1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
Arrival at Rome
11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard
17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.19 But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” 21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” 23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: 26 ” ‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” 30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jun 02 / 2013
Comments Off on Jesus, Our King, was Baptized! (Matthew 3:13-17)
People came from all around to be baptized by John the Baptist. But, Galilee was 50-70 miles (100km) away. There isn’t a record of many people coming from there. So, Jesus, maybe traveled this long distance all on foot, along dusty roads.
JB tried to prevent him.
They said to each other, “baptize me. No, baptize me.”
JB’s baptism was only for sinners as a sign of repentance. Pharisees and Saduccees came to watch, but didn’t accept it – they were proud and thought “ha, we aren’t sinners.”
But, Jesus is sinless – he didn’t need JB’s baptism. He didn’t need repentance, forgiveness, but he said, “Baptize me. It is proper to fulfill all righteousness.”
One of the very important ideas in Jesus’ teaching is righteousness – so he mentions it several times in his Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled…Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…If you righteousness doesn’t surpass the teachers of the law, you cannot enter heaven…seek first his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
“All righteousness” doesn’t mean to fulfill prophecy – so then what does Jesus mean? Righteousness is a very important idea in a Christian’s life. Righteousness means “right relationship” with the Father God. The Father sent Jesus and Jesus will obey and do all his will – this is part of it.
Several reasons why Jesus was baptized even though he didn’t need it:
#1: To confess sin on behalf of all human beings, the nation – like the prophets in the OT had done.
(Nehemiah 1:6 “Your servant, is praying day and night for the people of Israel – I confess the sins we have committed against you.”)
(Isaiah 6:5 “Woe to me, because I’m a man of unclean lips, and I’m living among a people of unclean lips.”)
Let me encourage or challenge you about this question. If you have never confessed sins, you are not Christian. If you have only confessed your OWN sins, you aren’t a true Christian. You must confess not only your own sins, but also your family’s, your nation’s sins.
#2: To accomplish God’s mission and advance God’s work in the world.
For 30 years, Jesus had waited in Nazareth faithfully, performing the simple duties of a carpenter, but he knew all the time that a greater mission awaited him. When JB appeared, he knew his time had come. So, Jesus was baptized to initiate his public ministry to bring the message of salvation to all people in this world.
JB’s baptism was of water, of men, but Jesus approved it by being baptized by him.
#3: To identify himself with us – the sinners – the very people he came to save/serve.
To identify with the penitent (repentant) people of God.
Mark 16:6 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.”
Matthew (end) “Go and make disciples of all nations…”
To be a Christian, you must be baptized – if you aren’t, you must be – and you must help others to be baptized. Up to now, how many people became baptized through your help? (Challenge you).
JB’s baptism is different from our baptism today. JB’s was BEFORE Jesus, ours today is AFTER Jesus. JB’s means public confession of sin. Our baptism today means public confession of faith in JESUS as Savior, Lord, King. Our baptism is an outward expression of an inward reality, His death, burial, resurrection.
#4: To foreshadow his future baptism on the cross
The water baptism pictured his self-emptiness, self-denial for our sins on the cross.
Due to these reasons, purposes, Jesus, our King, was baptized.
He went up out of the water,
Heaven was opened
HS descended like a dove
(The bulletin has this image – the dove is hard to see in the bright light though)
Isaiah 61:1-2 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to everyone, to proclaim the Year of the Lord’s Favor, to comfort those who mourn…”
The descent of the HS like a dove represents God’s mighty working in this world. In Genesis, in the beginning, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And at the time of Noah, the dove delivered the news to Noah about the decreasing waters. He sent out two birds (raven and dove), only the dove came back. The raven represented the flesh – there was plenty for the raven to eat (dead things) outside of the ark, but there was nothing for the dove to eat. The second time, it brought back an olive leaf. The third time, it didn’t come back.
The dove signifies the HS and his work in this world. It shows gentle and peaceful, but active presence coming to anoint Jesus Christ. From this, we can know who the Messiah is, how his power will be used. He was not revealed by a tiger, hawk, eagle, lion, but by a gentle and peaceful dove.
This is my Son, whom I live. With Him, I’m well pleased.
This is God’s direct announcement. This is a heavenly announcement to all human beings. In the NT, there are three special occasions in which God spoke to Jesus.
1. The Transfiguration –
on a high mountain with Peter, James, and John, a voice came from the cloud with the same sentence “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” (one sentence added).
2. As Jesus approached the cross –
“Father glorify your name” and God spoke “I have glorified it already, I will glorify it again.”
3. This instance.
Long ago, God spoke to the people through prophets, but nowadays, God speaks to his people through the Son.
Jesus is a different Son than we can be (sons). He is the One and Only (literal) Son of God. In the Greek “This is my [beloved] Son”
“This is…” means this sentence was spoken publicly to all who were there and to us.
“…and in Him I am well pleased…” means God has taken his eternal satisfaction (past, present, future) in His Son and this is the Age of the Messianic time now.
In v 16-17, we can see all persons in the Trinity, active. God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1) – God (the Father) spoke, “Let there be light” Jesus (the Son) was very active in the Creation as the Word (John 1:1) – The HS was hovering over the waters.
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that God is three persons, but one essence. This is one of God’s incomprehensible mysteries. Even now, God is working in the Trinity in us, in this world.
God bless us with his work.
May 26 / 2013
Comments Off on Storms, Shipwreck, & Salvation (Acts 27:1-44)
27 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian shipsailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete,opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement.[a] So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.
13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[b] and let the ship be driven along.18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I servestood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic[c] Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet[d] deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet[e] deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.
33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.
39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach,where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.
May 19 / 2013
Comments Off on Repent! For the Kingdom of God is Near (Matthew 3:1-12)
3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”[a]
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Before the ministry of Jesus, there was the introduction of John the Baptist. John was the introducer and forerunner of Jesus Christ.
Between chp2-3, about 28-30 years passed. Now, the time has come for Jesus to start his public ministry, which would culminate on the cross.
In those days, JB came (John the Baptist).
When Jesus was ready to start his ministry.
From the end of the OT to the beginning of the NT is 400 years (inter-testamental period – the “Dark Ages” spiritually – during these 400 years, they never heard the word of a prophet). Now, JB appeared, so finally, the Great Revival was starting. The people considered JB a great prophet, and they considered that the time of the Messiah had come – it had. God was ushering in a new covenant and new era.
JB spoke like the prophets of old – “turn away from sin to avoid punishment! Turn to God for mercy, forgiveness, and approval!” This was a message for all times and places, but he spoke with urgency to prepare the people for the Messiah.
He was a sign-post for the one who was to come.
Behold! See, everybody, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
Our calling is similar, like John’s. We can prepare others to receive Jesus as their personal Savior, Lord, King.
How much urgency do you feel? for those who still need to hear the message of Salvation.
Who is JB? Luke 1 – we see the story of John’s birth – he was a miracle child. He was a different case from Jesus, he was born of Elizabeth, his father Zechariah. At that time, Elizabeth was too old and barren – she couldn’t have a child. While Zech was carrying out his duty in the temple, an angel appeared to him and said, “You’re going to have a child – name him John. He’ll have the HS, and go before the lost – he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and turn people to the wisdom of the spirit.”
Last book of OT: Malachi, chp 4:5-6 “See, behold, I will send you the prophet Elijah. He will turn the hearts of their fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the Earth with a curse.”
So, JB was the last and greatest prophet – he was the forerunner for Jesus.
Also the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 43. “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.
JB’s coming is regarded as the fulfillment of the promise to send Elijah. Elijah was one of the most powerful prophets in the OT, and John was the last Elijah.
We can see some common things between Elijah and JB:
#1: Their messages were similar.
