We only pray to God! | 1 Timothy 2:5

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Commentary: There are proponents on Earth that claim that we as Christians may pray to saints, Mary, or other governing bodies, and they will help our prayers up to God; however, this Scripture in Timothy refutes that heresy by stating that there is only One Mediator and His Name is Jesus Christ! This is the ultimate clarity we have!

Paul teaches more about it than just his letter to Timothy, as his letter to the Romans he states that the Holy Spirit is the one that translates our prayers and groanings to the Father God (Romans 8:26-27). Therefore, Jesus is the guarantor (the Promised One) of the New Covenant, which allows Him to be the Chief Intercessor (Hebrews 7:22-25). Literally, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10) – meaning He is the prophesied one who carries prophecies (which means that He creates those prophecies in prophets, and then He fulfills them). (See also Acts 4:12; John 14:6)

Without Salvation, those who pray to or worship a carved image are sinning according to Exodus 20:4-5. Praying to others is equivalent to praying to a familiar spirit (see Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Isaiah 8:9; Leviticus 20:6 and 27).

How to be a spiritual Christian | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”

Commentary: Paul tells the Thessalonians several ways on being spiritual, although not an all-encompassing list. Here are his instructions on how to start being more spiritual (which can draw you to a feeling of closeness to God):

  • Rejoice – Have joy in the Holy Ghost arising from your pardon by Christ’s Blood, and righteousness He has imputed upon you. Rejoice in gratitude – being thankful for your every day life and provisions by God. His Glory, His Salvation, His Peace – be grateful for these things.
  • Pray without ceasing – This does not mean to always be on your knees, or always in prayer. Rather, do not let your flesh break you from prayer, if your spirit has demanded it. If you spirit says you need to pray, then you need to sacrifice a bit of time and pray. Ethiopic texts render it well by saying “pray frequently.” Pray, even if a little is better than not at all. Do not stop praying… ever!
  • Give thanks – It is vital to have gratitude, especially toward God. This actually changes the mindset from a poverty way of thinking (the negative thought that you feel you are without) to an abundance way of thinking (knowing that you have God’s Provision and you can continue to have His Provision). Be thankful for what? Our being (able to live), food, other temporal good things, family, friends, raiment/clothing, shelter, water, grace/forgiveness, hope, the election of yourself to Salvation, spouse (if it applies), our ever-loving Savior, and so much more.
  • Not quenching the Spirit – Not to say that we can deliver a jab at the person of the Spirit; however, this refers to either the grace of the Spirit or faith – to which we should not allow ourselves to avoid the use of Spiritual Gifts, such as prophecy, teaching, evangelizing, tongues, edification, exhortation, or any other spiritual gift. We should be using that which we were gifted in, for to avoid use could be quenching of the Spirit – such as putting out the Fire of the Holy Ghost, or letting the Living Waters within dry up, or letting the inner light of the Lord Jesus Christ to dim. We must always let the water flow, let the light shine, and let the fire burn for the Lord in all of our lives, and we can do this by becoming more spiritually close to God by practicing the things in this passage of Scripture.
  • Not despising prophecy – Now, it is incorrect to assume that Christ Jesus will change anything about history that He has already announced – Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We do not pass into the lukewarmness of the world, and prophesying selfish things or other worldly gain. Rather, we prophesy based on what has already been written. When such things are nigh, it is important to announce them before our fellow brethren to encourage readiness for any possible trials or adversity. The emancipation in societal things brings us closer to being good at analyzing how prophecy is portraying itself in our world today. It is more ideal for those who feel gifted to prophesy to give the Word that will bring edification and comfort, especially if the person does not have the Gift of Tongues.
  • Prove all things, hold fast to the good, abstaining from appearances of evil, being blameless – To do this, we shall attempt to seek the truth at all times. Modern day calls this “fact-checking”. Many people intend to deceive one another, fabricating fables, myths, and other seducing lies. Even the very people of God try to deceive each other and are easily deceived themselves – but put this far away from you and hold to the truth in God’s Word. Remove yourself from evil situations and avoid being seen sinning or doing terrible things (do not make God look bad!). We must be blameless as we look forward to the coming of our Lord’s appearing – a joyous day to come.

You see the Lord is faithful, and calls you to do wonderful things as a minister. It is vital to pray for your own ministry and be more connected with God, but also pray for other ministers and fellowship with them occasionally. Teach others these things as well on how to be spiritual, and drawing closer to God by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Jesus prepares His Disciples for the upcoming tragedy (Journeys 52-55)

Jesus is preparing His Disciples for the coming trouble related to His Death and Resurrection work on the cross. Adversity is about come mightily and will not waver for anybody.

