Mark Three: A Biblical Understanding of the Gospel by William Klock Faithful preaching of God's word is the first mark of a healthy and faithful church. These last two Sundays we've begun to explore what that looks like. First, we saw that we must preach the word in such a way that we give it priority and let it be our guide, and that means that we commit ourselves to preaching expositionally. And last Sunday I talked about the importance of allowing the Bible, as we preach it and immerse ourselves in it, to shape and define our understanding of God. The Bible is, after all, his revelation of himself to us. We cannot know him apart from his word. And that leads us to today's topic: A healthy church will have a Bible-informed understanding of the gospel. Now, no one ever sets out deliberately to preach an unbiblical gospel, but that doesn't mean such things aren't preached. Sometimes we unwittingly allow unbiblical cultural ideas, values, and philosophies to colour our gospel. Sometimes, when the Church is beset by controversy over gospel issues, we can over-react to one error by falling into its opposite. Sometimes the errors are small, but sometimes they're great—to the point of apostasy. The antidote, Brothers and Sistes, is to preach God's word faithfully and systematically. So what is the gospel? Our English word “gospel” is from Old English god spel, literally meaning “good news”. The Greek word used by the New Testament writers and the ancient Jewish translators of the Old Testament is euangelion. Originally euangelion was the reward that was given to someone for bringing good news, but by the time the Bible was written it had come to mean the good news itself. The related verb, euangelizo, means to proclaim this good news. This is where we get the English word “evangelical”. We are people of the good news. This is a good place to start. The gospel is good news. For example, think back to the death of Saul and Jonathan in 2 Samuel. David mourned their deaths and the messengers came with the news, he said: Tell it not in Geth, and proclaim it not in the exits of Ascalon…lest daughters of the uncircumcised exult. (2 Samuel 1:20 NETS) In the Greek Old Testament, when it says “proclaim”, it's using this word for proclaiming good news. The Philistines would take the death of Saul as good news. When the messenger brought this news to David, he thought it was good news, too. David's enemy had been defeated. Now, for personal reasons David didn't take it that way. To him it was bad news, but he knew that to everyone else it was good news—a victory had been won and that victory meant things were about to change. And, notice, the natural thing to do with good news is to proclaim it. The heralds were ready to do just that until David told them not to. Or think of Isaiah. Israel had been defeated, but he saw a vision of Jerusalem as the herald of good news. The Lord would come and deliver his people from their exile. Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” (Isaiah 40:9) And Isaiah uses this concept as he envisions the messenger, running across the mountains with this good news: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7) Something was about to happen. The Lord was going to act and he would act in such a way that things would never be the same. God was finally going to take up his throne as King. This is exactly what Jesus had in mind when we read Mark's account of him saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) The Lord was about to act. Specifically, he was about to act as King in such a way that everything was about to change. And Jesus isn't just saying that people in Judea needed to “believe” in the sense of giving their intellectual assent to some new theological truth. When “good news” happens, it's a world-changing event. To “believe” means to change one's life in order to take part in what's about to happen and be part of its benefits. In Jesus, God was becoming king—as he had promised so long before. To refuse to believe, to refuse to recognise this change and this new reality is, at best, to be left behind and, at worst, well…it wasn't good. Let's look at how the Greeks and Romans used this term, “gospel”. If you're familiar with Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra or Mankiewicz' 1963 Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, you know something about the aftermath of the Roman civil war. On the death of Julius Caesar the Empire was plunged into conflict. On one side was Caesar's heir, Octavian, and on the other his friend, Mark Antony. Octavian defeated Antony in a great naval battle at Actium. Antony fled to Egypt, where he eventually committed suicide with Cleopatra. Octavian was enthroned as Caesar Augustus and euangelion—the good news—was proclaimed throughout the empire. Augustus had defeated the enemies of Rome. He had brought peace at last and, with it, prosperity. He even started using the title “son of God”. He was the saviour of the empire. Now, what did this good news mean to the people of the empire? Imagine if you'd been a local official or ruler and you'd been a firm supporter of Mark Antony during the war. The good news about Caesar Augustus meant that everything had changed and you had to make a choice. There was no continuing on supporting the losing side. That was treason and it would lead to only one thing: execution. This was the choice King Herod faced when this good news reached him. He'd backed Antony. He was no dummy. Hearing the news, he went straight to the new Caesar and pledged his loyalty. The world had changed and he committed himself to the side where he got to live—and keep his throne. So, now, think about “good news”. It means that something has happened—or is happening or is about to happen—something that changes everything. Nothing will ever be the same again and, in light of it, everyone has got to make a choice. There's no fence sitting. And there are consequences if you make the wrong choice. If Herod, for example, had continued to back Antony's forces it would have meant the end of Herod. In Jesus, Israel's God has become King and he calls for our allegiance—to him, to his kingdom, to everything it stands for. Sin and death are defeated and everything about the world that was shaped by them is being undone by Jesus and his act of new creation. The gospel calls us to make a choice, to announce our allegiance. Do we continue to give our allegiance to—as we say in our baptism—the world, the flesh, and the devil, or to Jesus, his new creation, and the Holy Spirit? And this points to something else important about the gospel. Good news isn't quietly whispered. It's always proclaimed. It's announced with great fanfare. The announcement that Jesus is Lord, that in him the God of Israel has come as King, that's not some private truth to keep to ourselves or to whisper to our friends. But that's not far off from how many people treat it. Something changed in the first half of the Twentieth Century and we started talking about “sharing” the gospel. Christians had never used that kind of language before. But it goes along with a shift that slowly took place over the last two hundred years or so. Instead of seeing the gospel as good news, we started treating it instead like good advice. We've made this shift subtly in how we do evangelism. We often present the gospel—the good news about Jesus—as if it's just another offering on the religious or philosophical smorgasbord and suggest that people give Jesus a try. Maybe they'll like him and believe—or maybe they won't, which would be sad, but…whatever. But, Brothers and Sisters, the gospel is not good advice. It's not like a stock tip or a life hack or a new recipe. It's good news. It's not just a message that will change your life. It's a message that will change your life, because it's a message that in Jesus the whole world has changed. Consider Peter's sermon on Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2. He starts out: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. (Acts 2:14) I think we pass over this introduction too quickly in order to get to the meat of his sermon, but notice how he proclaims this good news like the royal herald that he is. This isn't a good piece of advice. It's not a pro tip. It's not something that might be worth giving a shot. It's good news. It demands action. And Peter goes on, reminding the people of the promises the Lord had made to Israel—promises to set things to rights by sending his King. He tells them: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24) “You killed him,” Peter says, “but God raised him up.” What does that mean? Peter, again, looks back to the promises God had made to Israel—particularly through David. For Peter, Jesus' death was vitally important, but the crucifixion of Jesus wasn't the thing that changed the world. Ultimately, it was his resurrection from the dead that did that. In his resurrection, Peter says, God has loosed the pangs of death. By his resurrection, he says, Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God and given to his people the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has fulfilled all the Lord's promises. But Peter ends with the most powerful note of all in verse 36: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and [Messiah], this Jesus whom you crucified.” By raising Jesus from the dead, God has declared him to be Lord and Messiah—to be not just any king, but to be the King—the one who will set all to rights—not just his people, but eventually the whole of this broken creation. The crowd, Luke says, were cut to the heart and asked Peter what they should do. In other words, they knew this good news meant that the world has changed and they wanted to know what they had to do to in response. And Peter says to them in verses 38-39: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Luke says about three thousand were baptised that day. But what did Peter mean by “repent and be baptised”? To repent is to turn around. The good news is the announcement that in Jesus the world has changed, there's a new King, and God's kingdom is breaking in. The good news calls us to turn aside and to leave behind the old regime, the old order—our rebellion, our sin, our idolatry—and to take hold of the new King and his kingdom in faith. In Jesus, God has become king. Peter's sermon is incredibly important, because in it he reminds us of what the Lord had promised to Israel, and then he explains that it has all been fulfilled or is in the process of being fulfilled by Jesus—and those promises point to what the good news is all about. The promises remind us that what Jesus has done is far bigger and all-encompassing than what we often think. It's about all of creation being set right and made new. It's about Jesus binding the devil and triumphing over the powers and principalities that have corrupted this world. It's about the old gods being cast down and the true God being raised up. It's about humanity being made right with God to finally live in his presence and to take up our vocation again—the one that Adam and Eve rejected—to be his image-bearers, the priests of his temple, as we steward his creation. It's about heaven and earth, about God and man finally being reunited. Jews knew that one day God