John 18

John 18: Jesus is arrested

After Jesus had prayed to the Father, He and His Apostles went to the Brook of Cedron, which was near the Garden of Gethsemane. There, Judas knew he could find Jesus and brought with him an army of men to come and arrest Jesus. A sort of stand off first occurs between the Apostles of Jesus and the men of Judas, they ask for Jesus and Jesus immediately says; “…I am he…” (John 18:5&8) They ask Him twice, and He responds twice that He is the one they are seeking, and asks the rest to be let go. Peter, who was with Jesus drew his sword and cut off the right ear of one of the men with Judas, named Malchus. Jesus immediately tells Peter to put his sword away; “…put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hat given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11) Again, Peter was too anxious to protect Jesus, without realizing what must come forth for Jesus.

Jesus is taken to see Caiaphas before a council, which was basically an illegal trial of death. Peter follows Jesus to this trial and is asked if he was one of the disciples of Jesus, and he denied Jesus and said he was not one of His Apostles.

The High Priest then asked Jesus of His disciples/Apostles and His doctrine. Jesus answers simply; “…I spake openly to the world; I never taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret I have said nothing. Why askest thou me? As them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.” (John 18:20-21) This answer must have made some angry, because immediately one of the officers which stood by Jesus struck Him with the palm of his hand saying; “…Answerest thou the high priest so?” (John 18:22) Jesus was upset, but kept His cool and said; “…If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? (John 18:23) This so called “trial” was a mockery of even ancient law.

Peter was still nearby when he was asked again, twice if he was an Apostle of Jesus Christ and he denied Jesus two more times. On the third time, the cock crew and he remembered what Jesus had said, that the he would deny him thrice before the cock crew. From here Jesus is taken to the Judgment Hall and brought before Pilate, where he asks Him; “…Art thou the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33) Jesus responds; “…Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? “(John 18:34) Pilate responds that His own nation brought Him to be judged; Pilate asks Jesus what he had done. Jesus responds; “…My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36) Pilate, out of curiosity and an attempt to understand the situation asks; “…Art thou a king then?” (John 18:37)

Jesus then answers and proclaims His divine mission as the Son of God; “…Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth, Every one that is of the truth heareth me voice.” (John 18:37)

Pilate then went out on the balcony and said to the group gathered below; “…I find not fault at all. But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:38-39)  The crowd did not listen to reason and instead demanded that Barabbas, who was a thief, to be released. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but did nothing. He let I happen, and let the people decide. What kind of trial was that? It certainly breaks laws today and certainly broke laws during the time of Jesus.

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John 7

John 7: The Father’s Doctrine

Jesus walked into Galilee, but His Apostles advised Him to carry out His ministry in Jerusalem during the Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus tells His Apostles that they need to go up to the Feast, but for Him it is not His time yet.

During the feast, Jesus goes to the Temple to teach the Jews, and they marveled that Jesus could speak with so much wisdom, but Jesus reminded them; “…My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:16-17) Jesus goes on to explain that anyone who seeks after his own glory will not teach the truth, but he who comes seeking the glory of God will tell the truth. Jesus asks them; “Did Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” (John 7:19) He continues to explain that Moses (through God) gave the law of circumcision, and on the Sabbath the Jews performed this ordinance. Jesus then asks them if they are still angry at Him for making someone whole on the Sabbath. He exclaims; “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

Jesus continues His address in the Temple, some were saying that He was the Christ and others saying that if the Christ came, no one would know. Jesus tells them; “…ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.” (John 7:28-29) Some try to lay hands on him, seeking to kill him… but they did not, for His hour had not come yet.

Jesus offers everyone there living waters, if they are to follow Him. The people continued to persecute Jesus and desired for Him to be killed. Nicodemus, however asked the question; “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” (John 7:51) But the council that was gathered did not listen to him and chose to unlawfully persecute Jesus.

