We live in an era where witchcraft has become the new norm. It is now one of the most socially acceptable practices that people don’t even know they’re being drawn into it. However, such practices are of the damned, and will not serve God’s Purposes. You can identify them as the following practices: Channeling (the most common and most troublesome), tattooing, masochism, drugs (of course) including alcohol, heavy sugar diets, collection of animal statues, collection of idolatrous and/or witchery statues, other psychotropics, diabolical hypnosis, third eye focusing, use of violence to influence the mind in many factors (such as using threats of violence, glorifying violence, collecting weapons of warfare, media about violence glorification, and more), and finally the rejection of Jesus Christ or GOD in any form (such as, “I will do this but not that, even though GOD tells me to”, or “It’s not bad to sin, besides, I want what I want”).
Be vigilant. Even career/job pastors are working witchcraft from their very stage in many ways I have observed. From talking about violent incidents they were involved in to making sarcastic threats. Even more would be those who preach the Bible in all its worth, yet live a lifestyle of tattooing, intimacy with both men and women, glorifying of personal choice rather than God’s Choice (such as pastors or priests who approve of violence, abortion, or even LGBTQ-whatever community). Yes, it is true people will do what they want to do; however, glorifying such things from the very pulpit that is to be holy for the Lord is completely seared of a conscience.
Deceived society lives with a seared conscience, that even though they know what is socially acceptable, the brainwashing of right and wrong is happening and people don’t know they are doing it. Like the woman I knew years ago, who eventually decided like many of the children she teaches, to be genderless. If anybody can make sense of that, I would be surprised.
People in this era are making GOD look bad, and I know He is angry about it. Folks made in His Image, supposedly children of GOD, being involved in other wicked spirits’ work instead of God’s Work.
Foul and irresponsible workings of the devil are all around us, but people want to chalk it up as “immaturity”. Do you know what an era following the Lord is composed of? Plows, farming tools, gardening tools, and shepherding supplies.
Do you know what era this is? It is the era of the magic hammer and manic gunpowder.
The Lord declares to turn such weapons into plowshares, because the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.
You the elect, heed His Words and regard them forcefully in a society that seeks to shut you out. Even if someone will not listen actively to you, talk at them anyway because faith comes by hearing (not necessarily active listening – AHA!).
Love, peace, grace, and mercy unto all of you in the name of God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – who seeks to be closer to you.
We have decided to put a gift list recommendation for any believer, which is known to be a great tool. We do hope you find these useful… NOTICE: There are no affiliate links or store links on this page. You will find links to other parts of our site.
This one is a good to have kind of Bible, even though we know many Bible scholars have many Bibles – what’s another one? But seriously, reading at least one pre-1611 Bible would be nice and refreshing to see.
For any believer
Giant or Large print Genuine Leather-bound Bible with Words of Christ in Red
Now, the wide margin, notes editions, and pulpit reference Bibles are nice (including the Instant Reference Bible); however, if you only want a regular Bible, feel free.
Micron pens: These are very good and precise to underline in the Bible certain Scriptures.
Bible highlighters: These help very well, since normal highlighters can bleed through the pages of thin paper Bibles (which are almost universal).
Bible covers: These are very useful for people who want to take their Bible everywhere with them and want it to be protected.
Mini-dictionary: There are many mini Bible dictionaries that define words, which are usually more expansive than many glossaries included in the back of the Bible.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: This is for more avid Bible scholars, but many people can learn how to use them. They are by far more expansive than concordances in the back of Bibles. They also include Greek and Hebrew word references, which helps some scholars.
Bible indexing tabs: If your Bible is not already indexed or they are either wearing off or not good enough, then definitely check out indexing tabs.
Bookmarks and ribbon markers: These are great for marking your place in a Bible or other reference, and the ones with Bible verses are especially nice!
Arts and crafts: This is especially good for family activities and for children.
From what we have observed, Christmas is one of the best times in our lives that we celebrate. There are numerous reasons why we celebrate the Christmas story, knowing first and foremost Christmas is about Jesus Christ!
What we can glean from the Bible are important truths that help us take shape an even greater story. It is hoped that these guide you into this holiday season!
1. God’s Forgiveness is available to all
We see in Isaiah 11:1-2, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”
We hear in the song, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” that “God and sinners reconciled.” This is the amazing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He provides Salvation and eternal life, and this comes from the benefit of forgiveness of sins. We see the ministry of reconciliation that God came in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to “Save His People from sin.” What an awesome thing we have in Christ!
2. God is in control of leadership of the world
Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
Our God, who has made the earth, stars, universe, heavens, and more is our commanding leader overall! Peace is within the Prince of Peace, and He alone provides rest for our souls. God regards our lowliness as well, and provides us forgiveness. He is our Great Shepherd (Psalm 23).
3. Christ Jesus is our Shepherd
Psalm 23 describes Our Lord is Our Shepherd. Ezekiel 34:15, “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.”
Christ Jesus came to impute upon us peace, and lead and guide us through Life more abundantly. The hope of eternal life can be for all people, and we do hope we can spread it evermore to so many people.
He provides us our daily provisions, He gives us rest for our souls (as we noted above), He helps us by delivering us from evil and death, and gives us goodness and mercy forevermore.
4. God grants peace as we wait upon Him
Just as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, “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, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Then, we see powerful truth in Romans 16:20, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Also note 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.”
When we reflect upon God, we allow His Spirit to speak to us. We reflect on the wonder of God, our Creator, and all the beautiful things He has created! It’s truly amazing.
5. God can powerfully perform the impossible
Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
God really can do the impossible, for with Him, all things are possible. He can help in almost any situation, save us from trouble, and help improve our lives. This is something we must truly believe, for He can truly help us. Since He can help us, we know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
6. God is our utmost provider
God provided the Passover lamb for us, who was born in to this world, the redeemer, Jesus Christ: “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:8).
This is proven in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
7. Heaven is going to be so awesome
Knowing we had this great and merciful Savior from Heaven come, we better believe so many great things are awaiting us for our eternal destiny in Heaven!
John 14:1-3 tells us the first magnificent truth, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told* you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 then tells us that we cannot imagine the awesomeness, but must know that it is so overwhelmingly awesome… “But as it is written*, Eye hath not seen, nor* ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
Now, we discover one of the most awesome things in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
We will have new bodies eventually… 1 Corinthians 15:40 says, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” Then also in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “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.”
