Without Honour #5

Sunday, March 22, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Read Luke 4:14,15: “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.” Then, He travels to and preaches in the synagogue of Nazareth (verses 16ff.). In light of verse 23, we understand that He ministered in Capernaum before preaching here in Nazareth. He apparently performed miracles in Capernaum, but not Nazareth.

Answering the Nazarenes when they would whine about this “unfairness,” Jesus skillfully selected two Old Testament passages (see Luke 4:23-27). Firstly, He reminds them of the Prophet Elijah’s ministry to the Sidonian/Gentile widow woman (1 Kings 17:8-24). Secondly, He has His audience recall the Prophet Elisha’s ministry to the Syrian/Gentile military man called Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-14). Now, watch how Nazareth replies to Jesus’ final comments.

Back to Luke chapter 4: “[28] And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, [29] And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. [30] But he passing through the midst of them went his way, [31] And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.” The people in Nazareth did not warmly receive Jesus’ sermon, did they? Actually, they were ready to murder (!!) Him by throwing Him headfirst off a cliff! Why?

Think critically of all we have discussed thus far. Elijah and Elisha were performing miracles—not among Israelites—but among Gentiles. Many widow women were in Israel, but Elijah ministered to a non-Jewish widow woman in Sidon. Why? Also, numerous lepers were in Israel, yet Elisha ministered to a non-Jewish leper of Syria. Why? God exposes Israel’s apostasy, her unbelief, by working with these Gentiles. So it is during Christ’s earthly ministry, and the Nazarenes are convicted….

Without Honour #4

Saturday, March 21, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

For nearly 30 years now, the people of Nazareth have known Jesus Christ personally. He spent most of His childhood and His entire adulthood among them. In Luke chapter 4, He addresses them in His first sermon recorded in the Bible. These individuals hear Him read and teach from Isaiah chapter 61. He uses that Old Testament passage to outline the details of His earthly ministry (which has just begun). Prophecy is literally being fulfilled as He is speaking to them in their synagogue: He is the culmination and personification of those prophecies!

Read from Luke chapter 4 again: “[20] And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. [21] And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. [22] And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? [23] And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.”

Having never heard such clear Bible teaching, His audience in Nazareth is shocked! Immensely impressed, they stare at Him. But, be careful to notice their verbal response. Verse 22 again, “And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?This is problematic! They have reduced the Lord to “just another man.” While they sense something different about His words and wisdom, He is nothing special in their sight. Do they see Him as God’s Son? Nay, to them, He is Joseph’s son!

Verse 23 implies Jesus anticipates Nazareth’s further displeasure with Him. He expects their complaint: “Why do You not do here among Your ‘family and friends’ what we have heard You do out in Capernaum among those ‘strangers?’” We must scrutinize the context to grasp what is really going on here….

Perfect Peace #3

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

Israel will learn she cannot in and of herself be victorious over this evil world system. Her believing remnant must wait for Jesus Christ’s ultimate deliverance at His Second Coming. Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. [3] But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. [4] Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.[34] Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. [35] O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”

The Holy Spirit, moving the Prophet Isaiah, is looking down through time—at least 2,700 years—to see Israel’s Little Flock at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week. Preparing to enter the Millennium, they are rejoicing. The LORD God has brought them through their horrendous suffering. By reading and trusting their prophetic promises in Scripture, they have been kept safe! Walking by faith in Isaiah, the Book that spoke of both their tribulation and their kingdom, they knew that, no matter what, they would survive to see His earthly kingdom. God was faithful!

Likewise, brethren, regardless of our struggles, heartaches, and uncertainties in this life, we already know our final destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ remains unchanged! Our eternal future is certain; thus, our temporary trials are certainly bearable (1 Corinthians 10:13). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). Enjoy that “perfect peace!” 🙂

Perfect Peace #2

Sunday, March 15, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace….” Here, the LORD will “keep” in the sense of guarding. Satan’s evil world system is endeavoring to harm the saint’s soul. “Perfect” should be taken as “complete, thorough.” The word “peace” carries the meaning of “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” If we combine all these concepts, our understanding of the phrase is thus: Almighty God is protecting the saint from the destructive spiritual effects of living in this sin-cursed world, this fallen creation.

