Living Water

John 4:3-19

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  But He needed to go through Samaria.  So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”  The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”  Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.

On a trip from Jerusalem to Galilee, it was necessary to travel through Samaria.  Sychar was the place where Abraham first stopped when he came to the land of Canaan.  It was near the site where Jacob and his men had dug a well and was also near the site where Joseph was buried.  The name signifies “drunkenness” and was probably associated with idol worship since the Samaritans had erected a temple on nearby Mount Gerizim since they could not go to the temple in Jerusalem. 

  • The scene – Jesus was traveling with His disciples from Jerusalem to Galilee, a three day trip.  This was probably the second day.  It was about noon and they were hot, tired, hungry, and weary.  Jesus sat down on the edge of the well to rest.
  • The place – the well.  This was a meeting place for young men and women.  It was the young women’s job to draw water from the community well.  A young man looking for a young lady could easily meet one at the well. 
  • The time of day – Jesus met this woman at the well about noon.  The usual time to get water was early in the morning, or early evening.  She came at noon so she would not have to associate with other women who were probably rude to her because of her life style.  Yet Jesus did not mind talking to her.  Jesus is the friend of sinners. 
  • The confrontation – Jesus got right to the subject – “Give Me to drink.”  He knew immediately that she would question His asking her for a drink.  He got her attention.  Jews and Samaritans did not associate with one another.  He knew she would wonder how a Jew would be willing to drink from the same cup as a Samaritan.

Jesus said “if you only knew”

  • Who I was
  • What I could do for you
  • What a difference I could make in your life
  • That I could give you water that will satisfy eternally

As we receive the new life in Christ it brings

  • Satisfaction
  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Comfort
  • Changes us
  • Never thirst again

Jesus offered not just a cup for the needy, not just a trickle, but a fountain of water.  God offers you the entire fountain of His eternal life.  Why settle for just a glass full?  Moses provided water from a rock in the desert for close to 3 million people plus animals.  This well that Jesus spoke of far exceeds that capability.  Jesus is that rock, that source of living water that will never run dry. 

This water is freely given.  It is ours for the asking. 

The well is deep.  This is no surface runoff; this is living water.  We have nothing with which to draw the water.  Jesus is the only one who can provide that water.  Out of the depths of His love He freely bestows on all who would receive.  It is entirely beyond the reach of man except through Christ, the giver of life.  It is His perfect delight to lead us to the living fountain. 

John 7:38 – He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Isaiah 12:3 – Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Isaiah 55:1-2 – Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.  Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.

John 6:35 – And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

JESUS – unlimited warranty – satisfaction guaranteed!!!!!!

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!

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.

He’s Dead – or Is He?

The Gospel of Matthew as well as other Gospel writers presents the reality of Jesus’ death as an absolute certainty.

Those standing around the cross watched as Jesus “breathed his last.” – John 19:30 tells us He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

They heard him cry with a loud voice. – Mark 15:37 tells us Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed His last.

Roman authorities, acting on instructions from Pilate, broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus to hasten their death; but coming to Jesus, they discovered He had already died – John 19:33 says “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

Having received confirmation of death from the Roman centurion, Pilate released the body of Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus for burial.

  • The callous Roman soldiers said “He is dead.”
  • The curious crowds, unconscious of the eternal significance, said “He is dead.’
  • Pilate got the word, “Jesus is dead.”
  • Mary, feeling the pain like a dagger in her heart, said, “My son is dead.”
  • His disciples, numb and stunned with the events of the last few hours said, “The Master is dead”

Everybody had written Jesus off – gone forever.

Dead.

Dead.

Dead.

Get on with the same routine.  He’s dead.  No one expected to see Him or hear His voice again.

It’s Friday….but Sunday’s coming.

What separates Christianity from all other religions is an empty tomb and the words of Christ who says “I was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore.”

Jesus As a Child

Luke 2:41-52

His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

His Parents’ Faithfulness

His parents went to Jerusalem every year.  Only male Jews who lived within twenty miles of Jerusalem were required by law to attend the temple three times a year – Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14-17).  Women did not have to attend, it was optional.   Nazareth was more than twenty miles away so neither Joseph nor Mary were required by law to attend.  Yet it was their custom to attend every year at Passover.   They went to the Temple because they wanted to be in God’s house. 

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 

“Train up” does not mean just bring a child to church once a week or teach them a memory verse.  It does not mean to just tell them they should be saved and serve God.  It is much more than that.  It carries the idea of a parent investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, time and discipline is needed for that child to become fully committed to God.  It assumes that the parent has the emotional and spiritual maturity to do so.  “In the way he should go” means to take into account the child’s unique personality, gifts and desires.  It also means to train the child to avoid whatever natural tendencies he/she might have that would prevent total commitment to God (a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression).  This promise means that if a parent takes the time, uses wisdom and love to instruct the child in the way of commitment to God, both by words and by their own example, taking into account the child’s own personality, they can be assured the child will stay committed to God as an adult. 

