The Son of Man Is Lord of the Sabbath

Jesus declared that the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8).

Who is the Son of Man?  He is.

When is the Sabbath?  Now.

In the old covenant, there was a sabbath on the last day of the week.  In the new covenant, however, the sabbath is continual.  The “day of the Lord” in which we live is “the Sabbath.”  It is God’s day of rest from all the work that He did through Christ.  It’s been this way ever since the conclusion of New Testament times.  That’s when the new covenant was inaugurated, for Jesus Christ came again just when He and His apostles said He would.

Consider Isaiah 58:13 which calls for turning away from doing things for our own pleasure.  Isn’t this very much like the instruction Paul gave in 1 Corinthians 10:24 where he said, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor”?  Or consider 1 Corinthians 16:14 where he wrote, “Let all that you do be done in love.”  And then there’s Philippians 2:21 where he condemns those who “seek after their own interests and not those of Christ Jesus.”  (All translations from the NASB.)  The New Testament is full of admonitions to begin living this way because, at that time, the kingdom of God was at hand.

In other words, the time for having six days a week to ourselves and giving one day to God are over.  He wants every day!

All that we see written in the Old and New Testaments was preparing for the time when an eternal Sabbath would be declared – a time for each and every one of us to live in love for the One who created us and redeemed us.

The Son of Man is Lord of this Sabbath.  Give Him your attention.  Give Him your heart.  If you do this, I know that you will reap far more than what you will have sown.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Who Has Charge Over You in the Lord?

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says that you should appreciate those who have charge over you in the Lord, and esteem them very highly in love.

Had you lived in New Testament times, you’d be showing that appreciation, esteem, and love to apostles, elders, and the like.  But you and I live in the kingdom of God (that is, the day of Christ or the day of the Lord).  Therefore, there is One over you and it is the Lord Himself (Isaiah 2:11, 17).

Are you appreciating Him?  Are you esteeming Him very highly in love?  Are you even acknowledging Him as you live your life from one moment to the next?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Ephesians 4:29

What a beautiful word picture and summary of what we see Jesus doing in the New Testament Gospels!  Ephesians 4:29 is exemplified in Jesus.

Were His words not full of grace?  The apostle John explicitly concurs in John 1:14.

Was He not speaking to the need of the moment – whether providing bread to the hungry in John 6 or doling out rebuke to the self-righteous in Matthew 23?

Truly, Jesus edified.  Truly, there was not an unwholesome word that came out of His mouth.

Ephesians 4:29 was truly fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  Let us honor Him with imitation.

(How wonderful it is that God doesn’t give us instruction about what to do but that He first demonstrates Himself what it looks like to follow godly commands!)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

An Administration Suitable to the Fullness of Times

In Ephesians 1:10, Paul wrote of “an administration suitable to the fullness of times.”  He said this would be “the summing up of all things in Christ.”  What Paul was describing was, of course, the kingdom of God – where Christ is King.

This administration would be entirely of faith.  There would be no physical tabernacle, no physical temple.  There would not even be a congregation of visible believers with elders and deacons.  It would be an administration completely executed through faith – a complete restoration of the created order, which had been lost through Adam.

Since we now live in “the fullness of times,”  relate to Christ the King with nothing from the seen dimension between you and Him.  Trust His commands and obey them.  Acknowledge His continual presence in our midst.  Do not be like those who have their eyes fixed on earthly things.  Do not look back (like Lot’s wife) for an administration suitable to times gone by.  Do not seek the summing up of only some things in Christ.  The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

What Paul Learned About Contentment

In yesterday’s post (Applying the Suffering-to-Glory Paradigm in Your Own Life), we saw what Paul learned from his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12.  In Philippians 4, we see what he learned fully blossomed into a teaching about contentment.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.  Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.   Philippians 4:10-13 (NASB)

Paul had learned to be content in whatever circumstances he was in,  because he realized he was not in them by himself.

There is nothing more important than being aware of the presence of Christ in all of life.  This is not an esoteric teaching for monks; it is the most practical way of (eternal) life there is.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Applying the Suffering-to-Glory Paradigm in Your Own Life

It is fairly well-known among Bible readers that Paul complained to the Lord about a thorn in the flesh and received the response, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).  What’s not so well known is the great paradigm this invoked for Paul.

