John the Baptist & The Lamb of God

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 3

The Testimony of John the Baptist &

“Behold the Lamb of God”

John 1:19-34

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. John the Baptist suddenly appears and states he is the “voice” crying in the wilderness proclaiming the arrival of the Messiah of Israel, uttering the words of Isaiah 40:3-5.
  8. He is not the Messiah himself, nor the Elijah of Malachi 4:5, and not the prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15, rather he is a forerunner proclaiming the arrival of the Messiah.
  9. John was baptizing those who were looking for the arrival of the “voice” John was announcing. This coming one was of far greater stature than John himself.
  10. When John saw Jesus coming toward him while he was baptizing in the River Jordan near a town named Bethany (not the Bethany of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha) he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
  11. This coming one would be a sacrificial offering intending to put away all that was not intended to be, that is sin. Here is the Messiah, the suffering servant of Israel, that which is described in Isaiah 53.
  12. John then announces that he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus, as he had been informed he would see and thus making it clear who the servant of God was.
  13. John is the first great evangelist, pointing everyone to the One who baptizes with, or better in, the Holy Spirit.
  14. John’s work is now complete and every Christian follows the example of John, proclaiming Jesus as the Christ.

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

GOSPEL MEDITATION

Mark 10:32-34

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

(also read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53)

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. For the third time in Mark’s gospel Jesus tells (maybe warns is a better term) His disciples what will happen to Him. It is not long now before the actual events will take place.
  8. Jesus is aware of this for any number of reasons: one, His dying as a sacrifice had been noted by any number of O.T. prophets; two, His enemies could not allow Him to go on much longer; three, His arch enemy, Satan, had long been working in the background; four, Jesus reasoned the signs of the times properly.
  9. The “chief priests” and “scribes” likely reference to the Council of Israel, the Sanhedrin, who had the power to see to it the Romans would execute Him.
  10. Jesus spelled out exactly what would happen to Him, just as it was stated by King David 1,000 years earlier and by the prophet Isaiah some 770 years earlier: Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are replete with the events.
  11. The Gentiles was a wider grouping than merely the Romans at the time. Romans 3:23 expresses it more exactly: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The all is absolutely inclusive, both Jews and Gentiles.
  12. We cannot fully grasp why the Son of God should be abandoned (Psalm 22:1) by God the Father, but to say that the Son must receive the righteous judgment for our sin. He literally suffered and died in our place.

 

The Road to Emmaus-A Post Resurrection Encounter

GOSPEL MEDITATION

The Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13–35

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. 8. On Easter Sunday, two followers of Jesus, one named Cleopas, were walking to Emmaus, a small village of Judea seven miles from Jerusalem.
  8. The two were sad because of the execution of their teacher Jesus. Perhaps they were fearful that there might be an attempt to search out and kill Jesus’ followers.
  9. As they went, Jesus joined them but they did not recognize who the newcomer was. Jesus asks a question and a conversation begins with Jesus pretending not to know what big event had taken place in Jerusalem. He now receives a most interesting account of their now dead master.
  10. Jesus now, still unidentified, upbraids the two and launches into a very succinct account of the mission of the Messiah.
  11. From the Scriptures then Jesus unveiled for His sad followers those things concerning Himself.
  12. It appeared to Cleopas and his friend that the stranger was going further down the road but they wanted more so they invited Jesus to stay with them that night. Apparently they lived in Emmaus.
  13. During the evening meal, Jesus took a piece of bread, blessed and broke it in such a way that they now realized who their guest was. Their eyes “were opened” and suddenly they grasped that the guest was Jesus Himself.
  14. The two disciples headed quickly back to Jerusalem to report to the church what had taken place. They testified to the rising of Jesus from the dead.
  15. Jesus was known to them “in the breaking of the bread.” True then and now.

The Prologue, John 1:1-18, of the Fourth Gospel

MEDITATION ON JOHN’S GOSPEL # 1 & 2

John 1:1–18

The Prologue

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Carefully read the passage of Scripture. Reread it.
  6. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. John the Apostle, brother of James, father Zebedee, mother Salome, who may be the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus, writes about 95 CE a “Gospel” aimed at the Graeco-Roman world. John is an evangelist, pastor, and teacher, all at once. His name John means “the one whom Yahweh loves.”
  8. The prologue begins with a quote from Genesis 1:1 and announces that the Logos (Word), who is God, was at the very beginning (of creation), and is in fellowship with God.
  9. The Word was and is, for that is the intent of the Greek verb of being, “‘nv”, was. Impossible that God could be and then not be.
  10. The Stoics and the Gnostics, both popular philosophical schools at the point in time, employed the term Logos (Word) to refer to an ultimate, hidden, truth, wisdom, and reason. John announces that this Logos is no longer hidden.
  11. Salvation was then, and now is, the only great thing, and this comes to us in the person of the Logos. Indeed, salvation is only by means of the Logos, through believing in the Logos.
  12. The great event is that in Jesus, the Logos has become flesh, even dwelling among people in the real world. The Logos is the only Son of the Father. “Only Son” monogenous in Greek, refers to that which is utterly unique in that there is none other like Him. This Son is full of “grace and truth.”
  13. Tying the Logos to the Hebrew Bible, John the Apostle quotes John the Baptist, thus the weight of this witness who tied the Jewish Scripture to Jesus Himself.
  14. Jesus makes the God who has not been seen known.

