Tag Archive: Jesus


Yesterday I had such a wondrous time reading Matthew chapters 5-7 — just alone time with my God and me. I started from the Beatitudes to the end of Christ’s words, and His teaching just struck me as so amazing. Stuff I had heard before, but for some reason I was seeing with new eyes. Like, He says, when your enemy forces you to go one mile with him, you should go with him two miles. Or if he sues you for your tunic, give him your coat also. Wow, how counter-intuitive! How totally lacking in bitterness — what a hard, amazing thing. He’s really saying, in a nutshell, to repay evil with good, to give to your opponent even when you are the one wronged.

THAT takes a lot of maturity — maturity in becoming Christlike. I was just thinking through these three chapters how a lot of it is about our relationships and our character-building — what righteousness is is Christlike character! The whole Christian experience is growing in that character so that we reflect God’s own perfect character. And all the things Christ was saying in these chapters — so counter-intuitive, against your expectations kind of things — it just made me realize how smart, wise Christ is.

Did you ever ponder how He is pretty smart, I mean, like you admire how other people are smart? I’ve been noticing the ingenuity of God lately, like how His greatest act of glory (redemption of fallen humans) is through His greatest humiliation (the cross)! I mean, how genius is that? Who ever thought of winning through utter defeat, giving life through death — that’s just mind-blowing!

My sis and I really started appreciating this because we’re trying to write a novel, and we come up with these story twists and character growths. And then we apply what we’re doing with what God’s doing, and suddenly we see how awesome God is — He is the greatest Storyteller ever. How He ever came up with the cross is astounding. He’s a person who wants to show His great glory — and yet He shows His greatest glory by becoming a weak, poor, tortured man who dies a criminal’s death on the cross. What’s with that — I mean, if I was trying to show my glory, that’s not the way I’d go about it! I’d blast the world with light or something and just everyone will be at their knees. That’s how we’d all do it.

But not God. He really has a humble streak in Him — He loves showing power through weakness, glory through meekness. O how beautiful — can’t you see how incredible He is! God is a genius — we talk about how loving or holy or merciful He is, but has anybody ever just thought of how He’s just so smart, so genius to come up with such a counter-intuitive way of showing all His glory in the most defeating way? Amazing! Awesome! Now He’s Someone to really admire — to revere and worship and just stand in awe!

Judge Not Lest You be Judged?

“Don’t judge me! That’s what Jesus said.”

Have you ever been confronted by this statement? Were you trying to share the Good News of Christ or the fact that we are all sinners before God? Or did you use this statement yourself when someone was unjustly accusing you? Are we never to judge?

Many in the modern world repeat this statement. It’s become the mantra of accepting everyone and everything. It is said that no lifestyle or action should be criticized, since judging another person is above one’s calling. But before we accept this belief, we should examine more closely what Jesus actually said about judging:

Matthew 7:1-5:

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Recently as I read these verses, I noticed the particular type of judging Jesus was talking about: hypocritical judging. Jesus is warning against people who judge others while they themselves are doing the same actions that they claim to loath. Notice that Jesus tells you to first “take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus is saying that if we are, say, sleeping with another man’s wife, then we would be hypocrites to judge another man for playing around outside of marriage. “Reform your life first,” He says, “before you even think of judging someone else’s life.”

This is a very important point to remember. Too many of us criticize someone else’s pride, vanity, love of money, etc., without actually applying the judgment to our own lives to see if we are practicing these same things. In this we should be ashamed. Whenever we read a commandment of God, we first must see if we are obeying it before we go off and criticize someone else for disobeying it. Hypocritical judging is exactly what Jesus is warning against.

However, does this mean that we never judge? Are we never supposed to judge an action or lifestyle as wrong or harmful, or tell someone the dangers of it? Just recently I was debating the issue of abortion and the right of life for the unborn, and one commenter was saying we should not judge others. “It’s their decision,” was the general theme. Does Jesus’ injunction on judging cover this type as well?

If you watch Jesus’ actions and words throughout the Gospels, it is clear that some types of judgment are good. For example, Jesus Himself sensed the wickedness of the Pharisees (who were outraged that Jesus cast out a demon from a man), and He made these very judgmental comments:

“You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil” (Matthew 12:34-35).

