The Ministry of the New Born Prophet

“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”  Luke 1:67-80  (KJB)

The ministry of the prophet John was strong and in the Spirit of the Lord heralding the Lord Jesus as the Messiah of Israel; and preparing many in Israel to receive Him.

That is the ministry of the Biblical preacher and pastor in 2019; declaring the Lord Jesus, His life, His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection.  If we let ourselves stand in the way…  Well you finish the sentence.

Lift up the Dayspring.  He is Jesus.

Fishermen of Men

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.  Matthew 4:17-22  (KJB)

Men, probably fairly young men, who had the trade and business as fishermen with their brothers; and another two with their father, and planning on spending their lives as fishermen are confronted with the decision of their lives.

The man who approached them had been preaching.  His message is written above, but I share it with you again…

‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

In the day which we live (2019) the message of repentance is not very well heeded, and certainly not desired.  It is, however, sorely needed.

Jesus’s message for the four men was one of a calling. In short Jesus’s message for them was “Follow Me”.

That is His message for all who will hear His call.  Leave the nets behind.  Leave your father behind, and follow Me.

Following Jesus is not an easy calling.  It is rewarding in that He blesses with His presence, power, and glory. Following Jesus is not without cost.  Your life and mine has been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20;  7:23).

The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  He is very near.  His name is Jesus, and He died so that all who come to Him might be saved from sin and its condemnation and shame.  Believe Him.  Follow Him.

You, Follow Me

“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, ‘Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?’ Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what shall this man do?’
Jesus saith unto him, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.’
Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, ‘He shall not die;’ but, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?'” John 21:20-23  (KJB)

Remember, if you will, that at the trial of Jesus, and Peter standing with the crowd outside denied our Lord three times.  I am positive that Peter grieved over that when he heard that rooster crow, and it hit him like a rock, and he remembered what the Lord said.

Jesus is giving Peter some assurance, and reassurance in much of this chapter.  Giving him renewed faith, and strength.

The Lord has revealed to Peter what his life is going to be like for Him; and so he asked the Lord the question concerning John, “What shall this man do?” He receives the Lord’s answer, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.

Peter was not given words concerning John’s life, his calling, or his last day on earth. Peter was given Peter’s life.

The same is true of all Christians.  We are not to be anxious about another’s life, their calling, neither their last day or days.  Not that we do not care for them; but that we are not using them to excuse our own weaknesses, sins, and faults.

Jesus’s answer to Peter could be said to be “You, follow Me”.  That is what the Lord’s answer to me is; and so for all who call Him Lord and Savior.

The Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the Man of God

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.” Acts 4:13-14 (KJV)

I use the word “Man” above in a generic sense; so I pray none of you feminist ladies get up in arms about it.  Smile.

These verses are a continuation of chapter three, and the healing of the lame man at the temple gate.  Peter and John were taken by the Sadducees, and “Put them in hold…” (4:1-3), because they were preaching the resurrection of Jesus; and the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection, or anything spiritual.

People were believing as a result of Peter’s message – “About five thousand” men came to faith in Jesus the Christ.

If you go back through chapter three you will see that the message Peter preached was the Scripture the Word of God.  Throughout the book of Acts when there is a move of the Spirit of God it is due to the preaching of the Word of God, and the influence of the Word of God through the Spirit of God; never without it.

Peter and John were tried by these unbelievers, and the unbelievers were put on trial as well, by the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the men of God.

Peter and John, not being educated in the education system of that day were ignorant of the things of the religious elite, but they had a far greater Person in their hearts and lives; and He is the All wise One; the All Knowing One.  When the Word of God is put to the test; it will stand.  When the Spirit of God is put to the test; He too will stand.  When the man of God, who is in the Word of God, filled with the Spirit of God is tested; he too will stand, and he will not fall at that point in his testing.

This is the testimony of the Spirit of God, and the Word of God —  “…And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”  Let that be my testimony.  Let that be your testimony.

Day Three Hundred and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to have the boldness of Peter and John as they entered the Temple in Acts 3; and for my life to be lived that others will notice that I have been with Jesus.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.  And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:13 (NKJV)

Gethsemane

It has been some time since I posted anything.  I received this today by email from Bible Gateway, and thought I would share it with you.  It is from a sermon preached by Charles H. Spurgeon February 08, 1863.

Gethsemane

‘And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ Luke 22:44

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 14:32–42

Behold the Saviour’s unutterable woe. The emotions of that dolorous night are expressed by several words in Scripture. John describes him as saying four days before his passion, ‘Now is my soul troubled;’ as he marked the gathering clouds he hardly knew where to turn himself, and cried out ‘What shall I say?’ Matthew writes of him, ‘he began to be sorrowful and very heavy.’ Upon the word ademonein translated ‘very heavy,’ Goodwin remarks that there was a distraction in the Saviour’s agony since the root of the word signifies ‘separated from the people—men in distraction, being separated from mankind.’ What a thought, my brethren, that our blessed Lord should be driven to the very verge of distraction by the intensity of his anguish. Matthew represents the Saviour himself as saying ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ Here the word perilupos means encompassed, encircled, overwhelmed with grief. ‘He was plunged head and ears in sorrow and had no breathing-hole,’ is the strong expression of Goodwin. Mark records that he began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy. In this case thambeisthai, with the prefix ek, shows extremity of amazement, like that of Moses when he did exceedingly fear and quake. Luke uses the strong language of my text—‘being in an agony.’ These expressions are quite sufficient to show that the grief of the Saviour was of the most extraordinary character, well justifying the prophetic exclamation ‘Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me.’

For meditation: The instruments we associate with the shedding of Christ’s blood were wielded by men—the scourge, crown of thorns, nails and spear (John 19:1–2,18,34). The fact that he sweat ‘great drops of blood’ in Gethsemane before any man could lay a finger on him gives us an important glimpse behind the scenes—his life was not taken from him by men; it was given by him for men (John 10:17–18).

Sermon no. 493
8 February (1863)

Day 70 – Servant To Many

As we begin reading the gospel of Mark we see no genealogy.  We do see Mark’s short declaration “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” (1:1).  My reading today was Mark 1 – 14.  And as we look at the gospel it can be quite apparent that this gospel presents Jesus as  the Son of God, yet a servant to all who will believe Him.

In the era of the life of Jesus servants had no genealogy.  I believe that is much for us to contemplate.  We see Jesus, even when He needs to get away for prayer and rest; people coming to Him and He still meets their needs.  That is at the heart of being a servant.

“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto Him, saying, ‘Master, we would that Thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.’  And He said unto them, ‘What would ye that I should do for you?’  They said unto Him, ‘Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand, in Thy glory.’  But Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’  And they said unto Him, ‘We can.’ And Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: but to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.’  And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.  But Jesus called them to Him, and saith unto them, ‘Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”  Mark 10:35-45 (KJV)

In the above account of James and John coming to Jesus seeking positions of authority with Him in His glory; we find Jesus also telling them that being one of authority means to be a servant to the people.  Jesus was one who was that type of servant; even to the point of sacrificing His own life for the world.

In the 14th chapter we find Jesus in one of His final acts of service.  Giving Himself to the religious leaders to be tried.

“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with Him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.” 14:53

How can men try God?  And be successful at it anyway?  It seems to me that men still put God on trial everyday.  In many hearts and minds He is still found guilty.  Yet, He serves us with His enduring mercy.

Much could be learned by the religious and political leaders of our day by following the pattern of Jesus.  Rather many if not most of them demand others their service and attention.

