Legalism and Justice [Part 3]   Leave a comment

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of “Legalism and Justice”, we’ve seen what are some forms of legalism and what are the characteristics of the legalists. We’ve also read how harshly Jesus dealt with the legalists(Pharisees) and how Jesus used scripture to correct the wrong interpretation of verses used to support legalism. The devil has been twisting the scripture in an attempt to make Jesus fall (Mat 4) and this is what he still does through the legalists. We may discern forms of legalism when the motive behind the teachings are not Love, Mercy, Faithfulness and Justice. Discipline in the church is not a form of legalism when love is the motive.  God Himself discipline the one he loves (Heb. 12:10). However, when love is not the motive behind discipline then we may find ourselves participating in ‘stoning the adulterous woman’.

As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?..They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:3-9

It would be unfair to the victims of the adultery(the spouse) not to receive justice. If this case was brought in our modern court with Moses law to be applied and you were to judge, what would you do?

The Greek words used in this phrase suggest the following interpretation  “Let the one among you who has never sinned similarly throw the first stone!

I would prefer not to participate in the judgment of a case in which I had myself made a similar offense. If I condemn others of an offense that I did myself but no one caught me yet, then I’m condemning myself along and acting like an hypocrite. If we consider for instance Jesus’ teachings about lust and adultery very few religious people would find themselves eligible to pass on a judgment.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mat. 5:28

What did Jesus say about judging others?

 Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mat. 7

Jesus in this verse is warning against judging others. It is not wrong to judge others but it holds great responsibility. If no one was to judge in courts then the notorious criminals, drug traffickers and murderers would not be put to jail. I believe that the juries and the judge in courts are not drug traffickers or murderers and this is what allow them to judge fairly and with a clear conscience. The standard of judgment they use is based on justice with no hypocrisy. The lesson here is not to participate in a judgment where your conscience condemns you of a similar offense.

All right Jesus said, it is true the law of Moses said to stone the adulterous woman but the law of Moses also said that both the man and woman should be convicted of this offense(Lev 20:10). However, the Pharisees brought only the woman. At this instant, no sentence could be pronounced with one party absent.  That would be unfair to judge only one of the offender without hearing both. However, Jesus did not use this as argument, He rather made a call to their conscience and this made all of them guilty since it appears that all these people who brought this woman once did a similar crime. The oldest left first as he probably was the greatest offender.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest” John 8:9

I guess that if there was indeed a man among the mob who never committed adultery, then he would be right to execute the stoning but there was none left! How hypocrite can religious people be! Only Jesus was left with that woman for only Him never committed such sin and only him could stone that woman.

 Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

The accusers now dispersed, Jesus now recommends the woman to leave behind this sinful life and live in the righteous path.

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Posted March 26, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 2]   Leave a comment

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They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them..” Matthew 23

Hypocrisy is usually a character of the legalist. At some point the legalist will tell to people what they should do but they themselves might not be doing what they say.  Severe to others but indulgent to themselves. They have a false humility i.e. they make as if they do not seek for glory, leadership position or privileges when this is what they are actually seeking. They may be soft spoken persons but in the inside they are wolves in sheep clothing. Their soft tone, humble way of clothing themselves or even the way they walk are deceits. This was how Jesus described the Pharisees who wore wide boxes (phylacteries) on their arms or forehead. These boxes contain scriptures and making them wide was probably a demonstration that they were well versed in the scripture. Boasting about one’s knowledge of the Scripture or the law is another characteristic of the legalists.  They loved to be greeted with respect when they walked in public places(market place) Jesus said. In other words, they sought for recognition. They might also feel insecure if someone aims to learn more about the law/scripture or wish to enter God’s kingdom without going through them.

This is what Jesus said about this: “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to

They want to be those who guide people to heaven but Jesus called them blind guides. In other words they want to be a mediator between God and man but there is only one Mediator – Jesus. This is why Jesus said never to call a man rabbi or father for there is only one Teacher – Jesus and only one Father – God.

