When the Sheep are Scattered

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them,
“All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, ‘I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.’ But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.”   Mark 14:26-28

Hear me, O LORD; for Thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies. And hide not Thy face from Thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.  Psalm 69:16-18

When the sheep are scattered because of death, sorrow, despair, doubt or fear; remember we will see Him again, and shall be as He is.

He Taught Them As One Who Had Authority

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.” And Jesus rebuked him, saying,
“Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.” And immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.  Mark 1:21-28

Rise Again

“And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know it. For He taught His disciples, and said unto them,
‘The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; and after that He is killed, He shall rise the third day.’
But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him.” Mark 9:30-32

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 092020

“So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.  When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto Him, and besought Him that He would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.  Then said Jesus unto him,
‘Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.’
The nobleman saith unto Him, ‘Sir, come down ere my child die.’ Jesus saith unto him,
‘Go thy way; thy son liveth.’
And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.  And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, ‘Thy son liveth.  Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him,
‘Thy son liveth:’
and himself believed, and his whole house.
This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when He was come out of Judaea into Galilee.”  John 4:46-54  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 081720

“And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know. For He taught His disciples, and said unto them,
‘The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; and after that He is killed, He shall rise the third day.’
But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him.”  Mark 9:30-32  (KJB)

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 080820

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, ‘Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you.’ And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying,
‘All hail.’
And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him. Then said Jesus unto them,
‘Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.’ ”  Matthew 28:5-10  (KJB)

The Message Jesus Preached

Going back to the New Testament today…

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”  Matthew 4:17 (KJB)

The Thoughts of F. B. Meyer…

“Our Lord’s earliest ministry seems to have been centered in Jerusalem and its contiguous villages. See Joh_2:1-25; Joh_3:1-36. But on the news of the Baptist’s imprisonment, He took up His testimony to the hearers of the heavenly kingdom, which is the reign of God over the hearts and lives of men. Someone has said that it is “the universal awareness of God.” Yet there was a difference! At the commencement of His work, the Savior showed a tenderness and a winsomeness which were very inviting to the crowds of harried sheep. See Mat_9:36. His ministry resembled the gentle, holy dawn that breaks over the mountains and dispels the black shadows of the night. The evangelist quotes the prophet’s anticipation of the coming of Him who is called “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God.” Oh, do not be afraid when Jesus comes to your heart! You may be as far away from goodness and purity as Naphtali and Zebulun from Jerusalem, but Galilee of the Gentiles is included in Joh_3:16.”

The Thoughts of John Gill…

“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,…. Not from the time he dwelt in Capernaum; for he had preached in Nazareth before he came there, Luk_4:16 nor from the time of John’s being cast into prison; for he had preached, and made disciples, who were baptized by his orders, before John’s imprisonment, Joh_3:22 Joh_4:1 but from the time that Satan left tempting him; as soon as that combat was over, immediately he went into Galilee, began to preach, and called his disciples. The words with which he began his ministry are the same with which John begun his; which shows the entire agreement between them, in that they not only preached the same doctrine, but in the same words; See Gill on Mat_3:2.”

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand — Thus did our Lord not only take up the strain, but give forth the identical summons of His honored forerunner. Our Lord sometimes speaks of the new kingdom as already come – in His own Person and ministry; but the economy of it was only “at hand” until the blood of the cross was shed, and the Spirit on the day of Pentecost opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness to the world at large.”

It is time for all who call themselves Christian to turn to Christ, turning away from sin.  It is time for you who do not know Jesus to know that He loves you so much He paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again.

Call on His name today.

The Prophet from Galilee…

…And much more than the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15).

“Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Of a truth this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Shall Christ come out of Galilee?’ Hath not the Scripture said, ‘That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?’ So there was a division among the people because of Him.”  John 7:40-43  (KJB)

In my math I was taught 2 plus 2 equals 4.  I do not understand what people, when it comes Jesus Christ, cannot put two and two together.  All of these thoughts are correct.

Jesus was and is that Prophet.  Jesus did come from Galilee.  He is from the seed of David, and born in Bethlehem (Isaiah 11:1;  Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4).

Much of the division over Jesus Christ. even in 2019, is because many do not put it all together from Scripture.  Jesus is everything Scripture says.  He is in fact the central Character of Scripture.

