Feeding the Five Thousand

John 6:1-14

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.  Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.  And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.  Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.  Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”  But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.  Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”  Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.  So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.  Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

When we look at this great event we are amazed at its magnitude.  But any miracle or sign from God, great or small, is an amazing event for us to comprehend and/or experience.

We look at the Scripture and we immediately try to grasp the amount of food that was consumed, or we ask ourselves how was this accomplished?  Truly, it was from God for man could not even begin to duplicate a spontaneous sit-down lunch for this many people.  (5,000 men plus the women and children – another 15,000 with a total of at least 20,000.)

But there is much more to understand in this passage.

  • Verse 2 – He is the God of healing – Prior to the feeding of the five thousand, it was the same people who had been healed and delivered of disease that followed Jesus and He would feed them.
  • Verse 3 – He is the God of  Communication and Teaching – He sat with His disciples and taught them, explaining what had just transpired.
  • Verse 4 – He is the God of Celebration – Passover was the celebration of being freed from Egyptian bondage.
  • Verse 5 – He is the God of compassion – Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat.”
  • Verse 6 – He is the God of glory and in control – But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
  • Verses 7-9 – He is the God of the impossible – Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,   “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
  • Verse 10 – He is the God of order – Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
  • Verse 10 – He is the God community – fellowship.
  • Verse 11 – He is the God of servant hood – And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
  • Verse 12 – He is the God who satisfies – So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”
  • Verse 13 – He is the God of blessing and frugality – Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
  • Verse 14 – He is the God of revelation – Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

Looking at these varied descriptions of who Jesus is in this miracle we find:

  • Verse 5 – He really cares about our needs, wants, concerns like no other.  He wants to meet our needs right where we are.
  • Verse 6 – Everywhere we see the miracle workings of Jesus we catch a glimpse of His glory.  Think for a moment and realize what His glory will be like when we experience it personally in heaven.
  • Verses 7-9 – Just think of the logistics of providing free food to such a large crowd in the place that they were gathered.
  • Verse 10 – Order was the only way it could be accomplished.  Otherwise some might be afraid they would not have enough to go around.  It could have cause chaos.
  • Verse 11 – He used His followers to assist in the orderly distribution of the food.  After all, He had taught them about being servants.
  • Verse 12 – Everyone ate their fill and was content with what had been provided.  Are we always content with our supply?
  • Verse 13 – There was more than enough for all and plenty left over for the disciples to have a snack later.
  • Verse 14 – God truly revealed His greatness on this day.  No mere sleight of hand or a magician could have accomplished such a feat.

In all the various thoughts that might run through one’s mind as you ponder this story, there is one thing we must remember.  God is able to do more than we dare to imagine for He is truly the God of all Gods, the Great and Mighty One that transcends all possible explanation of greatness. 

Royalty

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Isaiah 9:6-7- For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.  Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

2 Samuel 7:16 – And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.

Philippians 2:5-11 — Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Royal Throne Room – The stable

True, a stable is for animals, so a few may have been nearby on the night Jesus was born, although they may have been kept outside.  Still, the smell more than likely included the normal stable scents.  It takes a great deal of time and cleaning for those smells to disappear.  Another distinctive contrast is the construction materials, namely stone and wood.  Definitely missing are marble columns, precious metal inlays and carpets from the Orient.

Yet, this seemingly insignificant location becomes the grand throne room of the promised King, the awaited Messiah.

The contrast continues.  There is no special nursery cradle of expensive materials.  Instead, Mary lays her baby in a rough-hewn manger designed to feed animals.  Totally missing are the fine fabrics of a royal household.  He is bundled in the bands of cloth commonly used for babies of that culture.  Also absent are the attendants who would attentively serve the family’s every need and want.  Only humble shepherds, the lowest in the social structure, came on the night of his birth to celebrate this special occasion.

So once again the question arises, “How can this stable be the throne room of a King?”