would set things right and that when he did so he would judge—and destroy—everything and everyone who was opposed to him. They called that day “the day of the Lord”. Throughout his ministry Jesus warned that it was coming—and soon. When he warned about the easy way that leads to destruction and urged people to follow him on the hard and narrow way that leads to life, that's what he was talking about. He was pointing to the events we read about in our study of Revelation when Jerusalem and the temple were thrown down by the Romans as an act of judgement by God on his unbelieving people—much as he'd done six centuries earlier, although that time it had been the Babylonians. Jesus wasn't warning about some event thousands of years in the future. He was warning of a judgement that was just around the corner. That judgement certainly foreshadows that last great day of final judgement when every last enemy of God will be wiped from creation. But Jesus—and Peter—were focused on Israel and her near future. Again, Peter's hearers were cut to the heart, because they realised that this is what Peter was talking about too. They wanted to know how to escape the coming judgement and to be part of God's new people in the age to come. If people thought the victory of Octavian over Antony was a world-shaking event—so much so that King Herod went to grovel before the new emperor that he might have a place in it, imagine how much greater, how all-encompassing this good news about Jesus is. If the Lord was going to come with both salvation and judgement to set Israel to rights and to deal with the unrepentant in her midst, one day he will surely do the same for the whole world. This ought to put our attention on another aspect of the good news. Herod could only speculate about where he stood with Octavian. He could very easily have gone home headless. By his resurrection Jesus has inaugurated God's new world, and Brothers and Sisters, by his death he has shown his mercy. We need but repent—to turn aside from the old gods, the old ways, the old systems—to believe—to take hold of him in faith and to give him our allegiance, and we can be sure of where we stand before him. The first step we take after repentance is to be baptised. The waters of baptism hold his promise of forgiveness and new life and as we pass through them in faith, he washes us clean and fills us with his Spirit. He makes us his own. As St. Paul writes in Romans: For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15) Jesus' Father becomes our Father and he loves us as he loves his own son. But speaking of Paul… How do the Gentiles find a place in this good news. Jesus was Israel's Messiah. He came in fulfilment of the Lord's promises to Israel. Even in his death by crucifixion, he died the very death that the unbelieving Jewish rebels would suffer a generation later when God's judgement fell on Jerusalem. Jesus and the good news are integrally tied to Israel and to Israel's story. How is it good news for the rest of the world? We see the struggle in Acts. The Spirit all but summoned Peter and John to Samaria. The good news had reached people there and they believed, but—a mystery to the apostles—they did not receive the Spirit. The apostles had to go and lay hands on these new non-Jewish believers. It was a not-so-subtle hint from the Spirit that the good news was for everyone. An angel directed Philip to his meeting with a man from Ethiopia. The Spirit had to convince Peter, against everything he thought he knew was right, to go to the home of Cornelius, a gentile centurion. And what was to be done with these gentile converts? Did they have to become Jews first? Be circumcised, keep the law, and all of that. And then along came Paul. Or, more precisely, along came the risen Messiah to meet Paul on the road to Damascus. Maybe more than anyone else, Paul realised just how much the resurrection of Jesus changes everything. C. S. Lewis famously wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” The resurrection of Jesus was just like that for Paul. And Paul realised that if the Lord's promises to Israel were fulfilled in Jesus, in his resurrection, and in the outpouring of the Spirit to create this new people of God called the Church, then all of this was for the gentiles too. Israel had always been called to be a light to the nations and so too must this new Israel. Paul thought back to the Lord's deliverance of Israel in the Exodus—something that shaped Israel's identity and is there behind so much of Paul's writing. The Lord delivered his people from their bondage and in doing so, he made his might and his glory known to the nations—especially to Egypt. Her king and her gods were exposed for the powerless frauds they were. And yet there was no mass conversion of the Egyptians in the wake of the Exodus. The whole thing was an embarrassment that they expunged from their records so that they could continue in the idolatry. But Paul recognized that in Jesus and in this new exodus, there was a new element that had been missing in the old and that was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Paul knew that this good news about a crucified Messiah was, as he writes to the Corinthians “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). A crucified Messiah was blasphemy to the Jews. And it was just stupid nonsense to the gentiles. Paul knew this first hand. The Jews stoned him for the things he said and the Gentiles threw him in jail. “But,” he goes on in that same verse, “to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, the Messiah—the power of God and the wisdom of God.” That was the key—those who are called, those in whom the Spirit of God is at work. How does the Spirit work? It seems like it's different for everyone. For Paul it was the realization that Jesus really had risen from the dead and that that truth changed everything he'd ever known. He had to go off by himself for a few years to work it all through, but work it through he did. For others it was simply the realization that in Jesus the God of Israel was truly at work. This time the Gentiles saw the God of Israel in this mighty act of redemption that proved his faithfulness to his promises and instead of forgetting about it like the Egyptians had so long ago, they recognized the living God and they threw all their idols away. For others it was the fact that in Jesus, God drew near. By his Spirit they somehow knew him and experienced him—something that never happened with the pagan gods. Paul recognized that this good news was for everyone. As he wrote to the Galatians: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Jesus the Messiah. (Galatians 3:28) This time the gentiles saw the mighty and saving deeds of the God of Israel and they believed—because of the Spirit—and they were welcomed into this new people of God to share in the forgiveness and the new life and the future hope that Jesus had given them. But, in closing, what's the significance? Where does the good news take us? What are we supposed to do with it? If we understand that the death and resurrection of Jesus give us a place in the renewed people of God and that Jesus is setting everything to rights, that itself should point us in the right direction. The problem is that in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, liberal Protestants largely turned the gospel into a message of good works—and then, gradually, those good works became more and more like the values of secular culture and Leftist politics and Jesus became nothing more than an example. In response, fundamentalists and evangelicals rightly re-emphasised the personal and spiritual nature of redemption and the forgiveness of sins, but often over-reacted when it came to the good works. We've made the gospel a message very narrowly of forgiveness of sin and restored fellowship with God. Salvation should result in a changed life and good works, but we've stressed—wrongly—that those good works are the fruit of the gospel, but not the gospel itself. So on one side the gospel is proclaimed as a message of public welfare and on the other as a personal or private spirituality. Then, throw into that mix the misconception that the end goal of all of this is someday to leave this world behind so that we can live a kind of disembodied spiritual existence in heaven, and we make a right mess of the gospel. Brothers and Sisters, this is why we've got to preach the scriptures—so that we remember the big story. This is what Peter did on Pentecost. And when we do that we find that this faithful God we spoke about last Sunday has been working all along not to give us a plan to escape this fallen Creation, but rather a means to set this fallen creation to rights and us along with it. We're creation's stewards—or at least that's what we were created to be—but we rebelled and made a mess of everything. And so the Lord has called a people through whom he will work, and he's sent his Messiah to set us to rights, to fill us with his Spirit, and to get us back on task: to make him known, to do justice and mercy in this world, to bear the fruit of the Spirit, and to proclaim his King in the knowledge that the same Spirit who is in us, is also working in the hearts of men and women around the world, men and women just waiting to hear our proclamation of the good news about Jesus. Men and women read to believe, to repent, to be baptised, to join in the life and work of the kingdom—they simply need to hear our proclamation of this good news. It is a stumbling block and it is foolishness to many, but to those who are called, to those in whom the Spirit is at work, it is the power of God—for our salvation and for the salvation of the whole world. As we've seen recently in Revelation, Jesus has prepared the way. He has bound the devil and brought low the principalities and powers that once held this world captive. This is the good news: that Jesus died for our sins and was raised by God, victorious over sin and death. He is the Messiah—the Lord, the King—and he is making all things new. This new creation, our hope is summed up in those words of the Lord's prayer: on earth as in heaven. Those words ought to shape us as gospel people. Don't just pray them. Live them. For the sake of the world, lift the veil and show the world a glimpse of God's new creation. And while you do it, remember that we are royal heralds of the King, commissioned to proclaim this good news to everyone around us. Let's pray: Merciful Father, we thank you this morning that you have made Jesus your King. By his death you give a means of forgiveness and reconciliation and by his resurrection you've restored to us the life we had once rejected in our rebellion against you. We thank you for those in whom you have worked by your word and Spirit who proclaimed this good news to us. And we pray that your word and Spirit will now be at work in us to make us the gospel people you desire us to be. Renew our hearts. Turn them ever more towards you. Strengthen our allegiance to Jesus and fill our heats with love for you. Make us a people full of life and of hope, a people of mercy and love and grace, a holy people—an on-earth-as-in-heaven people eager to show the world your kingdom and to proclaim the good news that Jesus is Lord. Through him we pray. Amen.
