#DailyDevotion We Have A Greater Witness Than Angels

#DailyDevotion We Have A Greater Witness Than Angels

Hebrews 2: 1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.


It was thought by the Jews that angels had handed down the Mosaic law to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai. Hebrews here is taking that thought and making a point. So this Mosaic law had various and sundry punishments for breaking those commandments. Very sternly they were told to obey and neither add to them or subtract them.

If that is the case, we must pay even closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it. The message that you and I have received came from the Lord of Life who took on human flesh and became one of us. From the lips of the Creator of heaven and earth in the flesh have you and I received instruction. This Lord of Life and Creator of all is the Lord Jesus Christ. He taught us the way of salvation: Trust in his salvation. How shall we escape the wrath to come if we neglect this great gift of eternal life from his hands.


This word of life has come down to us through those who walked, ate and traveled with him for the several years he walked visibly among us. Their witness, despite the troubles that came upon them is this Jesus is the Lord and he has won salvation for us from sin, death and the power of the devil.


His word and the word of his disciples were attested to by great signs and wonders. They healed the sick, gave sight to the blind (even those born blind), gave hearing to the death, made clean the lepers, casted out demons, fed the thousands and even raised the dead. These signs gave weight to their message that Jesus in whose name these were performed was indeed the promised seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham through whom all nations would be blessed.


Yes, this Jesus is greater than the angels because he is their Lord; he is their maker. Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary is the Lord, the God of Israel who tabernacle among us in our flesh. In this flesh he won for us, for you, the gift of eternal life. Trust the gift has been given to you. Live you life as if you will never die because this Jesus has promised everyone who believes in him has eternal life and will never die. His word is truth and his word is life.


Heavenly Father, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to take on our human flesh to save us from our sins. Grant that we may believe this great testimony from his apostles and receive the gift of eternal life that we may live with you, Jesus and the Holy Spirit unto eternity. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Your Marriage Is The Image Of God Your Children See

#DailyDevotion Your Marriage Is The Image Of God Your Children See

Genesis 2:18–25

18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” … 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said,


“This at last is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken out of Man.”


24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.


In the beginning we see a great principle at hand: It is not good for the man to be alone. God was not alone. In the Trinity, there is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God makes man in his own image in chapter one, male and female he made man. Part of the image of God is marriage while also each person is also made in the image and likeness of God as we see in Gen. 9 and James. Yet marriage is also an image of God.


It is not good that the man should be alone. The Lord brought all the animals to Adam and even the dog and the cat were not suitable helpmeets for the man. So the Lord put Adam to sleep, took one of his ribs and built a woman from that rib, hence setting up a principle upon which the image of God in marriage is established, one flesh.  The man sees the woman the Lord had brought to him and he breaks forth in poetry as men are bound to do when they see he love of their life (even if it isn’t good poetry because of our fallen nature now). There may be a language out there that doesn’t have the word for woman attached to the word for man but I don’t know of any. I find that fascinating. A vestige of a more pristine age I guess. But it points us to this fact, the first woman came from man, though Paul in 1 Cor. is also quick to remind us men that we all come from the womb of a woman now.


When a man marries a woman and vice versa, they disjoin themselves from all previous relationships. This relationship formed by marriage supersedes all previous relationships including that of parents, maybe in some cases especially of parents. This person is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. They are the A, the number 1 person of our life. No one should come between them, not father, mother, mother-in-law, friends, neighbors, no one. Anyone who will not support this relationship should not be listened to and probably should be side-lined.


As an image of God, the married couple needs to be of one heart and one mind. This is not always easy in this fallen world but if we listen to St. Paul in Eph. 5:22ff we might get a chance at exhibiting the image of God to a fallen world and the image of Christ and his church: The husband sacrificing himself and the wife submitting herself for the benefit of the other.


Heavenly Father, grant us your grace that we who are married may present an image of the Trinity in our married life and give support to those who are married for the sake of Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Why Do You Still Have All Your Members?