“…[W]hose mind is stayed on thee….” Almighty God works in the mind—not through the emotional seat—of the saint (more on this later). “Stayed” is synonymous with “depending on, fixed to, leaning on.” Psalm 112:7,8 contains the parallel idea: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings [news]: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established [same Hebrew word as “stayed”], he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.”

“…[B]ecause he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever.” This further amplifies the earlier statement concerning the saint relying on the LORD. Notice how “trust” and “stay” are identical concepts—resting or being wholly confident in Him. The exhortation is as follows: “No matter what, never cease such dependence on the LORD!”

…[F]or in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Why should we trust in the LORD? In Him we find “everlasting strength.” Whereas Satan’s evil world system attempts to weaken and destroy us, we have endless might in “the LORD JEHOVAH.” This Hebrew title—“JAH JEHOVAH”—is unique. It appears only one other time in the King James Bible (more on this later). “JAH” is an abbreviated form of the frequent “JEHOVAH” (often rendered “LORD” in English). According to Psalm 68:4, “JAH” is the title that Jesus Christ will hold as He returns victoriously at His Second Coming in great power and glory….

My Father’s Business #24

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Young Jesus was just 12 years old in Luke chapter 2. Luke’s theme underscores His perfect humanity: He was the literal epitome of how a Man was originally designed to function for Father God’s glory. Christ was consumed in learning His words, believing them, and teaching them to others. Whereas Israel had drifted far from the Bible truths once delivered them, He was motivated to bring them back to God’s Word. Israel—whose number is 12 in Scripture—should have been in their spiritual understanding and activity where young Jesus was in His spirituality and conduct.

As a Man who studied and trusted the Old Testament Scriptures, Christ knew the nature of His Father’s “business.” Luke chapter 2 again: “[46] And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. [47] And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers…. [49] And he said unto them [Joseph and Mary], How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? [50] And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. [51] And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. [52] And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

While the God of Scripture was revealing to mankind the details of the prophetic program, He was deliberately withholding mystery truth. Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, He showed man an additional aspect of His “business.” As God had been forming an earthly people with the hope of an earthly kingdom in order to glorify Christ Jesus in the Earth (the nation Israel), so He had predetermined (but only recently divulged) the founding of a heavenly people with the hope of a heavenly kingdom meant to glorify Christ in the Heaven (the Church the Body of Christ—us!). We now conclude this devotionals arc….

My Father’s Business #19

Thursday, January 23, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Dear friends, it will help us immensely in Bible study to notice these two profound antithetical concepts. First, Isaiah 60:1-3: “[1] Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. [2] For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [3] And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” This is the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3. God’s salvation and blessing to all the world is here coming through Israel’s rise to kingdom glory.

Now, read Romans 11:11-13: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:….” This is not the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3. God’s salvation and blessing to all the world is here coming through Israel’s fall and temporary setting aside.

Here is one dispensational difference in the Bible that could not be more evident. Provided we are willing to let verses of Scripture speak for themselves, and not try to force a denominational view into them, the Bible will be such a huge blessing rather than a sizable burden. While Father God will indeed cause Israel to rise to kingdom glory one day, He has temporarily interrupted that prophetic program with our mystery program. Here is the introduction of the Apostle Paul’s ministry, the apostleship of Romans 11:13, and the Gospel of the Grace of God of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (cf. Acts 20:24). Although Father God’s program has changed, His overall purpose, however, remains the same. He will glorify His Son, both on Earth and in Heaven….

My Father’s Business #11

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

The Lord Jesus Christ knew His nation Israel was spiritually powerless. Consequently, during His earthly ministry, He worked in His “Father’s business” to expel Satan’s influence and spiritual ignorance. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). Father God wanted His people to learn His Word, and His Son faithfully taught them. Once Israel understood she was God’s earthly people, Jews trusting Jesus as their Messiah, Israel would become God’s kingdom of priests to the nations/Gentiles (see Luke 1:46-55,67-79).

God creating Israel as His earthly people is “the prophetic program.” The Apostle Peter preached in Acts chapter 3: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Since God placed Adam on the Earth, He had been sending spokesmen to declare His will for Earth: prophetic truth is that “which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

The Apostle Paul’s ministry, however, involves “the mystery program.” Romans chapter 16 says: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….” Here is mystery truth, that “which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest [through Paul’s ministry].” While God was forming Israel, He was keeping a secret that He would one day create a heavenly people, the Church the Body of Christ….