Mar 282014
 

The-Good-ShepherdLast week we looked at Jesus’ declaration that He was the Door of the Sheep.

If you have spent much time reading the bible you will see references to sheep and shepherds everywhere. One of the most famous Psalms starts “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1),

Sheep were a source of livelihood throughout bible times and were also used extensively in the sacrificial systems of the temple. Shepherds were the first group to receive the good news of the birth of Jesus and one of Israel’s greatest leaders, King David, started out life as a shepherd boy.

Jesus declares Himself as the Good Shepherd twice, which comes just after calling Himself ‘The Door of the Sheep.’

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) and…

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” (John 10:14)

Jesus has already had a number of run-ins with the religious leaders of the day, such as the Pharisees, the self-proclaimed shepherds of Israel. But as we saw last week, Jesus said they have come to steal, kill and destroy. Rather than look after the sheep they weighed them down with unnecessary burdens and led them away from the safety of the truth.

To counteract their falsehood Jesus declares Himself as the GOOD shepherd in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy:

Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:10-11)

We see two important truths in our two verses today:

(1) The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

There was a huge difference between a good shepherd and a hireling who would run away at the slightest sign of trouble. As soon as he heard a wolf’s howl or encountered a big burly robber, a hireling would be on his bike. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for His sheep because He cared for us so much; He didn’t abandon us to our own devices but went all the way to the cross to save us.

(2) I know my own and my own know me.

It says also in this passage:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28).

It is Jesus who gives us eternal life and has called us to know Him. It is clear that if we know Him, He has us securely and will never let us go. The best way to know His voice is to spend time with Him. We do this by spending time in His presence, reading and meditating on His word, the bible. If you don’t do this you will not hear His voice and could wander into danger.

Do you know this good shepherd? Do you know His voice? If you’re not sure, the way is always open for you to come into the fold. Surrender your life into His arms now and let Him lead you. I have found Him to be very good and you can too.

 March 28, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus 1 Response »
Mar 212014
 

sheep_penSince the beginning of the year we have been looking at the ‘names of Jesus’ and within this subject we are currently going through the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus, all having different aspects of Jesus’ character. We have already looked at “Jesus – the bread of life” and how this bread satisfies every need. And then last week we looked at Jesus being ‘the light of the world’, seeing that those who walk in His light will never walk in darkness.

This week we turn to Jesus as “the door of the sheep” (in some versions “gate”). The passage is in John chapter 10:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. (John 10:1-10).

The context is as follows: in the previous chapter the religious leaders have put out of the synagogue the blind man who Jesus healed, they have continued to link Jesus’ works with Satan and to lead the people astray. Following the arrogance and false teaching of the hard hearted religious leaders, it is time for Jesus to bring judgement and reveal them as those thieves who have come to steal, kill and destroy.

As a background to shepherding in Jesus’ time: sheep were people’s livelihood but they were hard to look after. Sheep would be prone to wander off and get lost; to getting hurt in the harsh environment; in danger of being stolen by thieves or eaten by wild animals.

At night they were especially vulnerable. The shepherd would either use a ready-made enclosure if he was near a village, or in the wilderness he would have built his own shelter, the only way out (or in) would be past him.

Sheep knew the shepherd, they knew his voice. I’m sure you’re seeing the connection by now!

Jesus wasn’t just saying he was the guard to the door, but the very door itself. Jesus is the only way that His sheep can enter. In fact the early church was called ‘the way’ because of this passage.

Whilst writing this blog I couldn’t help but think of the story of when Moses was leading the people out of Egypt, in particular when he was told to sprinkle blood on the door posts in Exodus 12: “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.” (v7). If the blood was found on the door, the angel of death would pass by. The bible is full of wonderful images like this that point to our saviour.

So is your trust fully in Jesus? Have you entered the ‘narrow’ door through Him? He is the only way we can enter, but once we are in, He is the one who protects us from anyone else getting to us. What a wonderful protector He is!

