More Than Washing Feet

So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them,
“Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”                                   John 13:12-15

This was the final full day of Jesus’s life. He was quite aware of His destiny, and the end result He knew to be victorious, and He and His Father would be glorified.

Jesus gets down on His knees, takes a bowl and a towel, and has washed the disciples feet. He is teaching them, and all who read of this event a great lesson. It is much more than washing feet; it is living a life for others; even loving them unto death of one’s self.

How willing am I to give my life to save the life of another person? Maybe for my wife, my children, grandchildren; but for a neighbor. Willing to serve a neighbor in need? Yes! Dying to save the life of a neighbor, especially one I do not know? One who possibly even dislikes me? I would be willing to help them change a flat tire on their car, maybe, if I saw their house about to catch fire get it put out before it starts burning. But to give my life? How about you?

Lord Jesus, You gave Your life for me, and even now I know You have washed my feet, and I see that clearly by Your death on the cross for my sins, Your burial, and finishing the work by rising from the dead. Help me to be willing, and when and if it is needed that I give my life for one in need.

The Great Shepherd and His Sheep

Jesus answered them,
“I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.
                                                                   John 10:25-30

They have shown not only doubt, but also great contempt for Jesus and His teachings; not believing His words or His works. The religious rulers who worshiped their religion rather than the One who deserved the worship.

They had just asked, more like demanded, that Jesus show them He was the Messiah. They wanted Him to do some glorious thing. They were blind to the truth of who is was and is. He had already did mighty works which they tried to contribute to the power of the devil. They were in truth rejecting the teachings of Moses, and they claimed to be his disciples.

These verses of our text today are from the “Good Shepherd” text where Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd” (v. 14), and all who hear His voice are His sheep and they follow Him.

From the text above let us glean a few things from it.

First, Jesus works in His Father’s name, and the works He does is His witness as to who He is.  Second, these accusers do not believe Him and are not His sheep.  Third, Jesus’s sheep hear His voice, Jesus knows them, and they follow Him. Fourth, He gives those who are His sheep and follow Him eternal life. Fifth, all those who are His sheep will never perish, neither will they ever be plucked out of His hand. Sixth, it is His Father who gives Him these sheep. Seventh, none is able to pluck them out of the Father’s hand. Jesus then tells us that He and the Father are One.

When you receive eternal life is at that moment you have in repentant faith called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving His gift of grace given us by the death of Jesus on the cross, His burial, and He rising from the grave, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:1-3). Do you hear His voice? Call out to Him.

Lord Of The Elements

And when even was now come, His disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But He saith unto them,
“It is I; be not afraid.”
Then they willingly received Him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.                                              John 6:16-21

Walking on water. Only one Man ever accomplished doing that with success. There is the gospel account where Jesus bids Peter to come to Him, Peter gets out of the boat and does for a moment, but when he sees the waves, the rough sea around him, he sinks calling for the Lord to help him (Matthew 14:26-31).

So who has the authority to take control over the elements, and to command others to even do so, but God? No one.

We must recognize who Jesus Christ is. He is in fact the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, the Sent One by God. He is in fact the Son of God, the Son of Man, the God-Man who is fully God and fully Man. He is Man, yet without sin. He can walk on water. He can calm the storms.

He can also heal the sick, cause the cripple to walk and leap about, open the eyes of those born blind, open the ears of the deaf, and the mouth of the mute. He still went to the cross bearing the sins of the world, dying; and He was buried taking away all our sin, shame, guilt and condemnation; and He arose and came out of that grave, and forever lives seated by the Father’s right hand.

Repent of your sins, believe Him and be saved.

An Already Condemned World, Loved By God

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but He that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.                   John 3:17-21

There are many who believe that God in the Old Testament, and God in the New Testament are two separate persons. That, however, comes from an ignorance of the Old Testament.

God in the Old Testament is a God of love too. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it was God’s love that provided covering for their sin and nakedness. It was His love that saved Noah and his family to redeem Adam’s race.

Because of Adam’s sin in the garden we were all born into sin. Born with a sin nature, separated from God, condemned for eternity. This message is prevalent through out Scripture. It is also clearly seen that God loves the race of Adam – that is people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

In His love God sent His only begotten Son to be our Redeemer, so that through Him we might have everlasting life.

There are many who love their sin and darkness more that they do the light, glory and forgiveness of God. They love darkness rather than light. They love their own way rather than God’s way; therefore, they continue in their condemnation.

The answer for Adam’s race is hear the words of Jesus Christ, call on His name, repenting of your sin, believing Him and He will hear you and give you life eternal.