This is a gross mistake of the catholic priests who take the name of ‘father’. The pope for instance is a modern time Pharisee according to this verse and also do all his adherents/followers. It’s on the same ground of super spirituality that the catholic priests are not allowed to marry – for fear of being defiled with sexuality ? The leader among the disciples, Peter was married(1 Cor . 9:5) and it’s hard to understand how the Vatican came with this ascetic doctrine of forbidding man to marry – which has caused so many of them to become pedophile or rapists. These priests probably taught about holiness but they themselves lived in immorality. Asceticism is therefore another characteristic of the religious legalists.

Since the legalists think that they have the key to the knowledge of God or are an authority to God’s affairs, they allow themselves to add or remove to scripture. This is why many false doctrines emerged. For instance, the Pharisees twisted the scripture when they said: ” ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’”. To this teaching Jesus pointed out that their reasoning did not make sense.

As regards tithe, the Pharisees took it so seriously that they even gave a tenth of their spices—mint, dill and cumin. To this Jesus responded “you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness“.

One can be so absorbed in practicing the law that he forgets that the spirit behind the law is justice, mercy and faithfulness.

Tradition in the church is one of the common source of arguments. Traditions are man-made and many leaders consider them as similar to God’s Word. For instance, celebrating Christmas, Easter, Mother’s day are not commands in the bible but are traditions brought in the church. For the Pharisees, it was a tradition that hands should be washed before eating. Of course this is a healthy thing to do. There’s nothing wrong to wash our hands before eating or celebrating mother’s day to honor our mother or Easter/Christmas to remember Jesus’ coming, death and Resurrection. However, eating without washing one’s hands makes someone prone to diseases but not a sinner. Not celebrating Christmas, Easter or Mother’s day does not make one a sinner. This is what the Pharisees said:

Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’  they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” Mat. 15:2

Once again Jesus showed the Pharisees that their teachings were contradictory. The Pharisees probably taught that one should honor his father and mother and failing to do so was such a gross sin that it was subject to death penalty. However, the Pharisees in their hypocrisy reasoned that since they have already spared aside some gifts/money to God then they are unable to use that gift to help their needy parents. They considered that this gift set aside were already reserved/devoted for God and was therefore not right to use it otherwise. In modern time, this might also do to our commitments. For instance, if we reason that we have already committed ourselves to give 6 months of our time in mission and have to leave behind our sick and needy parents then we’re behaving like the pharisees. God does not need our money or sacrifice. Obedience, love, justice are better than sacrifice. Be careful in the way you deal with money in church affairs. If you feel confused in how to spend your time, money or resources in spiritual matters, think about the spirit behind the law: Love, justice, faithfulness and mercy.  What would Jesus do?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted March 22, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 1]   Leave a comment

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Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Mat. 12:9-12

During the 3 years of ministry of Jesus, the people who considered themselves as teachers of God’s law challenged Jesus with many tricky questions in order to bring charges against Him. Even if the arguments brought by these Pharisees/teachers of the law were not held in court, they were sufficient to set a trap Jesus.

At many instances Jesus warned the people and his disciples against the fake righteousness of the Pharisees and drew a line between legalism and justice. Love was the chalk Jesus used to draw this line.  The spirit behind the law was to love people and love God until Jesus came. The first 4 commandments concerned our love, respect and devotion towards God and the remaining 6 had to do with respect and love of our family and neighbor. Paul described the law as:

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. …. If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. .. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed….Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.” Gal. 3:24-29

To put it imply, Paul said:

For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Rom. 13:9-10

It is true that the Mosaic law required that the Israelites shall consider the seventh day a special day and not work on it (Ex. 33:2). That command was so important that if one disobeyed it, death was the penalty. The Pharisees considered that Jesus was working when He healed people so they asked whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus is the one who inspired the prophets to write the law and He explained the intent behind the law. Being also a divine Advocate, Jesus replied the Pharisees brilliantly.  It was common sense that a Jew would save his sheep if one fell into a well. What if that incident happened on the Sabbath day? Would you be so hard hearted that you would just watch that sheep drown without moving a finger for fear of doing work? In the book of Deuteronomy we read:

