7 Lessons we can draw from the Christmas Story | Holiday special 4

From what we have observed, Christmas is one of the best times in our lives that we celebrate. There are numerous reasons why we celebrate the Christmas story, knowing first and foremost Christmas is about Jesus Christ!

What we can glean from the Bible are important truths that help us take shape an even greater story. It is hoped that these guide you into this holiday season!

1. God’s Forgiveness is available to all

We see in Isaiah 11:1-2, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”

We hear in the song, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” that “God and sinners reconciled.” This is the amazing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He provides Salvation and eternal life, and this comes from the benefit of forgiveness of sins. We see the ministry of reconciliation that God came in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to “Save His People from sin.” What an awesome thing we have in Christ!

2. God is in control of leadership of the world

Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Our God, who has made the earth, stars, universe, heavens, and more is our commanding leader overall! Peace is within the Prince of Peace, and He alone provides rest for our souls. God regards our lowliness as well, and provides us forgiveness. He is our Great Shepherd (Psalm 23).

3. Christ Jesus is our Shepherd

Psalm 23 describes Our Lord is Our Shepherd. Ezekiel 34:15, “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.”

Christ Jesus came to impute upon us peace, and lead and guide us through Life more abundantly. The hope of eternal life can be for all people, and we do hope we can spread it evermore to so many people.

He provides us our daily provisions, He gives us rest for our souls (as we noted above), He helps us by delivering us from evil and death, and gives us goodness and mercy forevermore.

4. God grants peace as we wait upon Him

Just as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Then, we see powerful truth in Romans 16:20, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Also note 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.”

When we reflect upon God, we allow His Spirit to speak to us. We reflect on the wonder of God, our Creator, and all the beautiful things He has created! It’s truly amazing.

5. God can powerfully perform the impossible

Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

God really can do the impossible, for with Him, all things are possible. He can help in almost any situation, save us from trouble, and help improve our lives. This is something we must truly believe, for He can truly help us. Since He can help us, we know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

6. God is our utmost provider

God provided the Passover lamb for us, who was born in to this world, the redeemer, Jesus Christ: “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:8).

This is proven in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

7. Heaven is going to be so awesome

Knowing we had this great and merciful Savior from Heaven come, we better believe so many great things are awaiting us for our eternal destiny in Heaven!

John 14:1-3 tells us the first magnificent truth, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told* you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 then tells us that we cannot imagine the awesomeness, but must know that it is so overwhelmingly awesome… “But as it is written*, Eye hath not seen, nor* ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

Now, we discover one of the most awesome things in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

We will have new bodies eventually… 1 Corinthians 15:40 says, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” Then also in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

What will it look like (kind of)… Revelation 21:18-23, “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Overall, Salvation, eternal life, Christ Jesus coming, and all great things that pertain to life and godliness – How Awesome!

Apostle John’s relationship with Jesus Christ

  • John had a unique relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • John referred to Jesus as the Word of God.
  • He was known as one of the “sons of thunder.”
  • He was known as “John the Elder and Pastor.”
  • He was ordained in his youth, wherein he learned from Jesus.
  • John was part of “The Inner Circle” (which was Peter, James, and John with Jesus).
  • John refers to himself as the “one whom Jesus loves.”
  • Commissioned to write about many topics, including “The Divinity of Love,” “Real Christianity,” “God’s Will,” etc.
  • He lived through the time of Jesus’ teachings, Transfiguration, Death, Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension.
  • He also lived through the forming of the first Church, as well as the persecution of the Christians.
  • He witnessed his brother James’ martyrdom.
  • He pastored the great Church at Ephesus.
  • He was eventually banished to the Isle of Patmos, wherein he received the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • He had a flashing temper, which was why he was called one of the “sons of thunder.”
  • He became known as the “Apostle of Love.”

John’s declaration of Jesus was that “He is full of Truth and Glory, He is the Only Begotten of the Father.” This was found in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John had knowledge of foundational truths of Jesus and the Gospel; therefore, he was entrusted to such writings. John bore record of the Word of God, and had a testimony of Jesus Christ and the things, in which, he had seen. John was singled out by God to deliver to us the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

John the Beloved has a unique relationship with Jesus Christ, which was similar to the other Johns. But, what distinguished John the Beloved was that he was filled with the love of Christ. Mark 3:14-19: “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

The Inner Circle means to me that it was a small group of people who held a more intimate connection with each other. Although Jesus worked with all His Disciples, He liked also to work with individual things, so having a small group was what He had done. The Inner Circle seemed to be Peter, James, and John, because these three were the most common to be seen with Jesus in a more intimate setting. Some of the examples include being with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37-41), when Jesus raised a ruler’s daughter from the dead (Mark 5:35-38), at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2, Luke 9:28-29), and during a private consultation about the end times and false christs (Mark 13:3-7). James and John are also noted as being partnered with Simon (Peter) in Luke 5:10, and they followed Christ (Luke 5:10-11).

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

The first Truth that we see in this lesson is “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous” (1 John 2:1-2, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”). We confess our sins and He only has the power to forgive and cleanse from sin!

Then, in 1 John 2:3-5, we see evidence that He dwells in us and this is how we know Him. It is a way He perfects us. The Word accompanied by the Holy Ghost gives life. So, if He is perfecting us, it’s because of the Word in us working, which is evidence we’re in Him. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

In 1 John 2:6, we see that we shall abide in Him, walk with Him, and Trust Him in every circumstance in our life – if done, is evidence that He abides in us and that we’re in fellowship with Him. Also, abiding in His Word gives us endurance for every season of our lives. We must portray His footsteps in our life, and that as Jesus is obedience to the Father, we shall be also! “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

Next, we see in 1 John 2:7-11 the evidence of knowing Him is found in our love. When we try to witness or evangelize, the world can sense the true spirit of Love inside us. “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”

In 1 John 2:12-14, we see that Jesus Christ has overcome satan, which is evidence that we’re in a relationship with the Lord. We, then, are overcomers also, being children of God. “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”

For 1 John 2:15-17, we see another evidence that we know God, for our relationship is better for lacking love for the things of the world. We are not to love anything of the world, for the result of such is that the love of the Father isn’t in us. We see issues to avoid that are in the world, which involve the lust of the flesh and of the eyes, and the pride of life. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

More truths we see in 1 John 2:18-23, as this is a Prophetical Word regarding the End-Time. Unity of the Spirit will be the evidence that we know God, and that we’ll not be led astray by the antichrist. We need to let His love surpass our self-will that we can all walk together in the faith of Jesus Christ. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”