What will it look like (kind of)… Revelation 21:18-23, “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”
Overall, Salvation, eternal life, Christ Jesus coming, and all great things that pertain to life and godliness – How Awesome!
Works are and always have been based on God’s Will. When a man does a good work, it is based on how he/she feels God led them to do. This is the operation of a spiritually mature Christian, according to Hebrews 13:21. But… in the same verse, the glory is given unto Jesus Christ. This is important, because it shows our good works are not for nothing. However, God does remember these things (Hebrews 6:10). Good works are good and profitable unto men (Titus 3:8). Jesus commanded good works to glorify God (Matthew 5:16). However, as Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us, we are saved by grace through faith, not from ourselves, but a gift given by God that has nothing to do with works to avoid men from boasting about their own works, such as “works helped me be saved” or “works gave me eternal life.” We are His Workmanship, meaning that our good works stems directly from Jesus Christ, because God foreordained us to walk in these good works. Yes, all believers have been foreordained to be ministers. Faith is expressed by our works, because works are faith in action (James 2:14-20; Hebrews 11).
Paul tells us that we are able to obtain an award/prize, an incorruptible crown. What is the key to this? Not works, according to 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, but temperance (self-control). Peter affirms this is true that an imperishable crown is available (1 Peter 1:4). We will also be able to have a crown of rejoicing that is tied to hope and joy, and will be given shortly before the arrival of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19). Some have equated that this would be the case of wiping away every tear, with no more death and sorrow and pain (Revelation 21:4), but this is a stretch. Although this is true that we will eventually have this, it is not related to the crown of rejoicing.
Next, is the crown of righteousness, which is given to those who loved His appearing, because they endured such a hard race and fought the good fight keeping the faith (2 Timothy 4:5). Then the crown of glory, which is given by the Chief Shepherd Jesus Christ to those who feed the flock willingly without constraint, and being an ensample/example unto the flock (1 Peter 5:2-4).
Lastly is the crown of life, which is tied in with not worrying about suffering, but being faithful unto God until death – which will allow the crown of life to be given to us. He promised us eternal life, and we shall have it (Revelation 2:10; John 2:25). The crown of life is for those who endure temptation, and loving the Lord (James 1:12). So then, what are works, if Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith? These are things that emerge from the Lord unto our heart that He desires us to do. When we do them, we glorify Him (Repeat from above information).
Believers are expected to abound in good works because of their Salvation, but works do not lead to Salvation and Salvation does not lead to works. Works reveal faith to be real, while dead works or no works denote faith as useless. (Romans 3:27; 4:2-6; Galatians 2:16; 3:2-10; 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; Hebrews 9:14; 10:24). Judgment is according to works, with evidence of new life (Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6; 1 Peter 1:17). Faith and good works are never contrasted in the Bible enough, but justification is based on Salvation, not referencing works (repeat of above reference).
Since we know we will be receiving an inheritance, we should work for the Lord and serve Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:23-24). We are rendered inheritance rewards according to Salvation, which include eternal life (The crown of life can be presumed), glory and honor and peace to those who do good (the crown of glory can be presumed) (Romans 2:6-10). Where will this judgment be for believers? It will be at the judgment seat of Christ that we will be judged based on every good or evil work (2 Corinthians 5:10). Good works are separate from works of the Law, because no human is justified by works of the Law for Salvation reasons, because the Law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
We can conclude that works evidence faith; therefore, a fellow Christian can determine that someone may or may not be of faith based on their works. However, since Salvation is not based on works, it is impossible to tell whether someone is saved or unsaved just by their works. This is why required baptism for Salvation fails to function, because it is requiring works to be completed for Salvation to be given.
Back on subject, the crown of righteousness is presumed to be part of the rewards that are bestowed upon us by the Holy Ghost, because we learn that righteousness, peace, and joy are part of the Kingdom of God. Since we are granted access to the Kingdom of God through Salvation, we receive these benefits (Romans 14:17). Joy, hope, and peace overflow in us as we believe in God (Romans 15:13). This also means we are not judged by what we eat or drink or by festivals we celebrate (Colossians 2:16), but we appear to be judged by being given certain portions of the Kingdom of God that we may safely assume without heresy are an inheritance – this is found deeply interwoven with the Fruit of the Spirit. But why no crown of love? Is love the incorruptible crown? The Scripture does not say (Galatians 5:22). But what we do know is that God is Love and since He gave His Spirit to be with us, His Love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:1-5).
Where then does the incorruptible crown come in? It is the overall crown, we may assume, as we see in 1 Peter 1:4 that the inheritance we receive from God (any inheritance) is incorruptible. We become incorruptible in Salvation, and will resurrect in our new bodies as incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:52-54). Therefore, we put on, literally immortality (2 Timothy 1:10), because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – not because of works!
Do your good works grant you an inheritance? No. Does your Salvation grant you an inheritance? Yes. What is that inheritance? The Holy Ghost is given unto us as a mark, which allows us to put on immortality, and thereby receive each crown: glory, life, rejoicing, righteousness. God already planned for us to receive all of what He has for us. We are given grace by the measure of the gift of Christ, because we must reflect on the power of Oneness with God: One body, one Spirit, one hope of your calling, One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all – and God is above all, through all, and in all of His Believers (Ephesians 4:4-5).
David was a shepherd, so he knew what the shepherd’s work and the sheep are like. Therefore, He was able to bridge that God is a Shepherd who cares for His Flock – His People. Let’s see the amazing imagery he gives us and how we can understand how he wrote this Psalm.
The Shepherd’s Work
Application for life
The Lord is my shepherd
Sheep can recognize their shepherd. Care for them means ownership of them.
We are like sheep under God’s care who belong to Him.
I shall not want
Some sheep wander off to greener lands, but this is dangerous.
God meets my deepest needs.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
The shepherd has a crucial role to make sheep feel safe, and they will not rest until they feel safe from threats.
God makes me free to rest, especially in Him.
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Sheep refuse rapid currents of waters, as they don’t swim well. Therefore, the shepherd needs to find calm water.
We can drink of God’s Holy Spirit who is water to our thirsty souls.
