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Showing posts from May 17, 2016

Bronze Statuette from the Roman Period

Bronze Statuette from the Roman Period


  Bronze statuette from the Roman period of two soldiers carrying a wounded comrade.
Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet (John 13:4–5) has both an ethical and a symbolic sense. The ethical sense is emphasized in John 13:14–15 where Jesus presented Himself as the example of humble, loving service (cp. Luke 22:27). The command to do for one another what Christ had done for them ought not to be confined simply to washing feet. What Jesus did for the disciples was to lay down His life for them (John 15:13). Thus, the ethical imperative calls for giving our lives in extravagant acts of selfless service. Footwashing is one expression of this. Like the Lord’s Supper, the foot washing is an enacted sermon on the death of Christ. This symbolic sense is highlighted in the picture of Jesus’ laying aside His garments and then taking them up (a picture of Christ’s laying down and taking up His life, John 10:17–18), the note that the foot washing is necessa…

Angels of the Seven Churches

Angels of the Seven Churches

Revelation 1:20
Excerpt


The ‘seven stars’ of the Patmos vision are explained as referring to ‘the angels (angeloi) of the seven churches’ (Rev. 1:20), to whom the letters of Rev. 2 and 3 are then addressed. The ‘angel’ concept is problematic. It is often taken either of guardian angels or of human leaders or bishops of the churches. Both suggestions involve difficulty. Elsewhere in Rev. Angelos certainly means ‘angel’, but the angel’ can scarcely be made to share responsibility for the sins of the church. The interpretation ‘bishop’ seems contrary to usage, and unsupported by effective parallels. There is no such emphasis on episcopacy as later in Ignatius. Nor can this view be based on the inferior reading ‘your wife’ in 2:20 (sou inserted by dittography). And again it would be strange to hold one man individually and absolutely responsible for the church.angelos is literally ‘messenger’, but the initially attractive idea that the angeloi might be messengers…

The Significance of the Burning Bush

The Significance of the Burning Bush

Exodus 3:2

Excerpt


The burning bush had a threefold significance. It was a picture of God (Deut. 33:16), for it revealed His glory and power, yet it was not consumed. Moses needed to be reminded of the glory and power of God, for he was about to undertake an impossible task. Second, the bush symbolized Israel going through the fire of affliction, but not consumed. How often nations have tried to exterminate the Jews, yet have failed! Finally, the bush illustrated Moses—a humble shepherd, who with God’s help would become a fire that could not be put out! Note that Moses was brought to the place where he bowed before God and adored Him in wonder, for this is the true beginning of Christian service. Servants who know how to take off their shoes in humility can't be used of God to walk in power. Later we see that before God called Isaiah, He revealed His glory (Isa. 6). The memory of the burning bush must have encouraged Moses during many a trying mil…

Public Shame

Public Shame

Hebrews 6:6

Excerpt


Exposing him to public shame means either (1) “holding him up as a warning to others,” (2) “causing others to look down on Christ,” or (3) “causing others to ridicule Christ.” Here (2) or (3) fits the context better than (1). Criminals were exposed in this way by being crucified or otherwise punished in public. More


Ellingworth, Paul, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Letter to the Hebrews. New York: United Bible Societies, 1994. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

John the Baptist’s Birth Announced

John the Baptist’s Birth Announced

Excerpt


In this section Luke recorded how God after four hundred years once again visited Israel and raised up a prophet who would prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. Although the Qumran community believed that God was active and revealed himself through their movement and that their Teacher of Righteousness was a prophet, for the majority of Israel the prophets had fallen asleep (2 Bar85:1–3; 1 Macc 4:46; 9:27; 14:41) and the Holy Spirit had ceased in Israel (Tosefta Soṭa 13:3). As a result, most people tended to look back to the period of the law and the prophets when God was active among his people or forward to the time of the messianic age when God would once again be active and fulfill his covenantal promises. Thus God’s visit to Zechariah marks for Luke the breaking in of the messianic age, i.e., the beginning of the things that God has fulfilled among his people.


Stein, Robert H. Luke. Vol. 24. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publ…

Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity—Entrance

Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity—Entrance

‎Bethlehem. A person of average height has to stoop to enter the Church of the Nativity from the paved courtyard that is part of the Byzantine atrium. This entrance, called the “door of humility”, was lowered around the year 1500 to prevent the Moslems riding their horses into the church. Two other entrances at either side of the present door were also blocked up. The Basilica of the Nativity was built in 326 A.D. by the Emperor Constantine the Great and his mother, St. Helena, over the cave where Jesus was born according to tradition. The Basilica, which was burnt in a Samaritan revolt in the 6th century, was repaired and extended by the Emperor Justinian, who had his architect put to death because he didn’t like his work. Since then it has remained almost intact, enabling us to study the local versions of early Christian Basilica architecture.

