September 10, 2009
This week in our study we read from Daniel 5, John 17: 1-19, Acts 2 and Mark 11: 1-11. In Daniel 5 we saw the authority of God being displayed over an evil king of Babylon. Daniel is rewarded by the king for pronouncing judgment on him by reading the writing on the wall. God is in full control and he is righteous; allowing pride to rule over respect and humility where God is concerned is a deadly decision. We decided that we would rather humble ourselves as opposed to God humbling us.
John 17: 1-19 shows the heart of Jesus as he prays for himself, his disciples and other believers. In verse 3 Jesus puts life into perspective by saying, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” This is a powerful statement to show us the essence of eternal life that being to KNOW HIM! This is all that matters, if we know him, all of life falls into place. To know him must be our greatest urgency and priority in life.
Another interesting verse occurs in last half of John 17: 12, Jesus speaks of the one “doomed to destruction”. This was an interesting observation to us as it is not a generally accepted thought in the Christian society that there are those among us who are doomed to destruction. Judas was hand- picked by God for the very task of betraying Jesus. Judas was a devout disciple; he hung out with Jesus every day. He saw the miracles and he heard Jesus teach right from his own lips and yet here he is “doomed to destruction.” We talked about the fact that if there is no darkness we cannot perceive the light. God allowed darkness so that his light shines ever brighter and he receives all the glory.
Verse 15 may be a bit disturbing as well to those who believe in a “rapture” of the church. Here Jesus himself prays for his disciples (those who believe and adhere to the teaching of Jesus) that they NOT be taken out of the world but that they be protected from the evil one. I think that whether we are “raptured” or whether we go through tribulation doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we have eternal life as Jesus stated in John 17: 3, that we KNOW HIM and are prepared for his return. In our fast paced society we want everything to be easy and we want it now. Could there be a similarity between the “rapture” doctrine and the way we live? This is a question for the Holy Spirit.
Acts chapter 2 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible; I love it because the power of the Holy Spirit is on display! We discussed the reason for this display and came up with several reasons. The power was displayed to:
1. Prove to the people who had followed Jesus and the world that he was who he said he was. (Verse 36)
2. The power is shown to convict the hearts of the unbelievers and reveal their sin to them in order that they should repent and be saved! (Verse 38)
3. As all these people were speaking in the different native tongues of all the nationalities in Jerusalem at that time it was a sign that the salvation that Jesus died to bring us and baptism of the Holy Spirit is for everyone. (Verse 39)
It was a revelation to me to come to the understanding that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is to help people believe and receive salvation. It doesn’t matter what the manifestation is be it healing, deliverance, speaking in tongues, or a million other ways God may choose, the whole point is to show people that God is real and he is who he says he is! The display of the Spirit’s power in my life was made clear to me and others around me as I walked with Danni through her time of cancer. This same power made itself known in Danni as well. I said many, many times as people asked me how I was doing it that it wasn’t me but the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me and in Danni! This is the truth and I experienced it! I give God the Glory and believe in him!
Mark 11:1-11 is the triumphal entry of Jesus. The people proclaimed prophetically with shouts of “Hosanna in the Highest” that Jesus came to save us. The whole study this week related to the coming of Christ and our readiness. Jesus will come triumphant again only this time in a spectacular display of power and majesty! Will you be ready? Will I be ready? Do we really know him?
Ask him to come into your heart today, confess your sins to him…he knows all about them anyway he sees everything, and believe in him. Ask him for the Holy Spirit to baptize you and fill you and get to know him, don’t put it off we have no guarantee of our next breath. Today is the day of Salvation. Now is the time.
September 10, 2009