The answer lies in the person of Jesus rather than in the stable where He lies in His manger bed.  He IS royalty.

Human Royalty

When thinking of royalty, our attention may be drawn to contemporaries like Queen Elizabeth II of England, Prince William or other European royalty.  In the process of remembering historical royal figures, we may think of Queen Victoria, Richard the Lion-Hearted or Henry VIII.  In the process, we may easily overlook the reality of Jesus’ royal status.

Isaiah’s prophecy of Christ states, “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom.”  (Isaiah 9:7).  This is a confirmation of God’s covenant with David, made nearly three centuries prior.  Though David is not allowed to fulfill his desire to build a temple for the Lord because of his bloodshed as a man of war, God gives him a very special promise.

2 Samuel 7:16 – And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.

Centuries later, we see the fulfillment in Jesus.  Joseph, the legal father, and Mary, His blood mother, are both descendants of King David.  He is royalty!

Though He was born in a stable and laid in a manger, was raised in humble circumstances, and ministered as an itinerant does not change reality.  Jesus is the descendant of an earthy king.  He is human royalty.

Divine Royalty

Without the reality of Jesus’ identity as divine royalty, the Bethlehem story and His life are nothing more than an unusual human-interest story, and His teachings and claims would be no different from many other charlatans who deceive for personal greed and egotistical ends.

Jesus came to earth as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and the “Son of God” (John 3:16).  This points very specifically to His position of divine royalty.

When reviewing this aspect of Jesus’’ identity, we are reminded of His two natures.  He is the God-man.  Although He takes on human flesh, He retains His divinity.  He allows the human aspect to become a limitation, however, thus enabling a true identification with us humans.

Philippians 2:5-11 – Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Royal Identity

Only a few men and women are born into royal families with their titles and inherent privileges.  Yet in marked contrast are the believers throughout the ages and around the world, who because of our belief in Christ, are born into the family of God.  And that means we too are royalty!

Our physical parentage, economic status, education attainments and personal abilities may vary greatly.  But it does not matter.  These things are not the substance of royalty.  We are royalty because we are the children of God, the King of kings.  Spiritually, His royal blood flows through our veins.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are heirs of the heavenly Father.  Our inheritance is one not just for the future, however.  We enjoy all the privileges of being in His royal family today, even now.

Royalty!  That is anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord.

A Voice in the Wilderness

John 1:19-23

Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”  And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”  He said, “I am not.”  “Are you the Prophet?”  And he answered, “No.” 

Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”  He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

A voice in the wilderness

  • What kind of voice? – Loud, clear and commanding
  • To whom is the voice speaking? –  He that has an ear
  • What was the message?  –  Repent, turn to Jesus
  • What was the character of the voice? –  Recognized his purpose was to draw attention to Jesus, not himself.  “I must decrease, He must increase.”

Isaiah 40:3-5 – The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

We are also called to be a voice in the wilderness

Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.

  • What is our voice?  Are we speaking without fear of man, are we clear in our message?
  • To whom are we speaking?  Are we really to speak to all we meet, to all who show an open heart?
  • What is our message?  Are we promoting our church, our doctrine, or Jesus Christ?
  • What is our character?  Are we trying to be noticed, to have our self-admired or looked up to?  Are we lifting up Jesus, not our self?

Wake Up! The Answer is Right in Front of You

Luke 24:13-27

Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.  And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”  Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”  And He said to them, “What things?”  So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.  But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.  Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.  When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.  And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”  Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Wake up!

The command “Wake Up!” indicates that perhaps someone is not awake yet, is troubled and/or perplexed, or perhaps their mind is not really on what is before them.

Cleopas and a traveling companion, another disciple perhaps his wife, were traveling and a stranger suddenly began to walk with them and talk to them.  Of course, we know the story.  The stranger to them was none other than Jesus who had risen from the grave.

In the context of this story and similar stores in other Scriptures we can readily see that these two traveling the road were not the only ones that did not recognize Jesus after His resurrection.

