Sunday, September 27, 2015

God on Trial

7 Stages of the Trial:

Order of the trial: - Jesus stands before:
1)  Annas - former high priest, although deposed, retained much of his influence, and probably exercised much of the power of the high priesthood along with Caiaphas.
2) Caiaphas - current high priest (Annas' son-in-law)
3) Sanhedrin - 70 leaders of the people of Israel - over anything to do with the laws - civil, ceremonial, moral
4)  Pilate - Roman governor over this area - his word is final - controls the military
5)  Herod Antipas - son of Herod the Great who tried to kill Jesus when a baby - local governor over Galilee
6) Pilate - Herod passing the buck
7)  The Jewish crowd

The account is in all 4 gospels.   Reason for the offense - from Jewish standpoint = blasphemy - Jesus claimed to be God.   From political standpoint - Jesus claimed to be a king - Jews - no king but Caesar.

However, these not the real offenses, the real reasons for the anger.

John 18:12-14
John 18:19-24
Matt. 26:57-67 - ref. Lev. 24:16 - "anyone who blasphemes the Name of the Lord must be put to death"
John 18:28-32
Luke 23:4-12
Mark 15:6-14
John 18:33-40
John 19:1-18, Matt. 27:19, John 19:8-16
Mark 15:15

IF the sceptics, detractors, are correct, then this is simply (another) unjust trial, conviction, execution.

BUT, IF orthodox Christianity is correct, then this = GOD ON TRIAL!!!  (IF= God on Trial) = the offense(s)???

Jesus was:  Intrusive - example Temple cleansing
                  Exclusive - John 14:6 - made many claims to this
                  Intolerant - "of SIN, (not sinners)
                  Authoritative - (compare to prophets) - almost always hated by the people
                  Confrontational - "woe to you scribes ad pharisees" - Judgment!!!!
                  Threatening - "adjust/correct ... or else!!"  (if you don't believe in Me, will die in your sins)

On one hand, if you accept His Lordship, the above list = right (His right)
However, if you reject His Lordship - above list = intolerable!!!
Therefore, must silence Him - ie:  eliminate, discredit, ignore


#1.  the trial, tension did NOT end at execution  -
examples:  resurrection --> Pentecost --> disciples/gospel --> Jewish persecution

Question:  why was Pilate (Rome) not angry at this time?
Answer:  Jesus had not yet confronted them!!!  later?? ---> Revelation - intense persecution and hatred of Christians by Rome

#2.  the trial, tension continues today - same things, the list of offenses stays the same.
Renewed with each generation, individual!!

#3  The list of offenses remains the same.
If you share Christ in this world, these things will make people angry at you.

#4.  The offense is not entirely removed at Salvation!!  We still struggle with some of these things:  BUT, He is LORD!!

The Question then, and the Question Now = IS HE LORD???  These things should set you apart!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Peter - Denial & Restoration

Jesus' Arrest - all gospel accounts have pieces of this story not found in the others

John 18:1-11 - entered into Gethsemane (see last week)
Luke 22:51 - healed the servant
Matt. 26:53-54 - could call legions of angels.  Jesus not taken, gave Himself up
Matt. 26:55-56 - all disciples fled, deserted Him at this point
John 18:12-14 - Jesus bound and taken to High Priest

PETER'S DENIAL - recorded in all 4 gospels - (made big impression on other disciples - expected it to make a big impression on their readers)

FORETOLD by Jesus - John 13:36-38 - will disown me 3 times
                                      Matt. 26:31-35 - disciples ALL said would never deny You
                                      Luke 22:31-32 - Satan asked to sift "you all" as wheat - Jesus prayed for Peter          (singular)

FULFILLED - John 18:15-27
                        Luke 22:59-62
End of denial, BUT not the end of the story.  Just because Peter failed, Christ didn't put him out forever.

PETER'S RESTORATION - John 21:12-19 - (sometimes Christ was not recognized in His resurrected state)
Parallels?  - around fire/around people (witnesses)
                  addressed Peter as "Simon" (unstable, weak) - Luke 22:31
                  asked 3 times - denied 3 times
                  closes with "verily, verily"/"amen, amen" - John 13:38, 21:18

So - Peter was restored and re-commissioned, and continues as apostle, representative, spokesman until his death (according to tradition by crucifixion)


1)  Jesus knew Peter's mix (Peter and Simon) - partly rock, partly clay)

2)  Jesus loved him, called him, commissioned him ...... anyway!!!!

3)  When Peter failed, Jesus offered restoration.

4)  Peter had to decide/choose.  Is a stark contrast between Peter and Judas.

Question:   How are you any different than Peter???
 Answer:  We're NOT!!! - We're a mixture, there's good and bad in all of us! Strength and weakness, but all called/commissioned to something.

Order of Restoration
#1.  Repentance - "turn" - and this is MORE than tears - (example:  Judas)  Tears don't necessarily mean repentance.  Remorse is not evidence or repentance, TURNING is the evidence.

#2.  Confrontation - because this is MORE than a correction of behavior.  Restoration = renewing (re-establishing) a Relationship!!  ie:  face to face with the Lord - must mend the relationship

#3.  Forgiveness - a) granted - 1 John 1:9 - He WILL forgive if we truly ask.
                            b) received - (accepted, applied) - Phil 3:12-15 - go forward, not let those things hold you back.  This is a mature Christian response

#4.  Harness - "ie:  back to WORK!!! (with Him and for Him) - examples:  "feed my sheep", Elijah's post-Carmel commission)
He saved us for good works!