Rejoice in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

What Fishermen and Fishers of Men Need to Know

Now, just for your information, I am no fishermen.  In other words, I am not an expert on the topic of fishing, with a net or a line.  I am seeing this in my reading of Scripture for today. Which was Luke 3 – 5.

In the first three verses of chapter five we see Jesus being crowded by people, and wanting to hear more of His teaching.  He borrows Peter’s boat, is rowed off the shore a bit, and teaches them.  Peter and the others had been fishing all night, and had caught nothing.  The place in the text is called the Sea of Gennesarat; also called the Sea of Tiberius (John 6:1; 21:1), and the Sea of Galilee. It is a large, inland freshwater lake.

Let us hear our text for today…

“Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.’ And Simon answering said unto Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net.’ And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him.”  Luke 5:4-11  (KJB)

What do Fishermen and Fishers of Men need to know? Simply this.  We must have our net (or line) in the water; and we must hear the words of the Master; and we must know that it is the Master who gives the catch.

He Shall Rise Again

In a great mountain top experience Jesus and three of His disciples had on the Mount, came down, and found a man with a demon possessed son had asked the other disciples of Jesus to deliver the child.  They could not.  Jesus did.

Now they are going through Galilee, and Jesus is teaching them, reminding them of a perilous time ahead.  It was in motion.  It was going to happen.  Nothing could stop it.

“And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know it. For He taught His disciples, and said unto them, ‘The Son of Man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him; and after that He is killed, He shall rise the third day.’ But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him. Mark 9:30-32  (KJB)

We can see what Jesus means.  We have twenty twenty vision; because it has happened just as He said.  Let us not judge the disciples too harshly.  They loved Jesus and could not stand the thought of His death, because they did not understand that that is why He came.  They were still of the mindset that He was going to overthrow the Romans, and be King of the Jews at that time.  Jesus was reminding them otherwise.

As Christians in 2019 we need to remember that this same Jesus who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again just as He said; that He will come again, take those who are His unto Himself, and will, after much tribulation set up His kingdom on earth.

Believe Him.  Call on His name.

Living / Walking in the Power of the Spirit

For the Christian to accomplish any thing for the glory of the Lord, and not for the glory, or boasting of one’s own self; and/or ego; it must be done by the Spirit of God in us.

It is GOD who gets things done. It is God who saves a soul. It is God who opens eyes to His revelation. It is God who gives understanding and wisdom in the ministry of His Word. How did Jesus live?

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.” Luke 4:14-15 (KJV)

Following His baptism Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). He then proceeded to go to the synagogues teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord; which by the way was the Old Testament. There was no New Testament written at that time. He taught them things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).

In everything Jesus did or said; He did so by the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit of God. He did not move from one place to the other, except by the Spirit. He did not speak a word, except by the Spirit. He did not do any healing without the Spirit of God upon Him.

Hear what Paul the apostle says of the Spirit of God and the Christian,

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galations 5:16

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galations 5:25

This is living as Jesus lived. It is impossible without the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus. Walk in the Spirit; and we will have the Power of the Spirit.

Day 74 – The Crucified, Buried, and Resurrected Lord

From Day 1 of my 90 days of reading through the Bible I have endeavored to stress in this post the message of Jesus.  In the first 14 chapters of Genesis we  can see Jesus and through all the first five books of the Bible.  The books of History we see Jesus.  In the books of Poetry (Job, Psalms, etc.) we see Jesus.  In the Prophets we see Jesus; and we see Him coming the first time to suffer, to be buried and to die, and be bodily raised to life again.

We recently began reading the part of the Bible that is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and that is the New Testament and beginning in Matthew we have gotten to the last of the gospels which entail the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all give us accounts of the life of Jesus.  None contradict the other.  They complement one another.  Together they give us the complete account of the humanity, deity, power, purity, holiness, love, mercy, and grace of the Incarnate God.

My reading today was John 17  through Acts 5.  That is right only ten chapters.  Just to let the reader know.  I did some calculations of the numbers of chapters remaining, along with the numbers of days, and in order to give myself some reading through all 90 days; I will now be reading a minimum of 10 chapters with an eleventh every three days or so.

The reading today began with our Lord’s Prayer.  It is the one I call the Lord’s Prayer.  The one that has the title “The Lord’s Prayer” is actually a model prayer which He used to teach His disciples how to pray.  John 17 is the Lord Himself praying to the Father.  He is praying for the glory of the Father to be done.  He is also praying for His followers to be one, as the Father and Son are one (vv. 11, 22-23). I have written more thoroughly on the Lord’s Prayer at this link.