If you want your child to go to church, how often do they see you go to God’s house?  What is your attitude when you go?  “I have to go,” or “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’”

If you want your child to love God’s Word, how often do they see you reading God’s Word?  What is your attitude when you read?  “I have to read,” or “I love learning more about God’s Word.”

If you want your child to worship God, how often do they see you worship God – both at home and at church?  Do they ever see you just stop in the middle of work and sing a song of praise or take time to pray?  Do they ever see you in church entering into worship with all your heart?  What is your attitude about worship?  “Hurry up and get on with it,” or “What a joy to worship our Savior.”

If you want your child to give to God’s work, how often do they see you giving?  What is your attitude about giving?  “I have to tithe,” or “It is a blessing to give to the cause of Christ.”

Have you taken the time to teach your child how to study the Bible, how to look up words they don’t understand, how to do research?  Have you taken the time to teach your child how to pray? 

Jesus Was A Normal Child

His parents were not alarmed when Jesus was not with them as they began their journey.  Obviously, they were used to Jesus playing and socializing with the other children from Nazareth. 

Jesus’ Knowledge Was Not Normal

He was found in the midst of the teachers.  News of the young boy who had such great understanding must have quickly spread among the teachers and leaders. 

He was listening to them.  Word akouonta denotes listening closely, attentively, deep in thought. 

He was asking them questions.  Even Jesus was teachable, thirsty for more knowledge.

He answered their questions. 

Example for us:  Every opportunity to learn the truth should be taken.  We should desire more knowledge and understanding of the truth.

2 Peter 1:5 – But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add (generously provide what is needed, to cover the costs) to your faith virtue (moral excellency and goodness), to virtue knowledge.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 – Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the might man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and know Me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight (take pleasure in, cherish, be inclined toward) says the Lord.

Jesus’ Parents Misunderstood His Mission

Many may misunderstand us, including our own family.  Still, we must be obedient to the call of God on our lives. 

Matthew 10:36 – and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

Perhaps in raising Jesus for the past twelve years, Mary and Joseph had begun to forget who Jesus was.  Do we get too familiar with Him?  Do we forget who Jesus is?

Deuteronomy 4:9 – Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.  And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.

Jesus Clearly Understood His Mission

Jesus clearly understood at this time that He was the Son of God.  Even though Joseph was standing there, Jesus spoke of God as His Father.  At what age Jesus knew He was the Messiah, we do not know, but clearly by age 12 He was conscious of a unique relationship with God.  Again, we see that children can be used of God for Jesus was a man just like us. 

Jesus Was Still Obedient to His Earthly Parents

The word “subject” means “to stand under, submission, subordination.”  Even though He understood who He was, He submitted to His parents.  He was stronger in spirit and wiser and His real father was God Himself, yet he was obedient, setting us an example.

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey (answer and respond, submit without reservation, listen attentively) your parents in the Lord, for this is right (conforming to God’s laws).

Hebrews 13:17 – Obey those who lead you and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.  Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Jesus Grew

He “increased.”  That word proekorten means to grow steadily, to keep advancing.  It is a picture of a pioneer cutting through the wilderness to reach his destination.

  • Mentally
  • Physically
  • Spiritually
  • Socially

We need to help our children grow steadily, keep advancing in all four areas above. 

We need to encourage them to learn all they can.  We need to do what we can to provide the resources they need to learn.  We need to be aware of what they are being taught in school and how they are progressing there.

We need to see that they have proper food and exercise so that they grow physically.  We need to make sure they are not “couch potatoes.”

We need to help them grow in their knowledge of God and His Word.  We need to help them understand what it means to be a Christian.

We need to help them develop the skills necessary to function in society at large.  We need to teach them to share, to say “thank you” and “you’re welcome”, to be aware of other people’s needs, to know how to conduct themselves in society.

While we reach a point at which we do not continue to grow physically, we need to also grow steadily, keep advancing in these four areas.

We need to never stop learning.  Science has showed us that those adults who use their mind to keep learning retain their mental capacities much better and for a longer time than those who quit learning. 

We need to take care of our physical bodies.  Our ability to minister for the Lord will be help or hindered by our physical condition as we age.

We need to develop spiritually – always growing in knowledge of God, His Word, and His Spirit.

We need to continue to develop socially – always learning more of what makes people act as they do, what helps minister to people, etc.

Liar, Lunatic, Lord – Which is It?