Jesus served us all the way to judgment by a mock trial, with lying witnesses, and trumped up charges.  Yet He gave His life for those same people.  He gave His life for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 69 – Discourse Unto Death

Christians the world wide celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ yesterday.  We often fail to remember that Jesus was more than a martyr though.  He was more than a man dying for a cause.  He was the Man sent to fulfill all the law and the prophets.  He was the God/Man sent and set to fulfill the Scriptures.

There is many a time in Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus where we read something like, “That the Scriptures might be fulfilled”, even up to His death on the cross and His resurrection.

Matthew records several discourses which Jesus spoke.  The first one was the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7).  The second was in chapter 13 and was short messages dealing with the kingdom.  One had to do with Him sending forth His disciples with the message of the kingdom (chapter 18).  The final one is called the Olivet Discourse, and deals with the last days, and His return following His death.

My reading this morning took me from Matthew 15 through 28.  Today’s reading took me a little more than an hour, and I struggled with the length, and time spent;  however, I was blessed in reading the Scriptures; especially since they were spoken by my Saviour and Lord.

In chapter 17 of Matthew we have an event that is also recorded in Mark 9 and Luke 9; and that is the event of Jesus’s  Transfiguration.  It is a meeting that takes place between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  We read,

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.’  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.’  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, ‘Arise, and be not afraid.’  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” Matthew 17:1-8 (KJV)

In the appearance of Moses we have the representative of the Law.  In the appearance of Elijah we have the representative of the Prophets.  Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, thus the voice out of the cloud which spoke was that of the Father, declaring that His Son holds all authority of the Law and the Prophets.  He says,  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.”

At this transfiguration the three disciples; Peter, James and John saw Jesus in His glorified state.  This event of itself, then with the testimony of His Father gives the disciples assurance, that this truly is the God/Man, Son of God and King of kings.  They would need to learn to trust that now was not the time for His reign, but the time of His sacrifice.

With these several discourses of Jesus He went to the cross,  presenting Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the people; laying His own life down on the cross, forsaken by the Father, buried in a borrowed tomb, rising again victoriously from that grave.  After His resurrection He gives another short discourse,

“All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”  Matthew 28:18-20

The life of Jesus the King of kings was to give His life.  In His life we have many teachings on how to live, have faith, trust, and pray.  He did not come at this time to rule, but to serve us and to die for our sins.  He did, and He rose again.  He is coming again.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Manna

When looking at the series of “The Scarlet Thread” my intention in doing this is to show Jesus Christ.  As we look at the manna – “What is it?” – is the actual meaning of the word.  We must remember Jesus’s words, “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:32-35).

Manna was a special bread provide miraculously by GOD for the children of Israel to gather each morning for each day.  It could only be gathered for six days, and enough could be gathered on the six day for the seventh day.  It was given in Exodus 16:14-15.  There is more scripture dealing with it in verses 16 -36.  For the verses we will look at in the book of Numbers I want us to remember Exodus 16:31,

“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

Remembering the taste of it was as “Honey”, or “wafers made with honey”, so it had the taste of sweetness in it.

We read in Numbers 11:8,

“And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.”

Then, they go around murmuring that “There is nothing at all, beside this manna”.  Well!  Is it any wonder?  They have taken a perfect substance, made by the hand of God, miraculously provided, a daily provision; and they try to “Improve” it.

According to Jesus in John 6 He Himself is the Bread of Life.  It is not an overstatement for me to say that there is much people today trying to “Improve” on Jesus.  When people are bored with worship of Jesus preachers try to improve it by adding to the Word of God, adding entertainment to draw a crowd, adding worldly music with spiritual words, and that don’t always include the cross of Christ.  All just so they can have a crowd.  They lose their love for Jesus.

When we look at Jesus and think of Him, worship Him, adore Him; what more could we need?  What more could we want?  We are to desire to be like Him.  How can we be like Him.  He desired to do the Father’s will (Luke 2: 49; John 8:29).  We are to live for Him, just as the Scriptures proclaim; nothing of the flesh.

We are not called to draw a crowd.  We are called to be a witness.  We are called to bear the image of Christ.

The manna is the Bread of Heaven who is Christ.  Follow Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Resurrection – Unbelief and Hardness of Heart; Mark 16:9-14

“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12 After that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen.”  Mark 16:9-14 (KJV)

By the testimony of verse 9 the resurrected Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene.  Who is this Mary?  She is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke,

“And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils” (Luke 8:2).

This Mary had been terribly bound, and was probably involved in great evil.  The Lord Jesus had freed her and cast the demons from her.  By His great glory He appeared to her first and gave her  the privilege of telling the sceptical disciples of the resurrection.  When she came to the disciples and told them they did not believe her report.

According to verse 10 the disciples were in mourning and were weeping.  They were quite sorrowful over the death of Jesus.  Why, O why, would they not believe Mary?  Would not her countenance be aglow with joy?  Would not her words have been filled with excitement?  Saying,  “Our Lord’s grave is empty, He is alive.  I have seen Him.  He has spoken to me.”  I think I would have at least been curious.  This would have, of course, been after Mary has been to the tomb, found it empty, went to Peter and John, they run to see it empty, and then return, as John writes,

” Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.”  (John 20:10).

They were not even curious enough to begin a search, they “…went away again to themselves”.

After appearing to Mary Magdalene Jesus appears to two who are walking together.  Luke tells us is was to Emmaeus.  Luke gives us more details of this appearance by Jesus.  These two did not recognize Him.  He shared with them the words of the Prophets concerning Himself, and only when He had broken bread at their table did they recognize Him.   When He first appeared to Mary, she did not recognize Him.  She thought Him to be the gardner.  Maybe due to the sadness, mourning, and tears His identity was covered to them, and maybe due to spiritual influence from Him.  They had been blind to the words Jesus had spoken concerning His rising from the dead, and now they were blind to its reality.  Only by the power of God did they know Him.  Only by the “Drawing” of the Father, and His will can anyone know Him.  These two told the disciples that Jesus was risen, and still they do not believe.  By this time Peter and John had probably already seen Jesus alive due to the words of Luke in chapter 24 verse 34,

“Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”

When they came to those who had not yet seen Jesus alive the remainder would not believe.  We sometimes jump all over Thomas because he would not believe unless he witnessed the resurrected Jesus personally, but all of the disciples had the same attitude.  Blessed are those who have believed though they have not seen.

Why did Jesus rebuke them for their unbelief?  He had spoken to them many times of His death and resurrection, but they had not heard.  They had had a wrong attitude toward Him.  He was their source of deliverance from captivity of Rome.  He was their hope for amounting to something in “His kingdom”.  Judas was not the only one following Him for the wrong reason(s).  They found it hard to believe that their “Messiah” would even die.  If He was not going to die there was no need for a resurrection.  So in their mind all the problems of the Hebrews were over; then He died.

Jesus rebuked them, because they had not believed His Word.  “Destroy this temple, and in three day I will raise it again”.  You can imagine that now that He has appeared to all of the disciples, they now believe.  Would I have been any different?  Knowing what I know of myself, and having grown up in Missouri [the Show-Me State], I doubt it.  Knowing what I now know, by the testimony of so many witnesses and the testimony of God’s Word, Yes I believe He is risen.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 040111

Looking at the final three chapters of John we see much about our Lord and Savior and His first coming.  He has come to the final day of His life as man among men.  It is not a pleasant day for Him, nor would it be for you or me.  He stands before Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem and Israel.