#DailyDevotion Why Do You Still Have All Your Members?

Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”


You know reading this I would expect a lot of Christians to have one eye, one hand and one foot. As a matter of fact I would expect them to have no hands, no eyes and no feet. They might be missing a few other body parts to tell you the truth. But Jesus is serious here. What would rather have 2 eyes being tormented for all eternity or have one eye in paradise for eternity? Would you rather be whole bodily where the worm that does not die and fire does not go out forever or be missing a few body parts and enjoy the eternal bliss of being with your Father in heaven for all eternity. The place of eternal punishment is a real place. Real people are going there. Unfortunately most people are going there. No doubt a lot of ‘good’ people are going to end up there.


So do I need to start cutting off body parts. Well if that would actually help, yes. But that won’t actually help. Jesus told us back in chapter 7 what the real problem is: Mar 7:21-23 “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  (22)  coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  (23)  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” You see the heart is behind the sins of the eye, the hand and the foot and every other body part. You need a new heart. You’re just going to have to die and/or get a heart transplant. I believe they actually kill a person for a short period of time (medically whatever that means) when they are transplanting a heart. Well we are going to have to die spiritually to get a heart transplant from our divine physician.


Rom 6:3-5 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” We participate in Christ’s death in baptism. We cry out with David, Psa 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” In baptism, God kills the old heart and raises it anew in Christ Jesus. He takes our dead spirit which lives a life of death and gives us his Holy Spirit that has us walk the path of life. Should the old heart raise its ugly head in our life we confess our sin and return to the promise of baptism, we hear the words of absolution, we are revived and go and repair the damage we’ve done as best as we can. If cutting off body parts would work, we’d do it. Jesus would raise us whole to eternal life. But we need him to do an inside job on us and cleanse us with the hyssop of his cross and blood.


Heavenly Father, put to death in us all unclean thoughts, give us faith to confess our sins and believe the good news of Christ that we may live right now and enter into eternal life to dwell with you, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Are You For Christ Jesus?

#DailyDevotion Are You For Christ Jesus?

Mark 9:38 John said to [Jesus], “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said,  “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.


Believe it or not, this passage is not about it being ok to teach false doctrine as long as Jesus is mentioned. Believe it or not I’ve heard people use this passage to show that it is ok to preach false doctrine as long as Jesus was preached. But Jesus isn’t preached if false doctrine is being taught. It’s highly possible a different Jesus is being taught in that case.


The truth of the matter is, no one can do a miracle in the name of Jesus and then speak against Jesus. To perform a miracle in Jesus’ name indicates you have faith in Jesus and belong to him. Such a one is for Jesus and not against Jesus. If they are for Jesus than they cannot be against us.


No, instead of false teachers this passage more applies to those Paul mentions here: Php 1:15-18  “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.  (16) The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  (17) The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.  (18) What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,…” Now we don’t know who Pau is talking about here and why they would preach Christ from envy and rivalry and trying to afflict Paul, but Paul writes this from prison so it’s likely they too could end up in the same fate as Paul. While their motive is false, their preaching is true. Paul could hardly rejoice in Christ proclaimed falsely. Compare that to the seven sons of Sceva who tried to exorcise demons in Jesus’ name: Act 19:15-16 “But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” (16)  And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”


On the other hand compare this to the preaching of Apollos. Act 18:24-26 “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.  (25)  He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.  (26)  He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” While Apollos preached Christ with a pure heart, his teaching was not completely accurate. When he was shown the full truth, he accepted it and preached Christ Jesus even more boldly.


We should encourage people to share the good news of Jesus Christ and pray for them to share Christ accurately. If possible we help to make their message more accurate. If they accept our correction they are of the same Spirit and we should treat them like a brother. Who knows maybe we are in the wrong and they will correct us and we will receive that with thanksgiving.


Heavenly Father, place your word faithfully in the mouths of all who speak the name of Jesus that Jesus may truly be glorified and faith and knowledge of him increased. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Just A Few Last Minute Instructions

#DailyDevotion Just A Few Last Minute Instructions

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.