The incredibly long preparation can be found in the following Scriptures, which you may use for reference purposes: Mark 13-14:42; Matthew 24-26:46; Luke 21-22:46; John 12:2-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

We see the following in preparation: Occasion of the Prophecy about the destruction of the Temple; inquiry for further light from Peter and James and John and Andrew on Christ’s Second Coming and the End of the World; Sign for the destruction of Jerusalem:

  1. False Christs;
  2. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (The Parable of the Fig Tree).

Readiness is urged by a series of Parables:

  • The Parable of the Porter
  • The Parable of the Master of the House
  • The Parable of the Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant
  • The Parable of the Ten Virgins
  • The Parable of the Talents
  • The Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Picture of the Judgment)

The Whole Story on Eschatology

Jesus explains what we need to know, which is what He taught to His Disciples in regards to eschatology. This was serious, as Jesus told them the time is near. Let’s explore…

Jesus had spoken through Parables and other teachings about going away and Returning in Glory, to which would be the climax of the age introducing the Triumph of His Kingdom and Final Judgment. His Disciples have connected the dots on these events well, and know about the predicted destruction of Jerusalem. However, they connected the Second Coming of the Messiah with the predicted destruction of the Temple. They asked Him what significance these events would occur before these final events of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age.

Jesus told them that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple were not (necessarily) connected with the Return of the Messiah or the end of the age. They were not to believe rumors they might hear occasionally about the Messiah had already returned, because there will always be false prophets that try to attract a following for themselves; therefore, they were not to think that all wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. were sure signs of the end times being near.

The end would not come, nonetheless, until the Gospel had spread through the entire world, and this goal would be reached only after much opposition (persecutions). God’s servants would endure persecution, be betrayed by friends, and many would be killed. Only by love and faith in God would people be able to endure their trials; however, even if their sufferings resulted in death, God would preserve them for His Heavenly Kingdom.

The people of Jesus’ day would probably not see the final events of world history; however, many would see the foreshadowing of such events and witness the horror of the destruction of Jerusalem. Seeing the Roman armies approaching the city, people would run in horror without even taking their stuff. They would escape and try to get away even in winter or harsh weather conditions that would just slow them down. They would even escape on the Sabbath (even if restricted).

Women and children would suffer especially, as the enemy’s savage attack would be the most terrible and destructive than anything they have ever known, and if God did not stop them, no one would be left alive. The event would repeat the atrocities of Antiochus Epiphanes, but worse (the abomination of desolation).

Anyway, false prophets would continue to draw Jesus’ Disciples into their group with clever tricks and comforting words, assuring them that he was the messiah who had returned and was hiding in a safe house. The Disciples of Jesus were not to believe these rumors, because Jesus’ Return would be sudden, open, and startling just like lightning. When God intervenes, He will do so greatly, and it will be obvious! The Present Age will end as Jesus Returns in Power and Glory to save His People and judge His enemies.

Just as the first leaves on the fig tree indicate summer’s arrival, so it will be when the Disciples see the false messiahs come, as well as the persecution and approach of the Roman armies—to which, they will know the Destruction of Jerusalem and the nation is upon them. People of Jesus’ day would see this fulfilled in their lifetime.

As far as the day when the Lord Jesus Christ would Return in His Kingdom, no one knows when that will be except for the Father in Heaven! People will be carrying on with their routines, ignoring God’s warnings just as the people did in the days of Noah when the Lord was working through him. However, just as the flood came, which was God’s means of judgment on those people, the same will be with Jesus’ Return when He brings judgment on sinners and Salvation to His People. It will be unexpected just as a thief would be breaking into a house while the owner sleeps. The Disciples of Jesus Christ must be fully prepared for His Return all the time, and must not settle down to a life of self-pleasing; however, we must all live faithfully for Him.

(Soon, we see three stories recorded from Jesus that give a discourse on what He just taught. He would be leaving the Earth for an unknown amount of time, and then Return in Glory. Those who had prepared themselves for His Return would enter His Kingdom with joy, but those who did not would lose out. Three reasons for people’s failures are detailed as thoughtlessness, laziness, and/or indifference!)

For the first Parable… At a marriage, a bridegroom with his friends brought the bride from her father’s house to his own house, where a feast was being held for the wedding. This was the procession that the ten girls had met; however, some of the girls were foolish and did not consider that the bridegroom might not come at the time they expected. When his arrival was delayed, they were unprepared. Soon, he arrived, but there was no time for preparations; therefore, the foolish girls were locked outside of the house with no further chance of getting into the wedding feast. In this same way, because of carelessness, many people would not be prepared for Jesus’ Return, and therefore, they would miss out on the blessings that the Kingdom brings.

For the second Parable… A businessman went on a journey, but left his business in care of three trusted workers. He gave money to them, which varied according to their abilities. Two of them worked well and made good profits; however, the third one was lazy and did nothing. Once the owner returned, he was pleased with the first two men whom he rewarded; however, the third one (lazy) tried to excuse himself by saying he might have traded at a loss so he didn’t want to anger his employer. He received a reply that if he thought his employer was so hungry for money that he looked only for profits and was uninterested in honest work, he would have just put his money in the bank. Then he would have at least gained profits through interest.

The meaning of this is that God gives people different skills and abilities, and they need to use these in the business of expanding His Kingdom. Those using their gifts will be reward with increased abilities; however, those that neglect such gifts would become useless. The Day of Reckoning will bring joy for some, and disappointment for the others.

The third Parable… He talks about His Return in Power and Glory to judge the world. His Judgment is revealed for anyone—not just specific people—for there are only two types of people in the world: sheep and goats as typified in this story. The “sheep” are God’s People, who have given proof of this by practical love shown to others, even at expense of convenience or comfort, which is from their ability to be selfless. They may not be aware of the good things they do or what appreciation people have of them. However, Jesus does notice and has identified Himself with the needy, because He sees the kindness done to them as if done to Him.

