Are we ready?

“As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, ‘Do not tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.’ The disciples asked him, ‘Why then do the experts in the law say that Elijah must come first?’ He answered, ‘Elijah does indeed come first and will restore all things. And I tell you that Elijah has already come. Yet they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted. In the same way, the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:9-13 NET).

Earlier in Matthew 17, Peter, James, and John were privileged to witness what we call Jesus’ transfiguration and also to see Moses and Elijah conversing with Jesus. They heard the voice of God which told them to listen to Jesus. Continue reading “Are we ready?”

The need to remember

“And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.’ So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did” (Numbers 9:1-5 ESV).

God did not want the Israelites to forget what had happened to free them from Egyptian slavery. He gave them an anniversary to observe each year called “Passover.” This was to remind them that God had “passed over” their houses and that they had been freed from slavery that night. Continue reading “The need to remember”

Atonement

Forgiveness. Since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, there was a desperate need for a way to be forgiven. Throughout the Old Testament we see sacrifices of animals offered to deal with sin. When Israel was in the wilderness, God gave a command for a national Day of Atonement to be held each year (this is known by Jews today as ‘Yom Kippur’).

“This is to be a perpetual statute for you. In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you must humble yourselves and do no work of any kind, both the native citizen and the foreigner who resides in your midst, for on this day atonement is to be made for you to cleanse you from all your sins; you must be clean before the Lord. It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must humble yourselves. It is a perpetual statute.” (Leviticus 16:29-31 NET). Continue reading “Atonement”

The “Mystery” of Christ

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that by revelation the divine secret was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly. When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret of Christ” (Ephesians 3:1-4 NET).

What is this “secret” or “mystery” (ESV) of Christ? When we read the word “mystery” various ideas may spring to mind. We might think of something “mysterious.” We might think about the mystery novels we have read, where a puzzle in the form of a series of events had to be solved. Continue reading “The “Mystery” of Christ”

Secret disciples

The unthinkable had happened. The Messiah – at least they thought he was the Messiah – had been crucified. None of his close followers had come to the place of execution, except for one, the one who is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 19:26).

A strange darkness had descended on the land at noon. The sun disappearing at mid-day was unprecedented. Although some suggested an eclipse was happening, no eclipse had lasted more than ten minutes or so and this went on for three hours! Besides, being the Passover, the moon was full, so it couldn’t have been between the earth and the sun. Continue reading “Secret disciples”