Tag Archives: New Testament

Two Questions That Have Always Bothered Me

I came to believe in Christianity the hard way. I rejected all teaching from my youth and searched the Bible and History for answers to all my questions. But two things have never quite been settled for me and I will question again and again until it is completely answered.

The first is: Why do we insist on calling it Easter? It is the Day of the Resurrection and the Sunday after the Passover in all aspects of Christendom, yet the English speaking people want to call it Easter. And as a result we take Christ out of it and put in all kinds of myths, secular traditions and party time attitude rather than Worship the Risen God in Awe and Wonder. It is a time to dress up, feast a lot and play silly games of hide and seek for colored eggs.

The second is: When did Christians stop believing in the Fullness of Christ in Holy Communion? I know that the vast majority of protestants do not believe in the Transformation of the elements into the Body and Blood of Christ yet until the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church, all Christians the world over believed that the words of Jesus, “This is My Body,” and “This is My Blood,” where actual fact and not metaphoric.

I suggest that everybody read these three texts from the New Testament and study them:
1:
2: ,
3:


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35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread [1] the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus [2] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 6:58 Greek lacks the bread
[2] 6:59 Greek He


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22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the [1] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 14:24 Some manuscripts insert new


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26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the [1] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 26:28 Some manuscripts insert new


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15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: [1] are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 10:18 Greek Consider Israel according to the flesh

Why the Great Commission.

( All verses are from the ESV translation unless stated otherwise)

In the Gospel of Mark it is written: “…Then they reported all these instructions briefly to Peter and his companions.  Afterward Jesus Himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.” ( NLT) [This ending is not found in all translations.  Most copies of Mark omit this section of verse eight and add eleven more verses to the text. You can find the Commission otherwise in  KJV] We call this the Great Commission to spread the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world.  It has always been my belief that none were to be spared the Good News, that none were to be denied the grace of salvation.  I searched the scriptures to prove this point and there is ample evidence that all who choose to come to the call of God and accept Jesus and the reconciliation of the Father are answered in the affirmative.

What I list in this article are only some of the scriptures that support this belief.  I  start with the Gospel of , ” The true light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  …He came to His own and His own people did NOT RECIEVE HIM, but to ALL who did receive Him, who believed in His Name,  He gave the right to be called the Children of God… .”   This scripture clearly states that it is not a exclusive club that only a few can join but that any and all who choice to accept the Word of God through Jesus are to be added to  the family of God.  I know that most of the Christian world has memorized so I don’t think that I have to quote it here but it is further evidence that Salvation is available to all who seek it.  But I what to bring up other verses in the New Testament that support the Grace of Salvation is readily offered by the Father through Jesus Christ.

.  “(Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”  

 Couple this with the prior verse that we have an advocate with the Father who is Jesus Christ the Righteous, we are led to believe that the sins are forgiven of all who seek the advocacy of Jesus. We can still sin, we are human but we are forgiven of those sins by our Faith.  Just as the unsaved still sin, we are not totally free of the desires of the world so we will still slip up.  The difference is that because we have an advocate, we can call upon Him to grant us forgiveness.  Jesus is the satisfaction, our offering.  This in no way denies the forgiveness to others.  They must be willing to ask for it.  NO ONE is exempt from the forgiveness of the Father.  Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, no one is beyond forgiveness.  I know this because Jesus forgave me of the blasphemies of my heart and the vileness  of my regard for the believers.  When I sing Amazing Grace, it is my heart that tells the story.  Oh I know that I was dedicated at my birth, but my life was not of God’s will but of the Evil One.   Yet by Grace I was saved, I still had to make the choice.  If I did not ask for and accept the forgiveness of Christ, I would still be unsaved and doomed.  Jesus sacrificed Himself so that the like of me could know His Love.


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And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (ESV)


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15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (ESV)


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The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, [1] and his own people [2] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 1:11 Greek to his own things; that is, to his own domain, or to his own people
[2] 1:11 People is implied in Greek


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16 “For God so loved the world, [1] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 3:16 Or For this is how God loved the world


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He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (ESV)


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29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. [1] (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 1:39 That is, about 4 p.m.