Morgan preached from Matthew 2 today. Morgan started with the story of John Graham Burge, an American police detective for the Chicago police department who was found guilty of having "directly participated in or implicitly approved the torture" of at least 118 people in police custody in order to force false confessions. He was later convicted, but this is a very real event from our time where a man took advantage of his authority. Our history has many examples of where this has happened. Abuse of power is a very real thing. Power can become the weapon of the insecure. With great power comes great responsibility. In today's world, many don't handle power well. We are always looking for control. Power infused with insecurity creates a real threat. From Matthew 2, we see all of this with King Herod. Morgan titled his talk today "A Tale of Two Kings"; Herod, who inherited his power, and Jesus, the only King. We looked at Herod, Jesus and the Magi from the East. I know in the past, I have read this as "The Christmas Story" and never really dug into it like we did today. Let's start with King Herod. When the Magi came looking for the new king, Herod was deeply disturbed. He was a paranoid, unstable man who had 3 of his sons killed and his wife killed. He was terrified of this new baby that was born who some were saying was a king. When your power is threatened, you can do unthinkable things. Does a little of King Herod live in all of us? Do we sometimes hate, feel jealous and try to take control of our lives and call all the shots? Do we have 2 kings at war within us? When we act like King Herod, are we jockeying for power in our own lives? What is it in your own life, that you can't let go of? Jesus can rescue us from our own insecurity. Dale Bruner said it best. "Herod is not dead; Herod lives on in us, the people of God. The exaggerated ambitions, pretensions, self-centeredness, greed for position, grudge against God, guile (craftiness), and finally human cruelty and insensitivity-the fruit of our war with God-must be contented with even by Christians until the Last Judgement. There are two kings at war in the world and in all of us- Herod and Christ. We know who will win, but meanwhile the battle rages . Herod is here in the scripture partly as a warning to the Christian reader of who he or she, in no little measure, still is." Herod knows he has been tricked. He is fearful so he puts fear into everyone by ordering all boys under age 2 in the area killed. Can you hear the mama's cries? This is systemic injustice at it's finest. Do you think the people wondered where God was and how this could happen? We live in a fallen world just like they did back in this time. Pain and suffering are all around us and yet God is still working. It's so hard to live life in the present and be attentive to what God is doing even in the midst of pain and suffering. We do know of 1 little boy who survived the massacre and he saved the world. All this takes place to fulfill the scriptures. Then we looked at the Magi from the East. They came with excitement looking for the new King. They were from Babylon which is Iraq today. This is the first encounter Jesus has with ethnic outsiders. Magi's where despised. They were pagan astrologers with great wealth. This is a perfect example of God's grace and kindness drawing ethnic outsiders to him. They are on a long journey that is not convenient, and not safe. And still, the Magi were full of joy searching for the truth. When they found him, they bowed down and worshipped him. Matthew 28:17. This is our purpose. WE are to be worshippers of Jesus. We are to lay our best at his feet. Matthew 2:12 talks about how the Magi were warned to go home a different way and not back to Herod. They also went "another way" because they were transformed. This is discipleship. Another interesting point from today.....after this point in Matthew, Herod is only referred to as Herod and not King Herod. We wrapped up by looking at Jesus our refugee King. When you think about it, the first Christmas is terrifying. There was a teen pregnancy that could have been punishable by death, Joseph had to flee to Egypt with his family, they had to protect Jesus from being killed by Herod's order, and they became refugees in a foreign land. JESUS IS the immigrant story! How we treat immigrants matters to God. In verses 19-20 we look at after Herod died. Joseph, Mary and Jesus were headed back to Israel when they detoured to Galilee and ended up in Nazareth. Nazareth isn't even mentioned in the old testament. It was an insignificant, small town. This is also a part of the story of Jesus. As Morgan said, "Jesus came from the hood." Jesus was a refugee, on the run who ended up in a Podunk town. This also fulfilled the scriptures. The humble way Jesus came to be matters. We should us this to shape our discipleship and behavior. Matthew is also telling us that we cannot have a neutral response to Jesus. Jesus cannot sit in the passenger seat of our lives. Who will you model your life after? What do you need to let go of and let God take over.
Delivered by Alberta Christina Pertiwi from Santo Herkulanus Church, Diocese of Bogor, Indonesia. Ecclesiastes 1: 2-11; Rs psalm 90: 3-6.12-14.17; Luke 9: 7-9 ANXIETY IS EXPECTED TO PASS QUICKLY The theme for our meditation today is: Anxiety is Expected to Pass Quickly. Anxiety is a mental state that is similar to restlessness, discomfort, fear and worry. It is clear that this mental situation is not positive. Anxiety is opposite to enthusiasm, optimism, joy, pride, and excitement. Basically we want that anxiety in ourselves, our families, the Church and society to pass quickly. Perhaps many of us when we read the first part of the Book of Ecclesiastes about vanity of all things, our fear and anxiety arise spontaneously. There was a high school student after reading this passage himself, he immediately complained to his parents as he said: "Well, then why are we living in this world?" The King Herod was also anxious because he knew that John the Baptist, whom he had killed, had come back to life. He became restless and agitated, and thought that Jesus of Nazareth was the risen John the Baptist. The two examples of anxiety from today's readings come from our own mistakes or sins. This kind of anxiety or restlessness grows through a knowledge and awareness of oneself. A person knows for himself his weaknesses and sins with the help of Divine light, and regrets it, then there is a way for him to change. The renewal act wherever possible will not only eliminate anxiety, but also create or re-create something new. The listeners of the Book of Ecclesiastes will further strengthen their faith in God, so also King Herod was indeed required to see the real Jesus Christ from Nazareth. There is a more serious type of anxiety. That type would occur when our friends or relatives become anxious for our weaknesses, shortcomings and sins. This is hard because they are anxious and in trouble but we ourselves never realize or know about it. In other words, we don't care and still deliberately make mistakes and sins. What's even more dangerous is that if the intention is to endanger our own souls, the souls of others and damage the livelihoods of many people. These anxieties can quickly go away only if everyone is faithful and willing to live justly and righteously. Following God by always being guided by His word is the best choice in this life. Our lives must be pleasing to God alone, that's our responsorial psalm today says. So we not only want to know about Jesus like the King Herod, but we want to follow Him, which is to do the will of the Father in Heaven. Let's pray. In the name of the Father... God the Father in heaven, by always imitating Your Son Jesus Christ and our Lord, we want to empty ourselves by loving You, so help us in this way, Father. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit... In the name of the Father... --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/media-la-porta/message
The citizens of Tyre and Sidon began to worship King Herod and the King received it. The citizens where guilty of idolatry and Herod wrongly received worship as if he were God. God's judgment fell on the King and he was eaten by worms. In this message we learn more about tyranny and how to respond to a tyrant. We are also challenged to search our hearts and minds to examine ourselves and repent of more subtle, more common forms of idolatry. If you are in the neighborhood we would love to have you gather with us on Sundays at 76 Lewis Mill Rd. in Gatesville at 10 a.m. If there is anything we can do for you please reach out and let us know. Connect with us at: hopegatesville.com firstname.lastname@example.org Online Giving YouTube Facebook
Welcome to the weekly sermon from Otterbein United Methodist Church, Navarre, Ohio. This week’s scripture (NIV) Acts 12:1-14 Peter's Miraculous Escape From Prison1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, …