The “goats” then are those who are selfish—always looking out for their own interests, but lacking interest in the misery and suffering of others. In this, it shows their lack of love for Jesus, as they know nothing of His Character and have not learned to deny themselves for His Sake. There is no place for them in His Kingdom, for their punishment is certain. Just as in the story of the ten girls or the three employees, people condemn themselves by failure of doing good things rather than just being deliberately wrong in actions and deeds.

Jesus predicts His crucifixion two days hence

On Tuesday Evening, the beginning of the Jewish Wednesday, Jesus predicts His crucifixion to take place, “after two days.” This would be the Jewish Friday. The rulers in Jerusalem plot His death. The time for a greater deliverance has now arrived, as Jesus would die as the true Passover Lamb that would bear the penalty of sin to release sinners from bondage. People in Jerusalem were excited as the festival approached, and the chief priests planned to wait until it finished before arresting Jesus, because they did not want a riot on their hands.

While Jesus “was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper (former leper for Jesus had healed him), as Jesus sat at meat,” Mary anoints Jesus for His burial. This anointing has nothing in common with that given by Luke 7:36-50, except the face of a woman anointing the Savior’s feet. The name, “Simon,” was common among the Jews. The first anointing was in Galilee; this anointing is at Bethany, near Jerusalem.

Take special note that Mary here in Bethany is anticipating Jesus’ speedy death and burial, of which, there is no distinct mention in the Galilean anointing. In view of all these differences, it is absurd to represent the two anointings as the same.

Judas (Iscariot) objected that the use of this expensive perfume was a waste of money; however, Jesus told His Disciples that He would be with them only a little longer before crucifixion. Therefore, Mary’s act of devotion was the symbolic anointing of His Body in preparation for burial.

Judas bargained with feast rulers to betray Jesus

Judas, stung by the rebuke of Jesus at the Feast, bargains with the Rulers to betray Jesus, “And they weighed unto him thirty pieces of silver.” He could advise them of His movements so that they could arrest Him quietly without the people knowing about it.

Paschal Meal Prep

The day is Thursday Afternoon, a day of preparation, the preparation for the Paschal Meal at the home of a friend. (It is possible that it was at John Mark’s parent’s home.) Thursday was spent wholly with the Disciples until the arrest in Gethsemane after midnight.

It is usual that the Jews would kill the sacrificial lamb on the afternoon of Passover day, and eat it altogether on that night. Jesus knew He was to die as the sacrificial lamb on Passover day, and therefore, He prepared the meal a day earlier. He would eat it with His Disciples the evening before Passover, but probably without a lamb, since He was to be the lamb.

Jesus knew the Jews had sought for Him; therefore, Jesus made careful arrangements for the feast, so that no one knew where it would be held, except for two unnamed Disciples who other Disciples did not even know. This prevented Judas from sharing any information to the Jewish leaders, to avoid immediate threat. Two Disciples met two others and prepared the place for the Passover (“Upper Room”), as well as the food and drink for the meal.

Jesus eats the Paschal meal

It is Thursday Evening after sunset, the beginning of the Jewish Friday. Jesus partakes of the Paschal Meal with the Twelve Apostles and rebukes their jealousy. Jesus has sat down at the table with the Twelve Apostles with Him. He had wished to eat with them before He was to suffer, as He would not eat it again until it is fulfilled in His Kingdom. He was about to break bread with them.

Then washes the Disciples’ feet

When they were gathered for the meal, Jesus became the servant and washed the Disciples’ feet. This would typify His humility and that He would cleanse people from sin. Peter did not understand this and therefore he objected. Jesus told him if he refused to let Jesus cleanse him, he could not be Jesus’ Disciple.

By the cleansing, Jesus referred to cleansing from sin, which is something that Peter would understand in its fullness after His death and Resurrection. Peter thought if he was to be cleansed for his feet, maybe all over would suffice better. However, he again did not realize what Jesus was doing. The Disciples (except Judas) were cleansed all over, and needed no further cleansing. The feet cleansing was not for actual cleansing (according to the Law), but it was symbolic for humility.

Jesus gave the Disciples an example that if He, their Lord and teacher, had humbled Himself by washing their feet—how much more should they, His servants, humble themselves to serve each other. Jesus knew of the traitorous work of Judas; however, the rest of them were His servants and messengers who received Him and His Father!

Aha! Judas is the betrayer

The Disciples were astonished that one of them would betray Jesus, because they did not know of any treachery among them. Some of them thought that one of them might do so carelessly; however, Judas knew what Jesus meant and asked Him if it was he, and Jesus said it was so. Jesus then honored Judas by dipping a piece and giving it to him, hoping to change his heart on the matter; however, Judas’ heart was already locked in evil plans. Jesus seemed to only know Judas’ intentions, so the others did not suspect him. Judas departed from the room soon after, which made the death of Christ certain.

Disciples warned against desertion

Judas had departed from them quickly. Meanwhile, they become aware that Jesus’ death would Glorify the Father in Heaven, as He showed His immeasurable Love on display for sinful people. However, they were to show no bitterness in any grief they have about His death, but rather, a forgiving love. He repeats that they should love one another as He has loved them. People should know of His Disciples by the way that they love!

