Psalm 23: Our Beautiful Shepherd – The Lord

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.

Psalm 23The Shepherd’s WorkApplication for life
The Lord is my shepherdSheep 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 wantSome 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 meValleys 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 enemiesUsually 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 oilFlying 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 lifeSheep 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 ShepherdJesus’ Work
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).
Prevents over-grazing.Teaching His Disciples to be wise and harmless (Matthew 10:16).

Our Foundation in Christ Jesus

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” – Hebrews 6:1-2.

Principles of our foundation according to the Bible:

  • One must become as a little child to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3). This is the condition for entry, but not something people should be forever.
  • We should then go on to perfection, as in maturity (Hebrews 6:1-2).
  • We do this in the stature and fullness of Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:13).
  • Putting away childish things is part of growing up (not only in life, but also the Kingdom)(1 Corinthians 13:11).
  • Christ gives us both the promise and the means to do just this. It does not mean we leave behind the doctrine of Christ, we just leave the constant study of the doctrine of Christ once we have digested it.
  • Peter in 1 Peter 2:2 called it that as newborn babes desire the milk (this involves the Gospel of Jesus Christ basics). However, Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 that some cannot handle the meat of the Word of God. But after the milk, you are supposed to have the meat. When you let the Gospel of Christ in your life, it begins to change you and nourish your spirit (the milk). We always have the milk now. Since we have the milk, we must desire the meat. The meat involves letting your life change to how the Bible admonishes – practicing and applying to your life Biblical principles and promises. By letting your life change being governed by the Bible, you are consuming the meat. Some people cannot handle the truth, though, which is why Paul said some of them cannot handle it.

The foundation in Christ Jesus

“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16).

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Once we let the Word of God take root in our lives by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must continue to grow as trees grow once their roots are digested/buried in the earth. For the Christian, everything is rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus. This comes first in the Person of Jesus Christ, and then in the teaching of Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. After the teachings, we follow the work of Jesus Christ, for He is our All in all, the Alpha and the Omega.

John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:10 that the axe must be laid to the tree. This is referring to the Garden of Eden incident where man chose to eat from the wrong tree. The work of Jesus Christ involves cutting us away from the wrong tree when we place our faith in Christ Jesus for Salvation. That Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the Law – and God intends that we who are in Christ Jesus be cut off from that tree so we can be placed onto the Tree of Life just how He originally intended. We can only do this by trusting in Jesus Christ. We eat of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through Communion/Salvation with Him, and that means we eat of the Tree of Life and receive the seed that plants us. Jesus evidenced this in Matthew 13 when talking about the tilling of the ground, and how each believer is represented in their spiritual growth.

How do we honor the Person of Jesus Christ then? Look in 1 Corinthians 3:11 above. Paul wrote his statement about that to the Corinthian people, because others were trying to build onto the foundation of Jesus Christ, when that wasn’t necessary. Some found their work destroyed, as the people strayed off doing their own things instead of focusing on the Person of Jesus Christ. Anyone laying foundations other than Jesus Christ are false prophets or false teachers that seek to make their own kingdoms instead of relying on the Kingdom of God.

Isaiah prophesied this in 28:16 as we read above. Peter quoted that in 1 Peter 2:6. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the Chief Cornerstone. He is the first one to be laid as the foundation, and then all others line up with Him. Some preachers have called this, “Coming into alignment.” He is the precious stone, not made of any old material on Earth, but of the abundance of God. Better than a pearl of great price. We do read in the Book of Revelation that He is the Alpha and Omega. This tells us then that Jesus is not only the Chief Cornerstone, but also the Capstone. He lays the foundation, and covers all of us in His Love. How awesome that is!

The Beatitudes explained

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

Matthew 5:3

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

Matthew 5:4

“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

Matthew 5:5

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

Matthew 5:6

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

Matthew 5:7

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

Matthew 5:8

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

Matthew 5:9

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

Matthew 5:10

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

John 20:29

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

Acts 20:35

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.

See also: Matthew 6:1-4; Luke 6:38; 22:24-30.

The Lord Jesus Christ – Bethlehem to Jerusalem (Journey the Word 9)

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

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

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 saysWhat 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).

Life of Christ timeline

  • The Angel spoke to Mary that she will bear a son through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38). The Angel tells Joseph to take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:18-25).

  • 4 BC – Birth of Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ is born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7).

  • Shepherds visit Jesus who was lying in the manger (Luke 2:8-20).

  • Eventually, when Jesus happens at the Temple, He is recognized as the Messiah (Luke 2:21-38).

  • Magi from the East visit Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12).

