Without Blemish and Without Spot #2

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Christ rides the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11). (Passover, His death, is about four days away [cf. John 12:1,12-16].) Entering the Temple, He cleanses it of the thieves who had been utilizing “God’s religion” to deceive and rob His people; there, He heals the blind and lame (Matthew 21:12-14). Israel’s religious leaders grow envious when children praise Him (verses 15,16).

Sleeping in nearby Bethany for the night, Jesus returns to Jerusalem in the morning to curse the barren fig tree (verses 17-22). God will never reinstitute the Mosaic Law, for it has produced no spiritual fruit in Israel. In the Temple, Israel’s religious leaders demand of Christ where He received His authority, and slyly dodge His subsequent question about John the Baptist (verses 23-27). He then issues three stinging parables: they do not follow God as they claim (verses 28-32), they willfully reject and scheme to murder His Christ—yes, He knows!! (verses 33-46), and they further refuse to believe on Him (22:1-14).

The Pharisees collaborate to get Jesus to say something incriminating before the Temple crowds (verse 15): they send delegates to ask Him about paying taxes (verses 16-22). The Sadducees then attempt to trick Him with a resurrection riddle (verses 23-33). A lawyer of the Pharisees finally asks Him about the great Law commandment (verses 34-40). Christ answers all three issues wisely! He asks them a question now, which they cannot answer; they are silenced (verses 41-46). Matthew chapter 23 follows—His severest censure of these false religious leaders (cf. John chapter 8)! He finally curses unbelieving Jerusalem, declaring that God’s house has become her house. Exiting the Temple, He walks to the Mount of Olives; in Matthew chapters 24 and 25, He delivers His magnificent end-time “Olivet Discourse.” Calvary is soon!

Indeed, when Israel was appraising the Passover lamb for slaughtering, sinless Jesus entered Jerusalem. He was the true Passover lamb, “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (today’s Scripture), to be sacrificed for us sinners (1 Corinthians 5:7). Would Israel sacrifice Him in faith? Or, in unbelief? Let us see….

Without Blemish and Without Spot #1

Monday, April 6, 2020

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

In Exodus chapter 12, JEHOVAH God through Moses commanded the Jews to observe Passover, the perpetual memorial to Him delivering them from Egyptian bondage: “[3] Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: [4] And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.

“[5] Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: [6] And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. [7] And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. [8] And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”

On Abib 10th (roughly April), each Israeli house selected a young male lamb, sheep or goat, “without blemish.” After confining it to scrutinize it for any disability or illness, they killed it in the evening of the 14th. At the time, no one realized that Father God had laid this out as a template for Jesus Christ’s final days. With the so-called “triumphal entry” of early Matthew chapter 21, Christ enters Jerusalem. He will remain in (or near) Jerusalem until His arrest and crucifixion. In these three or four days leading up to Calvary’s cross, He can be examined, tested to see if He fits the type laid out in the Passover-lamb prophecy. We now contemplate His activities during His last week alive….

The “Triumphal” Entry

Sunday, April 5, 2020

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matthew 21:4,5 KJV).

Do you ever wonder why Jesus Christ rode on a donkey the Sunday before His crucifixion?

In today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19), Jesus’s crucifixion on Calvary’s cross is just five days away. Leaving Bethany, He travels to Jerusalem (a mile to the northwest). Israel’s believing remnant in Jerusalem is excited to hear that Messiah is returning to “the city of the great King” (Psalm 48:2; Matthew 5:35); in anticipation, the great multitude throws their garments and palm branches on the ground. As Jesus enters the city, they cry out, “Hosanna [“O save!”]: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9,10; Luke 19:38; John 12:13; cf. Psalm 118:26).

While often called the “Triumphal Entry,” there really was no victory being celebrated in today’s Scripture—the victory was to come later! What we need to realize is that Jesus Christ was humble (“meek”) here: as a King riding on a donkey into Israel’s capital city, He demonstrated He desired peace with Israel (a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9). He had not come to destroy her, though He would have been just in doing so; He had come to save her from her sins, her enemies, and her satanic bondage (Matthew 1:21; Mark 2:17; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 1:68-75; Luke 9:55,56; Luke 19:9,10; Acts 3:24-26; et cetera).

Just a few days later, Jesus Christ appeared weak and defeated. He never fought back as the Roman soldiers mercilessly abused Him; He allowed Himself to be crucified on Calvary. It was His meek and lowly coming; now was not the time to pour out His wrath. He resurrected and ascended into heaven as a royal exile. Revelation 19:11 says Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem on a white horse, a sign of war and wrath (Zechariah 14:1-4)—that will be His true triumphal entry, for He will conquer Satan’s world system forever!

NOTE: As you may have noticed, for the Easter Season, we have temporarily interrupted our “Careful—But Not Careful!” devotionals arc. We will return to it on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Until then, enjoy these special (classic) studies! 🙂

Careful—But Not Careful! #8

Saturday, April 4, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Prayer is the means whereby we express to Almighty God our understanding of His Word to us. However, when we listen to people pray, it is abundantly clear they have little to no understanding of the rightly-divided Scriptures. They are fervent in wanting to talk to God, and they want Him to give an ear to their words, but they have not been diligent in looking in the Bible and listening to what He has already said to them.