So James is ending his letter we get something of a laundry list of things to do without a lot of explanation and when he does it’s not overly helpful. Yet, it is sound advice.


Are you suffering? Pray! Prayer lessen the burden. I suggest praying the psalms. The psalms express the thoughts of the new heart of man toward his Maker. We may not always know the best way to complain to God about what we are going through. You may even fear you have blasphemed God by your complaint and now you feel guilty. But by praying the psalms you are praying what God has given you to say without fear and you will know doubt find the words that express what you are going through.


Are you cheerful? Sing songs of praise! The psalms are another good place to go when you want to praise the Lord but just can’t find the words. Praising the Lord is more than just saying, “Praise the Lord.” You must tell others and the Lord of the specific good things that He has done. I don’t just say the Saints did a great job on Sunday. I talk about individual players and plays that had an impact on the game. In the same way, what specifically has the Lord done that deserves praise? Sing about that.


Sick? Get a hold of your pastor and have him pray for you. When he says the prayer of faith will save the sick, the Lord will raise him up and he will be forgiven, the key word there is faith. You may or may not be healed at that moment of your illness, but if you believe, if you put your trust in the one being prayed to, you can be certain that you are saved, that your sins have been forgiven you and on the last day you will be raised from the dead whole and undefiled. Yet if it is God’s will you will be healed through that prayer as well in this age.


Finally, bringing someone back who has wandered from the faith is not about covering your sins but the sins of the wanderer. If we stray from the faith, from the path of life, how can we enter into eternal life? We are on the wrong path that leads only to destruction. But to point us back to Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life puts us back where forgiveness, life and salvation is and saves that person’s soul. Thanks be to God when we are given the opportunity.


Heavenly Father, we undergo many trials and tribulations in life as well as blessings. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we might rightly pray, praise and give thanks in all circumstances in life and help us to lead others to the way of your son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion I’m The Greatest

#DailyDevotion I’m The Greatest

Mark 9:33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them,  “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them,  “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”


After teaching his disciples how the Son of Man didn’t come to be served but rather to serve by his death and resurrection, the disciples had a little discussion about which of them was the greatest. It’s like they didn’t even hear Jesus’ words. Well Mark did report they didn’t understand what he said. Now in this discussion they were having about which one of them was the greatest we can also remember that at the very least nine of the just came away from being unable to cast the demon out from a little child. Also three of them also just came down the mountain with Jesus having witnessed his transfiguration, talking with Moses and Elijah and hearing the very voice of God. My guess it would be Peter, James and John leading the charge as to which of them was the greatest. But when confronted by Jesus they were silent.


So Jesus instructs them and us on being great. “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus had taught them what this meant in his own person earlier. By his betrayal, death and resurrection Jesus showed what it meant to be last and servant of all. You don’t get much last than being crucified on a cross and that was the death Jesus had predicted for himself. In his death Jesus became the Lamb who was sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world. His death justifies all.


To further make his point Jesus puts a child in the midst of them and embraces him. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Now children are pretty much the bottom of the ladder then. They were often even lower than the slaves for they had slaves over them and the children had to listen to them. Not too long ago I remember my grandmother telling me, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Yet Jesus puts a child in their midst, in a place of honor. The one who receives the lowest of the low in Jesus’ name receives Jesus and the one who sent Jesus namely the Father.


“In my name” marks one as a Christian. While of course we should help all people that we can, fellow Christians who have the name of Christ should be first on our list of people we serve. Jesus says, Mat 25:40 “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Paul would later write, Eph 5:21 “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Rom 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” The Christian life is called to be one of service to our fellow Christians. It isn’t about being better than them. It isn’t about seeking to be the greatest among them. It is about being willing to service Christ through them and serving Christ through them. Our service to them is born from Jesus’ service to us. It is love in action proceeding from Christ Jesus’ love for us.