See Romans 8:1.

The Promise from a Dying Man to a Dying Man

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, “If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.” But the other answering rebuked him, saying, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss.” And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him,
“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.”           Luke 23:39-43

We think that dying men cannot keep promises made while they are dying. However, there is a man who did make a promise to another dying man as they were both dying.

Of course, if you are one of those people who do not believe in life after death, then this will not be real in your realm of thought. It is however true whether you believe it or not.

Jesus Christ, as He was bleeding and dying next to the man on His right and the one on His left is the One who made the promise; and it is certain that He fulfilled that promise to the other dying man who made the request “Remember me.”

The two guilty men had been mocking Jesus along with the unbelieving crowd. Something happened in the heart and mind of the one, and he believes Jesus is the only real answer for what lies ahead. He calls out to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

On the cross Jesus gave him the promise of being with Him in “Paradise” that very day. Why did He give him his request? He believed the Lord was who He said He is.

There is a blessed eternal life of joy, peace and rest with Jesus through faith in His death on the cross, the burial, and bodily resurrection.

Believe Him and call on His name today, and you will have the assurance that He will keep His promise.

When Will Jesus Come Again?

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.      Luke 21:25-28

The prophets and the Psalms foretold the first coming of Jesus, Immanuel, and He came. His purpose and mission in coming the first time was to redeem unto Himself a people who were in need of redemption, a people He loves, despite the evil of their hearts, and hatred for Him. His mission was to go to Jerusalem and die on a cross.

That mission was a complete success. He died on the cross taking all the sins of the world; because He loves the world; and He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and took the wrath of God for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6), He died and was buried, then He arose and came out of the grave; and when we call on His name, turning from sin, we receive His Righteousness.

Since those Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled to the letter we can rest assured that the Old Testament prophecies concerning His second coming will be fulfilled as well. Since Jesus spoke the words above, and He is the Truth, the Way and the Life it should be doubly sure that He is coming again. But when?

We cannot know the day or the hour; but we can see from the word of Jesus that it will be during the ending of the worst times the earth has or ever will see.

The time Jesus speaks of is following a time of great tribulation on earth, that Jeremiah the prophet calls, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), and the whole world turns against Israel, and tries to destroy them, and many people all around the world will be killed by plagues, fear, and earthquakes, violent storms and so much more.

My point today is, Jesus is coming again. He is coming again in power and great glory. You may not believe it, but do not be in doubt but believing that every word God has spoken in His word will come to pass just as He has said. Believe Him, so it will not be too late.

Faith and Duty

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said,
“If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, ‘Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea;’ and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, ‘Go and sit down to meat?’ And will not rather say unto him, ‘Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?’
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.'”
         Luke 17:5-10

The disciples have come to Jesus asking Him “Increase our faith” (v, 5), and Jesus tells them the above words in part of His answer.

What can we learn from His lesson? First, we must have our faith solely in the One who gives it, and that is God through His Son Jesus. Second, we must go about our duty to Him with love and admiration without expecting anything except the pleasure of knowing Him and serving Him. Thirdly, we need to see ourselves as unworthy of the duty that we have, and be grateful for such a great privilege.

This goes back to loving God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strengths. When we truly love God we will love our neighbors; then we can have the faith that moves sycamine trees into the sea.

I guess I am not there yet; but I am learning.

The Place Called Hell

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” But Abraham said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
Then he said, “I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Abraham saith unto him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And he said, “Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” And he said unto him, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
          Luke 16:19-31

It has been noted by others that “Jesus said more about hell, than He did about heaven” and He did teach much about hell in the above Scripture.

We do not hear much about hell in today’s pulpits. “It offends too many people” some will tell us. If we as pastors and preachers of the gospel fail to warn people of hell; who will?

Hell is the destination; eternal destination; of all who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again. Those who refuse to come to Him in repentance and faith believing in His great love, mercy, and grace.

For those who believe there is everlasting life in the presence of the Lord Jesus, the glory of the Father.

Hell is an everlasting eternal fire of torment. Heaven is everlasting glory, and enjoyment of the presence of Holy God, made available to us by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross for all our sins, and carrying them away in His burial, and rising victoriously over death, hell and the grave.

Call on His name. Believe Him and be delivered from your sins.

The Light

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
Luke 11:33-36

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” He went on to say in that same verse, “…He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  (John 8:12).