Jesus knew that they would all run away and leave Him in His final house, as sheep that scatter in panic when the shepherd is killed. Peter boldly assures Jesus that even though the others leave Him, he would never do so. However, Jesus knew Peter better than he himself knew, and told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed.

Peter reassured Him that He would not deny Him. However, Peter would do great things in the future to help the Disciples. Jesus told them to prepare for the new life ahead, which is tougher than anything they had previously experienced, as they would have to preserve their lives. However, the Disciples misunderstood Jesus as well; however, Jesus felt He said enough and left them to think about it.

The First Communion

Jesus took some of the bread and wine, gave thanks, and then gave it to the Disciples as symbols of His Body and Blood being offered in sacrifice. His Blood is the sealing of God’s Covenant, which is the unconditional promise of forgiveness and Eternal Life to all those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Just as the Israelites kept the Passover as a remembrance of God’s Gracious Work in saving them back then, Jesus desires the Disciples to keep the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of the One through whose death they are saved of sin and given Eternal Life. Eventually, when Jesus Returns, there will be no more need of bread and wine remembrance, as He and His People will be together in His Eternal Kingdom!

What is vital here: His Body and His Blood are our food for the soul. It is to be a Remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made to redeem us of our sins. By partaking of the Bread and Wine, we are celebrating and remembering what He did on the cross, which allows our hearts to remain focused on Him with gratitude and hopeful sincerity. Paul warns, however, that one must do this remembrance in sincerity, as taking this is as taking Him as our Lord and Life! If there is any insincerity, it should not be taken, because the heart must be open to remain in touch with His Redemptive Work, so that we may receive the blessing of this sacred ordinance.

Discourse in the Upper Room

Jesus was surely about to die and the Disciples knew this. He comforted them by saying He was going to the Father to prepare a permanent place for them that they can dwell, so that one day, He will return to take them with Him forever! As His Loyal Disciples, they would share in His Final Victory!

Thomas, however, misunderstood, and thought Jesus was speaking of a physical location and journey; therefore, he wanted Jesus to show them the way so that they would have no difficulty in finding Him later at the right time. Jesus explained that the way to the Father was only through the Son, and that Jesus had brought the truth of God and Eternal Life to mankind. To know Him was to know God.

Philip misunderstood, as he wanted special revelation of the Father, even though he clearly knew the Father and the Son were inseparable. Everything Jesus did were directly from the Father’s deeds and words. When Jesus returned to the Father, He told them that they would receive the Holy Ghost, and that, through the Power of the Spirit, they would do even greater works than Jesus had done. His Ministry was limited to a few years around their general regions; however, the Disciples would be able to travel near and far to reach the world for God! A new era was about to encompass them as Jesus returned to the Father!

When Jesus returned to the Father, He would send the Holy Ghost as the Helper, counselor, guide, and one to help instruct and strengthen them. Those that did not believe in Jesus would not be able to understand how this Helper worked, because their understanding was limited to worldly things. Soon, Jesus would leave the world, but not desert His Disciples, because He would live within them. He would continue to love them, and they would love Him.

Judas Thaddeus (not the betrayer) was still thinking of His Physical Body, and could not understand how the Disciples could see Him, but no one else could not. He replied that not only the Son, but the Father also, would live with them, as long as they gave proof they loved Him by obeying Him, especially with help from the Teacher, the Holy Ghost! Jesus saw the Disciples’ continual confusion, to which they were promised peace. Jesus did not mean they would live perfect lives without trouble, but that they would have more inward peace, even if they were outwardly affected.

The Disciples should not worry over His coming death, but be glad that by His death, completion of the Work of the Father would happen. Even though Jesus was sinless and not under the devil’s power, He would allow satan’s servants to betray and kill Him, so that through His death, He might fulfill the Father’s Will for Salvation!

Discourse on the way to Gethsemane

All that a believer in Jesus Christ has comes from Jesus Christ. He is like the vine, and we are like the branches, which mean that they can bear spiritual fruit only as they are united in Him. As believers allow the Father to remove hindrances, such as sin, from their lives, they will bear even more fruit. Those who do not bear fruit are like the dead branches of a vine—as they are not attached to it, they receive no life from it. They may say they are Disciples of Him; however, they have no union with Him and will be destroyed in the end, just as Judas Iscariot was.

If people claim to be His True Disciples, they must prove it by their spiritual fruits that result from union with Christ, such as obedience, love, joy, good prayer, etc. Jesus wants them to serve Him willingly, with love and understanding. This is why He chose the Disciples, because they were trained to know God’s Ways, and if their service was based on the knowledge of God and of love, they can expect lasting fruit.

Union with Christ brings suffering, however, and because of their relationship to Him, they would be hated by the world. Loyalty to Christ brings persecution, and Jesus’ teaching and work clearly showed His Divinity. Those that saw and heard Christ had no excuse for unbelief, for their clearer knowledge increased guilt in their lives, to which, they may have claimed to worship God, but they hated Jesus, which also meant they hated God.

The Disciples believed upon Christ, and would receive the Spirit and His Help during the difficult times ahead. They could expect roughness ahead, and therefore, when Christ departed, the Holy Ghost would come and help the Disciples in defending them and opposing the persecutors. He would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. This means sin is the cause of unbelief in Christ, and that Jesus’ death is the way to God, which is proved through His Resurrection and Ascension. Judgment for sinners is certain, because satan has been conquered by the death of Jesus.

