All through the Old Testament God sent prophet after prophet to warn His chosen people of the disasters that were coming if they did not repent and stay obedient to His precepts and laws.Instead they rejected and killed the prophets and returned to their unfaithful ways, worshiping idols instead of the living God.
30 Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.” 31 “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started.33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?–Matt. 23:30-33 (NLT)
Now, God has implemented His plan to redeem the fallen world. He sends John the Baptist to prepare the way for His Son, Jesus. He came to this world to save the creatures that He had created. Jesus was Love and Light and completely obedient to His Father. There was no sin in Him. But His own chosen people rejected Him and sent Him to a cross. To those that did believe and receive Him, He has given the right to be called the children of God. If we remain faithful and carry out our mission, we will see Him in His full glory restored and reigning as King of Kings. Wherever we go, we are witnesses and our actions should reflect the honesty and truthfulness of our words.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The trip from Judea to Galilee took Jesus through Samaria. It was a rough journey and Jesus, in His human form, was subject to becoming tired and weary, just as we are. The Samaritans and the Jews were not on the best of terms and rarely, if ever, spoke to each other. Yet, Jesus began to talk to this Samaritan woman and tell her things about her past and her present situation. She realized that He was a prophet and began to question Him about the difference in the traditions of how the Samaritans and the Jews worshipped God. Jesus began to explain these things to her and tells her that was the way things were but those things were changing. The Samaritan woman says that she knows things will change when the Messiah comes. It is then that Jesus reveals to her that He is the Messiah for whom she has been waiting. Jesus uses the words “I AM”. The same words that God had used when Moses asked God, “who shall I say is sending me?” Hearing these words, she immediately becomes a missionary and runs to tell the whole town about Jesus. When Jesus touches us, we have to tell somebody. Do we still have that burning desire to tell people about Jesus, the Messiah, the great “I AM” or has the fire gone out? If we no longer have that desire to tell others about Jesus, perhaps it is time to ask God to light the fires again.
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. 17 Then the Pharisees once again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “This man who opened your eyes — who do you say he is?” The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.” 18 The Jewish leaders wouldn’t believe he had been blind, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he see?” 20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.”22 They said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.” —John 9:16-23 (NLT)
About Jesus, some said He can’t be from God or He wouldn’t heal on the Sabbath. Others asked: then how can He do these miracles? No ordinary sinner could do this.” So, the discussion goes on and on. The Pharisees asked the former blind man “….who do you say He is?” The leaders called the parents to confirm that this man really had been born blind. They testified that he was their son and yes, he had been born blind. But because of their fear of the Pharisees, they denied knowing who healed him or how he was healed. Instead, they said, “he is old enough to speak for himself, ask him”. How sad that these parents could not celebrate the healing of their son because of their fear. Now, we must ask the same question and answer it for ourselves. “Who do you say He is?” Was he just a man? Or was that baby born in a manger early Christmas morning really the Messiah? That baby grew into a man who divided history to “before” (BC) and “after” (AD). His name still divides families and nations today. But that Man also gave His life so that you could be redeemed and live without fear. Accept Jesus and live a life of peace and joy that the world can never know. “Who do you say He is?”
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 These ignorant crowds do, but what do they know about it? A curse on them anyway!” 50 Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, then spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself — no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” 53 Then the meeting broke up and everybody went home.—John 7:47-53 (NLT)
The religious leaders and the Pharisees, the very ones that God had entrusted to shepherd His flock, were the ones that refused to believe that this man, Jesus, was the Messiah. They were well versed in the Old Testament and should have known all the prophecies. It would have been fairly easy for them to find out exactly where Jesus was born and how many of those prophecies His birth and life, up to this point, had fulfilled. The problem was this; if they acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah while He refused to set up an earthly Kingdom, then they would lose their positions and authority to rule over the people. The flesh is stubborn, even in the presence of overwhelming evidence, the flesh wants to hang onto the old ways, so they allowed themselves to be deceived.. Accepting Jesus as the Messiah would have turned their society upside down. Our flesh is the same today. We want a better life but we don’t want to give up fleshly pleasures. We cannot allow ourselves and those around us to be deceived. It is our responsibility to spread the Good News. Jesus died for our sins and we can be set free. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?–Romans 10:13-14 (NLT) Today, tell somebody about Jesus!!
14 When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” 15 When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.–John 6:14, 15 (NLT)
After Jesus had miraculously fed the multitude with a few loaves and a few fish, the people realized that this man was different from anyone they had ever seen before. Jesus knew with their misunderstanding of His purpose here on earth at this time, that they would try to make Him their King. This was the same situation Jesus had with the Pharisees and Sadducees. After all, the Messiah that the Jews were expecting, would build His Kingdom here on earth and be an earthly king. Jesus knew this was not the time for that, so He slips away to be by Himself. The Jews were not looking for a Suffering Servant, they wanted a King to free them from the rule of the Romans. Because of their traditions and their current situation, they wanted a King and they wanted Him now. So, they missed all the blessings of being with Jesus in His first advent here on earth. How many blessings do you and I miss because we have preconceived ideas about when and how God should answer our prayers? How many times do we miss God’s answer because it isn’t what we expected or wanted? How many times have we been upset or angry with God, because we thought He wasn’t listening and answering our prayers? God knows exactly what we need, how much we need, and exactly when we need it. There has never been a prayer that God didn’t answer. No matter what we are going through here and now, Jesus is fully aware of it and He never asks us to go through anything alone. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He has never failed on any of His promises. 8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake.–2 Peter 3:8-9A (NLT)
1 Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. 2 This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. 3 But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.—1 John 4:1-3 (NLT)
As we all know not everyone that speaks to us has the Spirit of God abiding in them. There are those sent from satan who masquerade as “angels of light” but are actually false prophets. 13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.–2 Cor. 11:13-15 (NLT)
We must always test the spirit and see if it acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The devil knows that God exists and he knows the Scriptures better than we do. The Spirit that dwells in us will witness to us if a person has a kindred Spirit to ours. But if you are in doubt, you can always ask if they believe that Jesus shed His blood on Calvary for our sins. If they acknowledge that this is true and they acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus, then we have assurance that it is not a false spirit. 3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.—1 Cor. 12:3 (NLT)
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.–Eph. 4:11-15 (NLT)
Christ has given 5 gifts to the church, (see v. 11) these are known as the 5-fold ministry. They are not given to us to do all the work. They are to equip the laypeople (that’s us) to do the witnessing, visiting, and serving. They build up God’s church by training and encouraging us. Learning to do these things is how we grow to maturity in Christ. When we are new Christians, we can be easily misled by those who are in authority, but as we learn, we should be able to “stand against the wiles of the devil”. One of his tricks is to use Christians to mislead others. Choose carefully those to whom you listen. There are sheep in wolves clothing trying to deceive the elect. Always cross check every message and lesson with the Bible. Don’t be swayed by charisma, charm or emotions. “Be rooted and grounded” and stand firm. As we mature, we become more like Jesus. Follow His example, speak the truth in love and lead others to Jesus.