He is being tried for blasphemy against GOD.  Those who claimed to know the word of God know not the Word of GOD.  If they would have known Him they would not have Him on trial; rather they would be worshipping Him who alone is worthy of all human worship, and that of all creation.

In chapter nineteen Jesus says to Pilate,

“Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin.”  John 19:11 (KJV)

The one who delivered Jesus to Pilate was Judas, and He is the betrayer.  Pilate may have thought that his power and authority came from Rome, but Rome and all governments of men receive their authority from GOD who gives it, and places men in positions as it pleases Him.  Jesus, of course, knows this because He is the Creator of all that is (John 1:1-3;  Colossians 1:16).

We see that Pilate seeks to release Jesus (19:12), the religious leaders and the mob will not hear of it, and want Jesus crucified.  Pilate even refers to Jesus as king, saying “Shall I crucify your King?”  The religious leaders response was, “We have no king but Caesar.”  In saying this they betrayed and denied not only Jesus but the very heart of Scripture, and its promises to the Jews.

The Scriptures were fulfilled in the death of Jesus.  The Scriptures tell us that not a bone would be broken (Exodus 12:46;  Numbers 9:12) when they found Him to have already died.  Upon the declaration of His death Joseph of Arimathaea comes and request the body of Jesus for burial in his own prepared tomb.  We find that tomb in a garden.  It was in a garden where man first sinned.  It was in a garden where Jesus prayed.  It was in a garden where Jesus was buried.  It will be in a garden where we will see the Tree of Life one day.

Upon the death of Jesus His followers are weeping, sorrowful, and confused; not knowing what to do.  They go to the tomb on Sunday morning, and find it empty with the stone rolled away (20:1-2).  Mary sees Him, and thinks Him the gardener until He calls her by name, “Mary” (20:16), then she calls Him “Master”

Jesus appears to the disciples and speaks, “Peace be unto you.”  He shows them His hands and His side revealing that it is truly the risen Lord.  Thomas doubts when he hears the Lord is risen; however, when he sees Jesus he says, “My Lord and my God.”

Thomas believes because he has seen the resurrected Jesus.  Jesus gives a wonderful blessing to those who believe though they have not seen Him, when He declares,

“Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  John 20:29

Since that day, there is only one recorded account of one seeing the resurrected Christ, and that was Paul the apostle, who was Saul the persecutor at the time of the revelation of Christ to Him.  No one who believes in Christ today has seen the physical, bodily raised person of Christ.  Not seeing we have believed, therefore Jesus says that we are blessed.

Peter is asked three times, by Jesus, “Do you love Me?”  each time in a different sense.  It could be that Jesus is confirming his faith, because he had denied Jesus three times.  Peter is given responsibility for shepherding the sheep of Christ which is a responsibility given to every Christian who will love Jesus and grow in Him.

When we recognize Jesus for who He is, and not what others say He is or what others prefer Him to be, then we too will say “Jesus is the Christ; Son of the Living God”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 033011

Please remember that the gospel of John is pictured in Ezekiel 1 as the eagle in the face of the Living creature, and the flying eagle in the Revelation 4:7.  These show forth a symbolic picture of the deity of our Lord.  John’s writing of Jesus is clearly that Jesus as the Son of God is God.

In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel we have the event of the Lord’s Supper, and this is what I have observed;

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.  Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’  Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’  Peter saith unto Him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’  Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’  Jesus saith to him, ‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.'” John 13:4-10 (KJV)

There is much to see here, however there is one observation and truth I want you to see; and that is that God came down to heaven in the form of a man [Jesus Christ], and then stooped even further to wash His disciples feet.  To me that is a really big thing, and says a whole lot about us as the human race.

The beauty of it is in the Son stooping to serve, and wash the feet.

When was the last time I stooped to serve another in like fashion?  How about you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From John – 032711

There are many who are not Christian – not followers of Jesus Christ – who claim to believe that Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, a good example; but refuse to trust Him as God and Savior of the world; and of their eternal souls.

Jesus said,

‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  John 5:19-24 (KJV)

Jesus as a man walked among us with only one purpose in life and that was to do whatever He saw the Father doing.  The Father, GOD, is doing the work of salvation in this world.  The “god of this age”, the devil, is going about to steal, kill and destroy.  The work of GOD  in this world now is through the work and ministry of those who have the Spirit of Jesus Christ in them – the Holy Spirit; and our desire is to do what we see the Father doing.

You will note in Jesus’s words that Jesus says, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.”  The honor, faith, and glory that belongs to the Father [GOD], belongs to the Son of GOD.  To trust Jesus is to believe Him to be whom He claims to be; the Son of GOD.  This honors Him.  To claim to be be merely a good man, a good teacher, or a good example and deny and reject Him as Savior and GOD is to basically call Him a liar.

Can you call a liar, a good man, even a good teacher, or a good example?  Not where I come from.

Hear, today, the words of Jesus above, “I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Jesus also says in verses 45 – 47,

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” John 5:45-47

Jesus is the way to salvation, heaven and GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 032611

We begin reading through the gospel of John in today’s reading.  Chapters 1 – 3.

John’s gospel is clearly showing forth the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Son of God comes in the flesh; in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin.  It is clear from reading verses 1-5 of chapter one that the WORD is God, and God is the WORD.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  John 1:1-5 (KJV)

To remind you of the four evangelists who were inspired by God to write this “God-breathed” Scripture, Matthew appears to write of the King and His kingdom; Mark writes of His service; Luke writes of Jesus as the Son of Man – His humanity; and John shows Him as Deity – even as being the Creator of all that is – “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”  Ezekiel 1:10

and the apostle John writes in the Revelation of Jesus Christ…

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”  Revelation 4:6-7

Of course you will notice that Ezekiel calls one animal an “Ox” while John refers to that animal as a “Calf”.  These are from the Bovine created animal. The picture is still clear.  Jesus came to serve us and to give His life a ransom for all who will believe in Him.  Notice too that John writes of the “Flying eagle”; certainly declaring the All Present, All Knowing, All Powerful, and never changing character of GOD.

John also declares to us…

“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.” 1:14

He is also declared by John the Baptist as being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29).

The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ, Son of the Living GOD.  John writes…

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” 3:36

That is the Observations from John for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew 030411

Beginning today reading Matthew 1 – 4.

We have been reading the books of Moses, and now we turn to the first four Gospels of the New Testament.  In doing this we will keep a better focus on Whom the whole of the Bible is about.

Matthew is one of four of the gospel presentations and written by Matthew who was at the time of Jesus’s calling a tax collector (9:9).  He was doing his work, Jesus comes along and calls him to follow, and he leaves all and follows Jesus.

When we look at Matthew this gospel is related to the King of israel, and His Kingdom.  In chapter one is the geneaology of the King; in chapters 5 – 7 we have what could be called His Kingdom Manifesto; chapter 13 are parables – stories which all relate to His Kingdom on earth;  chapter eighteen deals with those who would enter His Kingdom having the heart of a child; and chapters 24 – 25 deal with when He sets up His Kingdom on the new earth.

For today let’s look at the following verses,

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.  And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:18-22 (KJV)

Jesus has been to John the Baptist, been baptized by him; and the gospel of John at this point says that the Baptist saw Him coming and says, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  John was no stranger to Jesus; after all they were cousins according in order of family births.  In the beginning of chapter 4 following His baptism Jesus has been “Led of the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tested by the devil.  Jesus passes the test with power and authority of the Spirit and the Word of God.