Jesus could not speak much more to the Disciples, because of how grieved they were. After He left them, the Holy Ghost would come unto them and help them understand. The teaching brought to them could concern the present and the future; therefore, it should confirm things for them. Jesus would soon be taken from them, but return in a few days. Their sorrow will become joy just as a woman’s pains before birth are replaced with joy after the birth when she sees her child. Jesus’ victory through death and Resurrection would bring confidence in God that they had never partaken before. Jesus would be the mediator or intercessor that they can pray through to the Father and receive His Blessings!

Many of the Disciples would understand completely what Jesus has been saying all along after His Resurrection, which would speak of the purpose of His Mission. They would no longer depend upon Jesus to pray for them; therefore, they would have to learn to pray personally and with confidence (especially based upon the instructions that He gave them concerning prayer). This is only possible because of who Jesus was and what He had done!

Jesus’ words had strengthened the Disciples’ faith; however, they failed to realize that a few hours later, their faith would be tested, as they would be frightened and confused on forsaking their Lord in His final hours. The lapse in faithfulness, nonetheless, would only be temporary, as through His Victory, they would Triumph!

The Intercessory Prayer

Jesus now prays before the Lord God fervently, in reflection of the Triumph of the completed work. He begins by speaking of His relationship with the Father, and that His Will was to reveal God to the world so that people could receive Eternal Life through Him. He prays to the Lord that by dying on the cross and thus finishing the work successful, He would Glorify God. This is also in hopes that Glory would be found in Christ through this, as He would ascend to His Father and sit at His Right Hand where He belonged originally.

Only some believed in Him and knew He was God and that He had come from the Father to make Him known. In other words, Jesus came to reveal the Father, and in doing so, was rejected by most, but acknowledged by some. That remnant would be His People—His True People that is, who are going to share in His Coming Kingdom that He will Rule in Eternally.

Next, He prays that His Disciples would live in a way to show His Glory to the world, so that their unity will display a similar unity as the Father is to the Son. He wants His Disciples to remains as faithful to Him as possible so they will not be defeated by evil in the world. He wants them to share with Him the Triumph and Joy that shall come through the completion of the Will of the Father. As Jesus leaves the world, His Disciples will continue the work. He prays that they will not be discouraged by hatred or even corrupted by sin. Jesus gave Himself to God to carry out His Work, so He desires that His Disciples would give themselves to God to spread His Message in the entire world.

Finally, Jesus prayed for those that would believe through the preaching of that first group of Disciples and become God’s new people, the Christian Church. He prays that the same unity that exists between the Father and Son would bind all of the Disciples together in one family so that through them others would believe as well, to which in the age to come enjoying of the Glory that was His before the world began. Those that have trusted in Him will be there with Him in the Triumphant Kingdom of God that He will Rule and Reign over! Meanwhile, even though there is unbelief in the present world, many people will come to Christ and share in the Love that the Father has for the Son (by being joint-heirs in a way). The world will begin to know God when the world sees the Love of Jesus in His People!

Jesus’ Agony!!

The Synoptic Gospels do not give the great discourse of Jesus in John 14-17. Hence they represent Jesus as going forth to Gethsemane after the institution of the supper. The time was probably not long, and they apparently sang the hymn (probably one of the Psalms; Mark 14:26/Matthew 26:30), as they rose to leave the Upper Room in John 14:31. Thus, the passage in John 15-17 comes in between singing the hymn and reaching Gethsemane. Gethsemane was an open garden, between the Brook Kedron and the foot of the Mount of Olives. It is late in the night introducing Friday, and Jesus suffers long and in horrible agony.

All of them sung a hymn, as they departed to the Mount of Olives and then into Gethsemane. Coming upon Gethsemane, it is about midnight when He and His Disciples arrived. Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him and moved to a spot to which they could be alone. He was filled with anguish and horror as He saw what death meant for Him, as the others sympathized with Him. He had to battle temptation to avoid suffering that lies ahead; however, the battle was something He had to fight and win alone. The “cup of suffering” that caused Jesus such anguish was not just about a physical suffering event, but rather, also an inner agony as He, the Sinless One, was to take upon Himself the sin of human creatures, and bore the wrath on their behalf.

No one else could know the pain, but Christ, as He had a human will, and knowing that He must complete the Father’s Will; therefore, conflict arose within. He fought against temptation in avoiding the cross, and his agony was so intense that He had sweat blood. However, He won the battle, and was determined to do the Father’s Will. Jesus saw the weakness that the Disciples had, and told them to be alert and pray for strength, as they would be tested soon. They would face a temptation to deny Jesus so that they may save themselves.

What do we learn here: We may come upon battles that are tough, even to win on our own; however, we don’t have to fight them alone, for He provides the strength we need and will assist us when we call out to Him!

Jesus raised Lazarus & Healed 10 Lepers (Journeys 44-45)

Now that Jesus has had some “fame”, He is about to gain much more fame, which means that the Sanhedrin is watching Him closely. Whenever one becomes a celebrity, many eyes are on them — some good & some bad. Don’t be mistaken, Jesus may have had fame, but His primary concern was still compassion for His People.