He restoreth my soul:
Some sheep struggle to get up quickly, as they may be dehydrated. The shepherd may have to prod the sheep or help it get up.
God cares for and keeps the heart and mind of those who love Him and that He loves.
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Sheep, like humans, are creatures of habit. By overgrazing, they can destroy their own pastures and must be led to a new land. But only shepherds know the best way to get there.
God will always lead us on the right path according to His Promise.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me
Valleys on the way to high pastures often have the best grasses, but there are many hidden dangers that may lurk for sheep.
God knows and deals with the fears and deadly dangers of life for us.
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Sheep need to learn to trust their shepherd. The shepherd’s rod protects them, disciplines them, and saves them. It is meant as a tool to guide them.
God’s discipline, guidance, and protection keeps His People safe.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
Usually shepherds must prepare the pasture to remove poisons, toxins, and other bad things to ensure clean eating. Predators can wait ready to pounce on unsuspecting sheep.
God provides for our hunger, even when enemies surround us.
thou anointest my head with oil
Flying insects can cause problems for sheep especially during the summer. Oil is a natural bug repellent that can also heal the skin.
God takes care of our bodily needs.
my cup runneth over.
The good shepherd is willing to take the sheep to better grazing areas and water sources.
Our provision from God is abundant.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
Sheep can aid in the fertility of the land and can transform wilderness into fertile fields. The good shepherd makes blessing follow his sheep.
God’s goodness and Magnificent grace will be with us our entire lives.
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Sheep are taken back to the shepherd’s property during the fall and winter.
We shall be with God for eternity.
The Old Testament’s view of the shepherd
God is the Shepherd (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 23; 80:1).
God’s appointed leaders are under-shepherds (Ezekiel 34).
Many people in the Old Testament were actually shepherds for their jobs: Abel, Moses, David, Abraham, Isaac, Rachel, etc.
Foreign leaders were occasionally called shepherds because of their leadership of God’s People (Isaiah 44:28).
The prophets used shepherd imagery pointing to the Messiah’s coming (Ezekiel 34:22-24; 37:24; Isaiah 40:11; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27).
The New Testament’s view of the shepherd
Jesus is our Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:34), our Good Shepherd (John 10:1-30), and our Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20).
Jesus had compassion on the large crowds that came to see Him because they were as sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34).
Jesus used sheep and shepherds in His parables (Matthew 12:11-12; 18:12-14; 25:31-46).
Jesus commissioned His Disciples to care for His sheep (Matthew 10:6; 10:16; John 21:16-17).
Jesus is the lamb of sacrifice (John 1:29; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6).
Elders are shepherds under Christ (1 Peter 5:2).
Jesus’ actions in response to normal shepherd duties
Duties of the Shepherd
Lead the sheep to safe water and pastures.
Calls His Disciples to follow wherever He leads (Matthew 4:18-22; John 10:4-9).
Protects the sheep from predators, pests, and other dangers.
Warns, intercedes, and rescued His People (Mark 8:15; John 17:12-15; Matthew 20:28; John 10:15).
Feeds the sheep, which also involves removing poisons and toxins from the food.
Feeds the crowds of people, for He Himself is the Bread of Life (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39; John 6:22-71).
Cares for weak or sick lambs.
Cares for the weak and sick (Matthew 14:14; 14:34-36).
Disciplines the wayward sheep and retrieves the lost.
Rebukes His Disciples whenever needed, and fins those who have lost their way (Matthew 14:29-31; 16:23; Luke 22:31-34).
Protects the cultivated land and crops from the sheep.
Guides His Disciples in the way of caring about others (Luke 6:27-36).
Teaching His Disciples to be wise and harmless (Matthew 10:16).
The Beatitudes are the name of the first part of Jesus’ teachings for the Sermon on the Mount. The descriptions and instructions are given for those who are to live in the Kingdom of God. Now, the Beatitudes are not absolute instructions or laws, they are the results of entering the Kingdom of God. God is to intervene in history and produce people just like those described in the Sermon on the Mount.
The idea behind using Kingdom of God is the phrase, “God is King” from Psalm 47:7. Kings, especially ancient, had absolute power over their entire dominion, and Hallelujah! God has absolute power over all Creation (His Dominion).
Kings typically provided protection for the people in their territories, provide what their subjects need, maintain order in the Kingdom (especially in legal matters), and represent the deity (God usually).
The Now and the Future Kingdom
The Gospels were clear that the Kingdom of God was a present experience (Luke 11:20; 17:21). Jesus’ teachings, healing, miracles, and other ministry were manifestations of the Kingdom. However, we see in many of the letters to different territories from the apostles made it clear that the Kingdom of God was also a future experience, as Jesus Returns. What it seems the Scriptures are clear about is that we have a limited experience of the Kingdom of God; however, the fullness of the Kingdom of God will be in the future.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven/God
The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize they have a need for God in all things, and like the poor and destitute who need others, the poor in spirit know only God can save and protect them from anything.
What the world is saying…
Humanity’s religions value the “spiritual master” or “spiritual guru”. People think if they know and do the right things, they can find their own spiritual salvation. People can find answers to their problems if they could just recognize it.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus told us that the opposite is true. Those that are spiritually dry before God are happier, because they realize that they can rely on God’s strength, in which He cannot fail. This means that His believers cannot fail then either, as they have the certainty that in the Kingdom of God, The Messiah is in charge and in control.
See other verses: Isaiah 29:19; 61:1; Luke 6:20; Matthew 18:4.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted
“Those who mourn” are those people wishing for God to send His Messiah, in hopes God will restore His Kingdom and set the world right and free. We are told in Isaiah 61:2-3 that the Messiah would come to comfort those who mourn and provide for those who are grieving in Zion. These people understand the mess the world is in and seek God’s redemption. Their comfort comes in knowing that the Messiah has come, in which the redemption they hoped for will occur soon.
What the world is saying…
People need to avoid grief and pain. The pursuit of happiness is valued above other things, and hiding pain and reality is best. Nothing is solved, but pretending to be happy is sufficient.