Lord Jesus Christ, you served us by your death. Grant us faith and grace to serve you through serving those who bear your name. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Gospel In A Nutshell

#DailyDevotion The Gospel In A Nutshell

Mark 9:30 [The disciples] went on from there and passed through Galilee. And [Jesus] did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them,  “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Here we see of most importance the main Christian teaching. The whole of scripture is about unpacking what this statement of Jesus means. The disciples didn’t understand it at the time. They were afraid to ask. Jesus would later unpack it for them. Unfortunately, when Jesus does unpack it the gospel writers don’t record it. It would we for the epistle writers and acts to fill out the teachings of Jesus as to what this short statement from Jesus means.


We have this from Luke: Luk 24:44-47 “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  (45)  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  (46)  and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  (47)  and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”


If you ever wondered why we should focus on the Old Testament more we also have this from Acts: Act 28:23 “When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.”


Paul writes, 1Co 15:3-5 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  (4)  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  (5)  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”


So what we see here is that God, the Lord of the Old Testament, became man, became the atoning sacrifice for our sin, he died our death and rose again that in his death and resurrection all mankind may reconciled to God and be raised on the last day even as he has risen from the dead. Now we are called to trust this statement that we might receive the benefit of it namely eternal life. Now we are called to set aside our old way of life given us by Adam and to live a new life in Christ which thinks about the other person and value them as Jesus has valued us. There is so much more packed into Jesus’ statement we have a lifetime to meditate on it, trust it, and live it.


Heavenly Father, open our minds that we may understand all that Jesus has revealed to us in his word that faith may be created in us, strengthened, and renewed every day of our lives that we be living testimonies of his life, death and resurrection. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Not Getting Your Prayers Answered?

#DailyDevotion Not Getting Your Prayers Answered?

James 4: You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.


Well you’ve been wondering why you don’t have stuff or people in your life you want? You’ve been wondering why nothing seems to be going your way and everything seems to be going wrong? Well there might be an answer to that—you haven’t prayed about it. You don’t have because you didn’t ask. Much like the disciples when they could not cast out a demon, Jesus told them this kind can only be cast out by prayer.


Well perhaps you did pray and you have seen no results, what then? James says perhaps because you want to spend what you get on your passions. In other words you’ve been praying selfish, self-centered prayers. Your prayers are unfulfilled because they are not according to God’s revealed will. When we pray selfish prayers we are making ourselves friends with the world and an enemy of God. We may not want to admit to ourselves or to God that our prayers have been purely selfish, but oftentimes they are.


But sometimes we have asked and not for selfish things and our prayers are still not answered. Here then maybe it just isn’t accord to God’s will. God has a plan. We must remember Paul’s words, “God works out everything for good, for those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” What we are asking for may not fit into God’s overall plan but whatever relief we are looking for God will use it for good. Here the rest of James’ words come into play. “But he gives more grace.” God will give us the grace to deal with what is going on that we are praying about. We must submit our wills to God and humble ourselves under his will. Humble yourself in knowing the Lord our God knows what is best.


So we still draw near to God and humbly present our request to him and God will draw near to you. His presence is all that we need sometimes. We need to know he is with us and for us when the devil has been afflicting us. When we draw near to God humbly offering our petitions and in all humility submitting ourselves to his divine good will, the devil will flee from us and at least for the time we won’t have his continual accusations in our ear, weighing down our hearts. The troubles may still persist but we know our Father in heaven is working on it to our good and to his glory.


Heavenly Father, grant us faith to ask, the Spirit to know your will, and give us humble and contrite hearts that may submit to your will trusting in your promises. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Are You Working With Demonic Or Godly Wisdom?

#DailyDevotion Are You Working With Demonic Or Godly Wisdom?

James 3:13-4:1

13Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

1What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.


There probably aren’t too many wise men with understanding in the world today, particularly in politics but also among Christians. Whose works among us look like meekness of wisdom? Where is our good conduct? Yes it is lacking also among us who point this out.


