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….

My Father’s Business #7

Saturday, January 11, 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?”

Luke chapter 4 contains the Lord Jesus Christ’s first sermon: “[16] And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. [17] And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, [18] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. [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.”

After years of Bible study, Christ ultimately recognized Isaiah chapter 61 applied directly to Him: “[1] The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; [2] To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; [3] To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”

Notice how Christ handled Isaiah, breaking off reading the passage exactly where it aligned with God’s current operations in Israel! He knew what His Heavenly Father was doing, and He was working in perfect tandem with Him….

My Father’s Business #2

Monday, January 6, 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?”

Matthew chapter 2 is one of the Bible’s two glimpses into Jesus’ life as a small boy. Based on verse 16, we see that He is as much as two years old here: Herod the Great, King of Judaea, perceives the “young child” as a threat to his throne, thus prompting him to slaughter all of Bethlehem’s children two years of age and under. It was just prior to this that the angel of the Lord warned Joseph to take young Jesus and His mother Mary and escape Palestine and flee to Egypt. This occurred to fulfill Bible prophecy.

Let us read Matthew 2:14,15: “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” This, of course, is a quotation of the Prophet Hosea whose ministry was over 700 years earlier. Notice Hosea chapter 11: “[1] When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. [2] As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.”

Originally, Hosea was referencing Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage as recorded in the Book of Exodus. Through Matthew, though, the Holy Spirit shows that Hosea 11:1 was actually a dual prophecy. Not only did He intend the nation Israel in Hosea 11:1, He also anticipated the Lord Jesus Christ. That Israel perish not in Palestine because of a severe famine, God ordered his father (Jacob) to go down into Egypt (Genesis 46:1-7). Fast-forward 17 centuries, and see the magnificent parallel. That young Jesus perish not in Palestine because of a pagan king, God commanded His step-father (Joseph) to take Him down into Egypt! Yet, there is more.

Upon returning to Canaan, one son of God will be about ignoring his Father’s “business,” and the other Son of God will be about running His Father’s “business….”

Human Eyes Versus Divine Eyes #6

Saturday, May 18, 2019

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth (Matthew 27:39-44 KJV).

It is the same event, viewed from two different perspectives. Which assessment is reality and which is folly?

Chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians: “[13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Here is what God saw at Calvary. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Isaiah continues, “…[8] for the transgression of my people was he stricken…. [10] Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. [11] He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.…”

According to Philippians 2:5-11, Jesus, the second Person of the Godhead, took a place of servitude to the first Person (the Father). Had the Son come down from the cross, He would have spurned His Father’s will (cf. Hebrews 10:1-22). His blood would have not been shed to pay for Israel’s sins—or ours. Scripture had to be fulfilled… and, glory to Almighty God, we through God’s eyes see that it was (Matthew 26:45-56)! 🙂

Lamentations and Adulations #1

Friday, February 26, 2016

“But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us” (Lamentations 5:22 KJV).

What a befitting end to the book of Lamentations!

Lamentations was written by Jeremiah the Prophet to mourn (“lament”) the city of Jerusalem that now lay in ruins. Once a magnificent city, now a shame. Jerusalem, once world-renown for its military conquests and splendorous Temple, now un-walled and defenseless. Heathen neighbors laughed. Her inhabitants dragged off to Babylon—only a few poor people remain. Her kings slaughtered or imprisoned—the Davidic monarchy destroyed. Solomon’s magnificent Temple—now charred wood and scattered stones. JEHOVAH’S presence—long departed from Jerusalem. No economy, no Jewish government, almost no population, no religious system, no walls or military, no more Promised Land. All gone. Taken away. Indeed, Jeremiah aptly summarized it: “But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us!”

How God’s wrath fell upon His beloved city! We cannot imagine the violent fury that obliterated Jerusalem during Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s third invasion! (If God did that to His own nation, what is He going to all the Gentile nations one day?!) He was so very angry, so enraged, that He “utterly rejected” Israel! Once He came, there was nothing left! For five long chapters, Jeremiah poured out his heart, literally weeping throughout Lamentations. JEHOVAH God was just. Jerusalem, warned for centuries, completely refused to listen to prophets JEHOVAH had sent to warn her. Having reached the point of “no-return,” no repentance or conversion, judgment came! Jeremiah looked at Jerusalem in ruins, and he closed Lamentations with a very heavy heart: “But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us!”

A very depressing predicament—such extensive destruction makes Jerusalem appear perpetually ruined. But, small rays of hope appear in Lamentations 3:22-25: “[22] It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [23] They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. [24] The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. [25] The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” Jerusalem was destroyed, but not 100 percent annihilated. Her people were unfaithful to Him by worshipping and serving idols, but He would be faithful anyway!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was Melchizedek?

David and Dispensationalism

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:2-5 KJV).

What can the Prophet David teach us about dispensational Bible study?

A half-dozen Old Testament passages combine Jesus Christ’s two comings: these prophets saw one coming. In hindsight, however, we see two prophesied comings. Why were two comings not originally apparent? (There were two secret comings hidden between!)

Today’s Scripture describes Messiah coming twice: first, He came to be conspired against and murdered, but He will return in wrath and victory. These two comings are according to prophecy, “that which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). The Old Testament prophets did not know that there would be two additional comings of Jesus Christ to divide the two prophesied comings—one coming to start our Dispensation of Grace (save Saul of Tarsus and start the Body of Christ) and one to end it (save the Body of Christ from enduring the seven-year Tribulation). These are the two comings according to mystery, that “which was kept secret since the world began” but was manifested through Paul’s epistles (Romans 16:25,26).

Today’s Scripture (cf. Acts 4:25-28) predicts Israel and Rome scheming to execute Jesus Christ (First Coming). Then, it discusses how He will pour out His wrath on Christ-rejecting mankind (Second Coming). There is no mention of a 2,000-year-long Dispensation of Grace between verse 3 (Calvary) and verse 4 (seven-year Tribulation). David knew nothing of our Dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ. The mystery was not only “hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9), but also completely hidden from Israel’s prophets. God kept a secret from Satan—He would use Calvary’s crosswork to form the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). The Dispensation of Grace (and its two comings) was also withheld from the Old Testament prophets, including David. Marvelous, absolutely marvelous!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Must you know the exact day and time of your salvation?