Christ in us is apparent when the fragrance of His presence is in our lives. Exodus 29:7 says, “Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.” Exodus 30:23-25 says, “Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.” David writes that Jesus is the Anointed One as we see in Psalm 45:7, “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

John confirms such truths that he writes and warns us against deception, as we see in 1 John 2:26, “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.” Even more truths are revealed to us in 1 John 2:24-29, as we see that we will remain in the Father and the Son as long as we walk in the light, be honest with ourselves, confess our troubles & deal with sin, speak the truth, walk in integrity, and being an example overall of Jesus Christ. We fulfil such desire for relationship with the Lord if we hide His Word in our heart. “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”

In 1 John 2:25, we see a promise that occurs when we abide in Him: “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” Then, we see in 1 John 2:26-27 that John has told us that he writes such things concerning them that seduce you or try to lead one into error – but, we have an anointing that abides in us, that is Jesus the Anointed One, who will teach us – so that we don’t have to worry of new doctrines or false teachers. “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

As we finish out the chapter in the last two verses, 1 John 2:28-29, we see the result of abiding in Him: that we may have confidence and be unashamed before Him at His coming. If we know He’s righteous, then those that do righteousness are born of Him! Abide in Him through everything, because He will bring to us peace and confidence. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”

1 John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” The anointing that we’ve received from the Lord abides in us, therefore, no one else needs to teach us of the anointing but the Anointed One, who is Jesus that lives in us. The anointing, I will say, teaches us to abide in Christ. It also keeps us drawn in to Him!

It’s also to note that many false teachers have a “special anointing” as claimed, so we’re admonished here that God anoints us, and that with Jesus being within us, He teaches us of the anointing so that we don’t have to worry about false teachers coming along and telling us of some “special” ungodly anointing they have (and how we can obtain it). All believers already have the true and correct anointing when they trust and abide in the Anointed One. Last thing to note: we receive this anointing as a gift, which is a graceful gift from the Lord. We don’t squander this gift, because it is part of our salvation. Therefore, we must also realize that we don’t need to “get God” in our lives, for we already have Him. We don’t need to try to get His anointing…we already have it!

We know God by His Word, because His Word is Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:20 says, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” The Son has revealed the Father unto us by helping us understand Him!

The proof of Divine Life as we see in this study is love. God bestowed His love upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Now we are the sons of God, and when He appears, we shall be like Him and see Him as He is! (1 John 3:1-2)

The Manner of Love that the Father bestowed upon us is that we should be called the sons of God. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

Those who abide in Him will not sin, for them that have sin has not seen Him or known Him. In addition, that no man should deceive you, for he that does righteousness is righteous. Therefore, whoever is born of God does not commit sin.

We have two natures; those are “spiritual” and “carnal.” These natures are at war within us. We who have an understanding of the law, spiritually, we know in our experience that the law is spiritual, but that our inner man is carnal. Being carnal, a man is fleshly and incapable of being obedient unto the law – for this is where spiritual and carnal war, because our spiritual man is leading us into things of the law, but the carnal man is leading us away (– because it is incapable of being obedient). We see in Romans 7:5, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” Sadly, we cannot escape this carnal way while in our flesh, as we see in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” The flesh naturally does not know how to be obedient or perform good so it therefore wars against the spiritual. It’s a dilemma.

There will be many ways that a person accepts and applies the Word unto their life. Some are by the way side, which are those that hear – and then come the devil that takes it away from their hearts. Those that are on the rock hear and receive the Word with joy, but they have no root – so in the time of temptation, they fall away/sin. Those that are among thorns are they that hear and receive the Word, but go forth and are choked with the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life – to which they bear no fruit. However, those that are on good ground hear and receive the Word in an honest and good heart – keep it and bring forth fruit with patience. Overall, you have most people who are not on good ground, and need shepherded back to the Lord’s ways.

Jesus’ love was His laying down of His life for us, therefore, we should be the same way in our relationships with others. We should be willing to sacrifice. We don’t necessarily have to sacrifice our life, but general sacrifice is what brings love’s true nature. Therefore, if our brother has need, we need to sacrifice our time and help. If our friend calls on us, we should have patience and see to what he/she needs. For Jesus did the greatest sacrifice so that we would not have to deal with the sacrificial system anymore, therefore, we need to apply the principle of sacrifice unto our lives in our relationships with others. The example of family he gives us is that of Cain and Abel. His heart is burdensome for people not to repeat the sin of murder like in the situation of Cain and Abel.

Nonetheless, the Assurance of Jesus’ Love is found in 1 John 3:19-24, “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

God’s commandments are not grievous – this means burdensome in that His Commandments, rather, are an expression of His Love and protection for us. They are not burdensome, especially when they are kept. We receive the love of God when we keep His Commandments (1 John 5:3). The test of our love is loving as Jesus loved! He loved us first while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). When we walk in the love of Jesus, there is love for the saints!

What is required in the Prosperous Road is that we walk in the Truth overall. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 4:1-2, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;”

Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Colossians 1:10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 2:6-7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 2 John 1:6, “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”

Why Jesus Christ is God | Bible verses

There are many religions, cults, and other organizations (including books and other media) that say that Jesus Christ is not God, but they do not provide enough credible evidence. Apparently, about 30% of US Christian people say that Jesus is not God. However, we can, as Christians, prove that Jesus Christ is God, and the Bible along with historical/archaeological finds can help.

Jesus Christ is the Word and created the earth:

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 10:30 – I and my Father are one.

John 20:28 – And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

John 8:58 – Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (This references back to when God first said that He is called “I AM” in Exodus 3:14.

Jesus was to come upon the earth as an inhabitant inside of a man vessel, but still be fully God:

Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Other info:

Acts 20:28 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Titus 2:13 – Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:1 – Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:8 – But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Jesus receives worship in the following verses, but did not tell anyone not to worship Him: Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38

If He were not God, the sacrifice for sins would not be possible (1 John 2:2). Only God could take on the sins of the entire world (2 Corinthians 5:21).

People in the Bible who received grace form an example of how great grace can be for us

There were many people who found grace in the eyes of God, and we have people still today that do when they obtain Salvation from God. It is a wonderful experience. These are the individual experiences, although brief, are still valuable to know about.

