God Is Our Father

Understanding Jesus – Teaching Blog 06

It would be impossible for me to teach you everything Jesus taught during His ministry. The Bible tells us in John 21:25 there were so many teachings the world could not hold the volume of books needed to write them in. So I can only teach from what we do know about Jesus in the Bible. And, today we will study an area of His ministry I believe is very pertinent and that is the revelation of God as a Father. This was revealed to us in the New Testament because God was not a Father in the Old Testament. In other words, when the disciples heard Jesus praying in Matthew 6:9-13, “Our Father who art in heaven…” they wondered who He was praying to.

You must remember that in the Old Testament there was no way to change a human heart, God had to bring pressure or trouble into their lives to turn them back to Him. A quick look at the Book of Judges tells us there were forty years of good things, then forty years of living independently from God, and then God would rise up another judge in the land. This way of living for the Jews went back and forth for several years. So the disciples had the mindset of the Old Testament which may not have been of a tender loving God because God was not completely exposed to them. But in the New Testament Jesus told them He was the only way to the Father. Philip asked Jesus in John 14:8-10 who the Father is and Jesus told him that you know Me so you also know the Father. You see, revealing God to us as a loving Father was a key issue in the ministry of Jesus.

The disciples didn’t understand this because they could not go to the Father, there was no access to Him because only the High Priest could operate in that function on behalf of the people. The Bible tells us the presence of God was behind a twenty-five foot curtain in the Holy of Holies and man never interacted with God, let alone thought of Him as a Father. Nevertheless, Jesus tells us in the New Testament that God is a compassionate and loving Father. Then Jesus tells us that after His resurrection we will go to the Father and ask the Father for things in His name. The disciples wondered how could this possibly happen. But Jesus tells them in John 16:27, “…for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came for from God.”

Therefore, today we have complete access to God the Father and we go directly to Him in Jesus’ name with our prayers. This means we do not pray to any deceased saints for answers to our prayers because this is wrong. We do not go to anyone for answer to our prayers other than God Himself. As Christians we are to feel confident to go into the presence of the Father Himself. It is God alone who hears and answers our prayers in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Be blessed,

Sebastian

He Became Strong in Spirit

Understanding Jesus – Teaching Blog 05

There is not much known about the early life of Jesus, but today we are going to study what we do know about Him from the Word. He did have a grand entrance into the world even though He was born in humble circumstances. The angels were signing about Him and men on earth were worshiping and giving Him gifts. However, all we have is a small glimpse of Him as a twelve year old child in Scripture. And this is the story – it was during the Passover celebration when Mary and Joseph took the family to Jerusalem, but on their journey back home they discovered Jesus was not among His relatives in the caravan. They quickly left the group and went back to the City and found Him in the Temple listening to the elders and asking questions. We are told in Luke 2:47 that “…all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” We also learn in Verse 40 “…the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” At this point, Jesus knows who He is because He tells Mary and Joseph in Verse 49 “…Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” So at an early age Jesus knew His identity as the Son of God.

He was the oldest child in the family and learned His father’s trade as a carpenter. He would have attend the Synagogue regularly and engaged often with the religious leaders, but He had no public ministry at this time. There were no healings, no miracles, no signs or wonders yet, because He was simply a man going about the business of human life. It’s not until His baptism when the Holy Spirit descends upon Him that Jesus begins His ministry here on earth.

John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus, preached to the crowds at the Jordan in Matthew 3:11-12 “…but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” This was John’s ministry to be a forerunner and prepare the way for the Lord. John was speaking of Jesus who will purge the threshing floor and cleanse the earth. Jesus will gather the wheat (those who are His) into His barn, but the chaff (the lost and unsaved) He will burn up in an unquenchable fire.

The baptism of Jesus is when we see the three entities of the Trinity. In Verses 16 and 17 it reads, “…the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’.” The Trinity is present – Jesus is baptized, God the Father speaks of His Son and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him. Jesus is now empowered by the Holy Spirit to begin His ministry and there is a visible power that is now in His life. And from this day forward everything changed in the life of Jesus and everything changed in our lives too! Amen.

Be blessed,

Sebastian

A Humble Existence

Understanding Jesus - Teaching Blog 04

We learn in Luke 2:1-15 that because of the origin of his family roots in the lineage of David, Joseph had to travel back to Bethlehem for a census. Mary is with him and she is ready to give birth but there is no room available for this couple. They are given a corner in a manger and this is where Jesus was born. Before we go any further, I want you to understand that all the male relatives of Joseph were also in the town of Bethlehem. Possibly his brothers, uncles, father and cousins, all had to travel for the census and I often wonder why their relatives didn’t invite this humble couple to stay with them?

Another point I want to make clear is Jesus was not born on December 25th He was probably born late in September or October during the Feast of Tabernacles. December 25th is a couple of days after the winter solstice and this date was selected by the Church. The date also accommodated the pagan festivities of the rebirth of the sun. Other traditions like the Christmas tree, giving of gifts and the Yule log can all be traced back to forms of worship that have crept into Church culture. Don’t get me wrong because I’m not saying we should change the date or the traditions, but the date should have lined up with the Feast of Tabernacles, just as Pentecost falls on the Feast of Pentecost and Passover lines up with His resurrection.