  • Joseph and Mary took Jesus and fled to escape from Herod. They went to Egypt. Eventually, they returned to Nazareth once Herod died (Matthew 2:13-23).

  • Jesus’ Baptism: Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).

  • Jesus resists satan’s temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).

  • First miracle of Christ Jesus: Jesus turns water into wine (John 2:1-12).

  • Jesus’ first cleansing of the Temple (John 2:13-25).

  • Jesus talks with Nicodemus about Salvation (John 3:1-21).

  • Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42).

  • Jesus heals the official’s son (John 4:46-54), heals and forgives a paralyzed man (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26), heals a man at the pool of Bethesda during the second Passover recorded in Scripture (John 5:1-47), and heals a centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10).

  • Jesus called Disciples (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11).

  • Jesus dined with “sinners” (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32).

  • The Sermon on the Mount: Jesus teaches with authority (Matthew 5:1-7:29; Luke 6:20-49; 11:1-13; 16:16-17).

  • Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17).

  • Pharisees accused Jesus of being in league with satan, and Jesus countered them (Matthew 12:22-37; Mark 3:20-30; Luke 11:14-28).

  • Jesus calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25).

  • Jesus cast demons from a man to send into a team of pigs (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39).

  • Jesus raised Jairus’s daughter and healed a woman that touched his cloak (Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56).

  • Jesus fed 5,000 people (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15). The third recorded Passover in Scripture is noted.

  • Jesus is seen walking on water (Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:16-21).

  • Jesus taught His Bread of Life sermon (John 6:22-71).

  • Jesus healed a Canaanite woman’s daughter (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30).

  • Jesus fed 4,000 more people (Matthew 15:29-39; Mark 8:1-10).

  • Jesus healed a blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26).

  • Peter called Jesus the Messiah – The Christ – The Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21).

  • The Transfiguration: Where Jesus is seen in Glory (Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36).

  • Jesus spared the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53-8:11).

  • Jesus sent out the 70 disciples (Luke 10:1-24).

  • Jesus visited the home of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42).

  • Jesus healed a crippled woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17) and healed a man born blind (John 9:1-41).

  • Opponents of Jesus try to stone Him for blasphemy (John 10:22-42).

  • Jesus mourned over Jerusalem (Matthew 22:37-39; Luke 13:31-35).

  • Jesus dined with Pharisees and then healed a man who had dropsy (Luke 14:1-24).

  • Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44), and then the Sanhedrin plotted to kill Jesus (John 11:45-57).

  • The rich young ruler talked with Jesus (Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30).

  • Jesus healed Bartimaeus and another blind man (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43).

  • 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).

  • The Great Commission: Jesus called His Disciples to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20).

  • ASCENSION: Jesus ascends to Heaven 40 days after His Resurrection (Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:3-11).

Do not be deceived! – 15 guidelines the Bible instructs

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. Criminality is an abomination to the Lord (2 Timothy 3:13).
  5. 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).
  6. God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).
  7. Bad company corrupts moral character (1 Corinthians 15:33).
  8. Do not turn away from the Lord to serve other gods (Deuteronomy 11:16).
  9. Do not trust in vanity (Job 15:31).
  10. 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).
  11. People are deceived when they don’t know the Scriptures or Power of God (Matthew 22:29).
  12. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon Earth (Matthew 6:19).
  13. Beware of those pretending to be Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:19; 2:18).
  14. 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).
  15. 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!

Jesus teaches disciples character – Part 1

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.

Peter’s background

Peter’s names:

  • 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).

Jesus wants to give you the Kingdom! | Luke 12:32 commentary

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

People must claim loyalty to God at all times. It is highly important to understand this premise. If certain things that are less than humans receive provision from the Lord, then His People ought to know that they will be provided for, and even more will receive the spiritual Kingdom that He has prepared for us. It is His pleasure to give us the Kingdom of God.

Of course, giving this thought to fishermen was probably to them quite a surprise. Instead of trying to conquer a kingdom on Earth for themselves, Jesus was offering them a spiritual Kingdom, so they realize they do not have to overwork themselves trying to fulfill a kingdom on Earth. Working for God’s Kingdom allows one to be in greater rest while helping others.

The Lord is instructing simply that His Disciples are heirs to the Heavenly Kingdom where their treasures are.

Even John warned against false teachings and heresy | 2 John commentary

In 2 John, John puts a similar focus on truth as he does in the first letter. This letter was written between 85-95 A.D. This is a very quick but important letter from John. It is best to decide upon whom John is addressing. John speaks of “the elect lady and her children.” This could mean a local church and its congregation, or it could mean an unknown widowed woman. Nevertheless, John places a warning on the “elect lady” about giving hospitality and support to traveling ministers (missionaries) who have departed from the apostolic truth and have migrated toward false teachings.