 March 21, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »
Mar 142014
 

light of the worldWe continue looking at the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus with His famous declaration in John 8:12

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

It feels very apt to be writing this now as my whole life has a lot more light in it. I know some readers are overseas so I’ll explain that we have just had a very dark wet winter, the wettest winter since records began. It was dark when I got up in the morning and dark when I left work to come home and when it was supposed to be light in the daytime, that light wasn’t very strong either. I don’t fully suffer from SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) but I’m sure I do a little bit, we probably all do to a degree. Darkness is just kind of depressing.

At the time of writing this blog it is sunny outside, it feels like spring is on the way. It’s light when I wake up and it’s light when I drive back home after work. I feel a bit more cheerful, it’s wonderful what a bit of light can do.

Jesus came into a very dark world and proclaimed He was the light of the world but also demonstrated it in His actions. He was a bit in disguise as He couldn’t fully show how light He was, He only revealed a fuller extent of His light on a few occasions. One is called the transfiguration where He went up on a mountain with Peter, James and John and they met Moses and Elijah and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.(Matthew 17:2)

But when Jesus declared Himself as the light of the world it was more than just His glory.

Light can have quite an effect on us. I want you to imagine that you have been in the deepest darkest dungeon for a very long time. Suddenly the door flings open and the noon day sun streams in and shines directly onto your face. The first thing you are going to do is cover your eyes. This light can be too much for some people and actually be quite repulsive. The Pharisee’s were like that, they thought they were walking in the light but they were actually stumbling around in the darkness. Does that sound familiar to people you know?

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)

Another aspect of light is that it reveals truth, for instance when we want to discover something we use the phrase “let’s shed some light on this” In Psalm 119:105 it says; Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. The famous account of the 2 men walking with Jesus on the Emmaus road is a good example. Jesus is opening up the scriptures and explaining how the bible is all about Him and eventually when they break bread their eyes are opened. The word of God brings light to us and revelation.

The last aspect of light I’m going to look at is the fact that it causes growth. Another glorious aspect of spring time is all the flower shoots start emerging; beautiful daffodils and primroses and very soon the striking trees laden with blossom. If we spend any time with Jesus a natural reaction is that we will automatically grow, we can’t help it.

Can I encourage you to spend more time with ‘The light’? Jesus said

While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light (John 12:36)

And the Apostle John says in 1 john 1:5-7

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Just to finish I’ll share this lovely song “light of the world” enjoy!

 March 14, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus 1 Response »
Mar 072014
 

Bread of lifeLast week we looked at a statement Jesus used rather a lot in the gospel of John: ‘I am’. This statement He used to point to the fact that He is God. Today we are going to look at the first of seven famous ‘I am’s’ that Jesus used in the rest of John’s gospel: ‘I am the bread of life’. Here is the passage:

26 “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal.” 28 Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30 So they said to Him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:26-35).

This conversation with the crowd happens the very next day after Jesus has fed the 5000 men (plus women and children).

Bread is readily available today and we can quite easily survive without it, but in Jesus’ time it was the basic part of the diet. For some of the poor it was the only thing they had to eat.

Jesus often used everyday items to make a spiritual point; the problem was that most people took Him literally and missed the point. They followed Him around because they were hoping Jesus would supply their physical needs. They wanted a continuous supply of bread, much like the manna that God gave to the Israelites whilst in the desert in the days of Moses. They had mistakenly believed that it was Moses who supplied the manna. However Jesus sets them straight, reminding them that actually it was God’s provision. Jesus now states that He is the bread that God the father supplies. He is the spiritual bread, who now satisfies for all time.

Coming to Jesus is not like going to a shop for a daily supply of bread. He is the one we come to and believe in to find salvation and eternal life. He doesn’t say “come to church”, “help the poor” or even “believe in God”. He wants us to come to Him as the source of our sustenance and complete satisfaction. He is the focus and the point of it all.

It’s not specifically mentioned in this passage, but feeding on Jesus echoes the ‘Lord’s supper’ where we remember what Jesus has done for us as we feast on His body.

