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Showing posts with the label #ChristAlmighty

The Spirit empowers us to speak.

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Mark 13.9-10, Matthew 10.17-20, Luke 21.12-15.When Jesus warned his students about the coming tribulation in his Olivet Discourse, he told ’em he (or the Holy Spirit, depending on the gospel) would have their back when it came time to testify before kings and leaders. He put it this way.Mark 13.9-11 KWL9“Now look at you yourselves. They’ll turn you in to the Senate. They’ll cane you in synagogues.They’ll stand you before leaders and kings because of me, to witness to them.10You have to first declare the gospel to all the gentiles.11When they turn you in, don’t premeditate what you might say:Instead whatever’s given you at that hour, say it, for you aren’t speaking; the Holy Spirit is.”Matthew 10.17-20 KWL17“Watch out for the people: They’ll turn you in to the Senate and their synagogues. They’ll flog you.18They’ll take you to leaders and kings because of me, to testify to them and the gentiles.19When they turn you in, don’t worry about what you might say at the time you give a defense…

Warnings when persecution comes. (Unless you’re American.)

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Mark 13.9, Matthew 24.9-13, Luke 21.12-19.In his Olivet Discourse, Jesus told his students about what’d happen before as predicted, the Romans destroyed the temple in the great tribulation. Many fearful Christians insist Jesus wasn’t speaking of the next 40 years, but our future; the events of the End Times. That’s largely because they don’t know first-century history, nor their bibles, and only believe other fearful Christians. If you aren’t as paranoid, peaceless, and agitated as they, they feel you’re too stupid to listen to. The End Times has gotta be all about fear, not hope—and they explain away the fruitlessness of fear by claiming it’s really “the fear of God” they’re about. Yeah right.Today’s passage tends to trigger ’em more than most, because here Jesus speaks about the active persecution of Christians. Which, at that time, was coming soon. Really soon; possibly before the year was out.Jesus gave this discourse during Holy Week, and he’d be killed at the end of that week. I…

Can we really ask God for anything we want?

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Matthew 7.7-11, Luke 11.9-13, John 14.13-14, 15.7, 16.24.These passages are found in the middle of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, in Jesus’s teaching on prayer requests in Luke, and as part of Jesus’s Last Supper lesson in John. Obviously the Matthew and Luke bits line up more neatly than the John bits, but the same idea is found in the John verses.I tend to summarize this idea as “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” If we want something from Jesus, ask! It’s okay for us to do that. He does take prayer requests.Matthew 7.7-11 KWL7“Ask!—it’ll be given you. Look!—you’ll find it. Knock!—it’ll be unlocked for you.8For all who ask receive, who seek find, who knock God’ll unlock for.9Same as any of you people. Your child will ask you for bread; you won’t give them a cobblestone.10Or they’ll ask you for fish; you won’t give them a snake.11So if you’re evil, yet knew to give good gifts to your children,how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him?”Luke 11.9-13 KWL…

Quit prematurely freaking out about the End.

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Mark 13.7-8, Matthew 24.6-8, Luke 21.9-11.Jesus ordered his followers not to worry. When we haven’t surrendered our entire lives to Jesus, we’re gonna suck at obeying his teaching: We’re gonna worry. We’ll fuss about food and drink and clothing, like Jesus specifically highlighted in his lesson. We’ll worry about what others think of us. Worry about money and financial stability. Worry about politics. Worry about our guns. Worry about anything which threatens our comfort and stability.Most of the professional End Times prognosticatorsespecially want you to worry about your comfort and stability. Not just because they wanna sell you food buckets for your End Times bunker. Most of ’em are preaching out of their very own paranoia. They worry even more than you do about the stuff they agitate about. Their own End Times bunkers are very well-stocked.All of ’em ignore what Jesus taught on the subject. Or in some cases flip its meaning over entirely.Mark 13.7-8 KWL7“When you might hear of wa…

Before the war come the fake Messiahs.

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Mark 13.5-6, Matthew 24.4-5, Luke 21.8.After Jesus commented the temple’s eventually coming down, some of his students wanted to know when. So Jesus started talking about the events that preceded the temple’s destruction in the year 70. Historically Christians have called this the Olivet Discourse, ’cause Jesus shared it on Mt. Olivet.In context, it’s about the Jewish War. The students wanted to know when the temple’d get destroyed; Jesus told ’em about when the temple got destroyed four decades from then. Fake Messiahs showed up and rallied the people to overthrow the Romans; the Romans sent reinforcements; the Judean people decided the End had come and decided to go all in with the false Messiahs, and a bloodbath followed. The Romans slaughtered half the world’s Jews, destroyed the temple, and left Israel without a homeland for 19 centuries.If you don’t know this history, it’s because Christians downplay it. Certain of us are so desperate for information about Jesus’s second coming—…

Jesus predicts the temple’s coming down.

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Mark 13.1-4, Matthew 24.1-3, Luke 21.5-7.All Jesus’s life, the temple had been under construction.The first temple was a tent, constructed by craftsmen under Moses’s rule, sometime in the 1300s BC. Christians tend to call it “the tabernacle.”The second was a gold-plated cedar building, constructed under Solomon’s rule in the 900s BC. Christians and Jews tend to call it “the first temple,” and if you’re only gonna call it a “temple” once it’s in a permanent structure, okay it’s the first temple. But not really. It got burnt down by the neo-Babylonians in 587BC.The third was probably made of stone, same as most buildings in ancient Israel. It was built under the Persian governor Zerubbabel bar Šealtiel in 522BC.The fourth was also stone, started by Herod 1, who decided to take Zerubbabel’s temple and improve it to Roman standards of quality. Didn’t get finished till the 60s CE. Christians and Jews tend to call the third and fourth temples “the second temple,” and Herod’s reconstruction …

Jesus dies. And takes our sin with him.

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Mark 15.33-39, Matthew 27.45-54, Luke 23.44-48, John 19.28-37.Around noon on 3 April 33, it got dark, and stayed that way till Jesus died. Obviously God was behind it, but we don’t know how. No solar eclipses in that part of the world, that time of year, so that’s out. Volcanoes have been known to darken the sky. So has weather. Regardless of how he pulled it off, God decided he wanted his Son’s death to happen in the dark.As he was hanging on the cross, various folks were taunting him, and Matthew describes the head priests, scribes, and elders even taunting him with a bit of Psalm 22:Matthew 27.43 KWLHe follows God? God has to rescue him now, if he wants him—for he said ‘I’m God’s son.’ ”Psalm 22.8 LXX (KWL)He hopes for the Lord, who has to release him,who has to save him because he wants him.Considering this psalm was so obviously getting fulfilled by Jesus’s death, taunting him with it just showed how far the Judean leaders’ unbelief went. They really didn’t think the psalm applie…

The crowd shouts for Barabbas.

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Mark 15.6-11, Matthew 27.15-21, Luke 23.17-25, John 18.39-40.We actually have nothing in the Roman records about this custom the Roman governors had of releasing a prisoner every Passover. Doesn’t mean they didn’t do it; just means they kept it off the books. Which is understandable. Fleshly people tend to think of mercy and forgiveness as weakness, not strength; of compassion and generosity as something that other people will take advantage of, not benevolence. “If you give a mouse a cookie” and all that.Anyway we have four historical records which indicate the Romans totally did free a prisoner every Passover: The gospels. Apparently Pontius Pilate had on hand an guy named Jesus bar Avvá, who’d been arrested during “the riot.” We don’t know which riot, and Christians like to speculate it was one of the more famous ones, but it had to have been fairly recent: Romans didn’t keep people in prison for long. They either held them for trial, flogged and released them, or crucified them.Po…