John once again warns against false teaching as he did in 1 John. We learn also in this letter that truth and love are inseparable. We should walk in truth, not just admire it. We should also love one another, a genuine love. Therefore, John starts the letter with his greeting before talking about walking in truth, and that we had a commandment from the beginning to love one another. The love we have, we should walk in it.

Next, John talks about the deceivers who have entered the world who do not confess Jesus as Christ. These deceivers are an antichrist. John warns next that those who transgress and abide not in the doctrine of Christ do not have God. However, those that do abide in His doctrine do have both the Father and the Son. The warning right after that is if these deceivers come to your house with this kind of (false) doctrine, do not receive him or help him out. That is how this second letter ended.

False teaching is a major problem in the body of Christ today, because people are focused on their own will, instead of humbling to God’s Will. John points out that even in his day, false teaching is prevalent. He also speaks to keep an eye out for those that practice unrighteousness and do not hold true to the apostolic truth. This can be reflected to a contemporary principle of watching out for false teachers (and prophets), especially in the last days before the Lord’s coming.

John seemed to have some kind of apostolic love toward the “elect lady,” as he spoke that he loved in truth. John seemed to end the letter early, because he expected to see the “elect lady” soon. So, John’s letter, in a quick summary, went like this: He encourages the people to persevere in love and belief in God, to have nothing to do with false teachers – not even to support or give them hospitality, and then a hope to see them soon.

It also seems that John has a strong will against those who deny Christ, as in verse 9, we also see this in 1 John 2:23. This is to be expected by someone who loves Christ so much. John was a very faithful disciple, so seeing his love manifest into feelings of discontentment against those who do evil, speak falsely, and deny Christ. John is a good example of a disciple who was well trained in the beautiful teachings of Jesus Christ. John teaches this audience these things, because he is setting the example that the Lord crafted in him to make other people more like disciples of Jesus.

Lessons & other notes from John

This epistle is unique, because it is the only book in the New Testament that is addressed to a lady. Some believe the elect lady is a title for a woman in the higher social realm or official/dignitary – or married to such. Many traditions teach that the person addressed is Martha of Bethany. Others believe that it is the Church he is referring to, but nonetheless, there are many beliefs on who it might be.

Trinity: As for the personage of the Trinity, it seems that each member of the Godhead has a particular personality. The Father is the creator and Law Giver, Jesus the Son of God is the Savior, Baptizer, Healer, and Soon Coming King, and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth, the Convictor, the Comforter, and the Illuminator. However, each possesses all these things.

They are always working together no matter what, for Jesus was Baptized by John, a Spirit like a dove descended upon Him – and then a voice came from Heaven (from God) that said “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus, as we see in John 17, wants the same unity for the believers that exists between the Father and the Son, so that through them, others would believe as well. He hopes that they share in the love that the Father has for the Son. He desires that they give themselves to God for the task of spreading the Gospel. Overall, He is telling them to have unity just as the Father and the Son have unity.

Being unified: Being in unity in the Body of Christ is highly important, and it tells us to love one another, walk in truth, and follow His commands – for He is looking after us and hopes that we keep our joy and peace. Practicing love and unity on a normal basis is the key to living more successfully with others.

What he appears to mention the most is that we love one another (we see in 2 John 5, John 13:34, John 15:12, 1 John 2:7, 1 John 3:23, and 1 John 4:21). He speaks of the Great Commandment in many verses, because Jesus had spoken of it, and then John repeats Jesus and keeps reassuring the people that if they love one another, they are doing the Will of the Father.

John is so glad to be united with this lady and her children, and hopes that they continue doing the good work they have done, especially in hospitality – for hospitality is important in the Body of Christ, because this world does not show mercy, so His People must show mercy to give people hope. The hope we have is of the Lord, and He hopes that we all will love each other and be in unity just as the Father is to the Son, because we need to spread around His Message much! False teachers have come, but we need to spread around the actual truth to hopefully blot those false ones out.

John rejoices when his teachings have done well to success, and is thankful that the people he is addressing have maintained their loyalty to the Gospel, and hopes for them to continue. We must look to ourselves and know what we have and have not done – make the change – and then we will receive a full reward, as he encourages. Truth and love are inseparable from the Gospel, and we are saved by this Gospel.

What he wishes most though is the love that we must share and in unity. He is glad that so many are united in love, and he is trying to be tolerant of the false teachers and false teachings of the day – so he gives us warnings and hopes that we will understand how to identify those who are false. We can also look back at the other tips, which are helpful to identify false teachers and doctrines. He loves those whom he teaches, and hopes that they will always be united!