We are reading in John 11 and Luke 17:11-18:14, as Jesus journeys from Perea to Bethany and then to Ephraim. Bethany was near Jerusalem and Ephraim was near Judea. Jesus was apparently at a distance of two or three days’ journey from Bethany (verse 6, 17). He was probably in Perea. The visit to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, may be that to which Luke pointed in 13:22. It was here that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This was a long travel for Jesus; however, He needed to evade the authorities of the Sanhedrin to avoid being taken in too soon, as the time had not drawn near just yet for His Redemptive Work.

Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead

Jesus was still in the region around Jerusalem, when He heard about His friend, Lazarus, had been seriously ill. Lazarus lived in Bethany (with Mary and Martha). Jesus knew that Lazarus was dead, so He did not hurry over there. He planned to raise Lazarus to life, to give evidence of His Divinity.

Jesus went out after two days for Bethany, to which, the Disciples tried to stop Him in fear that the Jews of that area would try to kill Him. However, Jesus assured them the time was not ready yet.

He travels over safely walking normally; however, as He walked in God’s Light, the powers of darkness could not harm Him. His raising of Lazarus would give people proof of His Power over death and strengthen the Disciples’ faith. He gave the Disciples the courage to go with Him, even though the dangers.

Along the way, the distressed Martha talks to Jesus and believed that it was too late to do anything, because He is dead. Jesus is sure that He can call on God’s Power to bring Lazarus back to life!

Martha already knew that Lazarus would be resurrected at the end times; however, Jesus comforted her by saying He is the Resurrection and the Life. Those that are spiritually dead may have Life in Him and will have Eternal Life, even if the physical body dies. Martha fully believed this, and confessed Him as the Messiah, Son of God, and Savior of the world. She hurried home and brought Mary so they could all meet.

When Jesus talked about Eternal Life to Martha, He did not want her to think He negated his physical death as no concern, but rather, He fully intended to bring Lazarus back. Death is an enemy of satan and it was to be destroyed. When He saw how satan used such weapon to fill His friends with grief, He was filled with sorrow and also anger (good, righteous/Godly anger).

To win the victory over satan in this case, Jesus went to the tomb, and before raising him from the dead, He first thanked God for always hearing His Prayers. Soon, Jesus called with a loud voice unto Lazarus, and He was miraculously resurrected.

After Jesus raised Lazarus, He became more famous, which brought attention from the Sanhedrin that He might cause an uprising against Rome. The outcome could be the loss of the Jews’ religious privilege, and could cause the destruction of the Temple. High priest Caiaphas, also the president of the Sanhedrin, suggested to dispose of Jesus quickly before Rome gets involved, so that if He dies, the nation would be saved.

Of course, Caiaphas did not know what his words meant per the Prophecy of Jesus Christ, for His death would save the masses. People of every nation would eventually believe in Him. While the Jewish leaders plotted to dispose of Jesus, He took His Disciples and went away to a quiet place from the crowd.

What can we learn from this situation?

Let us not toil and strain over death of the physical body, if we know eternal security for Eternal Life is grasped. We must be so sure that He is the Resurrection and the Life that we have the ability to fearlessly walk each day in the Light of His Presence knowing that His Hand is upon us. Death of the physical body is but sleep, for we are retiring from worldly cares and proceeding into the Heavenly realm to serve the Lord Jesus!

Ten Lepers Healed and the Nature of the Kingdom of God Explained

Many people have become so used to receiving His Blessings that they forget to thank Him. Others who have not known God previously might display true gratitude the first time when they are aware of His Goodness unto them. This was demonstrated when He healed the ten lepers and then sent them to the Priest as the Jewish Law required. However, none of the Jews in that group returned to thank Him. The only one thanking Jesus was a foreigner.

The Pharisees were still looking for visible signs of the Messiah’s Kingdom, so they could work properly. Jesus told them that He was the Messiah living among them. The Messiah’s Kingdom has begun. Jesus then talks to His Disciples, and said that He would be taken from them soon. In their longing for His Return, they should not pay ear to false prophets and false teachings, because His Coming will be unmistakably visible.

Just as the days of Noah and Lot, people will carry out their everyday duties when His Judgment will suddenly fall on them. At that time, it would be too late for people to save themselves, and therefore, there will be a separation between those who lived selfishly and those that put God first. God will intervene in our affairs on Earth worldwide, and wherever there is sin, divine judgment will fall.

Parables about Prayer

Because of the apparent delay before His Return, Jesus told a parable to encourage His Disciples, to which, they may suffer injustice and other persecutions who despise the Gospel. Therefore, they should persevere in prayer, and be confident that God will hear their prayers. If an ungodly judge gives a just judgment to a helpless widow just to rid her of the pleading, how much more would God answer the cries of His persecuted people. The world might be unbelieving in its ways; however, the Disciples of Jesus Christ must persevere in faith!

In the second story, Jesus rebuked the law-abiding people who thought themselves righteous in their prayers with God. The Pharisees would recount their good deeds, and expect God’s reward. Pharisees despised tax collectors and were all sure that God did as well; however, the tax collectors would not try to impress God. Tax collectors knew they were sinners and felt that no one could help them but God, so they would ask Him for mercy. God accepted those who humbly repented and rejected those who just boasted of good virtue.

