In the first letter Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he was quite scathing about some of the practices they were accepting and allowing to occur. Those practices included many forms of adultery and immorality and had to be addressed in a direct and emphatic way.
Judgement was made and those who were carrying out these immoral practices were brought to account. Their practices were shown up to the light of the truth and shown to be wrong and those who were doing such things were warned to change their ways or leave the church.
But in this letter we see a call for reconciliation, where the people who had wronged the church and repented, changed their ways and were seeking God’s forgiveness. And where this happens, Paul now instructs the church to also forgive and welcome back those who have repented.
Over the last few posts we have looked at the attitudes and behaviours of life in Jesus Christ. Most specifically there have been a few posts considering the issue of revenge and retaliation when we are hurt or wronged by other people.
The bible is very clear about this subject and the whole issue of taking the law into our own hands. Don’t! That is the message. Don’t put yourself into the position of judge, jury and executioner for this is not what we have been called to.
Here in these last few verses of Romans 12 we see this spelled out very clearly and what we should do when it comes to those who oppose us and oppose the will of God.
Any Christians reading the title of this post may probably think this post is talking about Jesus. I mean what human apart from Christ would even think about love when they are suffering a violent death apart from Jesus. And He was the Son of God.
And non-Christians who may be reading this may think anyone suffering a violent death would be either thinking about revenge or more likely, be so full of fear or hatred that they don’t know what to think.
But in both counts they would be wrong because there is another man who suffered a violent death and yet in his suffering his thoughts were not fear, not hatred, not revenge, not anger but love for those who were in the process of killing him. That man was Stephen the martyr.
Jesus had previously spoken to Peter telling him that Peter would deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed. Peter had vehemently said that he would never do such a thing, but Jesus knew better.
In these scriptures we see the situation unfold and the words of Jesus come to pass. We also see and understand the process that Peter went through and also gain an insight into the love, mercy and compassion of the Lord for His people.
Jesus in this section of scripture is preparing the disciples for his impending death and resurrection. He is telling them they will be struck down with sorrow as a result of His death. But He also tells them that in due course they will be filled with the joy of Jesus, which no one will be able to take away from them.
Why did Jesus say they would experience this joy of Jesus? And what was the joy that they would experience such that it could not be taken away? Certainly they would be pleased to see the return of the Lord at His resurrection, but what would this joy be that they would experience that could not be taken away?
There were indeed a number of reasons for the joy of Jesus in the disciples life, and these same reasons exist for us to day. There are many reasons to have the joy of Jesus, which we will see in the following discussion as we look at just a few of the reasons the disciples may have experienced a joy that could not be taken away.
Is there anything worse than being a coward? Is there anything that will make you feel as useless as being a liar and a coward? Yes there is. It is being told that you will be a coward before the event occurs, especially when the one telling you is the Lord.
That is exactly what happened to Peter in this section of scripture. Peter swore he would follow the Lord even to his death, but when push came to shove he took the cowards way out and denied he even knew Jesus three times to save his own skin.
Should we condemn Peter for his actions? No. Not even Jesus condemned him, and He was the one wronged in this matter. There is a great lesson to learn from this for all of us.
Let’s take a look at the circumstances surround this event.
The sins and the evils that the leaders of the Jews made against Jesus in his day were almost incomprehensible. But the worst of all sins was committed during this conversation.
What is the worst sin that can be committed? Murder? Rape? Adultery? No, the worst sin that can be committed and the only one that will not be forgiven was defined by Jesus Christ himself. And it is not a sin against another person but against the Holy Spirit. Continue reading “Blasphemy!”
In my previous post I looked at the aspects of legalism that come from this teaching of the woman caught in adultery. Today we should explore the other side of this teaching, for it is a wondrous message and shows how the Lord has taken us from the darkness of that legalistic situation into the light of the truth of God.
This woman was lost in sin and about to die for her wayward adulterous ways. That is, until she was brought by the scribes and Pharisees in an attempt to entrap Jesus. There is no doubt that it was the best day of her life and hopefully the beginning of a new life, rather than what would have been the last day of her life.
This section of scripture is interesting for a number of reasons. It is a well known piece of scripture as many have discussed it, written about it and there are even songs about it. This is described as the first of the miracles that Jesus performed by the Apostle John, and it is when He turned the water into wine.
This must have been one of the hardest times for both Jesus and Peter in their time together. Even though the Lord knew this would happen and had told Peter it would occur, it still would have been difficult for both of them. But what it does show is both the resilience of Peter, and the great love and compassion of the Lord. And in this example there is a great lesson for us to learn and apply in our lives today.