Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Good Bible Study: God's Passionate Love for you

Photo by Dan, courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

Good to see you again - In A Good Bible Study we are continually blessed by the discovery of God's passionate love for you, and for me.

We think of passion as a human emotion, focused on pleasure and success, but for God, passion is just one of many descriptions of His incredible love for you, His pure desire to be in relationship with you, and Hiis intense kindness and grace towards you. But is this a flowerly, meek and mild sort of love? Hardly.

Look at Jesus. Jesus is God-with-us. Everything that God is, Jesus is. Some of us think Jesus was mild mannered and passive, spreading peace, love and flowers, to all the world. Get ready for a wake up, ladies and gentlemen. Jesus, our God, was  no pushover. Not when it came to insulting His Father's name or bringing shame to His house. 

During the Passover, Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem. He found the merchants were selling sacrificial animals right in the temple grounds! Jesus was filled with righteous anger and turned over their tables saying, "Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

If you were a Jew, and if you were in the temple then you were, you knew Jesus was fulfilling the words in Psalm 69:9 “Zeal for Your  house has eaten Me up.”

His disciples immediately remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: "Passion for God's house will consume me."

Passion, righteous anger, spiritual indignation, had risen up in our Lord because of the disrespectful manner in which the religious folk were treating the earthly house of God.

God is passionate, and Jesus is His Father's Son. He was passionate about respect for His Father in this instance, but He did not sin in His anger. He did not allow His passion for reverence of His Father’s house to move Him to sin.

I love this example for those of us who believe we should always back down, even when we know what is happening around us, to us, or to those for whom we are responsible to and for, is wrong. Standing up for what is right is not sinful. It's all in the delivery. Hear that ladies?

Jesus had the right and responsibility to stand up because He is who He is, and Who He is responsible to, and who he is responsible for. For the first time, those in power were getting hit at home with the message.

According to the Nelson Study Bible, NKJV, 1997 this was Jesus' first public presentation of Himself as Messiah.

"The Messiah's ministry began in the Temple. He came to purify. The expression 'My Father's house' was a distinct claim to messiahship. At the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11) Jesus demonstrated His deity and power; here He showed His authority."

Oh yes, the Jewish leaders got what Jesus was saying by, "My Father's house."So, how did the Jewish merchants and religious leaders respond? After all, Jesus was accusing them of a misuse of their positions for financial gain, of taking advantage of the people coming to worship, and of reducing the very House of God to a pawn brokerage.

They pushed out their chests and challenged, "Oh, yeah? Prove it."

They wanted a sign. What they got was a prophesy of what was coming up in the very near future, but they didn't get it. They didn't want to get it.

Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” 

He wasn't referring to the building, He was referring to Himself. He would be killed and on the third day resurrect Himself.

Shortly after, some of the religious leaders had Jesus arrested, just as predicted, and pressured the Roman leader, Pontius Pilate, to have Jesus publicly humiliated, beaten, and crucified on a cross to die. It was verified unmistakeably that Jesus did die on that cross, and believe me, those in power were taking no chances. Dead is dead. Now, that was Fri., the first day (per Jewish tradition.)

On Sunday (the third day), the heavily guarded and sealed tomb was empty.

On that very day, Jesus resumed His ministry on earth for another 40 days, teaching to thousands of people, preparing His apostles for their continuing ministry, and fulfilling every single prophecy ever written about the Messiah, the Son of God, your Savior, and thankfully, mine.
Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Thank you Father for sending Your Son, Jesus. Thank you Jesus, for coming. Thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to love us, guide us, listen to us, help us, and comfort us. Amen.

Love, Karen

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