In the very next chapter, Paul makes reference to the crucifixion of Jesus which was in weakness, to be followed by His resurrection which was because of the power of God (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Thus Paul had begun to see his thorn in the flesh as an echo of Christ’s own suffering – and he saw God’s response to such suffering when handled with grace as achieving glory (1 Peter 2:19).  This gave Paul quite a bit of motivation to endure the suffering instead of complain about it, or even seek to have it prematurely removed.

While we don’t know the precise nature of Paul’s suffering we do know that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12).  We also know that Paul saw suffering with Christ as a way of eventually being gloried with Christ (Romans 8:17).  Because of the teaching of Jesus in Luke 24 (see the posts from the last several days on this theme of suffering and glory), the apostles expounded on glory, and sought it, in a way that had not seemed natural to them before (John 21:19; Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:16).

Before finishing, I should point out that there is a lot of suffering in the world that has nothing to do with suffering for Christ – least of all that suffering we bring on ourselves when we sin.  I am not commending  that kind of suffering.  Rather, I am only extolling the suffering with Christ that leads to glory with Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

We Know Something of the Sufferings of Christ, but We Need to Study More the Glories

In the early chapters of Acts, not long after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the apostle Peter boldly proclaimed to a Jerusalem crowd, “[T]he things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18 NASB) – thus clearly declaring an end to Christ’s sufferings.  He went on to exhort his listeners to repent and turn to this Jesus who’d now been exalted to heaven.  As the sufferings of Messiah had ceased, so the glories of Christ had commenced – including the adoration of many repentant sinners.

In one of his letters, Peter invoked the suffering-glory paradigm of Messiah which He had learned from Jesus in Luke 24 (discussed in yesterday’s post, The Sufferings of Christ and the Glories to Follow) as follows:

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.  1 Peter 1:10-11 NASB, underlining added

Because the gospel narratives deal so explicitly with the sufferings of Christ, especially as fulfillment of prophecy, we know a great deal about them.  What we need to learn much more about are His glories.  They are written about throughout the epistles, but much more lies in the Old Testament prophets, waiting for us to realize that the apostles saw so much more in them than we realize.

Let us return to the Scriptures (both testaments) eager to find the full extent of Christ’s glories.  As we do, we will be awestruck with His majesty and do away with man-made doctrines such as the Trinity which obscure the glory of Christ our Lord.

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Sufferings of Messiah and the Glories to Follow

Yesterday’s post (The Gospels Are Biographies…of a Different Kind) pointed out that the gospels are shaped largely around the last week of Christ’s life and the build up to it – the time of His sufferings.  Israel’s prophets had been so specific about how the Messiah would suffer that the apostles could describe what they saw in very specific scriptural terms.  Of course, these prophecies only became apparent to the apostles after the resurrection when Jesus explained them (Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48).  Jews of that day were primarily expecting the Messiah to be a great and victorious leader.  They overlooked or downplayed most of the descriptions of His suffering.

When the resurrected Jesus was explaining to His disciples that everything that had happened to Him had been foretold by the prophets, He said, “Was it not necessary for the Christ (i.e. Messiah) to suffer these things and to enter into His glory” (Luke 24:26 NASB).  The resurrection of Christ was thus the end of His sufferings and the beginning of His glory.  This was indeed the pivotal moment of all human history – and always will be.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Gospels Are Biographies…of a Different Kind

The four gospels of the New Testament which tell us about the life of Christ – Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John – can rightly be called biographies because they are writings about a life.  However, they do not follow the same shape as most biographies written today.

The gospels focus on roughly three years of Jesus’ life – the last three.  And the biggest part of the narratives is taken up with the last week of His life.  There is a very specific reason for this – the prophecies of Messiah (Christ) in the Old Testament.

When the Old Testament prophets wrote about the great figure that God would one day send to redeem Israel and the world, they did not write very much about what His childhood would be like.  Neither did they write very much about what His early adulthood would be like.  They did write about the ministry He would conduct (including His teaching and miracles), and they especially took pains to prophesy the treatment He would receive in response to all that He did and taught.  These are called the sufferings of Christ and include His trial, scourging, crucifixion, and death.  Therefore, the gospels are shaped primarily around Christ’s sufferings.  (His glories would begin with His resurrection and ascension into heaven – Luke 24:26.)