Right before execution, Peter warns against false teachers | 2 Peter commentary

Peter constructed his second letter around 67-69 A.D., just before his execution. Peter gives stern warnings about false teachers in the church. Peter encourages believers also that good qualities will help believers avoid false teachings. He writes to them that have obtained precious faith through the righteousness of God and our savior, Jesus Christ.

Peter greets the readers, before talking about the Lord’s divine power given to us all things pertaining unto life and godliness. God has called us to glory and virtue. No additional knowledge or wisdom is needed to complete the sufficient Word of God, especially through salvation in Christ. Being partakers of the divine nature, believers have escaped the corruption of the world through lust. Virtue and knowledge shall also be added to believers’ faith. Therefore, Peter hopes that the calling and election of each believer should be sure, as so to never fall.

Next, Peter writes about the prophecy of Scripture, where he contrasts worldly ideas with God’s Word. God’s messages are free from error; His Word is true and reliable. Writers in the Bible did not write from their own interpretation, ideas, etc. – but it came from the Holy Ghost. Then, Peter talks about false teachers in the church. Teachers and leaders in the church and began to introduce heresies among God’s people. Through covetousness, false teachers commercialize the gospel. They also tell fake stories and other experiences to try to gain extra money from believers.

Peter explains that false teachers have destruction awaiting them. False teachers are described as natural, brute beasts that speak evil of the things they do not understand, and shall perish in corruption. They also receive the reward of unrighteousness and are blemishes. False teachers have eyes full of adultery, cannot cease from sin, who beguile unstable souls, who exercise covetousness, and are cursed children. False teachers, Peter explains, are willingly ignorant. Soon, the Lord will come back in the Day of Judgment, and false teachers will be destroyed by fire.

Peter writes next that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years is one day. In addition, that the Lord will keep His promise, so that no one should perish, but instead come to repentance. “The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” – to which the Heavens pass away, the elements will melt, and the earth and its things will burn up. Peter encourages believers to live holy until that day, and concludes the letter by warning them to be careful and grow in grace.

As much as Peter and Paul disliked heresy, it seems that Peter was just as intent on getting them to stop just as Paul did. What is troubling is that even today, we are still dealing with heresies and other false teachers. Nothing has changed, because people have a common craving and that is money. Where there is a craving for money, there is recklessness in decision-making that leads to these heresies, for example.

People naturally create their own “bible” or “truth” that people are so drawn to, because they have a hunger or need for money and know they can make it if they align with the desires of men instead of the desires of God. It is a common bait-and-switch situation. But, what needs to happen, whether people like it or not, is that Biblical truth needs to be ministered on a truthful, Spirit-led level – so that people can be properly furnished with the Word of God, instead of a false truth that this world system creates. People are sucked into the teaching that they miss important details. These apostles were intent on straightening men back to the truth and making sure they focus on the truth of the Word.

Lessons from Peter and other notes

What he means by “cunningly devised fables” is that he hasn’t been giving them some kind of theory from his own imagination, but that, he himself had an experience of God’s Power through Jesus’ transfiguration, by being an eyewitness of His Majesty.

Precious faith: Peter refers to the faith as “precious” in verse one, which seems to be the thought that this is precious because it’s of great value, for a great price was given that this faith might be ours. This priceless gift comes from the “righteousness” of our God and through His Son, Jesus Christ, who gave His Life – in that, we might have this treasure.

Power: The word “power” used in 1:3 is referring to “divine power” – which probably means some form of glory of the divine that is worth of note. He has given all of us this power of Divine Nature, to which, He does so for life and godliness – for He has called us to glory and virtue. He gives for us great and precious promises – we are partakers of the divine nature and we have escaped the corruption that is in the world of lust. We have everything we need to live lives of holiness in a world that is so corrupt of uncontrolled desires, to which, we must be keeping with the life that God has given us, for His Promises are the assurance of Him helping us!

Peter’s list of Christian virtues that he believes Christ taught in his parables and other messages:

  • Diligence: People need to apply determination and effort in their lives, especially in faith, for it will produce goodness.
  • Virtue: This refers to moral excellency, for virtue should be involved in how we minister. The development of good character.
  • Knowledge: We should have knowledge of God’s Will, especially in what we do for Him.
  • Temperance: We should have a form of self-control, and should be able to keep ourselves cool, especially as we minister to another. It’s important to keep ourselves sober, so that we don’t minister negativity from our heart.
  • Patience: There are many difficulties and exercises His People must endure, and should strive them in patience, so that they are not easily discouraged.
  • Godliness: Our internal exercise of the Fruit of the Spirit, expressed in everything that we do.
  • Kindness: Being kind to one another is a great way to be Christlike, just as love can be (see charity). Kindness involves doing nice things for others with delight and for their benefit.
  • Charity: We should be showing love to one another by acknowledging them as beloved by Christ, and making them feel connected in unity through kindness.