WHAT JESUS SAYS THOUGH
In his austere contrast, Jesus asserted that the true way toward happiness has to come through a radical shift in thought process of people – a repentance in other words – so we can see ourselves for who we really are. Once people are broken in life, God’s Will can be so much more accomplished, because people actually recognize who they really are, and why God chose them to be on this Earth: For His Purposes! This is the absolute utmost importance in the Kingdom of God and what will be a true sense of happiness. Only after recognizing the sorrow of trying to trust in the world is when we can recognize that God comforts us by His Spirit and that we can trust in Him and His Strength. Knowing the Messiah has come to offer redemption is the greatest comfort for those who mourn. If you are broken and contrite, God has a plan to bring you comfort… Be patient and wait for the Lord’s relief for your suffering.
See also: Isaiah 61:2-3; 66:13; John 14:1; 16:7; 16:20; Revelation 7:17.
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Earth
We see this similarly in:
Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” This notes all who the Lord has forgiven. Those poor in spirit are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
Proverbs 8:34-35, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.”
Psalm 41:1, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” We remember Jesus’ note about being merciful in Matthew 5:7.
What the world says…
The proud and strong inherit the earth. Only those clever enough or confident enough in their abilities inherit what life has to offer. Gaining wealth, power, and respect is part of gaining the world. Some assert that gentleness does not get you far.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
It may seem like meekness is a disadvantage; however, it is wonderful in God’s Eyes. God invites you to trust in Him, and this gives you certainty that His Plans will work and accomplish what He has promised for His People.
See also: Isaiah 61:1; Numbers 12:3.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled
Similar to how poverty leads to hunger, spiritual poverty can lead to hunger for righteousness. Jesus is talking about people who desire God’s Rule over their life, which brings justice for all. God will satisfy the hungry and thirsty for righteousness. This fulfills God’s Promise in Isaiah 65:13, “My servants will eat… my servants will rejoice…”
How the Old Testament described righteousness: This was a legal relationship, such as in law, courts, judges, etc. It meant ethical or good or fair behavior. It described also a covenant relationship, in which God would relate and do right toward His People.
How the New Testament explained righteousness: It was similar to how the Old Testament explained it, and Paul expanded the legal part of this. Because of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross, God justifies sinners. This does not mean God makes people righteous, but that God has applied Christ’s righteousness to us so we can become legally acquitted of the penalty of sin, which is death.
Jesus reflected righteousness in the covenant concept to described what is restored: the relationship between God and humanity; 2. Relationship between humans and Creation; 3. Human relationships.
What the world says…
Hungering for right things is playing a fool. Things don’t just change, and sometimes setting aside honor to do what is inconvenient may be needed. Quit worrying about what is right, and just get what you need. Look out for number one!
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus gives the promise that those who are starving for righteousness will be satisfied, for His Kingdom is characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
See also: Romans 14:17; Isaiah 55:1-13; 65:15; John 6:48.
Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy
Mercy is part of God’s Nature. People experiencing God’s Mercy are indeed grateful to Him, and this seeks to cultivate a merciful attitude in return to God.
What the world says…
People want justice, and want to condemn other people to make themselves feel better. The world idolizes the arrogant and merciless in sports and athletics, and also idolizes wealth and fame, and movie celebrities. Mercy is a liability, because of how costly it is, which prevents people from managing their goals.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus challenged the world’s thinking on this matter, in which mercy is an essential quality. Mercy described Jesus’ life, as God has mercy on us. Jesus bridges giving and receiving mercy, and recognizing that God is truly merciful and cannot be bought by our mercy. Receiving God’s most precious act of mercy is great, which is eternal life.
See also: Psalm 86:15; Joel 2:13; Psalms 103:8; 145:8; Luke 6:36.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God
Seeing God is one of the greatest hopes for a believer; however, only the pure in heart will have this blessing. Purity of heart is not a personal effort, and is not part of maturity. A pure heart is one free of sin, and only Christ Jesus can clean us of sin. God gives a pure heart, as we desire and He grants us.
What the world says…
Culture devalues a pure heart, whereas instead people search for pure water, pure air, pure food, etc. Having a polluted heart is not a problem for the world.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out (Matthew 15:11). True happiness is only in the presence of God. It inspires those living in the Kingdom of God to want to seek God.
See also: Exodus 33:20; Psalm 24:3-4; 51; Hebrews 12:14; Revelation 22:1-4; 1 John 3:2-3.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God
Peace is always central to the Kingdom of God; therefore, those normally at war with each other would become at peace, and all things are made right especially when peace occurs. We are also made adopted children of God when we are saved.
What the world says…
Get peace at any price, and give peace a chance. Peace means the ceasing of conflict, and the world wants to be free of war. World peace will solve all problems. Some seek personal peace through many ideas: Music, drugs, meditation, destressing methods, etc.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus promised His Disciples peace before Ascending. His peace is a clear sign that the Kingdom of God is within our grasp or midst. Only Jesus makes that peace possible, and only in Him are we adopted children of God.
See also: Psalm 4:8; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:1; 12:18.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of God
Just as the Kingdom of God belongs to those poor in spirit, it also belongs to those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Enduring opposition is important, because it shows that we stand up for what we truly believe in!
What the world says…
Principles are good, but not if they get you killed or cause grief. Righteousness is not valued in the world. Standards for right and wrong are not governed by what God desires, people get away with what they can do for their own desires.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus made it clear that the disciples would experience persecution, and it may seem that loneliness and isolation are part of what is doing right; however, your reward is in Heaven. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us, so we are not alone. He is always there. He will always be there… You understand?
See also: 1 Peter 3:14-15; 5:10; Luke 6:22-23; John 15:18-21.
Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed
Jesus spoke about the Resurrection here, where it’s one thing to see the risen Christ as many of His Disciples had, but it is another to believe today based on these eyewitnesses. There are blessings in recognizing Christ has risen and truly believing the eyewitnesses.
What the world says…
Nobody knows what happened 2,000 years ago. People can’t just resurrect from the dead. Skeptics note the Bible’s contradictions.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus said that He IS the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). We have testimony of the apostles and t he ministration of the Holy Spirit.
See also: 1 Peter 1:8; John 1:12; 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15.
It is more blessed to give than to receive
Giving to those in need leads to more happiness than receiving. The life that continuously takes without giving is selfish, and this leads to greater unhappiness. Meeting people’s needs is the road to a blessed life.