The Word of God was the means by which Jesus rebuked and rejected the lies of the devil.  The Word of God is important to Matthew as he writes this gospel account of Jesus.  In the first two chapters alone there are at least 17 Old Testament prophecies of  the Christ or Messiah, and Matthew relates them to Jesus alone.

Following His temptation in the wilderness Jesus sets out to fulfill His task.  His ultimate task as we look at the gospels will be set toward Jerusalem and the cross.  While walking by the sea of Galilee on this particular day Jesus sees Peter and Andrew fishing with nets, and calls them to follow Him.  They follow.  Now this was their way of living, it was Peter’s and Andrew’s business; they caught fish and sold them at the fish market.  It wasn’t a lucrative job, but it was an income.  Leaving these nets required an act of faith in the One they were going to follow.

Jesus’ s promise was to make them fishers of men.  To be a fisher of men is to call others to follow Jesus.

There were two others who were also called “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17) and their names were James and John.  These four would become close to Jesus, particularly Peter, James and John.

Jesus is still calling people; men, women, boys and girls to follow Him.  Have heard that call?  Follow Him, and begin a wonderful journey of life, living and eternal life with Him.

We will be in the New Testament through the gospel of John, then return to the Old Testament.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022311

Reading today from chapters 7 – 10 of Deuteronomy.

Why did the LORD choose Israel as a people?  Were they at all strong, numerous, or for what reason would He choose such a people?

Why  has He chosen me?  Is it because I am some wonderful personality, wonderful to look at, wise or obedient?  My answer to those questions are “none of those things”.  Why would the holy God of Heaven choose anyone of the human race? I think those are some wonderful questions, and they are invited by the Scriptures.

“The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”  Deuteronomy 7:7-11 (KJV)

These verses tell us that GOD did not set His love upon them because they were more numerous; because they were but few.  The answer He gives us through Moses and Deuteronomy is “…Because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…” meaning of course Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Doesn’t this beg another question?  How can a holy God love that which is unholy? and another, Just whom does God love?  We are told in the New Testament,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

In my opinion John 3:16 answers those two very important questions.  God came down to man in the Person of His Son, lived without sin, and gave Himself as a sacrifice for our atonement.  “Our sin” atonement because we were sinful, worthy of death, unholy, unrighteous, unjust.  When Jesus came He became our sin, took the wrath of God for us on the cross of calvary, had the Father turn His back on Him, the darkest day in the life of our Savior.  It did not end there, however, Jesus carried our sins away in His burial, and rose bodily from the grave on the third day.  It doesn’t end there.  Jesus; when that sinner turns to Jesus as His Lord and Savior; gives to us His righteousness.  Now, isn’t that the greatest love you ever heard about?  YEAH!  It is.  You cannot deny it.  Or deny it all you will and it still doesn’t negate that truth.

There is a second reason we are told God chose Israel.  “Because He wold keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers…”  I will never cease to be amazed that our GOD is a covenant keeping GOD.  He is love.  He is trustworthy and faithful.  If God says it, you can be 100 percent sure that God will keep every word He has spoken.  When He has said, “I have called you, and redeemed you unto Myself” You can be assured you are His for all time and eternity.

Jesus said again,

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

You can be assured today that because God loved Israel, He still loves Israel, and He loves you too.  He loves us all so very much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world.  That includes me and you.  Call on the name of Jesus today and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 7 – 10 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 021111

Reading today from Numbers 7 – 9.

Will focus today on chapter 8:1-4 dealing with what is called the menorah; the light of the tabernacle.

It has been said that darkness is only the absence of light, and that cold is the absence of heat.  I can see that from a spiritual point of view; God’s point of view.  Especially for the human race.  We can be assured, however, that whether in darkness or cold God is present, and is speaking whether we hear or not.

The lamp or Menorah was the only source of light for the tabernacle.  It would have been the first thing to tend upon entering the actual “tent”, filling the bowls with olive oil for the burning for light.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.’  And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.  And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.”  Numbers 8:1-4 (KJV)

This lampstand/menorah was positioned on the South side of the tabernacle, and the table of Shewbread was on the North side.  The menorah was to be positioned to focus the light on the bread of the table.  There were to be twelve loaves of bread on the table, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

As we can also see in these verses we are told once again that the candlestick is made of pure beaten gold.  It is made by taking a piece of gold and forming it with a hammer, I suppose, or some other like tool; to shape it into this beautiful object known as a menorah.  In its original form it had three lamps on one side, and three on the other side with one in the middle.  A total of seven lights burning.  Seven for complete light.  We might think that would not be much light.  Seven lamps burning in such a small room, however, would illuminate the room quite well.  Have you ever been in a cave, in total darkness, without your flashlight turned on or without any light burning?  It is so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.  One person lighting a single match can light up a room of a cavern.  Darkness is dispelled.  Darkness flees in the presence of a sign of light.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).  He has also told those who follow Him,

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 4:14-16

As I read the Scriptures it becomes even more clear, every time I read through the Bible, that the overwhelming evidence is that both Old and New Testaments point to Jesus Christ as the central character of Scripture.  Even the last book of the Bible tells us,

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Revelation 19:10

He is the light of a dark heart.  He is the light of the world.  He is the light.  He is the light that shows men where to find bread; for He also said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48).

Come out of the darkness of sin and death; into the light of Jesus Christ through His death, burial and resurrection.

Please read Numbers 7 – 9

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020111

Reading today from Leviticus 4 – 7.

In the reading for today we read about the “sin offering” and its laws; personal sins; trespass offerings; and laws of holiness.

There is within the commandment concerning the fire on the altar, that it is to be ever burning.  It is to never go out.  This is the place of the burnt offering.  Every offering was offered here and was to be completely burned to ash.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.  And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.'”  Leviticus 6:8-13 (KJV)

This brazen altar is to have special care taken with it.  It is the place where the blood of the sacrifice is shed.  The blood is poured out here as an offering to God for sin, trespass, peace.  We must keep in mind as we read the Old Testament that all these are shadows of what was to come.  These are only earthly pictures of the heavenly person who was to come and die; shedding His own blood for our sins, trespasses and to give us peace.

The fire ever burning shows the way God is always waiting for the sinner to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.  He has planned for all the years of earth; at least sin the fall of Adam and Eve; to redeem all who will come to Him believing through His Son Jesus.

In the first epistle [letter] of the apostle John we read,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 (KJV)

The sin was placed figuratively on the sacrifice; by the laying of the hands of the priests on the head of the animal; then the animal was slain, its blood shed, then, burned on the altar.  This showed that the sin was forgiven, and there was cleansing and forgiveness from God.  This, of course, looking forward to the cross of Jesus.

God’s consuming fire is still burning.  His grace is still large and is much larger than our sin.  His mercy is everlasting.

Remember to read Leviticus 4 – 7

-Tim A. Blankenship

Gethsemane: “Thy Will Be Done”

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And He taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. 37 And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39 And again He went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer Him. 41 And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth Me is at hand.”  Mark14:32-42 (KJV)

This is the place called, “Gethsemane” which means “Oil press”.  It must have been the place where the harvested olives were pressed for the oil.  There probably can be no better representation of the “Press” Jesus Himself must have been in at this moment in time.  Of course, Jesus’s press was a spiritual one; affecting Him physically; which was pressing on Him to fulfill the will and work of God in His life, and that was His will and choice as well.  He came to do His Father’s will.