But, why would God care to hear us repeat to Him what He already told us? Does He not already know His own words to us? Indeed, He does. But, do we know His words to us? Prayer is not for God’s benefit but ours. We are giving the indwelling Holy Spirit opportunity to reinforce in our minds what we have read in Scripture earlier (after all, we did read it, yes?). Here is how prayer should work, how it was designed to work—but often does not function like that because we are too busy talking when we should have been listening to the Scriptures first.

The God of the Bible is not stingy or apathetic. He already knows what we need, and He is willing to provide it. When today’s Scripture says, “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” it means we should pray in all circumstances (not just trials). “Prayer” is the general term for speaking to God in light of His words to us. “Supplications” (Latin, “supplicare”—“plead humbly”) are our asking Him to work concerning a particular matter. “Thanksgiving” is critical: He may not give us what we want but we can be absolutely sure He will furnish us with what we truly need. “Requests” are general, we asking Him to do what we need Him to do. Again, this is not for His benefit but our own….

Careful—But Not Careful! #7

Friday, April 3, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Anxiety is the feeling of being overwhelmed with apprehension, worry, distress, or fear. It can also be called “inner turmoil,” an inward reflection of an outward issue. Looking at our grim situations and circumstances, we start to consider all the awful contingencies and dread the future. Uncertainty building, it eats away at our soul and spirit. We never know what trouble to expect next. Here is such a miserable existence!

When today’s Scripture exhorts us to “be careful for nothing,” it means we should not be “full of care.” Rather than that aforementioned all-consuming sensation of fear controlling us, we let the Holy Spirit dominate us. Instead of falling into the above emotional and mental trap, the Bible says we are to “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [our] requests be made known unto God.” Friend, draw your attention to the preposition “in.” While we are “in” the dire situation, “in” the dreary circumstance, we are to especially “pray” because we are vulnerable to the effects of Satan’s policy of evil.

Now, before the difficulties arose, before all those vicissitudes (changes) in life pummeled us, we should have already been reading the Scriptures. As soon as we came to Jesus Christ by faith in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), we should have been familiarizing ourselves with the Bible. Unfortunately, new Christians usually neglect this. Lacking spiritual grounding, even the slightest distressing time will easily disorient them and destroy their life. Furthermore, if they ever are reading any Scripture, they are likely not understanding it dispensationally. This is most disastrous too, as they are unaware of what God is doing in the present-day (and how He can aid them in those troubles). Looking at their tribulations, they have likely concluded He is “doing nothing,” “on vacation,” “asleep,” “unconcerned.”

Once again, Pauline prayer is key to “be careful for nothing….”

Careful—But Not Careful! #6

Thursday, April 2, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

In Luke chapter 10, we read about sisters Mary and Martha. (According to John chapters 11 and 12, they are actually Lazarus’ sisters.) The Bible says Martha hosted the Lord Jesus in her home. Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (verse 39). Yet, Martha “was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (verse 40). That Greek word rendered “cumbered” means “drawn around, distracted, driven about mentally, over-occupied, too busy.” Martha was hypervigilant, fretting about serving (likely food to her “honored Guest?”).

The Lord calmed her with a gentle rebuke: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (verses 41,42). “Careful” here is the Greek word identical to the one rendered “careful” in today’s Scripture: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Martha’s problem was anxiety: her circumstances distressed her and diverted her attention away from listening to Jesus’ words. On the other hand, her sister Mary had left her, and was now sitting at His feet and listening to Him teach spiritual truth. Mary would not be distracted like her sister, for she knew the Lord’s teaching was of greater value than her own efforts. Similarly, as Philippians chapter 4 says, instead of allowing our circumstances to sidetrack us, we simply pray the Pauline way. Prayer is the means whereby we reinforce in our minds what the Lord already said about those conditions. Therein is spiritual stability during such situations….

Careful—But Not Careful! #5

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Indeed, we should be cautious concerning contracting the coronavirus. Health risks are definitely nothing to take lightly—especially if we already have a compromised or weakened immune system! We should practice good hygiene such as frequently washing our hands with soap and water, keeping 6 feet (1.8 meters) from each other, and coughing and sneezing into tissues or our arms instead of our hands. Hugs and handshakes should be avoided, but (at the very least) we can still bump elbows or wave to greet each other. Trying not to touch our eyes, ears, or mouth is still taking some getting used to as well, right?

Yet, the Bible would not want us “careful” as in anxious or worrisome (cf. today’s Scripture). That Greek word is rendered “take no thought” to comfort the destitute believing Jews whom God will feed out in the wilderness in the future (Matthew 6:25,27,28,31,34; Luke 12:22,25,26) and to remind them His Holy Spirit will furnish them with the words to answer their persecutors (Matthew 10:19; Luke 12:11).

We should not be overwhelmed, panicking like poor Martha in Luke chapter 10: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [Christ] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful [worrisome, distressed!] and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Martha needed to relax, and listen to the Lord speak….

Bible Q&As #709 and #710: “Is ‘corn’ a mistake in the King James Bible?” and “Why does the Bible say, ‘Have no other gods before Me?’