April 2

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‘As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”’ (Luke 9:57 NLT).

From: April 2, 2018

THE COST OF FOLLOWING JESUS IN MINISTRY
Luke listed three people  that expressed a desire to follow Jesus, yet all three turned aside when they considered the cost.
 
The Lord challenged the material motivations of the first follower by pointing out that foxes and birds have places to live, but He had no “place to lay His head.” Following Jesus is not a means for worldly gain, but a call to deny oneself in this kingdom in pursuit of the eternal one.
 
The second potential follower expressed his desire to follow Jesus later, after a delay to do his duty for his father’s burial. Jesus’ reply seems harsh: “Let the dead bury the dead. Your duty is to go and preach.” But the duty to bury his father could take a year or longer as he followed the tradition of putting the bones into an ossuary. The cost of following Jesus must take priority over other duties and it must be taken with a sense of urgency.
 
The third one who expressed desire to follow Jesus, asked to return home first to say goodbye to his family. Jesus warned that those who look back are not fit to follow. Following requires focus on Jesus, not the past. It also requires giving Jesus first priority over all others.
 
Through the years, I’ve noticed these same three reasons that people turn back from following Jesus in ministry. Whether they feel called to serve in the local church, to missions, or to church planting, the three concerns of 1) a desire for material things, 2) competing duties/priorities, and 3) family concerns, often cause people to give up on their call to ministry.
 
There is a cost to following Jesus in ministry. Lord, give us the perseverance to finish the race following You. For there is a crown awaiting those who finish well.

“And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you” (Luke 10:6 NKJV).

From: April 2, 2017

When Jesus sent out the Seventy to preach, he gave them instructions concerning whom they should look for as they entered a new town. He called this person, a “son of peace.” Today, missionaries refer to this as the “Person of Peace Principle.”
 
Pastor and seminary professor, Dr. Tom Wolf, has described this principle. He says that the missionary entering a new country or town should prayerfully look for a person identified by three “R”s. These three “R”s are:
  • Receptivity (A person who is receptive to the gospel).
  • Reputation (A person well-known in the community).
  • Referral (A person who is ready to refer you to others).
When a person of peace is found, stay with them. Focus your ministry on them. God will use them to reach their community with the gospel.

“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51 ESV)

From: April 2, 2016

Jesus was determined to go to Jerusalem. As he traveled from Galilee, he sought to take the direct route through Samaria, but they would not “receive” him. Their rejection was a foreshadowing of the rejection he would face in Jerusalem. Yet, he “set his face” to go there. It was time. The reason for his coming was at hand. The betrayal, the rejection, the cross, the death and the burial… all these stood between him and his ascension back to the Father. He “set his face” to endure all these, looking past them to the time when he would be “taken up,” having completed his mission. Like a mother giving birth, who sets her face to endure the labor, Jesus “set his face” to endure the cross in order to experience the joy that was set before him (Heb. 12:2). Looking past the dark shadow of the cross, Jesus “set his face” to the bright glory that awaited him with the Father. Those who follow Jesus have a similar way of facing life, setting their face on being with Him, they order their lives accordingly.

“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.” This Mosaic law along with the double importance that the Passover Sabbath began at sundown was the motivation behind the Jews’ insistence that Pilate remove the bodies of Jesus and the two thieves from their crosses before sunset. It is significant that the law says that anyone who is executed on a tree is “accursed.” This emphasizes the degree to which Christ took on our sin and death, that he became “a curse” for us. So, the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13)

From: April 2, 2015

I am especially glad on this day that Jesus has removed the curse of sin and death from those who believe in Him. So that the resurrected Lord stands with us even in the cemetery saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

“If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and hung on a tree, the body must not remain hanging from the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23 NLT)

From: April 2, 2014

This Mosaic law along with the double importance that the Passover Sabbath began at sundown was the motivation behind the Jews’ insistence that Pilate remove the bodies of Jesus and the two thieves from their crosses before sunset. Strange that they cared so much for this minor law, yet willingly broke the commandment not to murder. Also, it is significant that the law says that anyone who is executed on a tree is “cursed.” This emphasizes the degree to which Christ took on our sin and death that he became “accursed” for us. So, the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).

What’s with the four tassels?

From: April 2, 2009

What’s with the four tassels?
Deuteronomy 21 has this seemingly random list of laws and regs. Some involve personal conduct, like what to do with disobedient sons, or when someone commits adultery. Others seem more like building codes, such as, build a railing around your roof to keep people from falling. Stuck in the middle of this list is the instruction to make sure you wear a tassel on the four corners of the hem of your outer garment. These tassels were to be a reminder of the commandments of God.
I was reading the blog of a Messianic Jew recently, who said that each tassel was to have blue thread, wrapped in accordance with the name of YHWH. So, the “Y” or Hebrew Yod would have the number of wraps corresponding to its number in the order of the Hebrew alphabet, and so on for each following letter.
Is it possible that the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, actually touched one of these tassels?