Posted

“From that time on many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus asked the Twelve, ‘Do you want to leave too?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” John 6:66-69

As it was during Jesus’ earthly ministry, so it is today. Many are glad to follow Jesus in the hope of receiving some earthly benefit — to be healed of a disease, to be helped with a need, or to be blessed with earthly riches. But, when they hear that they must repent of their sinful ways and place their faith in Jesus as the Messiah and atoning sacrifice for the sins of all — that they must partake by faith of His body given for them and His blood shed for the sins of the world — they turn away from Him and go their own way.

And, at least at times, Jesus’ own disciples may be filled with doubts and fears. Their faith in Jesus and His words is challenged; it becomes weak. They, too, may be tempted to turn away from Jesus and go back to their worldly ways and lives, perhaps to seek another way, an easier way with less resistance from the world.

Jesus’ question could be asked of us as well: ‘Do you want to leave too?’

Simon Peter’s answer is so fitting and instructive for us: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

To whom would we turn? What other religion or teacher offers the truth and life Jesus offers? They all direct us back to our own lives and works, to our own attempts to please God, whether it be by our deeds, our lives, or our forms of worship, and they all fail and come up short. We stand condemned by God’s holy law (cf. Rom. 3:9-20; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 64:6).

It is as Peter confessed to Jesus: “You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69; cf. Matt. 16:16-17). Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through” Him (John 14:6).

Jesus is the Son of the living God. He is God in the flesh, and He came into this world to fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law in our stead and to bear on the cross the full and just punishment for all our sins that we might look to Him and partake of Him in faith and be pardoned, forgiven and given eternal life in communion with God our Creator! There is no other way for sinners like you and me to be saved than turning to Jesus and His cross in faith.

As Peter professed of Jesus in Acts 4:12: “Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Don’t turn away from Him! Look to Him and partake of His atoning sacrifice in faith that you may have eternal life!

O merciful Father, grant to me faith in Your Son and my only Savior, Jesus Christ, that I might not be lost and condemned for my sinfulness but be pardoned, forgiven, and granted eternal life for Jesus’ sake. In His name, I pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the Majority Standard Bible, freely available at www.biblehub.com.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’” John 6:60-65

Many stumble over the person and work of Jesus. They cannot understand and believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who came into this world a true man to give life to lost sinners by fulfilling all righteousness in their stead and paying the just penalty for their sins by going to the cross and suffering and dying for the sins of the world. They cannot bring themselves to believe that, through means of partaking of Jesus and His sacrifice for sin in faith, they can have pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal. Thus, they turn away from Jesus in unbelief.

As Jesus said when many of His followers stumbled over the truth that He is God the Son and gives life to those who trust in Him and His atoning sacrifice, what would they think if they saw Him ascend to God the Father in glory? Jesus added, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

Unless the Spirit of God opens our minds to understand and believe the Scriptures, we are unable to grasp the truth Jesus expressed in His words. We are unable to accept and believe the fact that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God who came into this world to redeem us from sin and death and give us eternal life in communion with God the Father. Apart from the gracious work of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word, Jesus’ words remain veiled and unbelievable to us, and we turn away from Him in unbelief.

Jesus said His words are spirit and life. Only those to whom it is given by the Father to believe can grasp the truth of Jesus’ words and come to know and trust in Him for life and salvation.

Many who followed Jesus because of His mighty works could not accept His words and turned away from Him in unbelief. So also today, many who claim to follow Jesus stumble over the truth of His words and fail to trust in Him for pardon and forgiveness. They do not partake of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice in faith and forfeit the life and eternal salvation He offers and gives to those who trust in Him.

May God grant You His Spirit and open your eyes and ears to see Jesus for who He is and to trust in Him and His cross for life and salvation.

Open our eyes, O God, that we may see Jesus for who He is and place our trust in Him as Your Son and our Savior from sin and death. We pray in His name. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

1 “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 2 to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, 3 on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound. 4 For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. 5 O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. 6 A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this.” Psalm 92:1-6

A Christian — one who acknowledges his sins and shortcomings and looks to God in faith for mercy and forgiveness for the sake of the shed blood of Jesus, God’s Son who came into this world to be our Savior — will be thankful to the LORD God for His lovingkindness and mercy.

