Kinnaird Church of God December 1999 Newsletter

December 1999

Jesus said, “I’m leaving you well and whole.  That’s my parting gift to you.  Peace.  I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left — feeling abandoned, bereft.  So don’t be upset.  Don’t be distraught.  I’ve told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in Me.”  John 14: 27, 29.

December is preoccupied with Christmas:  the preparation, the celebration, and the recovery.  It is anticipation and disappointment, expecting everything to be wonderful, and often it is not up to the level of our dreams.

But Jesus offers us the ultimate gift, His PEACE.  Not a “warm fuzzy” that is dependant on people liking us, or giving us what we want, but a settled assurance in our hearts of His Love and care.  It’s not dependant on our circumstances or happy thoughts, but on the facts of the results of Christ’s sacrifice, and our committment to obedience to Him.  He gave us peace and we can extend His Peace to a world preoccupied with itself and its comfort (which has resulted in political instability and greed).  We can demonstrate Peace in our attitudes, actions, and lifestyles.

Let your “Merry Christmas” exclamations be a challenge to experiencing the true Christmas “Peace”.<

©1999 D H Friesen

Jesus Came to Die

Jesus came to die—but had no intention of staying dead.

[Closing off Mark’s Gospel]

OT Lesson  Jeremiah 31:31-34

NT Lesson  Hebrews 10:5-23

Behold the LAMB of GOD who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.

There are some who think that when Jesus came the first time, he came to live and reign, and that the rejection came as a surprise and so his death was not the “real plan”.  But that is to make the same mistake that the Jewish leaders and theologians had made.  The prophets [see Isa 53 etc.] had written about the “Suffering Servant” but it had been ignored because it was incompatible with their preconceived ideas of what the “Messiah” would do.  The prophetic was not predicting what “should happen” but rather warning about what “would happen”.     So as the crowds assembled before Pilate that fateful day you have the spectre of Luke 22:3 “Then Satan entered Judas… And Judas went to the chief Priests… and (he) watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them“.  The Jewish leaders incite the crowd to make a stand for the Passover choice — Barabbas [a murderer who had been arrested for his part in a coup attempt] or Jesus “The one you call the ‘King of the Jews’“.

The reply: “We want Barabbas….”      “What shall I do with the one you call the King of the Jews?”       “Crucify him…” they chanted over and over.      The Bible says that Pilate decided to do the easiest.  He released Barabbas and handed (Jesus) over to be crucified [see Interlinear by Green on Mark 15:15]      And so Jesus was rejected:

  • His Disciples forsook him at his arrest.
  • Passers by hurled insults at him.
  • The religious leaders mocked him.
  • One of those who was crucified with him  heaped insults on him.
  • And the ultimate rejection expressed by Jesus of his Father :”My God, My God, Why have you deserted me” (Feeling helpless and abandoned [see Amplified  Bible] quoted  from Psalms 22:1)

The resolution comes in Mark 15:37, 38. “With a loud cry he breathed his last.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”  The goal of this stage of the rescue of mankind was completed.  SIN HAD BEEN PAID IN FULL and the way was now opened up to go directly to God.  There were no longer any sacrifices necessary.  “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)  Sins’ hold on mankind was broken.  We are no longer under obligation to sin.

And from rejection we go to response:

  • The Centurion says “This has to be the son  of God (Mark 15:39 MSG)
  • Joseph of Arimethia and Nicodemas take Jesus’ body and place it in a new tomb.
  • His friends come to check on his grave and to continue the embalming  process.

He is not here, He is risen… Go tell his disciples, and Peter“..

Jesus had come to die, but he had no intention of staying dead! He Arose! Triumphant over death and sin and the grave!

The challenge now became a possible reality. Jesus had said, “Who ever desires to come after me, let him deny himself , take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” [Mark 8:34,35]  and in Mark 10:21 “Take up the cross and follow me.”

The Apostle Paul describes the experience like this: “I have been crucified with Christ.  My ego is no longer central.  It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion and I am no longer driven to impress God.  Christ lives in me.  The life you see me living is not ‘mine’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. [Gal 2:20 MSG]

So, “Go and make disciples far and near marking them by baptism in the three-fold name: Father/Son/Holy Spirit.  Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.  I’ll be with you as you do this… to the end of the age”  Matthew 28:19, 20 MSG]

JESUS CAME TO DIE BUT HE HAD NO INTENTIONS  OF STAYING THAT WAY

[Conclusion of the Gospel of Mark]

©1999 D H Friesen

Jesus: Liar, Lunatic or Lord

September 11, 1999

Mark 8:27-9:32

O.T. Lesson  Isaiah 55: 1-7
N.T. Lesson  Hebrews 4:12-16

Jesus makes the issue of how we view him, important.  He does not as yet specify what difference it makes, but at this point in his ministry with his disciples, he challenges them to begin seriously thinking about who they think he is, and he will be using that to help them respond to what he has in mind for them to do.

Jesus had performed numerous miracles- healing from disease, sickness, and casting out evil spirits, even raising people from the dead.  Twice he had calmed stormy seas and twice fed multitudes of people, once 5000+ and another time 4000+. Now he asks, “Who do the people say that I am?” And they have an opportunity to think through the options.  Then he asks the critical question:  “Who do you say that I am?”

There are only two basic alternatives — his claims were false or true.  If false, it is either a case of he knew it or he didn’t.  If he deliberately misrepresented himself he’s a liar, a hypocrite, perhaps a demon and definitely a fool, because he died for it.  If he didn’t know then he was sincerely deluded or a lunatic.       If on the other hand he is who he claimed to be, then he is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed one, God’s remedy for sin, and our Saviour and the LORD.  We have to make a choice either to ignore him or embrace him and serve and obey him.  The Apostle John wrote in John 20:31,  ‘These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His Name.’

Jesus attempted to encourage his disciples by letting them in on a meeting with Moses and Elijah up on a mountaintop.  When they got back down they were faced with the ‘real world’ of a demon-possessed boy the others had not been able to help.

It is work being what God wants us to be.  Taking up your responsibilities and serving- in the workplace in your neighbourhood and with your family and friends will take sacrifice, but it is the only way that we can adequately show that God has done a work in our lives.

Josh McDowal writes: ” The evidence is clearly in favour of Jesus as Lord.  However, some people reject the clear evidence because of moral implications involved.  There needs to be a moral honesty in the above consideration of Jesus as either a liar, lunatic or Lord and God.”

©1999 D.H. Friesen