The Last Supper: More than history, more than a painting, it’s the living example of how to go through stressful times


The Last Supper: More than history, more than a painting, it’s the living example of how to go through stressful times. There are at least five diamonds shining out from the darkness of John 13. I’m sure you can find more, but these five points are crying out to be preached:

He showed them the full extent of his love (v1). Jesus demonstrated that sometimes the grand gesture is important. What more perfect love is there than the love of God? Yet Jesus determined that night to show them the “full extent” of his love. He washed their feet. Earlier in the week Mary had broken open a jar of fabulously expense perfume and covered his feet with the sweet-smelling ointment. He had received extravagant love and now he showed the same. The service due him he gave to others. In the middle of incredible stress Jesus lavished his attention on others.

The devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus (v2). The backdrop of the evening was betrayal. Jesus washed Judas’ feet as well. The very one who objected to Mary’s outrageous act of love was apparently willing to receive the full extent of the Jesus’ love. Jesus knew the score and chose to serve even Judas. But should we be surprised? Before sunrise all the disciples except John would flee for safety. Peter would deny the Lord again and again (and again). Jesus served them all. In a setting of betrayal, Jesus determined to pour forth his love and care. Under incredible pressure he met betrayal with love—he cared even for his oppressor. Perhaps that’s why the early church sang, “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power (v3). Does it seem strange that set in between love, betrayal and service that the gospel reminds us of Jesus’ power? In stressful situations, many people think of power as the ability to make things happen, to gain control of the situation. Yet Jesus allowed the events of the night to play out completely. On that difficult night, Jesus did not grasp for control, even though he had power to do so. What if true empowerment expresses itself in terms of the confidence to obey the Father?

Jesus took off his outer clothing (v4). Jesus was secure in his identity. He had been given the Father’s power. Accordingly, he took off his outer garment, stripped to the waist and strapped a towel about himself. Can we understand the shock of the moment? Jesus became a picture of transparency, humility and service. The Jewish culture of the day associated nakedness with shame—we have no equivalent emotion today. The most powerful man in the room was the one engaged in the work of a slave, bare to the eye, bowed before those who would worship him in just a few days. Of course, it was too much for Peter, who could not comprehend that a leader leads by serving. While the pressures of life may tempt us to cover up our real selves, Jesus demonstrated the way of transparency, humility and service.

He asked them, “Do you understand?” (vs 12-17). Still, Jesus did not abandon his role as a leader that night. After he put on his clothes again and returned to the table, he resumed his role as Rabbi: this moment was too important to be left to mystery. He instructed them in the meaning and importance of his actions. Having led by serving, he served them by leading as well. Jesus was about to give a “new commandment” that would only make sense in the context of a servant’s heart. He explained the example he had set and clearly expected his disciples to attain to the same standard. Jesus’ answer to the worries of the night was to display power clothed in service. He became the standard for “love one another as I have loved you.”

These five gems shine for us. As preachers, we can share that good news that the stress of everyday living can be met with the example of Jesus, who conquered not only the grave but earth-bound responses to betrayal and hard times. Who could be content with learning about Jesus without the deep desire to become like him? Can we imitate the Master? His love in the face of betrayal is a call for us to love as he loved; to lead by serving and to serve by leading.

Ray Hollenbach  via

Urmareste videos de la Calea Crucii pe Via Dolorosa, cu Google Maps – Videos for Via Dolorosa Stations of the Cross

Vedere aeriana Calea Crucii, Via Dolorosa. Photo credit

Vedere aeriana Calea Crucii, Via Dolorosa. Photo credit

In partea stanga sus este un icon cu 3 puncte si 3 linii, fa click si deschide lista cu fiecare punct din hart de pe Calea Crucii, locurile istorice prin care a trecut Domnul Isus, cu crucea in spate, in drum spre dealul Golgota unde a fost rastignit.

Sau fa click pe balonasele mici si se deschide cate un geam cu video de la diferitele puncte de pe Calea crucii.

Fa Refresh [control + r] daca vrei inapoi la original.

Ca sa muti harta, [cateodata ecranul de video nu apare complet, cand faci click pe vreun punct] pune mousul peste locul respectiv, fa click si tine clikul apasat si misca la locul dorit.

English instructions:

Click on icon in upper left corner, which opens up a list of links from Jesus walk on the Via Dolorosa with the cross.

Or, you can click on the different balloons to open up a video of that point of what are called the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa.

Refresh page if map gets out of control 🙂

To move the map around, and sometimes you need to do this in order for the videos that pop up to be in full view, click on some space on map, and hold down button and drag map around as desired.

Via Dolorosa

One Perfect Life (COMPLETE): (1) Jesus of Nazareth (2) Jesus the Messiah (Special Easter Program) Dramatic Reading for Palm Sunday from John MacArthur

This is an outstanding way to share the Passion Week, most especially if you have younger children – It starts out from Jesus’s Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem, and the story is told through the Gospel, as written in the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This narration, with audio effects in the background that take you into that time and place, is also interspersed by short commentary from John MacArthur.

From JohnMacArthurGTY:  Mar 22, 2013

Dramatic Readings of Scripture with Commentary by John MacArthur

How can you make your celebration of the Lord’s resurrection meaningful and memorable this year? While that’s a worthy goal, it’s not easily accomplished. The overt secularization of the holiday is a major distraction for many believers. The profound truth at the heart of the holiday ends up being obscured.

To help focus your family’s Easter celebration on the Person and work of Christ, we’re pleased to make this unique program available to you. Based on John MacArthur’s new book One Perfect Life, the program features dramatic Scripture readings accompanied by commentary from John.

Jesus the Messiah

Palm Sunday 3/3 – Jesus Declares His Kingship

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

You can listen to the audio here from Desiring God, John Piper.

Matthew 21:1-17

When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, „Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3 „If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 „SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'” 6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. 8 Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. 9 The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, „Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, „Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, „This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, „It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, „Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant 16 and said to Him, „Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, „Yes; have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?” 17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

What I would like to do this morning is help you hear Jesus’ own declaration of his kingship. I want you to see from Matthew 21:1-17 how Jesus says, „I am your king.” And I would like to do it in a way that makes sure you see the nature of his kingship now and the different nature of his kingship when he comes a second time. And I want you to see and feel the difference because the nature of Jesus’ kingship now is creating a season of salvation in world history during which you can still switch sides and be saved from his wrath and judgment. There is still time – even now this morning – when you can accept the amnesty that King Jesus holds out to you, and renounce your allegiance to self and success and money and family and physical pleasure and security – and whatever else rules you more than Jesus. And you can bow and receive Christ as your King and swear allegiance to him, and be on his side with everlasting joy.

The Kingship of Jesus Will Look Different Than It Does Now

To help you feel the wonder of this brief season of salvation in world history – and yes I say brief, though it has lasted 2000 years; compared to how long we will exist in heaven or hell, it is very brief – to feel the wonder of this brief season of salvation in world history consider that the day is coming, and perhaps soon, when the kingship of Jesus will very different than it is now. Here is a description of that kingship, as John saw it in the last book of the Bible:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, „KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

When the kingship of Jesus appears in the skies like that, it will be too late to switch sides. „Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation'” (2 Corinthians 6:2). I believe that is what Matthew is trying to say to us this morning in the way Jesus proclaims his kingship in Matthew 21:1-17. What he wants us to hear – what Jesus wants us to see – is that, yes, he is king, yes his kingship is not provincial or tribal or national, but international and global and universal. But it is for now meek, lowly, welcoming, seeking, forgiving, patient. He will, in a matter of days, shed his own blood to save all who will accept his free gift of amnesty and come over to his side. And until he comes again this is the wonder of his kingship. It saves sinners.

So let’s watch him make this declaration. I just want you to see him. I want you to hear him. Rivet your attention on Jesus this morning. He will win you. He will heal you. He will save you.

There are four ways that Jesus declares his kingship in this triumphal entry. All of them are Jewish. He was a Jew, and he was fulfilling Jewish promises of a coming king and Messiah. But all them are bigger than Jewish. Remember this gospel is going to end in chapter 28 with the words, „All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). Jesus knows that he is the king over all nations, not just Israel.

So let’s listen and watch as he declares himself King of the Jews and King of the nations.

1. Jesus Declares His Kingship by Riding on a Donkey (Zech. 9:9)

First, notice Matthew 21:1-5. Jesus sends two of his disciples to get a donkey. Verse 2: „Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.” Why? What is he doing? Why does he want a ride into Jerusalem on a donkey? Never before has he done such a thing. Matthew tells us why in verses 4-5, „This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion [that is, to Israel], „Behold your king is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”‘”

This is a quote from the prophet Zechariah (9:9). Jesus has chosen to act out the fulfillment of this prophecy and to declare his kingship in the action of riding on a donkey. This means, yes, I am king, for that’s what the prophet says it means: „Behold your king.” „But,” he is saying, „I am gentle and lowly. I am not, in my first coming, on a white war-horse with a sword and a rod of iron. I am not coming to slay you. I am coming to save you. This time. Today is the day of salvation.

But is he only coming for the „daughter of Zion,” Israel? Listen to the context in Zechariah 9:9-10 – and Jesus knew the context –

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion [his kingship] will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.

That’s declaration number one. Jesus very intentionally acts out the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 and declares his humble, gentile, saving, Jewish and global kingship. And invites you to receive it.

2. Jesus Declares His Kingship by Cleansing the Temple (Isa. 56:7)

Second, in verses 12-13 Jesus acts out another Old Testament text. It says he „entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.” Don’t think that this meek, gentle, lowly Savior-King was without passion for his Father’s glory!

Then to explain what he is doing he quotes Isaiah 56:7. Verse 13: „And He said to them, ‘It is written, „My house shall be called a house of prayer;” but you are making it a robbers’ den.'” There are two things that make this action and this Old Testament quote so significant. One is that the context in Isaiah is about the coming kingdom of God, and so Jesus is putting himself in the position of the coming king. And the other is that the context is global, not just Jewish. Listen to Isaiah 56:6-8.

Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord. . . 7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. . . . For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” 8 The Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, „Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

So when Jesus chooses a prophetic word to interpret his action in the temple, he chooses one that underlines his coming on a donkey as king and the fact that his kingship is „for all the peoples.” It’s for you this morning. He is jealous to open his Father’s house to you for prayer.

3. Jesus Declares His Kingship by Healing (Isa. 35:4-6)

Third, in verse 14 it says, „And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.” Imagine what an impact this must have had. We are talking about the most public place in the city – the temple. We are talking about blind people, and people who can’t walk – lame, paralyzed people. Not people with headaches and sore throats. This was a public demonstration of something. What?

We’ve already been told at least once. When John the Baptist was in jail he sent and asked Jesus, „Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” In other words, are you the coming king of Israel, the Messiah? And Jesus sent this word back to John in Matthew 11:4-5, „Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk.” In other words, „Yes. I am the coming king.”

Why? Why does the healing of the blind and the lame in the temple after coming into Jerusalem on a donkey mean: I am the coming king? Because in Isaiah 35 the prophet describes the coming kingship of the Messiah like this: ” Take courage, fear not. . . . The recompense of God will come, But He will save you. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened. And . . . Then the lame will leap like a deer” (35:4-6).

Jesus comes on a donkey, lowly and gentle and patient; he comes cleansing his Father’s house to make it a house of prayer for all the nations; he comes healing the blind and the lame – all to show what his kingship is now in part, and will be fully in the age to come. It is not just a kingship over other kings, but over disease and all nature. We will not just be safe and sick when he comes. We will be safe and whole – absolutely whole. Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation. Trust him. Receive his amnesty. Become his subject.

4. Jesus Declares His Kingship by His Response to Children (Psa. 8)

Finally, Jesus declares his kingship by the way he responds to what the people and the children are doing and saying. In verse 8 the crowds are spreading their cloaks on the road in front of him. This is what they did when kings were crowned in the Old Testament (2 Kings 9:13). In verse 9 the crowds were shouting, „Hosanna [salvation!] to the Son of David [the hoped for king like David]; ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (These are words from Psalm 118:25-26.)

Then in verse 15 the children were shouting the same things: „Hosanna to the Son of David.” In other words, „The king is here, the king is here!” But the chief priests became angry. So they said in verse 16, „Do You hear what these children are saying?” Now I think they could just as easily have said, „Did you hear what those crowds said? Did you see what they were doing when they put their cloaks on the ground?” They can’t believe Jesus is letting all this stand unchallenged.

Jesus answers their question with one simple word. And then an absolutely astonishing quote from Psalm 8. They say, „Do you hear what these children are saying?” And he answers in verse 16b, „Yes.” „Yes, I do. I not only hear it. I planned it. And I receive it. I would gladly receive it from you. And he would gladly receive it from us!”

