Tag Archives: power


Last time together we looked at parts of Matthew  7 and John the baptiser. 2- We noted several important matters of great relevance to us today as we think more of the Kingdom of God and Jesus the king.

Now when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?”Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. Blessed is he who finds no occasion for stumbling in me.  Mat 11:2-

We wondered ‘why did John seem confused, disillusioned?’ While in prison, he had heard of the amazing, compassionate works of Jesus. But yet doubts assailed him. Even him.

Yes, even John who had actually seen the Holy Spirit come and land on Jesus when he baptised him and it was John who declared God had sent him to prepare the way for the Messiah, and who exclaimed ‘Look there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. He had doubts! Also Jane reminded us that even after Jesus’ resurrection we read ‘some doubted’.

Is it any wonder that we sometimes have doubts?

To John and any observant Jew, Jesus seemed to be breaking all the religious rules. Like John, Jesus keeps picking fights with the Jewish leader elites, but not in the way John was expecting—Jesus does not seem to be on the same page. There locked up in a gloomy, uncomfortable prison—hadn’t Jesus said something about releasing the captives? Didn’t Jesus come to establish the Kingdom of God here in earthly Israel and thrash the foreign rulers? Do I look for another?

As the two disciples of John went their way, Jesus asked the crowds about John. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? He asked them why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written [in Malachi 3:1] ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’

Then he stunned them by emphatically saying Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.

Since the prophet Malachi, prophesying had ceased as the Jews acknowledged. Now John’s preaching had also ceased, and since then there had been no prophecies concerning the Messiah and his kingdom. The time for prophesying the coming Messiah has ended. He is here!

Christ has now come and he is proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. See what is happening—all the signs of the long-awaited, prophesied One are taking place now! And people then were—and now are in 2019—entering the Kingdom of Heaven. And now any one in Jesus’ kingdom, even the least, is ‘greater’, more influential, than John—they have the most glorious access to the King himself! They have entrance to the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit! They can see an open heaven, where anything is possible should they choose to believe! They are his inheritance, his holy nation!

Such blessed people find no occasion for stumbling in Jesus.

Since John, the last of the OT prophets like Elijah, a line has been drawn in the sand! The Old covenant has passed away and the New has come.

Jesus then said that since John-B the Kingdom of Heaven is being taken ‘by force’. It is now the new covenant under which we, poor, faulty, weak, mortals, despised by the world are yet a mighty force, commissioned to behave with a supernatural force to live out daily the power of God unto salvation, the wonderful Holy Spirit broadcasting to many souls. Now the people of God can be seen behind the scenes, secretly, powerfully, patiently and effectually, and yet not against the wills of others—instruments of Jesus’ love and power—lights in ever growing darkness.

Good practical instructions

We now look at the final chapter of this marvellous letter to the Hebrew believers. There are many important things for the author to share with this Messianic community.

Our author does not think we should be only heavenly minded and of no earthly use. On the contrary, the response of those who believe, who enter Jesus’ rest, who draw near into his presence, is to love the brothers and sisters, practice hospitality, care for those in prison and who suffer, maintain sexual purity,  and honour marriage.

So, we read these words from the start of chapter 13 verses 1-4.

 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.  Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.  Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.  Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.  

We see here once again the imperative of maintaining a shared experience together in Christ : keep on loving the brothers and sisters— the original has maintain brotherly love and emphasizes the need for keeping up love for one another, as though they were literally siblings.  In our precious fellowships we must go out of our way to express love for one another. Tokenism will not do. Love must be genuine. The first Christians drew this famous response from outsiders: Look how these Christians love one another. Here is the very stamp, the essence of Christ’s community, God’s household, his family. This family certainly, definitely, transcends the earthly. “Focus on the family”? Well here is the true family and the true focus asked of us by God our Father.

They must also practise such caring for those of their number in prison or being mistreated, just as if they were suffering themselves! Sublime solidarity— this reminds us of Jesus’ suffering at the hands of those who, like Saul, persecuted his (Jesus’) brothers and sisters : Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (see Acts 9:4-5)

Like the other New Testament writers, he stresses the sanctity of marriage and the need for sexual purity. Marriage must be honoured among God’s people. Today, godly marriage is under assault and everywhere in our society we see sexual purity being undermined and compromised. The challenge lies before us: to demonstrate to a lost society how brilliant is God’s matchless design in the marriage of a man and a woman. How joyous it is! How comfortable it is! How much pleasure it yields! How heavenly! How fortunate we are who enjoy marriage! It is yet another of His wonderful ideas.

By contrast, how dismal is its reverse. How destructive is adultery. How pathetic is unbridled lust. How full of darkness is unlove. How transient is infatuation. How selfish and hellish is manipulation and dominance. How lonely is the unloved and neglected and unpraised.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [Deut. 31:6]   So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?” [Psalm 118:6,7]

Contentment with what they have, will surely arise from the nature of God who is their helper, who will never forsake them, and who is also their provider. They are his own people, the sheep of his pasture. So there is no need to love money. No need to maintain a constant lifestyle of having to acquire things.

As we read these counter-cultural admonitions are we hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit? Are we applying these things in our hearts?  Caring for one another in the Body of Christ will give plenty of opportunity for generosity and hilarious giving, abandoning all stinginess and an independent spirit. There is no better way to keep yourself from the love of money than giving it away. The giver gains ever so much, as much, or even more, as the receiver! It is a liberating experience.

Join this group of happy people we read of here! Make haste to be one of those whose God is not money, not sex, not power, but whose God is the Lord in the face of Jesus the Messiah. Who actually know their God and relate to him through the offering of Jesus he made while here on earth. And who continues to bear our burdens, hear our cries and supply his Spirit upon us and in us.

Join us!