Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish and completely finish His work. (John 4:34)
But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed His last.
At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised.
(After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)
“It is Finished!“
A battle broke out in heaven. Michael, along with his heavenly messengers, clashed against the dragon.
The dragon and his messengers returned the fight, but they did not prevail and were defeated.
As a result, there was no place left for them in heaven.
So the great dragon, that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was cast down to the earth along with his messengers.
Then I heard a great voice in heaven.
A Voice: Now the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Anointed One have come.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God,
has been cast down and silenced.
By the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their witnesses,
they have become victorious over him,
For they did not hold on to their lives, even under threat of death.
Therefore, rejoice, all you heavens;
celebrate, all you who live in them.
But disaster will befall the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to your spheres,
And he is incredibly angry
because he knows his time is nearly over.
Jesus makes the point clear: stay connected to Him, and have no reason to fear.
Jesus doesn’t mean that at the instant someone has faith, fear simply vanishes or only good things happen in that person’s life. In fact, the blessings that come with eternal life often have nothing to do with present or future circumstances, but they have everything to do with the individual’s connections to God and others. That is John’s message to his listeners.
God came to earth embodied in flesh, and then He reached His greatest acclaim through a torturous death. If this is all true, then believers will find strength and beauty in places never imagined. Abiding in Jesus the Anointed is the good life, regardless of the external circumstances.
When Christ came down from the Sacred Mount, He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone.
From that moment on the boy was well. (Matthew 17).
Sunlight Poured from His Face
The TRUTH: the Eternal is the TRUE Shepherd.
Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?
Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; and we, we did regard Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.
and none of His generation protested
His being cut off from the land of the living
for the crimes of My people,
who deserved the punishment themselves.
For God expressed His love for the world in this way:
He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. Here’s the point.
God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.
It is hard to understand why God would crush His innocent Servant. But it is in His suffering for sin that God deals decisively with sin and its harmful effects.
Yet the Eternal One planned to crush Him all along,
to bring Him to grief, this innocent servant of God.
When He puts His life in sin’s dark place, in the pit of wrongdoing,
this servant of God will see His children and have His days prolonged.
For in His servant’s hand, the Eternal’s deepest desire will come to pass and flourish.
As a result of the trials and troubles that wrack His soul,
God’s servant will see light and be content
Because He knows, really understands, what it’s about; as God says,
“My just servant will justify countless others by taking on their punishment and bearing it away.
Because He exposed His very self—
laid bare His soul to the vicious grasping of death—
And was counted among the worst, I will count Him among the best.
I will allot this one, My servant, a share in all that is of any value,
Because He took on Himself the sin of many
and acted on behalf of those who broke My law.”
Eventually the chief priests and the elders looked around and saw that it was morning.
They convened a council meeting whose sole purpose was to hand down Jesus’ death sentence.
They tied Jesus up, took Him away, and handed Him over to the governor of Judea, a man called Pilate.
Judas—the one who had betrayed Him with a kiss for 30 pieces of silver—saw that Jesus had been condemned, and suddenly Judas regretted what he had done. He took the silver back to the chief priests and elders and tried to return it to them.
Judas Iscariot: I can’t keep this money! I’ve sinned! I’ve betrayed an innocent man! His blood will be on my hands.
The priests and elders want nothing to do with Judas, and they refuse to take his money.
Chief Priests and Elders: We’re through with you, friend. The state of your soul is really none of our affair.
Judas threw down the money in the temple, went off, and hanged himself.
The chief priests looked at the silver coins and picked them up.
Chief Priests and Elders: You know, according to the law, we can’t put blood money in the temple treasury.
After some deliberation, they took the money and bought a plot of land called Potter’s Field; they would use it to bury foreigners, suicides, and others who were unfit for a full Jewish burial. (To this day, the field is called Blood Field, because it was bought with blood money.) And when the priests bought Potter’s Field, they unwittingly fulfilled a prophecy made long ago by the prophet Jeremiah: “They took 30 pieces of silver, the price set on the head of the man by the children of Israel, and they gave them for the Potter’s Field as the Eternal One instructed.”
Jesus was standing before the governor, Pilate.
Pilate: Are You the King of the Jews?
Jesus: So you say.
The chief priests and the elders stood and poured out their accusations: that Jesus was a traitor, a seditious rebel, a crazy, a would-be Savior, and a would-be king. Jesus stood in the stream of accusations, but He did not respond.
Pilate: Do You hear these accusations they are making against You?
Still Jesus said nothing, which Pilate found rather astounding—no protests, no defense, nothing.
