20 August 2019

God Reigns over all nations - No Exceptions

Jesus Reigns over All
Nebuchadnezzar, the absolute monarch of the Babylonian Empire, boasted: “Is not this Babylon the great and exceptional kingdom that I built by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:28-29).

19 August 2019

The Christian Response to Persecution

Sermon on the Mount
By some accounts, the persecution of Christians around the world is on the rise. This raises the question: How are Christians to react to persecution, especially when implemented by governing authorities? Should they respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Do they not have the “right” to do so in western-style democracies? Or should follow the examples of Jesus and the apostles?

17 August 2019

The Task of the Church

Instructions for Disciples
The message proclaimed by Jesus is summarized in the New Testament as the “Good News of the Kingdom of God.”  In Jesus the rule of God over all creation was being established, though in paradoxical ways. All men and women were therefore called to decisive action, a complete reorientation of life (Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 10:7, Mark 1:15). Nothing was more vital than how one responded to this message.

12 August 2019

A Priest Forever

The Resurrection - clipart.christiansunite.com
(Psalm 110:4) – “You are a priest everlastingly, according to the rank of Melchizedek.”
          The book of Hebrews employs a series of comparisons t0 demonstrate the superiority of the revelation given by God in His Son Jesus Christ. The “Word spoken in a Son” is superior to past “words” given in the prophets, through angels, and by Moses at Sinai.
          The purpose of the comparisons is not to denigrate Moses or the Torah, but, rather, to stress the vast superiority of the Word spoken in the Son. God’s past revelations were valid but partial, temporary, and promissory.

The Fig Tree Withered - (Mark 11:20-26)

The Sower went forth to Sow
          This is the second half of the story of the barren fig tree. To reiterate, Mark has arranged his story to link the cursing of the fig tree to Christ's actions in the Temple.
          By prefacing his declaration with the words, “Amen, I am declaring to you,” Jesus invested them with ultimate authority and pronounced their enduring validity.
         The description of the fig tree as “withered from its roots” demonstrated its total destruction. It also brings to mind the earlier Parable of the Sower in which some seed fell on stony ground and “withered” because it had “no root” (Mark 4:5-6).

The Fruitless Temple – (Mark 11:15-19)

The Money Changers
          The moneychangers were set up in the Court of the Gentiles prior to the Passover. This was the largest section of Herod’s Temple and the only part where uncircumcised Gentiles could enter. At the time of this event, the opening of the Court to the moneychangers was a recent innovation.
          Some ancient sources claim it began in 30 A.D. and was likely authorized by Caiaphas the high priest. The exchange of money, as well as the trade of animals for sacrifice, did provide the Temple with significant revenues.
          This activity hindered Gentile worshippers in their access to the Court of the Gentiles, the only part of the Temple to which they were allowed, thus Christ's vehement objection ("My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples!").