John 20:14 – Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

John 21:4 – But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

The answer is right in front of you

Was Jesus’ appearance or countenance different as He appeared to the disciples, to Mary or to Cleopas and his traveling companion?  Why did they not recognize Him?  What was their problem?  How could it be that those who had been around him, some almost daily for three years, knowing His movements, His speech, His mannerisms not comprehend who He was?

Luke 24:36-38 – Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”  But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.  And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Luke 24:25 – Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

When Thomas actually saw Jesus with his own eyes, then he believed

John 20:24-29 – Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”  And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”  Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”  And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

When Mary heard Jesus call her name, she believed

John 20:14-16 – Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”  She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

Wake up!  The answer is right in front of you!

How is it in times of extreme frustration, sorrow, pain, sickness, loneliness, joy, trouble…Jesus is there, working His way and will in our lives, yet we do not see or recognize who He is?

  • Is our faith weak?
  • Are we failing to trust Him?
  • Are we simply ignoring the tug on our heart, the knock on our door?
  • Are we so preoccupied with the cares of this life and the situation at hand that we cannot see Him in our situation?
  • Is our life so hopeless or full of despair that we cannot see Jesus at all?
  • In the sadness and despair of lives, hopes for family, our profession, school, acceptance, meaning and purpose of life, we must remember that Jesus does care. 

Even though we have feelings of hopelessness and despair, Jesus is there.  He said He would not leave us nor forsake us.  He said to not be troubled or afraid.  Wake up!  He is there!

What Are You Seeking?

Luke 24:1-12

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”  And they remembered His words.  Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.  And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.  But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

  • He is risen – Hallelujah!
  • He is risen – Hallelujah
  • He is risen – Hallelujah    

The text asks the question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  But that question can be changed as we take a closer look.  Why?

Why did redemption for mankind have to come about in such a drastic, horrific scene as the betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion?

Why did the Son of God have to go through such torture, misery and pain?

We find the answer to this question in the words of Jesus as He hung on the cross. 

John 19:30 – So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

“It is finished” – In those words He said, “the work that You have sent me to do has been completed.  The battle for men’s souls is now won.  They do not have to die in their sins any more Father.”

  • “It is finished” – “I have taken upon Myself the sin of the whole world.
  • “It is finished” – The price is paid!
  • “It is finished” – All men and women can have forgiveness.
  • “It is finished” – Even the worst of sinners can know pardon.  They do not have to go on day after day in their sorrow, sin and shame.
  • “It is finished” – Jesus said, “I have done the work You sent me to do. 
  • “It is finished” – There is nothing left undone.

The second question we find in this text is “Why do you seek?”  In other words

  • What are you looking for? 
  • What is it you seek in life? 
  • What brings fulfillment?
  •  What brings true contentment and joy?

The answer to this question is found also in the words of Christ Jesus our Lord.  He answers this question in this way

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Isaiah 55:6-7 – Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

God is what we need to be looking for. 

Jeremiah 29:13 – And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

  • Are we looking in the right place?
  • What do you seek after?
  • What are you looking for?

Christ is the answer!!!!

“Only one life – will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Nothing else ultimately matters.  The risen Christ is the one who can satisfy every need, every longing, and every desire you have ever had, or will ever have.  He and He alone is the answer to what man seeks for.

The question in this test asks, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”  The only thing that will give life, joy and vitality that lasts for more than a fleeting moment is Jesus and the things of God. Since Adam and Eve, mankind has been seeking for life in things that cannot satisfy.

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Pornography
  • Illicit sex
  • Money
  • Fame

Only one thing can bring true and lasting satisfaction 

  • The risen Christ
  • The one who died on the cross
  • The one who suffered pain
  • The one who gave His life

Why seek the living among the dead?  Make a total commitment to Christ who gave His life that you might live. 

Father Forgive Them – Forgive Who?