The marks of a false teacher:

  • They have no power to hold the flesh in check concerning the untruths they proclaim. (They proclaim things that are contrary to what Jesus taught, or minister in hypocrisy)
  • They secretly and often live in lust, uncleanness, and make excuses for their ungodly behavior. Or they attach God’s name with their evil. People like this seem to always find a way to involve God as a “helper” for influence by using His name to gain. It’s similar to people who commit violence in the name of God, as if God ordained such violence, even though He never does.
  • They despise authority and will not be subject to anyone (Law, government, mate, employer, etc.). These kind of people tend to be very prideful, and seems like they never learn from anyone else but themselves (and wallow in their folly – dung).
  • They are presumptuous. They are self-willed and determined to have their own way (even if against God), so they can gain a higher rank (and pride).

Strange sayings from Peter:

Natural brute beasts: Imitating wild animals that are void of any reason and following their own depraved lustful instincts. Not possessing intelligence and give way to their vicious appetites. Thus, Peter warns and reminds us “total” destruction awaits them.

Receive the reward of unrighteousness: They that count it pleasure to riot in the day time – spots they are and blemishes, who sport themselves with their own deceivings. (For the Lord is coming for a Church that doesn’t have a spot nor blemish.) These teachers of error mingle among the saints with their “spots” and “blemishes” marring and disturbing the fellowship of the Children of God.

Loved the wages of unrighteousness: Balaam, the son of Bosor, loved the wages of unrighteousness, but was rebuked for his iniquity. He forsook the right way and went astray, as many have in the world. They found pleasure to destroy God’s People morally and spiritually, because they desired personal gain (power and wealth, most likely).

Willingly Ignorant: Many people will become willingly ignorant for their own protection. They purposely would act dumb or do things contrary to what’s right, so a certain desire or reaping could be attained. Some people will hear truth, but not adhere to it, because they don’t want to follow it, they want to be rebellious, or they don’t think it’s true (because they don’t trust the speaker or the one who inspired the speaker).

The example of Balaam: He explained the example of Balaam, because like Balaam, false teachers would use and destroy His People, both morally and spiritually, because of their own desires for personal gain. Balaam was a false teacher, because he (falsely) announced God’s approval of the Israelites, and comforted himself with the idea that if Balak killed him, at least he could have “felt” like he did something right. Balaam tried not to see misfortune on Israel, but Balak told him to curse Israel – but since God was on Israel’s side, He defended the Israelites from Egypt. Balak then told Balaam to stop blessing them, and continued to try to get him to curse Israel – but he just kept speaking blessings over Israel as if nothing was wrong. He prophesied a victorious and prosperous time for Israel in the future, to which, never came, however. He failed to give them proper warnings, because he didn’t want to be cursed, and didn’t want the people to hate him.

Connecting thoughts

A good and sharp warning to false teachers is what usual writers would do, and Peter was not much different. He had good warnings to stay away from false teachers and anything that looks like them. Similar to Paul and other disciples, he made sure to mention the false teachers were lurking about, and he wanted to make sure other Christians knew about it, so they weren’t easily deceived.

At the time he was writing, it seemed that Peter was in prison in Rome, most likely in term of potential execution – and Peter was well aware of deceivers, for he had heard of their activities. He wanted to reassure Christians of certain truths and hoped they would remember His goodness. People taught gnostic heresies, and Christians needed to be far away from such so that they didn’t backslide.

Peter illustrated their tendencies and hopes that Christians would know the signs so they could avoid mimicking such liars, and hoped that they would only emulate Christ. If people would “think” they were false teachers, they could encounter even worse unwanted persecution or even judgment. Overall, his ministry was very helpful to me concerning God’s power at work in believers, his warning against false teachers, and his increased significance he placed on Christ’s return, which all provided good fuel for everything us “good teachers” do! We must keep to the faith in every way, and we can do this by growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord!

Salvation blessings come from new life in Christ Jesus | 1 Peter commentary

Peter wrote this letter as he worked in the church to help develop it. The first letter from Peter was written around 65 A.D. addressed to the strangers scattered through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Much of this letter is just Peter presenting hope and joy toward believers to help them in their sufferings. The Romans persecuted the Christians around this time, so Peter writes to the Christians that God is still in control, and that they should rejoice because of Jesus Christ’s suffering bring Him unto glory.

