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Category: Jesus in the New Testament (page 1 of 10)

August 5, 2018 — Jesus in the New Testament summed up and amplified

Life of Jesus

Gaudenzio Ferrari, Stories of life and passion of Christ, fresco, 1513, Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Vatican.

Today’s Bible reading

 And I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. — Zechariah 12:10

More thoughts for meditation

To end up our collection of visions and teachings about Jesus in every book of the New Testament, here is an outpouring of teaching that tries to sum up and amplify what the Bible reveals about our Savior.

  1. Jesus tells us the Old Testament was pointing to what is revealed in the New.

There is no finer teacher on whether Jesus is to be found in the pages of the Old Testament than the teaching of our Lord Jesus himself.

He it was who said in John 5:39, “You [Jewish people] diligently study the Scriptures [which at that time were the 39 books of the Tanak/Old Testament]…. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.” That should settle the question.

But even more famously, Jesus rebuked Cleopas, and that other unnamed disciple, as they walked along the road to Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the [Old Testament] Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

Even King David predicted the resurrection of Jesus back in 1000 B.C. as he, too, saw what was ahead, namely, that Jesus would not be “abandon[ed] … to the grave, nor [would he] let his Holy One see decay” (Ps 16:8-11; Acts 2:30-31). Therefore, it is not unexpected that we, too, should find Jesus present in the events and the predictions found in the Old Testament.

It is only right that we should find that Jesus was both actually present in the Old Testament and accurately predicted, and that he would come first as our Savior, and then in a later second coming, would appear as the King supreme over all the earth. Such an unusual state of affairs is possible because he was, he is and he is the One to come. But sad to say, all too many miss both his real presence in the Old Testament narrative and the numerous predictions of both his first and second advents/comings.  — Walter Kaiser

2. We can trust what the Bible says when we begin with Jesus

Bruxey Cavey is pastor of the Meeting House in Toronto, a multisite church connected to the Brethren in Christ.

3. One of our favorite teachers, N.T. Wright teaches us how to be biblical about Jesus

4. Here is one of the many films devoted to portraying Jesus in a biblical way

Suggestions for action

There is a lot of nonsense on the internet. So whatever you decide to view could do with a serious dialogue with your cell, pastor or friends who can make sense to you.

That being said, there are many inspiring ways to understand Jesus online. You just saw a few of them. Some are deep (like Tom Wright), others are designed to be so straightforward that children can understand them (like the Life of Jesus movie). Take some time to listen.

Look back over the entries for Jesus in the New Testament (you can bring them all up by clicking on the category in the drop down to the right). Were you moved by something in particular that is sticking with you? How should you act on it?

 

August 4 — The Door which no one can shut

Today’s Bible reading

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door, which no one can shut. I have done this because you have limited strength, yet you have obeyed My word and have not denied My name. Watch, and I will make those of the congregation of Satan—those who call themselves “Jews” but are not because they lie—come before you penitent, falling at your feet. Then they will know how much I have loved you. Because you have obeyed My instructions to endure and be patient, I will protect you from the time of trial which will come upon the whole earth and put everyone in it to the test. I will soon return. Hold tight to what you have so that no one can take away your victor’s wreath. – Revelation 3:8-11

More thoughts for meditation

When John received his revelation, many Jews had been scattered throughout the known world for centuries, exiled to the lands east of the Jordan River from the promised land by powerful invading nations. After Jerusalem was ruined in 70, even more Jews left Judea, this time crossing the Mediterranean looking for some place far from Roman cruelty. Many of the same struggles plague churches to this day. Sometimes people must flee. The oppressors may change, but the problems confronting God’s faithful are very similar.

In the Book of Revelation, we are naturally drawn to Jesus’ letter to the church at Philadelphia.

As you know, the name means brotherly love. This city was the youngest of the seven cities listed as receiving letters.

  • Missionary: Philadelphia, in what is now Turkey, was originally founded as an outpost for Hellenism, the culture of ancient Greece. Beyond Philadelphia lay the wilds of Phrygia and the barbarous tribes. The city’s function was to spread the Greek language, the Greek way of life, and the Greek civilization throughout the regions beyond.
  • Prosperous: Philadelphia commanded one of the greatest highways in the world, the highway which led from Europe to the East. Philadelphia was the gateway from one continent to another.
  • Beautiful: The city was also known for beautiful buildings (it was called the “little Athens”) and for earthquakes, which required frequent evacuations.

