Friday, September 27, 2019

The Names of God - Christ, the King of Israel

Christ, the King of Israel
(Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews)

Mark 15:32 (ESV)
Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

As Jesus was hanging on the cross, after being beaten, mocked, and spat upon, continued to be derided by those responsible for His crucifixion. Pilate, after the trial, wrote an inscription that was placed on the cross.

John 19:19-20 (ESV)
Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.

These were intended to be derogatory terms to further humiliate the man they were putting to death. Jesus never said He had come to be their king. At His trial, Jesus was asked the question. He did not confirm their accusation.

Matthew 27:11-14 (ESV)
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

After Jesus was born there were wise men that came to Jerusalem searching for the One for whom the sign was given, the “star in the east,” that they had followed. They referred to Jesus as “the king of the Jews.”

Matthew 2:1-2 (ESV)
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

This is a contributing factor to the confusion that Jesus’ disciples, the ones who walked with Him every day for years, thought He had come to conquer the Romans and free Israel from their oppression. John’s record of the conversation with Pilate gives us a better picture of how Jesus described His role as a king.

John 18:33-37 (ESV)
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Jesus did admit He was a King, but not the “King of the Jews,” nor the “King of Israel,” but He was King over all creation! This Man is Christ Jesus, the Lord!

The fact that Jesus was born a Jew (nationality) was to fulfill prophecy that there would be a messiah that would come through the lineage of David, from the tribe of Judah, born in Bethlehem of a virgin. He then lived a sinless life according to the Law of Moses so that He could then be given as the Spotless Lamb, the Eternal Sacrifice, which would take away the sin of the world. He did not come the first time to conquer an earthly kingdom, but to conquer the spiritual kingdom that ruled the earth.

Revelation 1:5-6 (ESV)
… and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The second time He comes, He will come as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and will conquer everything!

Revelation 19:16 (ESV)
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

This is why we worship Christ Jesus, the Lord. We bow our knee to Him now, so when He comes the second time we will be WITH Him!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Names of God - Chief Cornerstone

Chief Cornerstone
Living Stone
Precious Cornerstone
Stone of Israel
Stone of Stumbling
Stone of Offense
Stone Which the Builders Rejected
Tried Stone

Psalm 118:22 (NKJV)
The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

Matthew 21:42 (NKJV)
Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD'S doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes'?

1 Peter 2:6-8 (NKJV)
Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame."

Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

1 Peter 2:4 (ESV)
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, …

Isaiah 28:16 (ESV)
… therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’

Genesis 49:24 (ESV)
… yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

Isaiah 8:14 (ESV)
And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Romans 9:33 (ESV)
… as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Acts 4:11 (ESV)
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

1 Peter 2:4-5 (ESV)
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

If you built any kind of structure during Biblical days it probably was made of stone. Even when Israel was in Egypt they made brick (stones) to use for building. It makes sense then that the stone would be used as an analogy for describing Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven. The primary concern when building with stones in that day was to cut the stones true (square) and to lay them level. Every building project began by placing the cornerstone from which every other stone would be placed.

When Christ came to earth as Jesus, the Son of Man, He became the Chief Cornerstone for the Kingdom God wanted to manifest to the world. Christ, as the pre-incarnate Word, part of the Trinity, was already the Chief Cornerstone upon which everything else was built. When God came down to live among men Christ became a Living Stone, a Tried Stone (tempted in every way, yet without sin), a Stone Which the Builders Rejected.

Israel was looking for a messiah that would deliver them from the oppression of Rome. They wanted another king that would conquer their enemies and restore the sovereignty of Israel. They did not understand that the Kingdom God wanted to establish among them would be a spiritual Kingdom, not an earthly one. They rejected Jesus as their messiah not knowing they were casting away the very Cornerstone upon which the entire creation was framed.

The religious leaders in Israel had become masters of The Law. They lived “blameless” because of all the loopholes they had added to the law that allowed them to keep it without fault. When the Living Cornerstone arrived He began to point out the flaws in their system and exposed the motives behind their version of The Law. The Messiah had come, but instead of a conqueror He became a Stone of Stumbling, a Rock of Offense, that would lead Israel, and the world, to repentance.