Jesus tells the disciples to sit in a certain place while He goes to pray.  He takes with Him Peter, James, and John to stay a little closer with Him and to pray while He goes to be alone with the Father.  The weight, agony, passion weighs heavily upon Jesus as this is being done, and he commands the three with Him to “Watch”; that is “Be vigilant”, “Be watchful” (v. 34).

At least from the time of the beginning of His ministry at the age of thirty the heart and mind of Jesus was on the cross; dying there for the sins of mankind.  As the only blood atonement for all our sin.  That was, afterall, the plan of the Father.  That was His plan too.  Having that as His heart and mind; is the old idea we have heard the right one, or could it be that He thought He could possibly die before He reached the cross due to His physically weakened condition; due to His grief and sorrow – His agony?

Could He truly have been praying that this time of passion “Might pass from Him”? If indeed that had been His heart and mind for many years? If so it would not be that He was questioning the Father’s will, it was the agony of His coming separation from the Father that was causing Him so much pain and agony.  He is the Son of God in flesh, never away from the presence of God, and to take away the sin of the world would require separtion to provide justification, cleansing, and in the end our glorification.  His death for sin was the only means by which a holy God could save mankind from their sins, and still remain just and holy.  Jesus knew that, and thus prayed, “…Not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (v. 36).

Remember Jesus had told Peter, James, and John to be vigilant, watchful and pray, but He finds them sleeping.  In the time of His own personal crisis His disciples – the three closest to Him at that – seem unaware at what is happening to Jesus.  It may also be that they are so troubled that they are overwhelmed, and they are emotionally exhausted.  It was a very trying time for them, but especially for their Master.  That was the time for them to pray, not to sleep.

He went back to pray and returned again only to find them sleeping again.  It happened again a third time and this time He tells them, “Sleep on”.  The time of His betrayal was at hand.  There was nothing more that they could do.  Judas was coming with the mob to take Him and lead Him to trial for His murder.

One thing we can learn from this event is that we need to be diligent, alert, and aware in our praying.  Sadly, there are far too many Christians asleep at spiritual living; especially in prayer.  At the darkest points of our lives we must be praying.  Maybe we are not even aware of those “darkest points”.  We need to be.  When we see the dark points of friends and family; we need to pray diligently.  Lord help us to pray as we ought.

Lord,  When we are in Gethsemane [the press] help us to pray, “Thy will be done”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

…I Have Known Thee…

We have been on a journey through the Priestly prayer of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in John seventeen.  To me it has been a pleasant journey, an encouraging journey, and refreshing one, knowing, and being reminded of the wonderful love, mercy and grace of our God.  I pray you have found it the same or even better.

With this posting we will conclude with the final two verses of chapter seventeen.  Jesus again addresses the Father by name, only as “Righteous Father”, and to that we must say “Amen”.  God our Father truly is righteous.

“O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.  And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou has loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:25-26 (KJV).

There are too many people in this world who hate God, do not know Him, nor do they want to know Him.  There are many of them who want to worship their own god, in their way, but refuse to reconcile the fact that the true God has only one way of knowing Him.  That one way is by way of the cross of Jesus.

The only way the disciples for whom Jesus is praying knows the Father; is because they know the Son.  That is the way to know God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus has revealed the Father God to us, and has given us His name.  It is not Allah, Buddha,  or Moon. It is Jehovah/YHWH, manifested through the Son Jesus Christ.

The love the Father has for the Son is in us who know the Son.  The reason for that is that the Son has prayed for us, and has received what He has requested.  Let us love as Jesus loves.

-Tim A. Blankenship

As Good As Already There

Looking at the High Priestly prayer of our Lord and Savior once again we are reminded of the Son addressing His Father in our behalf.

“Father, I will  that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.”  John 17:24 (KJV).

Those whom the Father has given the Son are all who have come to faith in Jesus Christ through the work of the Spirit of God.  The requests of the Son, Jesus is first of all that we may be with Him where He is.  Jesus is in the presence of the Father.  He is in the will of the Father.  He is fulfilling the will and glory of the Father.  His final and eternal place is in glory, His glory, and with us with Him and in Him.

Peter, James, and John were three who had the privilege of seeing the glory of Jesus, even before He died on the cross and was raised to life again.  See Matthew 17.    This glory was what Jesus had with the Father even before the world was created.  He had the glory of the Father; as He claims; “Before the foundation of the world”.

That is the place He has prayed for those who believe Him; to be.  Are you as good as there; right now?  By faith in Jesus alone, you are.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Glory…I Have Given Them

The love God has for us is really beyond human understanding, but we are to know that He loves us with an everlasting love.  He has shown His love by sending us His Son Jesus to die for our sins.  We have fallen short of the glory of God.  We have sinned.  Yet, it is God; who is holy, righteous, and undefiled who paid the sin debt that was our’s alone.

Jesus, as He was nearing the end of His earthly ministry as a man, prayed for all those who would follow Him.  It is that prayer in which we have been looking at.  In that prayer He has prayed for our keeping in the Father’s hands, the last time we saw He prayed that we all would be one, and that through us “the world might believe that Thou [the Father] hast sent Me”.

“And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one:  I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”  John 17:22-23 (KJV).

In the book of Romans, written by the apostle Paul, inspired by the Spirit of God; we find these words, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 (KJV).  We, ie., the human race, was made for God’s glory.  When Adam chose to disobey the law of God he fell short of that glory, thus, all the race of Adam has fallen short of that glory.

Jesus alone, as the God-Man fulfilled that glory.  It was the glory He had when He came down to earth.  It was the glory He sustained as He walked among us.  It was the glory given to Him by the Father.  He gives those who believe Him, and follow Him that same glory.

As we walk with Him we glorify Him, we are made “perfect in one”, and due to that, the world around us can know that the Father has sent the Son, and that He loves us, just as the Father has loved Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Temporary Temple

Temporary Temple

1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! 2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? Mark 13:1-4 (KJV)

This was the last time that Jesus would be in the temple.  He had just applauded the widow as she gave all she possessed, and chided the religious leaders because they had only given according to their riches.  What matters to God is the attitude of one’s heart not the amount one gives or their prestige, or position.

There was nothing in all the world like this temple in its grandeur.  It had beautiful marble stones with gold ornamentation which reached a height of 100 feet, there were colonaded walkways, courtyards, and stairways that filled 20 acres of the most prominent landscape in Jerusalem.  From our human perspective it is no wonder the disciples made such a statement.

“These buildings”  were those of the temple and probably surrounding area which were marvelous architectural wonders.  They would not be able to endure the “wrath” that would come showing God’s disapproval of the Hebrew’s rejection of their Messiah.  When the temple would fall their sacrifices would cease, and they [the Hebrews] would be scattered to the “ends of the earth”.

When looking at this time and the situation they were in we must ask ourselves, “What is important in life?”  Is it buildings and lands?  Is it money and finances?  Maybe it is science and technology?  Wilfred Hahn a global portfolio manager has dubbed these as MOFI and SCITE.  There is a third one called GLOBO, which is a growing desire for global unity and tying of all nations to one another in the above things.  To explain these names are an acronyn for MOFI = Money/Finance; SCITE = Science/Technology; GLOBO = Global orgainization and unity.

The Jewish leaders; religious and otherwise; would learn in the years to come that what they held so dear would not stand.  What about us?  Can we learn from their foolishness?  I pray so.