Direct, clear, short, to the point.
Elijah: abandon your idols/false gods, serve the true God.
JB: turn from your sins, repent, and turn to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
#2: Lived simply in the desert with similar style
1 Kings – Elijah had leather belt around his waist
#3: similar titles
Elijah = Man of God
JB = Man FROM God
The key verse in these verses is verse 2:
“Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”
Do you want to go to the kingdom of heaven? YES. Do you want NOW? Right now?
If…not right now…you do not want, honestly.
I said many times, Matthew is the book of the King, the book of Kingship. So, Jesus’ coming to Earth = the appearance of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. This is essential to the teaching of Matthew, and is seen 33 times (important about 50 times). This phrase is used ONLY in Matthew – 33 times.
Yes, Jesus is King, do you believe this? Kings have their own people, sovereignty, rule, country, etc. So, the understanding of the idea of the Kingdom of God is very important.
So, let’s make clear 4 things that are important to understand about the Kingdom of God.
#1: It’s a kind of country.
In this world, there are over 200 countries.
In this world, we get citizenship by birth, or by meeting certain qualifications of that government.
In the KOH, only one qualification = by believing in Jesus as our personal King, Savior. So, simply, we can get citizenship in the KOH.
#2: For a country to be a country, we need country, people, government.
For the KOH, we need only Jesus’ kingship. If we have that, then your heart is Jesus’ kingdom. If your family believes, then your home is Jesus’ kingdom. The KOH doesn’t matter about place, but about kingship = wherever he is king = his kingdom.
#3: KOH is very FAR away (we think).
We will go (sometime). But, before we go to the KOH, it comes to us. “Repent and GO!”? No. “Repent, the KOH is NEAR!” It came to us, as Jesus came to us before we went. Jesus knew us, came to us, loved us before we knew him, went to him, loved him.
Luke 7: “Do not say, here it is, there it is, the KOH is in you.”
#4: Some Christians think KOH = only a matter of the future, after death
It is our future hope, but it is also our present reality. The KOH = come already in the past, and comes at present, and is coming in the continual present and will come in the future.
Future hope is SO essential for life, for victory, for power against Satan. But remember, we cannot have a future hope for the KOH, unless we can also enjoy and experience the present reality of the KOH – now, not by sight.
Do you have hands? How far can you stretch out? The KOH is IN your hands.
JB’s main job was baptizing with water (hence his nickname). John’s baptism is for repentance – but Jesus’ baptism is of the HS, for eternal life.
At that time, carrying sandals was a slave’s job. JB says, “I’m not even worthy to be his slave. He must increase, I must decrease. He is everything; I am nothing.”
Jesus will baptize with HS and fire.
We can believe in Jesus as personal Savior, Lord, King. We can accept him only through (by the ministry) of the HS. 1 Cor 12:3 “No one can call Jesus as Lord except by the ministry of the HS.”
We cannot see God except if we believe in Jesus. The Trinity God in 3 persons, but in 1 essence work together in perfect harmony.
“You will be baptized by Jesus in FIRE” (not ON fire, thankfully…)
All believers (whether they want or not) cannot escape that baptism, because he is King of Kings. This baptism has a positive and a negative side. There is a PROMISE; and a THREAT.
4 points about fire.
#1: The idea about illumination (light)
The flame of a beacon guides a sailor and traveler. In fire, there is light and guidance. He is the beacon light to lead us to the Truth and guide us Home.
A great, and kind man lights fires in cold rooms. When Jesus comes into our lives, he kindles our heart with a warmth of love toward God and others. Always, Christianity is the religion of kindled hearts.
#3: Purification (and destruction).
Do you want that in your heart? Do you want to be purified? The purified flames burn away falsehood, but leaves truth. When Jesus comes into our hearts, the evil-doers are purged and removed. But sometimes this is through a painful experience. But, if we, through ALL experiences of life believe that God is working ALL things together for good, we will emerge from the fire with CHARACTER. “Blessed are those who are Pure in Heart, for they will see God.”
After his resurrection, Jesus met his disciples and said, “Peace to you, receive the HS. Do not leave Jerusalem, wait for the Promise, the gift of the HS.” After that, they gathered, and prayed in one heart earnestly, and then received the HS. Acts 2 “They saw what appeared to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”
“When the HS comes upon you, you will receive power and be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”
v. 12 “His winnowing fork…clear the threshing floor…gather the wheat…burn the chaff…”
Winnowing fork = big, heavy, wooden shovel. With it the grain was lifted from the threshing floor and tossed into the air. When it was done, the heavy wheat fell to the ground and the light chaff blew in the air. The heavy grain was gathered and stored. The light chaff was gathered and burned for fuel (in the fire).
The coming of Jesus necessarily, absolutely, requires separation. We can accept him as king or reject him. We can be for him, or against him. When we are confronted with him, we have to make this choice.
ALL human beings, each person will be separated by their reaction/response to Jesus Christ. It is precisely this choice that determines our final destination.
For those who accept Jesus and his baptism = warmth, love, holiness, purification, power.
For those who reject his baptism = punishment, hell, sulfur.
1 Cor 1:8 “To those who reject JC, the message of the cross = foolishness, but to those who accept Jesus, the message = power.”
May God bless all of us to accept Jesus and enjoy the KOH. If your heart = ruled by Jesus as King, no matter what, whatever you do, wherever you go, your heart is the KOH. REPENT. For the KOH is at your hands.
May 12 / 2013
Comments Off on Paul Before Agrippa (Acts 26:1-32)
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”
25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
This is NIV 2011, some others have NIV 1982.
Paul had been left in prison by Felix (Roman governor). Felix was recalled to Rome with complaints against him. Then, Festus was put in place there – the Jews thought “this guy is new, let’s get him to give us Paul.” They wanted to ambush Paul on the way to Jerusalem. Festus invited the Jews to come along (foiling their plans).
Now Paul is giving his testimony. “If I’ve done something wrong, I’m ready to die, but I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Festus wanted to take him to Jerusalem – asked Paul – so Paul appealed to Caesar, so “To Caesar you shall go.”
Then, Festus (newly appointed), had King Agrippa and his sister Bernice come to visit – and he wanted to get Agrippa’s insights (he was well acquainted with Judaism). So, he figured he’d talk with Agrippa to see what’s up with this guy Paul.
They met, Agrippa was intrigued, wanted to hear him personally, so Festus arranged THIS assembly (we’ve just read about).
This wasn’t a judicial hearing/trial, just an investigative hearing. Agrippa (Herod) wanted to hear him – said, “speak for yourself.” So, Paul gave his testimony (for what, a third time in Acts now?).
Paul is a “good guy”, hasn’t violated their laws – just believed in the resurrection (also a Jewish belief – but apparently not in the way Paul believed it). Paul hadn’t become a Christian on a whim, but dramatically. His claim was the Christian faith was a natural outgrowth of his Jewish beliefs. He argued that Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism.
This is the last time we hear Paul speaking publicly – he will speak to other prisoners and other Jews, but this is the last, longest speech.
There is no animosity here. He was fortunate to stand before Agrippa because Agrippa was a fairly neutral/informed party on Jewish beliefs/theology. He was impartial – he wasn’t influenced by the High Priests, and he had power over them in fact.
Paul hoped that this guy with influence and power over them would be able to understand that Jesus was the Messiah and fulfilled their (Jewish) beliefs.
The Jews had known Paul for a long time (probably was famous/infamous as a Pharisee during his time – Pharisees bound themselves to follow the Law). Here Paul is showing just HOW Jewish he is – and that he proclaims Christianity BECAUSE of his Judaism, not in spite of it.