How about you? Do you mostly think about the material side of life; money, possessions etc? Or do you look beyond this life to the treasures you can store up in heaven? It’s good to regularly check ourselves- it is so easy to revert to thinking about the “here and now” as we get wrapped up in the distractions of our busy lives. We need to remind ourselves that the “here and now” is just a brief sneeze compared to eternity which is, well, forever!

 March 7, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »
Feb 282014
 

IAMI am enjoying this little series on the different names of Jesus. Each name helps us a little more to see another facet of His character and over the weeks we have been building quite a picture.

We have already seen Jesus claim to be God, which has caused much angst to many people throughout the centuries. And many people throughout history have tried to prove that Jesus isn’t God, without success. Whether Jesus is God is a crucial question and one I plan to look at again today.

A hotly disputed passage where Jesus claims to be God is in John 8:58 where He is arguing with the Scribes and Pharisees about who God is and His own relationship with Abraham:

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58).

He did not say “Before Abraham was, I was” meaning he had lived for a very long time, rather He was using the same phrase as in Exodus 3:13-14 where God is speaking to Moses at the burning bush: 13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, I am who I am.”And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

The Scribes and Pharisees were in no doubt what Jesus was claiming when He used this loaded phrase, which is why they picked up stones to throw at Him for blasphemy.

As you may know the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, but the Greek version of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint (sometimes translated LXX), which was around during Jesus’ time translates I AM as Egō eimi. This is the phrase Jesus used that so upset the Scribes and Pharisees.

John’s gospel has various, what are known as ‘I AM’, sayings of Jesus and we will look at these over the next few weeks. We will discover how they further highlight different aspects of His character.

 February 28, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »
Feb 212014
 

immanuel_god_with_us “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23)

You never hear anyone calling Jesus by this name in the gospels, neither do you see Jesus calling Himself Immanuel. But this name is loaded with meaning and very relevant to Jesus. It’s very meaning of ‘God with us’ should fill us with awe as we try to comprehend the fact that our creator became one of His own creations, to pursue a relationship with us. We may find that we have become over familiar with this concept, having (mostly) been brought up with this idea since childhood, but when we pause to consider it, it is mind-blowing.

God

So how do we know He was God?

  • Firstly He was born of a virgin, the immaculate conception, without a biological earthly father. This event alone pointed to His divinity.
  • Jesus Himself claimed to be God:

I and the father are one” (John 10:30),

He who has seen me has seen the father” (John 14:9).

  • He used God’s authority by healing and casting out demons.
  • He forgave sins. (Mark 2:7).
  • The testimony of the Apostles: Thomas said “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28), and they all, almost without exception, died for what they believed in.
  • His own brother followed Him as God. If you have a brother you will understand this-if your own brother thinks you are God then that is pretty conclusive!

God became man because it was necessary for salvation. Romans 3:23 states that ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.’ There was no man good enough to take our place so God took the initiative.

With

He didn’t pop down for the odd day visit, He came to stay. John 1:14 says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. The meaning of the word ‘dwelt’ is that He ‘tabernacled’ with us, literally He pitched His tent up. He is with us because He experienced the full range of emotions and felt the limitations of an earthly body.

He is with us now in power through His Holy Spirit. He is even with us in death, having experienced death in its fullest by dying on the cross:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15).

US

In the Old Testament only a few could approach God; people like Moses who was invited up the mountain (anyone else would die); like the High Priest who could only enter once a year after much religious preparation. Since Jesus came to us, we all now have the possibility of access to God. If we are trusting in Jesus we can enter into the very presence of God and indeed will be with Him forever.

We mainly celebrate this verse just at Christmas time, but to be honest I couldn’t wait to share it now. ‘God with us’ is something to be enjoyed and celebrated every day of the year.

 February 21, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »
Feb 142014
 

son of DavidLast week we looked at the name that Jesus probably called Himself most often (especially in the third person): ‘Son of Man’. This week we are going to look at a name that He was mostly called by others: ‘Son of David’. This name was loaded with meaning.