“Prophecies to Identify the Messiah, Which Jesus Does Not Fulfill: 1) Matthew 1:23 says that Jesus (the messiah) would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Yet no one, not even his parents, call him Immanuel at any point in the bible. 2) The Messiah must be a physical descendant of David (Romans 1:3 & Acts 2:30). Yet, how could Jesus meet this requirement since his genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 show he descended from David through Joseph, who was not his natural father because of the Virgin Birth. Hence, this prophecy could not have been fulfilled. 3) Isaiah 7:16 seems to say that before Jesus had reached the age of maturity, both of the Jewish countries would be destroyed. Yet there is no mention of this prophecy being fulfilled in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus, hence this is another Messiah prophecy not fulfilled. Prophecies Christians Use to Verify Jesus as the Messiah, Yet Clearly Fail: 4) The gospels (especially Matthew 21:4 and John 12:14-15) claim that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. But the next few verses (Zechariah 9:10-13) show that the person referred to in this verse is a military king that would rule “from sea to sea”. Since Jesus had neither an army nor a kingdom, he could not have fulfilled this prophecy. 5) Matthew (Matthew 2:17-18) quotes Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:15), claiming that it was a prophecy of King Herod's alleged slaughter of the children in and around Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus. But this passage refers to the Babylonian captivity, as is clear by reading the next two verses (Jeremiah 31:16-17), and, thus, has nothing to do with Herod's massacre. 6) John 19:33 says that during Jesus' crucifixion, the soldiers didn't break his legs because he was already dead. Verse John 19:36 claims that this fulfilled a prophecy: “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” But there is no such prophecy. It is sometimes said that the prophecy appears in Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12 & Psalm 34:20. This is not correct. Exodus 12:46 & Numbers 9:12 are not prophecies, they are commandments. The Israelites are told not to break the bones of the Passover lamb, and this is all it is about. And Psalm 34:20 seems to refer to righteous people in general (see verse Psalm 34:19, where a plural is used), not to make a prophecy about a specific person. 7) “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” Hosea 11:1. Matthew (Matthew 2:15) claims that the flight of Jesus' family to Egypt is a fulfillment of this verse. But Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy at all. It is a reference to the Hebrew exodus from Egypt and has nothing to do with Jesus. Matthew tries to hide this fact by quoting only the last part of the verse (“Out of Egypt I have called my son”). 8a) “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2 The gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:5-6) claims that Jesus' birth in Bethlehem fulfils this prophecy. But this is unlikely for two reasons. 8b) “Bethlehem Ephratah” in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb's second wife, Ephrathah (1 Chronicles 2:18, 2:50-52 & 4:4). 8c) The prophecy (if that is what it is) does not refer to the Messiah, but rather to a military leader, as can be seen from Micah 5:6. This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus never did. It should also be noted that Matthew altered the text of Micah 5:2 by saying: “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah” rather than “Bethlehem Ephratah” as is said in Micah 5:2. He did this, intentionally no doubt, to make this verse appear to refer to the town of Bethlehem rather than the family clan.” --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/antonio-myers4/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/antonio-myers4/support
September 15: Our Lady of SorrowsMemorial; Liturgical Color: WhitePatroness of SlovakiaA mother is only as happy as her saddest childEvery life climbs its Calvary. Every soul has its quiet sorrow which cannot be shared in full with any other soul. This concealed pain is the very real drama that plays out behind the curtain of the duties and distractions of everyday life. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, shared in all things human, save sin, including pain and sorrow. So He wept at the death of Lazarus, and He balanced the heavy cross on His sore bones and trudged up a hill to His own execution. Thoughts and ideas can be shared in their totality. Emotions and experiences only partially so. Suffering is intensely private in that it is a personal, lived experience. The intense sufferings of Jesus Christ were intensified by His perfection. It was more unjust, more cruel, that one so perfect should suffer at the hands of creatures of His own making. Only a perfect being similar to Jesus could enter into His sorrow, could experience it somewhat as He did. That person was Mary. She was not a Goddess, of course, but the New Eve, the perfect person God intended that every person should be from the start. Because she was perfect, she most understood, and felt, the pain of her perfect Son. Shared perfection led to shared sorrow.Today's feast commemorates the sorrows of Mary, most especially those lived during Jesus' passion and death. Devotional images of Mary show her heart pierced by seven swords, symbolic of seven sorrows: the prophecy of Simeon; the flight into Egypt; Jesus being lost in the temple; meeting Jesus on His way to Calvary; standing at the foot of the Cross; being present when Jesus was removed from the Cross; and her presence at His burial. Mary was perfect, but her life wasn't perfect. She was squeezed by the same wine press of pain, humiliation, and sorrow that squeezes every life. She was unmarried and pregnant and must have heard the neighbors' whispers as she walked the dusty streets of her town. She and her family had to flee to a far-off land to escape the murderous King Herod the Great. She lived a real life stuffed with real human drama. But her most intense sorrows were felt when she was in her late forties, when her one and only child died a public death, leaving her, already a widow, totally alone, her middle-aged face stretched with sorrow.When our fingers and thumb walk up and down the chain of God's mercy, we ruminate over things glorious, joyful, luminous, and sorrowful. We recall historical events like Christ's Baptism and the Last Supper, and theological events like the Assumption and the Coronation. The Sorrowful Mysteries are historical. Mary hovers just off center stage. She stands nearby, amidst the crowd on the path to Calvary, upright and brave at the foot of the Cross, weeping as her dead boy is wrapped in a sheet and delicately placed on a cold slab in a rock-cut tomb. She is Our Lady of Sorrows because she, and the Church, are mothers. They give and nurture life. They feel more than men. They respond to suffering with co-suffering, not so much through actions and solutions. On today's feast, we recall Mary's sorrow and share in it. But our sorrow is not that of a godless Viking, a pagan Roman, or a modern secularist. Christian grief is not godless grief. Our grief, like Mary's grief, is ameliorated by the sure and certain hope that the last word in our book is not death and despair but hope and life. Mary's sorrow is temporary, as all of our sorrows one day will be. There is nothing that does not have a context, except for God. And the context for Christian sorrow is the Resurrection.Mary of Sorrows, you shared the pain and sorrow of your perfect Son but were never forlorn. Help all who turn to you to unite our sorrows to yours and His so that we may co-suffer in His death and co-share in His Resurrection.
Today's program: ITW Season 5 Ep# 685: King Herod Has Become The Third Most Influential Ruler In The Roman Empire By 20 BC - Antiquities Book 15, Chapters 8-10; Wars Book 1, Chapter 20. Join us today at www.IntoTheWord2020.com or via your favorite podcast platform. Distributed by ReSermon.com.
Today's program: ITW Season 5 Ep# 684: King Herod Becomes A Huge Supporter Of Augustus Caesar - Antiquities Book 15, Chapters 6-8; Wars Book 1, Chapter 20. Join us today at www.IntoTheWord2020.com or via your favorite podcast platform. Distributed by ReSermon.com.
Much of his story is told in the first chapter of Luke's Gospel. The Synaxarion continues: 'After the birth of Christ, Zacharias plainly declared the virginity of Mary and showed her truly to be the Mother of God; for he appointed her a place in that part of the Temple reserved for the virgins and so brought upon himself the hatred of the priests and levites. 'When John was six months old, Zacharias hid him and his mother in a cave beyond the Jordan because King Herod, hearing of the birth in Bethlehem of the king of the Jews and fearing a rival of his own worldly power, sent soldiers to kill all the male children of Bethlehem. His enemies seized this opportunity to denounce Zacharias to Herod, who had him pursued and put to death within the precinct of the Temple, at the very place the Mother of God abode for a witnes to her virginity. As the Prophet's blood flowed within the sanctuary, it signified the withdrawing of the divine Presence. Priests came to take up his body and they buried him with his fathers. From that moment signs and prodigies occurred in the Temple, indicating that the rites of the Law would soon be abolished. No longer would the priests behold the angels of God, or have the grace of prophecy; no longer would they be able to deliver oracles or enlighten the people upon the dark places of holy Scripture, as they had been wont to do.'
DEFINING THE TERMSCanon – a set of texts (also called "books") which a particular Jewish orChristian religious community regards as part of the Bible. Greek – “rule”,“measuring stick”Urtext - In Biblical studies, the Urtext is the theorized original, uniform text ofthe Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), preceding both the Septuagint (LXX) andthe Masoretic Text (MT). An original or the earliest version of a text.Vorlage - A Vorlage (from the German for prototype or template) is a priorversion or manifestation of a text under consideration.Inspiration – All Scripture is “God-breathed”… (2 Tim 3:16)Inerrancy – The Bible is without error in its original manuscriptsOur Protestant “Tradition” - 66 Books in the Bile39 Old Testament Books27 New Testament BooksJEWISH CANONSMasoretic Text (MT) – Rabbis (descendants of the Pharisees) - the Hebrew Bible numbers thesame books as 24. The Hebrew Bible counts Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles as one bookeach, and the 12 minor prophets are one book, and also Ezra and Nehemiah form a singlebook. This is the same Canon as the 39 Books in Protestant OTs. No ApocryphaWhen? AD110-125 – Rabbinic/Talmudic JudaismSeptuagint (LXX) – 52 OT Books (13 more that the MS), OT Apocrypha, Psalms of Solomon –When? 250BC – 2nd Temple JudaismEthiopian Jews (Beta Israel) – Testaments of Abraham, Isaac and JacobEssenes/Qumran Community/Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) - Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs (affirmEnoch!) – DSS contain fragments of 5 of them (Levi, Judah, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin).WHAT ABOUT "THE TESTAMENTS OF THE PATRIARCHS"?ALL Jews believed that all the patriarchs from Adam to Aaron (37+) were prophets that wrote “Testaments ”.2nd Century - Rabbis believed they were lost. REJECTED – Why??1600s – Found in an Armenian Orthodox Bible – REJECTED as “too Christian” (see below)Essenes / Dead Sea Scrolls - Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs – DSS contain fragments of 5 of them (Levi,Judah, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin).