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Does Jesus govern the nations? Is He really that big of a deal?

Does Jesus govern the nations? Is He really that big of a deal?

Jesus is King

Consider this as we start. I know I must adjust my thinking but that is what Jesus always challenges me to do. Jesus is now the King of Kings. Jesus is in charge. Jesus is Master. This is current tense.

I command [you] in the sight of God, who gives life to all things, and of the Messiah Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that as spotless, [that is] unimpeachable, you keep the command until the epiphany of our Master, Jesus the Messiah, 15 which [epiphany] he [God] will exhibit in his own times—[he being] the blessed and only Potentate [one who is in a position of authority to command others], the King of those who exercise kingship and Master of those who exercise mastership, the only one having immortality, inhabiting unapproachable light, whom no human being has seen or can see, to whom [belong] honor and eternal might. Amen | 1 Timothy 6:13-16 Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 847). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

Jesus, as we know, proclaimed the kingdom of God. What that means only really makes sense in the context of prophecies like Daniel, but the New Testament details – which usually seem to be simply ignored – show how it applies to the totality of biblical teaching. If I’m honest, for most of my life I’ve regarded God’s Old Testament kingship as an honorary title (the world being in an ungodly chaos), and the kingdom of the Messiah as a future promise. But that’s not what the Bible teaches.

Future consummation of the kingdom there certainly is, but the New Testament is unanimous in saying that Jesus has already been raised to the right hand of God as King. But if God has always been the king and judge of nations, then Jesus should now be judging the current political systems, not merely being a ruler-in-waiting. And indeed, Rev 1:5 asserts that the risen Jesus is not only the faithful witness, and the firstborn of the dead, but the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” This thought might alter our understanding of Jesus.

Once it’s accepted that God is truly the King of kings, and not merely a constitutional monarch, the point of Jesus’s elevation to the right hand of God can be seen to be this: the intention of God, from Genesis 2 on, that man should govern the world with him has been fulfilled, not in Adam, and not in Israel, but in the man Jesus the Messiah as the forerunner of the redeemed at the final resurrection.

True, before the Incarnation the Son shared the Father’s glory and ruled the nations with him, but the “rod of iron” with which Jesus rules (as a couple of NT passages say) is a humanly wielded rod. The business of judging the nations – the government of the history of sinful humanity’s powers, in other words – is the same as it always was. But now, it is the business of a righteous, loving, human king as well as a righteous, loving Trinity.

There is therefore no divide between the “Old Testament God” and the “New Testament God” in their respective theologies of divine government. Certainly we are in a different era since the resurrection, known as the Last Days, when the message of salvation in the Messiah is complete and is offered to all mankind.

  • Revelation 12:5 — 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
  • Revelation 19:15 — 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.
  • Isaiah 9:6 — 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
  • Psalm 72:8–11 — 8 May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust. 10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him.
  • Psalm 110:2 — 2 The Master will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
  • Zechariah 6:13 — 13 “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Master, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” ’
  • Zechariah 9:10 — 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 will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.
  • Revelation 2:27 — 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;
  • Psalm 2:9 — 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ”

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What does denying Jesus mean?

Jesus is the Truth

The truth is a person. The truth is Jesus. He is the anointed one and Messiah. Jesus is King of God’s country.

There is a whole lot of stuff going on some days that ignores that. I need to be careful because while it sounds interesting and “Christian” it is not.

What is it? It is a lie.

What does it mean that Jesus was anointed?

Jesus came to Bethany the day before Palm Sunday. This actually starts our most holy week! In the Orthodox church, this is known as “Lazarus Saturday”. As a church, we ought to recognize and celebrate this more! The week kicks off with the anointing of Jesus by Mary. What an honor.

Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus. | John 12:1-11 NASB 

Who do we say Jesus is? Jesus wants to know.

Image result for jesus who am i

Jesus asks me lots of questions. This one gets to the core of the issue.

Who is Jesus?

Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, “Who do the people say I am?”

“Some say ‘John the Baptizer,’” they said. “Others say ‘Elijah.’ Still others say ‘one of the prophets.’”

He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”

Peter gave the answer: “You are the Messiah.” | Mark 8:27-29

Who is Jesus? Is He the Messiah?

“Christ” means “Messiah” or “anointed one”. As the Messiah, Jesus is the one who fulfills all old testament expectations. We must recognize Jesus as King (the anointed one) of God’s country.

Is it Mr. Christ? Nope. the Messiah is a title, not a name.

In Hebrew, MESSIAH מָשִׁיַח, (mashiyach) means “anointed” or “an anointed one”. Rendered into Greek as Χριστός (christos), or a verb χρίω (chriō, “to anoint”). In this sense, it is essentially the same to say that Jesus is “Messiah,” or “the Messiah.”

Who is Jesus? Is He Mr. Christ?

Jesus is the anointed King. Jesus is the anointed Priest. Jesus is the anointed Prophet. Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit. In all cases, Jesus is the “Anointed One” by God. Jesus is the Messiah (anointed one).

We hear Jesus Christ all the time. Sometimes it is even said in a profane way. So, is it the last name of Jesus?

Is it Mr. Christ? Nope. Christ is a title, not a name.

I accept Jesus as the Messiah. I pledge my allegiance to Him as the King of God’s country.

Jesus is the Messiah — Are you sure it isn’t Mr. Christ?

Image result for jesus the messiah

We hear Jesus Christ all the time. Sometimes it is even said in a profane way. So, is Christ the last name of Jesus?

“Christ” means “Messiah” or “anointed one”. As the Messiah, Jesus is the one who fulfils all old testament expectations.

Is it Mr. Christ? Nope. Christ is a title, not a name.

