Read - Luke 9v51-56
Message - Scott Woodburn
The Lord had two followers called James. There was James the son of Zebedee, also called James the Greater and there was James the son of Alphaeus, also called James the Less. Today we’ll consider James the Greater, called this because he was older and/or taller than the other James.
James was the brother of John and the son of Zebedee and Salome. He was a fisherman and was mending the nets one day on his father’s boat when Jesus called him to a new life (Matthew 4v21-22). Together with his brother John he received the nickname from Christ “Boanerges” which means “Sons of Thunder”.
What did the nickname signify? Certainly it would be true to say that the young men would become passionate for truth and from them would thunder the Gospel. But in earlier days both would be somewhat hot headed. In Mark’s Gospel John witnessed someone casting out demons and was distinctly unimpressed. The individual in question was not with John and so the son of thunder tried to put a stop to his work (Mark 9v38).
Luke gives us another account of the hot headed brothers. Jesus sent messengers into a Samaritan village urging them to prepare for Christ’s arrival (v52). However the Samaritans did not make any preparation as “Christ’s face was set towards Jerusalem” (v53). The Samaritans were seen by the Jews as a half-breed. They worshipped on Mount Gerizim rather than Mount Zion and they only recognised the first five books of the Old Testament. So this village wanted nothing to do with Christ who in their eyes was a Jew heading for Jerusalem.
James and John were not impressed and asked “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9v54) That’s pretty strong! “Lord will we have this village burnt to a crisp?” Their question is met by Christ’s rebuke and soon they move to another village (v55-56) Make no mistake, judgement is coming and Christ’s return will be both great and terrible, but as His followers it is not for us to see villages burnt to the ground whenever we decide.
While we see James and John acting rashly in the Gospels it would be wrong to think that the Lord’s nickname was negative mockery. Jesus knew the brothers and he understood their zeal. At times it would manifest into something ugly but the men would grow in grace and sanctification and both would play their part in completing the foundations of the church.
James, a son of thunder, would be instrumental in the church in Jerusalem and when Herod raged against the church, James would lose his life by the sword (Acts 12v2). He was the first Apostle to be killed for the cause of Christ and he didn’t die breathing out murderous threats or calling fire from heaven. Although we have no Biblical account, history suggests that James faced his death with such courage that his executioner became convinced of the resurrection of Christ and was killed alongside James. The son of thunder had grown up and become a son of glory.
The church does not advance by bullet or bomb nor the rage of men. Instead it is as the Lord says “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit” says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4v6)
Q48 What are we specially taught by these words, before me,” in the first commandment? These words, before me,” in the first commandment teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God.
Year 2 Day 161
Read - 1 Samuel 1:1-3
Message - Alan Burke
Today we may look around us with wonder at the spiritual and moral decline of the society we live in. We might conclude that everyone does what is right in their own eyes but I suggest we have some way to go before that is the case. As we come to the book of Samuel it was towards the end of the period of the Judges and we are told ‘every man did what was right in his own eyes’ (Jdg 21:25). The spiritual and moral decline in the society that surrounds us has nothing on what it was like in those days. In such a time when every man did what was right in his own eyes, we are introduced to a ‘certain man’ Elkanah (1). You could summarise what we are told by saying this is Mr Average from nowhere important, but what makes this so significant is that in the days when everyone did what was right in his own eyes this man took his family, year after year to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh (3).
He was a man to whom God mattered, his faith was important to him, even though he lived in a time when every man did what was right in his own eyes but Elkanah did not. He knew his need of God and that as a sinner the shedding of blood is needed to cover sin. The sacrifices that he brought year after year, like all the Old Testament sacrifices pointed forward to the shedding of Blood of the lamb of God Jesus Christ. For Elkanah and all those who had faith in the Old Testament they were saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, looking ahead to the coming of Christ. When John the Baptist said “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), he was seeing Christ as the perfect Passover lamb, who would die to make a once and forever atonement for sin for all these who have believed throughout the ages.
It is through the faith of this man or rather this family God was at work, in bringing about a new leader in this time of spiritual bareness. His wife Hannah who was unable to have children came and would cry out to the Lord there at Shiloh (12). Hannah trusted that the Lord that he was sovereign over all that was taking place even though she had no children, even though she was unable to have children. But God was at work, for just like Sarah who was unable to have children, Rebekah, Rachel, God was working according to his plans and purposes and the original readers of Samuel would have had this in the back of their mind and hearing this they would have known that God was going to do something significant in redemptive history, in his plan of salvation.