In the final chapters of the gospel of John, just as in the other gospels, we read of the trial, conviction, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus; with some differences in each account.  Some who seem to have an agenda on disproving the Scriptures and that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, and God the Son try to tell us that these differences are contradictions; but that is not so.  When there is an automotive accident on a street corner, and there are witnesses – let’s say there are four witnesses, one at each corner; each witness will have a different view of the accident, and will have a different way of telling their eye witness account of the accident.  When there is a difference in their testimony is someone lying?  Not necessarily.  When you put all the testimony together you will come to the full account of the story.  The same is true with the gospel of Jesus Christ; only the best part about the four Gospels is that they are inspired by the Spirit of God.  Thus, completely without error.

We get into the Acts of the Holy Spirit, often called The Acts of the Apostles, and we see by the hand of Luke that Jesus is ascending into the presence of the Father.

“And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 (KJV)

In the Acts we also see Peter with a new found boldness, and courage, that can only be explained by the evidence of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  He has witnessed the resurrected Christ; his life has been changed, and that is true of any one who ever meets the resurrected Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.  Your life is changed.  You were a sinner, and you are now Just in the eyes of God, and declared by Him to be “Saint”.

The apostles, as well as Jesus, had only one set of Scriptures to read; and that was the Old Testament.  When someone tells you, “I believe only the New Testament” or “I live only by the New Testament”; then, they are telling you really that they have a problem of faith.  Hear what Peter declares concerning Moses and the Prophets,

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, ‘A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.  Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.  Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, ‘And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”  Acts 3:22-26

That is right.  The only Bible Jesus and the apostles, and the early church had to read was the writings of Moses, or the Law, the Prophets, the History, and the Poetry of Scripture.  We are blessed to have the continued Scripture of the New Testament – the revealing or unveiling of the Old Testament.

Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today, and be saved from your sins, death, hell and the grave.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Blossoming Light

The people of Israel, including the Southern kingdom of Judah and Zebulun, Naphtali, and Galilee were a people who had been given great light.  The light had shined brightly upon them when they were delivered from Egypt.  They walked out of their captivity with great wealth given to them by their captors practically begging them to leave, and they left with payment for the 430 years of labor they had performed for the nation in which they had once found solace, food, and a home.

After their departure from Egypt they found themselves wandering in the desert, guided by the Pillar of Cloud by day, and the Pillar of Fire by night; which was the LORD God.  There were times that the Fire took up the rear guard, and protected them from enemy assault.  They had witnessed the power of God parting the Red Sea, and they crossed over it on dry land, and after safely crossing the walls of water came together crushing the Egyptian army which was pursuing them through the divide.  After questioning God’s provision of the Promised Land, and its being the land of milk and honey, they took the advice of 10 men they had sent to survey the land, and had told them, “We can’t do it.  There are giants in the land, and we are as grasshoppers in their sight” (Read Numbers 13).  Then, because of their unbelief the whole nation, is condemned to wander through the desert for 40 years.  Why?  God had delivered the children of Israel from Egypt in a matter of a few days; He would take forty years to get Egypt out of Israel.

When the forty years were accomplished, they then, stood on the banks of the Jordan River, crossed over just as God told them, trusted the LORD God, and He gave them the land.  However, their faith was not perfect.  After many years of failing, and trusting; and trusting and failing, they found themselves separated from the land, and in the throes of enemy bondage, and that is the place they really find themselves to this day having never fully returned to their God given lands.  Yes!  There is a nation of Israel, but they are still dominated by Gentile rule (United Nations, and the United States of America).

They are a people to whom God gave a great light, and that light went dim, and even went out, at the least, covered  by the ashes of the fire.  Underneath there is a hot coal, waiting for the fuel to spring to life.  O, how sad it is for a people who had light to find themselves in darkness.  There is hope for the nation.

Hear the Word of God through the prophet Isaiah –

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”  Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)

Back in the land following the return from Babylonian captivity to the Roman invasion, they are a land still in darkness until One who came gave them the Light.  The Light shined so brightly that they were blinded by His glory.  It was one of those cases where they “could not see the forest for the trees.”  All they had to do was listen, and receive the message which He proclaimed, but many refused, and even crucified the Light; thinking they had done God a service.  Thus the nation remained and still remains in darkness.

