Category Archives: Christology

Hoping for something more

Luke 24:21a  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…

Have you ever looked back on something in your life and realized how foolish you looked for not seeing what was right in front of you?  The story in Luke’s account of the Gospel about two disciples who were talking while they traveled, just days after Jesus’ death on the cross, makes one wonder just how foolish they felt as they looked back at their encounter with Jesus.

As they walked along sulking that this man they had followed, who that had placed their trust in as the promised Messiah, the one who would redeem His people Israel, the resurrected Jesus actually joined them.  These two of His disciples recounted the story of Jesus’ crucifixion to Him (because they didn’t recognize Him as being Jesus) and expressed lament over the fact that He hadn’t lived up to their hopes.  We look back now and wonder how on earth the risen Lord could have disappointed anyone’s hopes, but these Jewish men had been awaiting a Messiah who would establish an earthly kingdom to save them from their oppressors and Jesus did not do that.  No, instead He was killed by those oppressors.  This fell short of what they had wanted from Him.

But Jesus came to do so much more than just save Israel from an oppressive government. He came to bring reconciliation with God, to all, Jews and Gentiles alike.  But the men didn’t know this yet because they were so focused on their own expectations.  Can’t we do that sometimes?  Don’t we sometimes expect God to answer us in some small way and when we don’t see it we get all upset with Him, when really there’s a much bigger blessing in store if we’d only open our eyes?  The guys in this story opened their eyes and eventually saw Jesus for who He was and what He came to do.  That’s hope for all of us.

Jesus Will Reign

Luke 19:11-14 The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.

He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return.  Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’  But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’

And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’”

It is interesting that Jesus used current events in this parable to teach the people about God’s Kingdom. In the true story Herod Archelaus went to Rome to stake a claim for the kingdom that his dad Herod the Great had left to him in his will. Archelaus had dealt harshly with the Jews before this and a lot of Jews went to Rome to protest his petition to become king. Despite their efforts, Caesar Augustus made him ruler from 4 BC to 6 BC. Archelaus was the reason that Joseph was afraid to leave Egypt and return to Nazareth.

Luke is very straight forward about the reason for this parable, Jesus told this parable before he left Jericho and headed for Jerusalem, he needed to correct a misunderstanding. There were many people that thought that Jesus would rule here on earth right away and they felt that this trip to Jerusalem was a good time for it to start.

Jesus had to tell them that it wasn’t time, he spoke to the issue before, trying to get people to realize that he wasn’t going to overthrow the Roman government and be their earthly king. They hungered for immediate relief from the Roman government but that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. (John 18:36)

Jesus told us that in God’s plan he wasn’t going to reign yet but instead he was going to die. Jesus was here to cover the death penalty that we are all facing for our sins. They thought that they wanted him as king but what they needed most was a Savior.  (John 3:16)

Jesus came to earth as a lowly servant, a sacrificial lamb, he was obedient to God’s will and as a result he has been crowned king and he will return to reign. (Phil 2:8-11) When he returns he will judge us for our allegiance to the king:

  • Did you accept him as king or did you reject him?
  • Did you use the resources that he gave you to help prosper the kingdom?

There will be a great reward for our faithfulness to the Lord, I need to be faithful like the servants that anticipated the kings return and invested his money, he has given me resources that I need to use wisely.

Thank you Lord for your great sacrifice that took the death penalty away from me. I acknowledge you as King and want to submit to your authority in my life at all times.

RECENT POST ON DIGGING THE WORD:

Jesus, the risen Lord

Luke 24:5b-6a  “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.

Why do we look for the living among the dead?  Just as those who lived with Jesus while He was on the earth, we can tend to look for Jesus in the tomb.  But He’s not there.  Some think of Jesus with some sentimentality, as though He was once great, but now lives powerless in the grave.  But He’s not there.  He is alive.

If Jesus was not resurrected, He would be unable to act as our intercessor today.  But because He lives, He mediates between God and man.  Because He lives, He has the power to act as Lord.  Our God is not a dead god.  Our God has all power and authority.

What other god ever loved his own people so much that he would sacrifice his own life to save them?  Who, in the history of mankind, ever sacrificed himself only to rise from the dead?  Only one.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave His own life for us but lives now to act on our behalf.  He lives so we live.  If this wasn’t true, our faith would be in one who was powerless to be Lord of all.  But He does live.  And He is Lord of all.

Denied


Passage:  Luke 22:54-62

Key verses:  Luke 22:61-62  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

After all Jesus had done for Peter, how could he deny his Lord?  That’s the question we all ask, isn’t it?  How could this man who walked so closely with the Son of God deny even knowing Him?  But the truth is, Jesus did more for you and me than He did for Peter and even we deny Him.  The real question is: How could WE?