The title originates in 2 Samuel 7 where God, through the prophet Nathan, promises to David that He will establish an everlasting kingdom from David’s direct descendents. The prophecy is in most of the chapter but here are a few key points:

“……..I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish His kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever. 14 I will be to Him a father, and He shall be to me a son…… And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” (verses 12-14 & 16).

These were very exciting promises for the Jewish people as each generation waited for the promise to be fulfilled. When Jesus arrived on the scene there was intense debate over whether He really was ‘the one’.

And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “could this be the Son of David?” (Matthew 12:23).

Quite a number of people addressed Him as ‘the Son of David’, especially if they were seeking healing or deliverance.

When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matthew 9:27).
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” (Matthew 15:22).

The Pharisees too understood what was happening when other people called Jesus ‘the Son of David’ but because of their pride and stubbornness they refused to acknowledge Him as such: “But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant”. (Matthew 21:15).

Jesus famously exposed their ignorance about what the title ‘Son of David’ meant in Mark 12:35-37:

And as Jesus taught in the temple, He said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David?  David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

David himself calls Him Lord. So how is He his son?” And the great throng heard Him gladly.”

The question that Jesus asks in this passage takes me to my last point. The title ‘Son of David’ obviously did not refer to the next generation son of David, as we understand “son” to mean, but rather to a direct descendent of David. If you have ever wondered why the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 are different, it is because the Matthew genealogy traces Jesus’ descendents through Joseph as His legal father, whereas the Luke passage traces His genealogy through His mother Mary as His blood descendent. This means Jesus qualified on both accounts!

Mary of course knew who her son was as she was specifically told by the angel Gabriel: “….And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1: 31-33).

 February 14, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »
Feb 072014
 

son of man

Welcome to my 100th blog!

If I asked you “what do you call yourself?” it wouldn’t necessarily be the name on your birth certificate. Most of us have names we like to be called. I quite like being called ‘Ade’ by my friends and family. (My old football manager didn’t quite get it right and used to call me ‘Ades’ which I didn’t appreciate due to the obvious connotations.)

If you read the gospels carefully you will see that Jesus refers to Himself on many occasions as ‘The Son of Man’, which may seem rather strange until we take a closer look.

I always thought that Jesus calling himself ‘Son of Man’ was a bit of an understatement. Surely He would be better to call Himself ‘Son of God’ to highlight His divinity. Thankfully, Jesus is not like me; He was completely humble and never needed to ‘big Himself up’.

By calling Himself ‘Son of Man’ He was firstly highlighting the fact that He was a man. He wasn’t God in disguise (although He was fully God) but fully a man, with all its limitations: He got tired, hungry, sorrowful and definitely felt pain. When He called himself that name He was in fact saying “I am just like one of you – I am human”.

There was another reason why Jesus called Himself ‘Son of Man’ and we find a clue in the book of Daniel. In a vision that Daniel saw he describes the following:

13 “I saw in the night visions,and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

Jesus would have known full well about this verse and the fact that it referred to Him, because He says this in Matthew 25:31-32:

31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

The High priest at His trial also knew full well what he was referring to:-

63” But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” (Matthew 26:63-66)

The high priest had absolutely no doubt that Jesus was linking the fact that He called Himself ‘Son of Man’ with that name in the Daniel 7 passage, evidenced by his reaction: he tore his robes, calling Jesus a blasphemer.

So in one name Jesus is highlighting both His Humanity and His divinity; there is no contradiction between the two-He is fully both! What a wonderful truth! The son of God became the son of man that we might become sons of God!

 February 7, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »
Jan 312014
 

The wordThe bible describes Jesus as ‘The word of God’ in a number of places, probably most clearly in John 1:1-3 where it says:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

We know John is referring to Jesus because later he says: “…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (verse 14).