Then, he ends this section by quoting Psalm 8, „Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” What is so astonishing about this is that it refers to God. „O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! 2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength [or: praise] Because of Your adversaries.” Don’t miss this. Jesus receives the praises of little children and then explains it by quoting a psalm where children are praising God.

The King Has Come and Is Coming

So here is the concluding declaration and invitation: Jesus came the first time, and he is coming again, as the king over all kings. King of Israel, king of all the nations, king of nature and the universe. Until he comes again, there is a day of amnesty and forgiveness and patience. He still rides a donkey and not yet a white war-horse with a rod of iron. He is ready to save all who receive him as Savior and Treasure and King. Come to him. Know him. Receive him. Live your life in allegiance to him.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Poarta inspre rasarit prin care Isus a intrat in Ierusalim – The Eastern or Golden Gate through which Jesus walked on Palm Sunday

Photo credit panoramio

Poarta inspre rasarit sau poarta aurita este cea mai veche poarta dintre portile Ierusalimului si se afla dealungul peretelui din est al Muntelui Templului. In Duminica Floriilor, Isus a intrat in Ierusalim pe poarta inspre rasarit. Unii crestini cred ca Poarta inspre rasarit, care ramane sigilata de 12 secole, v-a fi deschisa la intoarcerea lui Hristos.

Ezechiel 44:1-2
M-a dus înapoi la poarta exterioară a Lăcaşului, care dădea înspre răsărit, dar era închisă. 2 Domnul mi-a zis: „Poarta aceasta va rămâne închisă şi nu va mai fi deschisă! Nimeni nu va intra pe ea, căci Domnul, Dumnezeul lui Israel, a intrat pe ea; de aceea va rămâne închisă.

Ezechiel 44:1–3
M-a dus înapoi la poarta exterioară a Lăcaşului, care dădea înspre răsărit, dar era închisă. Domnul mi-a zis: „Poarta aceasta va rămâne închisă şi nu va mai fi deschisă! Nimeni nu va intra pe ea, căci Domnul, Dumnezeul lui Israel, a intrat pe ea; de aceea va rămâne închisă. Numai prinţul va avea voie să stea înăuntrul porţii pentru a mânca pâine înaintea Domnului. El va trebui să intre însă prin porticul porţii şi să iasă tot pe acolo.“


The Eastern Gate (or Golden Gate) is the oldest of the city gates and is located along the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into the city through the Eastern Gate. Christians contend the Eastern Gate, which has been sealed for nearly 12 centuries, will reopen upon the return of Christ.

Ezekiel 44:1-2
Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The LORD said to me, „This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it.” (NIV)

The Golden Gate, as it is called in Christian literature, is the oldest of the current gates in Jerusalem’s Old City Walls. According to Jewish tradition, the Shekhinah (שכינה) (Divine Presence) used to appear through this gate, and will appear again when the Messiah comes (Ezekiel 44:1–3) and a new gate replaces the present one; that is why Jews used to pray for mercy at the former gate at this location. Hence the name Sha’ar HaRachamim (שער הרחמים), the Gate of Mercy. It is also said that Jesus passed through this gate on Palm Sunday. In ancient times, the gate was known as the Beautiful Gate.

Remains of a much older gate dating to the times of the Second Jewish Temple were found. The present one was probably built in the 520s AD, as part of Justinian I’s building program in Jerusalem, on top of the ruins of the earlier gate in the wall. An alternate theory holds that it was built in the later part of the 7th century by Byzantine artisans employed by the Umayyad khalifs.

The gate is located in the middle of the eastern side of the Temple Mount. The portal in this position was believed to have been used for ritual purposes in biblical times.  (wikipedia)

Vezi si

Photo credit wikipedia

Palm Sunday 2/3 – He (Jesus) set His face to go to Jerusalem!

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

from Desiring God. You can listen to the audio for this John Piper sermon here.

Luke 9:51-56

Luke describes the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem at the beginning of that last week of his earthly life:

As he was drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, „Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Luke 19:37, 38)

Palm Sunday: Today and To Come

There is no doubt what was in the disciples’ minds. This was the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy given centuries earlier:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9, 10)

The long-awaited Messiah had come, the king of Israel, and not just of Israel but of all the earth. Jerusalem would be his capital city. From here he would rule the world in peace and righteousness. What a day this was! How their hearts must have pounded in their chests! And must not their hands have been sweaty like warriors in readiness just before the bugle sounds the battle! How would he do it? Would he whip up the enthusiastic crowds and storm the Roman praetorium—a people’s revolution? Or would he call down fire from heaven to consume the enemies of God? Would any of his followers be lost in the struggle? The tension of the moment must have been tremendous!

The Pharisees had a double reason for wanting this kind of welcome silenced. On the one hand, this Jesus was a threat to their authority, and they envied his popularity (Mark 15:10). On the other hand, they feared a Roman backlash to all this seditious talk of another king (John 11:48). Therefore they say to Jesus, „‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ But he answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out!”‘ (Luke 19:39, 40). No, he will not rebuke them for this. Not now. The hour has come. The authority of the Pharisees is done for. If the Romans come, they come. He will not silence the truth any longer. To be sure the disciples’ understanding of Jesus’ kingship at this point is flawed. But hastening events will correct that soon enough. In essence they are correct. Jesus is the king of Israel, and the kingdom he is inaugurating will bring peace to all the nations and spread from sea to sea. The book of Revelation pictures the final fulfillment of Palm Sunday in the age to come like this:

I looked and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, „Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9, 10)

The entry into Jerusalem with waving palms (John 12:13) was a short-lived preview of the eternal Palm Sunday to come. It needed to be said. If the disciples hadn’t said it, the rocks would have.

I like to think of all our worship in this age as rehearsal for the age to come. One day we, who by God’s grace have been faithful to the Lord, are going to stand with innumerable millions of believers from Bangladesh, Poland, Egypt, Australia, Iceland, Cameroon, Ecuador, Burma, Borneo, Japan, and thousands of tribes and peoples and languages purified by Christ, with palms of praise in our hand. And when we raise them in salute to Christ, he will see an almost endless field of green, shimmering with life and pulsating with praise. And then like the sound of a thousand Russian choruses, we will sing our song of salvation, while the mighty Christ, with heartfelt love, looks out over those whom he bought with his own blood.

Had Jesus taken his throne on that first day of palms, none of us would ever be robed in white or waving palms of praise in the age to come. There had to be the cross, and that is what the disciples had not yet understood. Back in Luke 9, as Jesus prepared to set out for Jerusalem from Galilee, he tried to explain this to his disciples. In verse 22 he said, „The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And in verse 44 he told them, „Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” But verse 45 tells us, „They did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” Therefore, their understanding of Jesus’ last journey to Jerusalem was flawed. They saw him as a king moving in to take control. And he was. But they could not grasp that the victory Jesus would win in Jerusalem over sin and Satan and death and all the enemies of righteousness and joy—that this victory would be won through his own horrible suffering and death; and that the kingdom which they thought would be established immediately (Luke 19:11) would, in fact, be thousands of years in coming. And their misunderstanding of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem results in a misunderstanding of the meaning of discipleship. This is why this is important for us to see, lest we make the same mistake.

Jesus’ Resolution to Die

In Luke 9:51–56 we learn how not to understand Palm Sunday. Let’s look at it together. „When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” To set his face towards Jerusalem meant something very different for Jesus than it did for the disciples. You can see the visions of greatness that danced in their heads in verse 46: „An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.” Jerusalem and glory were just around the corner. O what it would mean when Jesus took the throne! But Jesus had another vision in his head. One wonders how he carried it all alone and so long. Here’s what Jerusalem meant for Jesus: „I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem”(Luke 13:33). Jerusalem meant one thing for Jesus: certain death. Nor was he under any illusions of a quick and heroic death. He predicted in Luke 18:31f., „Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him.” When Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem, he set his face to die.

Remember, when you think of Jesus’ resolution to die, that he had a nature like ours. He shrunk back from pain like we do. He would have enjoyed marriage and children and grandchildren and a long life and esteem in the community. He had a mother and brothers and sisters. He had special places in the mountains. To turn his back on all this and set his face towards vicious whipping and beating and spitting and mocking and crucifixion was not easy. It was hard. O how we need to use our imagination to put ourselves back into his place and feel what he felt. I don’t know of any other way for us to begin to know how much he loved us. „Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

If we were to look at Jesus’ death merely as a result of a betrayer’s deceit and the Sanhedrin’s envy and Pilate’s spinelessness and the soldiers’ nails and spear, it might seem very involuntary. And the benefit of salvation that comes to us who believe from this death might be viewed as God’s way of making a virtue out of a necessity. But once you read Luke 9:51 all such thoughts vanish. Jesus was not accidentally entangled in a web of injustice. The saving benefits of his death for sinners were not an afterthought. God planned it all out of infinite love to sinners like us and appointed a time. Jesus, who was the very embodiment of his Father’s love for sinners, saw that the time had come and set his face to fulfill his mission: to die in Jerusalem for our sake. „No one takes my life from me (he said), but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18).

Jesus’ Journey Is Our Journey

So Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, and it says in the text that „he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem.” It doesn’t really matter whether this rejection is just because Jesus and his companions are Jews and Samaritans hate Jews, or whether the rejection is a more personal rejection of Jesus as the Messiah on his way to reign in Jerusalem. What matters for the story is simply that Jesus is already being rejected, and then the focus shifts to the disciples’ response, specifically the response of James and John.

James and John ask Jesus, „Lord, do you want us to bid fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (verse 54). Jesus had already named these brothers „sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). Here we get a glimpse of why. I take this passage very personally because my father named me after one of these sons of thunder. And I think I probably would have said what John did here: „Jesus, we are on the way to victory. Nothing can stop us now. Let the fire fall! Let the judgment begin! O, how Jerusalem will tremble when they see us coming!” Jesus turns, the text says, and rebuked them (verse 55). And they simply went to another town.

Now what does this mean? It means, first of all, that a mistaken view of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem can lead to a mistaken view of discipleship. If Jesus had come to execute judgment and take up an earthly rule, then it would make sense for the sons of thunder to begin the judgment when the final siege of the Holy City starts. But if Jesus had come not to judge but to save, then a radically different form of discipleship is in order. Here is a question put to every believer by this text: does discipleship mean deploying God’s missiles against the enemy in righteous indignation? Or does discipleship mean following him on the Calvary road which leads to suffering and death? The answer of the whole New Testament is this: the surprise about Jesus the Messiah is that he came to live a life of sacrificial, dying service before he comes a second time to reign in glory. And the surprise about discipleship is that it demands a life of sacrificial, dying service before we can reign with Christ in glory.

What James and John had to learn—what we all must learn—is that Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is our journey, and if he set his face to go there and die, we must set our face to die with him. One might be tempted to reason in just the opposite way: that since Jesus suffered so much and died in our place, therefore, we are free to go straight to the head of the class, as it were, and skip all the exams. He suffered so we could have comfort. He died so we could live. He bore abuse so we could be esteemed. He gave up the treasures of heaven so we could lay up treasures on earth. He brought the kingdom and paid for our entrance and now we live in it with all its earthly privileges. But all this is not biblical reasoning. It goes against the plain teaching in this very context. Luke 9:23, 24 reads: „If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” When Jesus set his face to walk the Calvary road, he was not merely taking our place; he was setting our pattern. He is substitute and pacesetter. If we seek to secure our life through returning evil for evil or surrounding ourselves with luxury in the face of human need, we will lose our life. We can save our life only if we follow Christ on the Calvary road. Jesus died to save us from the power and punishment of sin, not from the suffering and sacrifices of simplicity for love’s sake.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Tears of Sovereign Mercy – Palm Sunday 1/3

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

You can listen to the audio here from Desiring God, John Piper.

Luke 19:28-44

And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, „Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, „Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, „The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near – already on the way down the Mount of Olives – the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, „Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, „Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, „I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” 41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, „Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Before we get back to Romans 9 the Sunday after Easter, I wanted to preach a message that is partly an overflow of one of the books I worked on during the writing leave. (It will probably be called Don’t Waste Your Life.) Actually, this message is the overflow of more than the book.

