At The ROOT Of It All

He Himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1Peter 2:24-25)

According to this section of Scripture in 1 Peter, why did Jesus die? Take a close look at the reason that He was crucified for us.

Secondly, the scripture states that “by His wounds you have been healed.” From what did Jesus heal you?

Before we can fully understand what Peter is teaching us here, we need to dig deeper into the soil of scripture to tie this all together. Let’s start by looking at Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Now let’s compare this section in scripture from Isaiah to Matthew 8:16-17 where we will witness the fulfillment of the One Isaiah speaks about.

When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”

So now, according to 1 Peter 2:24-25, and after comparing it to Isaiah 53 and Matthew 8, what do you think the main teaching is for Christians and our understanding of being healed and how that leads to a life submitted to Christ in righteousness .

Make sure you are letting scripture flow with scripture so that you see the beautiful weaving of truth throughout the vine! You see, the root of all of these things that we suffer from is SIN. Jesus came to not only pay the penalty required for sin, not only to set you free from the bondage of sin, but He also came to HEAL you from the wounds of sin. Sin and its effects is what causes sickness, demon possession, broken relationships and so much more. In this fallen world of sin, we are it’s victims. We are the evidence of it’s wounds. We are the unjust and yet Christ who did only good, suffered for us that we may be healed from the power and effects of sin.

Now do you understand this scripture and it’s meaning? I hope as you dig deeper into the soil of truth and get at the root of it all, you will see and understand why Jesus came and what His death and resurrection really mean for all of us who choose to live for Him.

And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. (Luke 5:18-25)

For you see, Jesus did not just say to the man, Be healed and “get up.” No, His words here speak clearly to the testimony of what really weakens us, binds us and separates us from walking in the fullness of truth. They also speak to the truth of who Christ was and what He had come for. Jesus was teaching that day, that sin was at the root of our problems and at the root of what has caused such pain and suffering on this earth and that when He healed us from it’s effects, (because of our coming to Him in faith), we are now free to walk, not in the bondage of the flesh, but the newness of the Spirit!

A Journey With The Ark

God, the Covenant keeping One, is always at work in our midst. I have learned through my years of being discipled by Him, that nothing He does is pointless. It is so full of rich meaning and wisdom and truly reveals who He is. I can’t think of a better image that He uses throughout the Bible than His ark.

The ark has always been a beautiful picture of His covenant (promises). We first see this in His plan for Noah to build an ark in the midst of a wicked, sin filled world that was about to come under Gods divine judgement. God designs the plans for this righteous family to find shelter and protection from His judgement. An even more beautiful picture is Gods design in the plan of the ark to include only 1 door. This covenant God was making with Noah and His family still only gave them one door they could enter through to find Gods protection and mercy.

The next time an ark shows up in history is with another chosen group called the Israelites. God calls for the exact design of the ark of the covenant which will in turn house 3 important pieces that represent His presence. The manna, Aaron’s staff and the tablets. Each one of these items represent such a beautiful picture of the living God and who He is. The manna which represents His provision, the very bread of life we need. Aaron’s staff that had budded, showing that God chooses the head of His people, our leadership and finally the tablets which reflect Gods Word, His perfect law.

It would be centuries later before another ark came onto the scene, but in the most unexpected place. The ark of the covenant that has disappeared from the scene so long ago was now going to be found in none other than a tomb. The day that the disciples came to the tomb they didn’t find it empty. While they may have not found Jesus there they certainly did find something far more revealing. As they looked in what they saw were two angels. One seated at each end of the “mercy seat” where Jesus’ body would have been laid. For the first time they were getting a glimpse inside the ark of the covenant. There had laid the manna, the very bread of life and our perfect provision. There had laid Aaron’s budded staff, Gods chosen leader and the head of His chosen people. And there laid the tablets, the Word made flesh, the very fulfillment of the law. You see Gods ark was always meant to conquer our greatest enemy, death, Hell and the grave.

It’s no wonder, by the time we get to Revelation 11, after we see Gods judgement starting on the earth, that John looks up and behold he sees the ark of the covenant in heaven. (And the Temple was opened in Heaven, and the Ark of his covenant appeared in the Temple, and there were lightnings, thunders, voices, earthquakes and large hail.)

From the beginning of time until the end of time, we will look back on our journey through this wilderness called life and find, that if we have become His people, we have not been left alone, but we have always been journeying with His Ark! 

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”  And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. – Jonah 3:4-5

One of the most profound understandings we can gain from scripture about God’s character, is that God doesn’t care about man’s opinion in regards to what He has spoken. He has shown us over and over again that His ways are not our ways. The reality is God desires mercy but man desires revenge. God longs to save the lost and man desires to save face.

