Archive for January, 2013


 

Simon the Cerene man ordered to assist Jesus

Luke 9:51-56

“As the time drew near for Jesus to be received up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem”

Jerusalem was always hostile toward Jesus.  It cost much for Jesus to go to Jerusalem.  He never felt at Home there as it was a haughty arrogant city –the household of the religious intelligencia of that day.  It was a city where He experienced much hostility–yet His desire to do His Father’s will superceded any concern satan might tempt Him to have for His own comfort.    He knew   Jerusalem would execute Him, and that His Father’s Plan of sacrifice was at hand.    His ministry up to this period was like the calm before the Storm.     In Luke 12: 49-50, He is recorded as saying, “I came to cast fire upon the Earth, and would that it were already kindled!   I have a baptism to be baptised with and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!”  Part of that baptism would be an ever increasing experience of hostility, heartbreak, contrasts and indifference from that time foreward , culminating to His ultimate death of sacrifice on that execution cross.

On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus felt led to visit a Samaritan city He was accquainted with.    The Samaritans were also outcasts like Jesus-  both were despised by the Religious elite.   Jerusalem was a dirty word to the Samaritans because of the way Jerusalem treated these people.      Jesus felt an inner kinship with the Samaritans because He identified with them.  His stopping along the way to spend time with them was not only to benefit them, but a chance for them to have the opportunity to comfort Him as well by their presence.

Sadly, when they found out that He was headed toward Jerusalem, and that He was determined to get there- they became offended in Him, and would not let Him in thier city.   The disciples saw the dissapointed hurt look on Jesus’s face, so becoming indignant at the rudeness of these Samaritans, they asked Jesus if they could pray for fire to come down from Heaven to kill them.     This further grieved our Lord, –seeing the immaturity of His disciples- still clinging to the spirit of revenge after all He tried to teach them, and now time was getting short- His ministry coming to a close.

Quietly He left that city in Samaria, and with the disciples, they “went to another village”.      As they continued their trek, some people who found out where they were , followed.  One man , assuming that Jesus was probably heading to Jerusalem to finally set up His Kingdom there told Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go!”     You can almost hear the sigh in Jesus’s heart as He saw through this man’s blind promise.   “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head.”   Jesus did not want to deceive this deluded man.    So few truly wanted to follow Jesus– to follow Him for the right reasons. So true that Jesus literally had no place to rest His head-  this was not only true in a literal sense, but also in a figurative sense as well.   No group or People was willing to be identified with Him-  He was   never truly welcomed in the hearts of many, Nor is He even fully welcomed to this day.  Yet, He , Whose heart is so tender and full of Love for all mankind really has nowhere to lay His head.

Isaiah 53:12 describes Jesus’s Baptism by fire as “pouring out His soul unto deaths”.  This speaks of a continuous agony–pouring out His soul drop by drop, culminating in His complete Sacrifice on the Roman execution cross at Golgatha. When the Roman soldier pierced His side with a spear, both water and blood gushed forth.  He literally died of a broken heart.

Jesus continues to suffer in spirit and soul at this very moment.   Those who persecute His followers to this day are doing the same to Him.   He very deeply and sincerely identifies Himself with all of His children- what they go through, He goes through WITH them on such a vicarious level that it is as though being done to Him.  We recall the moment of St. Paul’s conversion, when Jesus confronted Him with a blinding light and asked him, in exasperation, “Saul, Saul, why do you still persecute Me…?”    In the book of Revelations, we can sense Jesus’s sorrow behind His correction of the various churches that had become lukewarm, or  stopped loving Him.

In Psalm 110, we read how God, the Father,  tells His Son, “Sit at My right hand, til I make your enemies your footstool”.   His sufferings in spirit and in soul will not end until time is no more and God, the Father, becomes the All in All.  Now, at the right hand of the Throne of God, Jesus lives to intercede (Hebrews 7:25)  “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”    Intercession involves suffering- the continuous pouring out of Himself so that others may live.

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Jesus’s Sermon on the Mountain

sermon-mount-jesus-christ

Matthew 4:23-25 leading into Matthew 5:1-48

Jesus went all about Galilee teaching the gospel, teaching in the synagogues, healing every disease and illness– every health issue of the people who came to Him in droves from all the various regions. Great crowds sought Him out for healing.  The scriptures mention many came from not only Galilee, but also the Decap’olis, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond the Jordan.

In Chapter 5, the account reads:  “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him..”  Not all of the crowds chose to follow Jesus up that mountain.   Most were content to remain in the valley area below.   The crowds were more interested in physical healing and miracles– and the Love Jesus has for all people kept Him from turning anyone away.   Seeing the crowds, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to climb up a mountainous area – no doubt, so the vast amount of people would be able to hear Him and see Him better as He was led to teach them more the Father wanted Him to say .

Many walked up that mountain with Jesus, and many went through the crowds to get as close to that mountain as possible- to get as close to Jesus as possible, to hear Him.     When Jesus sat down, His disciples came to Him.   His disciples were those who were more interested in a closer connection with Jesus than the majority of the crowds who basically sought Jesus out for what He could do for them.  Those who followed Him up that mountain as close as possible were those who wanted to follow Him for Who He Is- not for His gifts and blessings.

Once Jesus had arrived to the top of this mountainous elevation, He sat down.  Then His disciples came to Him.   The scriptures are very deliberate when they record, “He opened His mouth and taught them..”    The reason for this deliberation is because, Jesus never just spouted out teachings at whim-   He taught and spoke as He was led by the  Holy Spirit.    While on the mountain, The message He would give those Who wanted to hear Him, was a more elevated spiritual message for those who were willing to walk further with Him.  It was a message for those who wanted to be made ready for the Kingdom of God.

In verses 2–11, He opens His teaching to these people describing what it really means to be blessed before the Father.

