“Abraham rejoiced to see my day”

The Lord Jesus Christ did his best to show the Jews the truth of his deity, but they were not receptive.

In John 8, Jesus told them Abraham rejoiced to see his day. The Jews, not believing the statement said, “You are not yet 50 years old and have seen Abraham?” Then Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews would have stoned the Lord right then and there because they knew he claimed that he was God. As F.F. Bruce wrote, “He was using language which only God could use.”[1]

Jesus attempted to show and prove that he is the Messiah for which the Jews had waited. True, however, to the prophecy of Isaiah, “he was despised, and we considered him insignificant,” (Isaiah 53:3). Continue reading ““Abraham rejoiced to see my day””

People can misunderstand

The transfiguration of Jesus must have been an amazing sight for Peter, James, and John. Still, the significance of the event could be misunderstood.

Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone until after he was raised from the dead (Matthew 17:9). Why weren’t the other disciples to know? Why keep the knowledge from them?

The reason was probably simple: people can misunderstand. Continue reading “People can misunderstand”

The gospel is for all

Reading through the New Testament, we find a controversy that seemed to plague the first Christians. It centered around whether a Gentile (someone who was not a Jew) could be a Christian and also how they became a Christian. The Jews took great pride in the covenant they had with God, represented by circumcision – they often referred to everyone else as the “uncircumcised” – and wanted to require Gentiles to be circumcised before being baptized. Although this might be difficult for those of us living 2,000 years later to comprehend, it is important to see how this impacted these first Christians.

Jesus stated quite clearly that the gospel was for everyone. He told his followers: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16 ESV). Continue reading “The gospel is for all”

We are the Israel of God

One of the images God used for his people, the nation of Israel, was that of an olive tree which he had planted.

“The LORD once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. The LORD of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.” (Jeremiah 11:16-17 ESV)

This image is taken from Psalm 52:8, where David describes himself as a green olive tree in the house of God. In Hosea 14:6 the nation of Israel after being restored to God following captivity is described as a beautiful olive tree with its shoots spread out. Continue reading “We are the Israel of God”

Telling others about Jesus

Barnabas and Saul were selected by the Holy Spirit for a particular work. Saul had now been a Christian for just over ten years and had proven himself to be useful. Barnabas had brought Saul to Antioch a few years earlier to help him teach others about Jesus.

When we look at the order of the names of those listed as prophets and teachers in Antioch (Acts 13:1) it might be surprising to us that Saul is listed last. Perhaps due to his background as one who persecuted Christians, he did not have the same respect as the other teachers. If this was the case, those in Antioch were probably surprised when it was Saul who was selected along with Barnabas for this particular work. Continue reading “Telling others about Jesus”