The English language has a mechanism called double entendre: a phrase that can be interpreted two ways. Such is the case with the Stone of Stumbling when used to describe Christ. For the pious, Christ will cause them to stumble down from their place of arrogance and snobbery toward God, but for the meek it becomes a place of transformation into the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 21:44 (ESV)
And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

You can be broken by it falling on you in judgment, or you can become broken and fall on it in repentance. Through the miracle of salvation that occurs when we identify with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right hand of the Father, we are immediately launched into a new role of “living stones,” bearing the testimony of Christ to our world.

Jesus made a promise that was misunderstood by many, and I believe is still being misunderstood today.

John 2:18-22 (ESV)
So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

The body of Jesus was “destroyed” on the cross. He died a horrible death at the hands of the religious leaders because He was a Stone of Offense. The Jews could only think of the stones of the temple, and how it took many years to custom-fit every stone to exact measurements to ensure it would be a strong edifice.

When Jesus was resurrected, His earthly body came back to life. But more importantly, His spiritual Body, the Church, was brought to life! Not a building made with hands like the temple, but instead, a building of living stones that declare His works in the earth. The Church has never been and will never be a building. The Church of Jesus Christ is a living organism of souls joined together for the purpose of revealing the Kingdom of Heaven to the people of earth. We now live to give Him praise.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Names of God - Christ In You, the Hope of Glory

Christ In You, the Hope of Glory

Colossians 1:27 (ESV)
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I can think of no greater promise than this in scripture. It is so simple, yet multifaceted, like most things related to God. First of all, “God chose to make known …” He created mankind for the purpose of fellowship. He has shown, and does show, His love, character, and nature to us every day. We do not have to live in isolation wondering if there is a god. He has given us His names, which reveal so much about Himself.

Secondly, God chose to include everyone, both Hebrew and Gentile. The same “riches” God gave to His chosen ones, Israel, has now been made available to all people through Christ. These riches are given through the New Covenant written and enacted by Jesus through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the Father.

Thirdly, Christ now indwells the Believer through the Person of the Holy Spirit, sent as Jesus promised to indwell us forever! Once a person is saved, the pursuit begins to be conformed to the image of Christ; primarily by the renewing of the mind.

Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

This renewal occurs by reading and meditating on the Word of God. It comes during seasons of prayer and worship with the Father. It is further developed by having fellowship with other Believers, becoming accountable to one another in the Body of Christ.

This “hope of glory” we have because of Christ is described more fully by Paul in his writing to the Church at Ephesus:

Ephesians 1:11-12 (ESV)
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

We have the hope of bringing glory to Christ! Let us help the Father by exposing the Kingdom of Heaven to our world. This is the heart of evangelism. “Be” to the praise of His glory by sharing Christ, who is in you, with your world around you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Names of God - Bread of God

Bread of God

John 6:33 (ESV)
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

There are no wasted words in scripture. In The Names of God: Book I, we looked at Bread of Life – Jesus. However, Jesus referred to Himself as both the Bread of God and the Bread of Life. Perhaps there is a reason.

Before you are born again the Holy Spirit is at work to woo you, to draw you to Jesus. He places in front of you the Bread of God – that which is given by grace to reveal to you His goodness and to give you a desire for more. This is similar to the manna God gave Israel in the wilderness. He was developing a relationship with a people that had forgotten Him. Four hundred years in Egypt had cause their knowledge and love for the Creator to grow cold, indifferent.

After working their release from Pharaoh, God showed mercy in bringing them back to Himself by feeding them manna (Bread of God – Jesus), giving the water from a rock (The Rock – Jesus), providing shade from the intense heat (Cloud by Day), and warmth in the cool evenings (Fire by Night). All of this was done because God wanted to introduce Himself as the God of more than enough. He wanted to show Israel that He loved them and had a plan for them.

In like fashion, God comes to us who also are in a wilderness, separated from our Creator. Before we ever knew He existed the Holy Spirit was at work, drawing us toward Jesus. People were placed in our path to speak the Truth to us. Others demonstrated the love of God in order to show us how God intended for us to live. This is all the Bread of God, sent from Heaven to give us life.

Once you become a Christian you then begin the process of becoming like Christ. You develop a hunger for more than just manna (Bread of God). You begin to feast on the Bread of Life! You desire to know Him, to speak with Him, to walk with Him. In doing so, you become the Bread of God to others. When people see the transformation in your life it will begin to draw them to Jesus. And the cycle continues.

The primary difference is this: unlike Israel did with manna, we will never grow weary of a diet filled with the Bread of Life!