Jesus teaches about prayer, hypocrisy, covetousness, world anxieties, & watchfulness (Journey 40)

We have reached our 40 on this blog for this Journey of Christ, which is quite exciting. For those actually following along with the Journey, there is likely about 20-25 more journeys to go on this entire Journey with Christ. Therefore, please continue to learn about Jesus Christ.

SCRIPTURES: Today’s readings are culminated within Luke 11:1-13:21. Please read them thoroughly to have the best benefit from our material below.

The Model Prayer

Jesus begins with the Model Prayer as He is journeying from Bethany to somewhere in Judea. Jesus was praying in a certain place, and His Disciples asked Him how to pray. The Lord teaches them that when they pray, they should begin with addressing Our Father in Heaven, giving glory to Him, requesting His Kingdom come and Will to be done as in Earth just as Heaven, give us our daily bread, forgive us as we forgive those who have done evil to us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Jesus gave two pictures (The Parable of the Importunate Friend) to show His followers that they can put their requests to God confidently, for even a weary and stubborn neighbor can be persuaded into giving him what he needs. How much more then will God, who is a loving Father, supply all the needs of His Children. Now, His Children do not have to beg from a god who is unwilling to give, but rather, they go to God as children go to their father, knowing that he would not disappoint them or give them less than asked.

What else can we learn here: We can learn from His Model Prayer by adapting our prayers after it so that we can be confident we are praying according to His Will. We need not to beg Him, but rather request as a child would request from his father.

Is Jesus in league with Beelzebub?

On one occasion of casting out demons, the Pharisees blamed Jesus of doing it to the power of satan. Jesus replied that if the devil was being used to cast out demons, the devil would only create war in his kingdom, because he would be destroying himself. The only way a strong man can be defeated is if a stronger one overpowers him. In casting out demons, Jesus showed He was stronger than satan and his demons. His Reign, which would result in destroying the devil has begun.

When a stronger one should come and overcome him, He takes all the armor and divides the spoils. Those not with the Son are against Him, and those with Him can share in the spoils. For example, when an unclean spirit goes from a man, he tries to find rest but cannot find any, so he goes back to the “house” and finds it swept and garnished.

Therefore, he goes and takes other spirits more wicked than himself and enter therein into the one where he was originally cast out making the man worse than he originally was. Therefore, it is vital to accept the Lord Jesus when an unclean spirit is cast out, so that the man does not become possessed again.

A woman then speaks out that blessed is the womb that bares thee and the paps that thou hast sucked. He says to her that the ones that are actually blessed are the ones that hear the Word of God and keep it. Therefore, He is saying that if you give yourself to obeying the Law, you better keep doing so. If we hear the Word of God and keep it, you are blessed!

Therefore, again, the Pharisees asked for a miracle for Jesus to perform proving He was Messiah. The only sign He would agree to would be His death and Resurrection, to which they should look for the sign of the Prophet Jonas (Jonah).

How can we learn from this: If we go to help people become delivered of their evil, we must make sure that they are Saved by Christ, otherwise, they could easily be given over to the hand of the enemy again. We must hear the Word of God and keep it in our hearts, so that we may tell of all that Christ has done for us and for people in the Work of Redemption.

Then Jesus talks with a Pharisee over breakfast

The Pharisees thought that religion was about keeping ceremonial laws; however, their hearts were full of wicked plans to advance themselves while they were oppressing others. They took great advances in washing their hands, cleaning things, and doing the ceremonial laws well; however, they failed to clean the evil from their hearts.

In addition, the Pharisees were quite strict in their calculation of offerings to God, to which, they did exactly a tenth of their produce even counting seeds and stalks. However, this did not prove valuable if they did not practice love, mercy, justice, etc. toward their fellow people. They were a proud and vain people who were always looking for praise; however, in God’s Sight, they were just as unclean as graves full of decaying bodies, to which, they just spread the uncleanness to people who touched them. The Pharisees made others unclean with their evils. The Pharisees and Scribes were quite offended at Jesus’ remarks, and decided they would start using things to trap Jesus into saying something bad.

What is the overarching message Jesus is conveying: We should look to our own hearts and be sure they are cleansed and purified, to which we can attend to the great things of the Law and Gospel so that we do not neglect what God wants for us in rewards and blessings. We need to pray that we obtain such meekness and patience to Glorify the Lord in all things so that He can work in and through us.

Jesus’ Parables to the Disciples and other “students”

First the facts surrounding this: Jesus speaks to His Disciples and a vast throng about hypocrisy, covetousness (Parable of the Rich Fool), world anxieties, watchfulness (Parable of the Waiting Servants and of the Wise Steward), and His own approaching passion. Here we have a series of discourses to the Disciples, 1-12; to one of the crowd, 13-21; to the Disciples, 22-40; to Peter, 41-53; to the multitude, 54-59. The constant interruption is typical of the teaching of Jesus. This address as often, repeats some of Christ’s favorites sayings. Besides the Parable of the Rich Fool, 12:16-21; NOTE: those of the waiting servants, 37-40; and of the Wise Steward, 42-48.

