VIDEO Hope Restored – The Prophecies of Jesus Christ

When Jesus saw him lying there . . . , he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6

 

Does the sun rise in the east? Is the sky blue? Is the ocean salty? Is the atomic weight of cobalt 58.9? Okay, that last one you might only know if you’re a science geek or tend to dabble in trivia, but the other questions have an obvious answer: Yes. In fact, questions like these are usually mixed with a hint of sarcasm.

If we’re not careful, our modern—sometimes jaded—ears can hear a bit of sarcasm in Jesus’s question to an invalid: “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). The obvious answer would seem to be, “Are you kidding me?! I’ve been wanting help for thirty-eight years!” But there’s no sarcasm present, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Jesus’s voice is always filled with compassion, and His questions are always posed for our good.

Jesus knew the man wanted to get well. He also knew it had probably been a long time since anyone had made an offer to care. Before the divine miracle, Jesus’s intent was to restore in him a hope that had grown cold. He did this by asking a rather obvious question, and then giving ways to respond: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (v. 8). We’re like the invalid, each of us with places in our lives where hope has withered. He sees us and compassionately invites us to believe in hope again, to believe in Him.

By John Blase

Today’s Reflection

In what ways has your hope grown cold? How has Jesus revealed His compassion to you?


The Prophecies of Jesus Christ – Israel conquered by Babylon – Daniel – Cyrus – Chapter 7

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Divine Escape

So from that day on they plotted to take his life. John 11:53

 

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mystery The Clocks features antagonists who commit a series of murders. Although their initial plot targeted a single victim, they began taking more lives in order to cover up the original crime. When confronted by Poirot, a conspirator confessed, “It was only supposed to be the one murder.”

Like the schemers in the story, the religious authorities formed a conspiracy of their own. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44), they called an emergency meeting and plotted to kill Him (vv. 45–53). But they didn’t stop there. After Jesus rose from the dead, the religious leaders spread lies about what happened at the grave (Matthew 28:12–15). Then they began a campaign to silence Jesus’s followers (Acts 7:57–8:3). What started as a religious plot against one man for the “greater good” of the nation became a web of lies, deceit, and multiple casualties.

Sin plunges us down a road that often has no end in sight, but God always provides a way of escape. When Caiaphas the high priest said, “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50), he didn’t understand the profound truth of his words. The conspiracy of the religious leaders would help bring about the redemption of mankind.

Jesus saves us from sin’s vicious grip. Have you received the freedom He offers?

By Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

What road are you going down that could take you further away from God? He offers real freedom. What do you need to confess to Him today?

Give sin room, and it can take over a life.

To learn more about the Gospels that record the life of Jesus, visit christianuniversity.org/NT331.

The Justice of Divine Judgment

Revelation 20:11-15

Every person will face God on judgment day. Whenever that topic comes up, I am usually asked something like, “What about people who live in remote areas, who will never hear about Jesus?” The concerned questioner is really wondering, How could a loving Lord send an ignorant person to hell? In other words, how can it be fair to condemn those who have never heard the gospel?

To understand how God judges, we should recognize two truths about Him. First, He is not limited. While whole people groups still have no Scripture in their language, God always reaches individuals whose hearts are open to knowing Him. Men like Abraham and Moses had no Scriptures, and yet the Lord spoke to them.

Second, God reveals Himself to all people, whether or not they have access to the Bible. As we saw yesterday, He not only demonstrates His power and attributes through creation; He also programs our conscience to understand the basic distinctions between right and wrong. For those who are blessed to hear the gospel at some point, Jesus Christ is the greatest revelation of God in their life.

When people stand before the Father, He will judge them on three criteria: the amount of truth to which each has been exposed; how many opportunities there were to accept the truth and share it with others; and what was done with those opportunities. The believer’s responsibility, then, is to reach as many as possible with the gospel so that no one need ask, “What about those who have never heard of Jesus?”

Love is an Action

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)

It is well known that “charity” in this famous “love chapter” is the Greek agape, which is translated “love” three times as often as it is translated “charity” even in the King James Version. Why then did the scholarly translators prefer to use “charity” in this chapter, of all places?

