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A Greater Authority

In Luke chapter 7 of the Bible, Jesus goes to Capernaum and finds a centurion’s servant is dying.

The centurion had sent elders of the synagogue to ask Jesus to come heal his servant.

These elders told Jesus that this man, the centurion was “worthy” to be healed because of the good deeds he had done for their people. He had even built a synagogue for them.

Jesus went with these religious leaders and when he was almost there the centurion sent a message. He said, “Don’t trouble yourself to come because I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. I know that you have authority in your kingdom to make a command just as I have authority in my kingdom and it will be done. Just say the word and I know what you command will be done. ” (My paraphrase)

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Now it is true that the centurion did not have to see Jesus in person to know the command of healing would be done ( which it was ) but the faith Jesus marveled at was that the centurion recognized a greater authority than the Roman world authority.

The centurion recognized this because he considered himself to be unworthy for Jesus to enter his house. The centurion recognized that the kingdom of God is greater than the authority of Rome or the world system.

The centurion saw himself as a man of worldly authority who submitted to the greater authority of the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The centurion recognized that even though he was put in a position of prestige having worldly authority in the land, that he was considered unworthy in the kingdom of God. His position he held in the world held no weight in the kingdom of God.

This recognition of the human sin nature (being unworthy) allowed the centurion to humble himself as an
unworthy person or in other words he put himself in a subservient position to a greater authority than the authority of Rome.

In other words the centurion recognized that Jesus was other worldly or from a kingdom not of this world. Therefore being familiar with athourity he knew that Jesus just had to say a word and the healing would occur.

This is the gospel message. Recognition of one’s sinful or unworthy nature, recognizing the need to be in subjection to Jesus Christ and his authority and trusting in Jesus Christ as the head of the kingdom of God with the power to save and to heal.

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith because he knew the steps to salvation. Recognizing one’s unworthiness and inability to save one’s self and being in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ for salvation.

What about you? Are you trusting in your “worthiness” because of all the good works you have done like those religious leaders did?

Jesus marvels at the faith of the person who recognizes their unworthiness and looks to his authority to be saved and healed.

Call on Jesus Christ to save and heal you.  All the authority and prestige of the world system will never get you into heaven.

Simple recognition of your inability to save yourself is the first step to salvation. Once you recognize that then you can call on Jesus Christ the King of all kings to save you from your sin.

If you do that then you can be saved, forgiven. healed and given eternal life. You will become a member of the kingdom of God!

Whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved. Roman’s 10:13

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The Gift of God!

When someone offers a free gift automatically we ask, “What’s in it for you?”

Human nature is not so trusting. Most of us have not fallen off the turnip truck yesterday! Something free usually has a benefit for the giver in there some where.

I would like to point out that God’s free gift has no benefit for the giver at all. In fact quite the opposite. All the benefits go to the recipient!

What could one possibly give to the God who made everything and owns everything? Ever try to buy a rich friend a gift? Quite impossible actually. Even if you gave a home made card all you have given is sentiment. Nice to know they are thought about but still you can’t measure up. They can get anything they want for themselves!

God has given a gift to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Everyone who puts their trust in him for salvation will be given eternal life. They will pass from death to life.

This free gift of God’s salvation is motivated by his love and is an expression of his mercy. This free gift of salvation is God’s undeserved unmerited gift.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

The gift of God is not earned! We can’t work for it! We don’t need to do penitence or any kind of work or ritual to get it. A gift is simply received! That’s it!

The great thing about receiving God’s free gift is that not only are we saved by grace or undeserved mercy BUT a part of the gift is the empowerment to live a life that pleases God! He gives us the ability by his power to endure all trials and tribulations in this world because we have the assurance of an eternity spent with him.

He provides all our needs because he is our all in all! God gives us his free gift of salvation and he takes care of us while we are in this world as well!

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9

 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

God’s grace saves us and also empowers us to live a life that pleases him! As we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit we are blessed with God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

Saved by grace is different than being saved by faith as some in error preach. They put the cart before the horse!

This difference is very important. If we are saved by faith we make the salvation experience about our own effort, our own ability, but God has chosen grace because it involves no effort on our part at all.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If we had anything at all to do with our salvation we might have reason to boast but God has made salvation a free gift to those who receive (through faith) this gift of his mercy.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16

Not only does God give us grace to be saved but he also gives us grace to stay saved!

Are you trusting in God’s grace through Jesus Christ for his salvation? All you have to do is ask! Turn to Jesus with all your heart for he is mighty to save!