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

The King of Glory spoke these words from the cross.  These were among some of the last brief statements that He made.  Who exactly was He speaking to?

  • Of course He spoke to the Roman Soldiers.  They were standing there jeering and cursing having just nailed Him to the cross.  Of course it was their job.  They had been commanded to do so.  It was probably not the first crucifixion detail they had been assigned.  But this One was different.  This One claimed to be the Son of God.  He had stated that He would build the temple back in three days if it were destroyed.  The man was mad.  It had taken forty years to build.  They gambled for His clothes at the foot of the cross as they watched Him die.  Was it really the Roman soldiers He spoke of in His prayer to the Father?
  • Maybe, it was the Jewish crowd that He spoke to that was gathered there that day.  They had swarmed around Him as He had healed their sick, their blind and lame, cast out demonic spirits, fed them on occasion, and told them all types of parables and stories of God and His kingdom.  Now they had turned on Him because He did not fulfill their desires of who the Messiah should really be.  They had just recently shouted, “Hosanna, Hail King of the Jews.”  Then they shouted, “Crucify Him.”  Was it really the Jewish crowd He asked His Father to forgive?
  • Or, maybe it was His disciples, especially the ones who had fled and were afraid and in hiding.  Only John was present there with His mother and some other women who had been part of those who had followed Him from town to town and around the countryside.  Peter, especially, was always boasting and speaking all kind of big statements.  He obviously did not really know what he was saying.  Was it His cowardly disciples He asked His Father to forgive?
  • Or, maybe He saw ahead in time and saw that crowd as they were stoning Stephen to death, and especially that Saul of Tarsus character who was standing by as the stones killed this first martyr to His cause.  That crowd that was so full of hatred against Stephen.  Surely that is who He meant that forgiveness for.
  • Perhaps it was further on down in time when the early Christians were martyred in the coliseum of Rome by wild animals and killed by hanging, and torture of all kinds.   Surely their persecutors were included in His statement from the cross.   And on down thru the Inquisition and throughout all the persecution of the Middle Ages.  What about John Hus who was burned alive and all the others who where killed in nearly every country of the world.  Surely His statement was meant for them. 
  • What about all the wars fought in the name of religion, the Crusades, the Protestants against the Catholics and the Catholics against the Protestants?  Surely He had these in mind when He prayed His Father to forgive them.
  • What about the barbarians throughout the world who committed wholesale slaughter of whole groups and nationalities of peoples simply because they were different.  Men like Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, and the butchers in Rwanda.  Certainly He was speaking of them.
  • Or maybe He was speaking of all those native tribes and people in other lands, who because of their ignorance, killed missionaries and many other innocent people who were there just to preach to them the good news of salvation.  Surely that is who He meant.
  • Or maybe He looked out to our time and saw you and I when He was there on the Cross.  “Was it for crimes that I have done, He groaned upon the tree.  Amazing pity, grace unknown and love beyond degree.”  I ask myself, “Was it me He was speaking of as He hung there with His life’s blood ebbing out drop by drop”.  When He was there hanging on that Cross, could I have been on His mind?  Was my sin that I commit day by day, year by year without regard to my own eternity what He had in mind as He spoke that day.  Am I so calloused by my constant denial of wrong that I fail to grasp the total sacrifice that was made for me that day?   Surely He was speaking of me from the cross that day. 

Each of us alone can respond to that statement and cry out to Him in forgiveness. 

“Yes Lord, I need your forgiveness.  Yes Lord, I am guilty.  Yes Lord, I repeatedly do the same thing over and over again and I do it because I want to do what I do.  I know better.  I know right from wrong.  I am guilty.  I should have hung on the cross…not you Lord.  Father forgive me for I do know what I do.”

Denial of Jesus Christ

Luke 24:54-62

Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance.  Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.  And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”  But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”  And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.”  But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”  Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”  But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”  Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

We often speak negatively about Peter’s denying Jesus in His hour of need.  Yet, believers often deny Jesus in their daily lives.