  • It’s the overflow of conversations with John Erickson about his vision for ministry in the city.
  • It’s the overflow of conversations with my son Benjamin about what it means to be a merciful person on the street.
  • It’s the overflow of reading Timothy Keller’s book, Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road.
  • It’s the overflow of the seminar I did on Prayer, Meditation, and Fasting a few weeks ago, as I pondered what it really means to enjoy fellowship with Jesus and anticipate meeting him face to face very shortly and giving an account of the way I have thought, for example, about giving to people who ask for money. I remember, specifically, in one of those hours asking the class: Suppose you die and you’re standing before Jesus Christ, who surrendered his body to spitting and shame and torture and death so that undeserving sinners (like you and me) might be drawn into eternal joy, and he inquires how you handled the people who asked you for money – you know, panhandlers, beggars, street people, drunks, drifters. What would you say?I suggested to them, and I suggest to you now, you’re not going to feel very good about saying, „I never got taken advantage of. I saw through their schemes. I developed really shrewd counter-questions that would expose them. So I hardly ever had to give anything.” Do you know what I think the Lord Jesus is going to say to that – the Lord Jesus, the consummately, willingly, savingly abused and exploited Jesus? I think he is going to say, „That was an exquisite imitation of the world. Even sinners give to those who deserve to be given to. Even sinners pride themselves on not being taken advantage of.” Well this message is a spillover of some of those thoughts.
  • And it’s a spillover of a conversation that Noël and I had at Annie’s Parlor a little over a week ago as we assessed our lives how we wanted the next ten years to look – if God gives us ten – in regard to practical deeds mercy. What do we want Talitha to see in the city? What kind of Jesus do we want her to see living through us in Philips neighborhood on 11th Avenue? Do we want her to remember someday when we are gone: my folks were shrewd? Or do we want her to remember: My folks were merciful?

Palm Sunday: An Event of Insight and Misunderstanding

Well, that’s what led me to choose this text for Palm Sunday. It’s a Palm Sunday text. Palm Sunday is the day in the church year when traditionally we mark the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem for the last week of his life. It’s an event of great insight and great misunderstanding. The great insight was that this Jesus really is „the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38). He was the Messiah, the Son of David, the long-awaited Ruler of Israel, the fulfillment of all God’s promises. But the great misunderstanding was that he would enter Jerusalem and by his mighty works, take his throne and make Israel free from Rome.

It wasn’t going to be that way: he would take his throne but it would be through voluntary suffering and death and resurrection. The first sermon Peter preached after the resurrection comes to an end with the words, „This Jesus God raised up” so that he was „exalted at the right hand of God” (Acts 2:32-33). And the apostle Paul says that he is now King: „He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25; see Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1).

So Palm Sunday was a day of insight and a day of misunderstanding. The insight gave joy, and the misunderstanding brought about destruction – the murder of Jesus a few days later, and the destruction of Jerusalem 40 years later. And Jesus saw it all coming.

And what I want to focus on this morning is Jesus’ response to this blindness and hostility that he was about to meet in Jerusalem. Indeed, he met it already in this very text. The crowds were crying out in verse 38, „Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” But in the very next verse it says, „Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples’” (Luke 19:39).

So Jesus knew what was about to happen. The Pharisees were going to get the upper hand. The people would be fickle and follow their leaders. And Jesus would be rejected and crucified. And within a generation the city would be obliterated. Look how Jesus says it in verses 43-44:

For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

God had visited them in his Son, Jesus Christ – „he came to his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). They did not know the time of their visitation. So they stumbled over the stumbling stone. The builders rejected the stone and threw it away. Jesus saw this sin and this rebellion and this blindness coming. How did he respond? Verse 41-42: „And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’” Jesus wept over the blindness and the impending misery of Jerusalem.

How would you describe these tears? You can see from the title of this message that I call them, „Palm Sunday Tears of Sovereign Mercy.” The effect that I pray this will have on us is, first, to make us admire Christ, and treasure him above all others and worship him as our merciful Sovereign; and, second, that seeing the beauty of his mercy, we become merciful with him and like him and because of him and for his glory.

Admiring Christ’s Merciful Sovereignty and Sovereign Mercy

First, then let’s admire Christ together. What makes Christ so admirable, and so different than all other persons – what sets him apart as unique and inimitable – matchless, peerless – is that he unites in himself so many qualities that in other people are contrary to each other. That’s why I put together the words „sovereign” and „merciful.” We can imagine supreme sovereignty, and we can imagine tenderhearted mercy. But who do we look to combine in perfect proportion merciful sovereignty and sovereign mercy? We look to Jesus. No other religious or political contender even comes close.

Look at three pointers in this text to his sovereignty. First, verse 37: „As he was drawing near – already on the way down the Mount of Olives – the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.” Jesus had made a name for himself as the worker of miracles, and they remembered them. He had healed leprosy with a touch; he had made the blind see and the deaf hear and the lame walk; he had commanded the unclean spirits and they obeyed him; he had stilled storms and walked on water and turned five loaves and two fish into a meal for thousands. So as he entered Jerusalem, they knew nothing could stop him. He could just speak and Pilate would perish; the Romans would be scattered. He was sovereign.

Then look, secondly, at verse 38. The crowds cried out: „Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Jesus was a King, and not just any king, but the one sent and appointed by the Lord God. They knew how Isaiah had described him:

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7)

A universal, never-ending kingdom backed by the zeal of almighty God. Here was the King of the universe, who today rules over the nations and the galaxies, and for whom America and Iraq are a grain of sand and a vapor.

Third, verse 40. When the Pharisees tell him to make the people stop blessing him as a king, he answers, „I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40). Why? Because he will be praised! The whole design of the universe is that Christ be praised. And therefore, if people won’t do it, he will see to it that rocks do it. In other words, he is sovereign. He will get what he means to get. If we refuse to praise, the rocks will get the joy.

It is remarkable, therefore, that the tears of Jesus in verse 41 are so often used to deny his sovereignty. Someone will say, „Look, he weeps over Jerusalem because his design for them, his will for them, is not coming to pass. He would delight in their salvation. But they are resistant. They are going to reject him. They are going to hand him over to be crucified.” And so his purpose for them has failed. But there is something not quite right about this objection to Jesus’ sovereignty.

He can make praise come from rocks. And so he could do the same from rock-hard hearts in Jerusalem. What’s more, all this rejection and persecution and killing of Jesus is not the failure of Jesus’ plan, but the fulfillment of it. Listen to what he said in Luke 18:31-33 a short time before:

And taking the twelve, he said to them, „See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written [planned!] about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

The betrayal, the mockery, the shame, the spit, the flogging, the murder – and so much more – was planned. In other words, the resistance, the rejection, the unbelief and hostility were not a surprise to Jesus. They were, in fact, part of the plan. He says so. This is probably why it says at the end of verse 42, „But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Remember what Jesus said about his parables back in Luke 8:10: „To you [disciples] it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’” God was handing them over to hardness. It was judgment.

We have seen all this in Romans 9. The mercy of God is a sovereign mercy. „I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15). But here is the point I want you to see today: This sovereign Christ weeps over heard-hearted, perishing Jerusalem as they fulfilled his plan. It is unbiblical and wrong to make the tears of mercy a contradiction to the serenity of sovereignty. Jesus was serene in sorrow, and sorrowful in sovereignty. Jesus’ tears are the tears of sovereign mercy.

And therefore his sovereign power is the more admirable and the more beautiful. It’s the harmony of things that seem in tension that makes him glorious: „Merciful and Mighty,” as we sing. We admire power more when it is merciful power. And we admire mercy more when it is mighty mercy. And, as I said, my prayer is that as you see his mercy and admire his mercy, you will become like him in his mercy.

There are at least three ways that Jesus is merciful, which we can draw out of this context. And I pray that I will become like him in all of these. I pray that you will too.

Jesus’ Mercy Is Tenderly Moved

First, Jesus’ mercy is tenderly moved. He feels the sorrow of the situation. This doesn’t mean his sovereign plan has wrecked on the rocks of human autonomy. It means that Jesus is more emotionally complex than we think he is. He really feels the sorrow of a situation. No doubt there is a deep inner peace that God is in control and that God’s wise purposes will come to pass. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cry.

In fact, on the contrary, I appeal to you here: pray that God would give you tears. There is so much pain in the world. So much suffering far from you and near you. Pray that God would help you be tenderly moved. When you die and stand before the Judge, Jesus Christ, and he asks you, „How did you feel about the suffering around you?” what will you say? I promise you, you will not feel good about saying, „I saw through to how a lot of people brought their suffering upon themselves by sin or foolishness.” You know what I think the Lord will say to that? I think he will say, „I didn’t ask you what you saw through. I asked you what you felt?” Jesus felt enough compassion for Jerusalem to weep. If you haven’t shed any tears for somebody’s losses but your own, it probably means you’re pretty wrapped up in yourself. So let’s repent of our hardness and ask God to give us a heart that is tenderly moved.

Jesus’ Mercy Was Self-Denying

Second, Jesus’ mercy was self-denying – not ultimately; there was great reward in the long run, but very painfully in the short run. This text is part of the story of Jesus’ moving intentionally toward suffering and death. Jesus is entering Jerusalem to die. He said so, „We are going up to Jerusalem . . . and the Son of Man will be delivered up . . . and they will kill him” (Luke 18:31-33). This is the meaning of self-denial. This is the way we follow Jesus. We see a need – for Jesus is was seeing the sin of the world, and broken bodies, and the misery of hell – and we move with Jesus, whatever it costs, toward need. We deny ourselves the comforts and the securities and the ease of avoiding other peoples’ pain. We embrace it. Jesus’ tears were not just the tender moving of his emotions. They were the tears of a man on his way toward need.

Jesus’ Mercy Intends to Help

That leads us to the third and last way Jesus is merciful. First, he is tenderly moved, second he is self-denying and moves toward need. Now third, he intends to help. Mercy if helpful. It doesn’t just feel – though it does feel – and it doesn’t just deny itself – though it does deny itself – it actually does things that help people. Jesus was dying in our place that we might be forgiven and have eternal life with him. That’s how he helped.

What will it be for you? How are you doing in ministries of mercy? How are you and your roommate, or your housemates, doing together? How is your family doing? (That’s what Noël and I asked at Annie’s Parlor.) What is tenderly moving you these days? Is there movement toward pain or suffering or misery or loss or sadness, that means denying yourself – in the short run – and multiplying your joy in the long run? And what help are you actually giving to those in need?

Two prayers: Oh, that we would see and savor the beauty of Christ – the Palm Sunday Tears of sovereign joy. And oh, that as we admire and worship him, we would be changed by what we see and become a more tenderly-moved, self-denying, need-meeting people.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Nelu Brie – Cine este Isus ? Cine este Acesta ? 22 Februarie 2015


Photo credit

TEXT Marcu 5:1-20

1 Au ajuns pe celălalt ţărm al mării, în ţinutul gadarenilor.
2 Când a ieşit Isus din corabie, L-a întâmpinat îndată un om care ieşea din morminte, stăpânit de un duh necurat.
3 Omul acesta îşi avea locuinţa în morminte, şi nimeni nu mai putea să-l ţină legat, nici chiar cu un lanţ.
4 Căci de multe ori fusese legat cu picioarele în obezi şi cu cătuşe la mâini, dar rupsese cătuşele şi sfărâmase obezile, şi nimeni nu-l putea domoli.
5 Totdeauna, zi şi noapte, stătea în morminte şi pe munţi, ţipând şi tăindu-se cu pietre.
6 Când a văzut pe Isus de departe, a alergat, I s-a închinat
7 şi a strigat cu glas tare: „Ce am eu a face cu Tine, Isuse, Fiul Dumnezeului celui Preaînalt? Te jur în Numele lui Dumnezeu, să nu mă chinuieşti!”
8 Căci Isus îi zicea: „Duh necurat, ieşi afară din omul acesta!”
9 „Care-ţi este numele?”, l-a întrebat Isus. „Numele meu este „legiune”, a răspuns el, „pentru că suntem mulţi.”
10 Şi Îl ruga stăruitor să nu-i trimită afară din ţinutul acela.
11 Acolo, lângă munte, era o turmă mare de porci care păşteau.
12 Şi dracii L-au rugat şi au zis: „Trimite-ne în porcii aceia, ca să intrăm în ei.”
13 Isus le-a dat voie. Şi duhurile necurate au ieşit şi au intrat în porci; şi turma s-a repezit de pe râpă în mare: erau aproape două mii, şi s-au înecat în mare.
14 Porcarii au fugit şi au dat de ştire în cetate şi prin satele vecine. Oamenii au ieşit să vadă ce s-a întâmplat.
15 Au venit la Isus, şi iată pe cel ce fusese îndrăcit şi avusese legiunea de draci, şezând jos îmbrăcat şi întreg la minte; şi s-au înspăimântat.
16 Cei ce văzuseră cele întâmplate le-au povestit tot ce se petrecuse cu cel îndrăcit şi cu porcii.
17 Atunci au început să roage pe Isus să plece din ţinutul lor.
18 Pe când Se suia El în corabie, omul care fusese îndrăcit Îl ruga să-l lase să rămână cu El.
19 Isus nu i-a dat voie, ci i-a zis: „Du-te acasă la ai tăi şi povesteşte-le tot ce ţi-a făcut Domnul şi cum a avut milă de tine.”
20 El a plecat şi a început să vestească prin Decapole tot ce-i făcuse Isus. Şi toţi se minunau.