  1. Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord, I believe according to Genesis 6:9, because he was a just man and perfect in his generations, and that he walked with God. Even though times were tough, Noah still had his heart toward the Lord.
  2. Lot found Grace in His sight, when he saw that two angels were sent unto him informing him of the coming destruction of Sodom. Also, that he’d be plucked out of the destruction and be out of the city (saved).
  3. Hannah, as we see in 1 Samuel 1, prayed and beckoned before the Lord that if she would be given a son, that she would dedicated him to the Lord all the days of his life. The priest, who was Eli, encouraged Hannah to believe that God would answer her prayer, so she also prayed for Grace, as we see in verse 18. (After this, she indeed gave birth unto a son, Samuel.)
  4. Gideon, as we see in Judges 6, is chosen by God as a deliverer for the Israelites, because they’re crying unto God for help – yet they were disobedient and unfaithful. Gideon was first unsure about God’s call it seems, for he prayed for Grace, as we see in verse 17. (After this, God confirmed it unto him by having fire suddenly burn his offering unto God, so he was certain it was God speaking to him.)
  5. For Ruth, in Ruth 2, she says to Naomi in verse 2 that she is going to the field to get ears of corn after him in whose sight to find grace. Later in verse 10, Ruth fell on her face and bowed unto the ground, and said unto the Lord, “Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?” She marveled at how the Lord gave her grace, took notice of her, showed her affection, etc. This showed Ruth’s humility also, because it seems she was touched by the grace bestowed from the Lord.
  6. For Esther, as we see in Esther 2:17, she received grace and favor in the sight of the king more than any other virgin that the king had to pick from. She had a royal crown bestowed upon her head, being declared queen – accepting royalty.

Comprehensive Outline of Paul’s Journeys | Acts 15-28

CHAPTER 15

·        Judaisers cause problems in the Church

o   They stated that unless a person is circumcised after the manner of Moses, they could not be saved.

§  Moses: A man called by God long ago, who was to do God’s Will in bring the people out of Egypt, and was the writer of the Pentateuch.

o   The trouble they caused spread through the Church.

o   They discussed the problem at Jerusalem.

§  The Church at Antioch appointed Paul, Barnabas, and other leaders to go to Jerusalem as representatives.

·        Paul: A man who helped persecute the Jews, before a blinding experience with God – with God instructing him to carry out His Will to preach and do missionary work.

·        Barnabas: A man that was called “The Son of Encouragement,” who was so generous, and quickly became quite a missionary with a strong will to work for the things of God.

§  They were excited along the way to talk about the Gentile conversion.

§  As soon as the meeting began, the Judaisers started their accusations.

§  After lengthy debate, Peter strongly opposed them, and defended the Gentiles.

o   Peter: This same hot-blooded man went on journeys with Jesus and did many works for the Lord. He continues in his pursuit to spread Jesus all around, and is willing to put his life on the line at all costs.

§  Jesus: The Son of God, sent to do His Will on the earth, before He ascended back to the Father at His Right Hand. He was accused of heresy, belittled, rejected, and crucified – and yet, He rose again.

·        He claimed they (the Gentiles) should not have to keep the Jewish Law.

·        The way of Salvation and entrance to the Church was by faith alone, and this was true for both Jews and Gentiles.

§  James agreed with Peter, Paul, and Barnabas.

o   James: This James is not the same that was martyred a few chapters ago. This is James, the Lord’s Brother, who had accompanied Jesus on his journey to Capernaum. This is the James that is the author of the book of James.

·        He added info on what he had witnessed with them and with Jesus.

·        James stated that the Gentiles should not have to be under Jewish Law.

·        Jews continued to see things different, though.

·        James considered that the Gentile Christians would improve relations if they were careful not to do things that Jews wouldn’t allow.

§  After acknowledging James, they took back with them two men from the Jerusalem Church, Judas and Silas, to create distinction between Jewish and Gentile groups.

§  When the group arrived in Antioch, they were glad on the outcome of the meeting.

o   Paul and Barnabas need a partner

§  They disagreed over Mark, and therefore, they split into teams.

o   John Mark: A man who had assisted Paul and Barnabas on a journey, but dropped out and went back to Jerusalem. Paul calls him unreliable and decides not to work with him. This is the same man who is the author of the book of Mark.

·        Barnabas going to Cyprus with Mark.

·        Paul going to Cilicia with Silas.

o   Silas: He was a man who had much wisdom and ability that Paul saw great potential in him to help, while they go into Gentile areas.

CHAPTER 16

·        Journey continues

o   After arriving in Lystra, Paul and Silas were joined by Timothy.

§  Paul: already mentioned.

§  Silas: already mentioned.

§  Timothy: A young man who was considered by the elders of the Galatian Church as well suited for this journey. He was half-Jewish, and Paul thought he should be circumcised. He was made an example of the Jews.

o   They passed through the Galatian areas, where the Missionaries delivered copies of the Jerusalem letter to the Churches.

o   They left Galatia and went to a certain area in Asia, where God didn’t allow them to preach.

o   After that, they went north towards Bithynia, but God prevented them there, too.

o   They traveled to Macedonia.

§  When they had left Troas, they added Luke to go with them.

·        Luke: A man who was a doctor and historic writer. He traveled with Paul quite a bit, and wrote the books of Luke and Acts.

o   They went to Philippi from Troas, where there were only a few Jews.

§  There was a group there who prayed. The Missionaries joined them.

§  A slave girl there who had an evil spirit and was a fortune teller was discovered.

·        She was probably converted, which probably prevented her ability.

o   When she couldn’t be used for money, they attacked the missionaries and rioted.

§  Paul and Silas were arrested, flogged, and thrown into prison without a trial.

§  In prison, they talked about Christ. The jailer was saved.

·        Christ: already mentioned.

§  Paul and Silas were released a bit later.

CHAPTER 17

·        Journey goes on

o   From Philippi, they moved to Thessalonica leaving Luke behind.

§  Luke: already mentioned.

§  Their preaching in the Synagogue yielded good results.

§  The Jews caused uproar in the house of Jason where Paul had been staying.

·        Paul: already mentioned.

·        Jason: A man not well known, just someone who Paul stayed with. The attackers accused him of helping a group of Jewish rebels.

o   More Jewish opposition occurred in Berea. Paul departed quickly, leaving Silas and Timothy behind.

§  Silas: already mentioned.

§  Timothy: already mentioned.

o   Paul travels to Athens, where he sends a message to them to rejoin him soon.

§  Paul sent them back to Macedonia.

·        Timothy went to Thessalonica, Silas to Philippi, it seems.

§  Philosophers heard Paul preaching, and invited him to talk about his religion in a council of Philosophers.

·        He frequently talked about Jesus and the Resurrection close to each other, so the Philosophers thought he was talking on two gods, Jesus and Anastasis.

o   Anastasis: A Greek word used as a link between Jesus and the Resurrection.

o   Jesus: already mentioned.

·        Many different schools of thought were discussed in this meeting.

·        Paul announced that he would explain God, who is the creator and controller of the universe.

o   He also mentions more info on Jesus.