**Quoted/referenced by Paul in the NT (1 Thes 2:16, Rom 12:18, 21, 2 Cor 7:10 and Eph 5:6)**Fragments from 8 other “Testaments” of these were found in the DSS. (Enosh, Enoch, Lamech, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Kohath, Amram) Christian "Content" in the "Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs" -Messiah = Son of God -Messiah is God incarnate-Levi's Priesthood ONLY until Messiah comes-Levi's ordinances and sacrifices ONLY until Messiah comes-Messiah born of a virgin-Messiah will be worshipped-Messiah will be sinless -Messiah would die for our sins to reconcile us to God-The Levites would crucify Messiah -Messiah would be resurrected-Messiah would ascend-Messiah would create a new priesthood-Veil of Temple would be torn -Apostle Paul – called from Jews to Gentiles, his writings = inspiredCHRISTIAN CANONS-Muratorian Canon (AD 170) – The Apocalypse of Peter-Codex Sinaiticus (AD 330) – LXX OT – includes OT Apocrypa & Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas (29 NT Books)-Codex Alexandrinus (AD 400) – 1st and 2nd Clement-Protestants - 39 OT Books / 27 NT Books = 66 Books / Martin Luther-Ethiopian Orthodox – OT Apocrypha + 2 Edras, **Book of Enoch** (only one) – 81 books total (35NT, LXX and Enoch) also “Didache - Teaching of the 12 Apostles”, Book of Jubilees-Armenian Orthodox – Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs-Catholics & Orthodox – OT Apocrypha (Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, Additions to Daniel & Esther)-Orthodox – add 1 Edras, 3 Maccabees, Prayer of Manasseh (Russian Orthodox – 2 Edras)DISPUTED TEXTS (DISAGREEMENTS)6 Disputed New Testament Books 1. The Didache (or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)2. The Shepherd of Hermas3. The Apocalypse of Peter,4. The Epistle of Barnabas and 5. The First Epistle(s) of Clement.6. The Second Epistle of Clement* EVERY BOOK THAT HAS EVER BEEN CONSIDERED SCRIPTURAL CANON HAS BEEN LISTED ON THE PAST FEW SLIDES * NEVER the Gnostic Texts!!! (Gospels, Epistles) - i.e. Gospel of Thomas (2nd Century)*No Roman Catholic Conspiracies! PART 2 – BEWARE OF THE LEAVENJesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6)BACKGROUND of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes-175BC – Antiochus IV Epiphanes conquered Israel – Seleucid Dynasty. Deposed rightful High Priest (Zadok Priesthood ended) – outlawed Jewish religious rituals (i.e. circumcision), desecrated the Temple (slaughtered a pig), ordered Jews to worship Zeus-166BC – Maccabean Revolt – successful, cleansed Temple, Hanukkah established! Hasmonean Dynasty began ruling.-153BC – High Priest, Jonathan the Hasmonean – NOT a Zadokite! Hasmoneans had NO TIES to the line of David – so illegitimate priesthood and rulership (kingship)! Later – King Herod-110BC – Got Rome to recognize the Hasmonean Kingdom – start conquering surrounding peoples, forcing them (Gentiles) to convert to Judaism (especially Gentiles)TWO GROUPS FORMED1. Pharisees - against this forced practice (Oral Torah – Talmud)2. Sadducees – Hellenized Jews (follow the government) & Sons of Zadok THIRD GROUP - THE ESSENES / QUMRAN COMMUNITYBeliefs/Practices of the Qumran Community / Essenes- Separated themselves (1st Century “Remnant”)- Broader Canon - Dead Sea Scrolls - LXX – Apocrypha, Enoch, Testaments- Temple leadership corrupt (not from the Sons of Zadok/non-Levitical)- Government corrupt – not from the line of David (i.e. King Herod). - Change in the calendar – Pharisees and Sadducees followed the pagan lunar calendar. All Jewish rituals were therefore corrupt/unacceptable.- Solar Calendar predicted the coming of Messiah between 10BC and 4BC. - Messiah would be God in the flesh - Two Comings of ONE Messiah – once to die as an atoning sacrifice for sins, 2nd time to judge the world (Melchizedek Document)- Messiah would “make the dead live” (Messianic Apocalypse)/Matt. 11:5-Prophecy continued…(No “Cessationism”) - Matthew 11:13 – “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied UNTIL JOHN”- Were waiting and ready for the Messiah when He cameWHAT WAS "THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES"?Beliefs of the Pharisees - TWO Messiahs – first one only a man to liberate Israel – NOT for the Gentiles!!! - Accepted both the Pagan Lunar Calendar and the non-Davidic Priesthood (Feasts? Temple?)- Cessationists – Prophecy ended (400 silent years – from Malachi?)- Rejected “Testaments of the Patriarchs”- Oral Torah (“Tradition”) over and against God's written word (Talmud)- 2nd Century Rabbis – Narrowed the Canon, Tampered with the OT Text, radically ANTI-CHRISTWHAT WAS "THE LEAVEN OF THE SADDUCEES"?- Stopped believing in the supernatural (angels, afterlife) – Theological liberals- Accepted the Pagan Lunar Calendar - Capitulation to culture / compromise- “Romans 13ers” of the 1st Century - Romans 13:1-2 - Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. - Disappeared in history MATTHEW 16:1-12And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So, he left them and departed. 5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.APPLICATION for the Remnant todayWhat is today's “teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees”? 1. Believe the prophets! 2. Don't capitulate to the political – Critical Race Theory (CRT), Cultural Marxism, "Safe & Effective", "Free & Fair Elections" 3. RE-think your idea of Canon – especially in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) 4. Essenes (1st Century “Remnant”) = the only ones able to discern the “fake news” 5. Essenes recognized and accepted Jesus as the Messiah 6. The Remnant will be “ready and waiting” for the Messiah when He returns
Most royals are born with the right to inherit their title. Princes and princesses don't have to earn anything, they will simply begin ruling when their time comes. This was not the case for King Herod, though. He forced his way onto the throne and did anything needed to keep his position there. Why was Jesus such a threat to Herod? Because he wasn't just a prince at his birth. He wasn't just in line to become the King of the Jews; He was called a King at birth. Today, Pastor Mark shows us that to Herod, and all who don't believe, the birth of Jesus meant war. But to those who believe, it means peace.
In chapter 21 of Acts of the Apostles, Paul leaves the Ephesian elders at Miletus, and boards a small ship for a quick jaunt around the coastline to Tyre, and then leaves for Caesarea. Paul is met warmly by the Christians and James (brother of Jesus, not the James that was martyred with a sword by King Herod) with the church elders in Jerusalem. However the Judaizers (those that believed Gentiles must strictly adhere and adapt to the laws of Moses if they are to be followers of Christ) once again falsely accuse Paul and he is imprisoned. At the end of the chapter Paul asks permission from the Roman commander to address the people, and he does so in Aramaic.
Jesus' friend and cousin, John the Baptist, was put in prison for a long time. King Herod put John there for no good reason – his wife was mad that John's preaching had called her and her husband out on their sinful relationship. John was a preacher well-liked by many and was willing to speak truth to power. This put him into prison. So he sent messengers to Jesus, asking if he really was the Messiah. How could Jesus save the world if his very close friend and relative was rotting in prison. Shouldn't someone do something about this wickedness?
I remember my Aunt Reidy who was determined to stay up all night so she could witness her 80th birthday come in because that was a milestone her mother or father didn't have an opportunity to celebrate. With all the death and dysfunction, life and milestones should not be ignored.There is no biblical mandate against a Christian celebrating birthdays, nor is there anything to indicate we are required to observe them. Scripturally speaking, whether we as Christians celebrate birthdays or not is a non-issue. The Bible does mention two individuals celebrating birthdays: the Egyptian Pharaoh in Joseph's time (Genesis 40:20) and King Herod in Jesus' time (Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:21). Some want to use these two birthday celebrations as evidence that celebrating birthdays is wrong; because both men were non-believing individuals, so the thought process is that a birthday celebration is seen as some form of a pagan ritual or practice.However, that conclusion is NOT founded biblically in either passage. The Bible does not even hint that it was wrong for Pharaoh or Herod to celebrate their birthdays. The Word of God is consistent and can be trusted, so we have to believe and trust that if the celebrating of a birthday was against the will or mandate of God, He would have made it clear as He does with everything that He finds displeasing. The Scripture also does not indicate anywhere that a Christian was discouraged from celebrating a birthday.....
Whom do you seek to please? Whom do you fear? A powerful leader seeking to please himself, King Herod desired to kill John the Baptist for referring to God's law above Herod. Fearing the people, Herod at first refrained from killing John because the people considered him a prophet. Seeking to please his unlawful wife's daughter and his dinner guests, Herod finally ordered John's head on a platter. Herod's reference points were whimsical, multiple, and self-serving.Fr. Timothy Lowe shares the story of Herod and John the Baptist, reminding us that our reference points matter. We are called to refer to One Lord, serving and fearing only Him.
