Jesus’ Parting Gifts

During the ‘Last Supper,’ after Judas Iscariot fled into the night, Jesus imparted a treasure trove of revelations to the remaining 11 apostles (and thus, to us). The first such treasure would be His ‘new commandment:’

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn. 13:34, 35. NKJV

This commandment takes the Mosaic Law of ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ to a new level. Jesus is implying that love must be the primary drive behind all that we think and do, in addition to having an attitude of selflessness and servitude so that we may emulate Him.

Next, Jesus initiates the ritual of ‘communion:’

…He took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” Lk. 22:19, 20. NKJV

“Drink from it all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Mt. 16:27, 28. NKJV

When we take ‘communion,’ we are performing a ritual whereby we take something physical (often referred to as a ‘sacrament’) to remind us of the offer of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. We visibly utilize the sacrament to act out Christ’s proclamation in faith, trusting in the power of the grace of the new covenant that replaces / transcends / enhances the Mosaic Law. We are not putting our faith in the physical sacrament itself (that would be a work or man). Rather, it is our faith in the forgiveness of our sins, which Christ has attached to His body and blood sacrament, that we receive. There is nothing else upon which we can rely.

After this, Jesus tells us that He’s building homes for all of us:

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also.” Jn. 14:2, 3. NKJV

No guesswork. We have a heavenly appointment. Neither is any guessing involved as to how we get there:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jn. 14:6 NKJV

Christ is the only door to the kingdom. There are no gray areas. Jesus then says that being in His presence is the same as being in His Father’s:

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Jn. 14:7 NKJV

Jesus is building the apostle’s faith. Next, He tells them how to return His love:

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Jn. 14:15 NKJV

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and disclose Myself to him.” Jn. 14:21 NASB

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Jn. 14:23 NKJV

Jesus has left us physically, (for now), but He always covers those who love Him on all sides. He continues to be with us spiritually – especially through another of His parting gifts – the Holy Spirit:

“…I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells within you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans…” Jn. 14:16 – 18. NKJV

“…He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Jn. 14:26 NKJV

In a nutshell, Jesus said that because He taught them so much, they would not be able to recall it all. However, the Holy Spirit would bring it to light when they needed it. In addition, Jesus was only in a teaching mode for the last 3 years of His earthly incarnation. He didn’t have near the time to tell them all that He wanted to. The Holy Spirit will reveal those things, as well as any ongoing revelations regarding the full nature of Christ.

The peace of Jesus is yet another wonderful parting gift:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jn. 14:27 NKJV

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Jn. 16:33 NKJV

Finally, Jesus left us with the gift of knowing who we are in He and His Father:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch that is in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Jn. 15:1, 2. NKJV

Jesus is saying that it’s not enough to know God. We have to live as He would have us live. And like any loving parent, He will, from time to time, dole out a little divine discipline to nudge us to return to His path whenever we stray.

“Abide in Me, and I in you As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Jn. 15:4, 5. NKJV

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give you.” Jn. 15:16 NKJV

You were chosen by Christ Himself for the kingdom of God and for helping Him to advance that kingdom, by inviting others into the love of God, through the love of His Son.

Having parted with these gifts, Jesus stood and faced His destiny…

Goodnight and God bless.

Advertisements

God’s Children Must Take a Stand for Peace

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass…For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom…all these are the beginnings of sorrows. Mt. 24:6 – 8. NKJV

Jesus is saying that right up until the end of time, there will be wars. We see it today. There are wars festering over the entire globe. Our own country has been creating a ‘perpetual’ war since 1952 in order to justify military overgrowth, to serve the associated defense contractors, to pander to ego and avarice-driven politicians, and to foster fear in our population in order to keep us in line.

Followers of Christ have received several imperatives to walk a different path:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rm. 12:2 ESV

But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Ps. 37:11 NKJV

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6 NKJV

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Mt. 5:9 NKJV

If it is possible, as much as depends upon you, live peaceably with all men. Rm. 12:18 NKJV

The world is war-like. We don’t have to be. Nor do we have to support war. We are called to emulate Christ – the Prince of Peace. Uniting in Him, we can take a peaceful stand against any form of aggression by our respective governments by offering a better way, living out a spiritual path as an example of how peace might be attained.

We cannot be caught up in the patriotic jargon and emotion slathered over the death-face of war, or we just become additional nutrients for the disease. Other than self-defense, we can never consider that a war can be justified. (And it is in those self-defense actions that we can express our undying gratitude to the brave, selfless soldiers who took up our cause.)

Simultaneously, we must not forget our Christian love and compassion – even for blind, faithless warmongers who are at the mercy of their flesh and its violent chaos:

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. James 4:1, 2. NKJV

Yes, wars simply come down to someone wanting what someone else has. It is also the projection of the evil within the perpetrator upon the innocent victim, whom they call them the ‘enemy.’

“But I say to you, ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Mt. 5:44, 45. NKJV

When you love your enemy, you can better understand them, which makes them hard to hate.

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth… Acts 17:26 NKJV

Thus, we can see that we are at one with our enemy, whom is also loved by God. And, just like our secular government and its multitudinous tentacles, we can pray for them, knowing that they too need the salvation that comes from the grace of God through Christ.

Aggressive military ‘solutions’ are becoming increasingly more formidable, lethal and potentially destructive on a global scale. Even what some consider a small military ‘action,’ almost always explodes into full scale war.

Wars don’t have to be a ‘given.’ We can look for alternate ways for conflict resolution. We can start by living out our Christ-peace with everyone we know. We can elect people who want peace and let our desires for peace be made known – making it a national referendum by bringing Christ to more people.

Turn away from the mass media, who gleefully promotes misunderstanding, hate and war in order to sell news. Walk away from the ‘religious’ folks who say that God is behind any kind of war. Pay no heed to political ideology that expresses itself by saber rattling. By all means, don’t listen to the government ‘elites’ who have brought this country to the brink of ruin.

War can never bring justice. Military and governmental fear mongering is propaganda designed for instilling the desire of relief from that same fear into the populace that the monger’s say can only come through violent victory.

The one and only hope is to turn to God and pray for His intervention. He has repeatedly demonstrated that He wants to save us from ourselves and lay us in fields of peace. We can take that potential salvation to the nations, educating them about peace and create a unified movement that will demand peaceful resolutions from those who are doing the governing.

That begins by teaching and practicing peace with each other.

War is blasphemy, as is the production and sale of weapons of mass destruction. And war is always a product of the degradation of our souls.

We all suffer from fears fomented by anger, aggression, greed and insecurity:

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rm. 7:22 – 25. ESV

Thus, we transcend ourselves and take on the cloak of the peace of Christ and shine that light out into the world. After all, the world only reflects its inhabitants…

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world give do I give peace to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jn. 14:27 NKJV

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jn. 16:33 NKJV

Goodnight and God Bless.