The gospels are eyewitness accounts of Jesus, and, specifically, they are eyewitness accounts of how His life  and death fulfilled the prophecies written in the Old Testament.  For this reason, the gospels are biographies with a different shape than that of modern biographies.  Whoever else had so much written about his life  before he ever lived it?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If You Want to Study the New Testament, the Gospel of John Is the Place to Start

For reasons I mentioned in yesterday’s post (The New Testament Documents Are Byproducts of Apostolic Ministry – Not Its Focal Point), you’d be better off choosing the gospel of John to begin your study of the New Testament.

I say this because most of the New Testament documents are correspondence between people who already know each other, dealing with issues between them.  Some are like circulars, going to various locales, but even then they are dealing with issues of their day.  You can learn a great deal about Jesus from this kind of correspondence, but it’s not the place you want to start.  The two most generically-written documents are the gospels of Luke and John.  Also, both of them are biographies of Jesus, which is another plus.

Luke will be particularly helpful because it is the first volume in the two-volume work of Luke – the second being the book of Acts (the only place in the New Testament you’ll get an extended narrative of what the apostles did after Jesus was raised from the dead).  Nevertheless, Luke is still writing for people who have already heard the message of Jesus, but who are looking for more detail.  Only John writes in a “To Whom It May Concern” style and tells the story of Jesus for the specific purpose that a person who doesn’t know Jesus might come to know and believe in Him as a result of reading the book (see John 20:30-31).

The gospel of John, therefore, will give you not only a broad and comprehensive introduction to Jesus Christ, who Himself the subject of the New Testament, it will also provide you a strong foundation for all that you study and learn in the rest of the New Testament and Old Testament books.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The New Testament Documents Are Byproducts of Apostolic Ministry – Not Its Focal Point

When you study the New Testament be sure not to go to it expecting it to be something that it is not.

It was not written to be put in a time capsule to be opened 2,000 years later.  It was correspondence of the times dealing with issues of the times between people who had much in common.  With documents written in such circumstances there are many things left out that we would like included.

Neither were the apostles best-selling authors who retired to their villas to write memoirs which would be published, marketed, and distributed throughout the bookstores of the Roman Empire.

The New Testament documents were the written byproducts of what was largely an oral work effort.  In fact, even that may be understating it a bit.  Almost everything about the spreading of the good news in those days was about face-to-face communication – whether one-on-one or to a crowd.  Literacy rates among the general population were low and, with the printing press over a thousand years off into the future, it would have been ridiculous to think about the apostles focusing on writing the good news around the world.  Even what they did write was mainly written to be read publicly to a group of people who’d already heard and believed the oral message (many of whom themselves did not read.)

The New Testament will reveal an overwhelming abundance of truth, but not to those who demand that its documents be something they were never intended to be.

Instead, you must read it attentively and respectfully, allowing the Holy Spirit sufficient time to draw out the understanding of it for you.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The New Testament Was Produced by the Apostles

When you consider The Nine Men Behind the New Testament (which was yesterday’s post), it is appropriate to say that the New Testament was the work of the apostles of the Lord Jesus.

While James and Jude, who came from among the earthly brothers of the Lord, do not specifically claim to be apostles in the Scripture itself, or even brothers of the Lord for that matter (these were humble men), they are clearly regarded as being among the apostles (1 Corinthians 9:5).  And, as we saw, Luke and Mark were working associates of the apostles and thus were viewed as apostolic workers.  We may say the same about the writer to the Hebrews, if it wasn’t Paul himself.  Everyone else mentioned – Paul, John, Peter, and Matthew – were clearly apostles themselves.

If you research the New Testament seeking to find out how it came to have 27 documents and not more or less than that, you will find that the defining criterion was whether or not a document was considered apostolic in origin.  If the document could be traced to an apostle, it was included.  If it was considered to have a different source, it was excluded.

Of all the work that the Lord’s apostles did for Him, what we have remaining are these 27 documents.  Throughout history since then, many claims have been made that other documents are apostolic, but none has ever successfully made the case.