Now the governor had a custom. During the great Jewish festival of Passover, he would allow the crowd to pick one of the condemned men, and he, Pilate, would set the man free. Just like that. Gratuitous, gracious freedom. At this time, they had a notorious prisoner named Barabbas. So when the crowd gathered, Pilate offered them a choice:
Pilate: Whom do you want me to free? Barabbas or Jesus, whom some call the Anointed One?
Pilate could call Him “Jesus of Nazareth” or “Jesus the Carpenter,” but he says, “whom some call the Anointed One.”
It is significant that Pilate is in a position where he passes judgment. He determines who will live and who will die, and he is preparing to hold court.
Pilate knew the chief priests and elders hated Jesus and had delivered Him up because they envied Him.
Then Pilate sat down on his judgment seat, and he received a message from his wife:
“Distance yourself utterly from the proceedings against this righteous man. I have had a dream about Him, a dream full of twisted sufferings—He is innocent, I know it, and we should have nothing to do with Him.”
But the chief priests and the elders convinced the crowd to demand that Barabbas, not Jesus, whom-some-call-the-Anointed-One, be freed and that Jesus be put to death.
Pilate (standing before the crowd): Which of these men would you have me free?
Crowd (shouting): Barabbas!
Pilate: What would you have me do with this Jesus, whom some call the Anointed One?
Crowd (shouting): Crucify Him!
Pilate: Why? What crime has this man committed?
Crowd (responding with a shout): Crucify Him!
It is clear Pilate has laid his own trap. He realizes he has given the crowd a choice, but the crowd doesn’t choose as he expects them to.
Pilate saw that unless he wanted a riot on his hands, he now had to bow to their wishes. So he took a pitcher of water, stood before the crowd, and washed his hands.
Pilate: You will see to this crucifixion, for this man’s blood will be upon you and not upon me. I wash myself of it.
Crowd: Indeed, let His blood be upon us—upon us and our children!
So Pilate released Barabbas, and he had Jesus flogged and handed over to be crucified.
The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into a great hall, gathered a great crowd, and stripped Jesus of His clothes, draping Him in a bold scarlet cloak, the kind that soldiers sometimes wore. They gathered some thorny vines, wove them into a crown, and perched that crown upon His head. They stuck a reed in His right hand, and then they knelt before Him, this inside-out, upside-down King. They mocked Him with catcalls.
They spat on Him and whipped Him on the head with His scepter of reeds, and when they had their fill, they pulled off the bold scarlet cloak, dressed Him in His own simple clothes, and led Him off to be crucified.
As they were walking, they found a man called Simon of Cyrene and forced him to carry the cross. Eventually they came to a place called Golgotha, which means “Place of the Skull.” There they gave Him a drink—wine mixed with bitter herbs. He tasted it but refused to drink it.
And so they had Him crucified. They divided the clothes off His back by drawing lots,and they sat on the ground and watched Him hang. They placed a sign over His head: “This is Jesus, King of the Jews.” And then they crucified two thieves (REBELS) next to Him, one at His right hand and one at His left hand.
Passersby shouted curses and blasphemies at Jesus. They wagged their heads at Him and hissed.
Passersby: You’re going to destroy the temple and then rebuild it in three days? Why don’t You start with saving Yourself? Come down from the cross if You can, if You’re God’s Son.
Chief Priests, Scribes, and Elders (mocking Him): He saved others, but He can’t save Himself. If He’s really the King of Israel, then let Him climb down from the cross—then we’ll believe Him. He claimed communion with God—well, let God save Him, if He’s God’s beloved Son.
Even the REBELS (the thieves) hanging to His right and left poured insults upon Him.
Love will never invoke fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love. (1 John 4:18)
No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God. Why does God allow for judgment and condemnation?
Because the Light, sent from God, pierced through the world’s darkness to expose ill motives, hatred, gossip, greed, violence, and the like. Still some people preferred the darkness over the light because their actions were dark.
Some of humankind hated the light.
They scampered hurriedly back into the darkness where vices thrive and wickedness flourishes.
Those who abandon deceit and embrace what is true, they will enter into the light where it will be clear that all their deeds come from God.
In John 10:11 Jesus makes a bold claim. He declares that He is the good shepherd.
Immediately His disciples detected the resonance of Psalm 23 in His words.
Those of us who follow Jesus today come to know Him as that gentle but strong shepherd who guides us through life if we will follow Him.
The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always.
He provides me rest in rich, green fields
beside streams of refreshing water.
He soothes my fears;
He makes me whole again,
steering me off worn, hard paths
to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.
Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,
I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
near with Your protection and guidance,
I am comforted.
You spread out a table before me,
provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies;
You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,
filling my cup again and again with Your grace.
Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me
where I go, always, everywhere.
I will always be with the Eternal,
in Your house forever.
Yours is the Kingdom Yours is the Power Yours is the Glory Forever Amen
for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, shalom and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh.
Romans 14:17 Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives!”
because the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking. When God reigns, the order of the day is redeeming justice, true peace, and joy made possible by the Holy Spirit.
“Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”
Answer my prayers, O True God, the righteous, who makes me right.
I was hopelessly surrounded, and You rescued me.
Once again hear me; hide me in Your favor;
bring victory in defeat and hope in hopelessness.
How long will you sons of Adam steal my dignity, reduce my glory to shame?
Why pine for the fruitless and dream a delusion?
[Selah, pause] Be still and Know that I am God I will be exalted (lifted up) Be still and Know that I am with you.
Literally, Selah, likely a musical direction from a Hebrew root meaning “to lift up”
Understand this: The Eternal One treats as special those like Him.
The Eternal will answer my prayers and save me.
Think long; think hard. When you are angry, don’t let it carry you into sin.
When night comes, in calm be silent.
From this day forward, offer to God the right sacrifice from a heart made right by God.
Entrust yourself to the Eternal.
Crowds of disheartened people ask, “Who can show us what is good?”
Let Your brilliant face shine upon us, O Eternal One, that we may know the undeniable answer.
You have filled me with joy, and happiness has risen in my heart, great delight and unrivaled joy,
even more than when bread abounds and wine flows freely.
Tonight I will sleep securely on a bed of peace
because I trust You, You alone, O Eternal One, will keep me safe.
He [Hashem] shall see of the travail of his [Moshiach’s] nefesh, and shall be satisfied; by knowledge of him [Moshiach] shall Tzadik Avdi [“My Righteous Servant,” Moshiach, Zecharyah 3:8, Yirmeyah 23:5; Zecharyah 6:11-12, Ezra 3:8 Yehoshua, Yeshua shmo] justify many (Romans 5:1); for he [Moshiach] shall bear their avon (iniquities). (Isaiah 53:11)
Servants of Adonai, give praise!
Give praise to the name of Adonai!
Blessed be the name of Adonai
from this moment on and forever!
From sunrise until sunset
Adonai’s name is to be praised.
Adonai is high above all nations,
his glory above the heavens.
Who is like Adonai our God,
seated in the heights, humbling Himself to look on heaven and on earth.
He raises the poor from the dust, lifts the needy from the rubbish heap,
in order to give him a place among princes, among the princes of his people.
He causes the childless woman to live at home happily as a mother of children.
So the Eternal One, who rescued Abraham, says concerning Jacob:
Eternal One: The people of Jacob’s line will no longer be ashamed,
nor will they grow pale with embarrassment.
For when they lay eyes on their children, the work of My hands,
they will protect My name and keep it holy.
They will recognize that I am sacred, the Holy One of Jacob,
and stand in awe of Me, the God of Israel.
Whoever thought otherwise and wandered off will know the truth,
and whoever said otherwise and voiced criticism will quietly learn.
54 Eternal One: Sing, childless woman, you who have never given birth.
Raise a joyful shout, you who have never gone through labor.
You, whose husband is dead, will bring forth much more than the fertile one who has a husband.[a]
2 Enlarge your house. You are going to need a bigger place;
don’t underestimate the amount of room that you’ll need. So build, build, build.
3 You will increase in every direction to fill the world.
Your offspring will take over the nations;
Your people will revitalize long-abandoned towns.
4 Don’t be afraid, for there is no one to shame you.
Don’t fear humiliation, for there is no one to disgrace you.
The shame of your younger years and the sorrow of your widowhood are over.
You’ll forget those days as if they never happened.
5 Because the One who made you will be your husband;
the One called Commander of heavenly armies
Will set you right again, the Holy One of Israel.
It’s not for nothing that He is called “God of all the earth.”
6 For the Eternal has called you to come back home,
like a young wife, once deserted and deeply injured.
Now God is pulling you close again. Like a spouse forgives,
He will take you back and be reconciled.
The Eternal, your Redeemer, says this:
7 Eternal One: Yes, I was angry for a moment, and I rejected you,
but My love endures, and I want you back.
8 For that moment, when I was so mad,
I made it impossible for you to see Me, to find Me,
But with great tenderness, I will take you back in love.
9 I think this is like the time when Noah lived.
I promised that I would never again destroy the world by a flood.