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“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (ESV)


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10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” (ESV)


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18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling [1] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 5:19 Or God was in Christ, reconciling


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19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (ESV)


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14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (ESV)


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42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (ESV)


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which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is [1] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 3:6 The words This mystery is are inferred from verse 4


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13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. (ESV)


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21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (ESV)


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For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)


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12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (ESV)


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who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, [1] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 2:7 Greek bondservant


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2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (ESV)


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12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” (ESV)


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18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. (ESV)


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“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. [1] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them [2] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, [3] that they also may be sanctified [4] in truth. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 17:15 Or from evil
[2] 17:17 Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God)
[3] 17:19 Or I sanctify myself; or I set myself apart (for holy service to God)
[4] 17:19 Greek may be set apart (for holy service to God)


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20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (ESV)


Listen

he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (ESV)


Listen

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.” (ESV)


Listen

15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. [1] When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant [2] of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers [3] who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you [4] with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. [5] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 15:3 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 22
[2] 15:17 Or rest
[3] 15:23 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 32, 33, 36
[4] 15:24 Some manuscripts some persons from us have troubled you
[5] 15:33 Some manuscripts insert verse 34: But it seemed good to Silas to remain there


Listen

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in [1] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 28:19 Or into

Lazarus, and the Rich Man, part two continued

Read: ,

The Lazarus’ in the world are caught up in the many conflicts of the nations, but they are also victims of Natural causes; floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and cyclones and the such.  They are victims of plagues, famine and draughts.  Jesus took those to the cross as well as our sins.  Jesus became the Lazarus for them all.

In the story Jesus tell, the only ones who gave mercy to Lazarus were the dogs.  They were the ones who licked the wounds of the victim of the plights of the world.  To the Jews, all Gentiles were as dogs, so it is fitting that the Gentiles came to Jesus after the cross.  In the Lazarus story, the dogs lick the wounds but they are not healed.  We can try by our own efforts to give comfort and mercy to others, but with out the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are no better than the dogs.  Right now when there is so much tragedy in the world, we give aid to just about every cause, but without the Grace of God behind our efforts, little is done. 

We need to see Jesus as  Lazarus, because clearly, he was making reference to himself with this story.  He was rejected by the people that God had chosen to call His Own.  He was left out of their homes and their hearts.  Jesus took upon himself, the sores of rejection, abuse and neglect.  He took to the cross the woulds caused by sin.  He bore the grief of the loss of grace and He sat on the garbage heap of our wasted lives.  He took the abuse that the people laid on others and He died.


Listen

61:1 Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I, (ESV)


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10 “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11 (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

14 “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: 15 he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity, [1] takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 18:17 Septuagint; Hebrew from the poor

Lazarus, the Rich Man, and the Bossom of Abraham (part 2)

In part one I dwelt on the plight of the rich man.  Now I want to spend some time on Lazarus and the Jesus connection.

Scripture: , ,

I will concentrate my story on Lazarus because I am concerned with the Lazarus’s of our lives., the lazarus of the World.  We have over the last few decades seem to placed our “Religion” on the “Jesus Loves ME (first)” mode and have as did the rich man rejected or ignored the plights of the poor, sick and rejected of the World.  But we don’t have to go to the far reached of the Third World countries to find the rejected and sick, they are in our home towns, or byways and under the overpasses of our highways.  They are in the streets of our cities; the homeless, the runaways and the underpaid single mothers of our affluent societies.  Just how many Lazarus are there? I haven’t a clue but I know that they number in the Millions.  The evidence of all the people that could be a Lazarus is all around us.  In fact, maybe there is a bit of Lazarus in you.

We have tried to help many of these rejected and ignored people in the World, we send workers into the refugee camps, protest civil right abuses, pass laws to protect and contribute to the needs of Missionaries.  But is this enough?  What we need to see is that there is a connection between Jesus and these Lazarus’s. We can go back in History and see how the Nations created the Lazarus’s, Starting with the U.S.A. with the oppression of the Native American, and the slavery of the Blacks to the practice of shunning and child labor.  But America was not alone in this and we have made great strides to change.  What is great about America is that we confess our sins to the World and try to make amends.  Throughout the World, there is over mounting evidence that Evil is done to the people and that whole peoples are turned into Lazarus.  People of all walks of life find themselves rejected and dispised through no fault of their own.

This is the Jesus connection.  I believe that when Jesus told the parable about Lazarus, He was speaking of Himself.  Just as the event of the death of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was to illustrate His three days in the tomb, the Parable was to relate to how the Son of Man was rejected by the very Chosen of Israel.  As Lazarus suffered the sores of the flesh, Jesus suffered the sores of the sins of man.  As Lazarus was locked out of the home of the rich man (whom you notice is unnamed), Jesus was locked out of the Hearts of Man.  As Lazarus was rejected so was Jesus rejected.  That is why I wanted you to read the passage from Isaiah with this Parable from Luke.  And as Lazarus is carried to the Bosom of Abraham, Jesus was Lifted up to the Heavens and sits with the Father.