The steps/process = same for:  a) backslidden Christians  AND  b) Pre-Christians

Above steps = how to fix either situation!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Great Prayer

Not found in John but in Matthew

Last week = the Other Lord's Prayer (John 17)
Today = the GREAT Prayer 

Setting:  John 18:1 - the Gethsemane Prayer/the Great  Prayer (Gethsemane = the place of the olive/oil press)
Great because of :  #1- it's intensity   #2 - its CONTENT
"not my will, but Thine be done"

Matt. 26:36-46 - cup = all that He is about to face - Vs. 41 - watch = stay alert in prayer
with Luke 22:39 - "as usual"
       Luke 22:43 - "angel strengthened" (messenger)
       Luke 22:44 - "sweat blood" - Hematidrosis - actual known condition

Note:  Jesus' Itinerary for the next 12 -16 hours = betrayal, abandonment (isolation), trial, false accusation, mockery, scourging, crucifixion, bearing sin, forsaken by the Father, and, what we don't know!! (hell?  punishment?)

So, this is a GREAT Prayer - because of its #1 - intensity (all of the above)
                                                           and  #2 - content - "not my will" - shows nature of Christ

We'll use a Wasm/Ism approach.
today focus = 1)  content - WASM - applies ot Jesus and what happened to Him in the garden
         and it's  2) Application - to US today -  ISM


#1:  Jesus submitted to God's will   ie:  surrendered, deferred, accepted His lot

#2.  Jesus committed to God's will
Difference?  in frying pan by God's will
if can't get out - you submit (example:  loss of a loved one) - submit = passive
if CAN get out - must Commit!! (example:  unhappy marriage, unwanted pregnancy) - commit = active

#3.  Jesus' commitment preceded this crisis (garden)
The decision to commit, follow, obey was made in Eternity Past!!!
Example:  the garden struggle was not about the decision, but was about confirmation - "any other way" - not a crisis of obedience

The ISMs?

#1.  We should submit to God's will - Hi is all wise, all knowing, loves us.

#2.  We should (also) commit to God's will - (active vs. passive) - not just receive but move in that direction.  Don't just sit and wait for God to do the moving.

#3.  Our commitment should precede our crisis.  Life is full of crises - gonna have them.  More apt to stay in God's will if make the commitment in advance.
A public heartfelt commitment makes a difference.  Verbal commitment not so much.

ADD (wasm) - Jesus' commitment was not merely to God's will -
#4.  Jesus' commitment was to God His FATHER!!!! - Mark 14:36
Committing to God's will won't be as strong as committing to God Himself

The first step is submit to the Person of God the Father through Jesus Christ
Then it's easier to submit to the will of God.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Other Lord's Prayer

 The Lord's intimate prayer at the end.

Setting:  have left upper room - on way to Gethsemane.  Judas already gone.
John 17:1 - not yet in Gethsemane possibly on the way, possibly in the temple courtyard.

Jesus prays for:

I.  Himself - that he continue to glorify the Father
"Glorify"= manifest, reveal, display, make known - deeper, more profound - John 1:18

On one hand He has glorified the Father
However, has the cross ahead!! - will He continue to glorify?
The cross tells us something about our God that couldn't be told anyplace else.

II.  His Disciples --left behind - with a task ahead!!! - about to face real trauma themselves
John 16:33
He prays for their:
    1)  protection - "from the evil one" - (not for physical protection, but spiritual protection)
          So not led astray, don't fall away as did Judas
    2)  Sanctification  which = to be SET APART, therefore, to Stand Apart.  - 1 Pet. 2:9
        Example:  temple utensils - holy unto the Lord
    3)  Unity - doesn't mean all be the same, means all pull together.  Example:  hitch of horses in a horse pull

III. Us (John 17:20)  What He prays for them, then, applies to us, NOW!!

John 17:1-26

This prayer for the disciples exactly same as disciples today need.  Vs. 3 = definition of eternal life

This prayer is partly answered and fulfilled if you are a Christian.
      You are protected  (John 10:28) = Satan can't get you beyond what God allows
      You are sanctified (1 Cor. 1:2)
      You are united, as a family  (Eph. 4:4-5) - co-heirs with Christ

BUT, on a day to day basis (Christian walk, practice, lifestyle) THIS PRAYER....AWAITS YOUR ANSWER!!!  (decisions, choices) - We have to respond to his prayer for our life.

We are called to:  Avoid temptation, flee temptation, resist the Devil. (day to day we are still susceptible to the devil)
1 Tim. 6:11   1 Pet. 5:8-9  - OUR choices, OUR decisions

BE holy, STAND apart - (especially in time of Pressure to BLEND IN!!!)

"make every effort ...."  Eph. 4:2-3

#1.  IF this is His Prayer for us, it is also His WILL for us.  (desire)

#2.  IF it is His Will for us, it is also good for us.  (beneficial)

#3. IF it is good for us, it is also good for others.  (minister to, reach)

Jesus prayed for you - John 17:20
He continues to do so - Heb. 7:23-25

What is your response to His prayer?  calling?  will?