What the world says…
Look out for number one, cater to your own needs, target your own pleasures. Get what you can now. If you are generous, people will take advantage of you. You make it on your own. You cannot please everyone, so just please yourself.
WHAT JESUS SAYS
Jesus says He came to serve and He urges His Believers to do the same. He wants us to have the joy of serving others, and serving God, and to delight in what He has called them to do. We are blessed when we follow our Master’s example (Christ’s example), for a servant is not greater than his Master.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem, what a joyous experience. Here are the takes on this story. Only Matthew and John’s takes are included to avoid redundancy, repetition, and length.
Matthew, the tax collector, was the writer of this gospel book. The date it was finished was around the 60s A.D. The beginning of Matthew starts with a genealogy of Jesus all the way back to David and Abraham. This shows that Jesus has a kingly and covenant heritage through David and a covenant heritage through Abraham. The Davidic Covenant ensures the promise of a king to sit upon his throne forever, according to 2 Samuel 7:8-13. The Abrahamic Covenant ensured all families of the earth to be blessed, according to Genesis 12:3.
Now, Jesus’ birth was prophesied unto Joseph by the angel of the Lord, which appeared to Joseph in a dream. Jesus was then born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the reigning days of King Herod. The angel of the Lord again appeared to Joseph telling him to take Mary and Jesus with him and flee to Egypt, to escape the killing of Jesus by King Herod. Once Herod died, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph telling him to take Mary and Jesus with him to Israel. Jesus now lived in Nazareth.
Next, Matthew writes of John the Baptist, who told the people to prepare the way for the Lord, making the path straight for Jesus to come. Jesus then came unto John to be baptized. John appealed to Jesus, insisting the Jesus should baptize him instead. However, Jesus insisted back and John proceeded with the baptism of Jesus. During the baptism, God and the Holy Spirit were also with Jesus.
Satan then meets Jesus in the wilderness. This is for Jesus to be tempted, after Jesus just completed fasting 40 days and nights. Jesus successfully defeated the temptations of the devil by using Scripture. Through this, we discover and know that Jesus came to be a savior first, and then a king.
Jesus began His ministry in Galilee, where He first taught for people to “repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (4:17). Jesus then called four disciples: two of which were Peter and Andrew, who He instructed to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Next, Jesus came upon James and John, whom He also told to follow Him. Now, all four of them began following Him. Jesus began teaching in synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and healing the sick and diseased.
Next, Jesus taught at the Sermon on the Mount. Through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught God’s principles for righteousness. Jesus began with the Beatitudes, to show people how they’re blessed. He also taught on being salt and light of the earth. Then, He moved forward through the Sermon on the Mount to teach on anger and reconciliation, adultery, divorce, oaths, revenge, love for enemies, giving to the poor and needy, prayer, fasting, laying up treasures in Heaven, being free from worry, judgments, hypocrisy, the Golden Rule, false prophets, and God’s Will.
When Jesus finished teaching at the Sermon on the Mount, He healed many people including a leper, the centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and a paralytic. Jesus next added Matthew, the tax collector, as His disciple. Jesus had called twelve disciples total, giving them power to cast out unclean spirits and healing the sick and diseased. Jesus thoroughly instructed the disciples, which involved preaching the kingdom of God and that they would suffer and be persecuted for His sake.
Upon more teaching and healing, Jesus also casted out more demons. Next, Jesus began teaching on the kingdom of Heaven and told parables (stories) about it. Matthew records fifteen parables, twelve of which began with “the kingdom of Heaven is like…” Jesus spoke of the kingdom of Heaven being like the sower, the tares, the mustard seed, the leaven (in the dough), the hidden treasure, an expensive pearl, and a dragnet.
After that, Jesus had to deal with being rejected in His own country, Nazareth, and then His friend, John the Baptist, was beheaded. Next, Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Then, after teaching some more, Jesus fed four thousand more people with seven loaves and a few fish. Through these miracles, persecution increased from the Pharisees and others. Jesus began the building of the Church through Peter (and the other disciples). Jesus then predicted His own death, noting He’d be raised again on the third day.
Next, Jesus healed and taught more parables. Then, Palm Sunday came around. During this time, people celebrated Jesus as king/messiah, waving Palm Branches and other forms of celebration for Him. Soon after, Jesus went into the temple and overturned the merchant’s tables, because they were doing business in the temple. Jesus ordered the merchants to leave. The Pharisees and other persecutors saw this and took note of it. Because of this, the Pharisees started testing Jesus to find flaws in His teachings. However, Jesus knew what they were up to and didn’t fall to their tests.
Jesus then taught more parables and other things, including the Great Commandment to love God and neighbors. Next, Jesus prophesied about His Second Coming. He also prophesied for His people to be ready, which was taught through the parables: of the faithful servant, of the ten virgins, and of the talents.
After this, Matthew writes about the plot to kill Jesus, which involved the chief priests, scribes, and elders unto the high priest Caiaphas. They wanted to take Jesus through subtlety, and arrest Him. Judas then went to one of the chief priests, and made a deal with him to betray Jesus.
Next, the Last Supper began, which was part of the feast of unleavened bread. Jesus gathered with His disciples, and administered His body and His blood for the remission of sins. Jesus knew of Judas’ plan for betrayal, and Peter’s expected denial of Him. Later, Jesus was betrayed and arrested, came before Caiaphas to be judged, and was denied by Peter. After Jesus came before Pilate and was voted to be crucified, Jesus was delivered over for crucifixion.
During the stages of the crucifixion, Jesus was mocked, beaten, and whipped. Then, Jesus was crucified at Golgotha in the middle of two thieves. After a while of hanging on the cross, Jesus cried out before the Lord and gave up His spirit (and died). He was placed inside a tomb of His own, where He resurrected from three days later. Many had come and found the tomb empty.
Soon after, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples (for Judas betrayed Jesus and was no longer a disciple as a result), where He commissioned them to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This would end Matthew’s writings about Jesus.
John’s gospel, different from the other three, is about Jesus, the Son of God. John wrote this book between 80-95 A.D. According to John 20:31, he wrote it with the intention to prove Jesus was the Christ, the promised messiah for the Jews, and the Son of God. Also, that Jesus wants to lead believers into a life of divine friendship with Him. John also places an emphasis of the sonship of Jesus with the Father.