What causes denial?

  • Following “afar off.”  Not focusing on Jesus, not identifying with Him, not having our mind fixed on Him.
  • Sitting “down among them.”  Following Jesus from a distance will lead us to become involved with sin.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18; 7:1 – Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord.  “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.

Holiness – “hagiosune” – “the process, quality and condition of a holy disposition and the quality of holiness in personal conduct.  It is the principle that separates the believer from the world.  Hagiosune consecrates us to God’s service both in moral dedication and life committed to purity.  It causes every component of our character to stand God’s inspection and meet His approval.”

Denial of pretense – Pretending not to know Jesus

The servant girl “looked intently” at Peter.  There appeared to be no imminent threat to Peter.  The servants were just standing around talking about the events of the evening.  Perhaps they were curious to know more about Jesus.  If he had acknowledged that he was a disciple of Jesus to this crowd, probably all he would have experienced was some mockery.  Of course, there always was some danger of being persecuted also, but probably in this crowd it would have only led to ridicule.  This may have been an excellence chance for Peter to tell them about Jesus.  Perhaps someone in the crowd would have believed in Him.

Matthew 10:33 – But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

1 Pete 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

Denial of discipleship – Denying that one is a committed follower of Jesus

When Peter was confronted with the words, “You are one of them,” he quickly stated, “I am not one of them.”  At this point, he is not just denying Jesus, he is denying that he is one of those who “followed” Him.

Mark 8:38 – For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

2 Timothy 1:8 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

Denial of ignorance – Claiming to know nothing of what is being said, to know nothing about the Bible or its truths

Peter’s final claim was “I do not know what you are saying.” 

Answer to denial

  • Remember the Lord’s Word
  • Spend time alone with the Lord
  • Truly repent

Personal inventory

  • I have (or have never) denied Jesus by my words or actions.
  • I have (or have never) denied that I was a Christian or went to church.
  • I have (or have never) pretended that I did not know what people were talking about when the Bible or its truths were discussed.
  • I have (or have never) denied Jesus by remaining silent when I should have spoken up.
  • I have truly and sorrowfully repented of those times that I denied Jesus.
  • I have determined to never again deny Him.

Stewardship

Luke 12:42

And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season.

  • Stewardship – The act of being a steward
  • Steward – head, chief, captain, one who is in charge of a particular function, an activity, project or job
  • Faithful and wise steward

Luke 12:41-48 – Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”  And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

What has God given to you?

  • Money
  • Job
  • Land
  • Family
  • Ministry
  • Talent
  • Education

How are you managing those things God has given to you?

  • Are you responsible
  • Are you industrious
  • Are you lazy

Matthew 24:45-46 – Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.

Matthew 25:14-30 – For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’  “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

God expects us to use all He has given to us to advance, promote, to carry on the Gospel message.

Steward of mysteries

1 Corinthians 4:1 – Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

In every part of our life we are to:

  • Be faithful
  • Always strive to be the best we possibly can in all areas

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 – But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,  in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings;  by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,  by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,  by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;  as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

1 Peter 4:10 – As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Use what you have that God has given you – He will bless you as you bless others. Minister to others with the great grace He has given you

Rules to be a good steward

  • Start where you are
  • Use what you have
  • Do all you can

Parable of faithfulness in a steward

Luke 19:12-27 – Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.  So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’  But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’  “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.  Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’  And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’  Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’  “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.  For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’  And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.  Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’  “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’  (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’)  ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”

We are all stewards of what God has given us.  When He returns will He find us faithful?  Have we used what He has blessed us with to further His kingdom?

In that which has been entrusted to you, be faithful.  Whether it is little or much, whether you are old or young, educated or illiterate, rich or poor, be faithful to God so He can use you, bless you and reward you.