For us we think that things look bleak around us but likewise we can be assured that God is at work. This opening scene seems almost irrelevant in the unfolding of redemptive history in this ordinary family but God was using it for his purposes and his glory. Likewise God continues to use his people as we seek to live for his glory and is at work in the midst of all that is taking place in this world. He his sovereign and by his providence What are God’ s works of providence he by his most holy, (Ps. 145:17) wise, (Ps. 104:24, Isa. 28:29) and powerful preserving, (Heb. 1:3) and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. (Ps. 103:19, Matt. 10:29–31).
Q 47 What is forbidden in the first commandment?
The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, (Ps. 14:1) or not worshipping and glorifying the true God as God, (Rom. 1:21) and our God; (Ps. 81:10–11) and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone. (Rom. 1:25–26)
Year 2 Day 159
Read - John 1v35-42
Message - Scott Woodburn
There weren’t any accidents in your salvation. It wasn’t by chance that your grandmother shared the Gospel with you and it wasn’t a random bit of luck that saw the preacher speak the Gospel into your ears. Salvation belongs to the Lord and He will call all of those whom He has ordained for salvation.
The Apostle Andrew followed John the Baptist before he followed Christ. Andrew was a fisherman and the brother of Peter. He would lose his life crucified on an X shaped cross. Andrew stood one day with John the Baptist as Jesus walked past, causing John to exclaim “Behold the Lamb of God!” (v36) Andrew’s teacher was correct, Jesus was and is the Lamb of God and so immediately Andrew began to follow Christ (v37).
The Lord enquires of Andrew and the other young man “What are you seeking?” (v38) and they respond by saying “Rabbi where are you staying?” (v38b). Their words show that they recognise Christ as a teacher of men and they wish to stay with him to sit under His teaching. Their wish is granted as Jesus spends the day with his two new followers (v39).
We do not know what Christ told Andrew that day but we certainly see its impact. He seeks out his brother Simon Peter and declares to him “We have found the Messiah” (v41). Indeed Andrew doesn’t just tell Simon Peter about the Messiah, Andrew brings his brother to Jesus too (v42).
Not one part of this account is accidental. As Jesus walks past, John the Baptist declares to his disciples that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Andrew follows Him. Christ spends the day with his followers. Andrew leaves to bring Peter to see for himself. Jesus would later say ”All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6v37) Every word is true. In eternity past the Father gave a people to the Son and those people would be called in time by the Spirit.
It was the case for Andrew and Peter and it was the case for you. Your Sunday school teacher’s faithfulness wasn’t an accident. Your minister’s preaching was not in vain. Your mother’s testimony did not fall on deaf ears. The Lord was at work long before you paid any attention to Him. Everyone for whom Christ died will be saved.
We are humbled by this as we remember that Christ died for those who were His enemies. We are thankful for this truth as we remember those who the Lord sent into our life to preach the Gospel. We are challenged by this as we remember the preciousness of Christ and the necessity to be much in prayer and much in proclamation.
Brothers and sisters may we not be content to go to heaven alone. May the Lord give us opportunities to bring others to see Jesus and may we have the zeal and courage to take those opportunities. The message has not changed, to our friends, families and neighbours we say “Behold the Lamb of God!”
Q46 What is required in the first commandment? The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly.
Year 2 Day 158
Read - 1 John 2:18a
Message - Alan Burke
“First posted Year 1 Day 230 - 10 October 20”
2020 has came and thrown us curve ball after curve ball, yet life goes on. Yes everyday life has changed in ways that we could have never expected, we may even have learnt lessons from this year but the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept across the whole world has made us aware of the finite and uncertain nature of our lives. As John continues, his pastoral concern is at the forefront of all that he is writing, now he brings their attention to something that he wants them to be aware of, he wants them to know the times that they are subsequently we are living in. Look back to what John has just said in verse seventeen and you will see how he has already told us that this world and its desires are passing away, literally perishing. Now he tells us here in verse eighteen that this is the last hour. Put these two together and John is communicating to us that this world is approaching its end and the time is almost up.