The book begins with an introduction to Jesus and to the book itself. First, we recognize that Jesus had no beginning, but that He was in the beginning already with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is the Word, which means he came to declare and tell about God. Also, that “all things were made by Him, and in Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (1:3-4). Then, in 1:14, we find that He was made flesh and dwelt among us (as the Son of Man). Law and truth came by Moses, but Jesus brought grace and truth (1:17). What’s amazing is, those who received Him can become sons of God, if they believe in Him (1:12).
John began about Jesus’ ministry by talking about John the Baptist first. He notes the prophet Esaias called out to everyone (during John’s baptizing scene) that Jesus is coming, and to make His way straight. Then, the next day, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and announced Him – before baptizing Him. John the Baptist, even birthed in flesh before Jesus, said that Jesus was before Him – acknowledging that Jesus pre-existed before His fleshly birth.
The next day, Jesus came upon Andrew and Peter, and they wanted to know where He dwells. So, Jesus told them to “come and see.” So, they began following Him. The day after that, Philip and Nathanael began following Jesus as well. Jesus was then called to a wedding in Cana of Galilee, where He would then turn water into wine. This was the first of His miracles noted by John. Soon, during the Jews’ Passover, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the temple. There, He set foot in the temple, where He found people selling merchandise of sorts. Jesus formed a whip and then drove them all out of the temple and overthrew their table they were selling on.
Jesus taught many, including Nicodemus about new birth and the kingdom of God. Soon, He taught about God loving the world so much, that He was given, and for those who believed in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Also, that He didn’t come to condemn men, but to save them rather. Those who don’t believe are condemned already. Those who do evil hate the light and those who do truth come to the light. Jesus then taught a woman of Samaria about the water that leads to everlasting life. Also, that the true worshippers should worship God in spirit and in truth.
Next, after teaching a bit, Jesus then went to convert a group of Samaritans (and speak of His own rejection as a prophet), and forward to Cana to heal a nobleman’s son (who was dying). Jesus then traveled to Jerusalem, where He healed an impotent man who was afflicted for thirty-eight years. Soon, Jesus proclaimed before people that He was equal with God, and that He shares the same purpose for doing things. Later, when Jesus went to the land near the sea of Tiberius, where He fed five-thousand people with five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus made claim the following day that He was the bread of life, which the Jews rejected. Jesus stated that the Father draws people to Him, and that they don’t have life in them unless they eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus (which foreshadows the communion).
Next, John notes that many of His disciples left His side. Jesus knew also, after Peter confessed Him as the Son of God, that Judas would betray Him. Soon, Jesus went up to the temple during the feast of the tabernacles, where He taught about the doctrine of God, Moses’ law of circumcision, about being sent from the Father, and that the Spirit is living water. Then, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives early in the morning, where He saw the scribes and Pharisees, whom He had trouble with in the past in regards to persecutions of His teaching and miracles. He also saw a woman with them who had sinned in adultery. Jesus was writing on the ground with His finger, when the scribes and Pharisees came over and were telling Him that the woman should be stoned because of violating Moses’ law. They kept bugging Jesus, until He stood up for the woman and said, “he that is without sin among you, let Him first cast a stone at her.” They left Jesus and the woman alone. Jesus told the woman she was not condemned, and that she should “go and sin no more.”
Jesus then taught about many things, such as Himself being the light of the world, unbelief, and about being the children of Abraham. Apart from this teaching, healing a blind man, and dealing with the troubling Pharisees – Jesus spoke about being the door of the sheep, that He is the good shepherd: also giver and taker of life. Soon, the Jews wanted to take and arrest Him, but Jesus escaped.
Now, Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, was found sick, and Jesus was told about it. Jesus waited two days, and then came to visit Lazarus – only to find Him dead. Later, Jesus came to where Lazarus was laid, and raised him from the dead, which made the Pharisees very angry. The chief priests and Pharisees gathered before the high priest, Caiaphas, where they plotted to have Jesus killed. Later, after being anointed by Mary, Jesus came to Jerusalem on a donkey, where people celebrated Him with palm branches. Jesus then had some trouble with the Jews and Gentiles concerning their service and belief patterns.
Now, during the feast of the Passover (the last supper in the other gospels), after the supper was done, Jesus humbled Himself and washed the disciples’ feet. He then taught about the great commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” He also prophesied that Peter would deny Him three times before the cock crowed. Next, Jesus taught about Himself being the way, the truth, and the life to which no one comes to the Father but by Him. Those who ask in His name, He shall give to them. He also promised that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, and shall be with them to comfort them. After that, Jesus taught that He was the true vine and His people were the branches. Also, that through abiding in Him, He shall abide in His people also. He then spoke of the great commandment again, before teaching on persecution.
After teaching some more and being in deep intercession with God, Jesus was then betrayed by Judas and arrested. Jesus was brought to trial before Caiaphas, before being denied by Peter three times. Jesus then came before Pilate, who didn’t find Him guilty. After trying to reason with the people, the people voted Jesus to be crucified over Barabbas the robber. People chose Barabbas, that is, over Jesus to be called innocent or free from crucifixion. After this incident, Pilate took Jesus for scourging, and then brought Him back before the people – assuring them that He was guilty. When Pilate saw he had no choice, he handed Jesus over for crucifixion – where Jesus was mocked and beaten. The time came soon after for Jesus to be crucified, where He later gave up His spirit and died. He was placed inside a tomb, to where He would arise in a few days.
Mary Magdalene was the first to see that Jesus was gone from the tomb. She went and got Peter, who came with another disciple or group of people – and saw that Jesus was gone. Later, Jesus appeared to Mary, and then to His disciples. Thomas was doubtful, so Jesus allowed him to feel with his finger on His hands, and his hand to His sides – to which Thomas believed.
Soon, Jesus showed before the disciples again, where He ate with them and met with Peter about feeding His sheep & continuing to follow Him. John, to end the book, claimed that Jesus did many other things, but that the world couldn’t contain the books that should be written.
Do not be conformed, says the Lord, to the world
What the world says
What Jesus says to do instead
Those competent and “have it all together” are valued.
Those desperate and needy are accepted (Matthew 5:3); Come all to Jesus those who are weak and burdened, and you will receive rest (Matthew 11:28).