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Consider The Lilies

In Matthew 6:28 Jesus tells his disciples to consider the lilies of the field.

The most probable flower that Jesus was referring to is considered by plant specialists to be an Anemone coronaria, a common field flower which can be red, purple or pink with black centers.

The Anemone coronaria incidentally is Israel’s national flower. They are usually found in meadows and grassy hillsides. In Jerusalem the red ones are more frequently found while in the basalt slopes north of the sea of Galilee blue and white are found growing on the hillsides.

The Hebrew name for this flower is Kalanit from the word kala which means beautiful like a bride.

Consider the lilies of the field. The Kalanit arrayed like a bride which Jesus says are more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory.

Jesus likened these field lilies to be more beautifully arrayed than Solomon’s kingdom. 

Considering that Solomon’s glory was a magnificent kingdom full of pomp and splendor this is a fantastic statement.

Why would the Lord say that field flowers were more beautiful than Solomon’s glory?

The fact that their name means bride may give us a clue.

Was Jesus looking to his future bride? His bride so beautiful that she is more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory?

These field lilies are not only beautiful but Jesus told us that they do not toil or spin. That is they do not do any work!

To toil in Hebrew is kopiaō which means to work hard or labor until one is fatigued.

To spin is nēthō which means to spin yarn.

Spinning yarn was a laborious work in Jesus’ time. Spinning was twisting fibers together by hand in order to make material for clothing.

In Solomon’s kingdom all the pomp and splendor was achieved by hard work. Also the temple Solomon build was constructed by slaves. These slaves did hard labor. Probably from sunup to sun down.

The lilies of the field do not labor or spin. They just naturally grow and become beautiful without any labor at all. With rain and sunshine provided by their Creator the lilies of the field become beautifully arrayed in their glory.

It seems that Jesus is pointing out that under the law like Solomon’s Kingdom, the slave must work to build a temple or building for God to take up residence.

Those under the law are servants of sin who must labor under a ruler or the law, sacrificing animals to atone for their sin in a temple made by men.

Jesus is using a metaphor to tell us that the splendor of the dispensation of the law is not as glorious as the dispensation of grace where the beauty of the Lord resides in his bride.

The bride has no need to labor for the Savior has purchased her with his own blood. The bride has no need to spin or be clothed with the temporary intermedatories of animals because she is clothed in the righteous of Jesus Christ.

The bride is altogether beautiful. Altogether lovely in her pure white garment! Altogether more splendid than the glory of the former dispensation!

Consider the liles of the field for they neither toil nor spin. They take no thought to toil laboriously to achieve right standing with God.

All the work has been done by Jesus Christ the Messiah ! (Yeshua Mashiach) It is finished!

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Good From Nazareth?

Luke Chapter 4, tells us that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. ” If you are really the Son of God then prove it,” (my paraphrase)

Jesus does not comply. He had nothing to prove. Jesus knows who he is!

Considering the source, Jesus rejects the temptation. He tells the devil to take a hike.

Then after that temptation trial Jesus returns in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.

There Jesus becomes well known throughout all of that region. Jesus teaches in the synagogues, heals the sick, casts out devils. All the people are blessed!

After that Jesus comes to the city of Nazareth where he grew up and where every one knows him as Jesus the carpenter.

It was in a synagogue in Nazareth (where he probably went every Sabbath as a kid) that Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah, announcing that he is the fulfillment of that Messianic prophecy.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Isaiah 61:1,2

After closing the Torah Jesus sits down. Everyone’s eyes are on him.

Then Jesus gives notice to all the people that he had grown up with that he is the promised Messiah.

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:21

Only Messiah could fulfill that scripture. He knew that. They knew that.

The people of Nazareth were blown away by that announcement. Is this not Joseph’s son?

Whaaattt? Is he saying what we think he’s saying?

Then Jesus tells these people who he knows on a personal basis.  And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. Luke 4:23

Seems quite fantastic that Jesus knowing full well he would be rejected in Nazareth would make the announcement of his being the promised Messiah there. To all his friends and family.

Is there a bigger picture happening here?

Nazareth was a small town. Populated mostly with farmers, shepherds and labourers. It basically was a place with low social status.

That is why Nathanael said to Jesus “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46

Jesus goes to his own home town, small and insignificant, tells them he is their promised Messiah and they out right reject him!

Who saw that coming?

After Jesus tells them that a prophet is never honored in his own home town the people in the synagogue get so riled up that they literally grab Jesus and haul him to a cliff in order to toss him off. They were intent on harming Jesus. Maybe even kill him.