That is never more evident than in the account of Jonah. As you read the scripture above, I am sure you noticed that Jonah was sent to the people to deliver a warning. A not so encouraging message, that certainly wan’t meant to build up their self esteem, but instead overthrow their self deception of their own condition. Yet in spite of such a seemingly harsh message, came a Word so rooted in mercy.

You see, the harshness and revenge would have been in not delivering the difficult message. The very thing Jonah didn’t want to do, because he feared that these sinful people would repent at the message. It’s the desire that Satan plants within your mind to keep quiet so that you can save face. The desire to please self, rather than please God. The desire for God to forgive you when you have wronged Him, but not others. It’s the desire to not speak truth about one’s condition in hopes that they DO get the judgement we feel they deserve. In spite of Jonah’s flesh, God’s Spirit prevailed and in the end, mercy triumphed over judgement.

And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.  Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.- Jonah 3:7-10

You see, delivered in that warning and rebuke was not just a warning of judgement, but a way to mercy. Take a minute and look up the Hebrew transliteration for the words “Nineveh shall be overthrown” and see what you discover from the LORD today. Pay close to attention to the actual meanings. I think you will be moved at the desire of our God in every warning that He sends…….


A Time Of Weeping And Reforming

Oh Church in America how I weep over our false and worthless religion today. We who are grafted in with Judah, because of the Lion of that tribe, Jesus, O how we are falling. How often are we going to grieve His Spirit? The words that the Lord burdened on my heart years ago still weigh heavy today. Will any of us hear the warnings and see? Will we remember what we have heard and truly repent? Or will we find that our religion is worthless and was built on sinking sand?  I pray these Words of the Lord will speak to you as they have spoken to me. The things spoken of in the past, are still being spoken to us today. They were warnings to God’s bride Israel, and they are warnings to Christ’s bride, the Church.

Jeremiah 7- This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message: “Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. “Will you steal and murder, committ adultery and purjury, burn incence to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say “We are safe”-safe to do all these detestable things?” Has this house which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord. Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you but you did not answer. Therefore what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers. I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your brothers, the people of Ephraim.”  So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground and it will burn and not be quenched. “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add to your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servents the prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.” When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. Therefore say to them, “This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips. Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under His wrath.

Rev 3 :14 the message to the Church of Laodocia, though it speaks of the same warnings also gives a remnant a hope. The Lord always has a remenant. For those who will remember and repent, return and obey, we will be overcomers because of Jesus Christ and we will be spared from His wrath that is to come. But for those who will not obey, who will continue in their wordly lives and the pleasures of sin, and then enter into the temple of our Lord, the Church that bears His name and declare, “we are safe” there will be judgement .When we declare from our pulpits “Grace and safety”, even while we turn around and live our lives for other gods there will be judgement . We pick and choose the attributes of Christ we want, yet when judgement and warning come, we refuse to hear and obey, because we still believe we are safe. We believe we are rich, we have need of nothing. We preach that the Lord is pleased and is blessing us. We stand for freedom of man to build the church, to market and make his own plans, and then declare it is the Lords blessing. But the Lord is not pleased! He cries out to us in this last hour, knocking at the door to anyone who will listen and realize that the overall state of the Church in America is apostate. We have left the way. We do not obey, nor do we respond to correction. Church, the only prayer or plea the Lord will hear from us today is a genuine prayer of repentance and returning. There is no other hope for us. Let us humble ourselves and pray that times of refreshing may come!

The Life And The Light Of Men

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

In the beginning God spoke through the Word and said, “Let there be light.” It was those very words that brought forth life out of that which was dark and void (empty). If the light was what was needed for creation to come alive, how much more so does that need to be done in our created lives now? Of course, since we diminished that light by allowing sin to creep its way in, God Himself set in motion that actual source of light and life to redeem us from the darkness that now leaves each one of us empty.

As He begins to declare His presence to creation again, He starts with the very symbol that would foreshadow the One who was to come in Exodus 25:31- You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of hammered work: its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. The Lampstand was placed in the first section upon entrance called the Holy Place. Its light was to be tended by God’s servants, so that it never went out and so it could give forth light day and night. It was the only source of light to guide those who entered into His presence in the temple.

It is interesting to note in the command in Exodus, that the lampstand was to be made of one unified piece. The small branches were supported by the main shaft and the oil (Spirit) flowed from the base of the branches through the wicks so they gave off the light that was needed. This reminds us that our unity is only made complete in Christ who is the source of our light.

