The Apple Of God's Eye

March 25, 2010

The True Meaning Of The Passover

The Passover is perhaps the most important occasion of the year for true Christians, and this is why there is a dire need to understand its true meaning. If our observance of that memorial is off, it can affect the entire holy day season and the entire year.

Many assume that this first service of the Holy Day season (one of the most powerfully symbolic ceremonies in all of God’s plan), represents the forgiveness of our sins, washing our slate clean. But is this really what Passover is all about?  Do we go to the Passover to have our sins forgiven? No we don’t, as the Passover is a MEMORIAL of the crucifixion of Christ. All of our attention should be on the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for us and who paid the penalty for our sins (John 1:29). We have to get our minds on our own difficulties, inadequacies, sins and limitations and focus on the price that was paid for those sins. If we do that right, we will realize how vile those sins are, that they costs the life of our Creator.

The symbol of the broken unleavened bread during Passover (I Cor. 11:23-24) reveals that Christ’s  body was broken for us so that we can be healed and raised to eternal life, as well as having our physical bodies healed in this degenerate world. He would take those physical penalties Himself so that we can have life more abundantly. So He gave His body to be broken and smashed. We have to focus on what the Lamb went through, so that we can be healed.

All in this world have earned only the death penalty. As Christians, we cannot bring these sins into the family of God. He cannot have the dross of bad character – self-will, impatience, self-trust – in His family. Christ made it possible to put those evils to death, so that we can live. If we break the law, we can have the opportunity to repent. So Christ died for us. (more…)

August 31, 2009

Did Jesus Christ Own A House?

Did Jesus Christ own a home? Traditionally, the consensus seems to run counter to the entire idea of Jesus having a home. Some have attempted to use Matthew 8.20 and Luke 9.58 as proof texts to argue such claims.

By way of a brief background to this question, remember that Luke, the author of Acts and his own Gospel, wrote (as a historian naturally would) in chronological order (see Luke 1:1,3).

Checking the context of the passage in question, we read in Luke 9:51-56: “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he [Jesus] should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him [make arrangements for a place to stay]. And they [the residents of the village] did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.”

The Samaritans in this particular village did not allow Jesus to stay there because He was on His way to Jerusalem. The location of the Temple was a bone of contention between the Jewish people and the Samaritans (see John 4:20). The Samaritans maintained a rival “holy site” on Mount Gerizim.

Now read Luke 9:57-58, remembering the preceding verses: “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

So how do we understand these verses in context? Jesus had wanted to lodge in a Samaritan village on His way to Jerusalem. The citizenry wouldn’t allow it. Therefore, Jesus — in the light of their denying Him overnight accommodations — told the young man that He had no place to stay at the moment.

In other words, at that particular time (“as they went in the way” [verse 57] from one Samaritan village to the next [see verse 56]) He was having difficulty in finding a place to stay overnight on His journey to Jerusalem. It was exemplary of His, at times, difficult ministry.

We also have to remember that when this statement is made, it is when Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem (to die). Logically, then, it only follows that Jesus has left His home for good. He was definitely not going back! These should be taken as narrative markers which reveal the urgency of Christ making His way to Golgotha. He knows it is going to be hostile and He knows He will die. Thus, when He makes this comment to the scribe, He essentially is asking Him to make a choice: Follow me, with the potential of dying or stay here where you are comfortable.

Thus, Jesus did NOT say in Luke 9:57-58 that He did not have a home. More evidence is revealed in John 1:35-39 where John and two others followed Him to where He stayed.

“The next day John was standing there again with two of his disciples. As he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. But when Jesus turned around and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi,” (which is translated “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” He told them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.’

Mark 2:1-2 also says he stayed in a house and a plain English reading of this verse leaves no room for speculation really that Mark places the event he’s speaking of, in the home of Jesus (the Greek seems to suggest the same). There is no pause in the story and no other people mentioned whose home it could have been (it is commonly argued that this is the home of Peter but the text makes no such claim; further, when Jesus did go to Peter’s home just a few verses earlier, Mark didn’t hesitate to make that known). The International Standard Version says “He was at home,” as does the Moffat, and Revised Standard Version. The New International Version even says “He had come home.”

Most scholars believe that Jesus lived and worked in Capernium prior to his ministry. He did travel a lot and many people get all caught up in the idea that Jesus Christ could not own property. They want to hang on to the stereotype of Jesus as a wandering, homeless, peasant preacher. This notion needs to be put to rest. The gospels tell us to open up our homes to the poor and I see no Biblical reason reason to believe that Jesus did not own a home or that He did not open it up to people. People are simply misreading and misanalyzing the scriptures. The original Greek gives no implied meanings stating otherwise.  Jesus always returned to one general area and so it certainly is not out of the realm of possibility that this was where He lived.

March 23, 2009

Did The Father Forsake Jesus On The Cross?

Did the Father forsake Jesus on the cross? The answer is yes, God really DID forsake His Son while He hung on the cross and it is important to understand why.

Except for Jesus Christ, all humans have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Sin, the breaking of God’s law, requires the penalty of death: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Sin also cuts one off from God: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does is will, He hears him” (John 9:31, RAV). Isaiah wrote: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2, RAV).

Nevertheless, when one does repent — change, turn around, go the right way, and overcome — God will hear and answer that person’s request.

So, did Jesus sin? Is that the reason the Father cut Himself off from His only begotten Son who poured out His blood and finally died on the cross? No, not at all. Jesus was perfect. He never sinned. Notice: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:21-22).

Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, willingly took on our sins and, by His shed blood and death, suffered the penalty of sin for us. While He was on the cross, Jesus bore the sins of all of humanity, paying the penalty for them. Therefore, Jesus was cut off from God while on the cross because sin separates man from God. If God the Father was going to accept Jesus’ one supreme sacrifice as payment for the sins of all mankind, He had to turn His back on the sinbearer — Jesus. He had to forsake Jesus and let Him pay the full penalty for our sins.

God so loved the world that He was willing to cut Himself off from His perfect, loving, and obedient Son so that the Son could bear the sins of the world. How great and wonderful God’s love is toward us!

But, remember, God forgives and applies Christ’s sacrifice to only those who have truly repented, those who are willing to turn from their evil ways, the very ways which made Christ’s supreme sacrifice necessary. Christ came to save man FROM his sins — not IN his sins.

Why did Jesus ask the question He asked? Didn’t He know that God had to turn His back on Him and forsake Him while He was carrying the sins of the world? Certainly, Jesus fully realized that God had to forsake Him if the world were going to receive an atonement for its sins. This was one of the reasons Jesus came into the world (John 3:16-17). Why, then, did He ask the question? The answer is that by so doing He fulfilled prophecy.

David too, in a time of trouble, cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (Ps. 22:1).

These words, spoken by a man after God’s own heart hundreds of years before the crucifixion, prophetically applied to Christ. They foreshadowed the utter anguish Jesus felt when God the Father forsook Him.

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