Calling religious leaders a “brood of vipers” is just about as judgmental as you can get! Yet we hear Christ saying these very words! So was He not following His own injunction against judging?

Of course not! As we examined earlier, Christ warns against judging done in hypocrisy. If you are going to judge, you have to make sure that you yourself are not committing the offense. You must be able to have judicial judgment. Other Godly men besides Jesus practiced this proper judging, such as the apostle Paul:

“Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34).

 

Here Paul, one of the original missionaries of the faith, whom Jesus appeared to Himself, specifically states in his letter to the Corinthian people that they are sinning and that this is shameful behavior. They should not be sinning, since they have knowledge of God. Paul makes proper judgment here, because he is not being hypocritical, but he is being kind in alerting them to the dangers to their souls and their walk with God in continuing this behavior.

 

Thus, if we are to judge anything, first we must know that we ourselves are not committing the offense. We must be holy just as our standard of judgment is holy. And second, we must do it in a spirit of love for the other person. The purpose of pointing out the error of another’s ways is to bring that person safely to a new frame of mind. We care about this person – that’s why we would risk offending him in order to tell him the truth of God that he so desperately needs. Just as a father would lovingly chide his child about the matches he is playing with, so we are to tell others in love the truth of God, even when it hurts. We do this not to hate, but to love as God loves.

The Greatest Gift

The greatest gift is the one of greatest value. Nothing is more valuable than God, and it is the gift of His love that is the greatest thing we can possess. That He gives it freely to His children is a grace beyond description. Let us celebrate His entrance into human history, let us rejoice in the coming of His incarnation, let us glorify His name and His love and the salvation He has given us from our sin. Let us remember the Christ of Christmas and the peace of Him who prepared the joy of this season.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. --Matthew 1:23

What Are We Missing in This World?

What’s missing in this world? That’s easy: God. Without God, there’s no absolute of goodness to which we can set as a standard for everything we do. Without God, there is no hope or purpose for living. Without God, there is no justice, because only He can offer up what each man is worth at the end of the day (his life), regardless of the fame or money he has achieved through his wiles in this mortal earth. But most importantly, we lose out by forgetting God because we miss the most important fact that He does indeed exist and that He cares about us. The complexity of life demands an architect; the beauty of life demands an artist. The evil in life is like a shadow, a portion of land where light is absent. This presupposes that light is indeed there. The salvation story, that the prophesied Christ died for the sin of humanity, showed how God used the greatest evil, the murder of God’s very Son on earth, to bring out the greatest good, the salvation of hopeless souls to live with Him in perfect harmony, through no work of our own.

When society decided that it didn’t need God, it missed one of the most important things in life: a foundation for goodness, a foundation for morality, a foundation for selflessness — a reason for putting others before yourself. Because in God, we see how in many ways He put His children before Himself, when He gave His own life for us.

Of all religious books, only the Bible has hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled. Fortune tellers often give vague predictions, but many Biblical prophecies are starkly specific. Only an all-knowing God knows the future so precisely, even centuries after the forecast. Below are just a few examples:

Prophecies of Nations

The Unique Downfall of Tyre. This prosperous Middle Eastern port had plotted to plunder Jerusalem’s people. Thus, God declared in Ezekiel 26:3-5:

  • I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock. She will be a place for the spreading of nets.”

Notice four points: (1) many nations will come; (2) invasions will be like sea waves; (3) Tyre will be “a bare rock”; and (4) Tyre will be for “spreading of nets.”

Each of these precise prophesies has come true. Throughout history, many nations have come against Tyre, like many destructive waves. This vibrant center of ancient commerce was scrapped off its island and became just “a bare rock” on which modern fishermen spread their nets. How could someone guess all this without divine help?

The Nation of Israel Conquered, Scattered, and Brought Back. When a people is conquered, they often assimilate into the host nation and lose their identity as a people. Yet the Jewish people have not only been conquered numerous times, but have also been spread to every land across earth, after Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70. That the Jews didn’t assimilate is in itself a miracle. Yet another miracle occurred: after 2,000 years of worldwide scattering, the nation of Israel was reborn in 1948. No other ancient nation in history has done the same. Mighty empires like the Hittites have vanished, yet the lowly, persecuted Jew survived and returned to his land.