Jesus describes Himself to the church at Philadelphia as holy and true, the keybearer.

These are not tendencies within Jesus, but His very being. He is God. There are two ancient Greek words that we might translate “true.” One means “true and not false.” The other means “true and not fake.” The word used here for true (alethinos) is the second, with the idea of “real” or “genuine.” Jesus is the one who has the “key of David.” He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens. This is probably an allusion to Isaiah 22:20-23 that affirms his power and authority, especially to admit and exclude.

Jesus also describes the church of Philadelphia.

  • I know your works. They had served well in difficult circumstances, and Jesus knew it.
  • I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it. They still had a missionary purpose, but for Christ culture. They must go through that door in faith through doors the Lord opens.
  • For you have a little strength. They were weak enough to be strong in the Lord. We can be too strong, too big or too sure of ourselves for God to really use us. The church in Philadelphia had the poverty of spirit to know they really needed God’s strength. Serving the Lord is not a matter of great strength or great ability but of great dependability.
  • You have kept My word, and have not denied My name. They not only expressed their allegiance to Jesus, but they lived in a way that was faithful to the name and character of Jesus.

Look at the features of the church in Philadelphia:

  • Evangelistic opportunity (I have set before you an open door)
  • Reliance on God (You have a little strength)
  • Faithfulness to Jesus (have kept My word, and have not denied My name)

In some ways, these features seem unspectacular. They should be commonplace among churches. Yet Jesus was completely pleased with this church. He had nothing negative to say to the church at Philadelphia.

Suggestions for action

Look at what Jesus wants the church of Philadelphia to do. Let’s say He’s talking to Circle of Hope in the Philadelphia region.

  • Behold, I am coming quickly: First, we must remember that Jesus is coming quickly, and must prepare for His coming. The expression “quickly” refers to something which is sudden and unexpected, not necessarily imminent.
  • Hold fast what you have: We must not depart from our solid foundation: evangelistic opportunity, reliance on God, faithfulness to Jesus.
  • That no one may take your crown: If we fail to hold fast, our crown might be given to another. The idea is not that it might be stolen by another, but given. This is not a crown of royalty, given because of royal birth. This is a crown of victory. Let’s keep running our race.

Yesterday was Flannery O’Connor Day! Consider her example at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

August 3 — To Him who is able to keep me

Today’s Bible reading

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. — Jude 24 -25

More thoughts for meditation

A very wise woman some of you may know gave a talk on the topic of the resurrection of Lazarus. It was great. You can listen to the audio here: [link]. She included a powerful metaphor for how we deal with death. We are sleeping in a bed between life and death. Death is always there but we can choose to turn our back on it, still aware of its presence, and experience life. Death and sin are never far from one another. It can be easy to get caught up in what is killing us and not see the life that beckons us in Jesus.

I know that I often find it hard to relate to God because I am obsessing over my sins. If I am about to try to pray, or meditate on scripture, or write the daily prayer, I must first overcome the hurdles of everything that went wrong in the day, or hour, or minute beforehand. It often feels insurmountable. How is anything good going to come from my actions when I have all this evidence against myself? Wouldn’t it be simpler to just ignore the sin and not try to pray or do anything?

It is in those moments that we have to discipline ourselves to look at Jesus. Our sins are not ours to forgive or overcome alone. Jesus is with us, beckoning not from the other side of the barrier but at our side. We have to trust that he will help lead us through our sin and into the life we are seeking.

Suggestions for action 

Pray: Keep me  from stumbling Jesus. Keep my eyes on you. Keep me from despair.

Try to make a dedicated effort to focus on Jesus. Maybe today would be a good day to stop and say a brief prayer every hour. If you did something simple like The Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner) it would take you less than a minute. You could probably say it more than once. Whatever you do, try to welcome Jesus into the moment you’re in, whatever it may be.

Today is Alexandr Solzhenitsyn Day! Honor his courage at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

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