·        Many believed in what Paul was talking about, but some didn’t think Jesus’ resurrection was worth considering.

CHAPTER 18

·        Onward to Corinth

o   Paul planted a Church there.

§  Paul: already mentioned.

o   He met a Jewish married couple, Aquila and Priscilla.

§  Aquila and Priscilla: tent makers, like Paul, who became lifelong friends of him.

§  They, along with the other Jews, were forced to leave Rome at the command of the Emperor.

§  They likely went with Paul to the Synagogue where he preached.

·        Paul writes to the Thessalonians

o   Silas and Timothy had returned from Macedonia, bringing gifts for Paul.

§  Silas: already mentioned.

§  Timothy: already mentioned.

o   Paul was glad on the good news from Timothy on what happened in Thessalonica, that Paul wrote them.

o   Some had criticized Paul for leaving new believers in Thessalonica to face anti-Christian troubles.

o   He instructed them in their behaviors, especially being more Christlike.

§  He also cleared up issues about Jesus’ return so they would understand better.

§  He had to send an additional letter clearing up worries over his first letter to them on Christ’s return.

·        They were afraid when he said suddenly that it meant “immediately.” He wanted to handle their fears on that.

·        Eighteen months in Corinth

o   Paul was having issues with Jews.

§  They forced him from the Synagogue.

§  He then went to preach in the house of Titius Justus.

·        Titus Justus: A Gentile, God-fearing man who lived next door.

§  Crispus believed.

·        Crispus: ruler of the Synagogue.

§  Sosthenes believed later.

·        Sosthenes: new ruler of the Synagogue later.

§  Paul kept preaching, even if they opposed him.

§  Church growth continued.

§  The local people decided to beat up one of the Jewish leaders because of their anger toward the Jews.

·        Antioch return

o   Paul wanted to return home.

o   He stopped at Cenchreae, and fulfilled a vow that he took upon himself.

o   He sailed to Ephesus where he stayed shortly.

§  He may have started a Church here at this time, but it’s unclear.

o   He left Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus.

o   He continued to try to get to Antioch.

·        He visited Churches in Galatia again.

o   He learned of a Jew named Apollos.

§  Apollos: he had detailed knowledge as a teacher of the OT references to the Messiah. He lacked knowledge of certain teachings, where Aquila and Priscilla helped him understand.

o   He returned to Corinth, helping the Church there.

§  The Corinthian Church, however, divided into factions.

§  People made favorites of teachers, so Paul dealt with it.

CHAPTER 19

·        Arriving in Ephesus

o   He met a group of twelve people who had repented and been baptized.

§  They were baptized in John the Baptist ways.

§  Paul corrected them to use Jesus’ way of doing so.

§  After that, they received the Holy Ghost.

o   After Paul preached for a few months, the Jews forced him out.

§  Paul: already mentioned.

o   Healing ministry also continued.

o   Sorcery, magic, and other superstitions were widespread in Ephesus.

§  God’s Power was at work nonetheless, and people turned to Him.

o   Paul aimed to go to Rome, so he could establish Christianity better.

§  First, he wanted to go to Jerusalem.

§  He wanted to bring the Jewish and Gentile churches together.

§  He sends two fellow workers to Macedonia to promote the project.

o   Paul had preached in Ephesus for three years.

o   Angry at the loss of income, the silversmiths stirred up the people against Paul.

§  With this, a riot broke out.

§  People who did not worship Artemis were in danger.

§  The Jews tried to protect themselves by saying they weren’t associated with Christians.

·        The mob didn’t care.

§  The city’s chief official defended Paul and warned the people about the riot.

CHAPTER 20

·        Traveling to Macedonia

o   Paul traveled to Macedonia to meet up with Titus, and to write 2 Corinthians.

§  Paul: already mentioned.

§  Titus: a young preacher, who was regarded by Paul, and was eventually appointed to run a church.

o   Returning to Macedonia and Troas

§  He heard of a Jewish plot to kill him as he was setting sail.

§  He changed routes to go to Macedonia. Luke rejoined.

·        Luke: already mentioned.

§  He sailed then to Troas, joining the representatives of the Gentile Churches.

·        These representatives or assistants were to go with Paul to Jerusalem.

·        Paul had a final meeting with Christians in Troas, when a young man falls out of the window to his death.

o   Paul went and restored this man to life.

·        Paul travels to Assos

o   He rejoins the group and sails to Miletus.

o   He called for the elders of the Ephesian church to meet with him, so he could give them final encouragement and warning.

o   Paul’s enemies in Asia were trying to turn Christians against him.

CHAPTER 21

·        Paul goes to Patara, where they changed ships and sailed to Phoenicia.

o   Paul: already mentioned.

o   The group fellowshipped with the Christians at Tyre, Ptolemais, and Caesarea.

·        Paul finally reaches Jerusalem.

o   He stayed with Mnason.

§  Mnason: A Jewish Christian from Cyprus and early member of the Jerusalem Church. He was fully agreeing of the work of Paul.

o   Jerusalem rejects the Gospel.

§  Many Christians were found in Jerusalem to be back in legalistic ways.

§  The elders gladly received the offering from the Gentile Churches.

§  The Jews didn’t care about Paul’s teachings.

·        James and his friends suggested that Paul should prove to them that he was as religious as a Jew was.

o   James: already mentioned.

§  The crowd attacks Paul

·        A riot broke out; the mob seized Paul and tried to kill him.

·        The Roman troops swiftly prevented Paul’s death through riot control.

o   Lysias didn’t know Paul or what he had done to make the Jews angry.

§  Lysias: the military commander of the Roman troops.

§  Paul addresses the mob

·        Silencing the mob, Paul spoke unto them.

CHAPTER 22

·        Paul continues speaking to the crowd

o   Paul: already mentioned.

o   He spoke about his Jewish upbringing, persecution of Christians, and Jesus calling him to do His Work.

o   He then spoke of his Gentile mission, which sparked further uproar.

o   The Roman commander wanted to know the truth, which might be through flogging.

§  Paul told the soldiers that he was a Roman citizen.

·        They untied him after hearing this.

§  He was brought before the Sanhedrin to examine him.

CHAPTER 23

·        He tricks the Sanhedrin

o   He originally is God’s Apostle to the Gentiles.

o   He actually addresses himself as a Jewish Pharisee.

o   He was condemned of his Pharisaic belief in the resurrection.

o   In an uproar that had followed, the Roman soldiers saved Paul again from death.

o   The Lord was still with Paul and would bring him to Rome.

§  Paul: already mentioned.

o   The Jews asked Lysias to send Paul for another trial.