Nelu Brie aE posibil, ca si ucenicii, sa cunoastem la aceasta multe raspunsuri. Ucenicii au putut raspunde la intrebarea „Cine este Isus” cu multe afirmatii, dar experienta noua, revelatia noua, minunea lui Dumnezeu descoperita in acea zi,  i-a adus in circumstanta nestiuta si nebanuita de ei, de a privi cu uimire si inspaimantare  inspre Isus si de a nu mai putea altceva sa spuna, decat: „Cine este acesta, de Il asculta si vantul si marea?” Sfanta Scriptura declara ca Domnul Isus este Fiul lui Dumnezeu. Asa este scris. Si demonii, legiunea de demoni L-au recunoscut.

Este uluitor si in acelasi timp tulburator sa observam ca  persoana demonizata, manata cu putere de acea legiune de demoni care stapanea, care locuia in el, l-a adus pe acest barbat in fata lui Isus si Cuvantul ne spune ca a alergat si I s-a inchinat. Iata ce au facut demonii, dar n-au facut-o cu gand bun. Ei au vrut sa evite exorcizarea. N-au putut, pentru ca Isus este Fiul lui Dumnezeu si El nu cere parerea demonilor. El, Domnul Isus este Dumnezeul adevarat. Scriptura declara ca El e Dumnezeul adevarat si viata vesnica. Toma i s-a inchinat cu cuvintele ‘Domnul meusi Dumnezeul meu’. Isus este declarat ca fiind Domn. Ap. Pavel aduce cuvintele prin care arata ca Dumnezeu i-a dat un nume care este mai pe sus de orice nume, pentru ca in numele lui Isus sa se plece orice genunchi al celor din ceruri, de pe pamant si de sub pamant si orice limba sa marturiseasca spre slava lui Dumnezeu, ca Isus Hristos este Domnul.

De asemenea, Scriptura declara ca Isus Hristos este Mantuitorul. Ioan, in ep. 1 Ioan, face declaratia: „Dumnezeu a trimis in lume pe Fiul Sau ca sa fie Mantuitorul lumii.” Privita in general, intrebarea ‘cine este Isus’, raspunsurile sunt acestea, patru la numar:

  1. Fiul lui Dumnezeu
  2. Dumnezeu adevarat
  3. Domn
  4. Mantuitor

Asa Il marturisim, asa Il recunoastem si Il urmam. Dumnezeu sa ne ajute si sa ne binecuvanteze.

Privita insa intrebarea aceasta in detaliu, adus raspunsul in domeniul experientei noastre personale si a vietii de zi cu zi, raspunsul la intrebarea ‘cine este Isus’ se nuanteaza, se adanceste. Devine personal, iti incalzeste inima. Te umple de bucurie. Te incarca de speranta, de curaj. Spulbera frica, indoielile, temerile. Si mergi inainte hotarat, stiind cu cine te-ai intovarasit si pe cine urmezi. Cine este Isus? Sau ca sa pun altfel intrebarea:

Cine este Isus pentru tine?

Cine este Isus, obiectiv vorbind, am aflat: Fiul lui Dumnezeu, Dumnezeul adevarat, Domnul si Mantuitorul. Dar, cine este Domnul Isus pentru tine? Ti-a facut ceva? El e viu, e activ, e prezent. E prezent in chip real printre noi,  in viata noastra de zi cu zi, la biserica sau in viata de acasa sau de la scoala. Ocupa toate spatiile, prezent pretutindeni, Atotputernic, numele Lui sa fie binecuvantat. Dar, cine este Isus pentru tine? In ce ma priveste si cred ca in ceea ce ne priveste pe cei mai multi, daca nu pe toti, Domnul Isus inseamna mult mai mult decat aceste adevaruri obiective si pe care le-am declarat ca introducere.

Isus este Domn peste trecutul nostru pacatos

Am putea spune, intai de toate ca Isus este Domn peste trecutul nostru pacatos. El este Domn peste trecutul nostru. Nu stiu un gand, cand ma gandesc la trecut, mai linistitor decat gandul ca Isus Hristos acopera in domnia Sa, in puterea Sa, trecutul nostru. Toti oamenii au pacatuit si sunt lipsiti de slava lui Dumnezeu. Dvs. ati pacatuit? Ce ne facem cu faptele care le-am facut in neascultare de Dumnezeu? Ce facem cu acea comoara de manie pe care ne-am adunat-o, comitand faradelege fata de Dumnezeu? Ne asteapta ziua judecatii. Ne vom infatisa inaintea Creatorului si Dumnezeu ne va cere socoteala, pana si pentru orice cuvant nefolositor pe care-l vom fii rostit vreodata. Ce facem cu acest trecut?

Luter era apasat de trecutul sau. Il mustra constiinta, simtea povara pacatelor. Tanjea dupa pace si dupa libertate. Si a gasit-o crezand in Isus, in jertfa Sa, in iertarea, in curatirea care vine din sangele Domnului Isus Hristos. Si dupa ce si-a linistit inima, duhul, bucranduse, odihninduse in acest dar a lui Dumnezeu, ispititorul, diavolul, a venit si l-a tulburat in constiinta, sugerandu-i cu indoiala ca nu-i asa. Luter a luat un petec de hartie si cu pana, era intr-o chilie, intr-un castel, in Germania,  si a scris pacatele pe foaia aceea asa cum ii veneau in minte. Din nou, le-a vazut in fata. Nu le putea controla. Le-a facut candva, acuma, erau in fata. Era trecutul sau pacatos, pe care a fost in stare sa-l infiinteze, dar nu mai in stare sa-l desfiinteze. Acuzatorul a zis: „Te duci in iad din cauza asta.” Luter a luat pana si in diagonala a tras peste foaie si a scris: Sangele lui Isus Hristos ma curateste de orice pacat. Luter marturiseste mai tarziu ca ispititorul a sugerat indoiala: „Nu-i asa!” Si atunci, suparat, omul lui Dumnezeu a luat calimara si a a dat cu calimara dupa gandul ala. Acolo ar fi o pata de cerneala care ar avea aceasta poveste, pe zid.

Isus este Domn peste trecutul nostru. El a murit pe cruce pentru pacatele noastre. Daca cineva ne intreaba ‘cine este Isus’, vom raspunde: Isus este acela care m-a iertat. Este acela care m-a curatit. E acela care m-a eliberat de puterea pacatului. Mi-a iertat vina, m-a izbavit de mania viitoare. E acela care m-a mantuit. E Domnul meu. Slavit sa fie numele Lui in veci!

Isus este Domn peste sufletele noastre

Cine este Domnul Isus? Cine este Domnul Isus pentru tine? Vom continua spunand ca: Isus este Domn peste sufletele noastre. El nu este Domn doar peste trecutul nostru. Acopera prin puterea si prin domnia Sa, prin autoritatea Sa trecutul nostru. Il asigura. Tine acoperite in temnita sau cum am zice, intr-o (nici nu stiu cum sa-mi inchipui mai bine), in uitare, pacatele noastre si sta acolo mijlocind pentru noi. El gireaza, e chezasul, cum scrie in epistola catre Evrei, a mantuirii noastre. El este Domn si peste fiintele noastre. Asta se leaga de prezent.

Am citit aici despre o persoana care era stapanita de duhuri rele, o fiinta nenorocita. Ce un om! Si cum o fi fost omul acesta, despre cae citim aici ca a fost legat cu lanturi, ca sa poata fi domolit si nu se putea. Facea ce facea si capata duhul, demonii aia din el, o forta asa de mare, fizica, incat rupea catusele. Sfarama obezile si nimeni nu-l putea domoli, spune acest text. Omul asta avea familie. Isus i-a zis, dupa ce l-a vindecat: „Du-te acasa la ai tai.” Cum a ajuns el in starea asta, nu stim. Nu-i scris. Demonii, duhurile au puterea de a patrunde corpurile. Cum am vorbit noi odata, asta-i natura lor. Natura a spiritului, a duhului. Patrunde materia, cum lumina patrunde aerul. Asa, duhurile patrund corpurile. Ce s-a intamplat, ca s-au adunat aici, ca-s o legiune. 6.000 daca sa ne gandim la legiunea romana, mai ales ca Evanghelia dupa Marcu foloseste terminologia aceasta. Sa vina un drac sa fie intr-un om, ce-ai face? Dar 6.000 sa fie intr-un om? O legiune. Omul acela, in celulele lui, in oasele lui, in venele lui, in neuronii lui, in tot ce era corpul lui, numai demoni, draci. Un om nenorocit. Isus se inatlneste cu asemenea om si-l face liber. Il dezleaga, goneste demonii. Ei pleaca, omul ramane si ce frumos cuvant. Este extraordinar, zice asa: „Au venit la Isus si iata pe cel ce fusese indracit si avusese legiunea de draci, sezand jos, imbracat si intreg la minte.”

Asta face Isus in viata aceluia in care se aseaza. Vindeca, elibereaza, reda demnitatea pierduta. Umple cu bucurie, da minte sanatoasa, judecata sanatoasa, comportament normal. Isus este Domn peste suflet.  Dar, da-mi voie sa intreb: Este Isus Domn in tine? Biblia ne invata ca Isus, inviat fiind, e prezent pretutindeni. Si El, Dumnezeu fiind, are puterea de-a intra in corpuri. Noi oamenii, nu putem, ne invecinam. Salutam, atat. Dar Isus intra. Duhul Sfant intra. Candva, la barbatul asta nenorocit, dracii erau in El. Acum se schimba treaba. Isus se face Domn peste fiinta lui. Si de aici, o schimbare  si un dor si o dorinta arzatoare la acest om. „Vreau si eu sa merg cu Tine,” adica dorea sa intre in scoala lui Isus. Sa fie ucenic a lui Isus impreuna cu cei care-L urmau zi de zi. Isus ia incredintat  o misiune. Isus nu-i refuza sa fie credincios. Nu asa sa inteleaga cineva. Isus, cand nu i-a dat voie sa vina dupa El, ii refuza tovarasia in anturajul Lui in scopul unei misiuni: „Du-te acasa la ai tai si povestestele tot ce ti-a facut Domnul si cum a avut mila de tine.” A ramas misionar, dar cu Isus.

Domnul Isus este Domn peste suflete. Acuma, da-mi voie sa intreb: este Isus Domn peste sufletul tau? Ascultati-ma bine, Isus nu se face Domn, nici intr-un suflet, daca sufletul acela  nu-L accepta in mod constient, nu se face Domn cu de-a sila, ca demonul despre care am citit. Gaseste o fisura, amageste, creeaza circumstanta, preseaza, vine si se face acolo sef si distruge viata aceea. Si mai cheama cu el si pe altii, ca soarta omului sa devina si mai nenorocita. L-au adus in aceasta situatie, ca omul dormea prin pesteri, prin morminte, se taia cu pietre, tipa. Se tara in pustie. Asa zice aici, tainduse cu pietre. Era in pustiu. Un om nenorocit. Isus, cand vine la cineva in inima, vine daca este invitat. Si atunci, daca punem intrebarea ‘locuieste Isus in inima ta’? Va trebuie sa gasesti, oare, ai avut un moment in care L-ai chemat? Ai avut un moment in care ai zis: „Doamne Isuse, primeste-ma si pe mine si vino in viata mea si locuieste in mine. Scapa-ma de rele, vindeca-ma de pacate, elibereaza-ma de rautatile lumii care cateodata se cuibaresc invizibil. Biblia ne arata ca sunt oameni normali, in viata de zi cu zi, dar in care locuiesc draci. Si numai in momente, in momente ciudate, in momente  de circumstanta se exprima. Altfel, par oameni normali. Dar Hitler, ce ziceti, a fost? Cine putea sa faca ce-a facut ala, daca nu era un duh demonic peste el? Si altfel, era un om foarte inteligent. Ce vreau sa subliniez  este ca Isus este Domn si trebuie sa fie Domn peste trecutul tau si sa devina Domn al sufletului tau. Dar, va fi Domn al sufletului tau cand Il vei chema in mod constient. In seara aceasta este o buna ocazie . El spune: „Iata, eu stau la usa si bat. Daca cineva aude glasul Meu si va deschide usa, voi intra la el, voi cina cu el si el cu Mine.”