These Prophecies of Peace are Fulfilled in the Coming of Jesus the Messiah

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. | Galatians 5:22

Image result for peace with GodThe most prevalent focus to the concept of peace in the New Testament is the messianic peace accomplished by the Messiah and experienced by the Church. “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.” (Acts 9:31).

In the Old Testament, the concept of messianic peace referred to both the absence of hostilities and a reconciled relationship with God and others in the context of the new creation.

What is Christian freedom?

The Bible states emphatically  that believers are free in the Messiah Jesus:

“It is for freedom that the Messiah has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

Before Jesus died on a cross, God’s people lived under a detailed system of laws that served as a moral compass to guide their lives. The Law, while powerless to grant salvation or produce true freedom, nevertheless pointed the way to Jesus.

Through His sacrificial death, Jesus fulfilled the Law, setting believers free from the law of missing God’s goal [aka sin] and death. God’s laws are now written in our hearts through the Spirit of God, and we are free to follow and serve Jesus in ways that please and glorify Him. In a nutshell, this is the definition of Christian freedom.

An important aspect of Christian freedom is our responsibility not to return to living under the Law. The apostle Paul compared this to slavery:

“Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)

Continuing to live under the Law after salvation is merely a legalistic form of religion. We cannot earn righteousness through the Law; rather, the Law’s purpose was to define our sin and show our need of a Savior.

Christian freedom involves living not under the burdensome obligations of the Law but under God’s grace:

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14)

In the Messiah, we are free from the Law’s oppressive system, we are free from the penalty of sin, and we are free from the power of sin.

Christian freedom is not a license to sin. We are free in the Messiah but not free to live however we want, indulging the flesh:

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13, NLT)

Believers aren’t free to sin, but free to live holy lives in the Messiah.

Christian freedom is one of the many paradoxes of the Christian faith. True freedom means willingly becoming a slave to Christ, and this happens through relationship with Him.

In Romans 6, Paul explains that, when a believer accepts Jesus, he or she is baptized by the Spirit into the Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection. At that moment, the believer ceases to be a slave to sin and becomes a slave of righteousness:

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17–18, ESV)

Only Christians know true freedom:

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36)

  • But what does Christian freedom look like in a practical sense?
  • What are we free to do and not do?
  • What can we watch on TV?
  • What can we eat and drink?
  • What can we wear to the beach?
  • What about smoking and drinking?
  • Are there limits to Christian freedom?

In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul gives a practical illustration of Christian freedom:

“‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:23–24, NIV).

In writing to the church in Corinth, Paul mentions members who were attending meals in pagan temples, just as they had done before receiving Jesus as the Messiah. They felt free to continue participating because they thought these festivals were merely a normal part of the social culture. They didn’t see their actions as pagan worship.

Paul laid out several warnings, reminding the Corinthians of Israel’s dangerous flirtation with idolatry in the Old Testament. Then he handled the practical concern of eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

“Everything is permissible,” the Corinthians were saying. True, Paul says; Christians have a great deal of freedom in the Messiah. However, not everything is beneficial or constructive. Our freedom in Jesus must be balanced by a desire to build up and benefit others. When deciding how to exercise our Christian freedom, we ought to seek the good of others before our own good.

In Judaism, restrictions were placed on purchasing meats in the market. Jews could only buy and eat kosher meats. Paul said believers were free in Christ to buy and eat any meat. However, if the issue of meat sacrificed to idols came up, believers were to follow a higher law. Love is what limits Christian freedom.

A little later in the chapter, Paul wrote about eating meat as a guest in someone’s home. Christians are free to eat whatever they are served without questions of conscience. But, if someone brings up that the meat has been offered to an idol, it is better not to eat it for the sake of the person who raised the issue of conscience. While believers have freedom to eat the meat, they are compelled to consider what’s best for those who are observing their behavior.

Romans 14:1–13 raises a key determiner in understanding the limits of Christian freedom. In the passage, Paul again brings up the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols and also observing certain holy days. Some of the believers felt freedom in the Messiah in these areas while others did not. Their differing perspectives were causing quarrels and disunity. Paul emphasized that unity and love in the body of Jesus are more important than anyone’s personal convictions or Christian liberty:

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:13)

Essentially, Paul’s message to the New Testament believers and to us today is this: even if we believe we are right and have Christian freedom in an area, if our actions will cause another brother or sister to stumble in his or her faith, we are to refrain out of love.

Paul spoke again of the matter in 1 Corinthians 8:7–9:

“Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”

The issue in New Testament times was eating meat offered to idols; today there are other “gray areas” that arise in our Christian walk. Romans 14:1 calls these “disputable matters,” areas where the Bible does not give clear-cut guidelines on whether a behavior is sin. When we are faced with gray areas, we can rely on two guiding principles to regulate our Christian freedom: let love for others compel us not to cause anyone to stumble, and let our desire to glorify God be our all-encompassing motive.

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How do the miracles of Jesus reveal and confirm his Messianic credentials and the coming of God’s Kingdom?

Image result for miracle jesusThere are so many stunning, amazing and supernatural acts of Jesus. They reveal and confirm his Messianic credentials. They announce the coming of God’s kingdom. The miracles of the Messiah are to be seen as an integral part of his ministry and are signs that point to the power of God.

We tend to think of the dramatic miracles where Jesus heals the sick. Jesus also casts out demons with evil obeying Him. Most amazing of all, Jesus raises the dead. Jesus also had authority of nature and natural forces. Jesus establishes that “nothing is impossible with God”.

John tells us that “many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

The Greek word for miracle is δύναμις dunamis, doo´-nam-is. Think of the power of dynamite. It is stunning and amazing power, i.e. the power of the Holy Spirit from God the Father. It is the power that raised Jesus from the dead, never to die again.