If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility.Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. ” Deut. 22

What if the neighbor’s ox erred on a Sabbath day? That would put the legalist in a great dilemma! Would that be a conflict in the law? For love sake and pity, be careful of never allowing yourself reasoning like a legalist. For those who understand that the spirit behind the law of keeping your neighbor’s goat from wandering is love, it will not be difficult for him to make the right decision if the neighbor’s goat erred on the Sabbath. David’s companions were hungry and for love sake and compassion David broke the law when they entered the house of God and ate the reserved sacred bread (Mat. 12:4). In the worldly court, David would have been condemned but in the divine court, David was not found guilty.

In Numbers 28:9, the priests did not feel guilty of breaking the fourth commandment when they had to work on the Sabbath. If it ever happens that you find a conflict in God’s word, think about the love spirit behind God’s word. There will always be some Pharisees throwing some bible verses to condemn you or others but think about this: “What would Jesus do?”

Here is an example: Jesus’ disciples were hungry and the Pharisees brought charges against them saying they were harvesting/working on the Sabbath. Jesus did not rebuke His disciples but rather justified them through scripture.

But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.

Posted March 9, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Narrow is the gate and narrow is the road   Leave a comment

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 You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

While I was meditating on this verse, I wondered why Jesus wanted to put emphasis on the narrowness of the gate and the narrowness of the road that leads to God’s Kingdom. Sure enough, these verses are not saying that God is playing hide and seek where only a few elite explorers can find Him. This is a verse about faith and perseverance. While reading this verse, I remembered an experience I had in France. I had to be there 2 weeks for work and on the day I landed I thought it would be good if I could spot the workplace on the eve since I had to be there early the next morning. So I googled the workplace and walked in the directions indicated. I managed to get on the road that led to the workplace but the building numbers were not easily identifiable. I asked people if they could help me identify that workplace but they either did not know or misled me. I soon realized that the building numbers followed an odd numbering pattern and this is why I could not sequentially identify that building. Finally, I found it and realized that I walked passed that gate several times. This was a big company and I wondered why there were no big signs or clear indications. How come people did not know it was there? That gate was not huge and the road I walked through was not as wide as the Champ Elysées but a narrow one way road. I understood later on that this building was rented by that huge company and it was not their headquarters.

To get back to our verse, people unconsciously expect that the gate that leads to God’s Kingdom would be attractive like the pearly gates or the golden road as described in the book of Revelation 21. However, this is not the case. Jesus said He is the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven and the sheep’s gate (John 10:7). For many people, it just does not make sense that Jesus is the only door to Heaven or the only way to be saved.

“How can a crucified Messiah be the Savior of the world? Jesus claimed to be God, how could He die on a cross? Can anything good come from Nazareth (John 1:48)? “These are some logical reasoning that blur people’s vision on how to get to heaven.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! …But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense” 1 Cor 1:18-24

Google Map showed me where my workplace was but my logical reasoning and people misled me. The bigger the idol or bigger the worship place and the more people think God’s presence is there.  Man’s wisdom and intelligence is often incompatible with God’s and this is why few ever find the Kingdom and ever pass through its door. It’s only through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice that we can enter God’s Kingdom!

On one side, there is a highway that gives a pleasure ride to hell. It’s an easy path and the gate to its destination is so well crafted and designed that one might be knocking at the gate of hell thinking he has finally reached nirvana or the reward of good karma. Since millions of people take that easy and broad road, many convince themselves with this argumentum ad populum, that they must surely be right. It’s a deceitful religious belief that doing good works will result in good karma – this is man’s invention to have a clear conscience. It makes man self-centered instead of God-centered.

The road is very narrow and difficult Jesus said. Believing in Jesus is taking the right way to God’s Kingdom however many give up before reaching their destination because the road is no longer convenient to them. They are like the soil who received the Good News but on the way gave up, lost focus or no longer considered the Sheep’s gate attractive. “Many people are taking the easy way, why should I abstain“, they ask?