At the time of Peter’s denial, Jesus had yet to suffer on a cross, taking on the sins of the world, dying that we might have reconciliation with God.  But in our time, He has already paid that price, finished that purpose.  We have all the more reason to give Him the praise due Him, but instead we sometimes choose our own way and leave Him out of the equation.

The good news for Peter is that Christ still died for him, despite his denial.  Later, He even gave Peter a chance to redeem himself (John 21:15-19).  The good news for us is that He did die for our sake and we’re still able to call on Him.  Just like for Peter, our denial is not the end of the story.  Right now, at this moment, we can follow Him.

Betrayed beyond belief

Passage:  John 13:1-20

Key verse: Matthew 26:21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

No one, in the history of mankind, ever experienced the level of betrayal that the Son of God did.  Would you agree?  Nothing you’ve ever faced comes close to His time on earth.  Yet look at how Jesus dealt with those who betrayed Him, denied Him, abandoned Him, falsely accused Him, beat Him, tortured Him, and killed Him.

In light of the fact that Jesus knew all things before they occurred, John 13:1 is particularly powerful.  Knowing full well how His own disciples would treat Him, He “loved them to the end”.  Wow.  Park there for a minute.

With all knowledge that Peter would deny Him, that Judas would betray Him, and that the rest would run away, Jesus knelt down before each of them, taking on the role of a servant, and washed the feet of each man.

What right on this earth do you and I have to be unforgiving toward anyone who’s wronged us?  We have to be amazed at this action and attitude by Jesus because He of all people did have the right to judge and withhold forgiveness.  Can we follow His example?

Light of the world

John 1:4-5  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus Christ has always been.  There was never a time when He was not in existence.  He made all things, to include us, and He holds all things together, including our lives.  One day, He stepped down into this world, our world, from the perfection of heaven in the darkness.

But because Jesus is the light of all the world, the darkness could not overcome Him.  It didn’t stand a chance against the Son of God.  He is the true light and in Him is found grace and truth.

Can any darkness exist in a place where light shines?  Can any aspect of life remain dark where Christ is Lord?  Apply this to your life.  Submit to the lordship of Jesus, committing all areas of your life to Him, and He will prevail.

*This devotion first appeared in September of 2010.

Warning Concerning Antichrists

The First Letter of John

1 John 2: 18-27 18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.t21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he made to ust—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

 It will never be my intention to scare you, but there are certain warnings in God’s Word that need to be looked at.  John thought it was important enough to point out the existence of antichrists that he spent a good portion of his first letter warning about them.

There are those who oppose the gospel of Jesus Christ and seek to lead His followers astray.  Though we’d like them to be easily identifiable through something like their black cowboy hat, it isn’t that simple.  Though we’d like to be able to tell who they are based on the fact that they’re “out there” saying hateful things about Jesus, it’s not true.  They are among us, posing as our brothers and sisters.  They say things much like what we say.  They call themselves Christians but their intentions are not to follow Christ.  Their intentions are rather to keep others from following Him.

So how can we spot someone who is an antichrist if they look just like a Christian in some cases?  There is one test given by John to his readers.  They deny that Jesus is the Christ.  The simple fact is that they are called antichrists because they are against Christ.  If someone is opposed to believing that Jesus is the Son of God, sent into the world to redeem God’s people, then he is an antichrist.  Don’t get this mixed up with The Antichrist who will come as the embodiment of all that is evil.  These are individuals who reject the gospel yet try to look like they belong with Christians as they work to  destroy.  It was true in John’s time and it’s true in ours.  Be prepared for lies by knowing what the Truth is.

Solus Christus

I Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Many and varied are the ways that man tries to get closer to God.  New religions spring up all the time, each seeking to find the right way to become whole.  Hundreds of self-help books are shelved at each book store, none quite adequately fulfilling our quest.  None quite bringing us into that place where we stand in right relationship with our Creator.

It’s sad that we spend so much time searching when the answer our souls seek has already been given.  We don’t attain enlightenment by searching within ourselves.  We don’t achieve entrance into heaven through doing enough good deeds.  There is one way to God and He is Christ Jesus.  He is our Savior, our King, our friend. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things (Romans 11:36) and not one thing was created that was not created by Him (John 1:3). He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and only He qualifies to mediate between God and man (John 14:6).We can try to fix ourselves, try to gain knowledge, or try to work our way to righteousness, but in the end it’s all in vain.  Only Christ can save us.  Only He can set us free (John 8:32).