Luke 6

Luke 6: Blessing for the Obedient… woes for the Wicked

                On the second Sabbath, Jesus and His Apostles travel through a corn field and plucked ears of corn because they were hungry. Without having stepped much further the Scribes and Pharisees were ready to find fault and begin questioning Jesus; “…Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?” (Luke 6:2) Jesus responds; “…Have ye not read so much  as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? …the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:3-5)

The Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus doing anything wrong, but even their so called mastery of the scriptures and the word of God was no match for the Son of God himself. The Pharisees did err, because they knew not the scriptures. How could they not see that Jesus was the Christ? The Son of God!?

Jesus continues His journey and enters into a Synagogue to teach, while He was there He saw a man whose right hand was withered. The Scribes and Pharisees again stood by waiting to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath, and therefore find fault for having healed on the Sabbath. Jesus of course knew their intentions and asked the man to come near and stand up, He then asked the man; “…Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9) Jesus then asked the man to stretch forth his hand so he could heal it, and the hand was restored to a perfect condition.

The Pharisees were angered and communed with one another to figure out what to do with Jesus, for He was clearly violating what they had made up or misunderstood about His own law. The Sabbath day should be kept as a reverent, holy day unto the Lord. If at all possible we should avoid activities that draw away from the Savior or do not bring peace into our homes. Sabbath days are meant to be a day of rest, but also a day of service. The Sabbath is the time to go to church, worship God and spend time with Family. We should avoid working or shopping on this day, so that others can honor the Sabbath day.

Jesus leaves the Pharisees and goes to a mountain to pray (where He prays all night to decide who to call to be His Apostles), those chosen the next day are; Simon (who is also named Peter), Andrew, James, John, Phillips, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Judas and Judas Iscariot. Jesus speaks to His apostles and those gathered;

“…Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:20-22)

Jesus taught that all things will be made right for those trials we go through in life. Jesus continues to address the people gathered; “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28) Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, regardless of what they do to us.

Jesus explains that we must be charitable and give unto others. For what we sow, so shall we reap; “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)

Jesus continues by explaining that:

  • The blind cannot lead the blind (Luke 6:39-40)
  • Do not judge others when you, yourself are not perfect (Luke 6:41-42)
  • Every tree brings forth its own fruit, and is known by that fruit (Luke 6:43-45)

Most importantly Jesus explains that those who follow Him, and actually do as He has taught will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock, with a solid foundation. However, those who don’t listen to Jesus or follow His teachings will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the floods come the one without a foundation will be washed away. This metaphor can be used in our own lives, if we do not ground ourselves in the doctrines of Christ and follow Him each day… when the storms of Satan come and he tempts us, we might just give into those temptations and wash away.

Jesus asks those who follow Him; “…why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) Earlier in Matthew we read that Jesus taught; “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in haven.” (Matthew 7:21) Because of this, we are Saved by grace and good works. We cannot simply say we believe in Christ. To believe in Jesus, means that you believe His teachings, and if you believe His teachings you are a follower. Therefore if you follow Jesus, you believe in Him, are a follower of Him and do the will, and good works.

Isaiah 45-46

Isaiah 45-46

                These two chapters got me thinking… we know that there is no other god, besides God the Father… but verse 7 states that God creates evil and peace, lightness and darkness. But why, why would God create evil?

This is where most people who start to hate the idea of religion or God start to point fingers and say that if God loves us, why is there pain and suffering? To answer this question we have to go back to Deuteronomy 8:2-3; 5-6 during the 40 years Israel wandered in the wilderness… which states:

“…thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna… man doth not live by bread only, but by ever good word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”

                “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3; 5)

In the Book of Mormon we read further that “…it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so… righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad…” (2 Nephi 2:11)

                Even though it sounds weird, God does love us and that is why bad things happen. We look at things as time is now… God looks at an eternal perspective which cannot be compared to our time here on earth and is ultimately for our own good.

Chapter 45: Come unto Christ

The Lord calls upon Cyrus to subdue nations. Cyrus and Israel will know the Lord, who formed the light and created darkness.