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. ” Mat. 13:20-22

Christians should be careful that they do not let themselves entangled by the things of this world, social status or the lure of wealth for these are deceitful roads.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.  And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.” 2 Tim. 2:3

Jesus would not have said that the road and the gate were narrow if it was not true. Are you on such a road and heading towards such a gate?

Understanding the width, length, depth and height of the Love of God   Leave a comment

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that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17-19

Rooted and founded in love

Paul used the words ‘rooted’ and ‘grounded’ probably to illustrate 2 concepts.

  1. Plants which are deeply rooted in the soil get the appropriate nutrients, grow and blossom. This is the same when one is rooted in God’s love that person grows,emancipates, is fulfilled and satisfied.
  2. A house that has a firm foundation will also remain strong and stable even during calamities such as hurricanes or floods. So is the one who has as foundation God’s love – Christ. Even during tough times, Christ’s love keeps that person serene, stable and strong. The Greek word used here for ‘Love’ is of course Agape love – God’s love. This alone can fulfill the soul of man. God is love and He created man to love and experience love. One not rooted in God’s love will tend to draw its roots towards other kinds of love such as Eros(Marital), Phileo(Friendship) or some unhealthy sources affections to fuel the soul. These kinds of love are incompatible with what the soul seeks. A spouse will never be able to fulfill the soul of his partner with ‘Eros love’, nor will friends with ‘Phileo’ love , nor relatives with ‘Storge’ love and never will the pleasures of this world. It is a gross mistake to believe that if you lose everything but still have your spouse or family or your best friend then it’s going to be ok. Your spouse, friends or relatives have flaws and limitations and they should never be the foundation of your happiness.

Many people are depressed, feel unloved because they have been abandoned by their parents, cheated by their spouse or betrayed by their best friends. As they have been deprived from healthy sources of affections, they turned to pornography, fornication, adultery, drugs or other kinds of addictions.

That you may be able to comprehend with all the saints

The translated Greek words used here is exischuō katalambanō which means ‘rendered thoroughly able to understand/seize/attain the agape love’. Paul explicitly mentioned these words to ensure that the readers fully understood that God loved them. Some years ago even though I was a Christian, I believed that Jesus died for my sins but did not associate it with an act of love. Thus, I did not experience the love of Christ as the saints did because I ignored it and did not consider it as real. It is essential for a Christian not only to know but to be immersed in the love of Christ.

The width and length and depth and height

Paul used measurement characteristics in order to depict a boundless love. It is a love which when you try to measure it in any perspective, you will not reach an end.

This is indeed a mysterious love that when you consider:

  • How deep it is that it caused God almighty to give His one and only Son(John 3:16).
  • How large it is that He forgave the sins of all individuals no matter how gross their sins were “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.
  • How high it is that it  “his unfailing love toward those who fear him
        is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth” Ps. 103:11.
  • How wide it is that “ He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” Ps. 103:12

To know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge

The translated Greek word ginōskō for ‘know’  makes allusion of being aware or acknowledge that the love of God is infinite. It is vital for a Christian to know that God’s love is not just a verb but a mysterious science that is boundless in all dimensions.

That you may be filled with all the fullness of God

Thanks to God that this verse does not end there! We are not only expected to know that such a mysterious love exists but also called to experience it.