Isus Hristos este Domn peste familiile noastre

Photo credit

Mai trebuie sa bagam de seama  ca Isus Hristos este Domn si peste familiile noastre. Doreste sa fie Domn peste familiile noastre. Acestui barbat necajit, Isus i-a zis, dupa ce l-a tamaduit: „Du-te acasă la ai tăi şi povesteşte-le tot ce ţi-a făcut Domnul şi cum a avut milă de tine.” 20 El a plecat şi a început să vestească prin Decapole tot ce-i făcuse Isus. Şi toţi se minunau. Permite-mi sa pun intrebarea: este Isus si Domn peste familia ta? Cheama-L! Daca Isus este Domn in tine, daca apartii Domnului Isus, in tine a venit o prezenta, o putere. In tine locuieste Dumnezeu, frate, sora. Si in momentul in care te-ai dus in casa ta, in familia ta, acea prezenta Dumnezeiasca din tine trebuie sa se reverse in familia ta, chiar daca nici unul din casa nu este intors la credinta.

Prezenta ta in casa aceea, in familia aceea, faptul ca esti parte, esti madular a acelei case, a familiei tale, esti mama, esti tata, fiu sau parinte, bunic- prezenta lui Dumnezeu din tine sa se reverse in casa ta. Cum a zis Pavel, cand a vorbit despre sotii credinciosi care au soti necredinciosi. Cei necredinciosi sunt sfintiti prin frati. Copiii lor sunt sfintiti prin frati. Adica, se intampla ceva acolo, spiritual. E o revarsare a prezentei lui Dumnezeu, a biencuvantarii lui Dumnezeu. E o revarsare a domniei, o exprimare a domniei lui Isus. Isus e Domn! Apoi, daca se intampla sa fii cap de familie si sa fii crestin, autoritatea este si mai mare. Si ea trebuie sa fie exprimata in numele Aceluia care a potolit furtuna si a scos demonii. Isus e Domn, slavit sa fie numele Lui!

Eu cunosc o intamplare pe care mi-a relatat-o un apropiat, un prieten pastor. In biserica in care slujeste s-a confruntat cu o situatie foarte complicata. Unul dintre copiii dintr-o familie, baiat la 16-17 ani, incet, incet, a alunecat, s-a dus in lume. Si a fost prins in cursa consumului de droguri si a comercializarii drogurilor. Era folosit de traficantii de droguri ca sa vanda droguri. Problema asta, frati si surori, in curand o sa fie si pe cararea noastra. Deja, in liceele si facultatile, scolile din Romania au aparut aceste probleme. Sa fim foarte atenti. In America, cine a fost si stie, e o problema mare de tot. Ei, baiaul, copilul drag, nascut din parinti credinciosi, adus la binecuvantare a fost smuls, facut traficant de droguri. Nu-l mai scapau, nu-l mai lasau. Fura din casa ca sa-si cumpere droguri. Si daca facea pret bun, primea doza pe gratis, daca vindea mai departe.

Familia necajita a venit la fratele pastor sa ceara sprijin. S-au rugat, au postit si i-a invatat sa faca ceva: „Invita pe acesti traficanti,” pe care-i stia, erau in anturajul, cercul copilului lor, „invita-i la o cina.” I-a invitat la o cina. Au fost cinci la numar: hotarati, ingamfati, stapani pe situatie si imposibil de a fi dovediti. Au venit la masa, au mancat, si dupa ce au mancat, tatal, asa cum a fost invatat din Cuvant, a spus: „Domnilor, v-am invitat cu o mare rugaminte. Lasati-l in pace pe baiatul nostru. Noi va respectam. Faceti ce vreti voi, este treaba voastra. Nu ne amestecam in problemele voastre, dar am rugaminte arzatoare: lasati-l in pace pe baiatul nostru.” Au ris: „Ce treaba avem noi cu baiatul tau..” Au ris asa, batojocoritor. La care, tatal le-a spus: „Eu totusi insist, lasati-l in pace pe baiatul nostru.” Si n-au vrut. Au batjocorit. Si, la despartire, cum a fost invatat, acel tata a spus: „Daca asa sta treaba, atunci, in numele Domnului Isus, care este Domnul familiei mele, se va intalni cu voi judecata lui Dumnezeu. Isus este Domnul copilului meu, daca nu vreti sa-l lasati in pace, Domnul meu imi va apara casa. Treaba voastra.” Au plecat razand: „Mai vedem noi,” au zis ei.  Peste doua luni, in aceeasi zi, toti 5 au fost impuscati. Sigur ca nu dorim moartea pacatosului, dar cateodata, Dumnezeu care-i Domn intervine si ia viata acelora care se intersecteaza cu interesele Imparatiei Sale.  Intr-o noapte, armata asiriana a omorat 185.000. Isus e Domn. Daca e Domn in inima ta, peste trecutul tau, se rasfrange Domnia Sa si peste casa ta. Nu mai sta, temandu-te de ziua de maine, de circumstante pe care nu le poti controla, de imprejurari napraznice care pot sa se abata asupra casei tale. Isus e cu tine in casa ta, e Domnul tau. Trebuie sa te bucuri de asta si sa te odihnesti in asta si sa lasi sa se reverse aceasta binecuvantare a prezentei lui Dumnezeu in casa ta, peste copiii tai. Si cand pleaca la scoala sau la munca, sau in calatorie, sa pui peste ei numele Domnului. Si oriunde se vor duce, cu ei e Dumnezeu. Amin!

Photo credit

Photo credit

Isus e Domn peste crizele vietii

Aici gasim, in urmatorul pasaj, sunt relatate doua crize teribile: boala si moartea. Moartea fiicei lui Iair. Boala femeii cu hemoragie. Doua imprejurari care au pus in evidenta doua tragedii, drame. Un tata si-a pierdut fiica. O femeie si-a pierdut averea pe la doctori. Nu mai avea ce sa cheltuie pentru a-si imbunatati sanatatea. Scrie in Biblie: „Ea suferise mult de la multi doctori, cheltuise tot ce avea si nu simtise nici o usurare. Ba, inca era si mai rau.” S-a apropiat de Isus. S-a strecurat prin multime, discre, sfioasa, s-a atins de haina Lui si hemoragia s-a sfarsit. A simit cum in corpul ei a intrat o putere. A simtit cum izvorul sangelui a secat. A simtit revigorare. Asa ne spune Cuvantul, ca a simtit in tot trupul ei ca s-a tamaduit de boala. Stiti de ce? Isus e Domn. E Domn. E Domn peste crizele vietii.

Frati si surori, e la fel de real ca si in vremea de atunci. Eu cred cu toata convingerea un adevar. Daca Domnul Isus a facut in trecut pentru cineva, ceva, El poate oricand in prezent sa faca acelasi lucru pentru oricine Il crede pe Cuvant. Daca El in trecut a facut cuiva un bine, El poate sa repete acel bine si sa-l dea mai departe  oricarui om, din orice generatie si din orice loc ar fi el. In orice tara ar trai el. Isus e Domn peste crizele vietii, peste painea noastra. Nu ne lasa, e cu noi. Slavit sa fie numele Lui cel sfant.

M-am uitat in dupa masa acestei zile la cateva texte din Biblie, mi-au placut asa de mult si m-au imbarbatat. Psalmul 37:23-27. Sa ne uitam la acest text, sa-l punem in inima. E asa incurajare in el-

3 Domnul întăreşte paşii omului, când Îi place calea lui;
24 dacă se întâmplă să cadă, nu este doborât de tot, căci Domnul îl apucă de mână.
25 Am fost tânăr, şi am îmbătrânit, dar n-am văzut pe cel neprihănit părăsit, nici pe urmaşii lui cerşindu-şi pâinea.
26 Ci el întotdeauna este milos şi dă cu împrumut; şi urmaşii lui sunt binecuvântaţi.

Oare de ce? Pentru ca omul acela neprehanit si-a pus viata in mana lui Dumnezeu, in mana lui Isus. Trecutul sau pacatos a fost acoperit, justificat in jertfa Domnului Isus. L-a chemat pe Isus si e Domn in viata lui. Si domnia lui Isus din viata lui a revarsat-o in casa lui, in familia lui, peste urmasii lui, peste copiii lui. Si de-acuma e un om binecuvantat si e Dumnezeu cu el.  Nu se teme nici de sageata care zzboara zilnic, nici de ciuma care bantuie noaptea. O mie sa cada alaturi de el, pe el nu-l va atinge. Este copilul lui Dumnezeu. Dumnezeu il protejeaza. Si daca va ingadui sa vina peste el necaz, el primeste necazul ala ca de la Domnul si se bucura ca este Dumnezeu cu el in necazurile lui. Stie ca in Imparatia lui Dumnezeu intram prin necazuri, dar nu se teme, pentru ca se stie protejat de Dumnezeu, pazit de puterea lui Dumnezeu. Isus este Domn

Daca este sa vorbim despre aceasta componenta- Cine este Isus? Este Domn in mijlocul crizelor vietii. El controleaza circumstantele, nu, nu, nu oamenii. Oamenii exprima. Pana la urma exista Dumnezeu, care are ultimul cuvant. Are ultimul cuvant. Si cand e vorba de paine, cand e vorba de locul de munca si cand este vorba de scoala, cand e vorba de calatorie, si cand e vorba de sanatate, cand e vorba de boala, cand e vorba de copii, de familie, de intelegere, Isus e DOMN. Si de-l chemi, lucreaza. E viu. Slavit sa fie numele Lui. Frati si surori, va chem sa avem aceasta credinta in el. Avem pe cine ne bizui. Slavit sa fie numele Sau.

  • Psalmul 125:2 -un cuvant asa de frumos –  Cum este înconjurat Ierusalimul de munţi, aşa înconjoară Domnul pe poporul Său, de acum şi până în veac. 
  • Proverbe 18:10 – Numele Domnului este un turn tare; cel neprihănit fuge în el şi stă la adăpost.
  • Psalmul 34:7 – Îngerul Domnului tăbărăşte în jurul celor ce se tem de El şi-i scapă din primejdie. 

El e Domn peste circumstantele vietii, nu trebuie sa te temi. Isus este Domn. De n-ar fi fost Domnul de partea noastra, spunea Psalmistul, sa spuna acum Israelul. Cand s-au ridicat vrajmasii si ne-ar fi luat in dintii lor si ne-ar fi prapadit, de n-ar fi fost Domnul de partea noastra, nimic n-ar mai fi ramas. Dar, numele Lui sa fie slavit, ca a fost de partea noastra, este de partea noastra si ne insoteste. Dar ramane intrebarea: Cine este Isus pentru tine? Este El Domnul tau? Ti-ai predat viata in mana Lui? L-ai chemat sa locuiasca in sufletul tau, in casa ta? L-ai marturisit? Dumnezeu sa ne ajute pe fiecare, sa ne binecuvanteze.

Isus este Domn peste viitorul nostru

Ultimul gand pe care l-as sublinia in seara aceasta, Isus este Domn peste viitorul nostru. El e Domn peste trecut. El e Domn peste prezent, cu tot ce inseamna prezentul: painea mea, sanatatea mea, familia mea, incercarile mele, temerile pe care le am, bucuriile, necazurile. E Domn in prezent, cu tot ce ar insemna prezentul. E Domn. Dar, e Domn si peste viitor. El, ne spune Scriptura, ca s-a gandit la noi si ne da un viitor si o nadejde. Profetul Ieremia anunata acest cuvant, valabil pentru toti cei care sunt tematori de Dumnezeu, Ieremia 29:11 – Căci Eu ştiu gândurile pe care le am cu privire la voi, zice Domnul, gânduri de pace, şi nu de nenorocire, ca să vă dau un viitor şi o nădejde. Un cuvant care te incarca de speranta. Asta-i speranta copiilor lui Dumnezeu. Isus este Domn.

Avem in fata zilele de maine. Se anunta vemuri grele, cum am auzit si prin cuvant profetic. Si ce daca? Sa vina. Noi ne bizuim pe Domnul nostru. Daca El vrea sa traim, traim. Daca El vrea sa murim, dar ce, peste 50 de ani nu o sa fim morti? Mare lucru daca murim mai de vreme. Isus e Domnul nostru. O sa vina razboi. Si ce daca vine razboi? Ne vom ruga pentru pace. Si daca va ingadui Dumnezeu sa fie razboi, e problema Lui. El este Domnul nostru si in vreme de razboi si protectorul nostru  si in vreme de restriste. Va fi binecuvantare, va fi paine, slavit sa fie Domnul! Va fi lipsa, va fi greu, o sa fie mai putina paine, va fi franta painea, nu ne place asta. Dar Isus, tot Domnul nostru va ramane. Si cuvantul ca El ne va purta de grija e valabil si-n vremuri grele, nu numai in vremuri bune. Este Domnul nostru.

