly renamed him Peter which means rock. His renaming of Peter is actually prophetic. Peter seemed an unlikely leader because he was a simple fisherman, had a hot-headed temper, and often had tunnel vision. He would leap to follow the Lord walking on water but then would lose focus quickly and start sinking as he stared at the obvious problem of the waves rather than the solution standing in front of him. Jesus gave him a name indicating how Jesus would transform him as they walked together. He would not truly become “rock-like,” (steady and dependable) until the Holy Spirit filled him on the day of Pentecost.
John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
Philip was from the same home town as Andrew and Peter, possibly one of their “homies.” We do not know if they knew each other prior to following the Lord, but they might have since John made a point to say they were from the same place. Why would Philip just leave and follow Jesus? The Bible does not really tell us, but perhaps seeing Andrew and Peter following Jesus, Philip knew there must be something special and worthy of following about this Man.
John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
We do not know how much interaction with Jesus Philip had before declaring to Nathanael that Jesus was the one foretold by the prophets. Still he refers to Jesus as the son of Joseph from Nazareth.
46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Nazareth was a small town of no significant prophetic consequence. It was also a place looked down upon by those from Galilee. So Nathanael has a hard time believing the Messiah could come from such a place. But Philip persists and insists that he “come and see” for himself. Apparently these first followers believed that just a few moments in the presence of Jesus could convince their friends to follow Him as well. It is as if they were thinking, “When you hear Him, you will know without reservation that He is that One we have been awaiting so long!”
Q – Are we convinced that people will desire to follow Jesus if they can only see Him for themselves? What are we doing to “show” them Jesus?
John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Nathanael was curious enough to follow Philip to Jesus. The first thing that Jesus says about Nathanael is that he is honest and above reproach. This is their first meeting, but Jesus makes a statement about his inner character. Nathanael demands to know how Jesus could know him so well. He is shocked because they have not spent any time together. To know that a person is honest usually means you have spent time with them and seen them in difficult situations. Jesus tells Nathanael that he saw him sitting under the fig tree before Philip even approached him. Jesus is not only saying, “I saw you with my eyes.” When Jesus sees a person, he does not only view their physical shell. He sees right through them, into the core of their being.
John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel.
Apparently the fig tree was some distance away from Jesus so that He could not humanly, physically have seen Nathanael. So now Nathanael is convinced Philip was telling him the truth. Nathanael addresses Jesus as Rabbi which means Teacher. He is probably expecting Jesus to set up a Kingdom where He rules and reigns in Israel as King. At any rate, Nathanael now believes enough to declare Jesus the Messiah.
John 1:50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
I almost picture Jesus laughing heartily as he says, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe?” I picture Him having a good belly laugh as well. He basically says, “If that amazed you, you haven’t seen anything yet! You better put your seatbelt on!” Of course, they didn’t have seatbelts yet, but you get the gist. Jesus knew that Nathanael and the other disciples would be witnesses to incredible signs and wonders, up to and including raising people from the dead! As Jacob saw the angels descending and ascending on a ladder to Heaven (Genesis 28:12), the disciples would see many proofs that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. Jesus' favorite term for Himself was “Son of Man” which refers back to Daniel’s prophecy concerning the end times:
Daniel 7:13-14 (NIV) “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
The term “Son of Man” also indicates Jesus position as the bridge between God and man. As the perfect God-Man, fully human yet fully divine, Jesus communicates with mankind on behalf of the Father. In the next lesson, we will see the first of the amazing signs Jesus performed in front of His disciples. Nathanael was in for a treat indeed!
Q – How did Jesus “reveal” Himself to you? Was it through reading the Bible? Hearing the word preached? A friend sharing the good news as Andrew and Philip shared? Are you willing to ask the Lord to use you to reveal Him to others?
|Posted on February 23, 2016 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
John 1:29 (NIV) The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
The very next day after John the Baptist dealt with the contingent sent from the Pharisees, he saw Jesus headed his way. There must have been a crowd gathered because he instructed them to look at Jesus and described Him as “the Lamb of God. John the Baptist was not only announcing who Jesus was but was heralding His purpose. Within the sacrificial system God had implemented for His people, the Jews, only a lamb with no blemish or malady, a completely sound specimen, could be sacrificed at Passover. In the original Passover when the Jews were captive in Egypt, the blood of a perfect lamb was put on the doorposts so the angel of death would pass over that house rather than kill the first born children inside. Jesus would ultimately become the final Passover Lamb whose death would deliver all types of people from all nations and all times from sin and death. This does not say that all people will be saved. The Bible clearly teaches that not all roads lead to Heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus clearly claims to be the only way. Those who believe Jesus is God in the person of the Son, that He died in their place and was raised to life on the third day, and trust Him alone to deliver them from sin and death, WILL be delivered. Continue watching for references to Jesus as the Lamb of God. You may want to mark them in your Bible. We will put the words in red for you.
John 1:30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
John was baptizing so that Israel, the Lord’s people, might recognize their need for spiritual cleansing in preparation for the Messiah’s arrival. Even though he was Jesus’ cousin, John had not realized that He was the Christ until he baptized him. Also, John reiterates that Jesus is superior to him.
John 1:32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
God had given John a sign to watch for – that the Holy Spirit would descend upon the Messiah and stay. He had witnessed this occurrence when he baptized Jesus.
Mark 1:9-12 (NIV) At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
John the Baptist declared that he only baptized people with water but Jesus would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Acts 1:4-5 (NIV) On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
John’s baptism was in preparation for the arrival of the Messiah. The baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave His followers was to sustain them in His physical absence from the earth. The gift of the Holy Spirit enabled them to proclaim the Gospel with power and boldness.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
God had revealed the fact that Jesus was His Son to John the Baptist as the Spirit in the form of a dove rested on the Lord when He was baptized with water. As far as John the Baptist was concerned this was irrefutable evidence that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of God. He did not keep this good news to himself but declared it loudly and without apology to the people.
Q – Once John the Baptist recognized Jesus for who He really was, He pointed others His direction. How can we as believers point others in the direction of Jesus so they too may have the gift of forgiveness and God’s grace? If you have not entrusted your life to Jesus, it is our prayer that He might reveal Himself to you through the study of His word in the Gospel of John.