Among all the great sayings in this prayer, this is the greatest. To be Filled with God is a great thing; to be filled with the Fullness of God is still greater; but to be filled with All the fullness of God, παν το πληρωμα του Θεου, utterly bewilders the sense and confounds the understanding. – Adam Clarke

God’s love brings fulfillment to the soul, it really makes us complete and it is unfailing. It is the kind of love on which we can draw our roots to and never be harmed. It will never fall short to meet the needs of our soul. This is a godly love that only does good to the soul, mind, body and spirit. This is a love on which we can lay a foundation upon, it will never end (Lam. 3:22, Ps 136) and is unfailing (Ps 103:11).  The scripture further reassures us that  demons, angels, calamities or anything in all creation will not be able to “separate us from the love of God” Rom. 8:38-39

An analogy of Christ’s love for the Church

The scripture also describes Christ’s love for the church as a mystery. Christ gave his life for the church and so should be the servant-attitude of the husband towards his spouse.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word..this is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Eph. 5:25-32

The scripture reminds husbands that they should love their spouse. This is something known you will say. However, this is a good reminder because at times husbands cease to love their spouse when there’re difficulties and even think about quitting or divorce. Paul even goes further by saying that the husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church. This is what differentiates Christian marriages from others. Several marital problems would be solved if this verse was put into practice. When a husband tasted the boundless love that Christ has for His body – the Church, his heart will overflow with love towards his wife. The wife and the husband became one body when they joined together. When a husband hurts his wife(physically or verbally), he is actually hurting his own body. When a husband loves his wife, he is actually loving himself. Paul gives no conditions for the husband to love his wife, he only gave a reference – Loving as Christ love. Even if a husband does not feel loved by his wife, he should not cease to love her. He should love her as Christ loves the church. Christ still loves the church even though the latter is often unfaithful and sins so should the husband imitate Christ’s attitude(Phil. 2) by forgiving when offended and always be clothed with love (Col. 3:12-15)

 

 

Posted August 15, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it   Leave a comment

John 12:49

John 12:49

The words spoken by Jesus were carefully chosen. What He said, where He said His teachings and how He said them were all orchestrated by God. The teachings delivered on the mount, in the synagogues, on the boat, in Jerusalem or outside Jerusalem were all tailor-made for the hearers. Jesus was not taken by surprise when He saw a crowd gathering and wondered “Well, what am I going to teach to these folks today?” At times Jesus would say that it was not yet His time to go to Judea or Jerusalem (John 7:1-19) because He had an agenda prepared by God to accomplish His mission.  He wanted the people to know that His message was from God above.

But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 12:48-50 NLT

The peoplewere surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.So Jesus told them, My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.” John 7:15-18

John the Baptist testified:

He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them!  Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.” John 3:34

God Himself testified

This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him” Mark 9:7

Jesus said that if we love Him we’ll keep His commands but He also said : “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” Luke 6:45

It is therefore essential to live the talk.

Not only was Jesus mandated on what to say but He was also indicated precisely on how to say these teachings. For instance, the way Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in(Luke 11:37-54, Mat. 23, Mat 15:12) was not out of uncontrolled anger or impulse. The way Jesus acted with them was the very expression of how God felt. The Pharisees were offended because of what Jesus said and started to plot on how to kill Him.

These teachings were long prepared in God’s counsels and revealed through Jesus. God Himself came and spoke through His Son (Hebrews 1). When the prophets delivered to Israel God’s message, they did so with the best of their abilities but still imperfectly. This is not the same with the Son as He communicated exactly what God intended to say.

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” Hebrews 1

This is why we need to pay careful attention to what the Son said since God judged severely those who disobeyed the law of Moses.

So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? ” Heb. 2:1

It is no wonder that the guards said “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” John 7:46

How can you not be stunned when you hear a man claim that He is the Vine and that his disciples are the branches and if someone does not remain in Him and in His Words, he will perish. He said that apart from Him we cannot do anything, that He is the Way to the Father, the only Truth and the Life. He said He is the bread of life. To the immoral woman and the paralytic man He said ‘Your sins are forgiven’. Jesus’ words were Spirit and life(John 6:63) but many did not understand or refuse His teachings because their heart were evil.

I have read the epistles of Paul,John, Peter and James and learned much about the church and was enlightened about several doctrines. But when I read the Gospels, I can stare for a long time at those words Jesus said and think about them what and how He spoke for days. The teachings He delivered and how He taught them had an impact on my intellect, emotions and attitude.