You may think to yourself, two thousand years have past since this was written, but John isn’t giving us a time scale, rather he is speaking of the truth of how the world is approaching its end and the time is almost up both figuratively and literally. Figuratively in regards to the last hour for we do not measure God’s time by our clocks, after all a year is like a thousand years with the Lord (2 Pet 3:8). But also speaking literally in how the world is passing away (1 Cor 7:31) and in doing so he is stressing to his readers and to us that there is an urgency of what he speaks, an urgency in the time in which we live.
This world is coming to an end, not because of our consumerism and materialism that is filling the oceans with plastic, causing the ice caps to melt because of global warming but because Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead in final judgement separating the sheep from the goats, those who have trusted in him and those who have not (Matt 25:31-46). We now live between times, Christ has come and he is coming again. John wrote out of concern because of this truth, for the hour is coming, the end is near. He wants us to be in no doubt that right now, whether two thousand years ago or today, we await the second coming of Christ.
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we cannot predict what the future will bring, none of us were prepared for or expected a pandemic that swept across the whole world, it has made us all aware of the finite nature of our lives once more. Pandemic or not, although we cannot predict the date we can be assured that Christ will return for these are the last days as Paul and Peter make clear and that John calls the last hour, the clock is ticking. Every hour that passes is an hour closer to his return or to the day that we will stand before him when this life comes to an end and as a result there is an urgency in the message of the Gospel of Christ. Have you heard it, responded to it? For all of us time is running out, not only because we age and how our lives will come to an end but also time is running out for the world itself. We weren’t prepared for a pandemic, we didn’t expect it, but we can be prepared for the second coming of Christ and we should expect it for these are the last days. We need to recognise the time that we live in.
Q45 Which is the first commandment?
The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exod. 20:3)
Read - Matthew 16v13-20
Message - Scott Woodburn
Perhaps the most famous of the Apostles is Simon Peter. When we first meet Simon he is engaged as a fisherman alongside his brother Andrew (Matthew 4v18), sons of their father John (John 1v40). Simon Peter is a married man (Matthew 8v14) and he and his brother had been followers of John the Baptist before they followed the call of Christ.
A library of books have been written about Simon Peter and we could speak about his walking on water, his denial of Christ, his restoration or his argument with Paul but instead we turn to Matthew’s Gospel where we find Simon Peter’s extraordinary declaration of Christ. Many people were speaking about Jesus and asking who exactly he was. Some thought he might have been John the Baptist. Others wondered if Elijah had returned. Others thought Jesus was Jeremiah or another one of the prophets (v14).
“But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked His disciples. As was so often the case, Simon Peter jumped in first. “You are the Christ” he said “the Son of the living God.” (v16). Simon hit the nail squarely on the head. He had made mistakes and he would again but in that moment he confessed the truth about Jesus. Peter declared that Jesus is the Messiah, the One that he and others have been waiting on. Additionally Jesus is divine. He is the Son of the living God.
Peter is the first of the Apostles to declare such truth and later in his life he will be the first to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. He has received this revelation from God Himself (v17) and in the days after the Ascension Peter would become a primary leader as the church grew beyond Jerusalem. Jesus plays on Peter’s name (which means rock) as He states “you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church.” (v18)
Was Jesus making Peter the ruler of the church to come? Roman Catholics would say yes. Here, they argue, Peter was installed as the first of the Popes and every Pope since is in the line of Peter. In response I would argue that Rome have got this wrong. Peter is given recognition here and we certainly see that soon he becomes a key figure in the church, but to argue that this moment gives him authority over the other Apostles and indeed over the whole church is a stretch.
Instead Peter and the other Apostles would together be rocks in their ministry, Paul later tells us the church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles. The confession made by Peter would be the rock of the Apostles’ testimony. They would preach that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God and they would have Christ given authority in the keys of the kingdom (v19). They would preach the Gospel and see the church built by the sacraments and they would exercise discipline within the church of Christ.
Peter’s confession remains solid rock. Jesus is the Messiah, all who trust in Him will be saved and He promises to build His church which not even the gates of hell will be able to destroy (v18). Today we are thankful for Peter’s ministry. He wasn’t perfect but he would be used by the Lord to establish His church across the world. But today we do not look to Peter, instead we look to Christ. In Jesus we will never be put to shame and in Jesus our feet are planted on a rock that will not move.
