|Jesus Teaches More|
|Written by production|
|Wednesday, 25 July 2007|
Jesus was asked to attend to a posessed boy, a certain man's son. The disciples had tried to drive out this demon - and they did have authority over demons - but they could not do it. The boy was deaf and mute, would sometimes be slammed to the ground by it, and would foam at the mouth, and grind his teeth and stiffen. He had fallen into water and fires.
Jesus lamented that they were an unbelieving generation, and asked rhetorically how long He would have to put up with them.
The father said "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
Jesus questioned the father's use of the words "if you can.." saying "All things are possible for him who believes."
The father cried out "I do believe. Help my unbelief."
Jesus spoke "You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again."
The spirit left the boy, who seemed dead then, but Jesus lifted him up, and he got up and stood normally.
The disciples asked Him how come they had been unsuccessful. He answered "That type cannot come out by anything but prayer." Mark Chap 9: v. 16 - 29.
It is notable for those of us that pray for people and healings, etc., that some things are harder than others. But also that the harder cases, which may not succumb to gifts of the Spirit, may yet succumb to prayer. Ultimately the prayers of believers are the most powerful tool believers have. The measure of the Holy Spirit that any one man has is not the entire measure that can be sent when God Himself sends. I myself do not seem to have any gifts of the Holy Spirit, but I have had prayers answered in remarkable ways at times, through the kindness and love of the Lord.
This almost seems like what we would call epilepsy, but a worse case due to muteness and deafness. Maybe we should spend more time praying for freedom for those who suffer from epilepsy like symptoms. Maybe this scripture calls us to do that.
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As they approached Jericho a blind beggar named Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was coming, and he began to cry out "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!!" very loudly. People tried to get him to be quiet, he was apparently calling out so loudly it seemed wrong to the others in the crowd. But he kept calling out to Jesus.
But Jesus's attention was caught by the unrelenting calls of the man. He said "Bring him here to Me."
The crowd told Bartimaeus "Take courage and stand up. He is calling for you!" So he jumped up and made his way to Jesus.
"What do you want me to do for you?", Jesus asked.
"Rabboni, I want my sight restored." Bartimaeus answered.
"Go, your faith has made you well", Jesus answered. And immediately he received his sight, and he followed along with them on the road. Mark Chap 10: v. 46 - 52.
I think Bartimaeus's case is a testimony to faith and persistent prayer, and to the Lord's mercy for those in hard circumstances. Also, a reminder that no one should tell you to quit calling on the Lord because He's heard you and He's not going to help you with that particular problem. That's the Lord's decision, and as the Lord says repeatedly to those He heals, it's people's faith that has made them well. If He says it, it is true.
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Jesus made what is called His triumphal entry, where He was hailed by the crowd for who He really was. He entered, and looked around, but then left to stay in Bethany outside of Jerusalem.
Leaving there, He saw a fig tree in the distance. But when He went up to it, there was no fruit on it. He said to the tree "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." Then He entered Jerusalem and the Temple area, and He ran out the people that were trying to sell things for a profit there inside this Holy Temple of His Father's. He quoted a scripture "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers." The chief priests and scribes heard this, and found one more reason to want to kill Jesus.
In the morning, leaving, they saw the fig tree Jesus had cursed, and it was already withered to its roots. When His disciples remarked upon it, Jesus said "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you that whoever says to this mountain, "Be taken up and cast into the sea" and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father in Heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. For if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions." Mark Chap 11: 12 - 26.
We don't want to think Jesus cruel to vegetation here. He was the promised Messiah, and He had come to his people at the promised time, but they weren't ready for Him, had no 'fruit of their labors' or even the fruit of a 'repentant heart looking forward to the day of the Lord.' His Father's home was full of merchants. The leadership of the Jews did not welcome Him.
The tree (though yes there was a real tree that He withered) was a symbol of a Jewish people who had been watered, tended, and cultivated by God since the time of Abraham. They should have met Him, their promised King, with excitement and joy. But instead they were indifferent or at times even hostile. So He cursed this Fig tree that should have received Him with fruit from their labors. Jesus cursed God's unready people - His people, for He should have been received as their Messiah - with a punishment, and in 70 A.D. Jerusalem and the whole nation was destroyed by the Romans. The fig tree is the Jewish nation of Israel or perhaps more specifically Judah.
As for praying with great faith and receiving - we can be sure it's true today also. But it's a promise with conditions you must first meet:
Number one - He was speaking to those who had left everything to follow Him, and not to people with a passing interest in Him along with the other worldly interests of their lives. Full prayer response is offered to those who offer their full discipleship.