When we live for Christ His light burns in our lives and it cannot be hidden in a secret place or put under a basket, but out for all who see us will be able to see that the light of Jesus Christ is within us. There will be a single focus on the life in which the Light of Jesus Christ dwells. That single focus will be of loving, worshiping, honoring and adoring the Lord Jesus.

In First John the apostle wrote, “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1:5).  When we walk in the Light of Christ we are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), which will be visible as the world passes by.

Turn to the Light of Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead. It is His light that exposes the evil of our hearts, and in the world, and sets the soul free for all who will come to Him.

Mystery of the Kingdom of God

And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, He spake by a parable:
“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.”
And when He had said these things, He cried,
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”                               Luke 8:4-8

I will not share any comment or commentary on this parable, but to ask, Do you have ears to hear? If you are without understanding or hearing it, then read the whole of Luke chapter 8.

The Blessed For the Sake of the Son of Man

And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said,
“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”
                                              Luke 6:20-23

The poor of whom Jesus is speaking are those who are poor in their view of themselves and their spiritual state, a broken and contrite heart is what God desires, and those are blessed.

It is also true of those who hunger for righteousness, those who weep because they see much wrong doing against what is holy, righteous and good, according to the Biblical definition; not the cultural or societal definition.

The world we live in, today’s culture and society hate holiness, righteousness, and the good defined by the word of God. They also hate all who stand on a Biblical world view. We can see many working against all that is godly.

What we are to do as the followers of Jesus Christ is to grow in our faith of Him, not follow the world’s way. Be faithful in teaching the word of God, be faithful in living the teachings of the word of God, and grow in our love for Him, also growing in our continued faith of His love, grace, mercy, holiness, righteousness and justness.

If you have slid backwards away from Him, now is the time to fall on your knees in repentance, and come back to faithful obedience and love for Him.

If you have never called out to Jesus Christ, He is the One who died for your sins on the cross, taking the place we all deserved, He died, was buried, and He rose again. Believe Him and receive forgiveness, and eternal life with Him.

Good Tidings… To All People

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”                                Luke 2:8-12

Yes! This is a message which is typical for the Christmas season. I know that it is not yet that season; at least for me it is not. Yet, this message is needed year round.

The message of God’s love for Adam’s race is never out of date, out of time, neither is it too early, ever. God’s message of love and grace is always right on time, and for every season.

The message we need to see today are the words of the angel of the Lord, “Fear not” is first spoken to the shepherds who were watching over their sheep. It is a message of “good tidings,” “great joy” and to “all people.”  What people?  All people.

The birth of Jesus Christ that evening so many years ago is still a message of salvation for all who will hear Him and answer His call, believing Him to the place of loving obedience.

The good news, “good tidings” is that Jesus Christ the Son of God, has come into the world to save us from our sins, through His death on the cross, His burial and resurrection. The “great joy” comes by hearing and believing Him. Who did He come to save? All people who will hear Him and believe.

The Guilty Over The Innocent

Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.  And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, “Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?”
For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.                                                              Mark 15:6-11

The perfect, sinless, spotless, Son of God is on trial for His life. Why? Because of the envy of the religious rulers who hate Jesus with a passion.

Of course prophetic Scripture was being fulfilled just as God had spoken it even hundreds of years before the sad event took place.

The hard hearts of the vile, envious men in Jerusalem would rather a guilty, murderous man go free, than for the innocent Son of God be set free.

People today might say, “How cruel” or “How unjust”; but I charge that should Jesus be born into our day, and come into our churches (if they would even let Him in) and synagogues, they would still set the guilty man free, and convict the Innocent one.

Where do you stand today? With the guilty murderer, or the sinless, perfect, and innocent Son of God?

 

Hypocrisy Addressed

And He said unto them in His doctrine,
“Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.” Mark 12:38-40

Jesus addressing the issue of hypocrisy sees it in these “scribes” who were “keepers” of the law. Not meaning they practiced the law, but were the ones who kept it in tact in the writings. The scribes deemed their work so highly they demanded recognition for their labors.

They were good at their skill, yet did not practice what they wrote down. Those who demand recognition probably do not deserve it; because they do not practice what they teach.

Those who deserve recognition, of course are those who quietly go about their task, their duties, their labors without complaint, and without expecting anything more than the peace and contentment of a job well done.

Let us live for Christ by loving Him with all our souls, all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength; and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (loving them and treating them the way we desire to be loved and treated).