§  They wanted to attack and kill Paul on the way. Lysias found out, though.

·        Lysias sends Paul to Caesarea to protect him from death.

§  Lysias: already mentioned.

o   Paul did not give up his fight against the Jews.

CHAPTER 24

·        Paul imprisoned in Caesarea for two years

o   Paul: already mentioned.

o   Three accusations were made against Paul.

§  First, he created uprisings among the Jews.

§  Second, he was a leader of the Nazarenes.

§  Third, he defiled the Temple in Jerusalem.

o   He denied those accusations, saying no one could prove it.

o   Felix saw that Paul was not guilty, for the only thing they had against him was that he believed in the Resurrection.

§  Felix: the one who conducted the trial upon Paul. He was a fair judge, it seems.

§  He found out more about Paul’s beliefs.

§  Then, he offered a bribe that Paul could pay, but Paul refused.

§  Instead of accepting the bribe, he remained in prison until the next governor comes who could re-see the case.

CHAPTER 25

·        The New Governor arrives in Palestine.

o   Festus: the new governor of Palestine.

o   The Jews accused Paul quickly.

§  Paul: already mentioned.

o   A trial was conducted before Festus.

§  He didn’t know much about the whole situation.

§  He saw no point in imprisoning Paul further.

§  Paul was released then.

§  He told Paul to go to Jerusalem to have the case dealt with there before the Sanhedrin.

§  Festus said he would judge there.

§  Paul was angry at such injustice, because Felix and Festus did not find him guilty.

·        Felix: already mentioned.

§  He turned to the final court of appeal, to Caesar himself.

·        Caesar: This was a common name given to Roman emperors, which was after the order of Julius Caesar.

o   Here, the Caesar seems to be Nero.

·        Paul before Caesar

o   Caesar had good knowledge of the Jewish religion.

CHAPTER 26

·        Paul’s innocence

o   Paul: already mentioned.

o   Paul stated he believed in the Resurrection.

o   He also stated about the forgiveness of sins to all who believed.

o   He said that he could understand the Jews’ feelings, due to his persecution of Christians in the past.

o   God forgave all, though.

o   Herod Agrippa II had visited. He was there in the trial.

§  Herod Agrippa II: The son of Herod Agrippa I, and was Rome’s appointed ruler over certain aeas in the north. He knew Jewish affairs well.

§  He understood what Paul was saying and where he was coming from.

§  Paul appealed to him for support.

§  The Christians then, no longer appeared unlawful or rebellious.

o   They did not find any guilt in Paul, and an expert on Jewish affairs declared him innocent, as well.

CHAPTER 27

·        Traveling to Rome

o   Festus arranged for a centurion and a unit of Roman soldiers to take Paul and other prisoners to Rome.

§  Festus: already mentioned.

§  Paul: already mentioned.

§  Two Christians went with Paul – Luke and a church leader of Thessalonica.

·        Luke: already mentioned.

§  At the port of Fair Havens, Paul advised them not to sail further because of wintry conditions.

·        However, they moved forward rejecting his advice.

·        A fierce storm soon emerges, and it was certain the ship would sink.

·        Paul believed otherwise that they’d be saved, and Paul would reach Rome.

·        Paul instructed them further to save lives.

·        He guided them in survival and stopped the soldiers from killing the prisoners when the ship broke.

·        Everyone was saved and arrived on land.

CHAPTER 28

·        Continuing to Rome

o   The island they landed on was Malta.

§  The locals were helpful and kind to them.

§  Paul, legally a prisoner, spent time with the island’s chief.

·        Paul: already mentioned.

§  Paul and Luke attended to the medical needs that everyone had.

·        Luke: already mentioned.

§  Three months after landing on Malta, the winter was over and sailing should begin again.

§  Paul and everyone else boarded and sailed for Puteoli (in Italy).

·        From there, they went to Rome, meeting Christians along the way.

o   Arriving in Rome

§  Paul was continually guarded by a Roman soldier.

§  He invited the Jewish leaders in Rome to come see him.

·        He talked about the events that brought him there.

·        He pointed out he did nothing wrong in Jewish Law.

·        He had no accusation against the Jewish people.

·        He made an appeal to Caesar to prove his innocence – which was successful.

·        The Jewish leaders told him they heard no reports about “Paul.”

o   They stated that people everywhere were turning against Christians.

o   Paul felt that maybe the Jerusalem Jews thought they’d achieve their goal by pushing Paul out.

§  They may not have told Rome of the trouble.

§  Paul then preaches his message to the Jews first.

·        He told them about the OT that the Gospel he preached was fulfillment of the religion of Israel.

·        Jews rejected his message, however.

§  He then preaches to the Gentiles successfully.

§  He dwelt two whole years in his own hired house.

·        He received all in hospitality that came to him.

·        He preached the Kingdom of God and taught on Jesus Christ.

He did this with great confidence, and no man forbade it.

Paul begins ministry, Antioch responds well | Acts 13-14

Scripture: Acts chapters 13-14

Commentary: The Church at Antioch is talked about first in Chapter 13, as we see it is the first Gentile Church – and it is also the first church to send off missionaries to distant places. They sent off two of the best leaders, Barnabas and Saul (now to be called Paul). They were committed to doing God’s work. Therefore, Barnabas and Paul took John Mark with them, who assisted them. They all sailed for Cyprus and immediately began preaching in the Synagogues. After this, they went west for Paphos, preaching the Gospel all around. Their preaching even resulted in the ruler of the Island to believe, even if the magician in the land persuaded him otherwise.

Then, they arrive at Perga, and John Mark left the other two and returned to Jerusalem. Paul saw failure in John Mark on this situation. However, from Perga, Paul and Barnabas went north to Galatia, and visited Antioch – some call this Pisidian Antioch, because it isn’t the same one as Antioch, Syria. They preached in the Synagogue, and the preaching was similar to Peter and Stephen’s. He outlined the history of Israel, and then showed them about the promised Savior who had come in the person of Jesus Christ. Even though the Jews in Jerusalem rejected and killed Jesus, God raised Him from the dead to show people that He truly was The Messiah, Son of David.

Those who repented and believed on Him would be forgiven. That next week, almost the entire population locally in Pisidian Antioch came to the Synagogue to hear them preach. The Jews boiled in anger about this and feared that the missionaries were taking their Gentile converts by offering them an easier religion – one promising Salvation through faith with no regard for Jewish Law.

Paul and Barnabas, however, stated that it was God’s Plan for Israel to carry out His Message of Salvation to the Gentiles. If the Jews didn’t accept Salvation, then they couldn’t preach it to the Gentiles or do God’s Will. Therefore, Paul and Barnabas turned from the Jews, and then offered Salvation to the Gentiles directly. Angering the Jews even more, they were driven away from the city. The converts, however, spread the Gospel through the nation and kept going with the work.