The New Testament is apostolic.  It is the work of Jesus’ apostles.  It is all we have left of those men.  Fortunately, it is enough.  It is much, much more than enough.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Nine Men Behind the New Testament

There are nine men primarily responsible, at least from a human standpoint, for the 27 documents we have in the New Testament.  (Of course, they all wrote at the leading of the Holy Spirit, just as the prophets before them had done: 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21.)

Of these nine people, there are three who are particularly responsible for the majority of its contents:  Paul, John, and Peter.  All three were apostles, with the latter two being among the original twelve.

The rest of the New Testament’s contents come from Matthew, James, and Jude.  Matthew was an apostle of the Lord and the other two were the Lord’s brothers in the family of Joseph and Mary.

Besides these six people, three others should also be mentioned.  Luke was an associate of Paul and his work was thus considered an extension of Paul’s.  Mark was an associate of Peter and his gospel is considered to be based primarily on Peter’s recollections.  There is widespread debate about who authored Hebrews, but this letter has always been associated with Paul – either as his own work or the work of one of his associates.  Thus we may say that the ninth person responsible for the New Testament is unnamed, or else there are only eight.

Here are each of the books with its author named, followed by the person under whose guidance he wrote:

Matthew – Matthew
Mark – Mark (Peter)
Luke – Luke (Paul)
John – John
Acts – Luke (Paul)
Romans – Paul
1 Corinthians – Paul
2 Corinthians – Paul
Galatians – Paul
Ephesians – Paul
Philippians – Paul
Colossians – Paul
1 Thessalonians – Paul
2 Thessalonians – Paul
1 Timothy – Paul
2 Timothy – Paul
Titus – Paul
Philemon – Paul
Hebrews – Paul or ? (Paul)
James – James
1 Peter – Peter
2 Peter – Peter
1 John – John
2 John – John
3 John – John
Jude – Jude
Revelation – John

When you consider that Mark and Luke were assisting, and the questions about Hebrews, you could say that there are actually six men behind the New Testament – Paul, John, Peter; Matthew, James, and Jude – with the majority of the output coming from the first three.

Regardless of how you count them, these men gave us a sure foundation.  And they testified with their blood.  Of course, there were crowds that followed Jesus and over 500 saw Him resurrected.  Moreover, there were many witnesses to these witnesses.  Their letters were not written in ivory towers.

God chose His witnesses carefully.  We may be assured these were honest and God-fearing men.  What they wrote, we may believe.  And we may stake our lives on it – just as they did theirs.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Word Made Ink, The Word Made Flesh, The Word Made Spirit

Jesus was prophesied long before He came, and these prophecies became the Bible.  This is the word of God made ink.  (See Luke 24:25-27, 44-48 and the Old Testament)

According to those many prophecies, Jesus lived His life on earth.  That was the word of God made flesh.  (See John 1:14 and all four gospels)

Once He was raised from the dead, Jesus was described in spiritual terms.  This is the word of God made spirit.  (see 2 Corinthians 5:16; 3:17, all the New Testament epistles, and the Old Testament prophets)

In summary, Jesus was the Word made ink, and then the Word made flesh, and then the Word made spirit.  And He shall reign as spirit forevermore!  (It is through the ink and the flesh that we come to know this.)

This described progression from ink to flesh to spirit was entirely the work of God.  And Christ is God.  Let us turn from our sins and worship Him in gladness every day!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Why Were There Seven Deacons in the Jerusalem Church?

The short chapter of Acts 6 describes how Jesus’ apostles appointed seven deacons to work with the needy in Jerusalem in the days not long after Jesus’ ascension into heaven.  The question is, why did the apostles appointed seven deacons instead of some other number of deacons?

A. Seven is the number of completeness.

B. Seven represents God because He created the world in six days and rest on the seventh.

C. No one knows; it is a mystery of God why the Holy Spirit instructed the apostles to do this.

D. Widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.

Answer: D. (What other number would you choose if the daily serving of food was the problem?)

Why Is Anyone Looking for Jesus Christ to Come Back in the Flesh?

Proverbs 4:18 tells us that the righteous path shines ever brighter until the full day.  In other words, light starts and then progressively increases to its fullness.