Summary:  God has given all of us who are born again much grace that enables us to give to others of His goodness.  Have we done so?  Have we been faithful?

  • Reach out and touch someone
  • Find a need and fix it
  • Find a hurt and heal it
  • Find a soul and lead them to Jesus Christ
  • S – Sincere
  • T – Trustworthy
  • E – Earnest
  • W – Watchful
  • A – Actively involved
  • R – Responsible
  • D – Diligent

Seeing God’s Salvation

Luke 2:25-35

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:  Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.  And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Simeon, A Man of God

In this passage we read of a man who was different from others.  He was probably out of place just as a man of God is out of place today.  He probably was ridiculed.  He was probably called self-righteous.  He was probably referred to as a fanatic.  We read in the Bible about Simeon and it gives us some insight as to who he was.

  • He was a man who was just and devout.
  • He was a man who was looking for the Messiah.
  • He was a man who was led by the Holy Spirit.
  • He was a man who had been given an unusual promise.
  • He was a man who saw and held the Messiah.

Titus 2:11-14 – For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works

  • Simeon was a man who was just and devout.  What does that really mean to us today?  Someone who is just “dikaios” in the sense that this passage means is someone who is righteous, well-behaved, living as one should live.  And the word devout “eulabes” means cautious and careful in relation to God.  It means a reverence for or pious toward God.   That description does not fit a lot of people today.  There is a care-free, nonchalant, no big deal attitude by a lot of people in their relationship to God. 

Psalm 31:23 –  Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!  For the Lord preserves the faithful. 

Jude 21 – Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  

  • Simeon was looking for the Messiah.  The Messiah had been prophesied to come and save His people.  The Messiah was longed for by the faithful.  

2 Peter 3:10-12 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

  • Simeon was a man who was led by the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament, the Spirit only came upon men for special service.  From what little we read here it appears that Simeon may have had the Spirit upon him continually.  At any rate, one thing we know of this special man, he was a man who loved God. 

Matthew 10:32 – Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will  also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 

  • Simeon was a man who had been given an unusual promise. He was going to be able to see the Christ before his death.

1 Peter 1:8 – Whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 

  • We are to be Men and Women of God.
  • We should be just and devout, as was Simeon. 

Micah 6: 8 – He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 

  • If we are people of God, then we should be looking for His appearing. 

2 Timothy 4:8 – Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

  • If we are people of God, then we will walk and live and move in the Spirit.

Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God,           that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 

  • We, too, have been given an unusual promise.

John 14:1-3 – Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Men of God, our Examples

  • Job – God telling Satan that Job is righteous like no other man.

Job 1:8 – Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

  • Daniel, Noah, Job – God telling Ezekiel of the righteousness of Daniel, Noah, and Job.

Ezekiel 14:14 – Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.

  • Elijah – Elijah taken up to heaven alive in a chariot of fire.

2 Kings 2:11 – Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

  • John the Baptist – Jesus telling the multitudes that there were none greater than John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:11 – Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

  • Enoch – The testimony about a man of God.

Hebrews 11:5 –  – By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God

Jude 14 – Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,

  • Moses – Numerous Scriptures – Greater miracle worker, prophet, law giver, warrior-leader.
  • Paul, the Apostle – Numerous Scriptures – Missionary, Apostle, Prophet, Miracle Worker, Teacher, Man of God.
  • Simeon – He was not ashamed to declare that the One born was the Savior of the world.  This was more than any of the scribes of his time had discerned.  The scribes in Simeon’s day were men who looked upon Christ as a sign to be spoken against and to whom He would become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.  With godly Simeon it was different. He was Spirit taught and knew He whom he held was His salvation, and not only his, but the whole world. 

Nowhere is it recorded that Simeon bragged about or wore his religion on his sleeve.  He was led by the Holy Spirit, and yet he told no one of his walk with God.  His great spirituality and closeness to God was known because of his walk, not his talk.  He was one of a very few select of God who recognized this babe as the Savior of the world.  There were many who saw him as babe but did not recognize him as Savior. 