Q44 What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us? The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.
Year 2 Day 156
Read — 1 John 1:8-10
Message Alan Burke
“First posted Year 1 Day 171 - 11 September 20”
Some years ago now I remember sitting in a morning midweek having a wee cuppa with some of the older members of the congregation. I had joined them because one of the ladies arrived down to tell me that today wasn’t pavlova or a myriad of different traybakes, today they had home made sausage rolls. The minister I worked with at the time lead us in prayer and took us though a passage, asking questions along the way. I can’t remember how it came up but in conversation I had called myself a sinner and said that they were sinners too. For most of those gathered I had said nothing wrong, but for one lady it was is I had thrown what was left of my cold cup of tea in her face, the rage, it was something akin to the transformation that happened to Dr. Bruce Banner in the incredible Hulk.
I want you to know as you read this that you are a sinner just as I am, and if you don’t like it, you don’t believe it, then you are deceiving yourself and the truth is not in you (8, Rom 3:23). But here is the paradox, if you admit it, face up to the reality that you are a sinner, if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9). If we do this then we will be saved, that sin no longer stands against us, it has been dealt with. If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from unrighteousness (9).
Here’s the but, but if we fail to see that we are sinners, if we deny that we are sinful and deny our sin, then we deny the ability of Christ to save us. For it is only those who are sinners need a saviour. For those who persist in saying that they have not sinned, that they are not sinners, then the word of God is not in them (10). Sadly there are many even in the church today that say that they are not sinners, that they are not sinful, their attitude their behaviour and it is especially seen when it comes to sexual ethics. And if you think that this problem is just out there, its not in here lets not kid ourselves, sadly this attitude infects the church too, we no longer call sin sin, adultery has become an affair, we don’t steal copyrighted material we just stream it, selfishness is seen as standing up for my rights, and then there is greed, jealously, envy, malice, bitterness, how we can be critical of other believers and show such little forgiveness towards our brothers and sisters the last thing we want to admit is that our attitudes are sinful and that we are sinful.
What we need to remember is that although we are sinners, God in his grace forgives sins, let our old self be crucified with Christ, let us turn from sin and live in that resurrected life, so that we become more like the God whose fellowship we are learning to daily enjoy. Let us live in the light (5,7), live in this way just as Jesus told us to as disciples.
Q43 What is the preface to the ten commandments?
The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exod. 20:2)
Year 2 Day 155
Read - Matthew 10v1-4
Message - Scott Woodburn
As the book of Acts comes to a close we remind ourselves that the “Acts” in question are the acts of the Apostles. Luke’s second book therefore concerns itself with what the Apostles of Jesus Christ did after the Lord’s Ascension. The Apostles are named in four places, Matthew 10v2-4, Mark 3v16-19, Luke 6v14-16 & Acts 1v13. The lists mention the Apostles that everyone remembers and those who we know little about. They are Simon Peter, Andrew, James son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot.
But who were these men? Most of us know John and certainly Peter but have little idea about Bartholomew or Thaddeus. In Acts we are told that the church was devoted to the teaching of the Apostles and Paul would write in Ephesians that the church was built on the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles. But why are the Apostles so important in the history of the church? Why should we listen to them?
Understanding the office of the Apostle helps us to understand its importance. There are no Apostles today. Their ministry was foundational and therefore they only existed for a limited period of time in the history of Christ’s church. Some may argue otherwise, but Scripture is clear that the modern day “apostles” do not and cannot meet the Biblical requirements for the office.
The Apostles were those men who had been an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (Acts 1v22; Acts 10v39-41; 1 Corinthians 9v1; 1 Corinthians 15v7-8) As the Apostles moved to replace Judas Iscariot, Peter said “So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” (Acts 1v21-22)
The Apostles were those men directly appointed by Jesus (Mark 3v14; Luke 6v13; Acts 1v1,24; Acts 10v41; Galatians 1v1) Mark tells is that Jesus “appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.” (Mark 3v14-15)
Finally, the Apostles were men able to confirm their office and the Gospel with miraculous signs, called “the signs of the Apostles” (Matthew 10v1-2; Acts 1v5-8; Acts 2v43; Acts 4v33; Acts 5v12; Acts 8v14; 2 Corinthians 12v12; Hebrews 2v3-4) Paul reminded his opponents in Corinth that “the signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.” Apostles could speak in other languages. They could raise the dead. They could heal the sick.