Yesterday’s post, In the New Testament Jesus Christ Progresses from Flesh to Spirit, described how Jesus began the New Testament as a human infant and ended it as “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, and the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13 NASB).  That is, His progression was from flesh to spirit, and from the least of flesh to the greatest of spirit.

If this is the progression of the revelation of Jesus Christ to humanity, how then do some people believe that it will be fully consummated with Jesus returning in the flesh.  This would be as if the day reached noon only to instantly turn back to dawn.  Both scenarios would be equally pointless.

Be assured that the revealing of Jesus Christ is not going to reverse itself.  He who was revealed in the flesh was vindicated – not in the flesh, but in the spirit (1 Timothy 3:16).

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

In the New Testament Jesus Christ Progresses from Flesh to Spirit

In the New Testament’s four gospels we see Jesus according to the flesh.  In the books of Acts, He becomes Jesus in the spirit (seated at the right hand of God where He can no longer be viewed by physical eyes).  For this reason, Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:16 says that “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer” (NASB).

Throughout the New Testament’s epistles, we see Jesus more and more in the spirit.

By the time of the book of Revelation we see Jesus shining in the fullness of spiritual description, including having “a head and hair white like white wool or snow,” “eyes like a flame of fire,” “feet like burnished bronze when it has been caused to glow in a furnace,” and more.  In other words, Jesus progresses from flesh to brighter and brighter rays of glory as the New Testament progresses.

If the New Testament thus portrays the dawning of Jesus Christ, what then is the full day?  Jesus Christ is God!  Let us repent of our ways and worship Him now and always!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Job 8:7

Job 8:7 speaks of Jesus Christ (that is, the Messiah).  Do you see Him as you meditate on these words?

His beginning was insignificant.  Born of a betrothed but unwed mother, and placed in an animal’s feeding trough because there was no room for the family at the inn, Jesus went on to spend His entire life in an outlying province of the Roman Empire.  Yet, through His resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven, He was glorified above all other human beings and angels.  His kingdom shall never end (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:13-14).

Never before has there been, and never again shall there be, such a great discrepancy between the humility of His beginning and the exaltation of His end.

Jesus Christ is our God!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

“My, My, My” Lord

Even though yesterday’s post, “Everyone’s” Lord, made clear that Jesus Christ is, and always will be, the Lord and Savior of every single human being, there is still great personal advantage in acknowledging (that is, accepting or embracing) this fact.  Consider how the Psalms so often personalized the knowledge of God (underlining added; all from the NASB):

Psalm 23:1  The Lord is my shepherd…

Psalm 27:1  The Lord is my light and my salvation…

Psalm 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield…

Psalm 118:14  The Lord is my strength and song…

Psalm 119:57  The Lord is my portion…

Let not God be a distant deity to you.  Draw near to Him.  Call Him “My Lord,” “My Savior,”..and “My” everything else!

(God Wants a Loving Relationship with You)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

“Everyone’s” Lord

Yesterday’s post, “My Lord,” spoke of the personalized way in which the Messiah (i.e. Christ) was addressed: first by David, and then by those who embraced Messiah (i.e. Jesus of Nazareth) throughout New Testament times.

Now consider the fact that since Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again (i.e. the Second Coming has been an accomplished fact since the close of the New Testament age), Jesus Christ is now everyone’s Lord.

For emphasis, let me repeat and paraphrase.  Throughout New Testament times Jesus was only the Lord of those who called Him Lord, but since then the kingdom of God has come and Jesus is Lord over everyone – whether they call Him Lord or not (Jesus Is Our Lord and Savior…Whether We Want Him to Be or Not).

One more time: Jesus is not just the Lord of Christians – He is the Lord of everyone!

Hallelujah!  Let us repent and be grateful.

(Repent, and follow Jesus Christ our Lord!)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

“My” Lord

In Psalm 110:1, David prophesied of the Messiah – whom he called “my Lord.”  We’ve been talking about the “Lord” aspect of that the last few days, (How Jesus Came to Inherit the Title “Lord,”  What Is the Name That Is Above Every Name,  How Long Will Jesus Have the Name Above Every Name?)

Today, think about that personalization: “My.”