God’s Righteous Judgment

God’s Righteous Judgment

Excerpt


Jesus warned against condemning others. In the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “Do not judge or you too will be judged” (Matt 7:1). The kind of judging both Jesus and Paul referred to was not a sane appraisal of character based on conduct but a hypocritical and self-righteous condemnation of the other person. In the same context, Jesus told his followers to watch out for false prophets (v. 15), who are to be recognized by their fruit (vv. 16–20). That would be difficult, to say the least, apart from determining which actions are moral and which are not. Evaluation is not the same as condemnation. It is the latter that passes sentence.


Mounce, Robert H. Romans. Vol. 27. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995. Print. The New American Commentary.

Humbling Yourself

Humbling Yourself

2 Kings 22:19
Excerpt


Josiah is commended for being responsive and humbling himself. The Heb. kana˒ suggests public humiliation, with undertones of shame and dishonor. But only if one is humbled against his will! A person who humbles himself before God as Josiah did openly confesses himself a sinner, crushed and hopeless. This is our appropriate response when we realize how we fall short of meeting God’s standards, and how greatly we stand in need of forgiving grace.


Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

Judgment Seat, Corinth

Judgment Seat, Corinth

‎At this platform in Corinth (here partly restored), the Roman proconsul Gallio refused to take sides against Paul in what he considered to be a Jewish controversy (Acts 18:12–16).

Connect the Testaments

May 17: Connecting Historical Dots
1 Chronicles 4:24–5:26; 1 Timothy 4:1–5; Psalm 78:1–12

Biblical lists can be annoying, but they’re also a testament to God’s faithfulness. It’s a true gift when someone in a faith community records the history of the group and their work—particularly when God has answered prayers. By looking through a recorded history, like a prayer journal, faith communities can see how God used them both collectively and as individuals. They can see where He interceded and begin to see how He intends to use them in the future.
God’s past faithfulness points to His future faithfulness. His specific dealings in the past point to likely dealings in the future: they show us what He has gifted us to do and thus the type of thing He is likely to call us to down the road.
First Chronicles 4:24–5:26 records God’s acts among His people and points to His future faithfulness. Similarly, Psalm 78:1–12 calls God’s people to hear their story told, but it’s really God’s story. The …

Morning and Evening

Morning, May 17      Go To Evening Reading
         “So to walk even as he walked.”          —1 John 2:6
Why should Christians imitate Christ? They should do it for their own sakes. If they desire to be in a healthy state of soul—if they would escape the sickness of sin, and enjoy the vigour of growing grace, let Jesus be their model. For their own happiness’ sake, if they would drink wine on the lees, well refined; if they would enjoy holy and happy communion with Jesus; if they would be lifted up above the cares and troubles of this world, let them walk even as he walked. There is nothing which can so assist you to walk towards heaven with good speed, as wearing the image of Jesus on your heart to rule all its motions. It is when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are enabled to walk with Jesus in his very footsteps, that you are most happy, and most known to be the sons of God. Peter afar off is both unsafe and uneasy. Next, for religion’s sake, strive to be like Jesus. Ah! poor…

My Utmost for His Highest

May 17th
His ascension and our union


And it came to pass while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. Luke 24:51.

We have no corresponding experience to the events in Our Lord’s life after the Transfiguration. From then onwards Our Lord’s life was altogether vicarious. Up to the time of the Transfiguration He had exhibited the normal perfect life of a man; from the Transfiguration onwards—Gethsemane, the Cross, the Resurrection—everything is unfamiliar to us. His Cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His Resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to any man, and by His Ascension Our Lord enters heaven and keeps the door open for humanity.
On the Mount of Ascension, the Transfiguration is completed. If Jesus had gone to heaven from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone; He would have been nothing more to us than a glorious Figure. But He turned His back on the glory and came …

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

May 17
  Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you Matt. 6:33
We need to have only one care, that we put the first thing first—faithfulness to God. Then all else we need for both worlds will be supplied. God will never fail us; but we forget, sometimes, in our rejoicing over such an assurance, that we must fulfill our part if we would claim the divine promise.
It will not always be easy. Tomorrow it may mean a distasteful task, a disagreeable duty, a costly sacrifice for one who does not seem worthy. Life is full of sore testings of our willingness to follow the Good Shepherd. We have not the slightest right to claim this assurance unless we have taken Christ as the guide of our life.

J. R. Miller

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.