-Tim A. Blankenship

…Through Their Word

There will probably be some who read the posts on Jesus’s prayer for His followers/disciples, and think, and believe, that this prayer was only for those 12 or so disciples who walked with Him through the streets of Jerusalem, along the shores of Galilee, and over the roads of Judea.  If that would be the case then, the prayer is almost without merit.  That would invalidate the promises, and you had just as well take away the cross and resurrection as well.

Now, hear what Jesus prayed next:

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word;  That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.”  John 17:20-21 (KJV).

There are at least a couple of things which Jesus requests in this portion of the prayer.  First He lets it be known that this prayer is not just for Peter, James, and John; but also for Tim, Tom, Jane, and Jill.  All those who have believed in Jesus through the words of the disciples.  That means all those believers who have believed since the day Jesus prayed this High Priestly prayer.

The second request of this prayer is that we might be one in Himself and the Father.  To begin with; when anyone reads this prayer how can they deny what Jesus asked for.  Jesus was admitting to being one with the Father.  He has requested that we may all be one in Himself and the Father.  Having been separated; in the darkness, on the cross; from the Father because of sin, Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection made this possible for all who will believe and follow Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Also Sent Them Into The World

The world inwhich we live, ie., the cosmos, is the creation of God.  From the beginning it has been in His hand, and He has never removed His hand from it.  We even have an account in the epistle of Paul to the Romans, where Paul wrote, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Romans 8:22 (KJV).  This world and all that is in it were created perfect.  There was no sickness or disease.  There were no terrifying earthquakes, no loud boisterous thunderstorms, or lightening flashing and terrifying life everywhere.  These things did not occur until sin entered the world by way of Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience to God.

That is why our Lord Jesus has prayed with concern of our being in the world.  The world of sin, iniquity, and rebellion.  From verses 11-16 He has prayed for us and our position in this world.  In verse 17 He prayed for our sanctification through the Word.  We come now to His sending us as His people to be His ambassador in this world.  We read;

“As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”  John 17:18-19 (KJV).

I am assured that this prayer is for all who will believe and follow Jesus.  He has asked for our sanctification, and that is the work that continues to go on in our lives day after day after day.  It is His work in us.  Let’s be thankful for His daily work of grace which not only saves us for all eternity, but works it out in our lives through cleansing and removing all that is vile and sinful in His sight.

Jesus, Himself, has set Himself aside to do the Father’s will.  To accomplish all that the Father sent Him to do.  The will of the Lord Jesus, and the will of the Father are one and the same.  Be assured today, that, it is God’s will to complete what He has started in you, and He will.  You are His ambassador in this world.  Let’s live as though we are.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sanctify Them Through Thy Truth

Do you have a special place where you like to go just for the beauty and the quiet?  Most people do I believe.  I know that I have some.  There are times I go and take a walk beside the creek.  I enjoy it as it flows along, especially over the shallow and swifter parts, it makes a noise that only the Creator could use to still a troubled mind.  That is a special time.  A special place.  It is almost a sanctuary.  A protected place, set apart for only the ones who will appreciate it.
In Jesus’s prayer and as He prayed, He asked that His disciples be “sanctified”, ie., set apart, called out for special service, even protected for the glory of the Father.  Here is the verse for the study –

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.”  John 17:17 (KJV).

In the process of being made more like Jesus.  That is really what ’sanctification’ is all about.  It is also a protected place, a special place, and Jesus is asking the Father to see to it that we become like Him.  It is implied here that the way of our sanctification is through the Word which we have written to us in the Bible.  The Bible is God’s Word.  It is His truth.  We cannot be made more like Jesus except through the Word of truth.
It is a daily washing of the feet and hands as they have been in the world.  The picture is given in the Old Testament Tabernacle.  There was a large brass bowl with water in it, where the priests needed to stop upon entry of the Eastern Gate, and there wash their feet and hands, so they were sanctified upon entering the holy place.  Jesus’s prayer is that we might be clean, and be made more like Him.
To become more like Him we must stay in His Word daily, pray  in His  name, and be obedient to His will.
Be sanctified through the truth.  Jesus has prayed for it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Not Of This World

I believe with all my heart that Jesus is still praying for His disciples – those who are following Him – today.  The Lord’s Prayer of John 17 is such a wonderful and powerful prayer.  It is an assuring prayer, and should be a motivator to inspire us as we pray.

Last time as we looked at verse 15 we saw that Jesus prayed that His followers not be taken out of this world, but that the Father “Keep them from the evil”.  Jesus intended His followers to be an example of godliness to the world, and we cannot do that if we become isolated and separated from everyone else.

The request we look at today is quite simple and somewhat of a statement completing the last request:

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  John 17:16 (KJV).

Jesus came into the world in the likeness of sinful men, but yet, without sin.  He came into the world as one of us, but not of the world.  He came from another place.  A place of glory and splendor.  He left all of that to come and redeem us unto Himself.  He is not of this world

In the Revelation of Jesus Christ there is a phrase which is used several times, …them that dwell upon the earth” (3:10; 6:10; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:6;) and another similar to it, …the inhabiters of the earth” (8:13; 12:12).  These references are of course speaking of those who have no heart for God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Those who follow Him, Jesus says, ‘are not of the world’.  Not of this world we have been born again to walk in a new life, a changed life, no longer tied to the temporal things.  The heart of a believer is tied to the things of the glory of Jesus.  We are not of this world; we are still in this world, and for the purpose of showing forth the glory of Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Keep Them From The Evil

There are many times that I would like to just be taken to be with the Lord.  No, do not take that to mean I dislike living or that I am suicidal, because I am not.  I enjoy this life for the most part.  I still long for the day when Jesus comes again.  On this day we have been looking at what is truly the “Lord’s Prayer” from John 17.

This is a request of Jesus in His prayer that should really cause us to have a heart full of praise and thanksgiving:

“I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil” John 17:15 (KJV).

Jesus has given His Word to His disciples, and the “World” hates His disciples.  Why would that be?  First of all, because the world hates Jesus, and secondly, because the world hates truth – the real truth.  The truth that all who are apart from Jesus are apart from God.  The truth that there is only one way to God and Heaven, and that is through faith in the One who died, was buried, and now lives again. The real problem the world has with Jesus is the cross.  The cross of Jesus Christ offends the basic selfish drive that mankind has.

Jesus does not ask that His followers be delivered from the worlds hatred, but that we be sanctified through it.  Whether we Christians want to believe it or not we will be hated by those who hate God.  Yet, we are called to serve the Lord in this world.  We are called to live for Him, proclaim Him, that those who would believe would be saved.  We will be delivered from evil, and from the evil one.

The world with its evil intent will not prevail.  The Lord’s work on the cross and the resurrection has already gained the victory.  We are to wait with patience for that day when He comes to take us home to Himself.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Not Of The World

Remember the prayer which I refer to as the “Lord’s Prayer” is not the one which is often called the “Lord’s Prayer”.  The one to which I refer is found in John 17, and is our Lord’s prayer to the Father for His glory and for His disciples as well as all the future one’s who will follow Him.

Today we look at verse 14:

“I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  John 17:14 (KJV).

It is important for us to realize that His Word has been given us for a reason.  It has been entrusted to us not for secrecy, secret interpretations, or secret organizations.  It has been given us to take into all the world.  Even though the follower of Jesus is hated by the world, we are called to live in the world, and show forth the glory of Jesus Christ.