 (to be continued)

 


Listen

146:1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord! (ESV)


Listen

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. [1] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers [2]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 16:22 Greek bosom; also verse 23
[2] 16:28 Or brothers and sisters


Listen

He was despised and rejected [1] by men;
a man of sorrows, [2] and acquainted with [3] grief; [4]
and as one from whom men hide their faces [5]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 53:3 Or forsaken
[2] 53:3 Or pains; also verse 4
[3] 53:3 Or and knowing
[4] 53:3 Or sickness; also verse 4
[5] 53:3 Or as one who hides his face from us

Lazarus, the Rich Man, and the Bosom of Abraham (part 1)

Read

I found three lessons in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. The first is the lesson of the greed of the rich man and the failure to be concerned with the beggar at his door. the second is the fate of the poor, sick Lazarus and the reward of God. The third is the relationship of God (AKA Abraham) with both men.

In this lesson (part 1) I want to relate to the rich man and His greed and selfishness. It is because so many people of faith have fallen for the “prosperity gospel” that I feel that it is important that we be made aware that prosperity is not that God rewards us with material wealth as some teach today but that we prosper in the Word of God. It is not with money or property that we are to be rich, because those are things of the world and the flesh, but the things of the Spirit and the Glory of God.

reads: “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria, the distinguished men of the foremost nations…Who improvise to the sound of the harp, and like David have composed for themselves, Who drink wine from sacrificial bowls while they anoint themselves with finest oils, yet have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph.”A clear call to those who are “comfortable’ in their walk and think that they are justified in acquiring vast wealth while at the same time, ignoring the plights of the world and thanking God they are not like the poor man in the back of the church. When John Wesley started to preach to the poor and the working masses, these self-righteous men of the church cast him out. They falsely believed that because they where rich, they were special to God and that the poor were sinners and deserved their fate. Jesus talked to the pharisees about the same thing, saying that their gift from their plenty was less to God than the meager offerings of the poor woman.


Listen

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. [1] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers [2]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 16:22 Greek bosom; also verse 23
[2] 16:28 Or brothers and sisters


Listen)

6:1 “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,
and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,
the notable men of the first of the nations,
to whom the house of Israel comes!

Amos 6:5-9 (Listen

6:1 “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,
and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,
the notable men of the first of the nations,
to whom the house of Israel comes!

Amos 6:5-9 (Listen)

who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp
and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
who drink wine in bowls
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,
and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.”

The Lord God has sworn by himself, declares the Lord, the God of hosts:

“I abhor the pride of Jacob
and hate his strongholds,
and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”

And if ten men remain in one house, they shall die. (ESV)


Listen

13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, (ESV)


Listen

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death. (ESV)


Listen

10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. (ESV)


Listen

10 You felt secure in your wickedness,
you said, “No one sees me”;
your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me.” (ESV)

Mary and Zechariah

MARY

Once again Christmastide comes on the scene, and once again Mary’s great speech will be overlooked by many churches. I see it as Mary being prophetic.

, “The Magnificat of Mary”, starts with her Praising God, her rejoicing in her savior. God took notice in her, a lowly village teenager, a nobody in a nowhere town, a place nothing more than a suburb of the great Capitol of Israel, a place we would call in today’s terms, the hicks, or the skids. God took notice of her and chose her to be the mother of Grace Incarnate. She knew that her son was the Son of the Most High, the Mighty One. She gives one line to her being blessed and being called blessed and that was in response to her cousin, Elizabeth’s greeting to her.


Listen

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (ESV)


Listen

He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name! (ESV)


Listen

17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children, (ESV)


Listen

12 Wisdom is with the aged,
and understanding in length of days. (ESV)


Listen

11 he sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety. (ESV)


Listen

For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (ESV)


Listen

He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God. (ESV)


Listen

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed [1] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” [2] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” [3]

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born [4] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant [5] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be [6] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us [7] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when [8] Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, [9] who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” [10]

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant [11] depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. [12] She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents [13] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” [14] 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature [15] and in favor with God and man. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 1:27 That is, legally pledged to be married
[2] 1:28 Some manuscripts add Blessed are you among women!
[3] 1:34 Greek since I do not know a man
[4] 1:35 Some manuscripts add of you
[5] 1:38 Greek bondservant; also verse 48
[6] 1:45 Or believed, for there will be
[7] 1:78 Or when the sunrise shall dawn upon us; some manuscripts since the sunrise has visited us
[8] 2:2 Or This was the registration before
[9] 2:5 That is, one legally pledged to be married
[10] 2:14 Some manuscripts peace, good will among men
[11] 2:29 Greek bondservant
[12] 2:37 Or as a widow for eighty-four years
[13] 2:48 Greek they
[14] 2:49 Or about my Father’s business
[15] 2:52 Or years


Listen

58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us [1] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 1:78 Or when the sunrise shall dawn upon us; some manuscripts since the sunrise has visited us