Number two - Even commited servants must pray with faith, full faith in God.
Number three - You can't be a sinner against God asking for God to forgive you and answer your prayers if you in turn bear resentment or anger to those who have been sinners against you. Should a sinless God forgive much against Himself by a sinful man who is beseeching God to now answer his prayers? What if that same sinful man cannot forgive even a flawed fellow human, a fellow sinful neighbor, who has wronged him?
Treat others as you would be treated. God sure knows how to catch us in our hypocrisy - or me at least.
. . . . . . . . .
As they were leaving the temple (which Herod the Great had built in very beautiful fashion as a number of ancient writers acknowledged) one of His disciples said to Him "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings."
Jesus replied "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left on another which will not be torn down." Mark Chap 13: v. 1,2.
Israel and Jerusalem's destruction was a punative decision God arrived at based on their apostasy and hard heartedness, towards Jesus as well as towards God Himself. In 70 A.D. the Romans made a very thorough and deliberate destruction of Jerusalem, of the temple area especially (though before it caught on fire there were those in the Roman army who wanted to preserve it as a monument to how very great a people they had conquered. But long frusterated Roman soldiers rushed in, and someone among them threw a torch into the temple, which had much gold and much cedar). The very hot fire from the burning cedar melted the gold, which ran down the cracks between the stones. Roman soldiers left to occupy after the destruction were said to be keen in the pursuit of rolling the stones apart to seek the gold.
As for the possible survival and continued existence of a partial foundation wall or two, Jesus's words concerned the 'buildings'.
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I believe that every person should read the Gospels often, and through some systematic approach, fully. But the Gospel of Mark is the simplest of the four to read. I have read the Gospels out loud once with a wonderful woman from a church I attended, and we found that you can read the entire Gospel of Mark aloud in about 90 minutes. And the longest for us was the Gospel of Luke, which was a little less than three hours.
So consider that perhaps the most important writings of all time - the Gospels of Jesus - can be read in less time than it takes to watch a movie. Or about as much time - in the extreme case - as a long movie. There are many people who have watched 300 to 500 movies. There are many Christians who have watched that many Hollywood movies, a very great many of which showcase manly characters swearing in the Lord's name, waging war, murdering, stealing, fornicating, beating people, etc., and women behaving just as badly by God's standards. I have watched about that many movies probably, in my life. I have seen all of that.
It dawned on me that I have fed my eyes and mind with thousands of hours of what God calls evil. But I had never read a Gospel from start to finish. So I did. And I got so much more from it that way. I recommend that other people will try this also. I think you'll feel well rewarded.
I am just going to summarize some of the final deeds of Jesus. They are of such extreme importance honestly, that everyone should read of them from the Gospels with others, out loud, and pray the Holy Spirit will help you realize what you are reading.
Jesus was taken hostage in the Garden of Gethsemane, betrayed as He had said He would be by one of the 12 dsciples, who was named Judas. Though He foresaw it, Jesus allowed it, as it was part of God's plan for the salvation of humanity.
He was given a phoney trial which was illegal from start to finish in a great many of it's particulars with respect to Jewish law. He was beaten or mocked by Jews, by Roman soldiers, and by Herod's soldiers. The Roman's, sadly, came closer than anyone else to releasing this innocent and maliciously accused Man. But the Jewish leadership would not have it, and eventually portrayed Jesus as a rival to Ceaser. Pontius Pilate, Rome's Governor over the Jews, dared not be seen as taking that lightly. Pontius's wife was told in dream not to allow harm to Jesus and she told her husband, but her husband felt his hands were tied, though he publically washed his hands in water to show his disapproval of the actions he felt cornered into taking.
Jesus was assigned to crucifixion. He was tortured more, then forced to carry His cross to the place of His execution. It was near Jerusalem at a rock called Golgatha (skull). A black man named Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service by the Romans and forced to help Jesus when He grew too weak to carry His cross. The experience so changed him that he converted and became, with his sons, important in the early church of Antioch.
The disciples fled Jesus in fear. Peter three times denied even being associated with Jesus - a personal shame that scalded him to his soul - and he dedicated himself to never failing his Lord again. Judas Iscariot regretted betraying Jesus and commited suicide. He had been paid 30 pieces of silver for the dark deed. This he hurled back into the temple treasury, repudiating what he'd done. The priest's who watched basically said 'Don't give it to us. It's blood money.' They bought a field with it, where the poor were buried. People called it 'the Potter's Field'.