Jesus foreknew that His teachings and what He did would be preached throughout the world and He had to deliver them perfectly. He said:

I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” Luke 26:13

John overwhelmingly said:

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.  This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. ” 1 John 1

The words of Jesus transformed lives and still do the same throughout the world. It is essential to take the time it requires to unpack the teachings of Jesus and ask questions like why He said He was the Vine,  how He spoke to the Pharisees or when did He decide that it was time to go to Bethany to meet Lazarus. My job often requires me to reuse or modify codes that other programmers wrote. It is essential for me to understand why the programmer used a particular approach to provide a functionality. Similarly, every words spoken by Jesus had its reason. He is the Word of God made flesh and there is none beside Him who could speak God’s words.

Jesus said that if the world hated Him because of the Words He spoke, the world would still hate his disciples who remind of the Words He said(John 15:18-20).

Jesus’s message was clear: If you’re not with Him, you’re against Him (Mat. 12:30). He is the only way to God, the only truth and the source of life. If someone does not trust in Him for salvation, He is going to hell.

Reminding the world of Jesus’s message will cause disdain. People will be offended, say you’re pretentious, biased or stupid. Paul had to face this dilemma when he met with scholars and intellectuals. He had to speak of a Messiah who claimed He was God, died on a cross and rose again. Yet Paul was not ashamed of this Good News.

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes” Rom. 1:16

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:26

 

 

 

 

Posted June 16, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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I Am the Alpha and Omega [Part 3]   Leave a comment

Alpha

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” Rev 22:13

7. Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

God did not populate the earth once with animals or plants. He gave the possibility to the millions of species He created to do it themselves through reproduction. Some trees can produce more than 1 billion seeds which in turn would produce massive number of plants and seeds.

Vegetables, fruits and plants were to be the main or only aliment that would feed the whole population of humans and animals(Genesis 1:29-30). In this vegetarian world, animals were not created to eat animals nor animals created for man to eat them.

So in the beginning everything that grew was useful and the job that God gave to man was to cultivate the garden of Eden which apparently had the most appealing plants(Gen. 2:15). I like fruits and I planted quite a few seeds of fruits I like to eat. I live in a fertile region and it is not necessary to add stuff to the soil. It is a pleasant experience to see the seed change to plant, grow and bear fruits in abundance. On the other hand, it is not an enthusiastic experience to constantly remove useless herbs, thorns or thistles. It is a sad experience to harvest fruits that have been attacked by pests or to notice that the seeds did not germinate despite having cleanse and plough the land . Before the fall of man, the soil was in perfect state and plants could fastly multiply to feed humans and was suitable for all kind of animals. Probably, the curse in Gen. 3:17-18 reduced the amount of vegetation required to feed animals and man thus causing animal to eat others and man to eat them. Famine for instance is a direct result of man’s sin. Another clue we have is that it was only after the flood that God allowed Noah to eat flesh(Gen. 9:1-4)

The earth’s rotation completed and it was the third day.

8. Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good

Imagine how the world would have been if there was no concept of time. We would not be able to set meetings where everyone could meet together, make time-based contracts or scientific experiments. The absence of light allows the earth to cool and living creatures to rest, its presence allows photosynthesis to occur and provides vision. A lot of scientific reasons could be given to explain the importance of having the presence or absence of light. Time reminds us that we’re mortal beings and we’re on earth just for a moment. Our watches have been calibrated to tick at regular intervals in order to complete the 24 hours at the same time the earth completes its rotation. On the first day God said “Let there be light” and here God talks about these celestial bodies that would be used as reference to indicate days, seasons or epochs. As long as the earth rotated only on its own axis, there could be only day and night. There could not be seasons or visible signs such as eclipses, summer, winter, autumn or spring. Probably, the earth started to revolve around the sun at this point in time thus causing the phenomenons of seasons and signs in the sky.  Without the moon or the stars we would have had darker nights. Even though stars provide little light, they have been sufficient signs for navigation in ancient times.  The earth’s rotation completed and it was the fourth day.

Posted February 14, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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