Friday, May 26, 2017

44 - Pope Peter: The Married Pope


He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. Mat 3:16.  This statement about John may well be the key to defining the ministry of Christ. 


   And rising up from the synagogue, He entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was being seized with a great fever.  And they asked Him for her. 
   And standing over her, He rebuked the fever. And it left her. And immediately she arose and served them. 
   And the sun sinking, all, as many as had sick ones with different kinds of diseases brought them to Him. And laying hands on each of them, He healed them. 
   And also demons came out of many, crying out and saying, You are the Christ, the Son of God! And rebuking them, He did not allow them to speak; for they knew Him to be the Christ. 
   And day coming on, going out, He went into a deserted place. And the crowds looked for Him and came to Him, and held Him fast, not to pass away from them. 
   And He said to them, I must proclaim the gospel, the kingdom of God, to other cities, because I was sent on this mission. 
   And He proclaimed in the synagogues of GalileeLuke 4:38-44 

It should be noted that not all three synoptic gospels record the same events in the same sequence and at places this can cause some confusion.  However, as far as I can tell these differences do not cause any major changes in the truths that are taught.


The Married Pope


Especial interest attaches to the mention of the mother-in-law of Peter, as proving that Jesus chose a married man to be an apostle, the very apostle from whom the celibate ministry of Rome professes to have received the keys. EBC 

Even if one believes that the church is to have a human leader (pope), which is a teaching the Bible opposes, the teaching that that leader (pope) should not be married is in direct opposition to the teaching of the Bible.  It is totally ironic that the Roman Catholic church chose Peter, a married man, to be the first pope of the church.  

For more on the leadership in the church see: https://kristamariia.wordpress.com/


After Christ had spoken in the synagogue He and His four disciples went directly to Simon's and Andrew's house.  

And they asked Him for her.  This could mean that she wanted to ask Christ to heal her but she was not feeling "up to it" so the sons-in-law ask Him.  

Some versions have, they asked Him concerning her.  However, if this is the right wording it seems that it should have been asked after Christ had seen the patient, not before, as we have it in the book of Luke.

I wonder if Simon asked Christ to come to his house because his wife's mother was sick.  As soon as they arrived at Simon's home they told Christ about his wife's mother's sickness; probably a local fever for which that lake shore was notorious, and which was bred from the malaria of the marsh. EBC


Simon had never seen Christ heal anyone and maybe he was thinking, Well if this man can cast out demons maybe He can also heal the sick?  I will just find out for myself.

Not only did Christ heal her but she felt "as good as new".  Immediately after the healing she arose and served them.  



Dr. Luke


Luke was a medical doctor and it is interesting that of all three writers of the synoptic gospels he is the only one that mentions;
  1. Simon's mother-in-law was seized with a great fever.
  2. Christ was standing over her bed, as a doctor would.
Here are a few ideas about the involvement an apostle's wife might have had in her husband's ministry:

When St. Paul’s apostolic authority was impugned (assailed by words), he insisted that he had the same right to bring with him in his travels a believing wife, which Peter exercised.  Have we not power, (Privilege, Strong G1849) to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 1 Cor. 9:5  (Read Cephas as Peter or Simon).

And Clement of Alexandria tells us that Peter’s wife acted as his coadjutor (a co-worker), ministering to women in their own homes, by which means the gospel of Christ penetrated without scandal the privacy of women’s apartments.
EBC.

It is interesting that Christ healed the mother-in-law on the Sabbath but He did not heal the crowds of the sick until after sunset. On the Jewish calendar, Shabbat ends at nightfall, when three stars are visible, approximately 40 minutes after sunset and the first day of the week begins. Wikipedia, Judaism 101

It is sad that so often religious rules stand in the way of human welfare.  Christ had been in Peter's house ever since "church was out" but no sick people were brought to Christ for healing before sunset.  

This might have been either because the distance was further than "a Sabbath day's walk" or because carrying a sick person was more weight than was allowed to be carried on the Sabbath.  

Cold religion can be so unfeeling, murderous even, as we see in the history of the church.  Fortunately many Christians have stepped outside the restraining church walls and have become involved in humanitarian agencies instead.

as many as had sick ones with different kinds of diseases brought them to Him. And laying hands on each of them, He healed them.  

also demons came out of many, crying out and saying, You are the Christ, the Son of God! And rebuking them, He did not allow them to speak; for they knew Him to be the Christ.  One thing Christ did not need is some demons going about associating themselves with the Son of God.  It might have spread Christ's fame, with negative consequences, but He was not looking for fame; His mission was to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Christ had been working miracles ever since sunset and now after a little bit of sleep rising up quite early in the night, He went out and went away into a deserted place, and He was praying there. Mark 1:35 

the crowds ... came to Him, and held Him fast, not to pass away from them.  They tried to hang on to Him but He made it clear to them that His mission was to proclaim the gospel, the kingdom of God, to other cities also. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

43 - Christ's Ministry Branches Out

 


   And walking along beside the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 
   And Jesus said to them, Come after Me and I will make you fishers of men.  
   And immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 
  And when He going farther from there a little, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 
   And immediately He called them. 
  And they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went after Him. Mark 1:16-20


The First Four Disciples 


Matthew and Mark both tell about the choosing of the first four disciples and according to them, it happened before Christ, for the first time, cast out a demon.  Christ did not choose "nose in the air", pompous, known for their riches men;  He chose the common working man to start with; four fishermen - two sets of brothers; namely, Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John.