What causes this? Well the wisdom of the world. Back in the seventies there was a best seller, “Looking out for number one.” It may have had some good points but the title points us in a direction other than the way God points us. Looking out for number one, yourself has a sense of wisdom to it but it isn’t godly wisdom. James says this wisdom is demonic. Look at its fruits: bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, disorder, vile practices. Such is not the path Christ Jesus has called us to when we called us to be one with him.


What does the wisdom from above look like what are its fruits: pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, merciful, good fruits, impartial and sincere. I have to admit I often fall a little short here, maybe sometimes a lot short. How about you? Particularly think about being gentle, open to reason, merciful, and impartial (well maybe that’s me but you get the drift). Well we obviously aren’t getting what we want and our passions (our perverted desires) are getting the better of us and we commit ourselves to getting our way no matter what. Yet this is not the path Jesus has called us to walk.


Perhaps each day as we interact with people we can ask God to help us with one of these aspects. As you deal with people today ask God to help you to be open to reason. The next day ask him to help you be gentle and so on. When you are disturbed ask yourself if you are being selfish (it’s harder to determine than you think sometimes because you have already convinced yourself of many justifications of why you are doing what you are doing). Jesus sought our good. Jesus was not thinking of himself when he went to the cross but was thinking of you and your good. As we follow him and his cross, he asks us to do the same for the people he has placed among us.


Heavenly Father, far too often our passions wage war within us and we do not think and act with godly wisdom. Forgive us for the sake of Christ Jesus and give us your heavenly wisdom that we may bear the fruits of that wisdom in our interactions with our fellow man that Jesus Christ may receive the glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion You’re So UnChristlike

#DailyDevotion You’re So UnChristlike

Jeremiah 11:18–20

18 The Lord made it known to me and I knew; then you showed me their deeds. 19 But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living,   that his name be remembered no more.” 20 But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.


Jeremiah is looking into the future and sees Jesus and his trials against the Pharisees and the Scribes. They would not listen to Jesus or learn from him. No, they saw Jesus as an enemy to their false ways (which he was) but instead of repenting they started seeking ways to kill him. They would set Jesus up with questions hoping he would answer them in a way that would get the death penalty. They would bring him people hoping he would break the Law of Moses and become worthy of death. But each time our Lord outwitted them and showed them what was really on their hearts.


Eventually they would get their wish and bring Jesus for trial, to charge him with breaking the Torah and show him worthy of death. They thought they were running the show, but Jesus only allowed it for our and their salvation. They wished to cut Jesus off from the land of the living, but Jesus is eternal life. They hoped to make his name disappear, now a third of the earth calls upon it for salvation. But at the time Jesus was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. He did not revile them. He did not fight back. His last words on the cross included, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus committed himself into the Father’s hands.


But then Jesus here says something quite unChristlike, at least to our ears. He appeals to the Lord of hosts who judges righteously, that is he test the heart and mind of men, that he would see the vengeance of the Lord of hosts upon them. What do you do with that? Many Christians and a lot of Christian ‘haters’ who charge many Christians for being not very Christ-like will probably be scratching their heads at this. They pick and choose what they like about the bible. Often times they speak from their ignorance of the bible. They don’t know what to do with this. Well to be honest, sometimes we don’t either.


But the truth is this, on the one hand Jesus lays down his life for his enemies. He shows them God’s great love for them but being the atoning sacrifice for their sins by being crucified, the lowest form of criminal punishment. He is despised by them and everyone else receiving in his flesh their shame and guilt so that they may live and he prays for their forgiveness. On the other hand, those who reject his act of mercy, those who will not repent against their rebellion against the Lord’s plan of salvation, those who will not accept him as their king after publication of the good news of his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, his vengeance remains on them and this prayer is directed against them. So you may receive mercy from Jesus if you accept him as king, but vengeance is upon everyone who dies rejecting him.


Heavenly Father, we pray that we may always look to your Son Jesus Christ as our king. We pray you would turn the hearts of all, but the particularly the Jews that they may accept Jesus as your Messiah and be rescued from the coming wrath of Jesus at his revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.