So, Paul makes the resurrection the real issue here. “It’s because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I’m on trial here today.” This was the promise that all Israel hoped to see fulfilled and Paul is hammering it home. This is a Jewish hope – but Christians also now have the same hope – and Christians were within the boundaries of the Jewish hope. But, Christian hope was far more specific because it was hinged on Jesus’ resurrection. The “general” resurrection of the Jewish belief hinges on the “specific” resurrection of Jesus.
This is the expectation that God will fulfill his promises in the OT. This resurrection stuff just shows that Paul believes that God HAS and WILL continue to fulfill his promises in the OT.
God had declared that the Messiah would free his people, God fulfilled that by sending Jesus. Then, God raised him from the dead as the forerunner for ALL believers to be raised.
Paul makes a cry for all of them to believe. “Why should you think it impossible for God to raise the dead?” It’s not. (He’s already done it once – at least
To disbelieve in the resurrection of Christ was actually to disbelieve in the “general” resurrection as well (prophecied in Daniel). Because Jesus’ tomb was empty – over 500 people had seen him alive (no such thing as mass hallucination), and the fearful/hiding disciples were now out boldly proclaiming that Jesus was alive.
In 1 Cor 15:12-19 Paul opposes those who disbelieve in the resurrection. “If there is no resurrection, then Christ hasn’t been raised, and if so, our preaching and YOUR faith are also useless. And we are false witnesses about God. But if he didn’t raise him, then neither has Christ been, and your faith is futile – in vain – you are still in your sins. And those who have fallen asleep (died) believing in Christ are pitiful. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied above all men.” (My favorite verses).
Why was Paul enduring all this?
He knew that this was only temporary and one day he’d meet the Lord and know him if we’ve repented, confessed, accepted Jesus as our Savior.
F.F. Bruce “this belief in the resurrection had now been validated in raising one man from the dead. And it showed that this one man was the deliverer that Israel had waited for.”
Paul admitted that he’d once denied it as well, that he’d persecuted and helped imprison and murder Christians who’d believed. (v. 10)
Paul had stood by the cloaks of the men who stoned Stephen (Acts – early).
1 Cor 15:9-10 Jesus appeared to the different people and to Paul the last of all “I’m the last and the least – because I persecuted the church – but I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. I worked harder than all of them.”
1 Tim “I thank my Lord who appointed me to his service even though I was a blasphemer and violent man. I acted in unbelief, but his grace was poured out on me abundantly. Here is a trustworthy statement that should be accepted fully: Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom, I’m the worst.”
Paul continues (v. 16) “but I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ might display his unlimited patience – for all the other believers who would believe and receive eternal life.”
If he was the WORST sinner in the world, then there’s hope for literally EVERYONE.
No matter their background, whatever they’ve done, they are accepted by Christ.
Paul gave his approval against the Christians who were persecuted to death.
Williams “Would Paul have been a member of the Sanhedrin who actually voted against the Christians? Unlikely, he had unknown/obscure origins (he wasn’t an aristocrat like the rest of them) and he was young. It’s just possible that he HAD won a place there on sheer ability – but ‘voted against’ likely means he gave his approval.”
He certainly worked together with them to bring Christians to trial and death. He went from one synagogue to another, including those in foreign cities – attempting to get the Christians to blaspheme so he could put them to death.
How did Paul have the authority to do this? It’s doubtful that the Romans allowed it. Any executions were probably illegal. The fact that the Jews got away with Stephen’s murder meant that it was either well hidden, or that the authorities turned a blind eye to that kind of stuff.
But, along the way Paul, met Jesus. This is third account (Acts 9, 22, 26). Each account is slightly different – each has its own emphasis so that it fit the audience to whom it was given (as well as Luke’s context). There is a general agreement (also Galatians 1), but some differences.
For example, no Ananias mentioned here, nor his blindness. He didn’t mention that he’s taken to Damascus. But here he DOES mention the intensity of the light and that the voice spoke to him in Aramaic. (v. 13-14) Everyone in his party was stopped dead in their tracks.
This also seems to concentrate on Jesus’ divine commission to Paul. “It’s hard for you to kick against the goad” (a poker stick to make stubborn cows move). This was a proverbial saying in Greek and Latin indicating that no one can resist the will of the gods. It was a pagan saying, but Jesus used it about THE God. Sometimes stubborn cows can kick back against that, but that prompts MORE prodding.
What were “Paul’s goads”?
Perhaps contrary thought to what he’d once believed. Perhaps hesitation on Paul’s part. (Imagine when Stephen prayed to forgive those who were killing him – that must have affected Paul). It may have been a combination of factors, but now, clearly, Paul has a different direction.
“Who are you Lord?”
“I’m Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
He was told that he was chosen and appointed as a witness for Christ – to turn people’s eyes from darkness to light, to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life from God (v. 16).
Jesus (in John’s gospel) said, “Behold, I go to prepare a place for you.”
Paul tells of his obedience to this vision from heaven. “First to those in Damascus he preached (had to be let down in a basket or he’d have been killed), then to Jerusalem, Judea, and the Gentiles – I preached to EVERYONE. That’s why these guys don’t like me. But, I’ve had God’s help from the beginning. I’ve only been repeating what’s in their Scriptures – that Christ is the Messiah and was raised and would give light to their eyes.”
Festus had no idea what was going on… “You’re totally insane man!” Paul said, “No, no, no, this is totally reasonable – ask your buddy Agrippa.” True, true.
Paul “I’m sure that Agrippa knows of all these things, nothing has surely escaped his notice. Agrippa, do you agree with the Prophets?”
Woah, caught Agrippa off guard, “Don’t put me on the spot like that buddy.”
Paul “I pray that everyone here will become a Christian, like me (but not in chains).”
The king then arose, with Festus and Bernice – they said, “he’s totally innocent.”
Agrippa said, “should have set him free, if not for his appeal to Caesar.”
Yet, we know if he HAD gone to Jerusalem, the Jews probably would have ambushed and killed him – and he’d had a vision from God to go to Rome and proclaim the gospel. So, all this is working together for God’s plan.
Were Paul here today, he would ask, “Is it impossible for God to raise the dead? Surely not. And I pray that all of you would accept Christ as your Lord and Savior.”
25 Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul.3 They requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being held at Caesarea,and I myself am going there soon. 5 Let some of your leaders come with me, and if the man has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”
6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him,but they could not prove them.
8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”
9 Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”
10 Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11 If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”
Festus Consults King Agrippa
13 A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.14 Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.
16 “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges. 17 When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive. 20 I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges. 21 But when Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”
22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.”
He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”
Paul Before Agrippa
23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. 27 For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”
New governor in Jerusalem to take the place of Felix. “Hey, hey, here’s a new guy – let’s try to get Paul in trouble again.” So, they asked him to bring Paul to Caesarea to try him again. They wanted this to happen as a favor. The favor was probably loaded.
Festus knew Felix had been recalled for doing a bad job. Festus thought, hmmm, if I DON’T do this, maybe they’ll “report” me to Rome. The Jews pretty much pressured him to do so.
Later, James the half brother of Jesus would be killed by the then present high priest, it would be when Festus had released his office and there was a gap between governmental leaders. That would be when Jesus’ brother James was killed – between leaders.
Now, the Jews’ plot was to ambush and kill Paul. Now, they’re trying again. This is probably why Paul appeals to Caesar – he knew he would never survive a trip to Jerusalem.
The Jews now had given up on getting the Romans to convict him. They were trying to murder him – but wanted to get Festus to allow them to charge him for profaining the temple.
It would be in Festus’s best interests to get the trust of the Jews – but he foiled their attempt to ambush Paul by inviting the leaders to come to Caesarea with him to charge Paul there. That’s where he was going and where Paul already was – so he figured, “hey guys, just come with me.”