Psalms and Wisdom: Psalm 8 Psalm 8 (Listen) How Majestic Is Your Name To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith.1 A Psalm of David. 8 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings2 and crowned him with glory and honor.6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Footnotes  8:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term  8:5 Or than God; Septuagint than the angels (ESV) Pentateuch and History: Judges 20 Judges 20 (Listen) Israel's War with the Tribe of Benjamin 20 Then all the people of Israel came out, from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and the congregation assembled as one man to the LORD at Mizpah. 2 And the chiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 men on foot that drew the sword. 3 (Now the people of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the people of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this evil happen?” 4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. 5 And the leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead. 6 So I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel, for they have committed abomination and outrage in Israel. 7 Behold, you people of Israel, all of you, give your advice and counsel here.” 8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, “None of us will go to his tent, and none of us will return to his house. 9 But now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot, 10 and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions for the people, that when they come they may repay Gibeah of Benjamin for all the outrage that they have committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man. 12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What evil is this that has taken place among you? 13 Now therefore give up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and purge evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel. 14 Then the people of Benjamin came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel. 15 And the people of Benjamin mustered out of their cities on that day 26,000 men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered 700 chosen men. 16 Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered 400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war. 18 The people of Israel arose and went up to Bethel and inquired of God, “Who shall go up first for us to fight against the people of Benjamin?” And the LORD said, “Judah shall go up first.” 19 Then the people of Israel rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin, and the men of Israel drew up the battle line against them at Gibeah. 21 The people of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and destroyed on that day 22,000 men of the Israelites. 22 But the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and again formed the battle line in the same place where they had formed it on the first day. 23 And the people of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until the evening. And they inquired of the LORD, “Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?” And the LORD said, “Go up against them.” 24 So the people of Israel came near against the people of Benjamin the second day. 25 And Benjamin went against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed 18,000 men of the people of Israel. All these were men who drew the sword. 26 Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 27 And the people of Israel inquired of the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease?” And the LORD said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.” 29 So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 And the people of Israel went up against the people of Benjamin on the third day and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31 And the people of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city. And as at other times they began to strike and kill some of the people in the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the people of Benjamin said, “They are routed before us, as at the first.” But the people of Israel said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar, and the men of Israel who were in ambush rushed out of their place from Maareh-geba.1 34 And there came against Gibeah 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was hard, but the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was close upon them. 35 And the LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel, and the people of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day. All these were men who drew the sword. 36 So the people of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 Then the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush moved out and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in the main ambush was that when they made a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city 39 the men of Israel should turn in battle. Now Benjamin had begun to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel. They said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the signal began to rise out of the city in a column of smoke, the Benjaminites looked behind them, and behold, the whole of the city went up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed, for they saw that disaster was close upon them. 42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel in the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. And those who came out of the cities were destroying them in their midst. 43 Surrounding the Benjaminites, they pursued them and trod them down from Nohah2 as far as opposite Gibeah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of them men of valor. 45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon. Five thousand men of them were cut down in the highways. And they were pursued hard to Gidom, and 2,000 men of them were struck down. 46 So all who fell that day of Benjamin were 25,000 men who drew the sword, all of them men of valor. 47 But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon and remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned back against the people of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, the city, men and beasts and all that they found. And all the towns that they found they set on fire. Footnotes  20:33 Some Septuagint manuscripts place west of Geba  20:43 Septuagint; Hebrew [at their] resting place (ESV) Chronicles and Prophets: Jeremiah 36 Jeremiah 36 (Listen) Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiah's Scroll 36 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. 3 It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” 4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD that he had spoken to him. 5 And Jeremiah ordered Baruch, saying, “I am banned from going to the house of the LORD, 6 so you are to go, and on a day of fasting in the hearing of all the people in the LORD's house you shall read the words of the LORD from the scroll that you have written at my dictation. You shall read them also in the hearing of all the men of Judah who come out of their cities. 7 It may be that their plea for mercy will come before the LORD, and that every one will turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and wrath that the LORD has pronounced against this people.” 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did all that Jeremiah the prophet ordered him about reading from the scroll the words of the LORD in the LORD's house. 9 In the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the LORD. 10 Then, in the hearing of all the people, Baruch read the words of Jeremiah from the scroll, in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the LORD's house. 11 When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the LORD from the scroll, 12 he went down to the king's house, into the secretary's chamber, and all the officials were sitting there: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, Elnathan the son of Achbor, Gemariah the son of Shaphan, Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the officials. 13 And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. 14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, son of Shelemiah, son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Take in your hand the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit down and read it.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all the words, they turned one to another in fear. And they said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” 18 Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, while I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.” 20 So they went into the court to the king, having put the scroll in the chamber of Elishama the secretary, and they reported all the words to the king. 21 Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary. And Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. 22 It was the ninth month, and the king was sitting in the winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. 23 As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. 24 Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. 25 Even when Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king's son and Seraiah the son of Azriel and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them. 27 Now after the king had burned the scroll with the words that Baruch wrote at Jeremiah's dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 28 “Take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned. 29 And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, ‘Thus says the LORD, You have burned this scroll, saying, “Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will cut off from it man and beast?” 30 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall have none to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 And I will punish him and his offspring and his servants for their iniquity. I will bring upon them and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and upon the people of Judah all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, but they would not hear.'” 32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them. (ESV) Gospels and Epistles: Mark 6 Mark 6 (Listen) Jesus Rejected at Nazareth 6 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles 7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.1 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. The Death of John the Baptist 14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus'2 name had become known. Some3 said, “John the Baptist4 has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's5 head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand 30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii6 worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. Jesus Walks on the Water 45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night7 he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret 53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. Footnotes  6:9 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin  6:14 Greek his  6:14 Some manuscripts He  6:14 Greek baptizer; also verse 24  6:27 Greek his  6:37 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer  6:48 That is, between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. (ESV)
The Providence Of GodReader: Jon WatsonDate: 10th August 2022Passage: Acts 12:2-------------------Chapter 12 of Acts is a vivid picture of what we call the providence of God. The word providence itself is not found in the Bible, but what it represents is found all through the Bible. The Bible tells us plainly that our lives (and the world at large) are not ruled by chance or by fate but by the will and purposes of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As we remember this it makes it easier to accept those hard, sorrowful things that may happen to us as well as rejoicing in thankfulness when things go well.Here in chapter 12 of Acts we read of the brutal execution (by beheading) of the Apostle James, the imprisonment (and miraculous escape) of the Apostle Peter and the gruesome death of King Herod. All three events were under the providential rule of almighty God. We don't know why God 'allowed' James to be killed but we can believe that he had fulfilled all that God had wanted him to do. John, James' brother lived on until he was a very old man. Peter escaped from prison and death at that time and served God for many more years. Herod for all his power and vanity was struck down in a very public way as if God was showing him the cost of his cruel pride. God, and only God, reigns. PrayerDear Lord, help me to understand that you have a loving providential care of all your people through Christ Jesus. Amen.
A tale of two kingdoms: King Herod, aligned with the Roman empire, and the Kingdom of God Jesus came preaching. One seems to be oppressed by the other, to have far less power, yet actually holds the power over life and death. While the seemingly powerful kingdom brings death, the Kingdom of God brings rest.
Is Following Jesus Worth the Cost? Today, Pastor Michael is discussing Seward's Folly, the purchase of Alaska coordinated by William Seward. Many felt it wasn't worth the cost, but William Seward felt it would be an asset for America. Today only a few states have more millionaires per capita than Alaska, a treasure trove of natural resources. Many felt it was not worth the cost. The cost of following Jesus. Be sure, there is a cost to follow Jesus. Is following Jesus worth the cost? In Mark, we find John is in prison. John is in prison for doing what was ‘right'. King Herod would send for John to talk spiritual things, however he got upset with John when Herod confided to John that he had stolen his brother's wife. And John confronted him about that. So what did Herod do? He put John in prison. So John paid a price for following Jesus. Yet he never complained about that. John understood the story wasn't about him. He sent a messenger to Jesus and wondered, did he do the right thing? He became imprisoned over it. The messenger told John of the miracles that Jesus was performing and lives were being changed by the Gospel. John knew then he had made the right decision. Perhaps it's time for us to step out of the way and let someone else to shine. Or maybe YOU step up and prepare for the ministry God has prepared you for. We are afraid to reach for the things God has set aside for us. The cost can be high but so worth it! Verses can be found today in Mark: 1: 14-20. Scripture quotations marked CSB have been taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
A very good morning to you - I greet you in Jesus' precious name. It is Saturday morning, the 6th of August 2022, and this is your friend, Angus Buchan, with a thought for today.“And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God.” Acts 12:22Don't ever touch God's glory. King Herod was delivering a speech. The people were shouting and saying he was speaking like a god and straight away the Lord struck him and he died. Never ever touch God's glory. God will not tolerate that from anybody. “God resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble.”1 Peter 5:5Robert Murray McShane was a young Scottish evangelist that lived in Dundee, Scotland. He died before he reached the age of thirty. He was an incredible man of God. He started a revival that swept all over the area in Dundee and when people tried to praise him, he would say, “Rather than having been an instrument of the Lord, all I was, was an adoring spectator.” That is humility.Francis of Assisi was called to pray for a child who was deformed. He said he would not pray for that child. They wanted to know why. He said, “If I pray for that child, God is going to heal that child and then you are going to think it was me.” They promised him that they would not do that. Eventually, reluctantly, he went and laid his hands on that child and the child was completely restored to health. The people were ecstatic. They were taken up by the power of God. After a few minutes they looked around to see this man so that they could properly worship him, and he was nowhere to be seen. He had fled for his life. Don't touch God's glory.William Duma, the Zulu preacher from the hills of Zululand, was called to preach in a big church. It was 9 o'clock and he had not arrived. The pastor was looking at a sermon he might have to preach because the man of God had not arrived and the church was packed with people. Eventually, there was a little knock on the back door where the cleaning lady came in. The pastor went through the curtains at the back and there was the servant of God, ready to preach. Folks, God uses men and women who are humble. The Lord said of John the Baptist, “There has never been a man born of a woman who is greater than John the Baptist.” If we look at John 3:30, John the Baptist said:“He must increase, but I must decrease.” Don't touch God's glory.Have a wonderful day.Jesus bless you and goodbye.
The contrasts between two humans could not have been greater than that between John the Baptist and King Herod. John was righteous, bold, disciplined, and unafraid to confront sin. Herod was evil, ruled by his lusts and pride, undisciplined, and foolish. John was faithful unto death - persecuted for righteousness' sake. Herod was the propagator of evil. John is a model for us- Herod a pitiful case not to be imitated. Our supreme goal in life, like John, must be to bring glory to Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
Elijah emerges from his long season of hiding in desert isolation to confront King Herod in the most spectacular way; a duel of the gods. Israel is in a state of indecision on which god they should follow; Baal, the pagan god of storms and water or Yahweh, the god who brought Israel out of Egypt. It takes a sacrifice on Mt. Carmel to free the people from their enchantment with Baal. Today, it is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that frees us from our enchantment with sin so that we can experience the favor of God.