In fact, having no other gods but the LORD God and rightly using His name to honor Him certainly includes thanking Him and praising Him for all He has done and still does for us (cf.Ex. 20:1-11; Deut. 5:6-15; Isa. 58:13-14).

And what does God say of those who should know there is an almighty and all-wise God who created and preserves all things but yet remain unthankful? We find the answer in Romans 1:20-21: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Those who are not thankful do not trust the LORD God or honor Him. Instead of being thankful to God for all His blessings, they often covet and desire what God has not given them, whether that be the goods of this world or the sinful pleasures of life. Thus, God’s commandment regarding coveting in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 (Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21) really forbids the inverse of being thankful and content with what God has provided us. Instead of trusting in God and His promises and giving Him thanks, people covet — not trusting God’s Word, being unthankful and discontent, and desiring those things God has not given us.

Psalm 92, like many other psalms, reminds us that it is good to give thanks to the LORD God, who has created us and sustains us, and who has redeemed us through the innocent sufferings and death of His only-begotten Son and who gives us spiritual life by His Spirit’s working in us through His Word (cf. Psalm 139:13-16; 36:9; 119:18). Though a senseless man does not know and understand this, praising God and giving Him thanks for His wonderful works, whether that be with musical instruments or with words of praise and thanksgiving, are the fruits of faith. They are the result of trusting in the promises of God recorded for us in His Word.

Indeed, as the psalm says, “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night …”

And, the LORD’s mighty works give us reason to rejoice in Him and be glad, for He not only gives us life and blesses us with all the good things we enjoy in this life; He sent His Son into the world to die in our stead, for our sins, and to win for us pardon, forgiveness and everlasting life! (Cf. Psalm 103:1ff.; Psalm 130:7-8).

Those who trust in Him and His mercy rejoice and give Him thanks and praise for all He has done for us!

O gracious and merciful God, we thank You and praise You for creating us in our mothers’ wombs and giving us life, for blessing us with all good things and sustaining our lives in this world, for sending Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son, into this world as a true man that He might, in our stead, keep Your commandments and then suffer the just punishment for our sins so that we might look to Him in faith and be pardoned, forgiven and granted eternal life in communion with You. We thank and praise You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’ 53 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven — not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.’ 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.” John 6:52-59

How can Jesus give us His flesh to eat? This was a question troubling Jesus’ hearers in the synagogue at Capernaum, but it still troubles those who hear His words today.

And, certainly, eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood is important because Jesus also said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53).

Was Jesus talking about partaking in the Lord’s Supper? Some might say yes, but He had not yet even instituted His Supper when He spoke these words, and nowhere does the Bible say that those who have not been afforded the opportunity to partake in the Lord’s Supper remain spiritually dead and are condemned forever.

Jesus said, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed” (John 6:54-55). Jesus says that His flesh is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed, using the same Greek word used for “is” when He said of the bread in the Lord’s Supper, “This is My body,” and of the wine, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:26,28). In fact, Jesus’ words here, in John 6, are even stronger because He adds the word “indeed,” meaning it truly is, to His statements concerning His flesh and His blood.

Yet, Jesus is not talking about actually chewing and drinking His flesh and blood and digesting it in our bodies. He is talking about partaking of Him and His sacrifice on the cross in faith — a spiritual eating and drinking of His body and blood that we might also partake of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that He won for all when He suffered and died on the cross and then rose again in victory.

Understanding how the sacrificial system pointed to Christ is necessary to rightly understand Jesus’ words. Sacrifices were offered, pointing ahead to the perfect sacrifice God would provide, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29; cf. Gen. 22:13-14); and, as the people often partook of their sacrifices, so we partake of Christ and His sacrifice for us on the cross when we trust in Him (cf. Ex. 12:1ff.; 24:1-11 29:33).

Jesus’ words in John 6:56-57 make this clear: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” We abide in Christ and are in communion with Christ when we confess our sins and partake of His sacrifice for the sins of the world in faith (cf. 1 John 1:5 — 2:2; John 3:14-18). Not all who partake of the Lord’s Supper are saved, but those who partake by faith of Jesus’ body and blood, given and shed for all upon the cross, live through Him. They have the forgiveness of sins Christ won for them, and they have the promise of eternal life as God’s redeemed people.

As Jesus said in John 6:58, “This is the bread which came down from heaven — not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus is the true life-giving bread that came down from heaven. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The question is: Do you partake of Him and His perfect sacrifice for you on the cross in faith?