Matthew 21:1-11

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”  All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”  So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:  “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Hosanna in the highest!”  And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”  So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Jesus Deliberately Fulfilled Prophecy

  • Special Mission – secure a donkey and her colt
  • Special Point – deliberate fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9
  • A warning to Jerusalem – The King comes – He comes meekly – He comes upon a colt

Jesus Deliberately Received Worship from His Disciples

  • They obeyed his instructions without question
  • They used their own clothes for a saddle

Jesus Deliberately Received Worship from the People

  • They received Him as King
  • They received Him as Messiah
  • Son of David
  • Lord
  • The Highest

Jesus Deliberately Aroused Questions About Himself

  • Question:  Who is this?
  • Answer:  Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee

Jesus Deliberately Demands Our Acceptance or Rejection

  • Liar
  • Lunatic
  • Lord

Lord, Liar or Lunatic

Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.  He called men to forsake all they had and followed Him.  He claimed that if they would do so, He would grant them eternal life.  We have two alternatives here:

  • His claims are false – or
  • His claims are true

If His claims are false –

  • He knew these claims were false = LIAR
  • He did not know these claims were false = LUNATIC

If His claims are true = LORD

“I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.

C. S. Lewis from his book, Mere Christianity

The Earthly Family of Jesus

Matthew 1:1-23

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.

David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.

And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Jesus came by way of the virgin and the power of the Holy Spirit.  He was the Son of God incarnate. 

The earthly part of Jesus’ ancestry is traced back from Joseph to Abraham.  Not all of these were godly men or women. 

There was a prostitute, those guilty of adultery and a king who desired another man’s wife.  His sin of adultery led to his causing her husband to be killed.  These are not the most likely candidates to be included in the line of the holy Messiah.

To list all the crimes of many of these kings and their spouses would be a major undertaking.  There were godly kings among the list also but sadly the ungodly were more than those who followed God’s Law.

The fact that his earthly family line was not perfect shows us that regardless of our own family’s history, God can and will use us.  He truly became one of us – born into a imperfect family.  Interestingly, four women are named in this genealogy.  The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible suggests that the common thread between all of these women is that they have associations with Gentiles.  Rahab was a prostitute in Canaan, Bathsheba was married to a Hittite, Ruth resided in Moab, and Tamar had a name of Hebrew origin. This clearly shows that Jesus came for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.  The fact that three of these four women also were guilty of sexual sins again points to the fact that God can and will use anyone that is willing to be forgiven and cleansed. 

Christ came to save those of his own earthly family.  He came to save our own family.  He came to be Immanuel “God with us.”

Arrested

Acts 4:1-22

Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

  • Arrested for Proclaiming the Truth
  • Arrested “as they were speaking.” 
  • Arrested by the religionist leaders.

The religious establishment was threatened by what the disciples were preaching.  If Jesus had arose from the dead, then He must have been what He claimed to be – the Son of God.  If that were true, they had murdered the Son of God.  If Jesus was really the Messiah, their very existence as priests and leaders in the Temple would be done away with. 

We should not be surprised if we are condemned, talked about, persecuted when we witness for Christ.  We should not be surprised if the very ones who cause us the most trouble are those who seem to be so righteous.

  • Their preaching bore results in spite of the persecution.

Man may hinder our witnessing, may make it more difficult, but he cannot stop the truth of God’s Word

NOTE:  The Sanhedrin was the ruling body of the Jews.  It had 72 members and was presided over by the High Priest.  The priests were made up of the male descendants of Aaron (Exodus 28:1, Numbers 3:1-3, Numbers 18:1-7).  By the time of Jesus there were over 20,000 priests.  Since there was only one temple, the priests were divided into groups.  Each group served in the temple for one week twice a year (1 Chronicles 24:1-6).  The High Priest was supposed to be a spiritual office appointed by the Jewish leaders, but by the time of Jesus, it had evolved into a political office and the Roman government appointed the high priest.  Caiaphas was the high priest appointed by the Romans.  However, Annas, who had been removed by the Romans, was apparently still the power behind the throne, and had tremendous influence among the Jewish leaders. 

  • Christ is Credited with the Power
  • Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

Matthew 10:18-20 – And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak, for it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speaks, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Mark 13:11 – But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

Luke 21:12-15 – But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

  • Peter and John took no personal credit
  • It was the name of Jesus Christ.  To the Jewish mind, a person’s name was the same thing as the person themselves.
  • To sign your name to a document was to pledge yourself.  The name of Jesus simply stands for the power, the might, the very being of Jesus Himself.  There is no magic in the words Jesus Christ.  The power is in the person behind the name.
  • Jesus had been crucified.  He had died.
  • Jesus had arose again.  He was alive.