As we move on to chapter 14, we see Paul and Barnabas go to Iconium, where they did similar things as in Antioch. It was a similar situation, that once salvation grew/conversion grew, the Jewish people became angry and drove them away from the city. As they moved on, they healed a crippled man in Lystra, and people thought they were two of the Greek gods – therefore, the people prepared an offering for them. After doing some work in Lystra, the Jewish people stirred up trouble, and Paul was almost killed.

Then, they move to Derbe, where another Church was founded. They returned to cities where they were once persecuted, but they wanted to strengthen the churches, and therefore, they appointed elders. After a short time in Perga, they returned to the Church that sent them out. They gave thanks to God for the work He’d done through them for the Gentiles.

The hatred of the Jews toward the Christians during the Acts period | Acts 11

Scripture: Acts chapter 11

Commentary: We see in this chapter the intense hatred of the Jews toward the Christians and their complete rejection of the Gospel, forcing its teachings upon the Gentiles. The Gentiles open the door to receive the Holy Ghost and all the benefits of Salvation. The chapter can be summarized in three words broadly: 1. Persecution; 2. Prayer; and 3. Progress.

There was a group of people who contended with Peter over works-based Salvation problems, “those of the circumcision.” Another thing to note… The Church becomes satisfied at the preaching to the Gentiles (which could be a problem), as we see in 11:18, “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”

Missionary work begins full scale, and they, which were scattered abroad in Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch; they preached to the Jews only. Revival also comes to Antioch of Syria. Barnabas is the first missionary that is sent out from the Church.

This was a chapter of firsts:

  • Believers in Antioch are called Christians
  • Barnabas is the first missionary to be sent
  • The first team of missionaries was Paul and Barnabas
  • The first church prophet (Christian prophet) was Agabus (and there were others soon)
  • The first prophecy in verse 28b, “…there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
  • Relief of the poor saints in Jerusalem

Barnabas went to Tarsus seeking Saul, so that they could go together to Antioch, as we see in 11:25-26. They wanted to deliver relief to the brethren who dwelt in Judaea. Just when people thought that the Church was on a decline, many firsts had occurred, which showed that God was not done making miracles, and that He wanted to continue demonstrating His Glory.

Your victory is in Christ Jesus | Romans 8:1-17

Scripture: Romans 8:1-17

Commentary: Believers can have victory in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells them. Sin is like gravity, pulling someone down. Just as a stone thrown in the air would fall to the ground is what describes something that has no life or power to overcome gravity. Whereas, a bird were thrown in to the air, it would fly away, because it has life, a real power to be able to overcome gravity of the earth. Christ’s believers now have life, and they have a force that is greater than the downward pulling of the old sinful nature.

Any effort to keep the law does not produce righteousness, because the old sinful nature cannot cure itself or be improved, unlike modern day treatments for health infirmities. Only by Christ’s Sacrificial Work on the cross can sin be redeemed. Believers living by the power of the Holy Spirit can develop their lives righteously by following Christ, and not the flesh. Failure to follow the desires of the flesh will lead a believer to follow the desires of God and fulfill righteousness in their own life.

The Spirit within believers is the Holy Spirit that professes Jesus Christ, and He dwells within them to give them a spiritual life, including victory over sin, and freedom from the effects that sin produces.

Since the flesh does not govern His Believers, Christians are not to obey the flesh. Destroying the work of sin in your own life can be done by Christ’s help, in which when you are tempted, you should pray first and seek the Lord’s Will on how to proceed. Once you have dismantled the impact of sin in your life, you will share one day in the Father’s inheritance with Christ, even if that means you must suffer in the present life until you reach the point of inheritance.

Circumcision as a Jewish rite is not required for Salvation | Colossians 2:11-12

“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

Commentary: In a nutshell…Paul is illustrating here a likening of Christian Salvation to the common Jewish rite of circumcision; however, he is also refuting the need for Jewish circumcision for Salvation. Paul was saying that Salvation through Christ is like a cutting away of the flesh, in that a physical part is not cut away, but the old nature where the man sinned was cut away. This would help the man realize that he does not have to sin anymore to fulfill his own desires, for he is charged now to fulfill God’s Desires, his new life in Christ.

Peter and Paul’s argument: You may know Peter and Paul railed against each other over whether Christians, Messianic Jews or Gentiles, should be physically circumcised. What needed to be straight between them two to finally seal the argument is the line drawn between the Law being fulfilled in Christ, and what requirements believers should have in fulfilling the Law. Peter had been stuck in Jewish school for quite some time; however, Paul was an astute scholar in Jewish culture, rites, and overall religious duties – so much that he was a fundamentalist.

Expanded: In Colossians 2:11, we are circumcised in Christ and are made complete. How this occurred was that Christ first had to accomplish this, to which death had been cut off from Him, ceasing the old order of things. Therefore, He died to sin, and lived to God. He no longer serves sin even though He had no sin but could still be tempted as we saw His annoyances in the wilderness especially, but serves God. Sin no more, God wholehearted. This was His model for us and what He does for us (Romans 6:10).

How does this translate to us… We are saved, death comes in between ourselves and the flesh, which allows us to be separate from the flesh so that it can no longer be served (no more serving of sin). Therefore, we do not serve man or serve this world – we serve God!

Verse 11 talks about death, in other words. Then, in verse 12, this shows burial and resurrection. Burial completes and sanctions death, which means that we are buried in baptism, and then risen in Christ through faith just as God raised Christ from the dead.

Include verse 13 as an end-note, but this is important… We pass from what has been accomplished in Christ to our individual accomplishment, which can only be done by Christ. What shall we say then? Our sins are blotted out by the cross, and the legal system controlling man is no longer in control of us – we are no longer under law, but under grace.

What is interesting is that this is actually a parable that the Jews would understand quite well – as long as they believe in Christ and been saved of course. Deuteronomy 10:16 and 30:6 tells us that our hearts should be circumcised so that we do not become stiffnecked, but also that we shall love our Lord thy God with all our heart and soul, which brings us life. My tone changes now, when I read from Jeremiah 4:4, but this is vital, because it is a prophecy fulfilled by Jesus and explained well in Romans 6:6 (please read these references if you have the chance). God is giving a prophecy through Jeremiah that people are to circumcise their own hearts to be rid of sin (something only Jesus could do in Salvation, by the way), and if this is not done, God will bring His fury upon them because of their evil. Jesus fulfills this because our old man is crucified with Him and the body of sin is destroyed so we no longer serve sin and no longer are subject to God’s Wrath.

