March 21, 2018
KNOWING ABOUT JESUS IS NOT ENOUGH
At Simon’s mother-in-law’s house in Capernaum, Jesus healed and cast out demons from a multitude of people who lined up to see Him. Many of the demons tried to speak, rightly recognizing Jesus as the “Son of God,” but He commanded their silence and cast them out. Of course they knew who Jesus was, they had seen Him in glory before their rebellion. They were fully aware of His Sonship, but they had rejected His Lordship.
Many of us are like them. We know a lot about Jesus. We may even give mental assent to His Sonship, but this is not the same as bowing the knee to Him as Lord. Knowledge about Jesus is not saving faith in Jesus. Right doctrine is not right relationship. As the apostle James wrote, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19).
March 20, 2018
LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION
Jesus taught His disciples to pray that the Lord would not lead them into temptation, but deliver them from evil (Matt. 6:13). Yet, the Spirit “led” Christ into the wilderness “where He was tempted.” How can this seeming contradiction be explained? Perhaps by understanding the two ways the word “temptation” might be understood in Scripture. First, from the human point of view, a trip through the wilderness is a temptation to sin, to lose faith. But from the second point of view, which is the Lord’s, the wilderness experience is a test–– a test of one’s faith. Remember, the Lord does not tempt, nor is He tempted, but He does bless those who “patiently endure” temptation (James 1:12-15). So, we might understand the Lord’s Prayer like this, “Lead us not into temptation, but if You do, please help us endure it and overcome it by delivering us from evil.”
March 21, 2017
The city of Capernaum embraced the ministry of Jesus. He made this fishing and marketplace crossroads, located on the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, His base of operations. The ruins of the synagogue in Capernaum still remain to this day, a testimony to the Word of Jesus which went out from there, and across the world. Those who heard His teaching were “astonished,” or as literally stated in the Greek, “thunderstruck.” Today, we might say, “blown away.”
There are still people groups and cities today that are ready to receive the Word of Christ and be astonished by it. All that is needed is for someone to go in the authority of Christ and preach there (Matt. 28:18-20).
March 20, 2016
In the town of Nazareth, where Jesus had grown up, he returned from his 40 days in the wilderness to begin his public ministry. He attended the local synagogue and chose the passage from the Isaiah scroll that spoke of the Anointed One who would come. The word “anointed” is where the Hebrews get the word “Messiah,” and where the Greeks get the word “Christos.” Having read this passage, he lifted his eyes from the Scripture and instead of offering the usual commentary, he claimed to be the “fulfillment” of Isaiah’s prophecy. He claimed to be the Christ. This created quite a stir in the small synagogue. His hometown people rejected his claim saying, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” Their familiarity with Jesus actually caused them to doubt him. Is this happening in America, where everyone is familiar with Jesus the man, but not many believe in him as Lord?
March 20, 2015
The devil departed from tempting Jesus after three failed attempts. These are the same three temptations to which Adam succumbed. Yet, Jesus overcame them all. The temptation of Adam and Eve began with Satan’s question, “Did God really say?” (Gen.3:1). And so, he introduced the doubt of God’s Word into their minds, making them susceptible to his wiles. So Eve was deceived, deciding that the forbidden fruit “was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise” (Gen.3:6). The apostle John described these three temptations as targeting “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). Satan tempted Jesus and Adam with the same three tests: 1) The flesh (Adam: fruit; Jesus: bread), 2) the eyes (Adam: pleasant; Jesus: glory), 3) the pride (Adam: wisdom like God’s; Jesus: prove you’re the Son of God). While Adam doubted God’s Word, Jesus answered all three of Satan’s tests with quotations from God’s Word. Satan still uses the same bag of tricks today, but we can learn from Christ’s example and depend on His power to overcome temptation as He did. As the psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). In Christ, we are overcomers.
March 21, 2014
After the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus, he made Capernaum his base of operations. The town of Capernaum was strategically located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and the Via Maris (“Way of the Sea”), a roadway connecting Egypt to Syria and Persia, passed through the town. Situated on this important “superhighway,” great and various crowds of people passed through. It was also the town where Peter’s mother-in-law lived (Probably where Peter lived too). Jesus’ ministry thrived there. He called many of His disciples to follow Him from this area. It was in Capernaum that he had people lining up until after dark to see him. To this day in modern Israel, Capernaum is known as “The Town of Jesus.” How can we make our hometown known for being Jesus’ town?
March 20, 2014
After Jesus was baptized and tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, He began His public ministry by visiting His hometown, Nazareth. There He was invited to read in the synagogue and the Isaiah scroll was handed to Him. Unrolling the scroll He found the place where Isaiah spoke of the Year of the Lord’s favor and reading it aloud, He concluded by saying it was fulfilled in that “very day.” It was clear to His hometown hearers that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah, the One that fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy. So, they began to say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” And they didn’t believe Him. Jesus commented that a prophet hath no honor in His hometown and left that place. Does Jesus have a place of honor in your home?
March 20, 2013
Jesus answered all three of Satan’s temptations with Scripture. Luke gives a shortened version of the Deuteronomy 8:3 passage, which Matthew’s gospel quotes fully: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4). Ironic that both the Luke and Matthew passages should have the same reference. Jesus overcame Satan with the power of God’s Word. We have this same Word available to us.
May 5, 2012
Born again hearts and transformed minds required. Man-made worship will not do. Only the blood of the Lamb applied can prepare us for acceptable worship. Not where or when you worship. Not what style of music or clothes you wear. No, to please God, we must worship in the way He prescribes– in spirit and in truth.
March 20, 2012
What Jesus said after reading from Isaiah in His hometown synagogue. Jesus was the fulfillment of over 300 OT prophecies. Yet, there are many more Scriptures yet to be fulfilled. Every one of them has a date stamp on it that only God can read. On that day, it will be fulfilled. That’s why God’s people must always be ready. Today could be the Day!