Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

Question #2 (Pilate’s Plight)

Question #2 (Pilate’s Plight)

Last week we took a look at Pilate’s first question to Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?” So rich in its context and with Pilate’s next question we find that Pilate was a man of deep thought and subtle conviction. In response to Pilate’s first question Jesus replied, “Are you speaking for yourself about this or did others tell you this concerning Me?” A question answered by a question answered by a question….

Pilate, in response to Jesus asks, “Am I a Jew?” The idea of the “KING OF THE JEWS” and His love for all humanity has been around for 2000 years. Can the King of the Jews mean anything to anyone other than a Jew? Can the long awaited Jewish Messiah have any meaning for a gentile? The questions just seem to continue from here over the generations since the first recorded question from a gentile to Jesus, “Am I a Jew?” i don’t know but perhaps Pilate’s heart was trying to grasp something greater and even completely unaware begin to bring the message of Hope to all humanity.

Jesus, rises above the question. He presents a new reality to the religious that later is addressed in the letter to the Church in Rome this way, “Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.” a few verses down Paul continues, “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree-some of the people of Israel-have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a  wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also received the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment form the root of God’s special olive tree.” (Romans 11:11-12,17)

Jesus, in His response to Pilate laid the foundation for what Paul writes here to Rome when He said, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My Kingdom is not from here.” In other words, Jesus was simply stating that there is something greater going on here and that redemption is available for all of humanity…God’s love is greater than boarders. Not to say that Israel doesn’t have a sweet spot in God’s heart, we read that in the letter to the Romans but God’s love transcends boarders and is extended to all that believe!

Pilate’s inner turmoil played out for us here delivers a message of eternal hope that regardless of our nationality God is the redeemer of all. And that if Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world neither is ours

You are Loved,

cj

Question 1 (Pilate’s Plight

Question 1 (Pilate’s Plight

We are in the middle of Lent, Passover is just a couple of weeks away. It was during this Feast time that Jesus was arrested and put on trial. He found Himself before Pilate. Pilate was the Governor of the region, he was a Roman, and he represented the interests of the Emperor of Rome.  For the next few weeks we will be looking at this portion of the trial of Jesus, Pilate, asking Jesus 4 questions. You can read them in context in John 18:33-38. Lets examine the first question here:

1. Are You the King of the Jews?
~This question has always interested me. Pilate was aware of Jesus, he may not have been spending much time thinking about him to this point but he definitely had knowledge and knew the name Jesus.  He was a Roman and at the time the Roman Empire was strong. He had no reason to fear an overthrow least of all from the Jews; civil unrest maybe but not a coup d’etat. In the scene right before this one Pilate is talking with the Jewish leaders about the arrest and what exactly they wanted done.

He wasn’t keen on the idea of putting to death an innocent man. However, he was keen on securing his strength as Governor. Therefore he proceeded with the questioning and he started by determining the threat, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Every generation since has asked that same question, is Jesus the King? Is He the Messiah that the Nation of Israel was waiting for? This one question is where we, the disciples of Jesus, start our journey.

Is Jesus who He says He is or is He a lunatic? C.S. Lewis the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia” said, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” He went on to say, “Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”

As we progress towards the cross, as we dig deeper into the person of Jesus we find not only a King, but a Friend and in the end discover our Savior.

You are Loved,

cj

Finding Jesus

Finding Jesus

i have walked past many red kettle pots, gave to some, felt guilty at others. i have waited in lines at the post office, the grocery store, and while shopping for gifts. i have heard sermons, read blogs, listened to music that reflect the season of Christmas.

Our house is decorated, complete with tree lit up in the corner of the living room and stockings all hung by the fireplace with care. The gifts wrapped and placed under the tree stir the anticipation of Christmas morning.

As i look at all the “Christmas” around me and as i am reminded constantly by meme’s on Social Networks, to keep Christ in Christmas. i can’t help but remember the question asked by the wisemen from the east when they stood before Herod, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”  Matthew 2:2

Let me encourage you today to ask that question now through Christmas. As you ponder the question, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” Look for Him, in the red kettle pots, in the lines you stand in, the sermons you hear, blogs you read and songs you hear. Look for Him in your home among the many decorations. And, each time as you find Him as the wisemen did may you be filled with joy.

You are Loved,

cj