John 3

I think it’s about time I changed my focus when reading.  Allow me to explain:


John 2

This morning I decided to piece together where Jesus walked the first couple days of his ministry.  That’s easier said than done.


John 1

  • We don’t often think about Jesus creating the world, but this says He did. 


Luke 5

On a lighter note, before we get “all serious”…I wonder if anyone ever patched up the huge hole they made it that guy’s roof?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.


Luke 4

Luke’s account of what happened right after Jesus was baptized by John is similar to Matthew’s…but Luke gives more details.


Matthew 4

Jesus is now about 30 years old.  He has never sinned.  Why send him out into the desert to be tempted?


Luke 3

Matthew says there are 41 generations, and Luke says there are 77.  Almost none of the names  match.  Someone has some explaining to do.


Mark 1

There’s a song about the squirrel who went to church.  How about the demon who did the same thing?
The first thing I notice in Marks Gospel is that it moves more quickly through events than Matthew and Luke.   There isn’t any discussion of Jesus’ birth, his childhood, the wise men, or even how John the Baptist was born to Zach and Elizabeth.  Mark penned the shortest of the Gospels, and was probably the first to write.   Which explains why the other authors spent time on the birth of Christ…Mark hadn’t covered it already.
When reading about how Jesus cast a demon out of a man in the synagogue it occurred to me that they were IN THE SYNAGOGUE.   What was a demon doing in there?  That was a holy place, and there was a demon possessed man in there.  Was he praying, or attempting to pray?  Was he working there, or bringing an offering?   Why would a demon allow someone to visit the Synagogue?  In my thoughts there can only be one reason, it was because the demon didn’t see the Synagogue as a threat to itself.   I think the people of Israel (mostly) were simply going through the motions of worship, not being serious about it.   “We’re Israelites, this is what we do”.  That kind of faith doesn’t pose much of a threat to demons.
However, as soon as the man is healed of his possession (the demon cast out) the people are awakened from their spiritual slumber. “what’s going on with this guy” they ask.  “could something significant be happening?”  And they were very excited.   And excited people talk to others.
Right after this, Jesus goes to Peter’s house and heals his mother-in-law.  It doesn’t say where the synagogue was, but it was probably in the same town.   The ruins of a synagogue can be found there today, within site of Peter’s house.   By the time Jesus finishes at the synagogue and travels over to Peter’s place, many other ill and demon possessed people have come to be healed.   That’s what the full effect of the Gospel does.  It attracts, it changes the narrative, it casts out evil, it alters our course and our conversation.  It absolutely changes forever anyone who allows the message to soak into their soul.  
Thinking back, I also notice that Jesus didn’t go looking for the man who was demon possessed.  The demon was the one who started screaming and creating a problem.   This tells me that demons aren’t all that bright.  The smart move for the demon would have been to usher the man out of the synagogue and prevent the story from unfolding in the way it did.  I don’t think that demons can remain silent in God’s presence, remember the man possessed by the legion of demons?   He came running and met Jesus on the shore.  If we are to be filled with God’s power and authority, we should expect that the demoniac s will confront us as well, and that is good news because we know how they can be healed.
One other quick thing today:   When Jesus spoke the demon left, when Jesus touched the leper the leprosy left.  We often live in fear that we will become contaminated by the world, when what really should be happening is that the world should be healed by God’s touch through us.   Fully committed believers who operate in the power of the Holy Spirit can and will see these sort of miracles happen.
Feeling both blessed and challenged,

Matthew 3

Who cares what John ate?   Well, actually what Luke is telling us is that John was a legitimate prophet.  Prophets lived a very austere lifestyle and camel hair clothing would be the inexpensive option.  The locusts and honey would be what was available free of charge.   There is something to say about how the opulence of our nation has deadened our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.  I know  that it’s possible to have wealth and be sensitive to the Spirit, but that’s an ability that few have; most of us are too tempted by our “things” to set them aside to follow Christ radically.
Recently I misplaced a valuable tool (still can’t find it) and I was surprised at how it impacted my mood and thoughts.  It was a reminder to me that our stuff can get a hold on us that we might not even be aware of.   I found myself asking God to forgive me for being so frustrated simply because I lost something so insignificant.  That tool has no spiritual value, and I could replace it without any problems…but that hadn’t stopped me from complaining about it.  That was the problem.
Towards the end of the chapter there are two images given: a tree that doesn’t produce fruit and wheat being winnowed.  Both are illustrations of what happens to those who don’t accept Christ’s message.   If we don’t produce fruit (become obedient, transform) we will suffer the same fate as the chaff from the wheat, destruction in the fire.  Judgment isn’t a popular theme these days, when the general mood is one of acceptance and tolerance of everyone and every religion, but popular or not, it’s still the truth.  There is a day of judgment coming and anyone who has rejected Jesus Christ or His message is going to pay an eternal price.