Paul was brought in, and the Jewish leaders ganged up around him – but couldn’t prove their false charges. Luke, the author of Acts summarizes Paul’s defense in one sentence: “I’ve done nothing wrong against the Jews, against the temple, nor against Caesar.” Festus was probably confused by the charges, just as Felix had been. There were no criminal charges here at all. But he wanted to please the people (crowd pleaser).
Now, he thought that he had a way out by asking him to come back to Jerusalem to be charged. But Paul knew he’d pretty much been cleared of any political charges – he knew he wouldn’t get justice in Jerusalem and probably suspected there was a plot to kill him. Festus couldn’t turn him over to the Jews because he was a Roman citizen. So, Paul decided to appeal to Caesar.
So the right of a Roman citizen was an old, ancient right “provocati ….” (an appeal to the Emperor). It was granted to him. The ironic thing was that the Emperor at that time was the infamous Nero (until AD 68). Why would he put his life in Nero’s hands? He needed to stay away from the Jews. And he likely remembered his vision in Acts 23 that he would testify in Rome. Maybe this way his idea to get to Rome.
Another thing, at this time, Nero had not yet become the evil ruler we know. He was under the influence of a Stoic philosopher in his early reign – so these years were considered almost a Golden Age. It was only later (AD 62) that the Imperial policy toward the Christians became malicious. (At that time, his mentors from earlier were dead or retired). “There was little evidence to say in AD 60 why he would change so drastically against the Christians.” He blamed the fire of Rome (AD 65?) on the Christians.
Now, Paul is appealing to Caesar, and Festus breathes a sigh of relief to release him to Caesar and say “It’s out of my hands.”
But, the charade wasn’t yet over. A few days later, King Herod Agrippa and Bernice arrived to see the new governor – Festus and Agrippa (the great grandson of Herod the Great) had been brought up in the court of the Emperor Claudius. Both Claudius and Nero had appointed him the ruler of a number of places in the Holy Land. At this time, he was King over some areas in the northeast. He was the custodian of the Treasury – he was from a Jewish-kind of family and knew about Jewish affairs. He was seen as a balance between the Jews and the Romans. He was an authority on the Jews – an expert.
So, Festus, talks with the expert about this case and wanted to get a letter written about this. Bernice was a Jewish Cleopatra – Agrippa’s sister – but she was probably living incest with her brother.
Because of Agrippa’s role in Judaism, he’s been described as the secular “head” of the Jewish faith. So, Festus was eager to get his insights on Paul’s case.
Now, they are working on Paul’s case – one an expert on Judaism, one an expert on Rome. Festus admitted, “They didn’t charge him on anything normal – just some MINOR differences in their religion and a dead dude named Jesus. What should I do?” He hoped Agrippa would help. So, Agrippa wanted to talk to Paul himself.
Now, Paul could witness to both a governor and king at once (as Jesus had said in Matt 10:18). This meeting with Herod had parallels with the life of Jesus and his meeting before another Herod (Luke 23:6-12). Both Jesus and Paul were tried before a Roman governor and witnessed before a king.
Luke begins to narrate Paul’s longest and final major speech. But, first he explains how Agrippa and Bernice came with a parade, basically. So, now Paul’s testimony of the gospel would be heard before the VIPs of the land. This wasn’t a trial, not an inquiry – he would go before Caesar anyway – this was like a “drama” and Paul as the star performer.
“One can hardly avoid the impression that Paul should provide entertainment to this crowd.”
Festus made a general declaration of Paul’s innocence before the crowd, saying, “The Jews’ petitioned me and shouted, ‘Kill him! Kill him!’ But I found him innocent.” (Hmm, sounds JUST like the crowd before Jesus and Pilate). There will even be one more declaration of his innocence in Acts 26 – cleared of blame THREE times. Wow – that shows that the Jews really mean business when they try to get someone killed – persistent.
Festus wants something to write to Rome “specifying the charges against him.” So…….. why not set Paul free. There was no crime – but he’d been in prison for two years…
He was a prisoner only because the Jews (the crowd) had been able to intimidate the governors. They weren’t courageous enough to do the right thing.
Even if Festus couldn’t figure this all out, at least he could write on the note, “Well, Agrippa, the Jewish-expert, helped me out with this and…”
In the next chapter, we’ll see the continuation of Paul’s “trial.”
Paul has maintained his innocence MANY times and wouldn’t allow unjust condemnation to affect him (this is the point).
Sometimes we also feel unjustly condemned by the Enemy. Satan tries to condemn us. Paul wrote against this: Romans 8:1 “There is now no longer any condemnation for those in Christ…” We should learn like Paul not to accept false condemnation from the Enemy or others.
Have you accepted Christ into your life? To experience the freedom from false condemnation?
Jesus is the way to God (the one way) – he restores relationship with Man and God.
When I was lost in sin (personally), someone told me about Jesus and I was able to be freed from sin and shame and false condemnation.
Let’s pray together.
Apr 21 / 2013
Comments Off on A Wise Man Eternally is the One Who Worships the King Christ with His Best Offering (Matthew 2:1-23)
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”[d]
The Return to Nazareth
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
Matthew is the Book of the King.
Chp 1 = genealogy, how he was conceived and born. This is the virgin birth – he is fully God and fully man = born of our bones and flesh, but perfectly sinless, no original sin nature.
The doctrine of the virgin birth is so important, an undeniable truth – it is taught in the Bible and we believe the inspiration of the Scriptures. It is unchangeable truth – this doctrine stands with the teaching of the Scriptures, it doesn’t change.
Virgin birth is necessary in the plan of salvation. Salvation of even one soul (without the virgin birth) is utterly impossible. Our life/birth is also a kind of mystery. Who can explain how a tree gives birth/life to its seed?
If we can understand something of God, it’ll help to believe in God. Imagine if we could contain all of God in our limited brains, it would mean he was a limited being. But he isn’t, he’s limitless.
This truth is also unconditional. It should be accepted whether or not we understand. Truth is truth, fact is fact.
This is unmistakeable truth – we meet it every year at Christmas.
This is useful truth. Almighty God (Emmanuel) has become a man to be with us (with you). Almighty God without sin is always available to save us, to protect us, to keep us.
Chp 2 – More explanation of his birth (our King)
Matthew is the bridge between OT and NT (the Promised Messiah). That’s why in the book of Matthew, we see many quotations from the OT. (Here there are 4). This means that EVERY event in the birth/life of Christ happened to fulfill the OT prophecies.
#1: v.6 – He was born in Bethlehem
How he was born (virgin) was prophesied
Where he was born was prophesied also. (Micah 5:2) Mi-Ka (Korean)
“…whose origins are from of old, from ancient times…”
The time is during the human kind Herod. When he heard of the baby king, he was furious and tried to kill him. In the NT, there are actually many Herods.
John the Baptist’s Herod – imprisoned him, killed him.
Jame’s Herod – put him and Peter in prison – killed by an angel.
Paul’s Herod – heard Paul’s testimony in Acts.
THIS is the original Herod – the founder of Herod’s royal family – he built the temple in Jerusalem to buy the house of the Jews – he was half Jew (Jacob) and half Edomite (Esau). He was ALWAYS suspicious. He killed his wife and her mother. He killed his eldest son and other two sons. There was a saying “It’s safer to be Herod’s dog than his son.” (historically)
Now, he hears about a baby king, so not surprisingly, he was furious.
The Magi came from the East. They were the group of scholars who studied the sky. God gave them a miraculous star, so they traveled to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to visit the king. We do not know actually how many Magi came – there are three gifts, so we usually assume three. But, their visit was enough to trouble the WHOLE city of Jerusalem. Then, Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
Bethlehem was a small town, south of Jerusalem. It had a long history. Jacob had buried Rachel there. Ruth lived there when she married Boaz. The meaning of Bethlehem = The House of Bread. This reminds us of Jesus’ announcement: “I am the Bread of Life.”