The answer to this enigma lies in God’s prophecies in the Bible. If Israel committed evil, God warned that they would be scattered among the nations (Deuteronomy 28:15, 64). Yet God promised them that when “you return to the Lord your God . . . then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples” (Deuteronomy 30:2-3). Even the exact date of Israel’s rebirth – 1948 – was predicted in Ezekiel 4:3-6, as explained in fascinating detail in The Signature of God by Grant Jeffrey.

Prophecies of Messiah

Since the world fell into evil, God promised that a Savior, or Messiah, would come to set things right (Genesis 3:15). Hundreds of prophecies, recorded in the Old Testament, were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, this Messiah. He was prophesied to . . .

(1) be God (Isaiah 9:6; fulfilled: John 1:1, 10:30)

(2) be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; fulfilled: Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4)

(3) ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled: Matt. 21:7, John 12:14)

(4) be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; fulfilled: John 19:34-37)

(5) come before the Jews’ governmental authority is taken away (Genesis 49:10; fulfilled: Jesus was born before 11 A.D., when Rome removed Israel’s right to judge).

Payment for His People’s Wrongdoings. Written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Isaiah 53 prophesied that the Messiah’s suffering and death would save His people from the debt of their wrong actions. Below is just part of Isaiah 53:

  • But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. . . . His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth” (Isaiah 53:5-7,9)

The New Testament reveals that even the details of Isaiah 53 came true in Jesus: He bore our sin in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), uttered no protest when falsely accused (Matthew 27:12-14), died with criminals (Luke 23:33), and was buried in a rich man’s tomb (Mark 15:43-46). Isaiah 53 is so prophetic of Jesus’ life that some Jews have speculated that Isaiah 53 was a Christian forgery. But this possibility was forever disproven when a copy of Isaiah was discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This copy dates 100 B.C. – 100 years Before Christ. Clearly, Isaiah 53 prophesies Jesus.

Exact Date of Jesus’ Unveiling as Messiah and Time of His Death. “Messianic Prophecies” (Christiananswers.net) explains a yet even more stunning prophecy: “The precise timing of Jesus’ crucifixion was also given to the Jews when God revealed to the prophet Daniel (9:24) how the Jews could calculate the day of the revealing of the Messiah. Talking of a 490 year period, the prophet foresaw that it would begin “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” (9:25). In the book of Nehemiah we learn that this command was given “in the month Nisan [on the Hebrew calendar], in the twentieth year of the king” (2:1). The king was Artaxerxes Longimanus who ruled from 465 to 425 B.C. The prophet Daniel said that 483 years from that date, the Messiah would be revealed to Israel, but He would then “be cut off, but not for himself” (9:26). This prophecy refers to the crucifixion when Jesus died, or was cut off, for the sins of the world.

483 years later, to the day, was Sunday, April 6, 32 A.D. On that day, which we commemorate as Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and revealed Himself as Israel’s Messiah. He was killed four days later, thus fulfilling the prophecy that He would be revealed and then slain. [Peter and Paul LaLonde, 301 Startling Proofs & Prophecies (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: Prophecy Partners, Inc., 1996).]”

Prophecies of the Last Days

The Bible’s prophecies of the world’s end are being fulfilled at an accelerating pace: (1) nation rising against nation (Matthew 24:3-8), fulfilled in world wars; (2) rise of transportation speed and technology in the last days (Daniel 12:4); (3) gospel preached in whole world before the end (Matt. 24:14), an unbelievable feat nearing fulfillment in today’s global information age and worldwide missionary movement; (4) one world government (Revelation 13:7), possible today for the first time in history; and (5) false christs that deceive many (Matt. 24:5, 24), fulfilled in the increase of cult leaders.

Don’t bet your life that these prophecies were fulfilled by mere chance. God gave these prophecies as compelling evidence because He wants you to trust that His Words are true and that He is in control of the future for the good of those He loves. Let Him handle your future. For more information: askwitnessingGod@gmail.com