Possibly it is because 1 Corinthians 13 emphasizes what love does rather than what love is. Love is described in this chapter, not with adjectives or adverbs, but with verbs! “Charity,” in the Old English sense, was not merely giving to feed the poor (note v. 3) but meant agape love—an unselfish, enduring, and active concern on behalf of others.

In this passage (vv. 4-8, 13) are listed 17 actions that love, or charity, does or does not engage in. Love acts with patience and kindness; it does not envy others or seek to impress others, neither does it exhibit arrogance or conceit. Love is never rude, does not seek its own way, is slow to take offense, and bears no malice or resentment. Love does not gloat over the sins of others and is delighted when truth prevails. Love will bear up under any trial and will never lose faith; it is always hopeful and unlimited in its endurance.

Finally, genuine love will be eternal. Even faith will cease when it is replaced by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and hope will finally be fulfilled (Romans 8:24), but love will abide forever. Love, of course, is eternal because Christ is eternal, and Christ is God, and God is love.

This classic passage, describing genuine Christian love, could in fact be read as a beautiful description of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That is, “Christ suffereth long, and is kind,” and so on, finally climaxing in the great truth, “Christ never faileth.” Jesus Christ is, indeed, love in action! HMM

Really, Too Timid to Tell the Truth

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

—Acts 4:13

The contemporary moral climate does not favor a faith as tough and fibrous as that taught by our Lord and His apostles. The delicate, brittle saints being produced in our religious hothouses today are hardly to be compared with the committed, expendable believers who once gave their witness among men. And the fault lies with our leaders. They are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men to give to God that which costs them nothing.

Our churches these days are filled (or one-quarter filled) with a soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology they know little. Scarcely any of them have read even one of the great Christian classics, but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films. No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail. Such can only be called weak adherents of a faith they never really understood.   TIC076

Lord, send the Holy Spirit to renew within us a depth and seriousness in our pulpits. Give us boldness in our preaching. Amen.

 

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world

He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.—Ephesians 1:4.

 

O love, who formedst me to wear The image of Thy Godhead here; Who soughtest me with tender care Through all my wanderings wild and drear; O Love! I give myself to Thee, Thine ever, only Thine to be.

Johann Scheffler.

 

We live not for ourselves, but for God; for some purpose of His; for some special end to be accomplished, which He has willed to be accomplished by oneself, and not by another; something which will be left undone, if we do it not, or not be done as it would have been done ordained to it had done it. We live gifted with certain forms of spiritual grace embodied in us, for some purpose of Divine Love to be fulfilled by us, some idea of the Divine Mind to be imaged forth in our creaturely state. To devote oneself to God is to concentrate the powers of one’s being to their ordained end, and therefore to have the happiest and truest life—happiest, because happiness must be in the accordance of these powers with the law of their creation, and truest, because the attainment of the highest glory must be in the accomplishment of the end for which we were created.

T. T. Carter.

 

We Should Not Doubt

“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” Isa. 45:2

This was for Cyrus; but it is evermore the heritage of all the Lord’s own spiritual servants. Only let us go forward by faith, and our way will be cleared for us. Crooks and turns of human craft and Satanic subtlety shall be straightened for us; we shall not need to track their devious windings. The gates of brass shall be broken, and the iron bars which fastened them shall be cut asunder. We shall not need the battering ram nor the crowbar: the Lord Himself will do the impossible for us, and the unexpected shall be a fact.

Let us not sit down in coward fear. Let us press onward in the path of duty; for the Lord hath said it, “I will go before thee.” Ours not to reason why; ours but to dare and dash forward. It is the Lord’s work, and He will enable us to do it: all impediments must yield before Him. Hath He not said, “I will break in pieces the gates of brass?” What can hinder His purpose or balk His decrees? Those who serve God have infinite resources. The way is clear to faith though barred to human strength. When Jehovah says, “I will,” as He does twice in this promise, we dare not doubt.