#2: v. 15
“Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hosea 11:1)
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
When Herod heard of the baby king, he sent the Magi and said, “please let me know where he is so I can worship him.” (really wanted to kill him).
So, an angel told Joseph to flee to Egypt until Herod’s death. Afterward, they returned.
#3: v. 17-18 (Jeremiah 31:15)
After the Magi worshiped him, they were also instructed in a dream not to go back to Herod – so they went back to their country by another way. When Herod heard this, he gave orders to kill ALL the babies in Bethlehem and the surrounding area, 2 years old and younger. Infanticide = ONE baby is too many.
This was done to fulfill the prophecy in the OT.
#4: v. 23
Bethlehem -> Egypt -> Israel -> Nazareth
Jesus moved many times as a baby.
They returned to Israel, but when Joseph heard of Herod’s son (Archelaus – a killer) – he went to Galilee and Nazareth (told to go by an angel).
Actually “he will be called a Nazarene” and even the word “Nazareth” cannot be found in the OT. So, we cannot really know clearly what Matthew meant by this prophecy.
Maybe by the leading of the Holy Spirit, Matthew had a connection between Jesus and the Hebrew word “nazar” = “a shoot”
Isaiah says, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse and he will bear much fruit.”
From this story of Jesus’ birth, there are 3 reactions to Jesus’ coming. These same reactions happened 2,000 years ago and are STILL happening today.
#1: Herod… do you want to belong here?
Hatred and hostility. Afraid that this baby would interfere with his life, position, power, money, influence. So, he wanted to kill, destroy, eliminate him.
Still today, there are those who would gladly rid the world of Jesus. Why? Because they just want to do whatever they want – without the “interference” of Jesus. The man who wants to do whatever he wants has no use for Jesus.
The Christian is one who has STOPPED doing what he wants and started doing what Jesus wants.
#2: Teachers of the Law and the Scribes.
They were so interested in their own legal, religious discussions and traditions, Jesus’ coming made no difference to them.
Still today, there are so many people who are so interested in their own hobbies, businesses, concerns, that they don’t even care about Jesus.
Jeremiah asks, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?”
#3: Magi – Wise men
Adoring worship to Jesus. They traveled a very long distance (we don’t know how long). The WHOLE purpose of their journey was to worship Jesus. They saw many great men and women – even kings. But they only worshiped Jesus – no others.
In a sense our lives can be said as a journey. How do you feel your journey in this world is going? Long, or short? If you are wise – if you WANT to be wise, wise ETERNALLY, please make the worship of Jesus Christ the purpose of ALL purposes in this journey.
Yes, we can have many purposes – purpose in our degrees, families, businesses, careers. But the overlying purpose of all these purposes should be worship of Jesus.
For our worship to be true worship, there must be offering, gift, present.
OT: God says, “You should never appear before the Lord empty-handed.” These three wise men brought three offerings.
These are meaningful to explain the character of Jesus and what he has done
Gold = king – no one approached a king without gold – the king of metals. He was a man born to be king – not by force, but love – not from a throne, but the cross.
Incense, Frankincense = priest – sweet smell of the incense was used in the temple worship and sacrifices. The function of the priest was to make the way for man to God (mediator) “pontiface” = bridge builder – building a bridge between God and man. Main ministry of priest was to make a way between man and God. ALL humans have tried to find a way between man and God. But, Jesus didn’t need to find one, he IS THE One.
Myrrh = death and burial. It was used to embalm the body of the dead. He came to die. He came to live and to die for us. His gifts are for us – his life and his death
Jesus = king, priest (also prophet), sacrifice
The real gift = giving to Jesus Christ = it is the best, wisest investment for eternity.
How and for what do you spend your life, your values, your energy, and your money?
If you are wise eternally, give your best (and first fruits) to Jesus.
Previously, Paul had been taken by the Jews after they’d seen him walking around town with a Gentile – they assumed he’d taken the Gentile to the temple – so they would punish him with death for that.
Then, Paul spoke to them, and talked about everything he believed and his history, and said, “it is because of my hope in the resurrection that I’m here.” This divided the Pharisees and Saducees.
Also, there were 40 Jewish conspirators who’d vowed not to eat or drink until Paul was killed. Whatever happened to them?
They got off the hook – escape clause. If a vow had been taken, there were circumstances where they could get out of their vows. For example, one vowed to have a meal with someone else, but he got sick, so couldn’t – it was a limiting factor.
So, these dudes got off the hook too. The limiting factor was an army of Romans…
Now Paul is in the capital of the Romans – Caesarea.
The Jewish prosecutors showed up to state their case against him. The lawyer was probably a Greek Jew, versed in Roman law, and a good public speaker (thus he was hired). He began with customary “buttering up” (flattery). “Wow! You’re an awesome ruler! It’s sooooo peaceful here.” (Not, it was riotous – but he’s flattering him).
Eventually, he realized he might be overdoing it…so he got on with it. (There were (are) many long-winded lawyers).
“Trouble-maker” “riots” “ring-leader” “Nazarene sect” “all over the world”
That’s some political fiery rhetoric. Slight overkill…
He’s basically trying to say that Paul is a rebel and revolutionary trying to disrupt the “Roman Peace.” (Actually it was the Jews who were causing the trouble – not Paul. This whole case, as with Jesus’ case, was based on false testimony and lies – so that they could put him to death.)
After the political portion, he moves onto the theological.
“Paul TRIED desecrate the temple, but we stopped him.” Well, he didn’t and there were no charges of bringing Gentiles into the temple – which were the original charges. He puts his own spin on the event (and there were no first-hand eyewitnesses from the event). This is pretty shady lawyer-ing…
Previously, some Asian Jews had recognized him and stirred up the crowd (mob) against him.
In our Bibles, there’s a footnote for verse 7. Ancient manuscripts (Western) add this.
“…with much violence…” ha!
They wanted to judge Paul in the Sanhedrin to put him to death for a capital offense.
Felix then wanted to examine Paul himself.
Tertullus probably thought “oh! examine him well! *wink *wink – scourge and beat him! hehe”
But that didn’t happen, Paul went on the defense, challenging the charges. Paul acknowledged Felix’s position – the judge over this nation – he was acquainted with the Christians, the Jews, the riots, etc. Paul explained that he’d only just arrived and that he’d been a prisoner for the majority of that time. He’d come to worship, not begin a revolution.
“My accusers didn’t find me doing any of these things anywhere.”
But he did confess “I do worship our ancestral God – the Way – they call it a sect.”
This was a familiar term to his accusers (The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). “I believe all the Law and the Prophets (all the books of the OT).” He believed all the prophecies were concentrated and fulfilled in Jesus. He and other Christians worshiped the same God as the Jews. They believed in the Scriptures and the resurrection.
In this way, Paul cleverly shifts the accusations from political to purely theological – “the resurrection.” They didn’t agree with his theology – not political, theological.
For the Pharisees, the resurrection of the righteous was a future event based on the good works.
For Paul, the resurrection had already occurred – the first-fruits of which were Jesus. And keeping the Law wasn’t relevant. Something was lacking apart from good works alone and keeping the points of the Law. The missing element = Jesus.
The Christians and Pharisees have different approaches to salvation.
Christians = called by Christ, receive him, justified and sanctified by Christ – they asked for forgiveness when they sinned – only Christ is sinless. We always look to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing, healing.
