Jew For Jesus

The most renowned ‘Jew for Jesus’ was the apostle Paul – the Holy Spirit-inspired author of the majority of the New Testament. In fact, he was converted by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus. Ironically, his primary ministry was to the Gentiles.

I bring this up because we’re going to look at some of the book of Hebrews – whose author is anonymous. However, some believe it was penned anonymously by Paul to minister to Jewish audiences without causing any rifts between he and the apostle Peter, who, primarily ministered to the Jews. Other biblical scholars have attributed the authorship of Hebrews to associates of Paul, especially Barnabas or Apollo.

Regardless, Hebrews seems to be written to bolster the faith of Jewish converts to Christ, who had got the erroneous notion that Jesus’ return was supposed to be immediate. Well, 60 years had passed since Jesus’ ascension, and doubts had begun to fester.

WHO IS JESUS?

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. Heb. 1:1, 2. NKJV

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty, having become superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Heb. 1:3, 4. ESV

These opening scriptures tell us a lot: we learn that as soon as Jesus was resurrected, the ‘last days’ of the earth commenced. Also, God now speaks through Christ, who, petitioned His Father so that we could have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be able to receive His words.

God tells us that His Son is an exact imprint of Himself – affirming that whatever comes out of the mouth of Jesus is the word of God. We are reminded again that God made the universe through Christ, who holds it all together.

Finally, at the point of Jesus’ resurrection, He received His crown from God, to rule over the earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords – exalted over all things, including the angels…

WHY HOPE IN JESUS?

For this reason we must pay closer attention to what we heard so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Heb. 2:1 – 3. NASB

The author is appealing to the Jews’ knowledge of the Old Testament, which demonstrated that every time an angel would appear, its pronunciations invariably came to pass. The Jews are also well aware that the angels testified of the coming of the Messiah.

Continuing, the Holy Spirit-inspired author asks his audience to consider the ‘present-day’ proofs for the veracity of Jesus being that Messiah:

It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will. Heb. 2:3, 4. ESV

So, the salvation promise in the Son, was first testified by God and then His Son. It was also testified by the apostles and was visually confirmed through Christ’s Holy Spirit-empowered miracles and spiritual gifts. The author is essentially saying, ‘What more proof do you need?’

WHAT HAD TO HAPPEN BEFORE JESUS COULD FULFILL HIS PURPOSE?

We have seen that in heaven, Jesus is exalted above the angels. In His carnal nature, He was not, because He had to take mortality upon Himself:

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while [by taking on the limitations of humanity], crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering of death, so that by the grace of God [extended to sinners] He might experience death for [the sins of] everyone. For it is fitting for God [that is, an act worthy of His divine nature] that He, for whose sake are all things, in bringing sons to glory, should make the author and founder of their salvation perfect through suffering [bringing to maturity the human experience necessary for Him to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest].

Both Jesus who sanctifies and those who are sanctified [that is, spiritually transformed, made holy, and set apart for God’s purpose] are all from one Father; for this reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. Heb. 2:9 – 11. AMP

Angels do not die. Jesus had to be mortal, so that by His sacrifice He could nail our sins to the cross forever. He also subjected Himself to the ‘human experience,’ so that He can compassionately identify with our weaknesses and suffering, while He serves as our High Priest at the right hand of God.

Furthermore, Jesus calls us ‘brothers and sisters,’ acknowledging our connection to His human side, when we accept Him in full faith as Savior with our spiritual side:

Therefore, since [these His] children share in flesh and blood [the physical nature of mankind], He Himself in a similar manner also shared in the same [physical nature, but without sin], so that through [experiencing] death He might make powerless (ineffective, impotent) him who had the power of death – that is, the devil – and [that He] might free all those who though the [haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives. Heb. 2:14, 15. AMP

Jesus conquered death for all who follow Him. We will not feel death’s sting and thus need not fear it. Our transition will be immediate and glorious. Until that time, our High Priest can identify with anything that we are going through in this world, (He Himself being a conqueror of all of them) and does not hesitate to send compassionate help and healing our way, for any situation.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO FAITH

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me…they shall not enter My rest.” Heb. 3:7 – 9 & 11. NKJV

Let us be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Heb. 4:11 – 13. NKJV

The author is referring to the behavior of the Jews during their exodus journey out of Egypt, led by Moses. Those that rebelled against Moses (and so had no faith in God’s word), did not get to enter into His rest (heaven). Similarly, all followers of Christ are called to persist in the belief in, and obedience to, the word of God and to hold tight in faith to God’s promises, which are accomplished through Jesus.

WHAT DOES JESUS DO?