Isaiah presents this prophecy as though it has already happened.  Why does he do this?  First of all because what ever God says will happen; will happen just as He has said, and in the way He has said.  Not one word He has spoken will return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).  He will accomplish what He pleases.  The prophet has not only given promise of the Savior coming, but there is promise of Him coming again in the verses which follow.

Matthew quotes these verses (1 & 2) as being prophecies of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:13-15.

With the power of Christ waning in many professing the name of Jesus would it not be a safe say that the power is fading because the light that shines is growing dim.  Jesus told the Church at Ephesus, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”  Revelation 2:5 (KJV)  Any church or professing Christian leader needs desperately to stand and demonstrate their love for Jesus Christ, His Word, His Church, and the Gospel of Christ.

We have been given great Light.  However, if we give in to our culture, its pluralism, and begin speaking politically correct to win the hearts of the enemy of God, then, we become Biblically corrupt; and spiritually bankrupt, with no message that will convert a condemned people.  When we do that the light has gone out.  The salt is good for nothing but to be trampled under the feet of men (Matthew 5:13)

We were in darkness at one time, but we have the great Light of Christ.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”, Jesus said.  We are told to let the light shine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that multitudes are going to notice, and surrender to God’s will for their lives.

The way the light continues to burn is by continually adding good fuel to the fire.  The fuel is works of the Spirit of God — the reading and diligent study of God’s Word, fervent prayer, and an obedient life committed to the way of the Lord; done through the faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

Today is the greatest day to let your light shine, and the Light of Jesus Christ in us is the Light in the darkness of this world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Light For The Darkness

There are many people in this world who are living in darkness.  In January of 2007, and December of that same year in the cities and counties surrounding the place I live, there had been ice storms which caused trees to fall, tree limbs to snap and fall onto power lines; and because of that thousands and thousands of homes, businesses, people were left without light and heat.  These events happened again this past Winter (2009) in most of Northern Arkansas, and other areas. This type of darkness comes to an end by renewing electrical power.  Sadly there were some who died as a result of these trials and icy circumstances.

There is,  however, an even icier situation going on in the world.  It is a situation where light is available, but no one wants it.  Many turn cold-heartedly away from the truth of light and darkness, and choose the darkness and cold rather than sight and warmth.  There is an answer to the distress of many people, and it can be found in the truth and light of the Word of God.

Hear the word of the Prophet:

“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.” Isaiah 9:1 (KJV)

This, of course, is the beginning of a prophetic statement of One who will come and bring light to these two tribes who at a time before had been in great darkness.  The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes on this verse, “Zebulun…Naphtali…Galilee. Zebulun and Naphtali on the northern border in NE Galilee W of the Jordan River were the first to suffer from the invasion by the Assyrian king (2 Kin. 15:29), marking the beginning of dark days for Israel.” p. 968.  The whole northern kingdom of Israel had been wicked from their beginning, turned away from God set up golden calves as idols for their gods in the cities of Bethel and Dan, and were plunged into darkness.  They needed light, and they would receive light.

Zebulun and Naphtali may have been the first to experience the conquering power of the Assyrian king, but they would also be the first to experience the Light that was coming into the world.  If you will remember, Galilee is the place our Lord Jesus was raised by a godly mother and a man who taught Him as though he were His father.

When you realize you are in darkness it is time to call the power company, inform them of your plight, and then they will come and help you.  In the case of spiritual darkness you must first realize your spiritual darkness, and eternal plight, call on the Lord of Light who is Jesus Christ of whom the prophet preaches, and He will give you light.

The people in Springfield, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Harrison, Arkansas; Green Forrest, Arkansas, and surrounding cities, and counties eventually got their power back, had light, had heat, and were glad to get back into a warm bed at night and wake the next morning to a warm home.  This thing called “electricity” is a wonderful thing for giving light to darkness, and heat to warm the cold, and cool the heat of a hot Summer day. It does nothing however for eternity.  It is the greatest thing in the world to awake everyday in the Light of Jesus Christ, and know that your whole life is in His light, and that the power of eternity and eternal life is His.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus Feeding the Gentiles

It is not often thought of or mentioned, but Jesus did minister to Gentiles while He was living on earth, and ministering to His people.  After His leaving the area of Galilee He went into the area of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21).  This is where He met the Canaanite woman,  healed her daughter, and healed many of their sick (15:21-31).