 

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, part 2

GOSPEL MEDITATION

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, part 2

Matthew 3:11; 28:19–20; John 20:21; Acts 4:23–31

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. John the Baptist, from day one of Jesus’ public ministry declares that Jesus will baptize “in” the Holy Spirit.
  8. John baptized in water, Jesus will baptize in the Spirit. And most commentators say this means being placed into water and thus into the Holy Spirit. This is an indwelling but also an empowering.
  9. Jesus’ directions for His followers is that we are to “Go” and make disciples per Matthew 28:19–20.
  10. Disciple making involves both evangelism and teaching. The “new born” is to be cared for, taught, that he or she might grow up into the stature of the fullness of Christ—a life long process.
  11. In John 20:21, Jesus states that just as He was sent by the Father, so He sends us out into the world also. In a very real sense then all of us are to be apostolic, sent ones to preach that the kingdom has arrived.
  12. And so that we might be equipped to do this work, and to do it boldly, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  13. After Peter and John were released by the Temple authorities, though warned to stop preaching about Jesus, they continued nevertheless.
  14. Meeting with that first congregation, Acts 4:23–31, Peter and John reported what they had experienced. After a prayer, the room they were in was shaken and they received a second Pentecost, they were again filled with the Spirit. Spirit#2

The Paradox of the Lord’s Supper

GOSPEL MEDITATION # 17

The Paradox of the Lord’s Supper

John 6:41–59 (also see Exodus chapters 16 & 17)

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. As recorded in John 6:35 we find Jesus saying, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” This, one of the seven “I am” statements in John’s Gospel, sets the tone for this meditation.
  8. The leaders of Israel “grumbled” when they heard Jesus’ statement. Just as the Jewish leaders grumbled about the manna and the water from the rock as found in Exodus 16 and 17.
  9. Jesus, this young man from Galilee, plainly states that He alone is the savior who has been sent down from heaven just as the manna was sent down from heaven during the Exodus.
  10. For a second time Jesus states that He is the bread that came down form heaven. At the time of the Exodus, the “fathers” ate the manna yet died.
  11. In stark contrast however, Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven, which bread when received brings everlasting life.
  12. Jesus says to His listeners, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
  13. This powerful metaphor, and of course not to be taken literally as cannibalism was anathema to Jews, points to the crucifixion of Jesus where His body is killed and His blood is shed.

 

The Paradox of Striving and Resting

Paradoxes of the Bible # 15

The Paradox of Striving and Resting

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians is focused on the resurrection. Paul reminds the Church at Corinth about the gospel he preached to them, which is says is saving them but warns them to “hold fast.”
  8. Here is the paradox then, we are fully and completely safe in Christ yet we are to hold fast, strive and rest at the same time.
  9. Paul then goes on to remind the Corinthian brothers and sisters of what he proclaimed to them. First that Jesus died for our sin, was buried, was raised from the dead, then appeared to them, and even to Paul himself.
  10. Though “least” among Jesus’ followers, he received a complete welcome into the Church of God.
  11. It was all of grace, complete salvation; Paul did not save himself.
  12. The result of Paul’s salvation was that he “worked harder than any of them.” He did not work in order to achieve salvation, that was a done deal. No, the grace he experienced spurred him on to be the evangelical missionary he was.
  13. Even the hard work that characterized Paul’s life, this too was all due to the grace of God, a gift given.
  14. There is no greater gift, after salvation, than to be able to strive for all we are for the cause of Jesus.
  15. By this time Paul had experienced much opposition from those who hated Jesus. Paul, undeterred, pushes on despite it all.
  16. Every Christian can have this testimony to leave behind.