Suffering for any reason should be avoided.
Suffering for righteousness is expected, and believers will be rewarded (Matthew 5:10-12).
Treat others the way they treat you.
Show enemies forgiveness and love (safely please)(Matthew 5:38-48).
Do good things to get people to notice you and be praised for it.
Do good things quietly, not worrying if people are impressed, because you know your reward will be in Heaven (Matthew 6:1-6).
Stockpile as much wealth as possible.
We store up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).
Spending time obsessing over food and clothing, and other such matters.
Concerned with spiritual and eternal matters (Matthew 6:33).
Point out the flaws of others and critique no matter how much it hurts.
You focus on your own troubles and shortcomings (Matthew 7:1-5).
Go with the crowd of the world.
We are called to follow the narrow road that leads to life and eternal life (Matthew 7:14).
Jesus visited Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-27).
Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8).
SUNDAY – The Triumphal Entry: Jesus entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19).
MONDAY – Second cleansing of the Temple done by Jesus (Matthew 21:12-16; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-46).
TUESDAY – Pharisees dispute with Jesus in the courts of the Temple (Matthew 22:15-45; Mark 12:13-27; 12:35-40; Luke 20:20-47). Jesus commended the widow’s offering (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4). The Olivet Discourse: Jesus taught on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:1-25:46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-38).
WEDNESDAY – Judas Iscariot agreed to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:1-5; 26:14-16; Mark 14:1-2; 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6).
THURSDAY – Passover: Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17), The Last Supper: Jesus and the disciples share their final meal together (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-30; John 13:18-30). Soon, Jesus predicted Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:1-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-38; John 13:31-38).
MIDNIGHT – Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). Soon, Jesus is arrested as Judas betrayed Him (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-12).
FRIDAY – Jesus stood trial before Annas, Caiaphas, and then the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:54; John 18:13-14; 18:19-24). Peter denies Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18; 18:25-27).
DAYBREAK – The Sanhedrin condemned Jesus (Matthew 27:1-2; Mark 15:1; Luke 22;63-71). Jesus then stood trial before Herod and Pilate (Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:16).
The soldiers beat Jesus, mocked Him with the Crown of Thorns, and Simon helped carry Jesus’ cross (Matthew 27:27-32; Mark 15:16-21; Luke 23:26-32; John 19:1-3; 19:17).
9:00 AM – The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross (Matthew 27:33-44; Mark 15:22-32; Luke 23:33-38; John 19:18-24).
3:00 PM – Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-37).
SUNSET – Jesus’ Body is placed in the tomb (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).
SATURDAY – Roman guard is posted at the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66).
SUNDAY – Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Women find the tomb empty where Jesus was laid, and Peter and John come to find it empty as well (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10).
Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, other women, two men on the road to Emmaus, and to His Disciples two times (Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:9-14; Luke 24:13-49; John 20:11-31).
Jesus dined with his disciples after a miraculous group of fish are caught (John 21:1-14). Jesus restored Peter to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:1-25).
In this broken and fallen world, hope is always for us Christians as we have our joy and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord! The following is a list of guidelines the Bible instructs to avoid deception in this turbulent world.
Death never solves anything, is not the end, and was not God’s intent in the first place (Matthew 25:45; 2 Peter 3:1-18; Ezekiel 18:23).
Giving up on life or in life is the worst choice, because there are so many helpful resources to boost your life. We mourn in hope in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
Sin may please at first, but proves its destruction and it sacrifices many good things (Romans 7:11; Hebrews 3:13; Galatians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 6:9).
Criminality is an abomination to the Lord (2 Timothy 3:13).
Violence is never the answer and does not solve anything (1 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 3:3; Proverbs 3:29-31; Titus 3:2; Psalm 11:5; Galatians 5:19-21).
God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).
Bad company corrupts moral character (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Do not turn away from the Lord to serve other gods (Deuteronomy 11:16).
Do not trust in vanity (Job 15:31).
Watch out for false prophets who bring false visions and lying messages (Lamentations 2:14). Beware of prophets who promise peace to those who pay them, but threaten war for those who don’t pay them (Micah 3:5). Also beware of false teachers who try to mislead you from the truth of God’s Word with their mankind philosophies (vain philosophies/new age beliefs).
People are deceived when they don’t know the Scriptures or Power of God (Matthew 22:29).
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon Earth (Matthew 6:19).
Beware of those pretending to be Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:19; 2:18).
Hypocritical judgment should be avoided (Matthew 7:1-5). This means that you should not point fingers at someone for a thing they did wrong, when you are guilty of doing that same thing at the moment (unless you repented and have not been doing it long enough that you can dissociate yourself from it).
Lacking humility (Matthew 5:3; James 4:6; 2 Peter 3:17-18).
We do hope this was ultimately useful to you. We do hope that you will no longer be deceived by the enemy in this life, and that you can live happily! Praise the Lord!
Mark 8:31 says, “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
It seems that Peter was commonly lacking of faith and understanding, and indeed in need of the Lord’s wisdom imputed upon him. His lack of faith and understanding led him to many problems (some may think it is ridicule), but Jesus helped Peter understand what is best by correcting him. Thankfully, Peter was teachable enough to “stick around” for Jesus’ admonitions, to which, since he was willing to endure, it appears Jesus trusted Peter, especially when Peter finally admitted that Jesus is “Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Therefore, Jesus said to Peter, “Thou art Peter… upon this rock I will build my church.” Peter sees the truth and through Spiritual eyes, and this is what brings Peter though his failure.
It is good to note that Peter is not the foundation, but Peter would have a big part in the Church. We see the shakiness of the Church just as the shakiness of Peter’s life. This was likely Jesus teaching us that there is a weakness of the flesh, and that the Church would become strong and solid, but also shaky. Peter was simply a man that lacked understanding and faith, much like what we were before becoming a Christian – to which, Jesus helps to transform and renew so that we may be pleasing unto Him!
Now, John the Beloved caught the soft side of Jesus, the side that longs for our Love (to which, John’s personality must be a loving kind), and he shares is in John 6:68-69, “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Responses to Jesus’ activities
The Transfiguration was a literal event that happened to the Disciples in a vision (Peter, James, and John), to which, Jesus had taken them to a high mountain after a time of teaching and after the confession of Peter that Jesus was the Son of the Living God (the Christ). Luke 9:33, “And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.”
