Tag: John

Jesus, Moses, Elijah!

Scripture reading for April 1st: Luke 9:28-50

After Peter and the disciples acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ of God, Jesus told them that there were some who would not taste death until they saw the kingdom of God come.  (Luke 9:27)  Luke told the story of Jesus taking Peter, James, and John with Him up on a mountain to pray.  As Jesus was praying, Moses and Elijah appeared there as well.  These men all glowed with a glorious splendor that was like nothing on earth.  (Luke 9:29-31)

Peter, James and John apparently were sleeping during this process.  When they awoke from their “prayer nap”, they saw Jesus and the two men in their glorified state.  As Moses and Elijah were leaving, Peter spoke up, “Master, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters–one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Luke 9:33)  The Scripture notes that Peter did not know what he was saying.  At this point, a cloud came over them and a voice came from the cloud saying, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” (Luke 9:35)  After this, they were so puzzled that they kept this event to themselves and told no one about it.

As I ponder this amazing event, several things come to mind.  First, I note how like the disciples I am when it comes to prayer.  They had trouble staying awake and comprehending spiritual things.  These three disciples in the inner circle failed to stay awake here and at the Garden of Gethsemane.  My flesh is weak too, even when my spirit is willing and I often need reminding to watch and pray and stay awake.

Jesus met with Moses and Elijah to discuss His  own departure.  Moses was buried by God after being allowed to view the Promised Land. (Exodus 34:5-6)  Elijah was taken to heaven by a whirlwind in a chariot.  (2nd Kings 2:11-12)  God had these two men of faith come and encourage Jesus, His Son, before His death in Jerusalem.  Moses represented the Law and it’s failure to take man into the Promised Land and Elijah represented the faithfulness of God to honor His prophets.  Both these men were now in Glory and for the sake of Jesus’ followers, were allowed to be seen.  The Father, Himself, spoke confirming His Son!  How God shows mercy to us who are weak!

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His name is “John”!

Scripture reading for March 15th: Luke 1:57-80, Psalms 58:1-11, Proverbs 11:12-13

Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, had been struck dumb, unable to talk, since he was told by an angel that his old and barren wife would have a child.  Zechariah had been offering incense and prayers in the Holy Place at the altar of incense when this visitation took place.  (Luke 1:11-20) Now the baby had arrived and the time for dedication and naming was at hand.  Evidently, family members were helping select a name and were considering naming him ‘Zechariah’ after his father.  (Luke 1:59)  The mother, Elizabeth, spoke up and stated that his name would be “John”.

The relatives made some signs to Zechariah to see what he wanted and he took a table and wrote emphatically, “His name is John”. He then could talk and began praising God, something that he hadn’t been able to do for the entire time of the pregnancy!  This supernatural event caused quite a stir among the people of that region and they wondered about what was happening.  (Luke 1:62-66)

Zechariah was then filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and has redeemed His people.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us–to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath He swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.  And you, my child will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him,. . .” (Luke 1:68-76)

At the birth of his son, Zechariah’s mouth was opened to prophesy and praise God.  Through him, God  foretold the coming of the Lord and John’s preparatory work of repentance.  The long-awaited ‘Redeemer’ was at hand and John would prepare the way. God’s plans are worked out through simple men and women who by faith allow the Lord to use them.   Are you available today to “prepare the way for the Lord” by sharing Christ’s love and Gospel?

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“This is My Son, Whom I Love!”

Scripture reading for January 25th: Matthew 17, Psalm 18:7-19, Proverbs 4:20-23

Six days after the confession of Peter that Jesus was the Christ, Son of the living God, Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a high mountain.  He then was transfigured before them and His face began to shine like the sun.  Moses and Elijah appeared there as well and talked to Jesus.  Peter was overcome and told Jesus that he would build three shelters for them.  While Peter was still speaking, a cloud enveloped them all and a voice spoke from the cloud,”This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.  Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5)

God the Father spoke a word of confirmation that caused the disciples to fall face down on the ground in terror!  This whole experience was like being involved in heaven’s business and they did not know how to react.  Jesus touched them and calmed their fears.  (Matthew 17:6-8)  As they looked up, Jesus was there alone.   They must have wondered if they were seeing things!

Jesus was and is indeed the Son of God.  As He stood on the mountain to meet with Moses and Elijah, God allowed the disciples to see the glory surrounding His Son and to see two famous figures from Israel’s history alive in glory as well.  Moses represented the law and old covenant and was one of the greatest men of the Old Testament.  Elijah was a famous prophet and miracle worker who called the nation of Israel to choose whom they would serve.  Moses died and God buried him but Elijah was taken to heaven by a whirlwind.  (Deuteronomy 34:5-6) (2nd Kings 2:11-12)  But the Father’s voice spoke confirming that this was Jesus Christ, His Son.  We can confidently believe His witness and listen to Him!  He is greater than Moses and greater than Elijah!

Peter quotes the Father’s statement in 2nd Peter 1:16-18 in writing his final letter to the believers of his day.  “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For He received honor and glory from the God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory saying, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” Peter’s confession of Christ was so certain that he died a martyr’s death rather than deny Jesus!  Are you listening to Him?

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Justified by faith, not law!

Scripture reading for September 15th: Galatians 2:1-16

After fourteen years, Paul the apostle went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus to share his revelation of the Gospel with those who had walked with Jesus.  He did this privately so that he could receive correction, if necessary.  This was done in response to a revelation and false teachers who were trying to add to his Gospel some of the Jewish laws.

After sharing his Gospel that he preached to the Gentiles with Peter, James, and John, they gave him and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship.  (Galatians 2:6-10)  These pillars of the church recognized that God’s grace flowing through Paul towards the Gentiles was the same as Peter’s for the Jews and added nothing to his message, only encouraging Paul to remember the poor.  This encouraged Paul and his traveling companions.  There is wisdom in the elders through the Spirit that keeps the Gospel message pure.

However, sometime later, Peter visited Antioch where Paul was a teacher.  “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.  Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles.  but when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.  The other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray.” (Galatians 2:11-13)  Paul was watchful about division and favoritism and noticed Peter drawing back from his usual openness to the Gentiles.  He was living in fear of those Jews who held onto the law and was trying to appease them.

This was causing division so Paul confronted Peter to his face.  “I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew.  How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?  We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 2:15-16)  Paul knew that trying to add law to faith would pollute the power of the Gospel and cause division in the church.  The law could not save anyone, only bring condemnation!  Only faith in Jesus Christ would set men free!  Thank God today for justification by faith alone!

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