Sadly, God’s people did not do a great job of tending daily to the “Lampstand” so that His light would not go out. We recognize that as we approach this Passover season. What we witness here, should allow us also to see, that if Jesus Himself is the light of the world as scripture tells us, then there would be significance to that very lampstand being snuffed out. Not surprisingly we do. Matt 27:45 tells us- Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. Of course once the “living Lampstand”, the light of the world was crucified, darkness descended on the earth. It was during these very dark hours that God shook the very temple where man sought to gain access to Him and snuffs out its light and tears its veil. Not only that, but Mark 15:33 reveals to us that Jesus was buried, covered up (like a light hidden under a bowl) at around sunset (early evening). Just as the light of the earth descended behind the horizon, so the light of the world descended into the grave.

Lest we lose all hope, we are reminded of the power of the one who spoke the light of life into the darkness to begin with. Something that the darkness of mankind can never comprehend. Early on the first day of the week, the Son rises (Mark 16:1-2) just as the sun He created rose. It is in this profound moment that God speaks into creation again with the final, LET THERE BE LIGHT. And while the darkness still may not be able to comprehend the One that gives the very source of life, those who do step into the light recognize this one thing. That man can never snuff out what God has ordained, for we are not the source of His life, but He is the source of ours!

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
   of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

A Mystery Of Two Gardens

History teaches us about two gardens with two different scenes, and yet they really are one and the same. The continuation of an encounter between God and man, long ago. Of course, Satan manages to place himself within both gardens with the goal of destruction, but he only finds temporary success (so he believes) in both. Because of the curse of death that entered the first garden through the first Adam, we find ourselves witnessing the payment for that penalty in another garden through the second Adam and the mystery of two gardens unfolds.

Do you know what is so profound about the correlation between the two gardens? In the Garden of Eden there were droplets of blood from an animal shed to cover Adam and Eve in their sins. But this covering was merely temporary, until the answer to the curse in the future garden arrived. Luke chooses to point out to us, that in this Garden, among the Mount of Olives, Jesus the Lamb was in such agony, that His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. It’s almost as if this historian added this specific detail, because He knew to look even further back in history about the One He was proclaiming. But it wasn’t just for the symbolism of the blood that would be poured out as our covering. Place close attention to the PLACE that Jesus begins His suffering and prays for the Father’s will to be accomplished.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane. Matthew 26:36

In Hebrew, the name Gethsemane means Oil Press. The One among the olive trees that are often pressed and crushed, is Himself undergoing the crushing process. A crushing so great on His body, so that the anointing oil of His life, His Spirit, can be poured out to cover all of those who will receive His sacrifice. This is the very “crushing” Isaiah speaks of in regards to the Messiah, when he says in chapter 53:5,10-

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

Isaiah the prophet, reveals to us the very nature and sufferings that the Messiah would endure. In fact, the very word Messiah means Anointed One. The oil from the Olive trees is often synonymous with the anointing of God’s spirit and will, as we see in Leviticus 8:10-12.

Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated them. He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them.  He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him.

How beautifully prophetic it is, that just a few verses earlier in Matthew 26:6, we find the women with the alabaster box anointing the Anointed One with costly oil. Symbolizing that He was the tabernacle of Gods presence dwelling with us. He was the High Priest that that God had consecrated to offer Himself to the grave, so that He could destroy our greatest enemy. Preparing His body for what was so costly for Him to pour out, but so freely for us to receive. As we remember Gethsemane this Passover/Easter season and what it offered us there, let us not forget the fulfillment to God’s promise that it brought us, because of what we brought forth in that first garden.

A Faith That Stands Or Denies

Our Pastor made a profound point today as we read through John 18. He reminded us that Jesus was being sought out and persecuted in the garden for what would eventually lead to His death. Even in the face of attacks, He did not hide, but boldly and confidently stood before his attackers.

Peter on the other hand was in no danger of being arrested or under such intense persecution, yet when merely asked if he knew this Jesus, he denied Him.

As I thought through his statement to us I was reminded, such is the difference between those walking by the flesh and those filled with the Spirit. Boldness vs weakness. In the flesh we are weak, but in His spirit we are made strong. Such would be the transformation at Pentecost with Peter. He was transformed from a hot headed, fearful man who denied Jesus, into a fearless man of God who died for Him.

Knowing this, let us examine our own lives today. As we do, let us ponder in the midst of persecution from the world for our stance on Jesus and the truth of His Word, if we stand up boldly before our attackers, or if we hide from associating with His name and His truth and deny Him instead……