So now I am promising never again to be so angry
and punishing as I was when I sent you away.
10 Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors,
and the hills quiver and shake, I will not desert you.
You can rely on My enduring love;
My covenant of peace will stand forever.
So says the Eternal One, whose love won’t give up on you.
This promise stands to God’s covenant people: nothing can happen to them unless God wills it and makes it so. Only if they invite it will destruction come. Throughout this time of rebellion and punishment God makes it clear that they hold their fate in their own hands. And if they haven’t understood the message, God tells them who will do the nation-building—an unworldly restoration. He says that He provides the raw materials; He creates the tools and provides the skills with which the builders build. He alone is responsible for restoring the nation. And no matter what charges the adversary may concoct, God will not be put off. Even though Israel rebelled and was unfaithful at one time, that is in the past. The future is sure: God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His enduring love for His people, will stand for all time. So the challenge goes out from the prophet to God’s people—speaking on God’s authority—to align themselves with God, accept Him as God, and they will surely win.
11 Eternal One: Ah, Jerusalem, so miserable and distressed! I will rebuild you
with floors of shimmering mosaics, set sapphires in your foundations.
12 I will decorate your towers with rubies,
and your gates will sparkle with all manner of precious gems.
Costly jewels will adorn the entire wall that circles your precincts.
13 Every one of your children, the people who call you home,
will be students of the Eternal; oh, they’ll be so happy and live in peace!
14 This time, you will be founded and grounded
on right thought, speech, and action.
And no one will trouble you, abuse or oppress you;
you will know no fear and have no worries.
15 If a nation marches against you,
know that I am not behind it.
Anyone foolish enough to challenge you will fall to you.
16 I have created the blacksmith
who readies the fire and forges weapons for wars;
And I have created the destroyer to ravage and ruin.
17 But no instrument forged against you will be allowed to hurt you,
and no voice raised to condemn you will successfully prosecute you.
It’s that simple; this is how it will be for the servants of the Eternal;
I will vindicate them.
Look to Him and shine,
so shame will never contort your faces.
Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.
Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart. Among you, in your striving against sin, none has resisted the pressure to the point of death, as He did.
God “disciplines” His “disciples.”
God is training us not just to live here and now, but to have life in the age to come, to share His life and holiness.
The Bible is a brutally honest book. It contains stories of liars, murderers, and adulterers; and these are the good guys.
If we read the Bible looking only for positive role models, we’ll be quickly disappointed.
But if we are honest with ourselves and confess our own faults, we will find in Scripture, particularly in the First Testament, that we have much in common with many broken saints of the past. But we must not stay broken.
We must follow their path to transformation through repentance and faith.
Repentance means a change of heart, a change of mind, and ultimately a change of how we live.
God’s grace comes to us and enables us to turn away from sin and to turn back to Him.
18 You have not come to the place that can be touched (as Israel did at Mount Sinai)—to a mountain crowned with blazing fire, darkness, gloom, and a windstorm— 19 or to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of a voice—a voice and message so harsh that the people begged not to hear another word. 20 (They could not bear the command that was given: that if even a beast touches the mountain, it must be stoned. 21 The sight was so terrible that even Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”)[b]
No, instead you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to heavenly messengers unnumbered, to a joyful feast, to the assembly of the firstborn registered as heaven’s citizens, to God the righteous Judge of all, and to the spirits of all the righteous who have been perfected. You have come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant between God and humanity, and to His sprinkled blood, which speaks a greater word than the blood of Abel crying out from the earth.
See that you don’t turn away from the One who is speaking; for if the ones who heard and refused the One who spoke on earth faced punishment, then how much more will we suffer if we turn away from the One speaking from heaven— the One whose voice in earlier times shook the earth now makes another promise: “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens”? The phrase, “Yet once more,” means that those things that can be shaken will be removed and taken away, namely, the first creation. As a result, those things that remain cannot be shaken. Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him, for He is like a fierce fire that consumes everything.
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion? (Esther 4:14)
Of all the books in the Bible, Esther is unique because God is never once mentioned explicitly. Still, for those who know God and who know history, God is in the story, behind it, above it, beneath it. He is the main actor in history, even if He is not acknowledged. Here, Mordecai shows great wisdom. The Jews, God’s chosen people, will be delivered whether Esther involves herself or not. Divine Providence has ways and means that go beyond human understanding. Still Providence has made Esther queen for a purpose, a purpose she cannot easily escape.
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. “And You have made them a Kingdom, Priests and Kings to our God, and they shall reign over The Earth.”
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 1:6; 5:10, 3:21)