Jesus has said, “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost”; and that means not only those of Israel, but of the Gentiles as well.  We come now to that part of Matthew 15 where Jesus feeds a multitude of Gentiles.

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.” Matthew 15:32-39 (KJV)

Jesus it seems is  still in the Gentile area of Tyre and Sidon.  The reason I mention this is that there are many who would discredit this event entirely, because just a short time ago, (chapter 14) Jesus fed a multitude of 5,000; not counting women and children; and there were twelve baskets full left over.  This is in a different location, a different multitude, and with a different purpose other than seeing to their need.

The feeding of the 5,000 seems to have ended His Galillean ministry.  With that feeding it would not seem any reach of the imagination to say that there would have been a minimum of 15,000 people fed with 5 loaves of bread and two small fish. 

In the case of the 4,000 there were seven loaves of bread and a “few fishes”.  This feeding seems to also end His ministry to the Gentiles, at this time.  It might also be noted that Matthew and Mark are the only two of the gospel writers who tell of this feeding.  All the Evangelist tell of the feeding of the 5,000.  Matthew may tell of it because He will be the King of kings, sovereign ruler of all nations, when He comes again.  Mark may mention the Gentile feeding because He is a servant to all people.

The faith of the disciples seems to be very weak.  They had witnessed the feeding of the 5,000, and yet wonder how Jesus will feed so many.  Is it any wonder that Jesus charged them so many times, “O ye of little faith”. 

In a time of struggling individuals and  families in the USA, and around the world; with people losing their homes, and many losing their life savings; know this that Jesus can meet your needs.  He is not a god in a box that will give you every whim and desire, but He will be with you through every trial and trouble.  He will give you courage and strength and you will glorify His name.  David, the Psalmist wrote, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25).  Jesus, God of creation can and will meet your needs, not wants, but needs.  He desires that you trust Him, rely on Him and nothing or no one else.

“Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).  It is God’s desires the Psalmist is talking about, not our selfish desires.  The things that God desires will become your desires when you delight yourself in the Lord.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd of all who come to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Travelling Religion – Ritual Washing

In the Old Testament Law the only washing which I can recall is for the priesthood as they conduct the duties of the tabernacle in the wilderness, at the brazen laver (Exodus 30:17-21). It was for the washing of the feet and hands of Aaron and his sons in going about their daily duties of the tabernacle. Somehow a tradition came to be for every Jew to wash their hands before they ate. So it seems they were condemned if they did not.

Now I would be the first to admit in our day and time that is a good practice, but for health reasons, not religious reasons. To test another Jew because of not washing their hands was what these religious leaders were up to; in particular questioning the Lord Jesus and His disciples; measuring whether He could be the Christ determined by whether He washed His hands ceremonially or not before He ate meals.

Our verses say,

“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” Matthew 15:1-2 (KJV).

We are not told how many of the scribes and Pharisees came to question Jesus; just that they came. They had travelled from Jerusalem to Galilee on a mission of question. Jesus’s popularity was growing. They wanted to check Him out, as though they had not already done so a few times. Oh how miserably we fail when we try to win people to traditions which are not based on Scripture, conviction, and the saving or betterment of society.

There is no tradition which can save a soul from the condemnation of Hell, unless you want to call repentance, and faith a tradition.

These men come to Jesus actually making a charge against Him with their supposed question, “Why do thy disciples transgress…”. It is already in the accusatory form. They were not coming to Jesus to learn from Him, but rather, to accuse Him and His disciples of breaking tradition.

I have a thing about washing hands, especially after visiting the restroom. I was in a men’s restroom in a steak and buffet place a few years ago, when I grew passionate about this washing hands. There was another man who was just leaving the urinal and walked right out the door, right to the buffet line. When I got out there, and yes, after washing my hands; there he was; picking up the utensils for dipping out the food, and I had to touch it if I wanted what he did. I didn’t. I watched where he went, what he dipped and I steered clear. Some have said that the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is in the Bible, but it is not. It sure is a good thought though.

It is a good practice to wash your hands, and regularly. You can help prevent colds, flu viruses, and conduct all around good hygiene by doing so. However, it is not the means of judging whether one is holy or not. These would judge Jesus, and reject Him because of their tradition, which really had no merit in the Law.

We are declared righteous and just by our Creator, through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins. It is God’s declaration, not our good behavior or good deeds which cleanse us.

-Tim A. Blankenship