David was writing in the hope of resurrection – that same hope that animated even the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.  Jews disagreed about the shape resurrection might take, but it was a common hope, even if a few, like the Sadducees, didn’t partake of it.  When the hope of resurrection took clear form in the case of Jesus the Messiah, the word “my” became a personalization for many more than David.  Three thousands souls embraced His name in Jerusalem where He was first declared as Lord (Acts 2:36).

Even Paul echoes this personalized address when he writes in Philippians 3:8 of “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  We can also hear it echoed in the salutations and benedictions of the epistles which refer to “our Lord Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Gentiles had no basis for applying a possessive pronoun to Deity, but through the Christ (i.e. the Messiah of Israel) they could be as possessive about the Lord as any Jew.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How Long Will Jesus Have the Name Above Every Name?

How long will Jesus be the name that is above every name?  (That is to say, how long will He be Lord?)  The answer is…forever.  And ever.

Ephesians 1:21 says He was given the name above all names not only for the biblical age, but for the eternal age to follow it.

Daniel 7:14 says the dominion He would given would be everlasting.

Isaiah 9:6-7 says there would no end to the increase of His government.

There will never be a name higher than the Lord Jesus Christ.  Never.

He will always be the Lord.  And there is no other.

How then could the Trinity be true?

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

What Is the Name That Is Above Every Name?

Philippians 2:9-11 says that Jesus has been given the name that is above every name.  What is that name that He was given?  Lord.

In Psalm 110:1 David prophesied that God would seat the Messiah at God’s right hand.  For this reason, David called the Messiah “my Lord” in this verse.  Peter tells us in Acts 2:34-36 that this Scripture was fulfilled when Jesus ascended into heaven not many days before that dramatic day of Pentecost described in Acts 2.  This is when Jesus was made Lord.  This is when He received “the name that is above every name” – which is “the Lord.”

Some people think that “Jesus” is the name that is above every name.  When they do this, they miss the pivotal point of all history which was when Jesus was made Lord through His resurrection and ascension.  He had been named “Jesus” just prior to His birth, but that was not the name above every name at that time.  “Jesus” did become the name above every name when He was made “Lord” of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).

Because He is Lord, Jesus – by whichever of His many names He is called – is the name above every name.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How Jesus Came to Inherit the Title “Lord”

In Acts 2:34-36, the apostle Peter declares that Jesus’ ascension into heaven (after His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection) was the fulfillment of the Psalm 110 prophecy about the Christ (i.e. the Messiah).  By seating Jesus at His right hand, God was declaring Jesus to be “Lord” (Psalm 110:1).  This is, of course, consistent with what Jesus reported to His disciples in Matthew 28:18 – that He had been given “all authority in heaven and on earth.”

From this point on, Jesus – as Lord – was able to execute all powers and fulfill all promises of the Scripture that had been made in the name of the Lord.  For this reason, Peter could characterize the promise from Joel 2:32 (quoted by Peter in Acts 2:21) – “[W]hoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” – as being fulfilled for those who called on the name of Jesus (see Acts 2:37-39).  Since Jesus was now “the Lord,” calling upon Jesus was calling upon the Lord.  And calling upon the name of Jesus was calling upon the name of the Lord.

Jesus was now prepared to fulfill all the promises that God had made as “Lord” to whoever called upon Him.  Physical ancestry through Abraham was no longer an issue.  For this reason the apostle Paul could say that all the promises of God were “yes and amen in [the Lord Jesus]” 2 Corinthians 1:20.  To have Christ as Lord was indeed “an administration of” the promises of God “suitable for all time” (Ephesians 1:10).

Reconsider the Old Testament if you haven’t already.  Jesus, having inherited the title of “Lord” from God the Father (see also When Jesus Became Lord), is prepared to display the faithfulness of God to all who will trust Him.  Review all the promises of God and observe how our Lord Jesus Christ administers the universe (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

What Jesus Taught Peter About the Bible

When Jesus was crucified and buried, His disciples became distressed, downcast, and scattered.  Even those closest to Him – His apostles – had lost all hope.

Jesus’ resurrection changed all that.  Not only was hope profoundly renewed, but Jesus explained to His followers – including Peter – how everything that had happened, and that was happening, had been prophesied long ahead of time in the Scriptures.  Read Luke 24 to see how Jesus opened the their eyes (especially verses 25-27, 31-32, and 44-48).