Peter begins as he notes that believers should rejoice through the heaviness of temptations, and that the trial of their faith should purify the faith so it can result in praise, glory, and honor unto the Lord. Peter instructs them to be holy as God is holy. Therefore, this talk is about the previous trial of faith and about previous blood. Through the previous trial of faith, the precious blood of Christ redeems us.

Peter identifies many promises in the first couple of chapters: Jesus Christ has begot us, we are heirs subject to an inheritance, we are kept by the power of God, we have salvation, we have a great hope, we are not ashamed, we’re born again by His Word, and we’re a chosen people. Peter advises believers on how to live a godly life. He says to “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end.” This seems to mean – to be more like Christ. He then tells them to love one another (possibly referring back to the great commandment). Soon, he instructs (chapter 2) to lay aside all wickedness by trusting that God can help you do so. When believers (become a believer), they are like newborn babes, as Peter describes it. As newborn babes, believers can have the milk of the Word (probably rejecting the meat because it is too strong).

Next, Peter calls Jesus a living stone that is rejected by men, but precious unto God. Therefore, believers are stones too… “A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation…” (2:9). Peter then tells them to submit themselves to every ordinance of man, like kings or governors, for example. Believers should “honor all men.” Also, to fear God and honor the king. Servants are charges to be subject to their masters with fear.

Christ should serve as the great example of believers, because He suffered for us, not sinning, but bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Believers are declared to be dead to sins, therefore should – instead of sinning – live unto righteousness. By Jesus’ stripes, we were healed. Notice it says we “were” healed, which means our healing is already complete – we just need to wait for it to come to pass in full circle. As sheep that have went astray, Christ returns believers unto Himself. Christ is the Shepherd and Bishop of believers’ souls.

Next, Peter instructs husbands and wives. He tells wives to be subject to their own husbands, recognizing his own leadership to family. Wives must be gentle and respectful with a quiet spirit. She should attempt to win her husband more by her behavior than her words. Wives need to also remain loyal to the Lord and His Word. Husbands should dwell (in honor) with their wives according to knowledge, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life. Overall, husbands should be considerate and loving also, showing that the wife is a high treasure.

Now, Peter tells believers ways to conduct themselves as Christians: being all of one mind with compassion and love for one another, being pitiful and courteous. People should also not render evil for evil, refrain his tongue from evil, eschew evil, do good, and seek and ensue peace. They should act as such, because “the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (3:12).

Next, Peter talks about those who suffer for doing good, that they are happy, and should not be afraid of their terror or be troubled. Believers should be sanctifying the Lord God in their hearts. As Christ suffered for us in the flesh, believers should have the same mind as Christ, avoiding lusts, excess of wine, lasciviousness, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.

Peter then warns that the end of all things is at hand, so believer should be sober and watch unto prayer. Believers need love and hospitality among themselves without grudging. Therefore, if God love us, we need to love one another. Also, Peter notes that it shouldn’t be strange when Christians go through fiery trials, because they are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.

When Christ’s glory is revealed, we can be glad with exceeding joy. Jesus allows us to share in His sufferings, which is great because His suffering led to great exaltation into Heaven. So, why not us believers? If believers are reproached for His name, Peter writes, happy are you. Christians should not be ashamed in sufferings, but rather glorify God.

We learn from Peter that we should feed the flock of God, and be examples to the flock. Younger believers should act unto elders as subjects with humility. Also, that believers are to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt them in due time. By casting all cares upon God (because He cares), being sober, and being vigilant – we can resist the devil, who parades around like a roaring lion who seeks whom he may devour. God called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, making believers perfect and strengthened. Peter concludes the letter by wishing peace to the people.

Lessons and other notes from Peter

Through the death and resurrection of Christ, God gives Christians new life and promises eternal blessings. We can be assured of our inheritance when it comes, because it is incorruptible (or imperishable). We experience salvation at its fullest through the promised blessing of New Life in Christ. Overall, what inheritance incorruptible means is that there is an inheritance for us called Salvation in Christ, and it will never perish or go away.

Corruptible versus incorruptible seed: Corruptible seed is a seed that is corrupted that anything can grow out of it. Many times, a corruptible seed would be one that is buried in the earth, but quickly dies. Human seed is corrupt, and human nature comes from this corruptible seed – which causes an endless cycle of sin to pass from one to the next. Eventually, corruptible seed dies, especially when it completely weakens to not be able to survive.

Incorruptible seed, that is, God’s seed, is fully pure and can’t be corrupted. When it plants (in the hearts of men), out of it comes grace, love, joy, peace, and even more fruit. Incorruptible seed is imperishable, because there aren’t any vulnerabilities – it’s perfect!