The guy had the audacity to call himself a prophet! That’s it! He’s out of here!

But passing through their midst…what? How could that happen? They had him by the scruff of the neck and he passed through them?

Well Jesus transported or something because he got away.

Then Jesus goes to the next town and preaches in their synagogue. The people in that place were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

That place loved him! At least they loved the miracles.

I think Jesus was making a point or a prophetic act if you will when he announced who he was in Nazareth.

Nazareth was a foretaste of what was going to happen to Jesus in the future. The whole nation of Israel would reject him but this time instead of throwing him off a cliff they would crucify him.

Interesting but it goes even further than that today. Now it seems the world is rejecting Jesus’ Christ’s claim to be Messiah or Savior of the world with the same old unbelief.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Where is the promise of his coming? Who made that guy a ruler over us?

Jesus gives the same answer today as he always does to the doubters. 

One day you will say to me …if you really are the Son of God ….prove yourself…make these stones turn to bread….fix all these problems we ourselves have created. You are only an historical figure. We don’t want you! Give us Barabbas. You know that rebel! We want him not you!

History really does repeat itself doesnt it?

There is a good ending to this story however. Remember what the angels said after Jesus rose from the dead and was taken up in the clouds in front of over 100 of his disciples?

Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11

And don’t forget this time, “Every eye will see him!” Revelation 1:7

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Maranatha! 

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“I Have Seen the Lord!”

It is interesting to note that the very first person that Jesus revealed himself to after he was risen from the dead was Mary Magdalene.

Why do you think that was? Something to think about!

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Mark 16:9

Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ disciples. She is mentioned many times in the gospels.

Because Mary was a common name of the time and several other women called Mary followed Jesus too the name Magdalene was given to distinguish her from the others.

Mary was probably from Magdala. A fishing village in Galilee. This is interesting because Mary Magdalene was the first evangelist to go and tell others that Jesus was risen from the dead!

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4: 19

Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus Christ who also supported his ministry.

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. Luke 8:1-56

Mary Magdalene was a woman that had seven demons cast out of her. Why would scriptures mention that Mary Magdalene had 7 devils cast out of her?

Scriptures do not tell us that any of the disciples had demons cast out of them. To be demonized meant she had some kind of suffering. Maybe sickness or trauma or a sinful lifestyle. We don’t really know. What we do know is that Mary Magdalene became devoted to Jesus Christ. This means that whatever ailments she had she was truly grateful to be healed! 7 is the Hebrew number for perfection. Mary Magdalene’s healing was complete. She was made whole!

Mary Magdalene stood faithfully with Jesus as he was crucified. She never fled. She was there praying.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[of God!”

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mark 27:50-56

This may be one of the reasons why Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus Christ risen from the dead and was commissioned to tell the disciples about it.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:11-18

Since women’s testimony was generally excluded under Jewish law the fact that Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene first and commissioned her to tell the other disciples is significant.

“Women were not allowed to testify in court. In effect, this categorized them with Gentiles, minors, deaf-mutes, and “undesirables” such as gamblers, the insane, usurers, and pigeon-racers, who were also denied that privilege. (On the other hand, a king could not bear witness in court, nor could the Messiah, which somewhat lessens the stigma of that restriction.) ” https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/newsletter-jun-1988/the-role-of-women-in-the-bible/

Jesus never put man’s traditions above his Kingdom. His ways are not man’s ways.

And he said to them, ‘Well do ye put away the command of God that your tradition ye may keep; Mark 7:9

God sees differently than man sees. People value traditions, prestige, success and position.

Jesus sees into the heart. He judges by what is inside a person. He looks at the character.

Many times in scriptures we see what it is that God values.

Jesus values loyalty to him. 
Lowliness of mind,
Faithfulness to his ways
Commitment to his gospel
Obedience to his commands
Zeal for his glory
Faith in his word.

These are the characteristics that we can see in Mary Magdalene.

This is why Mary Magdalene was chosen to begin the very first evangelist outreach.

Have I not said if you would believe you would see the glory of God? John11:40

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Forgiveness

The scriptures tell us that according to the law of Moses without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness or remission of sins.

The KJV uses the word remission which is more than just forgiveness. It means to be set free from sin and its consequence.

Remission in the Greek, is aphesis, which means forgiveness, deliverance and liberty. To not only be forgiven (letting go as if they had never been committed), but to be released from the bondage or imprisonment of the penalty for sin.