Peter’s reaction is noted in John 13:8, “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” From foot washing, we can learn that Jesus is teaching us Humility and cleansing of the inner man, to which, wiping the feet is a very humble act and involves service to another individual. When we do this, we are showing that we “servants” are not greater than our Lord, therefore, we should humble ourselves as equals one to another and serve each other.
But Master, what shall we have?
We see this recorded in Matthew 19:27-30, “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”
Peter here seems to have a bit of self-centeredness, to which, Jesus answers him anyway by addressing all of them at one time who were there. Peter wants to know what they will have if they decide to follow Him then (abandoning everything). Jesus noted that those who make sacrifices for the sake of Jesus will find that what they receive in eternity is far greater than anything lost in the present world; sacrifices such as wealth, status, family or friends, however, in the age to come, they will reign with Christ!
Jesus is Alive!
Matthew records that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulchre at the end of the Sabbath around dawn. The Angelic guard that met them at the tomb gave them a message, “Go quickly, and tell his Disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.” After this, there is an account of the women meeting Jesus – note that they are able to touch Him, for they hold Him by the feet and worship Him. Matthew then records that the “eleven” went away into Galilee unto the mountain where Jesus appointed to meet them. Therefore, they meet Him there and worshipped Him – however, some had doubted. The special message for Peter is noted in Mark, as there is an addition in the statement the Angelic guard said to them, “But go your way, tell his Disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”
Jesus and Peter’s final meeting
The conversation around the fire between Peter and Jesus involved Jesus asking Peter, “Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Peter replied then, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee,” (Jesus is re-establishing His relationship with Peter, returning Peter unto Himself). After Jesus asked him this a few times, Peter replied and was grieved, “Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee.” Then, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
It seems that because Peter denied Jesus thrice, Jesus is requiring a triple confession of Love from Peter. Original calling was “fishers of men.” This current calling is “lambs and sheep.” The teaching technique of Jesus is usually first physical, and then Spiritual. First, there was the involvement of reeling people into Jesus, and then the second was feeding His flock. The third confession was what seemed the Lord was looking for from Peter, to which, Peter was filled with uneasiness and grief. He was then sure that He loved the Lord.
Peter asked how many times Jesus’ followers should forgive other before taking action. Jesus replied and said that action was not to be done for an alternative for forgiveness. That is, believers do not take action against offenders, and that forgiveness shall be issued no matter how many times offenders do them wrong. We need to accept this view that no matter how much people do us wrong, we should forgive (and even forget). Matthew 18:21-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
We talk about Peter’s character growth in this first part of a few part series. We will be discussing the different ways Peter grew in spiritual character in Christ Jesus. Here in this part, we will talk about the background of Peter.
Simon: who people knew him to be and who he though he was.
Peter: who he was as a Christian – somewhat still carnal.
Cephas: who God desired him to be: stable, steadfast, and reliable.
Lessons from his naming:
We have an idea of who we think we are.
We are a person that others know us to be.
We can become that which God desires us to be.
Peter appeared to be interested in becoming a fisher of men, instead of being a fisherman as he was – to which, this was a calling from God to use his skills of fishing in ministry, so that he may help transform people and distribute His Word. He received in-person training from Jesus Himself, which had to not only be humbling, but also rigorous (positive kind of rigorous, but rough nonetheless). This showed that Peter was drawn to God’s Call through Jesus.
He learned to trust Jesus in several accounts:We see in Luke 5:4-11, Jesus was telling Peter to drop his net(s) in, and he protested that they were fishing all night, however, Peter trusted anyway – and by doing so, they reaped a bountiful harvest. In addition, in Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus is seen walking on the water. The water was tossing the ship the Disciples were on, and they became fearful when they saw Jesus. Peter wondered if he should come to Jesus, and Jesus allowed him and gave him the power to walk on the water, but then the wind became boisterous, and Peter lost his faith as he thought he would fall in. Jesus said to him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Through this, it caused the Disciples to worship Him, exalting Him as truly the Son of God.
In the former, Peter is the impetuous, courageous, restless, flamboyant, ambitious of challenges and power; and in the latter, we see him patient, restful, forbearing, trustful, loving, and with the old buoyancy and courage purified, and the different it makes in his ways. Simon Peter, in the former, saw his Lord transfigured; and in the latter, Cephas, is transfigured by the boundless grace of God. The crude, tactless, ill mannered, brash, brassy, stumbling, disobedient, and offending Disciple was retrained through Jesus’ lessons, in that he held Jesus as precious to him.
Simon was the one that needed a lesson of faith (as in the ship incident), because it didn’t seem as if James and John had any problems believing Jesus, however, Peter did, as he questioned Jesus when He said drop in the nets. When Jesus chose us to be His Disciples, He stepped in to our ship, and taught us how to have faith, and that through simple acts of faith, we will reap a bountiful harvest – and though we may toil all night, joy shall arise in the morning!
It seems that through some of the different ways of Jesus teaching him to have faith; it seems Peter continually needs to be brought under subjection, because of his carnal ways. Jesus teaches him, however, to be more firm, to which, is done through the marvelous works of Jesus. At first, he didn’t trust Jesus’ word, because he claimed that they toiled all night for fish but to no avail. Through risking it, Peter cast the net anyway, and reaped a harvest. Dropped to his knees before Jesus, saying that he was a sinful man, for he is astonished at the Lord’s power (to which, he could not believe). Peter has fear, but Jesus calms him, telling him his call from God to be fishers of men.
Later, Peter is called Cephas, which means, “a stone.” This is prophesying his call further from God. His soul would be strong, unyielding, and firm in purpose. Cephas is defined as, “strong, bold, stable, grounded, converted.” Later, in his writings, we see Peter learning many different lessons in his journey of “discipleship” – to which, he calls the trial of our faith more precious than gold that perishes even when tried by fire (1 Peter 1:7), acknowledges Jesus as the precious cornerstone over all of us lively stones (1 Peter 2:4-7), and recognizing the problems of the lust of the world and being converted away from them (2 Peter 1:4). Lastly, he was concerned for his faith, and prayed for it that it would not fail (1 Peter 5:10-11).