“I for the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

The skies are commanded to rain down righteousness, and the earth to bring forth salvation. Resisting the creator is foolish. God’s role as the creator of heaven and earth is emphasized alongside the deliverance of Israel via Cyrus. When the Lord is revealed as the true God, idolaters will submit and God’s people will be saved. The Lord has not concealed Himself, but let Himself be known. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth…” (Isaiah 45:22)

Chapter 46: Idols are not to be compared to God

False gods are carried away on carriages. The Lord will carry His people into old age. Golden idols are mute and incapable of offering help. The Lord knew the end from the beginning. A bird of prey shall be called from the East. Salvation will be placed in Zion, and glory in Israel.

Isaiah 41-42

Isaiah 41-42

Chapter 41: Be Not Afraid

The people from the coastlands are invited to approach for judgment. Along with everybody else. Who raised up one from the East, the Lord did. The people of the coastlands approach with fear.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee…” (Isaiah 41:10)

Israel has been chosen, and gathered from the ends of the earth. Fear not – you will be strengthened, and your enemies ashamed. You will thresh and winnow the mountains. God will supply water and other resources. One will come from the north who shall conquer. The Lord judges idols and deems them worthless.

Chapter 42: Isaiah Speaks to the Lord

The Lord starts off by saying that His servants do not “…cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” (Isaiah 42:2) Like the hypocrite that Jesus spoke of in Matthew that prayed for praise of the people. The spirit does not move with loud noises it moves by the still small voice… (1 Kings 19:11-12)

The Lord’s servant will bring justice to the gentiles, and establish justice on earth. A light to the gentiles. Psalm-like invitation to sing to the Lord a new song. The Lord will unleash his devastating power against idolaters. The deaf and the blind come to the servant. The Lord’s people have been robbed, plundered and punished because they have not walked in the ways of the Lord.

 

Isaiah 39-40

Isaiah 39-40

Chapter 39: Hezekiah reveals his truth

Hezekiah entertains the envoys from the king of Babylon, showing them all his treasures. Isaiah reproves him, saying that all treasures will be taken to Babylon at a future date. Hezekiah is relieved that he himself will not see this happen.

Chapter 40: Run and Not be Weary

Comfort ye, my people. A voice in the wilderness cries, “…Prepare ye the way of the Lord…” (Isaiah 40:3) Every valley shall be exalted, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Zion and Jerusalem, who bring good tidings, are invited to tell the cities of Judah to behold their God. The Lord will feed his flock like a shepherd. God’s greatness surpasses all nations, and all idols. He brings the princes and the judges of the earth to nothing. But the weak shall be strengthened…

“…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Ecclesiastes 11-12

Ecclesiastes 11-12

Chapter 11: We Know Not the Works of God

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

I find it interesting how fast people can denounce God and say He does not exist! Some people believe that we know everything and that God never has, and never will exist. We as humans do understand a lot about the world, but there is so much that we are still learning… the reason? Because God knows all and we know very little.

Because life has no guarantees, we should seize available opportunities and not play it safe. Even though life is uncertain, it doesn’t mean that you should let it pass you by. Don’t wait for conditions that many never exist. We should enjoy every day but remember that the afterlife is eternal.

“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

I find it very interesting how we are supposed to follow our heart and do what we want… after all we get one life on earth to live, right? So we need to make it the best one we can! But God warns us that we are still to be held accountable for what we do, so YES we do have agency and we are encouraged to explore the world and learn, but we must know that our desires and our passions are within the bounds… the LORD sets!

Chapter 12: After Death and the Plan

                “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

                Everyone will return to God as a spirit and the body will be turned into dust, until of course the resurrection.

                “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether or be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12-14)

Solomon concludes the book by giving his antidotes for the two main ailments that he talked about. People who lack purpose and direction in life should fear God and keep his commandments first. The people who think that life is unfair should remember that God will go back and look and everyone’s lives and make his judgment.

It is interesting that it says there is not end to many books… this means that the Bible is NOT the ONLY word of God! The Book of Mormon, if read diligently and prayed about earnestly can be manifest as truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ.