Why Was Jesus Rejected?

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For centuries they had been looking for the Messiah, but when He finally came, they killed Him! Why?

Jesus told the truth.

He said, “the world . . . hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7).

And when Jesus told those of His hometown synagogue about God’s concern for Gentiles, they tried to push Him off a nearby cliff (Luke 4:25-29).

Jesus claimed divinity.

“. . . the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He . . . was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18; see Matthew 26:62-68; John 7:28-30; 8:51-59; 10:30-39).

Jesus violated their Sabbath traditions.

He always observed the Sabbath as prescribed in the Law of Moses, while ignoring the Sabbath traditions of the Pharisees (Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; John 5:8-18; 9:13-16).

They were envious of Him.

When Jesus came on the scene, the Jewish leaders no longer had the power and influence over the people they once had. They watched in frustration as the crowds flocked to Jesus instead (Matthew 27:18; John 12:19).

And we?

And there were other reasons they rejected Him. But that was back then. Do people still reject Him? Though maybe not for the same reasons and not in the same ways, but yes, many reject Jesus today.

Many acknowledge Him as a great teacher or mighty prophet, but deny His claims to be the Christ, the Son of God.

One common way we can reject Jesus is to put our agenda ahead of His, keeping busy with the routine of our own day-to-day affairs—in effect shutting Him out. It’s a subtle form of rejection, but it is rejection nonetheless.

“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born . . . of God” (John 1:11-13; see John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5).

Why reject the One, the only One, who offers us the greatest privilege of becoming God’s own children?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Amazingly Saved and Radically Changed by the Cross

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Why did Jesus die on the cross? To save our souls? Indeed He did, but that’s not all.

For Him

First, His death means the end of self-centered living and the beginning of Christ-centered living: “. . . He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

Second, because we’ve been purchased by His blood, our bodies, which now belong to Him, must be used for God’s glory, not for immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

Like Him

Third, His death sets us an example of humility and obedience. “Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus . . . . He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Fourth, His refusal to retaliate (1 Peter 2:21-23) and His endurance in the face of opposition (Hebrews 12:1-3) should lead us to do the same.

For others

Fifth, His death  prompts us to love others as we have been loved. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us . . .” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

Sixth, His death calls us to love sacrificially: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

Seventh, now that we belong to Him, we are to put evil deeds behind us and now engage in good deeds (Titus 2:14).

Eighth, His death means we forgive as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32).

But that’s not all—and yet these eight passages should be sufficient to show that God means for the death of His Son to open up for us wonderful new vistas of thinking and living.

And what a life it is!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Through the Eyes of Christ

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Before my time

I remember hearing my dad talk about living through the Great Depression. He and my mother had been married only a couple of years when the stock market crashed in 1929.

Like so many others, they didn’t have much, but they were happy. They had each other, and far more importantly, they had their faith. They learned how to deal with an extremely tight financial situation that dragged on for years.

Most of us were born after the Depression and have enjoyed relative plenty all our lives. Have we come to take prosperity for granted? Do we expect it as our right?

Imagine it!

Suppose a family from the 1930s were suddenly transported to our modern supermarkets and car dealerships. Imagine the look on their faces as they try to comprehend the astonishing abundance as well as the incredible variety of products available. And so much of what we routinely use today didn’t even exist back then.

Theoretically at least, we know we could lose it all someday. And what if we did? Could we deal with it, or would we be emotionally devastated?

The contented life

Christians are in the best position to accept the loss of possessions. Christ Himself traveled light when He walked our earth. He taught the importance of trusting in God for one’s daily bread. He also taught it’s better to give than to receive.

He taught His disciples to lay up treasures in heaven, not on earth (Matthew 6:19-21). He warned against the spiritually fatal tendency toward greed (Luke 12:13-21).

And so if we learn to live by His teachings and look at life through His eyes, we’ll be able to handle financial reverses with greater grace than if we were earthbound materialists (Philippians 4:10-20; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Hebrews 10:34).

The Christian outlook is, by far, the healthiest way to live!

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“I Think . . . .”

During her last semester before graduating from high school, Amy took a course in the New Testament. Probably not too many public schools offer Bible classes, but hers did.

Opposite approaches

At various times during the semester the teacher would ask what the Bible says about such and such. One male student tended to respond by saying, “Well, I think . . .” and he would give his opinion.

Among the issues discussed were whether one can fall from grace and whether baptism is essential to salvation. This student did not offer much if any Scripture as the basis for his assertions.

About once a week Amy responded to his “I think . . .” by saying, “The Bible says . . . .”

Good for her! She knew that what we believe must be Bible-based—and she had studied enough to be able to say, “The Bible says . . . .”

How many people twice her age can do that? Or three times her age?

Why we believe what we believe

Many people simply inherit their beliefs from parents without question, or they uncritically accept what some preacher says.

Bible study takes effort. Are we prepared to invest the time and energy required?

Also, if we discover we’ve been taught wrong, will we change our thinking to conform to Scripture?

What if we discover from our study that God expects us to make a major change in our lifestyle? Are we willing?

Or what if accepting biblical truth means we will face opposition from family and friends? Will we go with the truth, regardless?

What Bible study involves

To be effective, Bible study requires that we: 1) love the truth, and 2) diligently search the Scriptures (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; Acts 17:10-12).