3:  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

4:  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5:  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth

6:  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7:  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

8:  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9:  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10:  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of     Heaven.

11:  Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and  utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you…

Then Jesus continued on telling those who wanted to hear more  how they were the Light of the World – and the salt of the Earth.  Both Light and Salt   take away the darkness and blandness of this Earth- and those who would continue to walk a closer walk with Jesus- our King in Exile, will allow the Holy Spirit to make them one of His lights to draw others to the Father- and His salt, to add flavor and distinction where there is mixture with no spiritual life .  Let the reader read the rest of that beautiful chapter where Jesus continues His teachings on really saying “no” to oneself so that they can become a child of His Kingdom.   He ends this teaching with …”You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect..”      While we will never be perfect like our Heavenly Father, we can be the best possible for the capacity that God has given us- and only through His grace. God’s enabling power along with our cooperation to allow Him to grant us that desire to become transformed into His image–without limiting or blocking His Spirit.

Jesus has so much to teach us, but only when we are ready to hear.   Those who are not content with mere healings and blessings – but want to follow Him up that mountain in life– are ready for higher lessons that point to His Father’s Kingdom.

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Abraham–who represents our Heavenly Father in the scriptures-   knew it was time his son, Isaac, was ready to  marry, but h wanted to make sure Isaac married who the Lord appointed for him- and not a Canaanite woman. The Caananites worshipped false gods- and rejected our Creator- the only God.

Isaac represents Jesus Christ- our Heavenly Father’s Son.  Earlier, in the book of Genesis, you can read how Abraham was put to a test of Love and asked by God to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.  There was something special about Isaac-  This son’s heart was open to Jehovah at a very early age.   Never once did Isaac run off after he realized he was to be that sacrifice.  He could have overpowered his father- as his father was very old by then, and Isaac was in his young teens- but there was a very humble spirit about Isaac-  In his heart, he also surrendered his life to God- so the test of love was also for Isaac, as well as Abraham.     Abraham surrendered his son to God, but before he could kill him,  God told him to stop- and told him, “Now I know that you love me”    Abraham’s love had grown to a higher level with God- where he would give up what he considered most precious to Him because God asked him to. 

Years later, Isaac has grown to be a very spiritual young man- a blessing to His father and servants, and often in communion with the Heavenly Father.   Abraham sends his servant out to find a potential bride for Isaac– someone of God’s choice.  This servant represents the Holy Spirit, Who seeks a people willing to become Jesus’s Christ’s Bride.

 

Reaching his destination , this servant brought his camels to a nearby well for water.  A very pretty shepherd girl offered to give his servants water, as well as all their camels. She was not afraid to work hard.    The scriptures say she was “undefiled- a virgin” .  The spiritual goal of Christ’s Bride is to become undefiled- to be “set apart” as a pure virgin.  The beauty she possesses is a simple inner beauty- a gentle spirit.  It is  the type of beauty Rebekkah had. To be undefiled means not to mix in with this World’s system, aims, goals, desires but to allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify you and make you Holy- with His righteousness- His wedding garment.    The Bride of Christ is a servant for others, and is not afraid to work as a servant for the love of Christ.   Rebekah’s feeding the servants and camels water brings to mind Jesus Christ, when He washed each of His disciples feet.    The Bride resembles the Groom in her character and actions.

Abraham’s servant met with Rebekkah’s parents and told them Abraham’s request- and his mission to find a bride for Isaac.   Her mother and brother asked if Rebekah could remain with them for 10 more days before leaving with him but the servant replied, “Do not delay me, since the Lord has prospered my way;  let me go that I may go to my Master.”  So they knew they needed to let her go- there and then.   The servant’s reply reminds us that when the Lord calls us to Himself, all ties must be severed.   Nothing must hold us back when it comes to following the Lord- even family ties.   They called Rebekah and asked her if this was what she wanted.  “Yes” was her reply.  The children  of God must say “Yes” to Christ in their heart before they set out on their journey in becoming united with Christ.

Thus began the servant’s journey with Rebekah , returning back to Abraham with Isaac’s future bride.   Before they arrived, Isaac is seen walking in the fields, meditating and in communion with God.   We see more of Jesus’s character in Isaac,  recalling how Jesus spent his solitary moments doing the same thing-  often praying throughout the night, and in constant communion with the Father.    As the servant’s entourage -with Rebekah, arrived to their destination, Rebekkah noticed Isaac from a distance, walking in the fields.   The picture of Jesus on my blog page-  walking along the shore deep in meditation, gives us the idea of how Isaac must have looked like to Rebekah from a distance , his head lowered in mediation as he walked the grain fields.  Isaac saw his father’s servant’s camel team from a distance as well- and started to walk toward them to meet them.   Rebekkah asked the servant, “Who is the man up yonder, walking in the field to meet us?.   The servant replied, “It is my master.”  So she took her veil and covered herself.   We see in this simple action, the humility Rebekkah had.  Humility is something that the Holy Spirit wants to create in God’s children as well- Not calling attention to ourselves, but desiring to remain hidden .  This is an inner trait of Christ’s Bride.

After the camels arrive , Isaac meets Rebekkah , his new bride, for the first time, and we can imagine how shy  Rebekkah must have felt in Isaac’s presence and how her eyes lit  up as he walked toward her!  She must have wanted to pass out right there.   That evening, they became united in Issac’s tent and the scripture actually reads, “And he loved her”  

We can imagine the love Jesus will have in His eyes when He comes to meet  His Bride.– His Invisible Church made up of men and women who allowed the Holy Spirit to prepare them and make them ready for their King- in Exile.

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note:   the following website illustrates exactly what I’m trying to express :  http://servantofmessiah.org/hebraic-biblical-studies/rebecca-type-of-church/

 

 

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