…a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Heb. 7:19 ESV

Meaning that Jesus as a High Priest, far exceeds any priesthood that came before – giving us a direct connection to the Father.

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. Heb. 7:22 ESV

A better covenant in that He brings with Him a guaranteed salvation that is not subject to the perfection demanded by the Mosaic Law. And, He’s always with God, acting on our behalf:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God though Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Heb. 7:25 NKJV

…at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Heb. 9:26 NASB

And, He’s coming back for you!

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sins, but to save those eagerly waiting for him. Heb. 9:27, 28. ESV

Jesus went into the heavenly Most Holy Place (the throne room of God), for you. He rendered His own blood, from His only and final sacrifice, to perfect you forever. It was the moment that Christ decimated the power of sin for all time.

WHAT DO WE DO?

Your part is to confess, repent, accept Christ as your Savior, and walk His walk to the best of your ability. And when you come up short, Jesus has your back.

And until He comes back, it’s up to us to keep the faith:

…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of God. Heb. 12:1, 2. NKJV

Jesus foresaw His joy in connecting with you for all of eternity, and He decided that it was worth paying the price of His crucifixion. Our price, is to endure in faith:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away with various and strange doctrines. Heb. 13:8 NKJV

DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKE THE CASE FOR JESUS OR WHAT?

Goodnight and God bless.

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Easter Is Not About Colored Eggs

It’s about the coming of Jesus, Who came to save us from ourselves and reunite us with His Father, through Him, for eternity. He laid His life down so that we could once again be part of God’s temple.

As a Spirit-being, Christ was with God, who, created everything in this universe through Him. (Jn. 1:1 – 4.) Jesus shares the powers of God (Heb. 1:3). He holds the universe together and is the only ‘instrument’ for the redemption of God’s children. Jesus also shares His Father’s exact likeness. (Col. 1:15 – 20.)

We first hear about Christ’s first coming to earth in the time of the fall of Adam and Eve. (Gn. 3:15). Thus, it is evident that God was, at the beginning, planning for our redemption because He saw our future transgressions.

Before and after Jesus was born, it was made evident to many that He was sent for the salvation of all peoples. (Mt. 1:21; Lk. 1:68 – 70, 78, 79; 2:10, 11 & 30 – 32.

Then God and the Holy Spirit revealed it to John the Baptist. (Jn. 1:29)

When Jesus began His ministry, He Himself declared the purpose of His coming:

“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is the Son of Man, who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jn. 3:13 – 17. NKJV

We see then that Jesus was sent to grant us eternal life, but that He must first be ‘lifted up’ (crucified) to have that happen. Prior to this revelation (that He made to Nicodemus), He alluded to His resurrection that would occur three days after His death. (Jn. 2:19)

Jesus went to great lengths to make His salvation promise take on reality for as many people as He could reach, and then He multiplied His efforts through the apostles (Mt. 28:19, 20.) and the church. (Mt. 16:18)

He taught about how deadly Satan and his purposes were. (Jn. 10:10) He showed us by example how to defeat the devil with the word of God. (Mt. 4:1 – 10.) That’s important because Satan’s prime objective is to rob you of Christ’s salvation. We want to cling to Jesus because our final victory will be facilitated through Him:

The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 1 Jn. 3:8 NASB

He approached the spiritually ignorant, and reasoned with them so that they could see the light – actively pursuing their salvation. (Jn. 4:6 – 26.) And Jesus showed them that He was the centerpiece of that deliverance:

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He sent.” Jn. 6:29 NKJV

That sums up your salvation in a nutshell.

Jesus worked a multitude of miracles to convince the unbelievers of His ability to wield the power of God. He declared the veracity of all Scripture. (Mt. 5:17, 18.) And He stood toe to toe against the self-serving religion zealots of His time, that were teaching man-made falsehoods, which stood in the way of the people’s salvation.

He taught us how to live a godly life (Mt. chapters 5 – 7.) and about the importance of love. (Mt. 22:39; Jn. 13:34, 35.)

Amid all this, Jesus repeatedly drove home the fact that He was the only way to salvation:

“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…And this is the will of Him who sent Me, the everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn. 6:33 & 40. NKJV

“…if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 NKJV

“…I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers…I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…” Jn. 10:7 – 9. NKJV

Finally, Jesus taught about how corrupt the world would become and how it would persecute His followers; yet He encouraged us by saying that if we endured that oppression and held on to Him, salvation was assured. (Mt. 24:9 – 13.)

Despite all Jesus’ efforts, the world paid Him back by crucifying Him.

And yet, all that Christ said was true. On the third day, His tomb was empty…

Praise God! Happy Easter.

Goodnight and God Bless.