We show forth His glory by showing forth the power of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to change our lives.  What has Christ Jesus wrought in you?  If you have been saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, then He has given you a New Life; you have been born again.  You have been born into His kingdom; which is an everlasting kingdom which shall never perish.

The world is that which is perishing.  The ones who are fearful and unbelieving.  The ones who hate God and all that is godly.  Yet, the Word is given to us to share with the world.  We have been called out from the world of the flesh and the devil.  We are called to live in the world, but not to be of it.

“Come out from among them and be ye separate”  (2 Corinthians 6:17) is not a command to have nothing to do with the people of the world, but rather to not have anything to do with their ways of worship; their gods.  We are to show forth only the glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  The only way we do that is going about our daily lives in the presence of the world; loving God, one another and those who are dying in this world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Joy To The Full

The Lord’s prayer is certainly the most wonderful, beautiful prayer of all scripture.  He prayed it for those who were His.  It is a prayer of rich encouragement, strength, and boldness.

“And now come I to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves” John 17:13 (KJV).

Jesus is speaking in the world, because His disciples are called out of the world, to Himself.  He intends for all those who believe in Him – trust Him – to have great joy.  He desires that His joy be fulfilled in all those who trust Him.  Since He has prayed for it we shall have it.

We must realize, though, that when we get away from Him, that joy will wane, and then, we will be wondering what has happened.  There is no greater joy than the joy which we receive through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

The joy fulfilled in us; given to us by Jesus is greatly fulfilled as we live out the faith which has been given to us by Him.

You desire joy.  True joy can only be found in Jesus.  He has prayed for us to have joy.  No one else has done so much that we might  have it, and to have it to the full.

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Kept Them In Thy Name

This prayer of Jesus’s  is the most beautiful and majestic of Scriptures.  It must be because it is prayed by our Maker.

Jesus continues praying as though He has finished the task for which He came to do, and that was always to do the Father’s will, and all the way to the cross of His death.  He prays,

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12 (KJV)

Jesus’s prayer is as though His work is finished; past tense.  “While I was with them”, and He has not gone to the cross yet.  He prays as though it was already done.  The gift of salvation, grace, mercy, is as good as finished, because He asked for it.  He has kept and will keep.

There is one exception.  One has been lost, and that is the “son of perdition” – the son of wickedness; the son of the devil.  And, this was so that Scripture might be fulfilled.

You and I can rest assured today that all Scripture either has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled concerning you and me.  We need never fear that anything will ever take us out of the Father’s hands, when we are  in the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, ie., His death, burial and resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Keep Through Thine Own Name

Jesus continuing His Priestly prayer for His disciples, prays…

“…And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee.  Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are.”  John 17:11 (KJV).

Jesus is nearing the time that He will lay His own life down as the sacrifice for our sin.  This prayer is assured to be the prayer of God, the prayer God is guaranteed to hear, the prayer the Father will answer.  Why wouldn’t the Father hear His own Son’s prayer.  He is God’s High Priest.  He is the Priest of all priests.  He has obeyed His Father’s will and His Word in all things; even to the death of the cross.

Jesus’s saying “…I am no more in the world…” shows that He has already committed Himself to the cross of His death.  He considers Himself to be already dead, the work already as good as done.  Fully recognizing that the disciples are still “…in the world”, by our flesh.

Let us not believe that when He was praying for “…these”, that He is praying solely for those present day disciples.  NO! NO!  He was praying for all the disciples who would ever follow Him.  He is praying for you all who are in the faith of Jesus.  For all who would ever hear His call, “Come follow Me”.

Notice Jesus prayer in this one verse.  “…Keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me…”.  How can one who is God’s child, one who trusts in Jesus ever leave Him.  In order to do so they would have to make Jesus’s prayer null and void.  That will never be done.  In the faith of Jesus we are kept by the power of the Father’s own name.

Blessed be the name or our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Words Which Were Given

There are many words for us to hear.  The Words that Jesus spoke and is still speaking are the ones He has given us in the Bible; His holy Word.  They are given us for faith, practice and Christian growth; for His glory.

“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”  John 17:8 (KJV)

We see in this verse, one of those things given to Jesus by the Father; “the words”.  Which words is Jesus referring to?  Jesus’s teachings, His doctrine.

There are three things about the disciples which are mentioned: 1. They accepted Jesus’s teachings;  2. They knew – were certain – that Jesus was of divine origin and character;  3. They believed that He was sent by the Father.

Jesus brought the “words” and principles of the Old Testament to life.  As the physical manifestation/revelation of God he was the living Word of God.  They are no longer dead, lifeless vowels and consonants that only show one’s sinfulness and give no life.  Rather, they are now life giving through faith in the “Sent One”.

The only way for these disciples to know these things is because they  were God’s from the beginning.  No one can come to God on their own.  All salvation is a work of God.  It is God who awakens man’s awareness of God’s existence.  It is God who draws men/women to  Himself.  It is God who convicts of sin and all unrighteousness.  It is God the Father who causes us to look to the cross of Jesus and fall on our knees in repentance, grace and faith.  It is all of God, and His grace (SEE John 6:44).

NOTE – Election of God and predestination are essential doctrines of belief, but trying to understand it will drive one crazy.  It is essential in believing, but not for understanding.  God is sovereign and knows exactly what He is doing.  Let’s leave the work of eternal salvation to Him; through the cross of His Son Jesus.  He knows and understands it all.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Whatsoever Thou Hast Given Me…

We are already at Memorial Day of 2010, and there are many things which can concern and worry us.  What is dear to you?  What do you cherish more than anything else?  Is it health, family, your children, your grandchildren, your spouse, your career?  There was something dear and cherished by Jesus, and He shared them with those He knew and loved.

“Now they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee.  For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they  have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me”  John 17:7 (KJV).

If you look at the first sentence of these two, you must ask the question “What has the Father given the Son?  That question is quickly answered by the following statement.  God’s Word is a very precious item to the Lord.  Jesus lived to glorify the Father/God by living according to His Word, preaching it, and giving it to those who followed Him.

Giving the Word of God to others is still a priority of God’s people.  It must be given.  We must ask ourselves the begging question, “Have I received the Words the Father gave the Son?”  The disciples did, and it was  His disciples for whom He prayed, “They have received them”.  It is because they had “Received them” that they were able to know, “Surely I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me”.  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ; you are His disciple, and this prayer is for you too.

When you want to know the Personal Truth personally you will hear, and receive His Word.  It will be precious to you.  Jesus Christ, the Living Word; will especially be precious to you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

…Which Thou Hast Given Me…

We continue looking at our Lord’s Prayer as He was nearing the day of giving Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

“I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word.”  John 17:6 (KJV).

The very thing that Jesus came to do was to reveal the Father unto men.  Of course, the men of whom Jesus is speaking are those who were following Him that we know as the disciples.

Jesus had told Phillip, “If ye have seen Me, ye have seen the Father” (14:9).  Everything which Jesus did He did to glorify His Father, and do the works which the Father had sent Him to do.  He had called these men to follow Him, and He recognized that the Father had given them to Him.  When the men looked at Jesus they were seeing the works of the God of all creation.  They had been extremely blessed by seeing first hand  His power over the elements.

Only God could cause the storms at sea to cease.  Jesus had merely spoken, “Peace; be still”, and all was calm – immediately.  Three of them had seen Him speaking; and in His glory ; with Moses and Elijah on the mountain.  It is a personal longing desire that I have to see my Jesus face to face and behold Him in His glory.