Peter passed on this understanding in 1 Peter 1:10-12.  He also bore witness to it in Acts 3:22-24 and Acts 10:43.

Specifically, in Acts 2:25-28 where he is quoting Psalm 16:8-11, we see Peter passing on the understanding of how David had written Psalm 16 with an eye toward the coming Messiah.  Note especially Acts 2:30 which recalled 2 Samuel 7:12-13.   Then consider Acts 2:31 in light of 1 Peter 1:10-12 and 2 Samuel 7:19.  (Note also Peter’s specific reference to Samuel in Acts 3:24.)  David was one of those prophets to whom the Holy Spirit had revealed that what was being inspired to be written about the Messiah, was being inspired for distant and future generations (1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4).

Of course, even more prominent in 1st-century Jewish thought about the Messiah than Psalm 16 was Psalm 110.  Peter declared this prophecy to have been fulfilled in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus (Acts 2:24-32).  Then in Acts 2:33 Peter uses the phrase “right hand of God” which comes from Psalm 110 – widely considered in that day to be a messianic prophecy.  You may recall that Jesus had taught on Psalm 110 before His resurrection without giving the answer to the riddle (or mystery, if you prefer) He had raised by invoking it the way He did ( see Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44 for the story).  Peter learned after the resurrection – and we now know – that resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God was the answer to the riddle that the Pharisees could not give.  David could call Jesus both “son” and “Lord” because according to the flesh Jesus was David’s son, but according to the spirit Jesus would be David’s Lord (Romans 14:9; Acts 2:34-36; and When Jesus Became Lord).  Jesus so taught Peter and the others that it solved the riddle and removed all uncertainty for them.

Jesus also taught Peter and the other disciples that the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that they testify about the Christ (John 5:39, 46 and 2 Timothy 3:14-17, in addition to the Luke 24 passages mentioned above).  Peter subsequently made clear to everyone in 2 Peter 1:17-21 that his eyewitness experience of Jesus was best understood through the Scriptures – and the same Holy Spirit who had inspired them.

If we’re not reading the Scriptures to learn about Christ…we’re missing the whole point.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

What Did the Holy Spirit Have to Do with “the Apostles’ Teaching”?

In yesterday’s post, What Was “the Apostles’ Teaching”?, I wrote about the wellspring of the apostles’ teaching which was…the Lord’s teaching.

Someone might ask, “But what about the Holy Spirit’s role in this process?”

Indeed, the Holy Spirit’s role was great.  The very Scriptures that Jesus was explaining had been originally inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12).  Furthermore, when Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-13), it meant that the apostles had a means of continuing to expand their understanding of the Scriptures beyond what Jesus was able to get across to them during the forty days between His resurrection and His ascension.

Paul, a later apostle, was even able to convey scriptural truth to Peter, an original apostle.  It was the Holy Spirit, acting on behalf of Jesus, who was opening minds all along the way.

Even today, the Holy Spirit is our means of understanding how the Scriptures testify about Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:10-12).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

What Was “the Apostles’ Teaching”?

In describing the day of Pentecost when the gospel of Jesus Christ was first publicly proclaimed, the book of Acts says that about 3,000 people believed.  It goes on to say in Acts 2:42 that those who believed were devoting themselves to, among other activities, “the apostles’ teaching.”

What was that teaching?  We, of course, see a sample of it in Acts 2:14-40 which narrates Peter’s proclamation that Pentecost Day (to which the three thousand people responded positively).   We see more of it in Acts 3:12-26, and then throughout the book of Acts, and, of course, in the epistles that follow.  However, the real wellspring of this teaching can be seen in Luke 24 (note especially verses 25-27, 31-32, 44-48) when Jesus “explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

Thus “the apostles’ teaching” was really “the Lord’s teaching.”  The apostles were proclaiming to others what the Lord Jesus had explained to them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Regarding Jesus as the Way (to Live)

In the posts from yesterday (Examples of Jesus as the Way) and the day before (If You Can See Christ in the Verse, Then You Can See Yourself in the Verse), I wrote of how we can follow Jesus…in scriptural terms.