Another difference = Paul speaks of a resurrection of the just and the unjust (good and bad). The Pharisees might not have believed in that. But the Bible is clear – Daniel 12 speaks of the end times “at that time, your people, everyone found written in the book. and those in the ground will be raised to everlasting life and those not in the book to everlasting death.”
Revelation 12:20? “I saw the dead, and the books were opened and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, and death and Hades gave up the dead. And they were judged, according to their deeds. And the bad were thrown into the Lake of Fire (the second death). Those not written in the Book of Life were thrown into the Lake of Fire.”
So, how can we get in the Book of Life?
Accept Jesus, ask forgiveness, repent, let him guide you daily.
John writes, “A day is coming when all will hear his voice. Those who did good to life, those who did bad to judgment.”
Matthew writes of those who will be granted and denied entrance to heaven.
Paul also writes of this.
Paul said, “because of this, I tried to live my life free of guilt (i.e. ask forgiveness)”
He wanted his conscience to be free from guilt against God and man.
Basically, these guys didn’t like his religion.
So, after setting the record straight, he explained why he went to Jerusalem “I’ve come back after many years to bring gifts and an offering for the poor.” This was a good way to cement union between the Jews and Christians in Jerusalem.
They said he’d disgraced the temple.
He said he was ceremonially clean.
And his original accusers aren’t even there!
This is all hearsay.
Paul says, “those who are here should state what they have against me other than the resurrection.”
According to Roman law, if the accusers aren’t present, the trial should be thrown out. However, at this point, Felix abruptly stops the trial – this is a political situation (because of the rowdy Jews), and he can see these guys are trying to slam Paul with a death sentence. So, he cuts is short to wait for the Roman commander to come down.
He had a Jewish wife and decided to meet with Paul.
Felix’s wife was his third, he’d seduced her away from her husband when she was 16. And when they met, he wanted Paul to give him a bribe. But, Paul spoke of righteousness and judgment – he didn’t like it, so he left Paul in prison for 2 years until the next guy took over.
The thing is, Paul spoke of righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come. These things are important for everyone – Christians and non-Christians alike.
There was a dog who kept stealing stuff and hiding them – no matter how much he tried to get it to stop, it never did.
Many Christians are like that. They steal something, go off on their own, indulge in sin, and feel that since no one has seen them, it doesn’t matter. But, the Lord has seen ALL things – even our hearts.
Jealous of a guy who makes tons of money? God knows your heart. God knows his as well. Should you repent of your attitude? We aren’t the only ones. Everyone does some sinful things and has sinful thoughts.
Let’s conclude with a prayer.
If you’ve ever stolen, lied, had evil thoughts, you need to repent. “Root them out, push them aside, four little foxes that will spoil the vine: envy, jealousy, malice, pride; all the others in our hearts abide?”
Do we have bad habits? Addictions? Regular evil thoughts? Humble yourselves, allow God to search your hearts. Let’s pray.
God, minister to our hearts, help us confess our sins. Help us overcome, gain the victory, release us from the inward shame, bring us into the Joy of the Lord which is our strength. We confess our sins, repent, receive your cleansing.
Apr 07 / 2013
Comments Off on How Did the Birth of Jesus Christ Come About? (Matthew 1:18-25)
Last time, we saw the genealogy of Jesus – the son of David, son of Abraham. His genealogy goes like this Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Judah… “begot” being the keyword. In this story, mother did not begot sons, but father.
The bottom line is different in the case of Jesus – it does not say “Joseph begot Jesus” – it says, “Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus.”
In the history of the world, only two men had no human fathers – Adam and Jesus. In the future, there are no more like that. In the future, if a girl becomes pregnant and says, “Oh, it’s the Holy Spirit!” Don’t believe her. One is enough.
If you see carefully, verse 18 says “Mary was pledged” = engaged, not yet married. Verse 19 says, “Joseph planned to divorce her” – they were already called husband and wife.
What was the process for marriage in Judaism at that time? 3 steps:
Engagement stage (made while the couple was young – only children – by their parents or professional match maker – regardless of the couple’s choice – they didn’t even see each other) In Korea, even up to the previous generation, they did this as well.
Betrothal (ratification – legal approval of engagement – this stage lasted for one year. During this period, they didn’t live together, lived separately in body. During this time, they should keep their virginity and purity to prepare to be husband and wife – but legally they were already called “husband and wife” with legal binding. During this period, if a wife committed adultery, she was to be stoned. If a husband died, the wife would be called a virgin widow.)
Proper Marriage (at the end of the year, live together in one house)
In this story, they were in the second stage when Mary got pregnant.
Brothers, if you were Joseph, what would you do?
Joseph was a “righteous man” (even though before God, no one is righteous, not even one). But humanly speaking, he was zealous to keep the Law. So, in this way, he should have divorced her – but he was also a gentleman, didn’t want her to be killed – so he was studying quietly, secretly to keep her alive. During this time, an angel appeared to him, and said, “Don’t be afraid to make her your wife. This child is of the Holy Spirit.”
If you see the book of Luke, an angel – Gabriel – appeared to Mary and said, “You will be with child and will give birth to a son – you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High and he will be given the throne of David and will rule over the house of Jacob, and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary said, “How? I’m a virgin.”
The angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.”
At that time, Mary responded “I’m a servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.”
Both Joseph and Mary obeyed fully.
Humanly speaking, Joseph was a gentleman. Let us also be gentle men.
All this took place to fulfill the prophecy (Isaiah).
Immanuel “God with us”
El = “God”
He had no union with her UNTIL she gave birth. But after that…
If we summarize the whole Old Testament in one sentence: It is the bundle of prophecies concerning the Messiah and his substitutionary death and his victorious reign.
Since Matthew is the Book of the King, it has many more quotations from the Old Testament than any of the other gospels.
It has 130 quotations and allusions to the OT.
Another key of Matthew, “King” and “Kingdom of Heaven” – that’s why we should repent. More than 32 times, we can see “The Kingdom of Heaven.” No other book has that.
All the story, all the genealogy:
Old Testament = prophecy
New Testament = fulfillment
OT – born of woman (not father), through the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, the son of David, through the virgin.
Genesis 3:13? – this is a curse from God to the serpent “I will put enmity between you and the woman – you will strike his heel and he will crush your head.” Ancient serpent = Satan. Woman’s offspring = Jesus – Galatians 4:14 “When the time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman.”
Genesis 18 – to Abraham – “through your offspring, all nations on Earth will be blessed.” – fulfilled through Jesus.
Genesis 44? – “The scepter will never depart from Judah”
2 Samuel – to David “I will establish your kingdom forever and ever.” – fulfilled in Jesus
“The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son.” Isaiah 7:14 – almost the same sentence.
“The Lord himself will give a sign – the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel.”
Isaiah 9:6 “To us a child is born, a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders (kingship) – and he shall be called Wonderful Counsel, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, King of Peace.”
The name (word) Jesus = savior – comes from Joshua. Jesus = Greek, Joshua = Hebrew. The name Joshua = “God’s salvation”
Joshua = Jesus = Jehovah is my salvation
Christ (Greek) = Messiah (Hebrew)
Jesus = human name
Christ = official title
Immanuel = describes his character
He was not a phantom, he was fully man – physically touchable. He was also fully God – sinless, born of a virgin, without original sin – because he wasn’t born of a father.
So, what is the purpose of the virgin birth? Why through the virgin?
5 purposes for this:
#1: To fulfill God’s promise – to keep his promise.
God is not a man, he is God, so he is very faithful in keeping his promises.
#2: To reveal God
Can you see God? You can in Jesus. We cannot see God – but God can show himself to us. John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but he has made him known. God is spirit, but can show something of himself to us through nature, history, conscious, dreams, visions, prophets. But God has shown ALL of himself through Jesus.”