Now the story: Jesus first warns to beware of the Pharisees and Sadducees, because they were still going around speaking in darkness about several things, and asking Jesus to show a sign. He then speaks about the people maintaining a reverence in obedience to God, knowing that as their Heavenly Father watches over them that He never forgets about them, especially those that are faithful. They must confess about Him before men, for He will confess about us before God. Speaking against the Lord will cause blasphemy that will be unforgiven. However, when we behold the Holy Ghost’s Power, He will help us say what needs to be said when speaking about the Lord!

One person spoke up and said he was more concerned on personal safety or security, and that he wanted Jesus to force his brother to give him a bigger share of inheritance received. However, Jesus was not a rabbi who settled disputes of the Law; rather, He was a teacher from God unconcerned with people’s greed. He then tells the man a story of a rich but foolish farmer who was only concerned with wealth. Suddenly, the farmer died, and therefore, his wealth was of no use any further, which also prevented him from obtaining Heavenly riches.

People who come into the Kingdom of God should not view the material things of the earth as others may view them; rather they should put God’s interests first and be generous to others. Ones who just focus on wealth are disloyal to God, and therefore guarantee disappointment for them. Jesus referred to their local belief about the results of good and bad eyesight, to which, people believed the eyes were like windows that allowed light to enter the body and keep it in good health.

Their belief was furthered that healthy eyes meant a healthy body (light) and diseased eyes meant a diseased body (darkness). A healthy view of material things resulted in healthy spirituality; however, an unhealthy view resulted in spiritual darkness that would only become darker. A person can be the slave of one master at a time; therefore, if people devote their attention to increasing their wealth and comfort, they are no longer loyal to God.

Many people become in bondage of material things, not necessarily due to greed, but because they worry too much about having enough money for themselves. They should realize that God is the life-giver, and that He can give what is necessary to maintain life. If He cares for the grass, birds, and flowers, then He would certainly care about people. Believers should not be so anxious over material things, because believers should be trusting in God by putting His Kingdom first. People are under His Rule and should trust that He will provide!

The followers of Jesus must continually be ready for any circumstances, to which, they are like household servants waiting for their master to return home after a feast. The servants must be ready and waiting on him when he returns whether it is sooner or later than expected. They may receive an unexpected reward due to their diligence. Another illustration of readiness is about a householder who secures his house against burglary, and since he does not know when the burglar will prowl, he keeps the house always secure. Jesus used both of these stories to remind His followers to always be ready for the Coming of Christ, whether in the coming crises or the final crises at the end times.

When Peter asked if the Parable was to the Disciples only or to all people. However, Jesus gave no direct answer, but did describe another Parable. The master of a household appointed a servant to the position of manager over all other servants while he went on a trip. He gave the managing servant the instructions for running the household, so that while the master was away any longer than expected, the man thought he could just do as he liked. Suddenly the master returned, and on discovering that the manager just did as he liked, the master dealt severely with him. Other servants that did wrong were punished, but the manager punished the worst. Everyone is therefore accountable to God; however, God expects more of those who know more.

Jesus gave another warning about the need to be prepared for the Coming of Christ, to which, He felt the tension rising as He saw the cross would mean fiery judgment for some people, a baptism of suffering for Himself, and conflict for those opposed by troubled relatives because they were loyal to Him. In addition, people should make peace with those that are troubling them, because an offender would be wise to reach agreement with the opponent quickly, otherwise, worse circumstances would come by unfavorable judgment in court.

Jesus intends: Depend not on the knowledge and wisdom of the world, but continue to focus on Kingdom things, make peace with your brethren, and allow the Lord to provide for you so you do not have to strive so hard for wealth.

Jesus cites eschatology in Repent or Perish admonition to the Jews

Two tragedies were in the minds of the Jewish people, to which, one was caused by Pilate, to which, he killed a number of Galilean Jews while they offered sacrifices at the Temple, and the other caused by the collapse of a tower that killed many Jerusalem citizens. Some Jews had thought that because such victims met terrible deaths, they must have been worse sinners than others. Jesus noted that this was not the case, because the rest of the Jews would then suffer a far worse fate if they didn’t repent and accept the Messiah.

Israel has been unfaithful, and of no use to God just as a fig tree that never produces fruit. God had been patient enough, but now he was giving them one last chance to repent and accept the Messiah, otherwise, they would have judgment upon them.

What does He teach here: The Lord expects that we repent and turn from ways that do not bring Him Glory, because He wants us to line up with His Will. If we prove to persist in our sin and stray away from the call to righteousness, we only hurt ourselves, because we are not doing God’s Will.

Then a crippled woman is healed on the Sabbath

While Jesus was preaching on the Sabbath in a Synagogue, He saw a woman who was crippled that needed serious help. Jesus went and healed her, which made the ruler of the Synagogue angry, because the people were not to be there for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus showed the man to be hypocritical, along with those who support him, by reminding them that they feed their own cattle on the Sabbath, so surely they could help a crippled woman.

Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven: Jesus then tells a Parable, to which, the mustard seed foretells the expansion of the Kingdom, to which from small beginnings it grows to a vast community all over the earth. Similarly, in the Parable of the Leaven, as a small amount of leaven spread through a lump of dough, so will the Kingdom spread through the world.

We should not allow things to get in our way of receiving God’s Blessing!