Of course, Jesus is the Way.  He said so Himself in John 14:6 (“I am the way…”).  Consider also the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ reference to the narrow “way” to life Matthew 7:13-14.

“The Way” was also how the apostles and their disciples referred to their following of Jesus.  You can see this in the following verses:

Acts 9:2

Acts 19:9

Acts 19:23

(Acts 22:4 – “this Way” instead of “the Way”)

Acts 24:14

Acts 24:22

Consider also 2 Peter 2:20-21 where Jesus is referred to as “the way of righteousness.”

By contrast, the word “Christian” shows up in the Bible only three times (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16), and the word “Christianity” doesn’t show up at all.

Jesus was, and is, not only the way to God – He is the way to live.  I hope you will think about this post and the other two I referenced.  All three are a call to follow Jesus the way He is going.  This has nothing to do with churchgoing and has everything to do with living a life of love.  To reinforce the point, consider 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Examples of Jesus as the Way

In yesterday’s post, If You Can See Christ in the Verse, Then You Can See Yourself in the Verse, I explained how seeing Christ as obedient to the Father in a specific Bible passage can light the way for us to be obedient to Christ.  (If you haven’t read that post, this post might not make complete sense to you.)

Here are some more examples of how to practice this:

2 Chronicles 16:9:  Surely you can see in this verse that Jesus of Nazareth was the one whom God’s surveying eyes latched upon, for truly Jesus’ heart was completely given over to God.  Therefore, to Christ “the eyes of the Lord” were the eyes of God the Father, but to us “the eyes of the Lord” are the eyes of Jesus – and it is to this Jesus that we give our hearts.

Psalm 27: Jesus saw God as His light and His salvation.  We can’t see God, and we certainly can’t see Him as Jesus did.  But we can see Jesus, and since He was declared “Lord” by God (Acts 2:34-36), then Jesus is our light and our salvation.

Numbers 6:24-26: You might recognize these words even if you are not yet familiar with the Bible.  Of course, for Jesus it was the Father’s face He sought, but in our case, it is Jesus’ face we seek.  Therefore, it is the Lord Jesus whose shining countenance will give us peace.

To find more examples like this that you can use to build up your devotion to Jesus, look for verses in the Old Testament (especially the Psalms) and see how Jesus viewed God the Father through them.  Then put Jesus in the place of God (that’s what making Him “Lord” does) and express your devotion to Him by living out those words.  (Only always keep a good conscience, for without a good conscience you misunderstand Bible verses and end up doing evil instead of good.)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If You Can See Christ in the Verse, Then You Can See Yourself in the Verse

In 1 Peter 2:21, the apostle Peter wrote that Jesus Christ left an example for us to walk in His steps.  Of course, this is broadly true.  However, it is also true in a very specific and practical way that involves the Scriptures.  Peter goes on to demonstrate this in the very next chapter of his letter.

Remember that while the apostles produced the New Testament, they had only the Old Testament as their Bible.  Let’s pay close attention to how they read it.

In 1 Peter 3:10-12, as he continued to write about following the example Jesus set, the apostle quotes Psalm 34:12-16.  Of course, Psalm 34 was a messianic psalm.  That is, it was a prophecy of the Christ (i.e. the Messiah, the Anointed) who would come to deliver God’s people.  In this vein, the Gospel of John (19:36) makes explicit reference to Psalm 34:20 applying to Christ.

Peter is showing that because this psalm referred to Christ, it can now be used as a pattern for us to follow.  That is, as “the eyes of the Lord” spoke to Jesus of His Father, so “the eyes of the Lord” now speak to us of Christ.  As Jesus followed God the Father, so we follow Jesus.  This is because God made Jesus Lord at His resurrection and ascension when God seated Jesus at the right hand of the throne of heaven and declared Him “Lord” (Acts 2:34-36).  (For more, see When Jesus Became Lord.)

Thus, “the Father” was “Lord” to Jesus, but “Jesus” is “Lord” to us.  For this reason Jesus was given, for we did not have His ability to follow a holy God.  Only through following Jesus can we find our way.  Or rather, His way.

You can practice this all over the Bible – especially in the Old Testament prophecies of Christ…and thereby see more clearly how to live the life of faith and righteousness.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.