Hebrews 1:1 “ In the past, God spoke to prophets, but in these last days, through Jesus.”
Colossians 2 “In Christ, all the fulness of the Trinity, divinity dwells in Jesus.”
Jesus = God’s final self revelation
#3: To bridge the gap between God and man
Like Matthew, the bridge between OT and NT, Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man.
1 Timothy 5 “There is one God and one mediator between God and man – Jesus Christ.”
If I want to be a mediator to the Japanese, I can’t do it by speaking Chinese. If I speak English, it also doesn’t work. But, if I speak Japanese fluently, I can be a mediator to them.
Jesus is fully God and fully man, he speaks both languages fluently. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
#4: Through virgin birth to save us from our sins
Think about this: to get forgiveness is very essential – what should you do? From God? Repent. Confess our sins to receive forgiveness from God – it is necessary, essential, absolute to receive forgiveness.
But remember, confession is not enough.
First, the penalty of sin must be paid – the wages of sin = death.
So, to be a perfect Savior, he must be God to save us, he must be REAL man to die and pay our penalty, he must be sinless for his sacrifice to be effective.
Who is there in this world/life like that? Only Jesus.
#5: To show us the example of a sinless, holy life.
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. You will find rest for your souls.”
Who can say, “I’m gentle, I’m humble, you will find rest”? Jesus, he is holy and sinless.
1 Peter 2 “You are called to follow the example set before you by Jesus.”
Q: Is Jesus your Savior?
If True, he is our example, model, of what kind of people we should be in this world.
In the Bible, there are many human writers (40) – all the writers of the Word are PERFECT in their writings (only) but they are NOT perfect in their character. Only Jesus is infallible in his teaching and character.
There are 2 steps:
Non-believer: Believe in Jesus and live.
Believer: Follow Jesus’ example
For us the most important thing is Jesus’ example.
In Exodus, when Moses came down from the mountain, his face shown (glowed) – if we are real Christians, we are being transformed into that kind of person more and more as we walk with Jesus and follow his example.
If you “like” Christ, you should be LIKE Christ.
Mar 31 / 2013
Comments Off on The Resurrection! (Matthew 28:1-20) – Easter 2013
The resurrection is the lynchpin – the ONE thing that holds all of Christianity together.
In 1 Cor 15, Paul even says, “If Christ has NOT been raised, then your faith is Worthless – futile – meaningless.”
Jesus’ resurrection was the vindication of his life and ministry.
1 Cor 15:20 “But now Christ HAS been raised from the dead. The first fruits of those who are asleep.” The resurrection at the end of the age.
Because of the importance of the belief of the resurrection of Jesus as a HISTORICAL event – 2000 approximate years ago.
The calendar is divided by Christ (A.D. = Ado Domini = “The Year of our Lord”)
Based on its importance as Christian doctrine, skeptics and unbelievers have attacked it. Even some “Christians” have “watered it down” so much that it’s lost much of its power.
The “Jesus Seminars” asked everyone to change the gospels to fit their own opinions and speculations.
Was Jesus really placed in a tomb?
Historically, when criminals were crucified, they were left to rot on the cross or thrown into a mass grave.
John Dominic Crossland said, “Jesus body was probably dug up and eaten by dogs.”
#1 What do the eyewitnesses say?
The body of Jesus was turned over to Joseph of Arimethea – a member of the council who decided to kill Jesus based on blasphemy.
Mark’s gospel says, “the entire Sanhedrin voted to kill Jesus.” (chp 14).
Luke says, “Behold, a man named Joseph had not consented to this plan.” He was waiting for the kingdom of God.
Witnesses say the body was turned over to Joseph.
1 Cor 15:3-7 is not just something of Paul’s opinion, but something he received as a new Christian – an early Christian creed (an article of belief). “For what I received, I passed on to you, as of first importance. That Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures. That he was buried. That he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. And that he appeared to…up to 500 people at once.”
This creed is a summary that corresponds line-by-line to the gospel accounts.
Joseph of Arimethea is mentioned in ALL the gospels.
Mark is the first gospel written (probably about 30 years later or sooner). There was not much time for “historic legend” to sprout up.
Joseph was a member of the council that condemned Jesus to death. Imagine how the disciples would feel about that. Would they have chosen him to honor Jesus in his death? Despite any embarrassment, it was Joseph, a follower of Jesus, who took care of Jesus after his death.
The care of Jesus’ body is one of the earliest, and BEST attested FACTS of Jesus’ death and burial.
Some people (Jehovah’s Witnesses for example) believe that Jesus’ resurrection was spiritual – NOT bodily.
The Jews concept of resurrection was PHYSICAL. The primary object of the person was the BONES – not even the flesh. After the flesh rotted away, the Jews would gather bones to be preserved in a box until the end of the world when God would resurrection everyone. It’s unthinkable to think that they thought it would be spiritual resurrection.
Joseph (in Egypt) made his family swear that they would carry his bones with them out of Egypt after he died (Genesis 50:20-)
Hebrews 7 – the heroes of faith. THIS statement put him in that gallery of the heroes of faith. Joseph was a HUGE deal in Egypt, but this statement was a statement of faith that the situation would change. Eventually, a Pharaoh arose that persecuted them, and eventually, Moses got the Israelites out and he carried Joseph’s bones out as promised. Joshua eventually led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and Joseph’s bones were eventually buried in Shechem.
Here we can see the importance of the attachment to bones the Jews had. They REALLY believed that the BONES would be resurrected at the end of time.
#2: The Security of the Tomb
How secure was it? The tighter the security, the less likely it would be tampered with.
Historically, there would be a slanted groove (at an angle) and a large stone would be rolled down the groove with a small stone in place to hold the boulder. This boulder must weigh several hundred kilograms and would be difficult to roll back up without help. Also, the tomb would likely have had a rope attached between the boulder and the wall. It would have to be cut.
Also, there were guards (but only Matthew records it). Consider the claims and counter-claims between Jews and Jesus.
Christians = “Jesus is risen!”
Jews = “You stole it!”
Christians = “There were guards.”
Jews = “They fell asleep.”
Christians = “You bribed them to say that.”
IF no guards…
Christians = “Jesus is risen!”
Jews = “You stole it!”
Christians = “There were guards.”
Jews = “What guards??! You’re crazy!”
SO, there is STRONG evidence to show there really WERE guards.
#3: The Jews seemed to believe MORE than the Christians that Jesus WOULD rise again as he’d said. Look at the precautions they took.
“Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, ‘After 3 days, I’ll rise again.’ (Matt 16:21)”
This was around the time that Jesus started prophesying his sufferings, and death, and resurrection – from that time on, he began to show what must happen to him. Peter rebuked him – Jesus rebuked him back. Jesus knew what he must do, Peter didn’t.
So, here he spoke on his resurrection. Word got around to the Jews – they believed it! That’s why they wanted to station a guard there. So, Pilate gave them a guard (in the Greek, the word used refers to Romans). And Romans came to arrest Jesus in the first place.
There are other objections, but ALL can be justified and accounted for.
There are differences in the Easter morning writings. It’s dark, or it’s light? 5am, is it light or dark? Well, I say it’s light, but you (might be sleepy) say it’s still dark.
There might be plagarism. Someone stole someone else’s work for their writing. But, no historian would care about secondary details if the heart of the story is the same.
For example, Alexander’s campaign across the Alps has two separate accounts, but no one ever doubts that it actually happened.
What about the women? Their testimonies? Some priests thought “Let the word of the Law be BURNED rather than given to women.” They weren’t allowed to testify in court even.
Now, if this was a “legend” – it would’ve been the MEN who “found” the empty tomb. But, the gospel writers were willing to be embarrassed by this fact and ridiculed, in order to tell the TRUTH.