Overall, things born of human origin die, however, things born of God live eternally.

Dealing with envy: Envy can be rooted in a grudge, where a person feels uneasy about the success or happiness of another. Holding a grudge or any other thing against a person – especially anger, can cause hate to flare up – however, we’re commanded in Mark 11:25, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Would we have forgiveness or assurance, if we held something against another?

We also see something directly related to the Great Commandment, however, this is in Leviticus 19:18, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.” Of course, how can you have love if you bear a grudge? How can you let hatred fusion in your heart, and have love dwell as well? Proverb 10:12 says, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” Hatred contrasts love in this example, and therefore, we must not envy, for it breeds hatred in albeit mysterious ways.

One of the examples from Scripture is noted in Acts 7:8-10 (which references Joseph’s story in Genesis), “And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.”

Peter’s spiritual transformation: Peter had always ministered to the Jews, especially as a Disciple (Matthew 10:2; Acts 1:15, 2:14); until one day that God had sent him to the Gentiles (Acts 10 vision, especially verse 45). Of course, in his normal attitude, he was disturbed by what the others might say about this, especially ministering outside of the Jewish Nation.

In the Gospels, he is impetuous (Matthew 14:28-31; 16:22-23; 19:27-28; Mark 9:5-7; Luke 5:4-5; John 13:6-11; 18:10-11; 21:7  — these could reflect other traits), courageous especially as a leader (Mark 1:36-37; 10:27-28; Luke 12:41; John 6:67-68; 13:24; 21:2-3; Acts 1:15-16  — these could reflect other traits), buoyant (Acts 4:13 is an example), quick to meet personal slight, and ambitious of Earthly power, however, in Peter’s Letters, we see him patient, restful, forbearing, trustful, loving, and with the old buoyancy and courage purified (we see that he preaches about the love of Christ in 1 Peter 1:22; and sought to glorify God before them in 2:12).

Peter experienced his own personal Pentecost, which came between the Gospel era and the writing of these letters, just as Jesus prophesied would come (this was in the Acts 10 vision account as well, especially verses 9-29). He already began showing transformation in the early days of the Church, to which, he took the lead when important issues came up (Acts 1:15; 5:3, 9). He was confident in the power of Christ (Acts 2:33; 3:6, 16; 4:10, 29-30). He was bold in his commitment to Jesus (Acts 4:8-13, 19-20; 5:18-21, 29-32, 40-42). He was a humble supporter of his fellow Apostles and Christians, especially Paul (as we see in Acts 15:7-11). The glorious Holy Ghost has renewed his mind, and helping him know how to think and act, so that he can preach and teach from a pure heart.

What Peter labels Jesus in his writings:

  • The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world – God foreordained the redeemer for us, because if we were chosen before the foundation of the world, then Christ was destined to be our redeemer after all. He was thinking about me before He made the world – and that is special, just like all my brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • The Chief Cornerstone – as Peter explains, that He is our chosen leader, savior, and helper.
  • The Rock of offense – Christ was the object of the people’s stumbling, but not the cause of it, to which, they are just offended at Christ. This is likely brought on by envy of Christ and His Spirituality (see above on envy).
  • The Example – Christ is the best example for us, because He was perfect in every way and representative of the Father.
  • The Chief Shepherd – He knows how to shepherd people back to the Lord (and He demonstrates the entirety of Psalm 23).
  • The Bishop of Souls – Sin has no power over me, because sin’s power was broken on the Cross. We are cleansed, given new life, and are under His Loving care, to which, He helps us learn, think, grow, and love as He does.
  • The Suffering Savior – Christ suffered for us, left us an example, and showed us that He suffered for us so that we would have new life. He purposely suffered for us, to which, we didn’t have to suffer as hard. He even made a way for us to learn how to love, even in the midst of a chaotic world.

Peter’s Exhortations to living a spiritual life:

  1. Gird up the loins of your mind: When you do this, you take courage in the face of a fiery trial. The loin is the center of our being and the area of procreation. Keep the creative area of your mind intact to produce fruit for the Kingdom of God.
  2. Don’t pattern after your former sin life: We must be in obedience to the revealed Word and live a new life in Him, not as we once did in ignorance. We have been transformed from slavery in sin, to sonship and love in Christ.
  3. Pattern after God – Be holy: We are “called” unto Holiness, which should be in all manner of life, including conversation. Being holy involves knowing that He is holy and taking after His Example! (See just above of Jesus Christ being the Example).
  4. Fervently love one another with a pure heart: Love out of a pure heart, and do it with all that is within you! I love God and people from all that is within me, to which, I declare daily and practice daily!