Sin has consequence. Under the law, a life must be given up for a life. The soul that sins shall die. Romans 6:23

Jesus, who was without sin, gave his life up for the sinner who repents and forsakes their sin. Repentance is a big factor in the remission process. Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin. In order to receive this remission of sin, one must repent.

Without repentance, there is no remission of sins. Acts 2:38

 Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts 3:19

Repentance Metanoeo in the Greek is to have a change of mind for the better. To turn from sin or breaking God’s laws. To be converted to God’s word. That is to receive the gospel’s truth.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Isaiah 52:9

Sin has consequence. It produces death. Not just eternal death but death as in no life of God. It separates us from God. He does not hear prayer, we lose our joy, and we can become fearful, sick and weak.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. Galatians 6:8

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 3:19

Scriptures tell us that it is FAITH IN THE BLOOD that saves from the penalty of sin. When we repent and turn to the truth of the gospel we must have faith in the blood of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:25

We cannot save ourselves by good works or good deeds.

Romans Chapter 3 tells us that under the law we all are condemned to die eternally because of sin. Unless we turn to Jesus Christ for the remission of our sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Romans 3:25

Once we are forgiven by repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ then we are made righteous before God as if we have never sinned.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Romans 5:21

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9

If we confess our sin to God, repent of our sin and have faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven and made righteous by God as if we have never sinned.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. John 1:9

  


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There is No One Righteous!

According to scriptures, no one is righteousness. All men ,“are under sin.” (Romans 3:9; 5:12)

What is sin? According to the Bible definition, sin is evil offensive behavior contrary to God’s nature. That is behaviour perverse, crooked, or twisted from God’s original intent.

Sin is also rebellion against God’s authority. That is breaking away from, revolting and arguing against God’s laws which leads to straying away from him and his ways as defined by scripture.

Resulting in being defiled, unclean, unjust, wicked, lawless, a wanderer, seduced and having gone astray.

That pretty much sums it up.

The Bible says that if we offend in just one point of the law of God, we have fallen short of his righteous standards and are on the naughty list. This includes all of us. (James 2:10)

Scriptures tell us that all have sinned. All fall short of God’s law and all are declared to be sinners. (Romans 3:19) (Romans 5:12).

Since we are all sinners, astray from God we need a remedy. None of us can save ourselves. We are quiet the lost cause without some one to save us from our predicament!

But “I’m not that bad,” you may say. After all I have not committed anything so horrendous as to be considered wicked. On the contrary, God considers you wicked indeed! (Romans 3:10-18)

Let me explain. If I own an expensive silk shirt and I get a stain on it that cannot be removed by natural means, as it is quiet ground in, my shirt is soiled. Now it many not be dirty and grimy as some silk shirts but nevertheless it is still not fit to dress a King! Would you offer your soiled silk shirt to the King of kings? Of course not! (Isaiah 64:6).

All have broken God’s law according to the Bible. Jesus said that if you have anger in your heart towards any person then you have sinned. Hate in God’s eyes is the same thing as murder. If you look at a person lustfully, just a look mind you, then you have committed adultery in your heart!  

I would say that we all have a stain on our silk shirts!

 “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

The standard of God’s law is absolute perfect obedience. Outside of God, no one qualifies as righteous. Now for my point. Since we are all declared sinners and headed to destruction, we really do need a remedy. (Romans 6:23).

What some people do not realized is that God’s mercy trumps over his judgment. (James 2:3) According to scriptures God so wants to save us from the consequences of sin that he sacrificially gave his life for ours!   

 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). (Ephesians 2:4-5)

 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)  

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being God’s heir, also deity, took on flesh and gave up his life as a sacrifice for our sins. In other words, the Son of God paid the penalty for our sins. He took our place, paid our punishment. (Romans 5:6-21)

This is good news! Only one condition. A condition? Yes, there is a condition. You see this great salvation only applies to those who receive it. Wait a minute, I thought you said God gave his life in exchange for mine? He did.

He paid a price to redeem you to himself. Not so you could continue in your sin. Oh, no that is not the exchange here. He gave his life up for you and in exchange you give your life to him. (Titus 2:14)

 When you recognize your need and receive God’s great salvation by receiving the sacrifice for your sin through Jesus Christ the Savior, then God will supernaturally make you his child, having no sin accredited to your account. He will birth you into his kingdom as a brand-new babe by his Spirit.    

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)    

Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:3, 5-6) 

Then you can rejoice in God’s goodness to you! As his child the Lord will now lead you, provide for you, and bless you as you continue to walk with him even to the end of your life.  

Search me O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24) 

O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.” (Psalm 16:2)

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)

 

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