The goal of Bible study is not simply to accumulate knowledge but: 1) to learn what God expects us to do so we can do it, and 2) to share what we’ve learned with others (James 1:22-25; Ezra 7:10; 2 Timothy 2:2).

People like Amy are in the minority. Many don’t know what the Bible says. Many don’t care.

So, Amy, keep on saying, “The Bible says . . .” and you’ll enlighten those who love the truth as you do, but who also need your help to find the Way.

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Just Imagine!

How things have changed

It has been suggested that television and air conditioning have contributed to isolating us from our neighbors. The old custom of sitting on the front porch on a warm summer evening and interacting with the neighborhood is long gone. Whether or not TV and A/C are to blame, it must be admitted: People don’t “neighbor” much anymore.

Our Constitution guarantees the rights and freedoms of the individual. Properly exercised, this is good. But is it possible that as a nation we have stressed rights to the neglect of responsibility, and individuality to the detriment of community?

Making a positive difference

Many of our fellow citizens do have a strong sense of community and work hard for the betterment of others. The quality of life in our communities is definitely higher because of their dedicated efforts.

So much needs to be done. Whether in improving race relations, cleaning up blighted areas, attracting new businesses, volunteering in worthy causes, or whatever the need, let’s get involved in doing something for our city.

Having the greatest impact for good

But what is the absolute best thing we can do for our community? Isn’t it for each of us as individuals to live in harmony with the will of God—and to help others do the same by sharing the gospel with them?

Just imagine if everyone in our town truly lived by the teachings of Christ: Would there be any rape, robbery, or assault—at least by our own citizenry? Would we lie to one another or gossip about each other?

Would we have the substance abuse problems we do now? Would husbands and wives cheat on each other? Would children be abused or neglected?

Positively, devotion to Christ means obeying the law of the land (Romans 13:1-7). It means seeking opportunities to serve (Titus 3:1, 8, 14). It means giving instead of always receiving (Acts 20:35). It means shining the light of Christ in a dark, dark world (Philippians 2:15).

Christians who really live by the Book make the best citizens!

How we respond

Sad to say, many will not choose to live for Christ (Matthew 7:13-14), but what’s to stop any of us from resolving that regardless of what others may do, we will give our complete allegiance to the One who died that we might live?

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Applying Biblical Principles to Marriage

Mutual interaction

Have you seen husbands and wives take digs at each other in public? On the other hand, have you observed couples who treat each other with utmost courtesy, respect, and mutual affection?

Of course, how they treat each other when no one else is around counts for a whole lot too!

Marriage enhancers

A concept that would revolutionize many a marriage is this: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her . . . . husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.

“He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church . . .” (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29).

Another marriage-enhancing principle is the Golden Rule: “. . . however you want people to treat you, so treat them . . .” (Matthew 7:12). Why shouldn’t this apply as well to marriage as anywhere else?

The Second Commandment says much the same thing: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). My wife is my closest neighbor. Shouldn’t I love her as myself?

Behavior that boomerangs

The paradox is that selfishness not only hurts one’s mate, but oneself as well. Why would a right-thinking husband want to hurt his wife—physically or emotionally? What could he possibly gain by that?

We must work at our marriages if our marriages are to work.

The more consistently we practice these principles, the happier our marriages will be. It just makes sense.

The same God who gave us marriage also teaches us how to treat one another.

Has what we’ve done so far not worked? Then how about giving His way a try?

happy couple-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Our Common Ancestor

Ark-aeological?

From time to time we hear that Noah’s ark has been sighted. While I seriously doubt it, I have no doubts about the historicity of the biblical account.

The biblical account of the Flood is accepted as historical by none other than Jesus Himself (Matthew 24:37-39). Three times Peter referred to the Flood as historical (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:3-7). Are we prepared to take the position that Jesus and Peter were mistaken?

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews cites Noah, along with other examples of faith such as Abraham, Moses, and David. The point is, you don’t mix legendary characters with historical and treat them all the same.

Noah is treated as historical in Isaiah 54:9 and Ezekiel 14:14, 20. Noah is included in the genealogies recorded in 1 Chronicles 1:4 and Luke 3:36.

Father of us all

When we research our family tree we’ll find some scoundrels among them. But God told Noah, “. . . you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time” (Genesis 7:1).

We think things are bad now, and indeed they are, but the evil of Noah’s day surpasses ours (Genesis 6:5, 11-12). It was so bad that God saved only eight people from the Flood that destroyed all the rest.

Because of the exceeding wickedness of that age, Noah’s righteous character stands out as all the more exemplary.

What a task God gave Noah! He was to build a ship 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. Even without power tools he did it. Surely he must have grown weary at times. Although it doesn’t say so, likely his neighbors mocked his efforts.

What kept him going, year in and year out, until the ark was seaworthy? At least two factors: 1) his faith in God and 2) his love for his family. “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household . . .” (Hebrews 11:7).

History repeated

According to Peter, there is a dramatic parallel to Noah’s Flood, and that is the future destruction of all things by fire (2 Peter 3:3-14). In view of this eventuality do we have the spirit of our ancestor Noah?

Like Noah, we have been “warned by God about things not yet seen.” Will we respond in obedient faith, as Noah did (1 Peter 3:20-21), or will we be like his unworthy contemporaries?

The choice is ours.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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