Paradoxes of the Bible # 15

The Paradox of Striving and Resting

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians is focused on the resurrection. Paul reminds the Church at Corinth about the gospel he preached to them, which is says is saving them but warns them to “hold fast.”
  8. Here is the paradox then, we are fully and completely safe in Christ yet we are to hold fast, strive and rest at the same time.
  9. Paul then goes on to remind the Corinthian brothers and sisters of what he proclaimed to them. First that Jesus died for our sin, was buried, was raised from the dead, then appeared to them, and even to Paul himself.
  10. Though “least” among Jesus’ followers, he received a complete welcome into the Church of God.
  11. It was all of grace, complete salvation; Paul did not save himself.
  12. The result of Paul’s salvation was that he “worked harder than any of them.” He did not work in order to achieve salvation, that was a done deal. No, the grace he experienced spurred him on to be the evangelical missionary he was.
  13. Even the hard work that characterized Paul’s life, this too was all due to the grace of God, a gift given.
  14. There is no greater gift, after salvation, than to be able to strive for all we are for the cause of Jesus.
  15. By this time Paul had experienced much opposition from those who hated Jesus. Paul, undeterred, pushes on despite it all.
  16. Every Christian can have this testimony to leave behind.

 

Paradox # 14 All About Prayer

Paradoxes of the Bible # 14

The Paradox of Prayer

Matthew 6:5–8; Romans 8:26–27; Philippians 4:4–7;

Hebrews 4:14–16; 1 John 1:1–4.

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. In Genesis we find the first humans in fellowship with their Creator. Face to face in the garden then all was lost and the direct connection was severed.
  8. Then followed untold millennia with only commands and attention to the details of sacrifice at the temple with priests as intermediaries. Still no personal fellowship.
  9. When the right time arrived, Jesus, by means of His person and work, made it possible to have a direct and personal connection with God. So personal that God the Holy Spirit actually indwelt those sons and daughters.
  10. We find then that God knows our needs before we ask Him while at the same time we are called to ask in any case.
  11. We also find that the Holy Spirit, living and abiding in each follower of Jesus, also prays for that follower with groans or words that are inexpressible. Truly incredible.
  12. We will ask however, why would the Creator God desire to have intimate fellowship with those who sin against Him? This drives us to the mystery of the love of God, yet we are told, “For God so loved the world.” And it is here that we find the call to prayer.
  13. Lovers most enjoy being able to be in close fellowship with each other, to talk at the deepest levels, to reveal all that can be revealed.
  14. So then, by means of prayer we have personal fellowship with our God. And this is but the beginning. At the end of the age, we will be in face to face communion once again.

 

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit # 1

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit # 1

The Empowering

Matthew 3:11 and Acts 1:8

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. As born anew followers of Jesus we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the very moment of conversion.
  8. It is so that we are never alone, Jesus is with us through every event of our lives.
  9. This is what was prophesied by Jeremiah in 31:31-34 and Joel in 2:28-29.
  10. John the Baptist indeed baptized in water, but the One he proclaimed as coming after him would baptize with, or in, the Holy Spirit. We see this in Matthew chapter 3.
  11. Upon conversion, it is biblical and normative then to be baptized in water, that is, to be immersed in water. It is an ordinance that announces our conversion, the dying to sin and self and rising to be followers of Jesus.
  12. The Baptism in or with the Holy Spirit, or to put it another way, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, may occur at conversion but also at another point in time. This baptism is to give the Christian power to be evangelical. There may be many such.
  13. This baptism is not for the purpose of being above sin or being enabled to speak in tongues—an understanding that prevails yet today. God gives us spiritual gifts, certainly, but the baptism of the Spirit is something different.
  14. It is very clear in Scripture that the Spirit of God empowers us to be a witness, to be an evangel, to bold proclaim the full Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  15. Are Christians to seek this? Yes indeed we are that we might do the work we have been called to.

The Two Messiahs, Son of David & Son of Joseph

Paradoxes of the Bible #12

The Two Messiahs

Messiah Son of David and Messiah Son of Joseph

  1. Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
  2. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
  3. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
  4. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
  5. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
  6. Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
  7. Two Messiahs are described in the Scripture, that is, two different roles for the Anointed One, that is the meaning of the Hebrew word, messiah. And one comes before the other.
  8. First is the arrival of the “suffering servant of Israel” or Messiah Son of Joseph. Joseph because of the eleventh son of Jacob is Joseph. This Joseph was his father’s favorite and thus his brothers despised him, sold him into slavery in Egypt. Then Joseph is falsely accused and thrown into prison. Miraculously he is delivered from prison, becomes second only to the Pharaoh in authority, and ends up saving God’s people from starvation.
  9. We see this “suffering servant” very clearly in Psalm 22 and Isaiah chapters 52 and 53.
  10. Jesus perfectly fulfills the Hebrew Bible’s depiction of the Anointed One by His rejection by His people, His death, burial, and resurrection.
  11. Messiah Son of David—so named from King David—the great king of Israel, the model for the messiah who is to come.
  12. We see this second messiah described in Isaiah 9:6–7. The child’s name to be born will be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
  13. The prophet Jeremiah, chapter 23:5, states, “Behold, the days are coming…when I will raise up for David a righteous branch, and he shall reign as king.”
  14. Messiah Son of Joseph has come, and will one day return as Messiah Son of David, the conquering champion of God.