Tag Archives: Gospels

Behold Your God — Week Ten, Day Three

2 Aug

Today’s study focused on formal efforts to alter the Jesus of truth presented in Scripture to a more acceptable Jesus. Thomas Jefferson did this with his Jefferson Bible which removed elements of the supernatural. Nineteenth century scholars did this with their “quest for the historical Jesus.” Twentieth century scholars like Rudolph Bultmann did this with their program of “demythologization.” In the late twentieth century scholars of the Jesus Seminar tried to discern in the gospels which were the core teachings of Jesus and which were later additions from His followers. Finally, in the twenty first century we have the immensely popular Dan Brown novels The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. Brown’s novels revolve around the idea that the truth about Jesus has been obscured by a conspiracy of Church powers.

All of these formal efforts to alter our understanding of Jesus have affected our culture profoundly. But the more profound change has taken place in the hearts of countless people who have altered their concept of Jesus without telling anyone. A little shift here, a little change there, and suddenly I have made a god in my own image. This is a real danger. The only antidote is prayerful attention to Scripture and a willingness to believe what God says even if it is difficult to accept or understand. Sometimes, things are difficult for us because of our background. For example, we might be tempted to overemphasize or underestimate Jesus’ teachings on poverty and wealth based on what kind of political background we were raised in as children. We have to honestly face the words and works of Jesus and come to terms with who He really is and this is part of worship. Getting to know Him more accurately is a means of drawing near to Him. Any other approach leaves us in the end worshiping a god of our own making.

Behold Your God — Week Five, Day Four

29 Jun

Salvation is bigger than you think. Today’s study is largely a matter of looking up and summarizing key New Testament verses on salvation, focusing especially on what God has done for us in salvation. Tomorrow the focus shifts to what God does in us in salvation.

These two days of study clearly show us two truths . . . salvation is a work of God and salvation is much more than the forgiveness of sins. I don’t want to diminish the forgiveness of sins or the initial faith in Jesus which leads a person from darkness to light, from hell to heaven but it is important to remember that the saving work of God really changes everything. We are given a new status, no longer slaves to sin but now sons of God. We are given new power for living, as the Spirit comes to dwell in us and strengthen us. We are given new eyes for spiritual truth, so that the Bible comes alive. We are given the promise of growing holiness. We are given the promise of eternal perfection. We are given the promise that God will never leave us and that we will be with Him forever. Salvation is much more than we think. Spend your time thinking about these things, and then share them with others. God’s plan of salvation is more exciting than any church program or activity, than any entertainment or vacation, than anything. Let the gospel be your life-long fascination.

Behold Your God — Week Four, Day Three

21 Jun

Whereas the Old Testament speaks of Christ in types and shadows, the gospels reveal Jesus in the fullness of His majesty. Jesus’ story leaps off the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We must never allow these accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry to grow cold to us. Read and meditate over the gospels often.

But beyond this danger, there is another danger when we come to the gospels. We may come looking for what the gospels say to us rather than looking to what Jesus’ life says about God. When John says of Jesus in John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side (Jesus), He has made Him known” we see there the truth that if we want to know what God is like, we should look to Jesus.

Jesus came to manifest the glory of God and to display the holiness and mercy of God. If we go to the gospels beginning with what they say to us, we might miss who Jesus really is and not know God as we should. Many people who do not believe in God at all find some value in the teachings of Jesus. How tragic would it be to find moral values or direction for living but not find Jesus? After all, Jesus teaches us many good things: to love the unlovable, to sacrifice for the greater good, to care for human need, to live simply, to live for others, to not be attached to money, to not be caught up in religiosity, to reject hypocrisy, to be truthful. On and on we could go with the excellent moral values of Jesus. But it would be a tragedy to know and practice all these things without bowing to Jesus as Lord. Unless you focus on His person, and what He reveals of God, it is possible that you might like His values without ever coming to know Him at all.

So when you come to the Gospels, ask this question: what does this passage teach me about God? If you start with this question, you will begin to re-orient your life around God and relationship with Him and as a wonderful by-product of this relationship you will find many personal blessings. There are great blessings to be found in the Christian life, but they are tied up in the Person of Jesus. Many people are defeated in their lives because they are trying to live Christian values without a close and growing relationship with Christ. Beholding God in the face of Jesus Christ will reshape your whole life.

Coming January 3, 2016

30 Dec

Starting Sunday I will be planning to post daily reflections on a yearlong Bible reading plan. The plan takes readers through the Old Testament and Acts-Revelation and provides a daily meditation on the gospels. So readers go through the whole Bible in a year while spending time in the gospels every day.

The readings for the Week of January 3 are as follows . . .

3 — Genesis 1-3   &  Mark 1:1-8

4 — Genesis 4-9  &  Mark 1:9-13

5 — Genesis 10-11  &   Mark 1:14-15

6 — Genesis 12-17  &  Mark 1:16-20

7 — Genesis 18-24 & Mark 1:21-28

8 — Genesis 25-26 & Mark 1:29-34

9 — BREAK  &  Mark 1:35-39

R.T. France on the Differences Between Galilee and Judea

17 Aug

On Sunday nights we have been studying the Gospel of Mark verse by verse at our church.  This has been a fascinating study and one which has shown me more than ever the depth and power of this smallest of Gospels.

Today I found an article on Justin Taylor’s blog which provides helpful general ideas on the importance of geography and culture in Palestine at the time of Jesus.  New Testament scholar RT France highlights seven key differences between Galilee and Judea.  His article may help you understand a little better some of the hatred the Judean religious leaders felt toward Jesus.

Here is the link:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/08/17/7-differences-between-galilee-and-judea-in-the-time-of-jesus/

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