Let us stop living for any recognition or praise of men; and be content and at peace with our calling in life through faith in Jesus Christ

The House of Prayer

And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And He taught, saying unto them,
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?’ but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared Him, because all the people was astonished at His doctrine. And when even was come, He went out of the city.       Mark 11:15-19

In the reading of Scripture it becomes quite apparent that there is a theme that comes “Leaping out of the pages,” and it is this; that God desires the world to know that He is the LORD (Jehovah or YaHWeH). It is also quite apparent that God, being holy and righteous and just is also loving and has shown the world His great love.

God is jealous to defend His holiness, and that is seen in the above text. The scene of the verses above is Jesus, for the second time cleansing the temple of avarice and greed being in His house. The first time of cleansing John writes,

And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables… John 2:15

The first time was near the beginning of His ministry; the second was within the final week of His life and work.

It is mentioned by Ezekiel over 60 times “You shall know (or They shall know) that I am the LORD”. The house that Jesus was cleansing the last time was when He left it never to return to it before He died for the sins of the world.

His dying on the cross for the sins of the world is a clear display of the love of God for all the people of the world. Jesus Christ took upon Himself all our sins, and bore the judgment of our sin from His Father for all who will call on His name. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.

Believe and call on His name.

Without Honor

But Jesus said unto them,
“A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief. And He went round about the villages, teaching.                      Mark 6:4-6

There are preachers and pastors who do not deserve any honor. That is a sad thing to see and to say. Why would one not deserve honor?  Because they demand it.

I do not see myself as worthy of honor from the people God has given me to shepherd, to feed the word of God, and to lead them to still water, and green pastures. There are many men of God who do, simply because they are being faithful to preach the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and lead by example in a holy, and sanctified life which gives honor and glory to Christ.

God has given me the opportunity to pastor seven different churches in the past 37 years. The Church I am endeavoring to be the pastor of I have been there twice and is the Church I grew up in, was saved in, where I surrendered to preach and they licensed and ordained me to preach the gospel. I only pray that God bless this ministry with souls coming to faith in Jesus, and that will see the need in the Jenkins community for many to come to Jesus Christ.

Six of the churches I have endeavored to be the pastor of were and are in the State of Missouri. I said “were” because the first Church I was at closed its doors about one year after I resigned, and is no longer a church. That was one of the saddest things I heard; when they closed their doors.

One of the blessings I have received is to be the pastor of a Church in the State of California; a small town in the Cuyama Valley, about 150 or so miles north of Los Angeles. We were only there for 16 months, but I think I visited every one in town, and the people of the New Cuyama Valley Baptist Church showed my wife and I great love, honor and respect, and showed much respect for the preaching of God’s word.

I realize these words do not have much to do with the text above, but I tell it only to say, Show honor to whom honor is due, and that is your pastor. Many pastors labor in ministry from sunrise to sunset and even sometimes into the very early hours of the morning. One of the best ways to honor your pastor is to pray for him; he is praying for you.

It is much encouragement to a pastor to hear words of encouragement for his work in the study of God’s word, his preparation of sermons, and the step by step foot work of ministry to you and to others in your community. Honor those who preach God’s word being faithful to the text, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

On a Holy Day

And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse Him. And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand,
“Stand forth.”
And He saith unto them,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?”
But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man,
“Stretch forth thine hand.”
And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.                             Mark 3:1-6

“Is it right to do good or evil on a holy day?” That should be the question for the law monger of the Christian era.

If the legalists of Jesus’s day were okay with delivering a sheep from the ditch (Matthew 12:10-14) on this holy day ( the Sabbath), then surely it would be right to deliver a man whose labor was hindered by a “withered hand”, and his right hand (Luke 6:6), which was the strong hand for most laborers.

Hardened hearts which is said in the above text blinds eyes to truth, and loves to accuse those who labor for the truth, righteousness and healing. Like they were doing to the Most Righteous One.

You see, for those who are truly righteous through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ every day is a holy day; and it is always good to do the right thing; even laboring for the benefit of others. Especially deliverance.

 

Going Preaching

And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, “All men seek for Thee.” And He said unto them,
“Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.”
And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.                                    Mark 1:37-39

Everyone around had heard of Jesus performing miracles. They wanted to see miracles. Many of them wanted to receive a miracle. When He preached He spoke as One who had authority; and that impressed many, but not all of them.

Jesus had gone away from the people, even His disciples, to spend time with the Father in prayer. He felt the need for dedicated prayer and so should you and me.

His ministry was to preach the good news – the gospel – and the kingdom. It is more important to preach the word, the gospel, than to do miracles. We need to understand that the greatest miracle is when a  lost, sick and dying soul hears the voice of Jesus, they believe and are delivered from the bonds of sin and death. That was me. I heard and I believe.