Luke 2:25-35 – One who was just, devout, looking for the Messiah, led by the Holy Spirit, given an unusual promise and saw and held the Messiah.  His name means “one who hears and obeys”. His faith had been justified and now he could die without fear.  Have our eyes seen the salvation of the Lord?  Can we die in peace?

The Apostle Peter asks this question in II Peter 3:11 when he is talking about the coming of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:11 – Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?

The Messiah’s Resurrection

Matthew 28:1-20

Abraham, the father of Judaism, died about 1900 BC, but no resurrection has ever been claimed for him.

Buddha never was ascribed anything close to a resurrection.  In fact one of the sacred writing of that faith says that when Buddha died it was “with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.”

Mohammed died June 8, 632 A.D. at Medina, where his tomb is annually visited by thousands of devout Muslims.

H. P. Liddon says:  “Faith in the resurrection is the very keystone of the arch of Christian faith, and, when it is removed, all must inevitably crumble into ruin.” 

R M’Cheyne Edgar says:  “Here is a teacher of religion and He calmly professes to stake His entire claims upon His ability, after having been done to death, to rise again from the grave.  We may safely assume that there never was, before or since, such a proposal made.”

B. B. Warfield says:  “Christ Himself deliberately staked His whole claim to the credit of men upon His resurrection.  When asked for a sign He pointed to this sign as His single and sufficient credential.”

Michael Green says:  “Christianity does not hold the resurrection to be one among many tenets of belief.  Without faith in the resurrection there would be no Christianity at all.  Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection.  Once disproved it, and you have disposed of Christianity.”

Because of this, throughout the centuries the resurrection has been the storm center of the attack upon the Christian faith.

The Supernatural Events of the Resurrection

  • A great earthquake
  • Angel of the Lord
  • Stone rolled back
  • The Appeals of the Resurrection
  • Fear not

John 14: 27 – Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Hebrews 4:14-16 – Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:19-20 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

Come and see – When Andrew found Jesus, he immediately invited his brother, Simon, to meet Jesus (John 1:35-42). 

When Philip met Jesus, he immediately invited his friend, Nathaniel, to “come and see” (John 1:43-46). 

To quickly go and tell the others

Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

2 Timothy 2:2 – And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

The Attempts to Discredit the Resurrection

  • Soldiers were bribed
  • Disciples were accused of taking the body
  • Since that time, many theories have been given to try to explain away the resurrection.  But, let’s take a look at the story.

J.N.D. Anderson says:  “Have you noticed that all the references to the empty tomb come in the Gospels, which were written to give the Christian community the facts they wanted to know?  In the public preaching to those who were not believers, as recorded in Acts, there is an enormous emphasis on the fact of the resurrection but not a single reference to the empty tomb.  Now, why?  To me there is only one answer:  There was no point in arguing about the empty tomb.  Everyone, friend and opponent, knew that it was empty.  The only questions worth arguing about were why it was empty and what its emptiness proved.”

Anderson also writes, “To suggest that it was not in fact empty at all, as some have done, seems to me ridiculous.  It is a matter of history that the apostles…made many converts in Jerusalem, hostile as it was, by proclaiming the glad news that Christ had risen from the grave – and they did it within a short walk from the sepulcher.  Any one of their hearers could have visited the tomb and come back again between lunch and afternoon tea.  It is inconceivable, then, that the apostles would have had this success if the body of the one they proclaimed as lord was all the time decomposing in Joseph’s tomb?”

Evidence That Demands a Verdict

  • The testimony of History and Law
  • The body was dead
  • The burial
  • The stone
  • The seal
  • The guard at the tomb
  • The grave clothes
  • The disciples’ lack of courage
  • The empty tomb
  • Post-resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ
  • Enemies of Christ gave no refutation of the resurrection
  • The transformed lives of the disciples
  • The Church