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Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Pilate in all of us…

Posted by Gary on April 15, 2014

Luke 23:13-15  Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. “No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.”

Luke 23:24 “And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted.”

“Pontius Pilate” there are few names more infamous, few people who will be remembered so long as he has. What a tragic man, famous for the ages for ordering the murder of the Son of God.

What thoughts come to mind when you think of Pontius Pilate? I am thinking of him this Easter season mindful of the verses listed above that tell us that after inquiry and consideration, Pilate found no guilt in Jesus Christ. For two thousand years now, Pilate has been marveled at for his willingness to crucify Jesus though Scripture tells us more than once that he found no guilt in him and even sought to release Him (John 19:12).

How careful we must be though not to focus on Pilate and miss the fact that God forces every person to make a judgment regarding His Son. No one escapes their moment in Pilate’s shoes, for God has decreed that every man, woman and child declare either their allegiance to or rejection of Jesus Christ.

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What does Jesus look like?

Posted by Gary on February 7, 2014

Revelation 1:12-18  “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

I have titled this post, “What does Jesus look like?” as a follow up to my most recent post, “What did Jesus look like?”. The distinction being Jesus’ appearance while on earth in contrast to what He looks like now that He has returned to His glory in heaven.

The Bible says virtually nothing about what Jesus looked like during His time on earth except that there was nothing in His appearance to attract us to Him (Isaiah 53:2). But in the first chapter of the book of Revelation, we find a detailed explanation of what Jesus looks like now and it is my great hope that contemplating this description of Jesus will transform our understanding of Him and transform our lives.

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What did Jesus look like?

Posted by Gary on February 5, 2014

Isaiah 53:2  “For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.”

In almost everyone, the mention of the name of Jesus brings to mind a handsome man, with long brown hair and beard. You can see Him in your mind’s eye can’t you? There He is, knocking on the door with no handle or laying across that large rock in the garden of Gethsemane praying. We know Jesus when we see Him don’t we?

The truth is, Jesus did not (does not) look anything like the pictures of Him we have admired and hung in our homes thinking that they can bring down some blessing on our house, keep the devil away or at least make Jesus seem nearer to us.

How do I know what Jesus looks like? I don’t. That is the point and neither do you or anyone else for that matter.

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Jesus, the wonderful counselor (part 3)

Posted by Gary on December 15, 2010

Isaiah 9:6 And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor…”

Jesus is a wonderful counselor because He is not troubled Himself. The best of human counselors are people with their own troubles. There are times as I sit and listen to other people and their troubles that I am sometimes distracted with my own. Some of the most troubled, desperate people in the world are counselors. The story is told of a man who went to a counselor in Paris and shared his utter despair and hopelessness. The counselor suggested that the patient go to the stage show of a clown who was performing telling the patient that this clown had the tremendous ability to make people laugh and forget their problems to which the patient replied, “Sir, I am that clown.” The best of human counselors, pastors included are physicians who are sick themselves, who need healing as much as their patients but Jesus counsels from health not sickness and from strength, not weakness. Come to Him and you will immediately find that this is someone unlike you have ever spoken to before.

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Jesus, the wonderful counselor (part 2)

Posted by Gary on December 14, 2010

Isaiah 9:6  “…And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor…”

Jesus is a wonderful counselor because He does not charge for His services. You need not worry that you have no insurance or if Jesus is in your network for Jesus’ services are offered to you free without charge, no co-pays or monthly payments. Isn’t that wonderful?

Jesus is a wonderful counselor because you can have an appointment with Him instantly, any time, day or night. Call to make an appointment with a counselor and often you will be told it will be a few weeks before you can get in, there are so many seeking help. But not so with Jesus, there is no receptionist to go through, no calendar to check. You may come to this Counselor any time and as often as you like. Isn’t that wonderful?

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Jesus, the wonderful counselor

Posted by Gary on December 13, 2010

Isaiah 9:6 “…And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor…”

Of the many things that Jesus is, God’s World reveals that He is a counselor and a wonderful one at that. What is a counselor? A counselor is one who gives counsel or advice for troubles and problems. A counselor is one to whom we may go with our troubles and difficulties to share them and to receive from them advice on how to handle and solve our problems. Did you know that Jesus is a counselor? A wonderful counselor? Do you go to Him with your problems? Have you come to the place where you have recognized that you need Him as your counselor or are you still telling yourself that you can work out your problems yourself? If so, how is it going?

Let’s note first that Jesus is not just any counselor, counselors are a dime a dozen. Open your phone book to the yellow pages and look under counseling or psychiatrists or psychologists and I can assure you that there will be no lack of selection there, counselors are not rare, but good counselors are. If from these many choices one can find a good counselor they will be quite happy and likely tell others that they have found a good counselor. But notice what God’s Word says, it doesn’t say that Jesus is a good counselor, it says that He is a wonderful counselor. Wonderful means to cause wonder, to be so great that it amazes.

Those who come to Jesus as their counselor and listen to Him find Him to be a wonder. What makes Jesus a wonderful counselor?

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Your Jesus?

Posted by Gary on January 15, 2010

This past Sunday our sermon Scripture was Revelation chapter 1 which includes a description of Jesus that I believe is so far from our conception of Him. This of course is the glorified Christ, as He is now after the resurrection in heaven and what do we know about such a Jesus?

Revelation 1:13-18 “and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Hair white as wool? Eyes like a flame of fire? Feet like burnished bronze? A voice like the sound of many waters? A sharp sword coming from His mouth? A face like the sun shining in its strength? A presence that causes even apostles to fall to the ground?

Our idea of Jesus is basically a gentle hippy. Long brown hair, deep blue eyes ( no flames in the eyes of our Jesus). Our Jesus has a gentle face with cheeks it would seemed brushed with rouge, the real Jesus’ face cannot be looked upon for the light from it is blinding. We could throw our arms around our Jesus, John sees Him and falls at His feet as if he were dead.

Our Jesus is only love and love to us means that He wants us to do whatever we think will make us happy even though what makes us happy is unholy and unlike Him. Is our Jesus the same Jesus who rules with a rod of iron and treads the winepress of the wrath of God Almighty?

Revelation 19:15  “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”

Please be certain that your Jesus is the Jesus of the Bible and almost certainly you will have to make some vast adjustments to your perception and thoughts. With all this said, the awesome, fearful, holy Jesus is full of mercy toward those who fear Him and have placed their faith in Him. For those like John who fall down before Him His response is always and mercifully, “Do not be afraid…”