Luke 2:39 to end of chapter

So apparently you can make your Mom REALLY upset and still be sin free.   That’s good to know.
It’s interesting that none of the Bible authors considered Jesus’ early years significant enough about to write anything down.  I suppose that tells us he had a fairly normal childhood.   If, of course by normal you mean wandering off for three days.  Where did he sleep while he was gone?  3 days would include at least one night, and probably two.  It isn’t recorded that Jesus apologized to his mom, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.  We know He didn’t sin, so his mother didn’t specifically tell him “don’t wander off”.  I’m fairly certain she never made that mistake again.  Of course the incident isn’t recorded to give us all the details.  Luke only wants us to know that Jesus considered God his father (which was literally true) even at the age of 12.
I don’t remember what I was doing at 12 years old, but it wasn’t this spiritually mature for sure.
That got me thinking:  If Jesus in a human body was able to access his complete spiritual nature over time with the Holy Spirit, then we should be able to do the same.   Clearly, that took some time.  At the same time, He was speaking with authority at the tender age of 12…that’s the 7th grade.  Wow.
Don’t discount young people.  God can work in and through them with the same full effect of the Holy Spirit as any adult.   In fact, the teens may have less baggage.
On a lighter note, can you imagine what was going through Mary’s head?  I mean, she knows that she gave birth to God’s son…and now she has lost him.   What about Joseph?   He must have been sick to his stomach, knowing that this divine child could be injured, or worse.   Jesus was doing what was best, and sometimes that stresses us out, right?
Seeking Him,
PR of 

Luke 2:1-38
  • The references to Augustus and the census, and to Quirinius help us to document the date through other ancient records.
  • I noticed that Luke’s record doesn’t say the baby was born the night they arrived. I wonder if they were in the stable for more than a night?
  • The radiance of God’s glory surrounded the shepherds. This was more than a bright light that shone down on the earth like a beam of light. This light chased away every shadow, and illuminated all sides of the shepherds. It was more than daylight.
  • The vast host might not have been singing. The armies of heaven may have been chanting the phrase in verse 14. It doesn’t say whether the army said it once, or kept saying it. From what is written, it sounds like they said other things as well, because it says they were “praising God and saying” not “praising God by saying” or “as they said”.
  • When the shepherds told their story to the people, everyone was astonished. There’s no record here that they were not believed because of their station in life. Generally, people want to believe good news, and news about a deliverer being born was good news indeed.
    The shepherds shared and went back to work. Mary meditated on what they said.
  • I wonder if any of the shepherds lived long enough to see Jesus ministering to the people. Could one of the shepherds been young enough to see Jesus born and crucified? Shepherds were often younger men.
  • God orchestrates wonderfully.  Simeon “just happens” to be in the temple when Mary and Joseph arrive. That’s because he listened to the Holy Spirit and moved when he was supposed to. I’m so glad that he did! Anna “just happens” to be walking by when Simeon is prophesying and praising God. Anna practically lived at the temple, but it’s a fairly large place with lots of people milling around. This is no less a miracle than Simeon. Interesting that a woman would play such a key role in the announcement of Christ.
  • Luke doesn’t mention that Mary and Joseph returned to Bethlehem to stay for awhile. He doesn’t mention the visit from the wise men, or the trip to Egypt. Honestly, that seems odd to me, because Luke has so many other details recorded. (like Mary’s song of praise). Maybe Matthew was already recorded, so he didn’t feel the need to reiterate.
  • I’ve mentioned this before: they offered the sacrifice of poor people, two young pigeons. Oddly enough, within a year or two they would be very wealthy because of the gifts of the Magi. (at least we think they were). Some scholars believe that Mary lived out her life on the income from the Magi. I doubt it, honestly.
  • Vs 34 says that Jesus was a “sign from God” but he was also much more than that.
Pastor Rick signing off for today.   Be blessed!