Jesus was hung on the cross. Detail of the days surrounding His death fulfilled dozens of scriptural prophecies surrounding the predicted Messiah, further proving the horrible injustice taking place. But Jesus accepted His fate. Hanging on the cross, He cried out to heaven at one point, saying "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" But did He truly believe that? Read Psalm 22, written in the time of King David around 1000 B.C. It is an almost perfect description of Jesus's physical torture and spiritual grief at that very moment He hung there, dying. It was written more than thousand years before Jesus was curcified, though Jesus almost surely had heard the Psalm. Psalm 22 starts out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
Hanging on the cross, He asked John (most believe it was the Apostle John) to watch over His mother Mary. He made no recorded requests concerning the care of a wife or children - seemingly unusual for a man who had a wife and children. If He didn't have recorded conversations with (or messages for) a wife and children, but did for His mother, then He probably did not a wife and children. I do not believe He ever married or had children. It wouldn't disturb me much if He had. He proved who He was. But I think the 'Holy Bloodline' story is just a trick which will be one day used by Satan to deceive many. The story allows for a 'destined human ruler' which one day even Christians might gullibly flock to. So, I have to view that whole story with suspicion, as Jesus will return from heaven itself, in the clouds, totally obvious, visible, and recognizable to all. No 'destined human ruler', no god one at least, is therefore required.
While on the cross there were strange phenomena, including unexplaind darkness in the sky, and a voice from heaven was heard. His death was ordered to be hurried along due to an approaching Jewish holiday, but a Roman soldier (perhaps named Longinus) who was sent to finish off the crucified people found Jesus already dead. He stabbed Him in the side with a spear to be sure, and a large gush of bood and water came out. Even a watching Roman soldier, observing His death, said "Truly this was the Son of God". Earthquakes accompanied His death, and the famous thick curtain which shielded the Holiest part of the temple from view ripped open from top to bottom on it's own, at the time of Jesus's death.
He was placed in a rock tomb, and rock was rolled to cover the entrance, a seal was placed on it, and soldiers were posted by Jesus's enemies to gaurd His dead body. But angels came and removed Him anyway, causing the soldiers to slumber as they did so. Only his burial shroud and trappings were left behind.
On the first morning that the Holidays requirements allowed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and Salome brought spices to annoint Jesus's body. (Salome is apparently the mother of James and John the Apostles, who were sons of Zebedee. So Salome would have been this Zebedee's wife) They asked each other "Who will roll away the heavy rock for us?" But when they reached the tomb they found the stone already rolled away, and inside a young man in white, who told them, "Do not be amazed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He isn't here; He has risen; here is the place where they layed Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ' He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see Him just as He told you.' " See Mark Chap 16: v. 6,7.
***Note the words 'tell His disciples and Peter'. Ouch. Jesus later forgives Peter, though.***
After His death He was seen, spoken to, and even touched by His disciples for a period of 40 days on various occasions, during which time He forgave Peter and assigned Him to care for His 'sheep'. He also appeared to two of His disciples that were on a long walk and discussed the scriptures that demanded the Messiah must die in the way that Jesus died. But Jesus had assumed a different physical form, and they did not even recognize that it was He that they spoke to. Not until He broke bread with them, and then their eyes were opened and they saw it was Jesus. But then He disappeared right in front of them.
And there were other instances of His appearing to them after His death, eating food with them, and letting them touch His wounds. But also He could come into locked rooms without opening doors. He was of flesh, but could do what flesh cannot.
Then, one day, in view of His disciples, He was taken up into the clouds to take a seat at the right hand of His Father until His word is preached to all people, and then He will come as a powerful King to punish His enemies and take posession of His people and begin His rule. His Father - our Father - is making His enemies 'a foot stool' for His feet even today.
I am sure that there is no reason to believe that people presently in their 50's will not live to see that day. Older people may as well. Now is the time to read the teachings of, learn about, pray to, and come to believe in Jesus and follow Him. He said that He and He alone will judge men and allow some into heaven. There is no way around that judgement for anyone, scriptures attest. You can be forgiven as a sinner covered by His atoning blood, or you can go "where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched". And that is no place to be.
There are other exciting deeds by Jesus to be found in the Gospels of John, Matthew, Mark and Luke, and in the Acts of the Apostles. As you read these, the Holy Spirit can help you see it through your spiritual eyes and it does indeed feed and nourish your soul. Remember, these books, possibly the most important ever written, take about the same amount of time to read as it does to watch a movie. Have you read them? They are a treasure - the greatest of treasure.
And Even Today Jesus Does Millions of Deeds In As Many Lives. Shouldn't Yours Be One? Claim What's Yours!
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 December 2012 )|
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