Category Archives: Christology

The Invitation

Luke 24:29  but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

On the road to Emmaus, the disciples didn’t see Jesus for who He was.  Even after He had opened up the Scriptures to them as an ongoing story concerning Himself, they didn’t realize who was in their presence.  They were intrigued, maybe even amazed by His brilliance, but they did not yet see Him as the Christ because their eyes were still closed.

As they came upon their destination, Jesus acted like He was going to keep walking (knowing full well what was going to happen).  The disciples invited Him to come along with them.  They wanted to know more.  They wanted to spend more time with this man.  Only after this invitation were their eyes opened.  All that they knew in their heads became real finally when it hit them that they were talking with the Christ all that time on the road. He became more than they had ever expected.

The journey of a disciple requires an invitation to Jesus.  This doesn’t mean salvation, because He does the inviting in our hearts and we respond.  This is an invitation for Him to join us along the road as we travel into spiritual maturity.  We can’t understand it all on our own, we need Him walking with us.  As the disciples headed to Emmaus saw, Jesus is more than willing to accept and open up our eyes.

 

Head knowledge is not heart knowledge

Luke 24:25  And he said to them,“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

Our friends who encountered Jesus along the road to Emmaus days after His death on the cross were very knowledgable of the Scriptures.  They longed for the promised Jewish Messiah because they had been taught from a young age all about the manuscripts and the Law, the oral traditions and the customs.  They knew the stories of their ancestors inside and out.  But Jesus pointed out to them that their head knowledge did not equal knowing the Scripture in their hearts.

He rightly pointed out to the disciples that they were being foolish for knowing the promises of God through the prophets without realizing that they were being fulfilled right in front of their eyes — by the very man who stood before them!  They were so concerned with what they “knew” that they didn’t know anything.  They couldn’t see the forrest for the trees.  All of that teaching did them no good if they couldn’t recognize the One whom the prophets had foretold.

Before we get down on the poor disciples of this story let’s take a look at the modern day church, at ourselves.  We’re a very educated society, with so many schools and so much at our disposal for learning about God and His Word.  Many of us have quite a few verses memorized and have learned the stories of the Bible from a young age.  We could tell someone who asks almost anything about any story…but how do those stories apply to our lives?  Do we know that answer?

“Knowing” the Scriptures is not the same as seeing Jesus for who He is and what He’s done by seeking Him.  Knowing God on a personal level enables us to really know the Scriptures and see them with eyes wide open.  Jesus has enabled us to know Him if we’ll just seek Him out.  If we look for Him, we’ll see that the entirety of God’s Word is about Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation.

Jesus in the Scriptures

Luke 24:27  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Can you see Jesus?  There He is, in the Garden of Eden, as the serpent is cursed by God and promised that One would come who would crush him (Genesis 3:15).  He’s there as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stand among the flames without being burnt up (Daniel 3:24-25). He’s the one foretold by the prophets (2 Samuel 7:12–16; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 50:6; 52:13–53:12; 61:1; Jeremiah 23:5, 6; Daniel 7:13, 14; 9:24–27; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 6:12; 9:9;12:10; 13:7 and so on) and ushered in by The Baptist (John 1:29). And yes, we find that even in the very beginning, He was there (John 1:1). But so much more than these examples, He’s the central character of every story in every book of God’s Word.

As the disciples who walked to Emmaus spoke to Jesus, He pointed out to them how all of the Scriptures they knew concerned Him, they all had a purpose of shedding light on the man who was also God.  God revealed Himself to mankind through Jesus and He revealed Jesus through the Scripture.  When the eyes of the disciples were opened, they saw it.  When our eyes are opened to who Jesus is, we see it too.  It’s all about Him, every story, every prophesy, even the Law is given to show that we needed Jesus to come (Galatians 3:24-25).  It’s genius, if you think about it.  Who else, ever, in the entire history of the world, has written such an extensive story with so much action, so much rich dialogue, such beautiful poetry, such love, such applicable moral teaching, that reveals in the end to be about a great Hero that was the basis for the rest of the story up to that point?  It’s brilliant!  And it’s God-inspired.

What the disciples got that day is that Jesus is the central character.  He’s the one that matters in the big scheme of things.  We can learn a lot from Moses, David, Solomon and other heroes, but their main purpose was to point to Christ. Their good deeds and their flaws alike were to show us Jesus.  The prophesies, the plagues, the desert wandering, the flooding, all to point us to Jesus.  Not every view of theology agrees with this notion, but what matters is that Jesus did.  He’s the one who said Moses wrote about Him (John 5:46) and made claim to be the One that the prophets spoke of (Luke 4:21).  If Jesus believed it, it’s best to follow His lead.

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.