Jesus prays, “…and they have kept Thy word”.  They have taken the things which Jesus has said, held them in their hearts, and they would one day, by the presence and power of the Spirit come forth in written words for all to read, and hear.

Let’s be thankful today, for those men who were faithful to follow the Lord Jesus.  No!  They were not perfect.  They were people just like you and myself.  They stumbled and fell, but my oh,  my; to have Jesus pray so for us.  This prayer is for all who will follow Him.

God bless you.  Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me; bless His holy name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

His Glory… Before the World Was

Today we will look solely at the glory of Jesus.  It is His glory for which we live and move and have our being.

“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine Own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was”  John 17:5 (KJV).

Notice the faith and confidence in Jesus’s praying.  He is eternal with the Father.  He possessed glory before the world, or the universe ever was.  His glory is His greatness, His power, His strength, His song, His priority. His Father’s glory.  Where I have fallen short; where you have fallen short of His glory; Jesus is the Father’s glory.

Jesus is praying for His own glory.  It seems quite clear.  This is His High Priest prayer, and He has come to accomplish His Father’s glory by the sacrifice of Himself for all the world.  The task He came to do required that He lay His creation glory aside, take on the flesh of man, and die.  How can God die?  He cannot.  Becoming flesh He could become sin, paying the price of sin, being put to death – the penalty for sin – and then rise again victoriously over death.

The glory is seen by His resurrection from the grave.  The Father restores His glory in the resurrection, and He is alive for all the world to see.  Did the Father answer His prayer; this prayer?  Most assuredly He did

Jesus is alive and in His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Glorify The Lord

Glorify the Lord.  Now that is a grand statement, and it is one that describes how our lives are to be.  The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  How can we who are born sinners, then, glorify the Lord?  Of ourselves we cannot.

“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.”  John 17:4 (KJV).

Now that is a bold statement coming from a man who some would say, and are saying that He is not deity.  No mere man could make such a claim, but Jesus does in His prayer to the Father.  How could He make such a claim were He not equal with the Father?  He could not.  It would be the height of pride and arrogance for anyone else to say such a thing.  It would be next door to blasphemy.

To glorify the Lord would be to be obedient to Him in all things, and fulfill every thing that God has for you and me to do.  There would be no disobedience.  There would be no mistakes.  There would be a life completely “Sold out” to doing the Father’s business.  Jesus has lived a life of complete obedience to all the Father had for Him to do, and all the way to Calvary; the cross of sacrifice.

The desire of every Christian is to live for the glory of the Lord.  The only way of doing that is to live the life of Christ in you, the hope of glory.  We do that by realizing that it was by the sacrifice of the life of Jesus that God has reconciled us to Himself, and given us means to glorify Him in Jesus.

Tim A. Blankenship

…That They Might Know… God

“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent”  John 17:3 (KJV).

Jesus proceeds to pray for eternal life for those whom the Father has given Him.  Eternal life He says is knowing the Father.  It is God’s desire that people might know Him.  The knowing of God is having to do with an intimate relationship.

Does that blow your mind when you hear the word “Intimacy” or “intimate” what is the first thing that flashes through your mind?  It is probably like ‘Loving your spouse’ or something along that thought line.  And it is similar.  It is opposite of knowing about God.  Many of us might say, “I know the President of the United States”, but in fact only know of him, because we voted for or against him in the last election.  We hear about him everyday.  There are a few who can actually say and be truthful, “I know Barrack Obama”.  One of those would be his wife.  Others could be their two daughters.  They have an intimate relationship with our President.

Eternal?  How long is it?  It could be expressed this way; If you counted one million years, multiplied it by another million, then eternity would only be as a grain of sand on the seashore.  That is the life Jesus Christ as purchased for those who will trust in Him.  Eternity with the God of creation; who created all that is; and we have access to His very throne even now (Hebrews 4:16).

To know the Father one must also know Jesus Christ.  Jesus made it His life’s goal to make a way possible for men, women, boys and girls of every tribe, tongue, and nation to come to faith in God.  He made that possible by way of the cross, and now you can have a personal intimate relationship with the Creator of all that is.  By way of the cross of Jesus; the One whom the Father sent.

-Tim A. Blankenship

…He Should Give Eternal Life…

We continue to look at THE LORD’s PRAYER

“As Thou has given Him [the Son of verse 1] power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.”  John 17:2 (KJV).

Since Jesus had come for the most distinct purpose of glorifying the Father He also realizes that the salvation of many is dependent upon the Father.  The Father has given His Son Jesus “Power over all flesh”.  He will give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him.

We must understand that no one can be delivered from sin and given life eternal except it be given from above.  The man or woman on the street or in church, cannot, just with his, or her own accord, decide that they are going to follow Jesus.  It must be given to them of the Father.  It is the Father who will open their eyes, and their hearts, make them aware of their sin, their lostness, then they have desire to know God, and to call on Him for salvation.

Salvation or eternal life is given by the Father and the Son as a free gift.  It cannot be earned, nor bargained for.

These verses, and this whole prayer declares to us the very sovereignty of God in our salvation.  It is solely of God.  Our part is only in receiving the gift.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works; which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – Twenty Seven through Thirty three

“And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. 33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Mark 11:27-33 (KJV)

WHERE DOES JESUS GET THE AUTHORITY TO DO SUCH THINGS AS PURIFY THE TEMPLE?

If you are anything like me you are thinking to yourself that these religious leaders must be “fuming mad” at Jesus.  Here for the second time in three years He has come into the Temple compound, and tossed tables, money, caused animals to scatter, and “offended” many of the people and upset the business of the Temple people.  The thing we must realize is that God was offended by their “Business” in His house.  They were more concerned with the pocketbook than with the hearts of the people.  They were more upset over the money than they were with the shattered lives of the people around them.

Who gave Jesus the authority to do what He did?  Who did He think He was anyway?  We know the answer to that question – He was/is the Son of God, in the flesh.  He is the Creator of the world.  His authority came from Heaven.  His authority came from His position as Creator, Son, Savior, Messiah, Lord, Redeemer, Master, Healer, Sustainer, the Almighty, and many other titles and names that is given Him.  Now, where does the authority come from?  Who gave Him this power?  Did He need to ask  permission?  NO!  It is all His.

These leaders would not answer Jesus’ question concerning John the Baptist.  They knew what He would say if they would acknowledge John as a prophet of God.  They were also afraid to answer he was just from men lest they received ridicule and rejection from the people.  They would not stand on anything, so they would fall for a lie instead.  They would have suffered rejection from the people because they saw John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  How foolish, and how weak.  It only proves they wanted only popular approval.

Why did Jesus not answer their question?  If they were rejecting John’s message, they would not believe Jesus’ message of Himself.  Why waste the time and effort to bother with an answer.  There are times when an answer is not warranted or deserving of those who ask it.  This was one of those cases.
Jesus was always willing to answer honest questions.  He answered  many of them.  This was not an honest question.  It is like you or me proving our identity, and then, having someone ask us, “Are you sure you are who you say you are?”  Only with Jesus it is much more severe.

Jesus is the Son of God, became flesh, who died for our sins, carried our sins away at His burial, and after three days He rose from the dead for our justification, and He is one day soon returning for those who are His in the rapture of the Church, and then returning to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years and then for all eternity.  Do you know the God/man Jesus?

-Tim A. Blankenship