Asa, am vazut pe la oameni un soi de ingrijorare, ca ce se intampla, cum o fi cu lumea, in grijorari de soiul acesta. Ce-o fii cu copiii astia? O mamica se pregatea sa nasca, in lumea asta vine copilul asta al meu; atata tulburare in Rusia, incolo, se aude nu stiu ce, tot soiul… Fii pe pace. Isus e Domn. E Domn, slavit sa fie numele Lui. Daca este sa vina nenorocirea, nu trebuie sa vina razboiul din Est pe noi. Pe noi, Dumnezeu ne-a tinut in fiinta oana acum. Si ne va tine si de aici inainte, cat va fi voia Lui. Cum spunea Filip D.  in misiune, vroia sa vorbeasca unui trib de africani, pusi pe rele si pe razunare. Auzise cum macelarise crud misionarii care au mers dinainte si a zis: „Ma duc si eu, poate pe mine ma primesc. Tovarasii lui au zis: „Nu te du, ca ti-au pregatit o ambuscada si o sa fie rau de tot. La care, omul lui Dumnezeu a raspuns: „Si, ce-mi pot ei face? Domnul meu este Isus si sunt nemuritor pana imi sfarsesc lucrarea.” Si s-a dus. A marturisit pe Domnul si Dumnezeu a schimbat inima unor oameni.

In final, copilul lui Dumnezeu traieste cu aceasta credinta in sufletul lui. Isus este Domn. In viata avem de alergat. Si maine ne asteapta o zi. Sa ne punem la inima acest cuvant, frati si surori. Si asa, daca ar fi sa reformulam toata invatatura acestei seri, as rezuma-o la un verset:

Şi cel neprihănit va trăi prin credinţă; Evrei 10:38

Isus este Domn! Slavit sa fie Numele Lui!

VIDEO by Biserica Emanuel Sibiu


Is There Extrabiblical Evidence About Jesus’ Life?

In 2001, John Ankerberg interviewed William Lane Craig on on the subject of, „Jesus of Nazareth.” In the interview, Dr Craig was asked a number of questions about the historicity of Jesus, the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, the reliability of the gospel accounts, and much more.

Read more:…

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

Lazar Gog – Perspectiva Profetica 2015 – Partea 3 – Aspectul Profetic Shemittah & Partea 4 – Aspectul profetic – Ioel si impartitorii lui Israel

Perspectiva Profetica Lazar Gog

Am inceput cu partea finala (partea a 3-a si a 4-a + Concluzia) pentru ca sunt cele mai interesante si sunt si mai scurte (de scris) decat primele 2 parti si introducerea, care vor urma si ele la randul lor (cat de repede). La sfarsitul transcrierei le voi pune pe toate impreuna intr-o postare. Dar, in acest mod, puteti sa cititi aceste parti mai repede.

Photo credit

3. Aspectul Profetic Shemittah

Lazar Gog: Al treilea aspect profetic pe care trebuie sa-l vedem este ceea ce eu am numit Aspectul Profetic Shemittah. Ce inseamna Shemttah? Shemittah este un termen ebraic care spune al saptelea an. Factorul acesta este invederat in Cuvantul Domnului – Exod capitolul 23:10-11 –

10 Timp de şase ani să semeni pământul şi să-i strângi rodul. 11 Dar în al şaptelea, să-i dai răgaz şi să-l laşi să se odihnească; din rodul lui să mănânce săracii poporului tău, iar ce va mai rămâne, să mănânce fiarele de pe câmp. Tot aşa să faci cu via şi măslinii tăi.

Cuvantul Domnului catre Israel a fost acesta: Sa urmaresti in activitatea ta economica si sociala un ciclu de sapte ani care sa se repete continu. Sase ani de zile sa lucrezi pamantul, al saptelea an sa-l lasi liber sa se refaca. Si tot in al saptelea an, toti saracii care au imprumutat de la banca de la tine, sa fie iertati de datoria lor. Se numeste un an de anularea datoriei. Si anul al saptelea se numeste Shemittah. Incepe la 1 Tishrei, in Septembrie si se sfarseste la 1 Tishrei, anul urmator.

Daca nu este respectat acest proces de 7 ani, Domnul spune, aduce pedeapsa peste Israel. Daca va uitati in Ieremia 25:4-18, spune: Te voi duce in robia babiloniana timp de 70 de ani. Toti atatia ani cat n-ai respectat shemittah. Dar shemittah nu este numai pentru Israel. Este si pentru toate natiunile pamantului, pentru ca istoria noastra este legata de Israel. De ce? Datorita acestui legamant pe care Dumnezeu l-a facut cu Israelul. Geneza 12:3 – Voi binecuvânta pe cei ce te vor binecuvânta şi voi blestema pe cei ce te vor blestema; şi toate familiile pământului vor fi binecuvântate în tine.

Cine te va binecuvanta, va fi binecuvantat. Cine te va blestema, va fi blestemat. Prin urmare, ce se intampla cu Israel se intampla cu natiunile pamantului, datorita atitudinii tarilor fata de Israel. Daca va uitati in istorie, potrivit  teologului evreu Jonathan Cahn  este un teolog rabin mesianic. A scris doua carti deosebite. Prima carte se numeste ‘The Harbinger’ care inseamna ‘avertizmentul’, scrisa supa Septembrie 9, 2001. Si a doua carte este ‘Importanta a Shemitah’. Potrivit acestui teolog care a facut cercetare, cele mai mari crash-uri economice  s-au petrecut in anul al saptelea si Shemittah.

Ce va urma in Septembrie 2015 ? Photo credit

Am sa va dau 5 din ele. Mare crash economic in 1973. In 1980. In 1987. In 2000 si in 2007. Anul acesta, frati si surori, noi suntem in Shemittah – al saptelea an din ciclul celor 7 randuite in Israel. Si daca in anul 2007, tot la Shemittah, s-a produs cel mai mare crash la bursa americana, a cazut 777 de puncte, fapt ce a declansat criza economica mondiala prin care am trecut. Anul acesta, incheierea lui Shemittah se produce  in 29 Elul care este Septembrie 13.

Insa ceea ce este interesant este urmatorul lucru, ca tot in Septembrie 13 avem al patrulea tetrard, de care v-am vorbit anul trecut. V-am spus ca vor fi 2 eclipse de luna si doua de soare in 2014-2015. Si toate aceste evenimente cad la sarbatoarea iudaica a Pastelor si a corturilor. Anul acesta, eclipsa de soare, a partra, care incheie acest tetrard, cade exact in elul 29- adica, Septembrie 13. Este ultima zi din Shemittah. Elul 29 (Sept. 13) este considerata ziua anularii datoriilor. E posibil ca din nou in Septembrie 2015 sa asistam la anularea multor datorii cu un nou crash economic. Lucrul acesta este dat si de acest tetrard,  pentru ca in Cuvantul Domnului ni se spune lucrul acesta in Ioel 3:1-3 –

1 Căci iată că în zilele acelea şi în vremurile acelea, când voi aduce înapoi pe prinşii de război ai lui Iuda şi ai Ierusalimului, 2 voi strânge pe toate neamurile şi le voi coborî în valea lui Iosafat. Acolo, Mă voi judeca cu ele pentru poporul Meu, pentru Israel, moştenirea Mea, pe care l-au risipit printre neamuri, împărţind între ele ţara Mea. 3 Au tras la sorţi pentru poporul Meu; ….

Ioel spune ca inainte de ziua Domnului vor fi semne in cer- luna in sange si soarele in intuneric. Si cand aceste fenomene ceresti se observa, trebuie sa intelegem absolut ca am intrat in vremea sfarsitului. Si cum spuneam, cele patru manifestari ale lunii si soarelui in acest an – 2014-2015 se intampla tocmai in ultima zi din Shemittah, in ziua anularii datoriilor. Daca va uitati in istorie, cum am spus, cand aceste fenomene s-au mai intamplat, intotdeauna economia mondiala a fost afectata. De aceea, va invit in al patrulea rand sa ne uitam la acest aspect.

Israel (albastru) in mijlocul tarilor Arabe.

4. Aspectul profetic –
Ioel si impartitorii lui Israel

Domnul se judeca cu cei ce vor sa imparta pe Israel. In lume, s-a constituit un cvartet, format din Statele Unite, Rusia, Uniunea Europeana si ONU. Practic, sunt toate statele, care sa reglementeze situatia dintre Israel si palestinienii. Dar, uitati-va din nou in Ioel 3:2 –

2 voi strânge pe toate neamurile şi le voi coborî în valea lui Iosafat. Acolo, Mă voi judeca cu ele pentru poporul Meu, pentru Israel, moştenirea Mea, pe care l-au risipit printre neamuri, împărţind între ele ţara Mea.

Ideea acestui cvartet este ca sa-l aduca pe Israel in teritoriul pana in 1967, dislocand sute de mii de evrei si creand un stat palestinian. Deci, vor sa imparta tara lui Israel si sa imparta Ierusalimul. Ierusalimul de est sa fie capitala Palestinei, Ierusalimul de vest sa fie a lui Israel. Dumnezeu spune ca se judeca cu cei ce impart tara lui Israel.

Sunt 13 ‘coincidente’ in lumea noastra, adica 13 aspecte de judecata divina care au avut loc cu America, atunci cand au luat pozitie impotriva lui Israel. Si daca lucrurile acestea s-au intamplat pana acuma, se pot intampla si de aici incolo. Efortul mare la ora actuala este sa se creeze acest stat palestinian. Din cele 13 evenimente care s-au petrecut cu America, am sa va dau doar 5, pentru ca timpul nu ne mai permite.

  1. 24 August 1992 – Presedintele Bush Sr. si Pamant pentru Pace – In Washington DC are loc runda a sasea a pacii de la Madrid. Primul Ministru Rabin al Israelului este prezent si America ii impune sa adopte o politica numita ‘Pamant Pentru Pace’ (Land for Peace). Cand Yitzhak Rabin a inceput, deci, la 24 August, cand a acceptat aceasta la impunerea Americii, uraganul Andrew , in aceeasi zi a lovit Statele Unite, fiind primul cel mai mare uragan cunoscut pana in vremea aceea. Peste 25 de miliarde de dolari ($25 billion) pagube. Pentru ca in Biblie spune ca „Cine te va binecuvanta, va fi binecuvantat. Cine te va blestema, va fi blestemat.”
  2. 17 Ianuari 1994 – Presedintele Clinton si Inaltimile Golan – Presedintele Clinton se intalneste cu dictatorul sirian, Hafez Al Assad si- i promite lui Hafez Al Assad ca va presa Israelul sa accepte sa cedeze inaltimile Golan, Siriei. In aceeasi ziare loc cel mai distrugator cutremur in istoria Americii, care a avut loc aici la noi, in California. Peste 40 de miliarde de dolari ($40 billion) pagube.
  3. 10 Septembrie 2001 – Presedintele Bush si Planul pentru 2 state in Palestina – Sub presiunea regelui Arabiei Saudite, care a acuzat America ca procedeaza unilateral, favorizand Israelul in conflicte cu palestinienii, Presedintele Bush accepta un plan ca sa se creeze doua state in Palestina. Acest plan urmeaza sa fie prezentat lumii in saptamana de 10 Septembrie (pana la sfarsitul saptamanii). 11 Septembrie 2001, America este lovita pe teritoriul ei la New York. A fost si este cel mai mare atac terorist impotriva Americii.
  4. 23 August 2005 – Presedintele Bush, Premierul Ariel Sharon si Gaza- Premierul Ariel Sharon comunica Israelului, Americii si lumii ca planul de evacuare a populatiei israeliene din Gaza, impus de America lui Israel, a luat sfarsit oficial. In aceeasi zi, in Oceanul Atlantic  s-a putut observa o depresiune atmosferica  care s-a transformat in uraganul Katrina. Cea mai mare populatie dislocata a avut loc in Louisiana, asa cum Americanii au fortat pe evrei sa disloce populatia israeliana din Gaza. Persoane apropiate Presedintelui George W. Bush au declarat ca acest eveniment, Katrina, a fost inceputul prabusirii presedintiei lui Bush.
  5. 20 Aprilie 2010 – Presedintele Obama – Administratia Obama opreste pentru prima data din 1967 incoace constructia de apartamente in Ierusalimul de Est in Ierusalim. Cand lucrul acesta este anuntat, in 20 Aprilie, in aceeasi zi, sonda petroliera a companiei British Petroleum  a explodat in Golful Mexic (la coasta cu statul Texas), cauzand cea mai mare catastrofa ecologica din istoria Statelor Unite. Tine-ti minte pentru ca ati vazut lucrurile acestea. Industria pescuitului, industria alimentara si industria turismului  au fost afectate si paralizate.