Old Testament: 2 Chronicles 33–34 2 Chronicles 33–34 (Listen) Manasseh Reigns in Judah 33 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7 And the carved image of the idol that he had made he set in the house of God, of which God said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever, 8 and I will no more remove the foot of Israel from the land that I appointed for your fathers, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, all the law, the statutes, and the rules given through Moses.” 9 Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel. Manasseh's Repentance 10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. 11 Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. 12 And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. 14 Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. 15 And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. 16 He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel. 17 Nevertheless, the people still sacrificed at the high places, but only to the LORD their God. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, behold, they are in the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 19 And his prayer, and how God was moved by his entreaty, and all his sin and his faithlessness, and the sites on which he built high places and set up the Asherim and the images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the Chronicles of the Seers.1 20 So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his house, and Amon his son reigned in his place. Amon's Reign and Death 21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done. Amon sacrificed to all the images that Manasseh his father had made, and served them. 23 And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself, but this Amon incurred guilt more and more. 24 And his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his house. 25 But the people of the land struck down all those who had conspired against King Amon. And the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place. Josiah Reigns in Judah 34 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images. 4 And they chopped down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and he cut down the incense altars that stood above them. And he broke in pieces the Asherim and the carved and the metal images, and he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6 And in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins2 all around, 7 he broke down the altars and beat the Asherim and the images into powder and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem. The Book of the Law Found 8 Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had cleansed the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God. 9 They came to Hilkiah the high priest and gave him the money that had been brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim and from all the remnant of Israel and from all Judah and Benjamin and from the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 And they gave it to the workmen who were working in the house of the LORD. And the workmen who were working in the house of the LORD gave it for repairing and restoring the house. 11 They gave it to the carpenters and the builders to buy quarried stone, and timber for binders and beams for the buildings that the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. 12 And the men did the work faithfully. Over them were set Jahath and Obadiah the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight. The Levites, all who were skillful with instruments of music, 13 were over the burden-bearers and directed all who did work in every kind of service, and some of the Levites were scribes and officials and gatekeepers. 14 While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD given through3 Moses. 15 Then Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. 16 Shaphan brought the book to the king, and further reported to the king, “All that was committed to your servants they are doing. 17 They have emptied out the money that was found in the house of the LORD and have given it into the hand of the overseers and the workmen.” 18 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it before the king. 19 And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. 20 And the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king's servant, saying, 21 “Go, inquire of the LORD for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book.” Huldah Prophesies Disaster 22 So Hilkiah and those whom the king had sent4 went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter) and spoke to her to that effect. 23 And she said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 24 Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that was read before the king of Judah. 25 Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore my wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched. 26 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 27 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. 28 Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place and its inhabitants.'” And they brought back word to the king. 29 Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the house of the LORD, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the LORD. 31 And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin join in it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the LORD, the God of their fathers. Footnotes  33:19 One Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts of Hozai  34:6 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain  34:14 Hebrew by the hand of  34:22 Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew lacks had sent (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 27 Psalm 27 (Listen) The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation Of David. 27 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold1 of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet2 I will be confident. 4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire3 in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!8 You have said, “Seek4 my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”59 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. 13 I believe that I shall look6 upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Footnotes  27:1 Or refuge  27:3 Or in this  27:4 Or meditate  27:8 The command (seek) is addressed to more than one person  27:8 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain  27:13 Other Hebrew manuscripts Oh! Had I not believed that I would look (ESV) New Testament: Mark 6 Mark 6 (Listen) Jesus Rejected at Nazareth 6 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles 7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.1 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. The Death of John the Baptist 14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus'2 name had become known. Some3 said, “John the Baptist4 has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's5 head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand 30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii6 worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. Jesus Walks on the Water 45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night7 he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret 53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. Footnotes  6:9 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin  6:14 Greek his  6:14 Some manuscripts He  6:14 Greek baptizer; also verse 24  6:27 Greek his  6:37 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer  6:48 That is, between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. (ESV)
Today's Reading: Mark 10:35-45Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 9:1-27; Acts 21:37-22:16"But to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." (Mark 10:37)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. James and John didn't know what they were asking. They imagined that Jesus, the Messiah, would come into His kingdom in a big, grand, and glorious way, and they wanted in on the action—power, glory, and popularity before men. We crave these things as well, wanting to be liked and glorified by our peers, measuring others' approval by the number of likes on our latest social media post or latching on to the popular people at work or school, hoping to share in their glory.But Jesus is not the way to earthly glory. Instead, those who trust in Jesus are more likely to be hated by the world. All of Jesus' disciples would drink the cup of suffering and be baptized in their own blood at the hands of their persecutors. James, who is remembered today, was the first apostle martyred for the faith, beheaded by King Herod—grandson of the Herod who attempted to murder Jesus in His infancy (Matthew 14:1–12 and Mark 6:14–29).Jesus' glory is completely different. His glory is His mercy and grace for undeserving sinners like James and John—and you. His glory was to drink the cup of God' anger that sinners deserved and to be baptized in blood as God' s fiery wrath toward sinners was poured upon Him on the Cross. As King Jesus hung upon His royal throne, others were present at His right and His left. Strangely, two robbers received this honor (Mark 15:27). For "the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).The glorious ones in Christ' kingdom are not the wealthy or famous or popular. The glorious ones in Christ' kingdom are the ones for whom He died: Sinners, robbers, those without a shred of personal worthiness or goodness, who deserve no glory, but are glorified by Jesus' forgiveness, who are baptized in His Name and who drink the eucharistic cup of His Blood. Those two robbers stand for you. You are the glorious ones, made glorious by Jesus' redemption. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.O Lord, for James, we praise You, Who fell to Herod's sword; He drank the cup of suff'ring and thus fulfilled your word. Lord, curb our vain impatience For glory and for fame, Equip us for such suff'rings As glorify your name. ("By All Your Saints in Warfare" LSB 518, st.21)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Full Text of ReadingsFeast of Saint James, Apostle Lectionary: 605All podcast readings are produced by the USCCB and are from the Catholic Lectionary, based on the New American Bible and approved for use in the United States _______________________________________The Saint of the day is Saint JamesThis James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20). James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus, and the agony in Gethsemani. Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. Saint Matthew tells that their mother came—Mark says it was the brothers themselves—to ask that they have the seats of honor in the kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?' They said to him, ‘We can'” (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it “is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident “We can!” The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life. On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—“sons of thunder”—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?' Jesus turned and rebuked them...” (Luke 9:54-55). James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3a). This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community. Reflection The way the Gospels treat the apostles is a good reminder of what holiness is all about. There is very little about their virtues as static possessions, entitling them to heavenly reward. Rather, the great emphasis is on the Kingdom, on God's giving them the power to proclaim the Good News. As far as their personal lives are concerned, there is much about Jesus' purifying them of narrowness, pettiness, fickleness. Saint James the Greater is the Patron Saint of: Chile Laborers Nicaragua Rheumatism sufferers Spain Saint of the Day, Copyright Franciscan Media
King Herod was restless, unable to escape the guilt he bore for putting John the Baptist to death. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his expositional series in the gospel of Luke with a discussion on the nature of guilt and the only way it can be resolved. Get R.C. Sproul's Expositional Commentary on the Gospel of Luke for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/2103/luke-commentary Don't forget to make RenewingYourMind.org your home for daily in-depth Bible study and Christian resources.
July 25: Saint James, ApostleFirst CenturyFeast; Liturgical Color: WhitePatron Saint of Spain, equestrians, and pilgrimsHerod strikes againThe primary legacy of the Twelve Apostles is silence. Yes, their voices are sometimes heard in the Gospels, briefly. Yes, they traveled, evangelized, and built up the Church, discreetly. And yes, they were martyred, save John, though obliquely. Who went exactly where, and did what, is guesswork. When, how, by whom, and where each Apostle died is largely conjecture. Even most of their burial places are uncertain. After the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, and especially after the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, the Apostles dispersed throughout the deserts and mountains of the Eastern Mediterranean world. They gave their backs to Jerusalem. And as they walked away, their trails were lost, sand filled their footsteps, and history's endless cycles erased their exact tracks. With some few exceptions, most of the valuable details were forgotten. The Apostles are now twelve islands of names in a sea of silence.Some footprints of today's saint, James the Greater, were preserved by Scripture. James was a member of the Twelve and of the Three; Peter, James, and John were the inner core that formed a shield of fidelity encircling Jesus Christ. James and his brother, John the Evangelist, author of the fourth Gospel, were fishermen who were called from their job on a lake to become fishers of men. It's possible that other men were called before or after James and John, and that these unknown men laughed in Christ's face, thought Him crazy, asked a thousand questions first, or just refused to follow a man they did not know and who offered no assurances. Those who said “No” to Christ are lost to history. Christ's was not an open invitation. He was on a mission and kept walking. There was a moment, and then the moment passed. James and John seized their Christ-moment with both hands and never let go.Peter, James, and John were in the home of Jairus when his servant was raised from the dead. On Mount Tabor they gazed in awe at the illuminated face of Christ, His translucent skin radiating like the sun. And these three were at Christ's side in the intense stillness of a Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane, providing what consolation their presence could. In the Gospels, Saint James is impetuous and full of character. He was not like vanilla ice cream. Everyone likes vanilla ice cream. James's personality seemed to be more like sandpaper or barbed wire. You felt his roughness. You got hurt if you crossed him. James wanted Christ to rain fire on the Samaritans for their obduracy. He even desired to be seated at Christ's right hand in the Kingdom of God, which led the Lord to prophesy his fidelity unto death. Saint James' shocking martyrdom was dutifully recorded by the early Church. Saint Luke's Acts of the Apostles states that "King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword” (Acts 12:1–2). No other Apostle's martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. Perhaps he was singled out by Herod because of his fiery temperament. He would not have been one to retract a statement. He and his brother, after all, earned the nickname “Sons of Thunder” from Christ himself (Mk 3:17). And so it was that James probably knelt, his neck resting on a block of wood as his head extended just past it. And then the sword fell, the red blood ran, and the holy crown of martyrdom rested gloriously on a head without a body.Saint Ignatius of Antioch, in a letter sent to the Church of Ephesus in about 110 A.D., wrote “The more I see a bishop keeping silent, the greater should be the reverence I have for him.” A vast forest grows in total silence. The martyrdom of James was like a large tree crashing to the floor of that forest. His death shook the land. Yet the forest continued growing. And it has been growing now for two thousand years. Like a great, but silent, verdant forest, the Church's growth continues. Thousands of miles from Jerusalem and two thousand years after his death, the silence of this Apostle, as that of all the Apostles, still echoes. Every time a baby is baptized, a Mass is said, or a priest quickly walks through the door of a hospital room to anoint a dying man, the mission of the Church which the Apostles established carries on.Saint James, you died a shocking and unjust death. May your courageous witness to Christ at the end of your life, and your impetuous generosity toward Him during your life, make all Catholics bold and forthright in their love of the things of God.
With family: Judges 7; Acts 11 Judges 7 (Listen) Gideon's Three Hundred Men 7 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod. And the camp of Midian was north of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.' 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.'” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. 4 And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,' shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,' shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” 8 So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. 9 That same night the LORD said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 11 And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance. 13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.” 15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the LORD has given the host of Midian into your hand.” 16 And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.'” Gideon Defeats Midian 19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. 22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah,1 as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23 And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and capture the waters against them, as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they captured the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan. 25 And they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. Then they pursued Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan. Footnotes  7:22 Some Hebrew manuscripts Zeredah (ESV) Acts 11 (Listen) Peter Reports to the Church 11 Now the apostles and the brothers1 who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party2 criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.' 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.' 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.' 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” The Church in Antioch 19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists3 also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. 27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers4 living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. Footnotes  11:1 Or brothers and sisters  11:2 Or Jerusalem, those of the circumcision  11:20 Or Greeks (that is, Greek-speaking non-Jews)  11:29 Or brothers and sisters (ESV) In private: Jeremiah 20; Mark 6 Jeremiah 20 (Listen) Jeremiah Persecuted by Pashhur 20 Now Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. 2 Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the LORD. 3 The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD does not call your name Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side. 4 For thus says the LORD: Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. They shall fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon. He shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall strike them down with the sword. 5 Moreover, I will give all the wealth of the city, all its gains, all its prized belongings, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies, who shall plunder them and seize them and carry them to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. To Babylon you shall go, and there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.” 7 O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.10 For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my close friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.”11 But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.12 O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind,1 let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause. 13 Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers. 14 Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed!15 Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, “A son is born to you,” making him very glad.16 Let that man be like the cities that the LORD overthrew without pity; let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at noon,17 because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great.18 Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame? Footnotes  20:12 Hebrew kidneys (ESV) Mark 6 (Listen) Jesus Rejected at Nazareth 6 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching. Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles 7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.1 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. The Death of John the Baptist 14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus'2 name had become known. Some3 said, “John the Baptist4 has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's5 head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand 30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii6 worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. Jesus Walks on the Water 45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night7 he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret 53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. Footnotes  6:9 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin  6:14 Greek his  6:14 Some manuscripts He  6:14 Greek baptizer; also verse 24  6:27 Greek his  6:37 A denarius was a day's wage for a laborer  6:48 That is, between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. (ESV)
In Paul's evangelistic presentation to King Herod, he uses his audience with the King to bring light where there is darkness. Aware of King Agrippa's lifestyle and background, we can take notes on how Paul approached this difficult conversation with someone who lived and believed differently from himself.
Transcript Podcast Introduction Today is Saturday Acts 11-12. I'm calling today's episode “Thunder.” Comments on Acts 12 In verse one of chapter 12 we read that King Herod had arrested some of the Christians in order to persecute them. And in verse two we read that Herod had James, the brother of John put to... The post Acts 11-12: Thunder first appeared on Lifespring! Media.
While the temple constructed by Solomon was glorious, it would be expanded by both the Hasmoneans and King Herod. Herod was the king of Judea when Jesus was born. He was known as “Herod the great” because of his great building projects. He built huge fortresses in Caesarea and Masada. He made impressive theaters, a […]
Mark 6:14–29 (ESV) — 14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Although our number scheme is based on unique episodes, today we're releasing our 50th episode in total! This episode is the second part of our biography of John the Baptist! Rick, Andy and Tiziana discuss at length John the Baptist's unique designation as Prophet and Priest. This further helps us to see why Jesus wanted John to baptize him in the Jordan to "fulfill all righteousness". It's a fascinating study of a man born "with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb" who after preaching a loving message of repentance toward God warns of the "wrath to come" to the religious elite of his time even going all the way to King Herod and calling him out for his infidelity with his brother's wife. This act would ultimately put him in prison which caused him to send his disciples to inquire about Jesus's ministry and finally his violent death. Thanks for listening and supporting our podcast! Visit our website at www.burrosofberea.com
Join Jerry for today's study, the gospel of Matthew, chapter 2. Every day Jerry walks us through a chapter of the New Testament, and gives us some helpful insights and applications along the way. Grab your Bible and get ready to take your daily Bible reading to another level with The New Testament Daily with Jerry Dirmann. Find out more about the ministry of Solid Lives at https://www.solidlives.com/Support the ministry of Solid Lives at https://solidlives.com/give/
"And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born." Two wonders or signs appear here in these first verses of chapter 12. The first is a woman and a detailed description is given of her. John saw that the woman was clothed with the sun, and had the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. That fascinating description reflects Joseph's dream, recorded in Genesis 37:9-11. In the imagery of Joseph's dream, the sun represents Jacob, the moon Rachel, and the eleven stars Joseph's brothers. The allusion to Joseph's dream is fitting, since his life parallels Israel's history. Both endured the indignity of captivity in Gentile nations, yet were in the end delivered and exalted to a place of prominence in a kingdom. That the woman was clothed with the sun reflects redeemed Israel's unique glory, brilliance, and dignity because of her exalted status as God's chosen nation (Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 1 Kings 3:8; Pss. 33:12; 106:5; Isa. 43:20). It also links her with Jacob (the sun in Joseph's dream), an heir in the Abrahamic covenant; Israel's continued existence as a nation reflects the ongoing fulfillment of that covenant (cf. Gen. 12:1-2). The woman with child is the first wonder; the great red dragon is the second. Revelation 12:9 makes it clear that this is Satan. The color red is associated with death (Rev. 6:4) and Satan is a murderer (John 8:44). The heads, horns, and crowns will appear again in Revelation 13:1 and 17:3. The heads represent mountains (Rev. 17:9), and the horns represent kings (Rev. 17:12). We shall study the meaning of these symbols in more detail later. The dragon was cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:9), and he took with him a third of the angels (Rev. 12:7, 9). They are spoken of as "stars" in Revelation 12:4 (see also Dan. 8:10). This is evidently a reference to the fall of Satan (Isa. 14:12-15), when he and his hosts revolted against God. However, the casting out described in Revelation 12:7-10 is yet future. Just as soon as the child was born, Satan tried to destroy Him. This conflict between Satan and "the woman" began soon after man fell (Gen. 3:15). Throughout Old Testament history, Satan tried to prevent the birth of the Redeemer. There was always a "dragon" standing by, waiting to destroy Israel or the ancestors of the Messiah. Pharaoh is called a "dragon" (Ezek. 29:3), and so is Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 51:34). At one critical point, the royal line was limited to one little boy (2 Kings 11:1-3). When Jesus Christ was born, Satan used King Herod to try to destroy Him (Matt. 2). Satan thought that he had succeeded when he used Judas to betray the Lord and hand Him over to be crucified. But the Cross was actually Satan's defeat! "And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 12:11). Satan has always had a special hatred for the Jewish people and has been the power behind anti-Semitism from the days of Pharaoh and Haman (see the Book of Esther) to Hitler and Stalin. Finally, in the middle of the Tribulation, there will come a wave of anti-Semitism such as the world has never seen (Rev. 12:6). But God will protect His people during those three-and-a-half years (1,260 days; see Rev. 11:2; 13:5). Apart from the 144,000 (who are sealed and protected), a believing remnant of Jews will survive this very troublesome time. We are involved in a similar conflict today (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 6:10). Satan is out to destroy the church, and our victory can come only through Jesus Christ. God bless!