Dear Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, grant that I look to You and Your cross and partake of You in faith as the holy and sinless sacrifice for my sins that You may raise me up on the last day to life everlasting. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

Laodicea

Laodicea on the Lycus was a major city in ancient Anatolia, located on a plateau between the rivers Asopus and Caprus in the Lycus Valley of western Asia Minor, in what is now Turkey.

It was founded in the 3rd century BC by Antiochus II Theos, king of the Seleucid Empire, and named in honor of his wife Laodice, whom he later divorced, likely for political reasons. Laodicea quickly became a wealthy city due to its strategic location on a major trade route and its production of textiles, wool, and medical ointments. It was also known for establishing banking.

The city was also a center of learning, with a famous school of medicine. Laodicea was also a religious center, with temples dedicated to Zeus, Apollo, and Artemis.

In the 1st century AD, Laodicea was one of the seven churches of Asia Minor addressed by the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation. The church at Laodicea was criticized for being lukewarm in its faith and for being materialistic and self-satisfied.
Laodicea remained an important city until the 7th century AD when it was destroyed by an earthquake. The city was never rebuilt, and today, its ruins are located near the modern city of Denizli.

Following are some of the key points about the background of the city of Laodicea:
• Founded in the 3rd century BC by Antiochus II Theos, king of the Seleucid Empire
• Strategic location on a major trade route
• Wealthy city due to its production of textiles, wool, and medical ointments
• Center of learning and religion
• One of the seven churches of Asia Minor addressed by the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation
• Destroyed by an earthquake in the 7th century AD

Laodicea is an important city in Christian history, and its message of lukewarm faith is still relevant today.

Laodicean Water

Laodicea received its water from a series of springs located to the south of the city. The water was carried to the city via an aqueduct, which was constructed in the 1st century AD. The aqueduct was approximately 5 miles long and consisted of a series of arches that carried the water over valleys and other obstacles. The water from the aqueduct was distributed to public fountains and baths throughout the city. It was also used to irrigate crops and gardens.

The water supply of Laodicea was considered to be of good quality. However, it was also known for being lukewarm, which is why it is mentioned in the Book of Revelation as a symbol of spiritual lukewarmness.

In modern times, the ruins of the Laodicean aqueduct can still be seen. It is a testament to the engineering skill of the Romans and the importance that they placed on water supply in their cities.

Letter to the Church in Laodicea – Revelation 3:14-22

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Study Notes

In His letter to the church in Laodicea, Jesus, the eternal Son of God (cf. Col. 1:15ff.) and the true witness and the only way of salvation (Rev. 3:14; cf. John 14:6), rebukes the believers there for their lukewarmness and self-sufficiency. He tells them that they are neither hot nor cold and that He is about to vomit them out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16). Jesus also tells them that they are naked, blind, and poor, even though they think they see, are rich and have everything they need (Rev. 3:17).

Jesus then calls the church in Laodicea to repent and turn back to Him (Rev. 3:18). He offers them the gold of a purified and true faith (cf. 1 Pet. 1:3-9), the white garments of His righteousness through faith in Him and His cross (cf. Isa. 1:16-18; Rev. 7:13-17), and the enlightening eye salve of His Holy Spirit, who opens our eyes to the truth of God’s Word and points us to Jesus for life and salvation (Rev. 3:18; cf. John 3:3,5-6; 6:44,63; 16:13-14; Ps. 119:18). Jesus also promises to reward those who overcome and remain faithful to Him (Rev. 3:21-22; cf. Rev. 2:10).

The letter to the church in Laodicea is a warning to all Christians about the dangers of lukewarmness and false confidence in ourselves, our faith, and our works — thinking all is well with our souls when, in fact, we are spiritually poor and faithless. Jesus wants us to be truly penitent and hold fast to Him in faith, trusting that only in Him and for the sake of His cross can we have forgiveness and life. He wants us to be humble and recognize our need for His help.

Jesus stands at the door and knocks, desiring that we repent and open the door to Him in faith and walk in fellowship with Him (Rev. 3:19-20; cf. Heb. 12:5-11; Prov. 3:11-12; 1 John 1:5—2:2) unto life everlasting. Those who overcome will reign with Christ in His kingdom (Rev. 3:21; cf. 2 Tim. 2:11-12).

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:22).

Author
Categories ,