Judecata viitoare??? Profetul Ioel spune ca Dumnezeu se judeca cu cei ce impart pe Israel. Se poate intampla inca o judecata asupra Americii anul acesta? Sigur ca da. Se poate intampla asupra Europei? Sigur. In naivitatea lor politica, Uniunea Europeana, a declarat ca este dispusa sa recunoasca un stat palestinian. Iar, organizatia terorista Hamas, o considera practic un partid politic palestinian. De cand lupul poate sa fie echivalent cu mielul, inca nu s-a mai auzit.

De aceea, si Uniunea Europeana va intra in criza.  De fapt, la ora aceasta cand eu va vorbesc, Germania este pe punctul sa intre in recesiune. Si daca Germania intra in recesiune in Uniunea Europeana, fiind cea mai puternica tara economica din Europa, aduce in jos toata economia Europei de Vest. Si bineinteles ca afecteaza si Statele Unite.

Toate lucrurile acestea se intampla sub ochii nostri. Se pot intampla asa cum le-ai auzit. Sigur ca daDar Dumnezeu poate sa si anuleze si sa amane lucrurile acestea. Solutia este pocainta. Ninive s-a pocait si de aceea Domnul a amanat distrugerea. Necazul zilelor noastre este ca America si Uniunea Europeana nu se pocaiesc. Preocuparea lor este cum sa ridice mai multi prooroci mincinosi, Hristosi mincinosi. Se intrunesc impreuna, cum sa legalizeze mai multi homosexuali si cum sa anuleze Cuvantul lui Hristos. De aceea, Europa si Statele Unite au o pozitie sumbra inaintea Domnului.

jesus coming again gold

Isus vine iar!

Concluzie – Domnul este aproape

In concluzie, frati si surori, domnilor si doamnelor, as vrea sa va mai spun un lucru. In 28 Ianuarie 2006, a murit rabinul evreu Yitzchak Kaduri. A avut 108 ani. A fost unul dintre cei mai influenti si indragiti evrei. Cand a murit, se spune ca au fost peste 300,000 de oameni la inmormantarea lui la Ierusalim. Asta vorbeste despre influenta pe care El a avut-o.  Yitzchak Kaduri a fost considerat si ca un profetintre rabinii evrei.

In 2005 el a profetit ca Dumnezeu il va lovi pe Ariel Sharon pentru ca el a procedat la evacuarea evreilor din Gaza. Si in 2005, Ariel Sharon  a avut un stroke (comotie cerebrala) din care nu si-a mai revenit. El a murit anul trecut. Insa, Yitzchak Kaduri mai spune ceva. A zis: „Dumnezeu mi s-a aratat si Dumnezeu mi-a facut de cunoscut Cine este Mesia. Si el a scris un bilet, pe care a scris asa: Dupa moartea meaacest bilet sa fie deschis si sa se citeasca lumii si in special evreilor, ce mi-a vorbit Dumnezeu. Domnul mi-a vorbit cine este Mesia si cand se va arata Mesia.

Si Kaduri a murit in 28 Ianuarie, 2006. In 26 Ianuarie 2007, un an mai tarziu, fiul sau David Kaduri, si el un rabin la 80 de ani, in fata prietenilor a deschis plicul tatalui sau si a citit ce scrie acolo. Si a citit ce era scris: „Domnul mi-a aratat cine este Mesia. Adevaratul Mesia este Yeshua. Este Isus Hristos. El se va arata curand lui Israel. Iar semnul dupa care veti intelege ca a venit vremea sa se arate va fi moartea lui Ariel Sharon. Cand Ariel Sharon va muri, Mesia se va arata foarte curand.” Ariel Sharon a murit anul trecut.

Oare se arata Mesia anul asta? Sigur, noi nu stim. Nu punem date. Ci am adus in fata dvs. doar ceea ce se discuta in lumea contemporana pe aceasta tema. Un fapt este sigur. Tot ce a vorbit Dumnezeu se implineste. Perspectiva pe care am adus-o in fata dvs.  nu este de natura sa sperie pe cineva.  ori sa ingrozeasca. Ci este de natura sa aduca pocainta. Traim vremurile din urma si de aceea Cuvantul Domnului spune: „Ce fel de oameni ar trebui sa fiti voi, stiind lucrurile pe care le stiti si avand o purtare sfanta si evlavioasa.”Prin aceasta purtare evlavioasa, nu faceti altceva decat sa grabiti venirea Fiului lui Dumnezeu. Iar eu, ca slujitor al Domnului, nu pot sa spun altceva decat ceea ce spune Duhul Sfant.

„Vino, Doamne Isuse!”

Sa privim in sus. Domnul este aproape. God bless you!

Emanuel Church Anaheim – California (08.02.2015). Predici pentru vremuri grele –

Preotia desavarsita a lui Hristos

Preotia desavarsita a lui Hristos

Photo credit Cuvantul Adevarului

Preotia desavarsita a lui Hristos

Jesus Promises to Come Again

In John 14 Jesus promised He would come back again. However, many believers miss the other details Jesus shared in this passage about where He would go, what He will do when He is away, and what will happen when He returns. His promise to return includes a great deal of information that can encourage us in our Christian walk today.

In this program, you’ll learn these details and how they can help us to better appreciate Christ’s promise to return as well as what we can look forward to in the future. Join Dr. Ankerberg with guests Dr. Renald Showers and Dr. Jimmy DeYoung in this fascinating discussion regarding the Rapture.

VIDEO by John Ankerberg

Vasile Paul – Mesajul lui Ioan Botezătorul & Botezul lui Isus Hristos (Credo TV)


Descoperire unică în Israel. Sinagoga unde a predicat Isus -Synagogue where Jesus likely preached uncovered in Israel – December, 2014

sinagoga din Magdala unde a predicat Isus

Sinagoga din Magdala unde a predicat Isus Photo credit

Arheologii au făcut o nouă descoperire pe coasta Mării Galileei, în Israel. Arheologii care au descoperit o sinagogă pe coasta Mării Galileei, în Israel, cred că acesta a fost de fapt locul unde Isus a predicat, aşa cum scrie şi în Biblie.

Ruinele sinagogii au peste 2.000 de ani şi se află în oraşul Migdal din nordul Israelului. Localitatea se află chiar deasupra anticului Magdala, locul unde tradiţia creştină spune că s-a născut Maria Magdalena, una dintre cele mai devotate discipole ale lui Iisus.

Situl arheologic se află în proprietatea unei organizaţii catolice, Legiunile lui Cristos, care susţine că în acest loc a predicat Iisus adepţilor săi.

Părintele Eamon Kelly spune că Iisus şi-a petrecut cea mai parte a vieţii sale aici, în nordul Israelului, deşi Biblia vorbeşte mai mult despre evenimentele din Ierusalim şi Betleem. Aici, Iisus a predicat celor veniţi să-l asculte şi tot aici a cunoscut-o probabil pe Maria Magdalena.

Photo credit

Călătoria lui Iisus în oraşul Magdala este menţionată în Evanghelia după Matei. Localitatea era situată de drumul urmat de negustorii care făceau comerţ între Siria şi Egipt.

Lângă situl arheologic organizaţia catolică va construi un centru pentru vizitatori, un hotel, o capelă şi un restaurant.

Sinagoga datează din perioada celui de Al Doilea Templu şi în lume mai sunt doar 6 sinagogi păstrate din această epocă.

Primele ruine au fost excavate în anul 2009, fiind descoperite întâmplător, în timpul lucrărilor la un şantier pentru construirea hotelului.

Şefa echipei de arheologi, Dina Avshalom-Gorni, spune că descoperirea este „unică şi extrem de importantă”

Sinagoga din Magdala unde a predicat Isus Photo credit


Synagogue where Jesus likely preached uncovered in IsraelDecember, 2014

By Ofira Koopmans Dec. 22, 2014
When the Legions of Christ bought a piece of land on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, little did it know what it would find.
DPA – Some would call it luck, others coincidence. Father Eamon Kelly calls it „providence.”

When his Catholic organization, the Legions of Christ, bought a piece of land on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, little did it know what it would find.

When people think of Jesus, they usually think of Bethlehem or Jerusalem, Kelly points out. But Jesus spent almost his entire life and ministry in what is now northern Israel.

„Eighty percent of Jesus’ public life was here,” says the Irish-born priest, gesturing at the Galilee region.

He stands on what are likely ruins of the ancient town of Magdala, thought to be the home of Jesus’ best-known female disciple, Mary Magdalene. The waterline of Israel’s only sweet-water lake shimmers in the distance.

It took his organization several years to buy and acquire permits for four adjacent plots of land on which to build a pilgrims’ hotel, an inter-faith chapel, a restaurant and a women’s shelter.

But in Israel, archaeological excavations are compulsory before any construction can begin.

When archeologists and volunteers started digging, they were astonished to find a treasure: A 1st-century synagogue, one of only seven in Israel – and in the entire world.

Experts say it’s highly likely that Jesus would have preached in the recently uncovered synagogue, believed to have first been built in the year 1 as a simple structure which was then upgraded into a more ornate one in the year 40.

Until Tiberias was built, the only town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee was Magdala.

Anyone touring the region, as Jesus did according to the New Testament, teaching and preaching in synagogues all through Galilee, would not have skipped Magdala, located on the Via Maris – the ancient trade route that ran along the Mediterranean and the western shore of the Sea of Galilee all the way from Egypt to Syria.

Matthew 15:39 also mentions Jesus setting foot there, saying „and he took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala (sometimes also translated from the Greek as Magadan).”

In the times of Jesus, people would gather in local synagogues to meet and assemble, not just for prayer.

According to archaeologists, the Magdala synagogue was destroyed in 67 or 68 CE by Romans in their first war with Jews. Until the Magdala Stone was discovered, the oldest menorah ever found was on Rome’s Titus Arch of 82 CE.

Read the entire story here –

Synagogue Where Jesus Preached Found at Capernaum in 1983

Rough black basalt residences of first-century A.D. Capernaum stand in stark contrast to the smooth white limestone of the fourth-century synagogue in the background. Under this synagogue, excavators have found another synagogue made of the same black basalt as the residences in the foreground. The lower synagogue was built on nearly the same plan as the upper limestone synagogue visible here. The walls of the lower synagogue were nearly four feet thick—much thicker than those of these residences—and the walls were made of worked stones, rather than the unworked stones builders used in the residences. The upper synagogue has three entrances on the south, Jerusalem-facing facade. Through these entrances can be seen three rows of columns forming aisles on either side of the prayer hall and the back wall.
The first-century Capernaum synagogue in which Jesus preached has probably been found. Because more than one synagogue may have existed in Capernaum at this time, we cannot be sure that this new find was Jesus’ synagogue. But this recently discovered first-century building is certainly a likely candidate.a
At the moment, the synagogue is not a very impressive-looking structure, but it is there nevertheless. And for millions of Christians, that is the important thing. For Jews, too, this find adds important new evidence of how their people worshipped 2,000 years ago. Only a handful of such synagogues are known.b

On what day was Jesus really born? A New Testament Manuscript Expert Responds

A 1466 copy of Jewish historianFlavius Josephus‘ first century workAntiquities of the Jews, widely used to establish the chronology of Jesus. Photo from Wikipedia.

This is a study by Daniel B. Wallace , which you can read it in its entirety here-

Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level since 1979. He has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently professor of New Testament Studies at his alma mater.

His Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Zondervan, 1996) has become a standard textbook in colleges and seminaries. Dr. Wallace is also the Executive Director for the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.

Wallace – We must keep in mind that the Jesus we worship was truly born in time-space history. And that babe in the manger was truly crucified–and just as surely rose from the dead. The Bible is different from the sacred books of other religions because it invites historical investigation. And when it has met the test–as it surely always, inevitably does–it inculcates a greater devotion in the heart of the believer for the one we call the Son of God.

The Year Jesus Was Born

In the western hemisphere, we split time by the birth of Jesus Christ. But did he really even live? If so,when was he born?

Josephus records an eclipse of the moon just before Herod passed on. This occurred on March 12th or 13th in 4 B.C. Josephus also tells us that Herod expired just before Passover. This feast took place on April 11th, in the same year, 4 B.C. From other details supplied by Josephus, we can pinpoint Herod the Great’s demise as occurring between March 29th and April 4th in 4 B.C.