The Greek definition for ‘word’ here is ‘logos’, a word which is not easily translated into English and is very rich in meaning. “Logos” is a philosophical term used in Jewish and Greek intellectual circles. To the Greeks, the ‘logos’ is what lies behind the universe and maintains its order; to the Jews it is more that God had a concept in His mind and spoke it into existence. So John is very clever here by appealing to both parties and using a word they both understand.

This verse is one of the key verses to understanding the trinity. He is not a god (small g) as translated (wrongly) by Jehovah’s witnesses, but the God (large G). He is one with God and as God the word, spoke creation into being:

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).

It is amazing to think that from merely speaking, the universe came into existence. This is the power of ‘the Word’.

So not only was He there at the very beginning, as God, speaking creation into being, he also speaks through His prophets and chosen messengers throughout the Old Testament, bit by bit revealing His plan for salvation. Then at one momentous point in history, the ‘Word’ became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Jesus did not just speak God’s words when He walked on this earth; He demonstrated the will, purpose and power of God. That is why ‘Logos’ means much more than ‘Word’, in the same way that Jesus did much more than just speak the right words.

Jesus is also the ‘word’ who inspired the bible, the one who whispered into the ear of Moses, David, Peter, Paul and the rest. His words that we read in the bible speak to our souls and still transform lives today. I always wanted a bible with all the words of Jesus in red, but I have since realised that every word in the bible is the word of Jesus. If you are going to colour in any words at all it should be all of them!

“Word” also means ‘truth’. We say “I give you my word” when we want someone to believe us. Jesus apparently used the phrase “I tell you the truth” 78 times in the gospels (I say apparently because I have not had the time to double check for myself! – but suffice to say it is mentioned many times). Unlike the imperfect human beings that we are, when God said “I’ll give you my word” He meant it. Jesus demonstrated this by accomplishing everything He had intended to do.

 January 31, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »
Jan 242014
 

Prince of peaceWe continue looking at the wonderful names of Jesus as they have been revealed in the bible. Specifically, we have been looking at the titles of Jesus declared by Isaiah in chapter 9 v 6. We have seen Him as the ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ referring to his omniscience (all knowing); ‘Mighty God’ referring to His omnipotence (all powerful); ‘Everlasting Father’ referring to the fact that He is in all places at all times (omnipresence).

Today we are going to explore the fact that He is the ‘Prince of Peace’. He is not a prince in the context of being the son of a king; the Hebrew word used here is much broader. Think of  words such as; chief, governor, leader, overseer, ruler.

Mankind has always craved peace but it has always been elusive. Many people of our generation would sign up to the popular song ‘imagine’ by John Lennon:

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Wonderful sentiments and dreams to have, but mankind has tried to achieve peace throughout history and never managed it. The sins of pride, covetousness, jealousy etc all make living life in peace impossible. Simply hoping it will all be alright with just a bit more effort is not going to change a single thing.

Jesus is the only one who can bring true and lasting peace and He does this in three ways:

(1) Peace between man and God. This is the most important peace to have. It is what makes peace everywhere else possible. This is the reason that Jesus came; to restore the relationship between mankind and God. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

(2) Peace with ourselves. No amount of meditation can give us the peace that comes into our hearts when we are at peace with our creator. Having Jesus living in us is the only true and lasting peace, which brings an authentic ‘inner serenity’. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15)

(3) Peace with others. This is the outworking of firstly being at peace with God and secondly being at peace with ourselves. We then have the capacity to bring God’s peace to other people. It is virtually impossible to create peace with others without the other two already in place. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

The peace we are longing for is the peace that Jesus will bring fully when He comes again. As the ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ He will bring a wise and perfect peace. As the ‘Mighty God’ He will have the power to ensure peace and as the ‘Everlasting Father’ His peace will last throughout eternity.

His final kingdom will be founded on peace at the culmination of all of history. He will bring all things together through His perfect rule and reign. I shall leave you with two passages (also in Isaiah) which show us in small detail what His future reign will look like:

 He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

 January 24, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 pm Names of Jesus No Responses »