Another insightful piece is that Joshua was Moses’ minister, and Jesus is the minister to the Gentiles. But Jesus is our minister (Romans 15:8). For Joshua in Joshua 5:2-9, where the Israelites are circumcised in Canaan. Joshua is the type for circumcision, and Jesus is the antitype and author of the true circumcision (of Christ)(also see Romans 2:29).

People continue to sin, even though the sinful nature has been separated from them, because of a weakness to specific lusts. First, believers should know that their struggle against sin is common, because we still have memory of our old self being involved in sin, we characterize that as a normal human activity – so the temptation comes along and we feel urged to resolve it by committing to the action associated with the temptation.

However, that needs put away through confession and repentance of sin. Because we are told that we are to not yield our members as instruments of wickedness to sin (which means that Christians must have the ability to do so). People should yield their bodies for use to God for righteousness sake, and in doing this, sin will not have power over us. You see? Sin nature removed from us removes its power over us; therefore, since we no longer serve sin but serve God, we are much less apt to sin.

This is all shaped by not being under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14). We are delivered from sin’s slavery so that we can obey God, not go back to sinning and committing wicked acts (Galatians 5:1). This explains that freedom has a purpose: to breed obedience to God. Freedom of choice has always been ordinance of man. Even if a Christian is found sinning, there is no shame because Jesus put that shame to death, removing the condemnation from us (Romans 8:1). We would lie if we say we did not have sin, which is why Jesus did what He did to reassure us that we are safe from condemnation (1 John 1:8; 2:1).

Other notes: 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 King James Version (KJV) 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire… (See also: Hebrews 11:26-27).

What Christians Live For: The Redemption from Jesus Christ (Journeys 58-60)

The Time had come for Jesus Christ, in which He was to die on the cross. However, Jesus knew it was for redemption’s sake He was to do this. For this is a special occasion, one in which His humanity sorely rejected, but His Spirit fully rejoiced. This momentous occasion was to bring the full redemption of the sins of God’s People, and was to win the victory over Hades and death.

SCRIPTURES: Mark 15:20-16:11; Matthew 27:31-28:15; Luke 23:26-24:12; John 19:16-20:18

Via Dolorosa from Pilate’s Praetorium to the cross

In a nutshell: Friday before 9 am, Jesus is mocked, clothed with His own garments, and then led away to be crucified. Simon of Cyrene, a passerby, is compelled to go with them to bear the cross of Jesus. A crowd follows and the women bewail and lament Him; Jesus gives warning. The crucifixion at Golgotha, by the Romans soldiers, between two thieves, about 9 am. Golgotha is the Aramaic word for “skull,” and Calvary is the Latin expression. Jesus is offered a drugged up wine, but rejects it, because He wanted to endure the crucifixion entirely for the sins of humanity.

The Proceeds of Jesus’ Death

Golgotha was the place of Jesus’ crucifixion where He was led, to which was before 9 AM probably. They took the robe off Him and put the raiment on Him. The man named Simon of Cyrene was someone they asked to carry His cross for Him. He was given vinegary wine to drink and gall to eat, to which He did not want. Jesus turned to them and said to the daughters of Jerusalem not to weep for Him, but to weep for themselves and their children. He Prophesied to them that one day they would suffer.

(The Romans would later attack Jerusalem, to which, women that are now sad about not having children would be safer than the others, for they would not have to see their children being crushed in the onslaught from the Romans. The brutal punishment on the innocent Jesus shows that the Romans would be far more brutal on the sinners/guilty.)

The first three hours on the Cross: From 9 am until noon on Friday. It is not easy to tell the precise order of events during this period of three hours since the Gospels do not present them in the same detail or order.

The four soldiers who carried Jesus decided to throw dice for Jesus’ personal possessions. They hung Jesus upon the cross, and then placarded a sign above His Head that announced the charge that He was condemned so that passersby knew what He was guilty of. Many people, including members of the Sanhedrin, insulted Jesus. Jesus was crucified next to two other criminals. Everyone mocked Jesus for His claiming to save others but He could not save Himself. However, if Jesus saved Himself, He could not save sinners. One of the criminals realized His Divinity, and repented, thereby receiving the saving power of Christ that very day.

While on the cross, He prayed for enemies in Luke 23:34, “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” He made a promise to the repentant robber next to Him in Luke 23:43, “…Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” He also made a charge to His Mother and to His Beloved Disciples, John in John 19:26-27, “…[To Mary:] Woman, behold thy son!… [To John:] Behold thy mother!” John was instructed by Jesus to take in His Mother to his own home.

Three hours of darkness: The time is from noon to 3 pm.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, followed Him to the cross, and had comfort from John and three other women: Salome (Mary’s sister) the mother of the Disciples James and John, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Mary Magdalene. They came closer to the cross.

During the last three hours, a strange darkness overspread the land, as the wrath of God fell upon Jesus. The veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom. Jesus had a cry of desolation, and wanted His final words to be heard by enough people around. He asked for something to moisten His Mouth; therefore, He was given a little vinegar from a sponge, and then He cried out “It is finished.” He has completed the Work that God sent Him to do!

While on the cross, Jesus spoke a few more sayings. First was His cry of desolation in Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He soon cried in physical anguish in John 19:28, “I thirst.” After that, He cried in victory, “It is finished.” Then was the cry of resignation before giving up the ghost in Luke 23:46, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

At 3 pm, Jesus died.

Jesus has died, and it is important to note that the veil was rent from top to bottom and an earthquake occurred at the moment of Jesus’ death. This demonstrated that the Jewish religious system has ended and that there is an opening of the door to God’s Presence. The earthquake even caused graves to break open, and certain believers of the old era to be raised to life, which showed the dramatic Triumph over death that Jesus won!

The centurion in charge was filled with wonder at what he saw, for he was convinced that Jesus was truly as He said, and others even changed their attitudes toward Jesus. Many who came as spectators returned with sorrow and fear, and wondered what all of the signs had meant. The phenomena that occurred was atypical of normal death scenarios. Possibly there was an omen that certain things would happen upon the death of an important person, and therefore, many had likely recognized this.

The Burial of Jesus

Friday Afternoon before 6 pm, soldiers pierce Jesus’ side with a spear. Joseph of Arimathea obtains permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Joseph buries Jesus’ body in his own new tomb. Nicodemus adds spices for his burial clothes.