Two thousand years later we can be incredibly thankful for the ministry of the Apostles. They lived troubled lives and most died in horrific ways. Yet their ministry was not a failure. They went as Christ’s representatives into a hostile world and the church grew as thousands called upon the Saviour. We have considered their Acts and over the next few weeks we will consider the men themselves. Today we are thankful for their witness, from Matthew to Revelation we have the God inspired and preserved testimony of the eyewitnesses to the resurrection. The Apostles preached Christ crucified and truly the world was not worthy of such men.
Q42 What is the sum of the ten commandments? The sum of the ten commandments is, to love the Lord our God, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.
Year 2 Day 154
Read — Psalm 102:1-11
Message Alan Burke
“First posted Year 1 Day 134 - 3 Aug 20”
Cries of anguish can come both from physical as well as emotional pain, I have seen both. There are two such cries that will stay with me as long as I live, first the cry of physical anguish coming from a man who was in severe physical pain as he reached the end of his life. The other was that cry of emotional pain as a wife buried her her husband of many years. Both these cries portrayed to all who heard, some of that which was felt by them. What has struck me at the time was that the man was able to smile with his wife and children who were with him in his last hours even in the midst of his pain, whereas that wife who had buried her husband for a long time after did not smile, for she only felt grief and anguish, the pain of her loss still gripped her.
Here the psalmist cries out to the Lord, a cry of desperation (1), we do not know what he as facing but the title of this psalm paints a vivid picture of how this is a; “Prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the LORD”. He feels that the Lord has turned his face from him, desiring that the Lord would in his mercy respond, that he would release him from the abandonment that he faces (2). In the midst of it all the psalmist describes what he feels amid his distress, he leaves out the specifics and instead focusing on the deep sense of affliction that he feels . His bones burn (3), his heart is struck down, he forgets to eat (4), he groans loudly because of the anguish he faces (5), his bones clinging to his flesh loosing his appetite (7), sleeplessness and uncontrolled weeping (9), for he faces the taunt of his enemy. This vivid imagery portrays a terrible sense of being alone, this is how the psalmist feels, consumed by sorrow and tempted to despair, the whole of his person has been effected by these things. There is no escape and as the psalmist comes to terms with the suffering he faces he begins to understand his own mortality. Just like the psalmist when we face such things we own mortality like never before. Here the psalmist explains that our days or like smoke (3), they are like an evening shadow (11) which like the grass are soon gone (11).
I hope that you never feel anguish like this, I hope that you never have to cry out either with physical or emotional anguish but if you do, know that the Lord God will not forget those who are his, and you can come to him with your troubles with confidence, knowing that God can use our weakness in the midst of what ever we face (1 Cor 1:27). Also before the living God, even in our weakness, even when we know not what to pray the Spirit of God is at work in us answering our prayers (Rom 8:26-27). In this life, God is our only refuge the psalmist knew that hence he came before him, bringing his cries of anguish. Knowing that God is our refuge should give us confidence even though Covid-19 has reminded of the fragility of it all, how our days or like smoke (3), they are like an evening shadow (11) which like the grass are soon gone (11). One day this earthly journey will come to an end, for we are but sojourners traveling though. Through faith, as the psalmist, even in darkness we can have hope through Jesus Christ, it is the only for all who believe (1 Jn 5:13-14, 1 Pet 1:3-6, Eph 2:8-10).
Q41 Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments. (Deut. 10:4, Matt. 19:17)
Year 2 Day 152
Read - Acts 28v17-31
Message - Scott Woodburn
It may seem to you that Acts ends quite abruptly. We have journeyed with Paul to Rome where we expect to see him standing before Nero but while such an event certainly took place, we have no record of it here in Acts. Instead Paul is visited by the local Jewish leaders (v17) who haven’t heard any negative report about him (v21) but are keen to hear what he has to say (v22).
Paul kindly obliges them and they spend a whole day together, with the Apostle preaching Christ from the books of Moses and the prophets (v23). We can look back and rejoice at this meeting because some were convinced by Paul’s testimony (v24) yet tragically others were not so sure (v24b).
