Saturday, March 16, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Most of you know I contend that Jesus IS Lord of all. Jesus claimed to be God. That's why He was crucified. BUT ... the story didn't end there.
Do any of you remember the pet rock fad? Some of you younger folks certainly won't ... but millions and millions of these "pet rocks" as shown above were purchased with a box and the complete instructions on how to raise your pet rock. Just about all of these rocks are lost in old dresser drawers of junk now.
Have you noticed that quote "famous" people do not remain very popular after there is no news about them for a while. How about Tiny Tim? Again, younger folks won't know him at all. BUT, Do you really think Justin Whatshisface will be known in ten years after people cease to be aware that Justin Whatshisface has a heartbeat?
Jesus is still changing lives today ... but perhaps you could argue that He hasn't been very visible in bodily form in the last two thousand years! OH, but I DO believe Jesus has been VERY VISIBLE!
Jesus wasn't just a famous person whose fame would die down after He ascended to heaven. The world has tried to assert that the disciples made the whole resurrection story up. For what? People don't make up news about someone to keep their story alive if they will be forced pay the ultimate price of their life for such a lie. Folks, ... the very fact that there are people claiming that Jesus is alive and has changed their life today is worth investigating.
What happened to Paul? He lived to destroy Christians? He pursued them with vigor to put them to death. This made him quite popular and influential with those in power. Paul later wrote about the trials as a result of his change in becoming a devout follower of Christ in 2 Corinthians 11.
After Paul had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he lived out the rest of his life serving Jesus. This was not a popular decision with many fringe benefits. Paul speaks of his great labors, imprisonments, countless beatings often near death. He received 39 lashes with a whip five times from the Jews. He was beaten with rods three times. He was once stoned and left for dead. He was shipwrecked three times and once left drifting at sea. Paul was constantly pursued. He lived in danger from robbers, the Jews and the Gentiles to whom he lived to tell about Christ. Danger was his middle name for it pursued him by day and night, in the wilderness, while at sea from false brothers. He lived working hard having to look over his shoulder and he had many a sleepless night. He knew hunger and thirst and was often cold and exposed without a roof over his head. Many of his letter were written from the hardships of jail!
Paul was no lavish living evangelist! He would ultimately give his life proclaiming that he saw the risen Savior! This story is true of most disciples in the early church. They did not die for a lie!
I believe the evidence that Jesus rose from the dead is overwhelming. He claimed to be God ... and IF Jesus was God, then everything He said is very relevant to you. Jesus shook up the world and He shook up MY world!
In John 14:6, we read, "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
In order to deny this claim, you must essentially declare one of the following:
a. Jesus was a Legend and the whole thing is made up so it is irrelevant.
b. Jesus' claim to be the "only way" was a bold face Lie because he knew the claim was not true.
c. Jesus' claim was one of grand delusion and he was with at least this claim, a complete Lunatic.
d. Jesus was Lord and exactly who He claims to be ... and I better start paying attention to what He said about consequences of a life lived apart from Him.
Today, I want to dig a bit deeper into the Lunatic option.
There were eye witnesses who saw Jesus and claimed He was a Lunatic. So, this isn't really a new idea.
For example, John 10:19-21 reads, "There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
This is actually a fascinating question to me so grab a cup of coffee and stick with me here for a bit.
After sitting here and thinking about this for a bit, ... I find it kind of humorous that the Pharisees never denied that the miracles were happening. In fact, the Pharisees expected Jesus to do something miraculous. Really? That's quite a reputation! Imagine that our Lord was so predictable in doing something good! What a life to witness! So, rather than deny their own eyes, the Pharisees often tried to trap Jesus in something that they thought they could insist was breaking the Law. Take a peek at these verses in your Bible.
Luke 6:7 says, "And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him."
Mark 3:2 says, "And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him."
Matthew 12:10 says, "And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”— so that they might accuse him."
Wow! Gotta like those Pharisees! Jesus was changing lives for the better with a mere speaking of His will, ... and this was being criticized? I still think it is funny that they just didn't throw up their hands and say, "What? Nothing happened, there was no miracle!", "I didn't see it, it never happened!" Instead they testify that it DID happen.
Folks, there are countless verses in Scripture where the common people and even the Pharisees made irrefutable notice that Jesus was a healer. This healing wasn't the same as a doctor's visit. These were instantaneous and miraculous events. Even the Pharisees, who perhaps hated Jesus the most did not deny that what Jesus was doing was miraculous. The Pharisees were eye witnesses to these events. They couldn't deny what they saw for themselves ... but they needed an explanation for the people ... so they insisted the miracles were being done by demons. This happened over and over in Scripture but let's focus on one of these kangaroo court cases found in John, Chapter 9.
John 9:1-38 (ESV)
1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they fe ared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.
32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Friend of mine, ... If a Lunatic by the power of demons or by sinning could open the eyes of the blind ... this would have been done over and over prior to Jesus in order to mislead people and even nullify the power of what Jesus was doing. The people would be able to say, ... "Big deal, we have seen this before!"
Also, If a Lunatic by the power of demons could open the eyes of the blind today ... this would be done in order to mislead people and even nullify the power of what Christ did. The people would be able to say, ... "Yeah, yeah, yeah, we have seen this before. Jesus was just ahead of his time!"
Jesus answered the Pharisees declaration that He was performing miracles by demons in many ways. In John 10:37-39 Jesus responded to them by saying, "If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
So, I ask, ... What is your response to Christ today? Are you with the Pharisees seeking to arrest Him for His claim? Or would you bow at His feet with the words "Lord, I believe"?
Jesus loves you and He is seeking to break through to your heart today. God bless you all with the saving power found ONLY in His Son.
Have a great weekend.