Many great men look down on the “common” people, but Jesus never did. He was not like British playwright George Bernard Shaw, who said: “I have never had any feeling for the working classes, except a desire to abolish them, and replace them with sensible people.”
Guzik

Luke makes a scant reference to the choosing of the first four disciples.  He simply writes And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:10-11

An Amazing Message 


Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mar 1:14-15  

And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon and cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone! What is to us and to You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know You, who You are, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be quiet and come out of him! And when the demon had thrown him into the midst, he came out of him, not harming him. And they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out. Luke 4:31-35

It was Christ's style to go to the synagogue on Saturdays and preach.  Of course, He preached only from the Old Testament because the New Testament had not yet been written.

The method in the synagogue is different than it is in our churches where we have only one sermon in a service.  In the synagogue, the presiding elder, after reading the Scriptures, invited anyone who chose to address the people. ... we find him (Christ) often availing himself of this privilege, and delivering his doctrines to the Jews. Barnes. The people were astonished at his message and His style.

If His preaching astonished them just imagine how they felt after the next incident.

in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon.  Bible commentaries agree that at times this man must have been lucid because if he wasn't he would not have been allowed to enter the synagogue.  So while he was in the synagogue the demon, using the man's voice cried out

Here is an interesting note about being demon possessed.  In describing the man who is demon possessed, Mark uses the same grammar Paul used to describe the Christian’s being “in Christ” (But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, 1Co_1:30). This unclean spirit was the evil “lord” of this poor man’s life.

i. The similarity in the wording between the Christian having Jesus and this man having a demon demonstrates that He is in us, we are in Him. We are “Jesus possessed” in the right sense, because His filling and influence is only for good.

ii. Even as Jesus can live in us, so one uninhabited by Jesus can be inhabited by a demon if the invitation is extended, either consciously or unconsciously. Exposure to things such as spiritism, astrology, occult practices and drugs are dangerous. They open doors to the demonic which are better left closed.
Guzik

The demon ... cried out ... Let us alone!  The demon spoke in the plural; he did not want himself and other demons to be cast out of their hosts. 

The phrase Let us alone is absent in many translations.

What is to us and to You.  Very few translations use this confusing term.  Much more common are words with this meaning; Ah! what have we to do with thee?

Have You come to destroy us?  The idea expressed in some commentaries is that the demon said that since the earth is Satan's domain Christ had no business meddling with them.

I know ... who You are, the Holy One of God.  The demon knew that Christ was the Holy One of God but this was a fact that the Jewish leaders just could not grasp.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be quiet and come out of him!  And when the demon had thrown him into the midst, he came out of him, not harming him.

  1. A synagogue is a place of worship, not bedlam, so demon, be quiet and  
  2. leave this poor man alone.  The demon came out of the man without harming him although there a case recorded in the New Testament where the demons actually hurt the host.
Again, the witnesses were amazed at what this man could do.  

He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. Mat 3:16.  This statement may well be the key to defining the ministry of Christ. 

If we were to put the proper emphasis on this statement, in Mat. 3:16, it would answer a lot of questions concerning the ministry of Christ.  For example: How could Christ walk on water? How could Christ raise the dead? How could Christ cast out demons?  How could Christ ........?  The answer to that kind of question is answered in Matthew 3:16.
  

Friday, May 12, 2017

42 - Christ's Messaage to Capernaum


He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. Mat 3:16.  This statement may well be the key to defining the ministry of Christ. 


   And leaving Nazareth, He came and lived in Capernaum, which is on the seacoast, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali, 
    so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying,      "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations! 
   The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death." 
   From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Mat 4:13-17.


Christ Leaves Home



  When Christ left Nazareth, after His close encounter with death by being thrown off a cliff, He went back to Capernaum on the coast of the Sea of Galilee.  Matthew writes that this was so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The land ... beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations! The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death." Isaiah 9:10


   The people who sat in darkness.  This is an interesting statement considering the area of Israel to which it refers.  Galilee was predominately Gentile in its population. Guzik.  It has been estimated that 70% of the people there were non-Jewish, they sat in darkness.  This area of Israel was known as "Galilee of the Gentiles," a portion of the country which had been overrun more than any other by the foreign invader, and therefore known as "the region and shadow of death". EBC

  The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light.  The light of the world (John 8:12) came walking to them on two feet and He preached to them the same message that runs through the whole Old TestamentRepent! Mat. 4:17.  It was the same message that John the Baptist had preached and the same message that is predominate throughout the New Testament.  