In Matthew 2:1-11 we read about the wise men and we imagine three kings because of traditional songs and cards and the giving of three gifts, but more than likely there were more than just three. The huge traveling caravan came from the East, probably in the direction of Iraq and the men were not kings. We learn in Verse 3, “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all of Jerusalem with him.” The caravan could have been hundreds of people entering an already over-booked town, but Jesus was born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy.

For a moment, let’s step back and think about the weight of this situation for Mary and Joseph because the experience must have been overwhelming for this young couple. They heard of angles appearing to shepherds in the fields to announce the birth of their child. Wise men came to visit and poured out expensive gifts for their baby. Yet, their own relatives were not rejoicing or participating in the birth of their first child. Then in a dream, Joseph is told to flee to Egypt because Herod is going to kill all the male children under two years old. Now remember, Joseph’s relatives are in the city, therefore we can conclude that some of his young male cousins and nephews were executed.

Mary and Joseph’s moment of great joy, the birth of their first child, was a mixture of great emotional turmoil. Nevertheless, this is the beginning of our Savior’s life here on earth. Jesus was born in humble surroundings and He lived a humble life as a carpenter. And when His ministry began, He left His family and humbly went to the cross for our benefit. What a Savior we have in Christ Jesus!

Be blessed,

Sebastian

Why The Virgin Birth?

Understanding Jesus – Teaching Blog 03

Before we start today’s teaching I want to explain that it’s my teaching style to seek out the truth and answer the important “Why?” questions. And you will discover the same teaching style in all my Bible studies and curriculums because I want you to know more than just what happened. I want you to know why and how things happened in the Bible. I want you to understand how these events affect your life and what makes you a significant part of God’s plan for humanity. Well, with this in mind, today we are going to study the conception and birth of Jesus Christ because we celebrate His birth at Christmas but the real miracle, the real life changer, was His conception. So let’s ask the question: “Why the virgin birth?” Once you can answer that question then you can understand why Jesus was the only way for us to receive salvation.

You see, the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and Jesus was born outside of Adam’s transgression. This had to happen, otherwise Jesus would be born in sin (as we are) and He would have been unrighteous to God (as we are). The conception of Jesus was not normal, so let’s think about something here – what makes an event a miracle? Well, a miracle is something that is done outside of the natural process of things. Therefore, the conception of Jesus was a miracle because it was done outside the normal process, but what about His birth? The birth of Jesus was normal because Mary was pregnant and brought forth a child like any other woman. She took care of herself and her unborn child by eating well and resting. Again, the real miracle was the conception and the key to this whole process of the virgin birth is that Jesus had to be born outside of Adam’s transgression. He had to born righteous to God which made Him a perfect and holy sacrifice.   

When you step back from this and think about it, Jesus is the only man in history to know His mother and father before He was born and to know how His life was going to be lived. He knew where He would be born and the timing of His birth, but He also knew the way in which He would die. I want you to understand the gravity of knowing all this because Jesus was a man. He was a human being and He experienced normal things. When He was hungry, He ate. When He was tired, He slept. When He was dirty, He washed. You see, Jesus came into the world at our creative level so we must understand that He also felt pain and humiliation on the cross. Jesus had to be a man in order to execute the plan of salvation for mankind. He left His royal position of deity and came down to earth to live among us and be part of us – all so that He could become a holy and righteous sacrifice for us!

Be blessed,

Sebastian

Jesus Had A Free Will

Understanding Jesus – Teaching Blog 02

Today we are going to learn about covenant in Genesis 15 where God commands Abraham to prepare a covenant. What exactly is a covenant? It is a contract between two men or two tribes or two nations that form an unbreakable bond. There are several rituals involved in sealing the agreements of the covenant. One of the rituals is generally formed in blood which makes the participants blood brothers. They swear in blood to one another. This is something in modern times that is difficult to understand, but this is the way men protected each other from outsiders or enemies. This is the way men forged relationships and this is the way God forged a covenant upon Himself for us.

Once Abraham prepares the sacrifice for the covenant a thick darkness appears and he goes into a deep sleep. God speaks over Abraham the covenant terms and blessings. While he is asleep, two entities, God the Father and the Son, pass between the sacrificial pieces. As God and Jesus walk between the pieces, God swears agreement to His Son as to the Gospel plan and its benefits to humanity. Then God leaves and on the same day Jesus completes the covenant by forging a relationship with Abraham who is our representative. This is called the hypostatic union.

2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This verse speaks of the covenant term: in Him. Essentially our salvation is our belief in Him, in who Jesus is, what He did for us and what He represents for us to God the Father. All of this started thousands and thousands of years ago. As a matter of fact, it started thousands of years before Jesus went to the cross and died for us. This is is all possible because Jesus always existed.

You see, Jesus made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:7). Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death on the cross. I want you to understand that all the while Jesus was alive on earth as a man; He had a free will. Just like every other man, every created being, Jesus had a free will.

Here you have it – God made the plan for Jesus, God told Jesus the requirements of the plan, but Jesus had to accept the plan by His faith and in His free will. It was Jesus who died, of His own free will, for all of humanity. He humbled Himself and became a bondservant. Jesus executed the plan that God the Father designed. Think about the gravity and intensity of this plan because believe me; Jesus could have walked away from God’s plan at any time. Jesus did not have to go through dying on the cross for our salvation. Remember, Jesus did not need us – we need Jesus!

Be blessed,
Sebastian