Per the request of the Jewish leaders, Pilate had the tomb guarded with Roman soldiers to ensure no one could remove or mess with Jesus’ Body. The tomb was sealed with a huge stone that blocked the entrance so that no one could enter, even if they tried by force and got by the Roman guards. They secured it so well, because they knew this was a Powerful Man!

The Resurrection & 40 Days

Beginning on the day of Resurrection, there is a 40 day period, the last period of Jesus’ Life on Earth. We detail part of this now, and in one final blog post for the Journey with Christ series. Jesus appears in Judea and Galilee. Of this period, we see that He remained at or near Jerusalem for a week. Then, He probably left at once for Galilee. In the month that followed, we cannot fix the exact time of the events that occurred in Galilee, but just at the end of the forty days, we find Him again in Jerusalem.

Three women appear to see Jesus at the tomb: Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome.

Bible notes: Matthew only records two of the women from the cross of that group, Mary the mother of James and Mary Magdalene. However, Mark records Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome in the group.

The three women at the cross were also the three women that were in a group together, as they had went to gather spices for anointing Jesus. They bought the spices and were ready to journey back to Jesus.

And then the earthquake erupts…

The great earthquake resounds scaring the watchers at the tomb, as the Angel of the Lord descended to roll away the stone. His countenance was described as lightning and His raiment as white as snow. The watchers of the tomb looked like dead men, because they were so astonished.

The women arrive at the Tomb followed by His Disciples

The time is about sunrise Sunday Morning. The women arrive at the tomb. There were the three: Mary Magdalene, Mary Mother of James, and Salome. Other women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee followed these women.

The three women found that an Angel had removed the stone. Mary Magdalene hurried to tell Peter and John. Meanwhile, Mary the Mother of James, Salome, and the other women arrived at the tomb, entered the tomb, and saw the Angels who assured them Jesus had risen. They ran from the tomb in fear and joy to inform Jesus’ Disciples. Jesus had already risen at early dawn on the first day of the week.

He was buried shortly before sunset on Friday, and at sunset, the Sabbath began. So He lay in the tomb a small part of Friday, all of Saturday, and 10-11 hours of Sunday. This corresponds with the seven times repeated statement that He would, or did, rise “on the third day,” which could not possibly mean after 72 hours. The phrase two or three times given, “After three days,” naturally denoted for Jews, as for Greeks and Romans, a whole central day and any part of a first and third, thus agreeing with, “on the third day.”

Even the “three days and three nights” of Matthew 12:40 need not, according to known Jewish usage, mean more than we have described. It is a well-known custom of the Jews to count a part of a day as a whole day of twenty-four hours. Besides, the phrase “on the third day,” is obliged to mean that the Resurrection took place on that day, for if it occurred after the third, it would be on the fourth day and not the third.

The women quickly went to the Disciples proclaiming the news, to which, Peter and John were the most anxious to see for themselves (as they knew the women were not telling idle tales). They all ran back to the tomb to see that Jesus had been indeed raised. They all believed that Christ had risen after going into the tomb.

Mary Magdalene returned to the sepulchre and stood, “without at the tomb weeping.” She stooped to look in the tomb and saw the two Angels. Then, turning around, she thinks she sees the gardener, but it is Jesus. He gives her a message, and she takes the tidings to the Disciples. There are five appearances given as occurring on the day of Jesus’ Resurrection and give other appearances occur subsequently during the forty days.

The five appearances of Jesus after His Resurrection:
  1. To Mary Magdalene
  2. To the women returning from the tomb with the angelic message
  3. To Peter
  4. To the Emmaus Disciples
  5. To the absent Disciples

Mary Magdalene is seen weeping at the sepulchre and stooped to see the two angels. She was told by the angels that Jesus has risen, to which she turns around and sees Jesus standing there. He asks her why she weeps and whom she seeks. She supposes Him to be the gardener and wondered where Jesus was. As Jesus spoke to her telling her about the ascension being nigh, she knew it was Him. He told her that there was no need for her to cling to Him in this way, for He will be ascending soon and will not be upon them physically anymore. She should go and tell the Disciples what He told her.

Jesus has appeared to the other women of that group (Mary the mother of James and Salome), as they were on their way to tell the Disciples of the discovery. He encourages them to carry on with telling them that He is coming to Galilee and they should go there too to see Him.

The Roman watchers went into the city to speak to the Chief Priest and recount all that had happened. Upon this, a meeting with the Sanhedrin convened, and the soldiers were bribed and persuaded to give the story that, while they were asleep, the Disciples came and stole the Body of Jesus. Therefore, they took the money and did as they were told. This is the same thing that is reported to this day among the Jews.

Here are the truths that could have been found out that would have proved these soldiers wrong for their claims the Disciples took the Body of Jesus:

  • The fact that there was a death penalty for guards that fell asleep while on duty… were these men sentenced to death then?
  • They surely could not have stayed asleep during the moving of the stone and Body, as there would have had to be quite some noise on moving it (it likely could not have been moved so quietly).
  • If they were asleep, how could they have known who had taken the Body of Jesus?

Thoughts about the Death, Burial, & Resurrection of Jesus Christ

It’s not good for us to forsake God’s Will just for the sake of others or for our own comfort. It is important to be attentive to God’s Will at all times, and follow through with it no matter what. If we forsake His Will for the sake of others, we let others convince us not to obey Him. If we forsake His Will for our own comfort, we are intentionally disobeying Him. Jesus proved His obedience by ignoring the mockers and His own comfort. He was perfectly obedient unto God’s Will!

Not only did Jesus transcend His own comfort, but He also transcended death by declaring victory. We must learn from this that we must overcome our fears, anxieties, and comforts so that we may do His Will and finish the race that is set before us!

Let us seek to glorify God through our true repentance and helping others repent of their sins. We must live sober, righteous, and Godly lives, because we have the right to because of the death of Christ! We see His Love for us, so that we may repent and be prepared for the Kingdom.

Let us prepare our hearts daily for Christ to Minister and encamp within us that He may overfill us with His Love so that we may spread His Love around rapidly to people. May we adorn ourselves with the love of God (just like the spices to His clothing) so that people may know of His Love!

Many people guard their hearts and put walls up so that the Lord may not enter therein with His Love. We must remove the barriers of our hearts so that He may encamp within with His Overflowing Love!

Love for Him always draws us closer to Him, because He desires that we draw to Him, for He is ready to continue expressing His Love. Let us fall down and worship Him for His Great Love for us! He has come to give us Redemption. Let us give thanks! Glory unto God! See that His Work is finished, see His Love for us, go and tell people all around of His Work, for He did it to redeem us of our sins and give us Eternal Life. Don’t wait around… go and tell people everywhere! Glory in the Heavens, He is Risen! Hallelujah!