  The message is not if you want to go to heaven you must do good deeds, or you must go to confession; it is not even you must help the needy.  It is simply, Repent.  Ask Jehovah to forgive you for the sins you have committed.  Accept the fact that because of Christ's death and resurrection Jehovah will forgive you; at the same time remembering that faith without works is dead. James 2:20.    the faith which does not produce good works is useless in the matter of salvation. Barnes


    Repentance, of course, involves a change in one's mindset so that the sins that are repented of are replaced with doing good deeds and helping the needy and having a high standard of morals.  In many cases, it involves a total change in lifestyle; for those who were born into a home where Christian values were taught the outer change might be almost imperceptible.

   For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Mat 4:17.   The gospel that John the Baptist and Christ preached was not the gospel of salvation through the death of Christ.  It was the message that the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  Those of us who grew up in the Evangelical faith, by default, believe that Christ preached the message of Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension.  That was an impossible message for Christ to preach - that message did not yet exist.

   Christ's message was - the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  It was not until after the spirit of God descended on the Church on the day of Pentecost that the death and resurrection of Christ became the main topic of The Christian Church.     
   The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, Repent and believe the Gospel.’” Then this misleading author (Edward F. Hills, ThD) asks, “And what Gospel was this which Jesus commanded all who heard him to believe? ... That he should die on the cross for sinners.” This is a complete falsehood, since at this stage Jesus said not a word about his death! 

   In Matthew 16:21 (=Mark 8:31) ... Jesus first begin to speak a word about his vitally important death! Yet he had been preaching as the basis of the saving Gospel the Good News ... about the Kingdom of God. That primary element of the Gospel, its basis, has been lost from popular evangelism, and this calls for major reform.
Anthony Buzzard^

_________________________________________
^ Focus on the Kingdom, Vol. 17 No. 4, January, 2015


Friday, May 5, 2017

41 - A Prophet is Not Without Honour


   But when Jesus heard that John was thrown into prison, He went back into Galilee. Mat. 4:12

   And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. And a report went out throughout all the neighborhood concerning Him. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And, as His custom was, He went in to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 

   And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And unrolling the book, He found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and new sight to the blind, to set at liberty those having been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 


   And rolling up the book, returning it to the attendant, He sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears. And all bore witness to Him and wondered at the gracious words which came out of His mouth. And they said, Is this not Joseph's son? 

   And He said to them, You will surely say this proverb to Me, Physician, heal yourself. Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in your native-place. And He said, Truly I say to you, No prophet is accepted in his native-place. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. But Elijah was not sent to any of them, except to Zarephath, a city of Sidon, to a woman, a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. And hearing these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and thrust Him outside the city, and led Him up to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, in order to throw Him down. But passing through the midst of them, He went away. And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. Luke 4:14-31



The  Upstart Preacher


   After Jesus had been tempted by the devil he went back to the neighbourhood around Nazareth, His hometown, and preached in various synagogues in the power of the Spirit. 

   He was glorified by all. 3:15.  The word glorified, in this sentence, does not mean to worship but to be held in high esteem. Strong #1392.

   He came to Nazareth ... And, as His custom was He went in to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.  

   The attendant brought to Him a copy of Isaiah from which to preach.  He read The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to:
  • proclaim the Gospel to the poor. 
  • heal the brokenhearted, 
  • to proclaim deliverance to the captives, 
  • and new sight to the blind, 
  • to set at liberty those having been crushed. Isaiah 61:1-2
   After He had read the Scriptures He returned the scroll to the attendant and sat down to preach.  Everyone in attendance was fixated on Him.  He said, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears.  They listened carefully and liked what He said.  Nevertheless they could not figure it out.  They were almost sure that this preacher was the son of a certain carpenter they knew.  "But where did He learn to speak so well?"

   Christ continued speaking, You will surely say this proverb to Me, Physician, heal yourself.  Also, you are going to say to me, Miracles like you did in Capernaum, do them here too, we want to see for ourselves if what we have heard is true.  Then Christ spoke those words which have become a proverb of their own, No prophet is without honour except in his own country. 

   Then Christ gave them some examples to verify His statement:
  • In the days of Elijah, there was a great famine but Elijah was not sent to feed widows; except the one in Sidon in the country of Phoenicia
  • During Elisha's time there were a lot of lepers all over Israel but only Naaman, a Syrian, was cured of leprosy.  So you see what I'm saying, a prophet cannot work miracles among his own people.
   Well, this rubbed the listeners the wrong way, in fact, they were filled with wrath.  Some were satisfied to oust him out of the city, others thought, no way is he getting off that easily.  So they forced Him to the brow of the hill ... in order to throw Him down.  Pushing someone off a small cliff was often the first step in the process of stoning. Once the victim fell down, they were pelted with rocks until dead. Guzik.  One can imagine that while the two opposing groups of people were arguing about what action they should take, Christ escaped by passing through the midst of them.

    He left Nazareth and went back to Capernaum and continued His preaching there.  Later on, when the Lord appointed seventy others He said, into whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, going out into the streets say, Even the dust of your city which clings to us, we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near you. Luke 10:1+10-11.  I wonder, was Christ thinking of this incident in Nazareth.