NOTE:  Remember, we are reading this in the English translation of the Greek.  However, Peter would have been speaking in Aramaic.  What He would have said was Jesus the Messiah.  Christ is the Greek word for Messiah.  Peter was bolding telling the Jewish leaders that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, the promised Savior of their nation. 

  • Jesus Christ is the Source of Salvation.        
  • He is the Chief Cornerstone.  The main foundation. 

Psalm 118:22 – The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone…

Matthew 21:42 – Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’”

Ephesians 2:20 – having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.

1 Peter 2:6 – Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.

  • Jesus Christ alone saves.  There is no other name to call on. 

John 3:16-17 – 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.  For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 3:11 – For no other foundation can man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

NOTE:  The words used here – salvation and whole – are the same Greek word – sesotai.  It means to be saved, to be made whole, to be safe and sound, to be healed.  It means that a person is made whole and continues to be whole.  It means that the man was made whole in both body and soul.  Salvation in the Biblical sense includes all of man – spirit, body, soul (mind, emotions and will).

  • Fellowship with Jesus Christ Changes Men
  • Boldness
  • Power
  • Knowledge

Here is a challenge to us.  Do we spend enough time with Jesus that the world notices our boldness, our power, our knowledge (knowledge that does not come by natural means)?  Jesus longs for our fellowship with Him.

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

John 14:23 – If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

John 17:20-24 – I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (that’s you and me); that they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us….I in them, and You in Me;….that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.  Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am….

Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

  • Refusal to Compromise the Message
  • Regardless of threats
  • God must be obeyed
  • We cannot help but share what God has done for us

Matthew 5:11 – Blessed (happy) are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

2 Timothy 3:12 -“And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

1 Peter 3:15 – …be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you….

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Colossians 1:12; Psalm 9:11; Psalm 35:28

The prophet, Jeremiah suffered persecution for proclaiming the message of God to Israel.  Finally, he said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.”  He concluded that “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire (fire shut up in my bones); I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”

How could someone find a cure for Aids or cancer and not tell it to the world?  How could someone find a solution to the violence in our schools and not tell it to the world?  How could someone find an answer for all our abused children and not tell it to the world?

Well, we have the answer! It is Jesus Christ, crucified and risen again. 

SHOUT IT OUT!!!! LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT JESUS SAVES (heals, makes whole, makes safe, complete, sound.)

NOTE:  After the disciples were released in today’s story, they reported back to the church all the threats that had been given to them.  Notice the church’s response.  They did not, as we would probably do, cry out for protection.  They did not question why God had permitted these threats?  They did not ask for God to rain down judgment on their accusers?  They did not ask God to please stop the threats or the persecution.

Rather, they asked for more boldness for themselves that they would continue to speak the Word and not be intimidated by the threats.  They asked for signs and wonders to be done through the name of Jesus.

Perhaps we need to change our prayers.

Judgment of The Believer

Revelation 20:11-15

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Romans 14:9-12 – For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.  But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written:  “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Hebrews 9:27 – And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

1 Corinthians 4:5 – Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

  • Several judgments are mentioned in the Bible – judgment of believers, nations, general, great white throne.
  • Great White Throne Judgment – This judgment is universal and final.  Every member of Adam’s race will be present.  There will be no exceptions, certainly no place to hide.  This judgment will signal the end of the human trial which we call history.  The books will be opened, then forever closed.  The abuse of free will, both by angels and by men, will be so completely conquered as to be hereafter impossible.  Active hostility against God will cease, and moral choice so confirmed as to be irreversible.  Never again will an act of sin mar God’s universe.  From the verdict of this general judgment there will be no appeal, because the “great white throne judgment” is the ultimate authority.  It is the final court of appeal.
  • Christ’s relation to the church is different from His relation to the world.  There is a corrective judgment now in progress.  If the purpose of discipline is that “we may not be condemned along with the world,” it is clear that if the discipline fails, we will be condemned along with the world. 

Revelation 3:19 – As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

1 Corinthians 11:28-32 – But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

Hebrews 12:10-11 – For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

1 Peter 4:17-19 – For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved,

Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”  Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

Books of Revelation 20:12

  • The books – “the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”
  • The other book – “book of life” – record of one’s repentance and forgiveness – not humanly good people, but redeemed people.

Luke 10:20 – Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

  • Our sins have been judged once at Calvary our faith during the probationary period appropriates this judgment, so the book of life reports “Judged Already.”  “Covered by the blood.”
  • The believer’s judgment
  • “Deeds done in the body”
  • Attitudes
  • Thoughts and intentions of the heart
  • Total stewardship of one’s life

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 – According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.