As the meeting ends Paul speaks a word of judgement against those who refuse to acknowledge Christ. He quotes Isaiah 6v9-10 against those who hear about Christ but will never accept Him. If such individuals would turn to the Lord He would certainly save them, but their hearts are dull, their ears are deaf and their eyes are closed.
Paul declares to the doubters that the Gospel of salvation has now been sent to the Gentile world and a great multitude of them are listening (v28). Luke then tells us that Paul would spend the next two years welcoming anyone who came to him and proclaiming the Gospel with boldness and without hindrance.
I love history and would certainly have appreciated an account of Paul’s meeting with Caesar. Yet what we have in these final verses highlight the future for the church of Christ. Since Paul’s time in Rome until this very day the Gospel has marched forward. Paul could only have dreamed of the lands that the Gospel would finally reach. He travelled the length and breadth of the known world and years later the Gospel would go even further. Today there are Christians throughout the Americas. Today the Gospel rings from north to south Africa. Asians have heard and believed the Gospel and to this very day an ever growing number of ethnic Jews have and are turning to Christ.
So the final verses of Luke’s second book do not give us an account of Nero who was in Paul’s day the most powerful man alive. Instead they show us the work of the church until Christ comes. Brothers and sisters we continue to preach Christ from all of the Scriptures. The Gospel does not begin in Matthew, instead we see it birthed in Genesis. It is the ancient story of good news for all who will believe and it centres around and is focused upon Jesus Christ our Lord.
So we preach Christ in the face of opposition and we rejoice when many receive the Gospel. We pass the truth of Christ to the next generation and to the one after that. We stand firm in the midst of this harlot world and we refuse to bend to Babylon. Rome did not stop the Gospel and it will not end due to Covid, global warming or the powers of this evil age. Acts does not record the birth of the church, rather in Acts we see the Gospel smashing through borders and boundaries and a gathering of one people from every tribe and tongue. Our time in Acts has come to an end but Christ the King continues! He offers salvation for all who will believe and we realise once more that Paul’s day was just like our day - the Gospel cannot be stopped!
Q40 What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience? The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.
Year 2 Day 151
Read — Matthew 27:45-50 and Psalm 88
Message Alan Burke
“First posted Year 1 Day 120 - 19 July 20”
There are times that I cannot even begin to imagine what the person I pastor is going through, I do not try to give the answers, I do not try to give advice, all I do is listen. When there is opportunity to do so I take them to the one who can sympathise with all our weakness Jesus Christ our Lord (Heb. 4:15). He can sympathise with our weakness because he lived as one of us, experienced the things that we experience. In all the hardships that befall on us, whatever our weakness, we know the compassion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who will accompany us through it all. Not only that, in whatever we face he has concern for us and he can relieve our sufferings, helping us through all that we face. Knowing this should be an encouragement to us all, that God incarnate, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man can sympathise with our weakness.
What is more Jesus experienced the wrath of God so that we may escape it. We read from Matthew 27:45-50, a passage that is normally used at Good Friday services and more often than not the focus is on how he was spat on (Mt 26:67), flogged, received a crown of thorns (Jn 19:1-2) and was mocked (Mt 27:31) and nailed to a cross (Mt 27:35). As awful as these things were, they were nothing in comparison to what happened on the cross, for after several hours, when the end was near, Jesus cried out …“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Mt 27:46). There he experienced something worse than we can even begin to imagine, he was forsaken, for there he bore upon himself our sin so that we can have his righteousness, he suffered in our place, the wrath of God. He who knew no sin became sin for us ( 2 Cor 5:21), he bore the curse for us (Gal 3:13). We cannot fully grasp this cry, how the trine God suffered separation, yet in it we know that we have a saviour who knew what it was to be forsaken, who can sympathise with our weakness.
I do not know what you face this day but I know that in what ever we face we have a Saviour who is compassionate towards us, is concerned for us, who is with us through it all. If you feel forsaken at times then know if you have trusted in the saviour your are not forsaken, he will never leave us nor forsake us. Man of sorrows what a name, for the Son of God, who came, ruined sinners to reclaim: Hallelujah, what a Saviour!
Q39 What is the duty which God requireth of man?
The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will. (Mic. 6:8, 1 Sam. 15:22)