This have all been debated, but have all stood the test of time – up to now.
Psalm 16 “God would not allow his holy one to undergo decay” This was written by David. David died, and his tomb is here today. But Jesus died, and his body is NOT here today. This was from Peter – who had DENIED Jesus, had wept bitterly, had given up on everything – and now he’s back preaching with power.
“When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down, laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and was seen by MANY people over the weeks.” – this was Paul – who’d once persecuted Christians.
We’ve even heard a testimony this morning about what Jesus can do for us, save us from sin.
William Lane Craig is probably the most prominent speaker about the resurrection – but he came from a non-Christian family. He went, he wasn’t impressed – they didn’t really believe, didn’t really “act” like Christians – he became cynical and bitter. But at school there was a girl named Sandy who was always so joyful and happy (made him sick). “Why are you always so happy?” “I’m saved!” “Huh?” “God loves me, and loves you too.” It hit him like a pile of bricks. He realized the truth, and went out and became a Christian, and dedicated his life to proclaim it. He proclaims the HISTORICAL aspects of the resurrection.
There are two kinds of people:
Those that hear and believe and have experiential faith that they are changed.
Those that study the historical reality of the resurrection and believe.
We need BOTH.(Seriously the historical REALITY is pretty amazing. Research it.)
Mar 24 / 2013
Comments Off on Matthew is The Book of the King! (Matthew 1:1-17)
There are two lines concerning the coming of the Christ:
He was to come as a savior from sin.
He was to come as a king with a kingdom.
He came as a double role.
We studied John for about 2 years.
John emphasizes Jesus as SAVIOR.
Matthew emphasizes Jesus as KING.
In Christian’s life, faith and work, mission and life, privilege and responsibility go together.
If we have faith – we have fruit.
If we are sons of God – we are to live as princes and princesses of God.
Sonship and kingship go together all the time.
This is the gospel according to Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, a bridge from the OT to the NT. It starts with a family tree.
In the OT, after the Fall, one of the themes was the geneaology of Adam. The NT starts with Jesus (the Second/Last Adam).
The OT gives the history of Adam’s family – that is a sad story – Jesus came to save the generation of Adam. Through the story, from no choice of our own, we were born as Adam’s family – but by our own choice, through faith, we can be born into the family of Christ.
Why is he introduced as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham? Because in the OT there was a covenant with David and Abraham
Genesis 12 – God promised a son and line through Abraham – his own son.
God promised he’d make Abraham into a great nation, all people were to be blessed through him. This covenant is being fulfilled by Jesus Christ – God sent his one and only son, and left his home and came into this dark, dirty world as his mission field. Whoever denies Jesus will be cursed, whoever believes in him will be blessed.
God gives him the name above all names, so that all knees will bow and worship him. So that all peoples on Earth can be blessed by Jesus.
That’s why Jesus is introduced as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham.
This (boring) story still has 3 points – even MORE! (But we’ve only got like 30 minutes):
Look at the names of the women (important)
See the stage of generation divisions
Look at the keywords in this story
#1: The names of the women
(WOAH! women? In the geneaology? Who is the author? Not a typical dude of that generation)
Women were not counted in number at that time (census, when Jesus fed 5,000, they were regarded as property – to use as a man wanted)
So, in a Jewish man’s prayer, he used to say, “Thanks God that I’m not a Gentile, a slave, nor a woman!” Wow!
So this is shocking, exciting, surprising.
These must have been amazingly GREAT women, right?
Tamar – dressed like a prostitute to get her father-in-law to get her pregnant – her husband was killed, and her father-in-law Judah said, just wait a bit until my son is older, but he didn’t do his duty, so she lured him in to make a baby with her.
Rahab – prostitute
Ruth – Gentile woman – according to Deut 3:23? No Moabites, no Amonites could enter into the assembly of the Lord, yet here she is.
Bathsheba – King David raped her, and killed her husband in battle, then he took her as his wife, and his first son was killed by God in punishment – but he eventually got Solomon from her
Mary – was a virgin, but when she was found with child…people talk
So, this is a very shocking geneaology. Nobody can judge these women – if you judge them, you also will be judged.
Jesus came to destroy all barriers
Galatians 3:28? Neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, but all are one in Christ – he himself is our peace, he has destroyed and broken down the walls of hostility between all men (and women).
There is no sinner who cannot be forgiven in Jesus Christ.
1 Tim 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: That is Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom, I’m the worst (the chief).”
“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John?)
#2: The stage of generation divisions.
14 generations Abraham -> David
14 generations David -> Exile to Babylon
14 generations Exile -> Jesus
Each stage has 14 generations.
It is very good for us to memorize this thing.
Sometimes, the number 7 = perfect in the Bible – so here 14 = double perfect.
Now here, these divisions show us something symbolic.
Stage 1: Up to David. He unified Israel into a nation and made them a power in this world – he was one of the greatest kings in Israel’s history.
Stage 2: The Great Depression – Destruction, Ruin, Tragedy – they lost EVERYTHING
Stage 3: Renewal in Jesus
They are liberated and rescued from their slavery. He turns their mourning into dancing, again..
This shows the spiritual reality of man’s world.
Stage 1: Man is created with greatness! With power, with blessing, in God’s own image. Fill the Earth, subdue it, be fruitful and multiply. Man was given dominion over ALL things and designed for fellowship with God. God’s dream for man was a dream of greatness. If man were a servant of God at that time, God would be king over all Creation. If man loved him, feared him, worshiped him, then ALL Creation would follow along.
Stage 2: Man became a slave of sin rather than a servant of God. So, man lost his hope, fellowship, life, blessing from God.
Stage 3: Man can regain his greatness through Jesus Christ. God didn’t allow man to be destroyed by his foolishness. That’s why God sent his one and only Son to restore our communion and blessing and relationship with God.
This is our spiritual story with God.
#3: Keyword (Father of)
….sooooo many (39 times – and actually, coincidentally there are 39 books of the OT).
King James says, “Abraham begot Isaac”
begot = 39 times
The King James version is better to be close to the original Greek.
Begot = pregnant and produce new life.
If we see the genealogy in Genesis 5, we see, “his son lived XXX years and then he DIED.” (Keyword = DIED)
In the genealogy of Jesus (BEGOT).
What does this mean spiritually?
This is why the Bible says, “In Adam, all die and in Christ, all can be alive.”
Adam became a living being from the dust of the Earth, but lost his life through sin.
Jesus came as a life-giving spirit to undo what Adam had done.
In our first birth, we automatically belong to Adam. We are dust, sinners, we will die. Adam’s destiny is our destiny – nobody can escape.
That’s why Jesus came to give us new life, eternal life. That’s why we must be born again. To accept Jesus as our life.
One more lesson from “begot”
There are so many people involved:
kings, priests, shepherds, carpenters, beggars, prostitutes – but there is only one common thing that is essential and necessary to be involved in this genealogy of Jesus.
Who could be involved in this?
Only those who “begot” new life.
Matthew 25 “This gospel will be preached to ALL nations and THEN the end will come” (so don’t get your hopes up earlier)
Revelation 22 “Behold, I’m coming soon.”
King James “Behold, I’m coming quickly!” 3 times repeated.
In heaven, another genealogy of the Second Coming of Jesus is being written, not on paper, but in God’s heart.
Whose name can be written in the genealogy of the Second Coming of Christ?
Pastor? Deacon? Elder? Brother? Sister? Christian? Korean? Westerner? No, no, no.
Only those who “begot” new eternal life, continually, continually, will be written in this new genealogy of the Second Coming of Christ.
***If we “get” eternal life in our Savior, we MUST “beget” eternal life for Christ in others.