Peter speaks to Christians as “strangers and Pilgrims,” because he realizes that Christians are no longer of this world, but are Heavenly Citizens – to which, we all belong to the Heavenly Kingdom as well. God’s People then and now are part of His Kingdom, not this world. Therefore, in this verse, we are admonished to flee from worldly lusts.

We use the liberty that we are given as the servants of God for good and love, and not for evil. We have the perfect Law of Liberty upon us that we should be fulfilling in loving our neighbor as ourselves. We do not transgress the Law of Moses, but we should do as we should to not transgress the Law of Liberty by doing evil and other things that are antithesis of love. What we do shall be done in love, for we should only do what’s good unto our neighbor.

The qualities of being hospitable and other instructions:

  • People should have love for each other, for it covers a multitude of sins, meaning, it helps to prevent many sins we might commit against each other.
  • People grumble when offering hospitality to a guest, because they may lack love for others, lack compassion, are lazy, or don’t have the means to offer hospitality (be it money or ability to function). The characteristics to display wisdom in hospitality involve being peaceable, gentle, easily intreated (persuadable), full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
  • On verses 10-11 (of 1 Peter 4), we see that those that are given the gift should use their God-given abilities with diligence, whether teaching the Bible or helping others. However, above all, people must work in a way that brings praise and glory unto God (and by all means, do it in love). Referencing Romans 12:6-8, we see that all should be diligent in carrying out the task for which God has assigned for them, no matter where they work – and to do it cheerfully.

We must be sober and vigilant, because our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour. (See 1 Peter 5:8)

Sober defined: 1. Temperate in the use of spiritous liquors; habitually temperate; as a sober man. Live a sober, righteous and godly life. 2. Not intoxicated or overpowered by spiritous liquors; not drunken. The sot may at times be sober. 3. Not mad or insane; not wild, visionary or heated with passion; having the regular exercise of cool dispassionate reason. 4. Regular; calm; not under the influence of passion; as sober judgment; a man in his sober senses. 5. Serious; solemn; grave; as the sober livery of autumn.

Vigilant defined: Watchful; circumspect; attentive to discover and avoid danger, or to provide for safety.

Listen would be Elders: Church elders should be sincere, understanding, and hard-working in overseeing the Church that God’s placed in their care, for they too are shepherds who should be interested in the welfare of their flock, and not because they want to make money. Their authority shouldn’t be used to force people to do something, but rather, it should be an example on how Christians should act. Elders should model Christ’s example, and then show that same example, so others can learn how to be more like Christ. They are answerable to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, to which, they will have their work reviewed one day upon His Return!

These exhortations apply to our day, because this was how Peter (and albeit Paul and James, among others) modeled the Church for us. This is how we should act, because they were models of Christ’s work, and therefore, we too should be modeling after Christ’s work. We need to pass on the heritage of love upon each generation; doing it in a Christlike way. These great men of God showed us, and now we’re to do it and keep passing it on to further generations!

The Perspective in light of all this

Peter, just as James did, showed us a great way to be more like Christ, and to model after Him. He showed us so many different things that are remarkable to know about the Church and how it should operate. This was a man who truly knew what persecution was, similarly to Paul, and knew that people were tired and worn – and needed some encouragement and strength. He was also interested in ministering to so many scattered people, and hoping that everyone would be more in unity.

God gives believers new life through the death and resurrection of Christ, and this brings eternal blessings. We are awaiting and assured at the day of the return of the Lord, in hope to enjoy the promised blessings – and this is Peter’s exhortation, is for people to begin budding love between each other, and don’t limit our faith. We are cleansed and given new life through Christ, and therefore, we should live and walk in what Christ has prepared and given to us!

His People are God’s Living Temple, and Christ is the Chief Cornerstone, and we should know that God has chosen us for such a time as this, that we have God’s mercy and grace to tell people about how great He is – and to do it for His glory only! It’s not for our personal gain or achievement that matters, but it is for His Glory that matters in everything that we do. Our sinful ways and others acts in treating each other should be changed and we should repent of things we shouldn’t be doing, and do that things that we are called to do and express love the best.

He taught us that a bad attitude makes no difference, because God can help transform our attitudes, thoughts, and mind overall – especially in budding upon us love, peace, joy, and uprightness. We are part of His Kingdom, and He is giving us all that He desires to give us. We may desire sin, worldly things, or other things – but God desires for us to have love, righteousness, peace, and joy – which are part of the Kingdom of God. He wants to make us love, because we are in His Image and He is love, so we become love as well!