That is why my ministry is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Betrayed

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples,
“Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified.”
Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill Him. But they said, “Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.”                                                                    Matthew 26:1-5

Some of us; maybe even all of us have experienced betrayal by a friend, family member, or a neighbor. None of us have experienced the betrayal like Jesus did; and He knew it was going to happen. How many of us knew that it was going to happen?

One of His disciples was the one who would betray Him; and he did it with a kiss, a sign of friendship.

Jesus was betrayed because He is the Son of Man, the Son of God and it was in His Father’s plan that Jesus die for the sins of the world, so that all who would come to Him, believing, they might have everlasting life.

The plans of the religious leaders was to be rid of a “Blasphemer”, a “Deceiver”, a fraud; but they, in fact, were rejecting their Messiah, their Redeemer and Savior. They were more afraid of losing their power, popularity and prestige among the people whom they were making the children of hell (Matthew 23:15).

There are still those who would crucify Jesus all over again, because they do not approve of Him, His life, His followers, or His word. Where do you stand today?

Will you, or are you in your heart crying out, “Crucify Him”?  Will you instead cry out to Him, “Lord, have mercy of me; a sinner, condemned and unclean. Save me.” Your choice.

Know That It Is Near

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.
Matthew 24:32-35

“There is only one thing that is constant, and that is change”. “There are only two things that are certain, death and taxes”. These statements have been heard by many of us. They are both in grave error in that the word of God is not considered.

The words God has spoken in His word are a constant; they are also a certainty. The word of God never changes, and it will not fail to come to pass just as He has spoken it.

The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is certain; and His coming again is certain. Have you made yourself ready for His coming again? Do you know Him as your personal Lord and Savior? If not you can call out to Him in repentance and faith and He will hear you, and you will be ready.

The Lord has Need of Them

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them,
“Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, ‘The Lord hath need of them;’ and straightway he will send them.”
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”                           Matthew 21:1-5

When it comes to serving the Lord are we as willing as the owners of those donkeys to just let them go at the word of His followers?

Do I, do you believe what God is saying when He brings us a message of the fulfilling of God’s word, and for His will in our lives?

The owners of the donkeys freely believed and freely gave of their resources to fulfill God’s will and word.

I will commit to doing the same. May the word and will of God always move me toward Him, not away from Him.

The Ninety Nine and the One

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven. For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost.
How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
Matthew 18:10-14

I am grateful that I was that one. He came seeking me and found me, and put me on His shoulder and carried me back to the fold.

You may be that one He has come seeking. Believe Him, and He will deliver you.

Shall Gather Out of His Kingdom

The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
                                           Matthew 13:41-43

Within the kingdom of heaven is both good and evil. The children of evil, and the redeemed children of God.

The redeemed children of God were once evil (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), but who have come to faith by the gift of grace through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of heaven, also known as the kingdom of God in Mark, Luke, and John will one day be eradicated of all evil; evil and those who do evil will be cast into eternal fire; and then the righteous shall shine forth in the kingdom of our Father (Malachi 4:1-2).

Where do you stand with Him today? Have you been redeemed? Believing, you can call on His name, and He will hear your cry, and He will save you.

Of Trees and Men

Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
                 Matthew 12:33-37

Good trees produce good fruit. Bad trees or evil trees produce bad fruit. Men evil, and good produce fruit as well.

If a person’s heart is evil, out of that heart comes evil fruit. If a person’s heart is good they will produce good fruit.

The words we speak are coming as produce from the heart. What kind of words do we use? If we are always tearing down someone else, trying to make ourselves appear better to others then that is a fruit of evil. When we build others up over ourselves that is good fruit.

That good fruit comes from a heart that has been changed by the grace of God. That grace was put on display as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross suffering for the sins of the world and He died there, was buried and He rose again justifying those who come to Him and changing our hearts to produce good fruit in life and words spoken.

If any be in Christ Jesus they are a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things have been made new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Recognized Faith

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.” And Jesus saith unto him,
“I will come and heal him.”
The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, ‘Go,’ and he goeth; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he cometh; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he doeth it.” When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed,
“Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matthew 8:5-10

The Roman centurion in the text had a recognized faith. He had came seeking Jesus for the healing of his ailing, suffering servant. His faith was a very evident faith and a working faith.

How would my faith in Jesus Christ be recognized? How about yours? Genuine faith searches for Jesus, then genuine faith believes what Jesus says and goes believing He has done what He said.

Could Jesus or will Jesus be able to say of us, “I have not found so great faith…”?