It might sound strange to suggest that Jesus Christ was born no later than 4 B.C. since B.C. means ‘before Christ.’ But our modern calendar which splits time between B.C. and A.D. was not invented until A.D. 525. At that time, Pope John the First asked a monk named Dionysius to prepare a standardized calendar for the western Church. Unfortunately, poor Dionysius missed the real B.C./A.D. division by at least four years!

Now Matthew tells us that Herod killed Bethlehem’s babies two years old and under. The earliest Jesus could have been born, therefore, is 6 B.C. Through a variety of other time indicators, we can be relatively confident that the one called Messiah was born in either late 5 or early 4 B.C.

My atheist friend scoffs at such flexibility. He says, „If you don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, how do you know that he really lived?” That is hardly a reasonable question! The other day I called my mother to wish her a happy birthday. „Mom, how many candles on this birthday cake?” I inquired. „I don’t know, son–I don’t keep track any more,” she sighed. After a few minutes of pleasant conversation, we hung up.

Now, of course, I can’t be certain, but I do believe that that was my mother on the other end of the phone. She can’t remember how old she is (and she’s neither senile nor very old), but that doesn’t make her a figment of my imagination, does it? Because if she’s just a phantom, then for the last three minutes, you’ve been reading absolutely nothing!

The Day Jesus Was Born

This coming December 25th most parents will be lying to their children about old St. Nick. Some of us will be celebrating the birth of our Savior. But was he really born on this day?

Was Jesus really born on December 25th? Virtually every month on the calendar has been proposed by biblical scholars. So why do we celebrate his birth in December?

The tradition for December 25th is actually quite ancient. Hippolytus, in the second century A.D., argued that this was Christ’s birthday. Meanwhile, in the eastern Church, January 6th was the date followed.

But in the fourth century, John Chrysostom argued that December 25th was the correct date and from that day till now, the Church in the East, as well as the West, has observed the 25th of December as the official date of Christ’s birth.

In modern times, the traditional date has been challenged. Modern scholars point out that when Jesus was born, shepherds were watching their sheep in the hills around Bethlehem. Luke tells us that an angel appeared to „some shepherds staying out in the fields [who were] keeping watch over their flock by night” (2:8).

Some scholars feel that the sheep were usually brought under cover from November to March; as well, they were not normally in the field at night. But there is no hard evidence for this. In fact, early Jewish sources suggest that the sheep around Bethlehem were outside year-round. So you can see, December 25th fits both tradition and the biblical narrative well. There is no sound objection to it.

Now admittedly, the sheep around Bethlehem were the exception, not the rule. But these were no ordinary sheep. They were sacrificial lambs. In the early spring they would be slaughtered at the Passover.

And God first revealed the Messiah’s birth to these shepherds–shepherds who protected harmless lambs which would soon die on behalf of sinful men. Whey they saw the baby, could they have known? Might they have whispered in their hearts what John the Baptist later thundered, „Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Now, of course, we can’t be absolutely certain of the day of Christ’s birth. At least, not this side of heaven. But an early winter date seems as reasonable a guess as any. And December 25th has been the frontrunner for eighteen centuries. Without more evidence, there seems no good reason to change the celebration date now.

We can blame the ancient church for a large part of our uncertainty. You see, they did not celebrate Christ’s birth. At all. To them, it was insignificant. They were far more concerned with his death . . . and resurrection.

But modern man has turned that around. A baby lying in a manger is harmless, non-threatening. But a man dying on a cross–a man who claims to be God–that man is a threat! He demands our allegiance! We cannot ignore him. We must either accept him or reject him. He leaves us no middle ground.

This Christmas season, take a close look at a nativity scene once again. Remove your rose-colored glasses–smell the foul air, see the cold, shivering animals. They represent the Old Testament sacrificial system. They are emblems of death. But they are mere shadows of the Babe in their midst. He was born to die . . . that all who believe in him might live.

The Visit of the Magi

When Jesus Christ was born, men–known as magi–came from the east to worship him. Were they wisemen . . . or astrologers?

Matthew begins his second chapter with these words: „Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.'”

Who were these wise men from the east? Matthew tells us next to nothing about them–he doesn’t mention their names, nor how many there were–not even which country they came from. As mysteriously as they come on the scene, they disappear. . .

Though Matthew doesn’t tell us much, over-zealous Christians throughout church history have dogmatically filled in the blanks. By the 6th century A.D., these dark strangers were given thrones and names: Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar were the alleged names of these alleged kings. But this has nothing to do with the biblical story: we really have no idea what their names were–nor even their number. There could have been 3 or 300 as far as we know! But one thing we do know for sure: they were not royalty. The ancient magi were reilgious and political advisors to eastern kings–but there wasn’t a drop of blue blood among them.

But isn’t it true that the magi were astrologers? And didn’t God prescribe death to astrologers in the Old Testament? ‘Not always’ and ‘yes’ are the answers. In Deuteronomy 17, God commands his people to execute all astrologers by stoning. Jean Dixon wouldn’t stand a chance in such a theocracy! The fact that she–and others like her–are so comfortably tolerated–even well respected!–in modern America ought to show us that the U.S.A. is a post-Christian country–at best . . .

But what about these ancient magi? Were they astrologers? After all, they followed a star to Bethlehem.

We might answer this in three ways: First, not all magi were astrologers, for Daniel the prophet was the chief of the magi in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Through his influence, undoubtedly many of the magi carried on their religious and political duties as worshippers of the One true God.

Second, there are some biblical scholars who believe that Isaiah predicted that a star would appear when the Messiah was born. If this interpretation is correct, then the magi who worshipped the newborn king were clearly following in Daniel’s train, for he almost surely taught them from Isaiah.

Third, although a few believe that the ‘star’ they saw was a natural phenomenon–such as a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter–this cannot explain how the star stood right over Bethlehem. Clearly, the ‘star’ was completely of supernatural origin. If so, it probably had nothing to do with astrology.

Therefore, the magi most likely did not subscribe to such superstitious folly. If so, they were truly wisemen . . .

I saw a bumper sticker the other day, which read, „Wise men still seek him.” Actually, that’s not quite accurate. The Bible tells us that „no one seeks God, not even one.” But if he has led us to himself, then we have become wise. For it is true that „wise men still worship him.”

The Boys from Bethlehem

One of the most heinous atrocities in human history was the murder of Bethlehem’s babies by Herod the Great. But did it really happen?

In the second chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we read that when Herod the Great heard of the Messiah’s birth, „he was troubled–and all Jerusalem with him.” Later, when the wise men did not report back to him, he became furious and ordered all the baby boys up to two years old in and around Bethlehem to be slaughtered!

Three questions come to mind as we consider this cruel incident: First, how many babies did Herod actually kill? Second, how old was Jesus when this happened? And finally, why does no other ancient historian record this outrage? In other words, did it really happen?

How many babies did Herod murder? Some scholars have suggested as many as 200! But most reject such a figure. Bethlehem was a small community–almost a suburb of Jerusalem. The village itself–and the surrounding countryside–would hardly have more than 30 male infants under two. Most scholars today place the number between 20 and 30.

But that’s if only the boy babies were killed. Actually, the Greek text of Matthew 2:16 could mean ‘babies’–not just ‘boy babies.’ And psychologically, Herod’s henchmen might not have bothered to check the gender of their victims. The number might be as high as 50 or 60.

Second, how old was Jesus when this occurred? According to the best chronological evidence, he could not have been more than three or four months old. He was more than likely born in the winter of 5 or 4 B.C.–Herod died in the early spring of 4 B.C. So why did Herod slay all children up to two years old? The answer to the third question might help to answer this one. . .

Third, why is this event not recorded outside the Bible? Specifically, why did Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, fail to mention it?

Josephus tells us much about Herod. The best word to describe his reign is ‘overkill.’ He murdered hisfavorite wife’s father, drowned her brother–and even killed her! He executed one of his most trusted friends, his barber, and 300 military leaders–all in a day’s work! Then he slew three of his sons, allegedly suspecting them of treason. Josephus tells us that „Herod inflicted such outrages upon (the Jews) as not even a beast could have done if it possessed the power to rule over men” (Antiquities of the Jews 17:310). Killing babies was not out of character for this cruel king. And killing them up to two years old–to make sure he got the baby Jesus lines up with his insane jealousy for power.

Josephus might have omitted the slaying of the babies for one of two reasons: first, he was no friend of Christianity and he left it out intentionally; or second, just before Herod died he locked up 3000 of the nation’s leading citizens and gave orders that they were to be executed at the hour of his death. He wanted to make sure that there would be mourning when he died. . . Israel was so preoccupied with this that the clandestine murder of a few babies might have gone unnoticed. . .

Herod thought that he had gained a victory over the king of the Jews. Yet this was a mere foreshadowing of the victory Satan thought he had when Jesus lay dead on a Roman cross. But the empty tomb proved that that dark Friday was Satan’s worst defeat!


We’ve been looking at several aspects of the birth of Jesus Christ in this short study. Now, we want to put it all together.

In the winter of 5 or 4 B.C., God invaded history by taking on the form of a man. He was born in a small town just south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem, which means ‘the house of bread,’ indeed became worthy of its name one lonely winter night. For there, in that town, was born the Bread of Life . . .

His mother placed the infant king in a manger–or feeding trough–because the guest room where they were to stay was occupied. The birth of this king was celebrated that night only by his mother, her husband, and a handful of shepherds. The shepherds had been in the fields around Bethlehem, guarding the lambs which would die at the next Passover. An angel appeared to them and gave them the birth announcement: „today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). In their simple faith, they rushed to see their newborn king.

Shortly after the birth of the Messiah, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem and inquired of king Herod where the real king of the Jews was to be born. The theologians of Herod’s court knew the Scriptures well–in ‘Bethlehem’ they recited. Ironically, though they knew the Scriptures, they did not believe them! They did not even bother to travel the five or six miles to Bethlehem to see their Messiah.

But Herod believed the Scriptures! That is why he sent a corps of butchers to Bethlehem to slaughter innocent children, in hopes of destroying this rival to his throne. But he was too late. The magi had come and gone and Jesus was by now safe in Egypt.

And the magi believed the Scriptures. They had traveled several hundred miles to worship this Babe. They were guided to Bethlehem by a supernatural celestial phenomenon–and by the Scriptures. Apparently, their ancestors had been instructed by Daniel the prophet about the coming Messiah. . . When they saw the child, they fell down and worshiped him. This was God in the flesh. They could do no other.

And they gave him gifts–gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This was an unusual present–by any standards. The gold, of course, we all can understand–but the frankincense and myrrh were odd. Perhaps they had read Isaiah’s prophecy that „nations will come to your light, and kings to your rising . . . They will bring gold and frankincense, and will bear good news. . . ” (Isa. 60:3, 6). This explains the frankincense, but not the myrrh.

Now myrrh, like frankincense, was a perfume. But unlike frankincense, myrrh smelled of death. In the ancient world, it was used to embalm a corpse. Jesus himself would be embalmed with this very perfume (cf.John 19:39).

If the magi were thinking of Jesus’ death when they brought the myrrh, they no doubt knew of it from Daniel’s prophecy (9:24-27). In the ninth chapter of Daniel we read that the ‘Messiah will be cut off’ and this ‘will make atonement for iniquity’ and ultimately ‘bring in everlasting righteousness’ (9:26, 24).

Even at the birth of our Savior, the shadow of the cross is already falling over his face. . .

The theologians of Herod’s court did not believe the Scriptures. They were fools. Herod believed, but disobeyed. He was a madman. The simple shepherds and the majestic magi believed in this infant Savior–and it was reckoned to them as righteousness. May we follow in their train.


WHAT IF JESUS HAD NEVER BEEN BORN? from Larry Wessels on Vimeo.

Who is Jesus? John MacArthur

John MacArthur on CNN’s Larry King, about 4 years ago, with John Meacham, Managing Editor of Newsweek Magazine, Father Michael Manning, Dennis Prager, Radio Host, Deepak Chopra.

The Meaning and Message of the Life and Death of Jesus

The full program (45 min)

12 Reasons for Christmas

Photo credit via GodVine

by John Piper at website

1) “For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (JOHN 18:37).

2) “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 JOHN 3:8; cf. HEBREWS 2:14-15).

3) “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (MARK 2:17).

4) “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (LUKE 19:10).

5) “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (MARK 10:45).

6) “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (GALATIANS 4:5).

7) “For God so loved the world that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved” (JOHN 3:16).

8) “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 JOHN 4:9).

9) “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (JOHN 10:10).

10) “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many may be revealed” (LUKE 2:34F).

11) “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (LUKE 4:18).

12) “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarches, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (ROMANS 15:7-8; cf. JOHN 12:27F).

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!

România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari