Last Week of Jesus- Wednesday


Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus.

 14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.     Matthew 26:14-16

This is Wednesday of the last week of Jesus before he would be viciously killed. It’s a day of rest as they prepare for Passover. The disciples are with Jesus, resting with Him, but one slips away. Judas Iscariot make his way to see the chief priests and strikes a deal with them for 30’pieces of silver: that is about equivalent to 400-600.00 today. In that day it was enough to purchase one slave (Expdus 21:32)

600 dollars is not much to betray God and lose your soul.

We might forget that Jesus chose Judas after praying all night. They spent every day together for three years, talking, eating together, laughing. Jesus sent him out to minister. Judas shared in the miracle of feeding 5,000 people. His was in the circle of trust. Not much hurts worse than being betrayed by a brother.

And the priests were more than happy to pay Judas. They hated Jesus. They were jealous of His power, for who of them could raise the dead? Give sight to the blind? Hearing to the deaf? Heal them of all diseases? Deliver them from demons? Who could create food? Control storms? They were also jealous of His popularity for His power had garnered Him popularity, the likes of which no person ever walking on this planet had received because none had ever done what He did. They were jealous of the accolades He received from the crowd. They hated His message.

 Theirs was a message of earn your salvation by works, and His was a message of repent for your sin and receive your salvation as a gift of grace, and they hated that because they were proud and self-righteous. They wanted to earn their way in.

It was done. Jesus would be betrayed. Judas greed had won out. The Chief Priests got the last word. Satan had struck the final blow. Or so it looked… But it was all in the plan.

It had all been foretold in the prophecies. Jesus would be betrayed and he would die for it. But it was God’s plan all along. What Satan meant for the greatest victory for evil, God would use to redeem the world. Jesus endured the betrayal of a brother, the loneliesness of being a rejected leader, and the punishment of a deadly criminal all for us. He did it all so we could live free. He did it because He loved us intensely. Never forget! Never take this sacrifice for granted!

Last Week of Jesus- Tuesday

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36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

It is Tuesday of the last week of Jesus life on this earth. Jesus is departing Bethany and heading into the inner part of the city of Jerusalem for Passover. While He is starting the two mile journey from Bethany, Jesus engages in discussion with those on the road. At one point He encounters the Scribes. The Scribes, lawyers of the Pharisees, pose a question to Jesus. Their intent is not pure. They are not seeking to learn from Jesus’ wisdom nor are they just inquisitive. Rather, they want to trip Him up so that they can “catch” Him in a contradiction or blasphemy.

They ask him which is the greatest commandment. Instead of choosing one, Jesus brilliantly encapsulates all ten commandments by alluding to Deuteronomy 6:5 (Shema). By telling them to love God with their whole being, He captures the essence of the first five commandments. He then refers to loving your neighbor, which undergirds the second five commandments. These two commandments sum them all up. The scribes couldn’t disagree with His logic. They were unable to trip Jesus up and in turn He made a profound statement summing up what two pursuits are the most important for us in life… to love God and to love your neighbor.

We make our faith much more complicated than it should be. We make it about a list of do’s and do nots; about rules and regulations; traditions and rituals. It transcends that.

Here is how I suggest you should live.You might be shocked on my prescription but I think God would back me on it:  I have two things for you to do and from there do whatever you want. I mean it, no boundaries. Live like you want with no pressure. Don’t try and live in accordance with a bunch of rules and regulations. Do whatever you want to do. I am serious. I just want you to simply follow two principles. Just two. After that you are completely free to do what you want. Two things: Love God with all you are and love your neighbor as yourself. If you do these two things you don’t have to wonder if you are living right. You don’t have to wonder if you are doing enough. You don’t have to measure up to any other standard. Just love God with all you are and love others as much as you love yourself and from there do whatever you want.

Church if we take Jesus seriously and begin to live out these two principles it will transform not only us but the world around us. Your biggest obstacle here is yourself. The biggest threat to our obedience to these two greatest commandments is that we love self too much. I don’t want you to hate yourself. As Keller said, “humility is not thinking less of yourself but rather thinking about yourself less.” Jesus is not asking you to not enjoy life or to do nothing for yourself. He is asking us to think of self less so that we make room for what should be priority in our life as Christians, to love God and to love our neighbor.

If we don’t love , then who out there is going to take us seriously? If we live the same way they do then how can we say we have anything different worth taking notice of? They need to see our love for God and love for them as consistent and genuine. If not then we are guilty of being what they call us, hypocrites.  We show our faith to be ingenue and not worth considering. Love is the key.

We need to put more effort into responding to our God in love. We do this by praying to Him, worshipping Him, and obeying Him. Those three acts speak love to our God. Find time to do those outside of Sunday. As you love God more you will begin to care more and more about others. What could you do this week as an anonymous act for someone else that shows them love and care? There are hurting people all around you. Plenty of people need your care today. Take time to do an act of kindness for them in the name of Christ. Don’t do this on display so that you get the glory. Let your actions and words point them to Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

Last Week Of Jesus- Monday

Jesus Cleanses the Temple12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. Matthew 21:12

Mondays can be depressing. Jesus would agree. On this Monday, the beginning of His last week on earth, He is in His Father’s house. To His dismay, there are money changers and sellers of pigeons in the temple, making more than a buck off of people trying to worship God. During this pandemic there are those who would you use it to profit. Be careful who you listen to for spiritual advise during this time. There are many who would sell you “pigeons at the temple.”

This angered Jesus. He went to see God’s people and what he saw was anything but a sign of sincere faith and worship. The word tells us Jesus got really mad. He had righteous indignation to the degree that he flipped their tables over and sent their things flying. Can you imagine Jesus being this upset that he ransacks their tables! You don’t mess with His Father’s house!

Did I mention the temple would have been packed? It is the start of Passover week, the most Holy Week of the Jewish calendar. Jesus made quite the scene on this start of the holiday. As the sheckels flew, clattering on the floor, no one could miss Jesus message.

What angered Jesus to this degree? He could not take those using His Father’s name for their own selfish gain. He was angry to see them claim faith only when it benefited them. Today, we can be guilty of the same. We follow Christ when it is convenient. We will serve Him if it fits our schedule. We will worship Him if it is in a church setting. We will pray if it’s meal time. We go through the motions and pay our dues but are we truly committed, sold out to Him? All of us are more sensitive to our need for Him right now in this trying time but what about when it is over? Will we still see our need? Will we still cry out to Him? A religious of convenience will lead you away from God not to Him.

Jesus disturbed the religious. He kicked the anthill and sent the money changers and animal sellers running. We need our religiosity to be disturbed by Jesus today. We need Him to unsettle us. To move us out of complacency into pursuit of Him. We need Him to stir up our affections for each other, to love more than we do. We need Him to break our hearts for the lost around us so that we are compelled to share. Jesus unsettle us today. We don’t want to be complacent!

As we start this week before Easter, may God renew in us a passion for Him. Don’t settle for anything less!

Jesus Does Not Share

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13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.  Matthew 7:13-14

Imagine going to the doctor and being told that your Gallbladder needs to be removed. Now you have grown fond of your gallbladder so you tell the doc that you would like for them to remove “part” of your gallbladder and leave you the rest. Or you go to wash your car and tell them just to wash one side of the car.

Ludicrous…Insane…Preposterous… Exactly how many respond to Jesus.

The idea that Jesus wants to be a part of your life is about as off as telling the doc you want to keep part of the bad organ. Did Jesus come to take part of my sins, part of my dreams, part of my habits? Ludicrous I say!

Jesus knew that people would try and tease their life with a little bit of him. His words in Matthew ring with power and warning.

We can break the passage down into three parts to follow exactly what Jesus means by the way is Narrow:

1) It is the gate that leads to Heaven. The ONLY gate. No other way there. No back door. No secret entrance.

2) It is difficult path (word “strait” in archaic translation means rigid or difficult).Will mean sacrifice. Will mean you give up things. Will cost you.

3) There will not be many who take this path over the course of human history. Path is too difficult. Most will take the easy route.

Jesus will not share us even with ourselves. He wants you, your family, your children, your bank account, your stuff. This would be terrible news if He were not so amazing! When you give it to him he redeems it into something eternally significant.

 What does Jesus want? He wants all of you not part of you. No part time Christians out there. God wants full custody of you and not just weekend visits.

Only then will you understand the true blessing of the truth that I no longer live but Christ lives in me!

WHAT OTHER RELIGIONS SAY ABOUT JESUS

As I read Scripture it is evident that the central crux of  faith is Jesus Christ. Everything we believe is based on the revelation of Him. We know Jesus is someone recognized even outside of Christianity. He made such an impact that most  religions have something to say about him. Is Jesus central to their faith? Let’s look:

1) ISLAM- Isa Ibn Maryam is known as Jesus in the New Testament and is considered a messenger of God. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary according to the Qur’an. Jesus was not killed on the cross but raised up to Heaven by God. Jesus considered himself Muslim and taught the straight way. He is not the greatest prophet, that accolade going to Muhammed. Jesus is not considered God but a prophet of God.

2) HINDUISM- Ishu, who was born in a cowshed, was visited by three holy men, performed many amazing miracles, walked on water and spoke a wonderful sermon on a mountain. Ishu being Jesus in Hinduism. Jesus is seen as much more, as an Avatar, specifically a Shaktavesha Avatar or an empowered incarnation. This means that God has sent Jesus for a specific mission to fulfill God’s will on earth. They believe that Jesus was murdered but he did not resurrect but reincarnated. Jesus is not considered God but an Avatar.

3) JUDAISM- Yeshua was one of many false messiahs in Judaism. Yeshua being the Hebrew name for Jesus. They do give Jesus the distinction of being the most damaging of all false messiahs. The Jewish leaders had Jesus killed but not for claiming to be the messiah. Jesus claimed to be God (Jn 10:30; Lk 22:70; Jn 8:56-58), blasphemy to the Jews. Judaism taught that no one outside the Father could be worshiped less they commit idolatry. They condemned Jesus on the charges of blasphemy. Jesus was a false messiah and a miscreant according to Judaism.

4) BUDDHISM- Buddhism is considered a philosophical approach to life more than a religion. It has little intersection with Christianity and very little to say about Jesus. Some modern Buddhists have said that Jesus was Buddha reincarnated. There have been several Buddhists who have drawn parallels between Jesus and Buddha’s teachings. Without the need for faith or any real belief system, Buddhism recognizes Jesus as an enlightened man with great influence but not divine.

5) JEHOVAH WITNESS- JW has a lot to say about Jesus. Jesus was the firstborn of creation and not considered to be God. They reject the idea of the Trinity seeing it as polytheistic (more than one god). JWs’ teach that Jesus pre-existent form in Heaven was as Michael, the Archangel. He took on human form for the purpose of setting people free from sin and death. Only a select few are really saved by being JW and doing certain good works. Jesus has no real power to save in that he is not divine.

6) LATTER DAY SAINTS (MORMONS)- LDS church desires to be viewed as a Christian denomination. They are adamant that they fit within the Christian worldview. So what do they believe about Jesus? According to LDS, Jesus was the son of God in Heaven along with his brother, Lucifer. Lucifer went the path of the devil and Jesus stayed faithful to His Father’s calling. A precursory look of LDS belief on Jesus is comparable to Christianity’s teachings about Jesus. The problem lies in what is not said but insinuated. For example, LDS teach that all people are saved by the blood of Christ regardless of whether or not they put their trust in him. This is starkly in contrast to what the Bible teaches about salvation (Jn 14:6; Rmn 10:9-13; Mt 7:21) LDS holds to Universalism. They also teach that works and special rites as set by the LDS church determine your position in heaven. Achievement can result in LDS males being declared god over their own planet! There is no denying that there are many similarities between LDS and Christianity’s belief on Jesus but the subtle differences make these two different faiths altogether.

7) SCIENTOLOGY- Jesus is recognized by scientologists as part of its early religious heritage. Scientology teaches that man is basically good at his core and he alone can free himself from the trappings of his mind. The idea that Jesus was God is considered fiction to Scientologists and comes from unenlightened minds.

A few closing comments to ponder:

1) What we believe about Jesus will determine our eternal destiny. John 14:6- I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except by me. 

2) Most other religions recognize Jesus but He must be declared as fully human and fully God or it is not the Jesus of the Bible (Col 1).

3) Religions want to play nice with Jesus but he must be made supreme or we do nothing but insult him (Phill 2:10).

4) Every religion should be boiled down to what it believes about Jesus and then be measured by that in accordance with Scripture (Acts 4:12).

He Is The Centerpiece of the Human Race

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in an obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty, and then for three years he was an itinerant teacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never traveled, except in his infancy, more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompanies greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

While he was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through a mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth, his seamless robe. When he was dead, he was taken down from the cross and laid in a borrowed grave through the courtesy of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today he is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of all human progress. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever were built, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has this one solitary personality.

– Unknown

Read more: http://www.inspirationalarchive.com/628/one-solitary-life/#ixzz1oOt3PTmD