The Coming Messiah

Read Malachi 3:1-4

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts” (v. 1).

This prophecy was given about four centuries before its fulfillment. It is very obvious that John, the Baptist, was the fulfillment of this prophecy. He was promised to a childless couple who had long past given up on any hope of having children. The incredulous Zacharias was struck dumb because of his unbelief. His son John became a very important part of laying a foundation for the future ministry of Christ. Indeed, John baptized Jesus in Jordan and introduced Jesus as the one who would take away the sin of the world. Jesus came as the fulfillment of this prophecy. He came to satisfy the need for a perfect sacrifice. His initial entry into this world was not recognized by many of His own people, but His soon-to-be second coming will be seen by all and recognized by all when He comes on a white horse with tens of thousands of His saints. (Lonnie R. Witt)

The infant Christ came to redeem us from sin. He’s coming quite soon His reign to begin. — Lonnie R. Witt

Keep looking above; the King is coming.

2018-12-05T10:00:26+00:00December 5th, 2018|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Help for the Seamen

Read Psalm 107:23-32

“He maketh the storm a calm so that the waves thereof are still” (v. 29).

English poet Francis Thompson became addicted to opium early in his life, and soon found himself living on the streets of London around Charing Cross Station. He recalled the moment when God came to him there and described Jacob’s Ladder reaching down from heaven to Charing Cross and Christ walking on the water of the Thames River instead of the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus has complete control over the waves and the storm. Remember that Jesus was so calm in the midst of the storm that he was able to sleep in the disciple’s fishing boat. The storms on the Sea of Galilee can produce massive waves which must have shaken the boat in all directions, yet it did not bother Jesus. This is not because He did not care about what happened to the disciples, but because He knew that nothing could happen to them while they were with Him.
Later, the disciples went ahead of Jesus in their boat but could make little headway against the winds which roared down the lake. Jesus came walking on the water and was about to pass them by when they called to Him, and He came to their rescue.
Hopefully, none of us are facing drug addiction like Francis Thompson, but whether we are in a total storm or the wind is against us, Jesus is still in control. (Randy Bland)

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry- and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob's ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry- clinging to Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water,
Not of Genesareth, but Thames!
--Francis Thompson

Will we trust Jesus to be the calm in our storm?

This devotional is the Wednesday, November 9, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.

2016-11-09T09:00:00+00:00November 9th, 2016|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

Why is Jesus called Alpha and Omega?

In "Word Focus" Darrell Grim writes:

The use of the expression Alpha and Omega in verses 8 and 11 is significant. These being the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the obvious reference is to Christ's eternity. No one else can claim this title, so He uses the emphatic expression “I AM.” Since the expression not only includes the first and the last but everything in between, it also connotes the omnipotence and omniscience of God. In verse 8 this concept is revealed in the word translated the Almighty. The Greek word pantokrator is used nine times in the Apocalypse and only once in the Epistles (2 Cor. 6:18). It is, however, used frequently in the Septuagint and is literally the “all ruler.” It represents the Hebrew word translated as “God of hosts.” He is pictured as the one who commands all and is able to overcome any foe.

Discussion: How does this help you to understand better who Christ is?
Source: Christ, the Triumphant Lord: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 4.

2016-06-02T09:00:00+00:00June 2nd, 2016|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: |0 Comments

What Will YOU Do With Jesus?

Lesson 13 - May 29, 2016
Focus Text: Mark 15:1-15
Central Truth: We bear the responsibility for choosing who Christ will be to us.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should have each one decided personally to make Christ the Lord of his life.
Lesson Outline:

  1. The Leaders Consult (Mark 15:1-5)
  2. The People Choose (Mark 15:6-11)
  3. The Savior Is Condemned (Mark 15:12-15)
2016-05-23T09:00:00+00:00May 23rd, 2016|Categories: Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: |0 Comments

The Savior Dies

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water (John 19:34).
Jesus, the blood and water flowing from your side speak to us the surety of your death and
the blessings that flow to penitent believers.
The blood and water speaks of the two great benefits which all believers partake through Christ Jesus. They are justified by his blood and purified by the cleansing stream of Calvary. They both flow from the pierced side of our Redeemer. To Christ crucified we owe merit for our justification, and grace for our sanctification.
And, your legs were not broken. These soldier thought they were in control but were in fact fulfilling prophecy, "that the Scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken"; referring to Psalm 34:20, "he keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken; and again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced."
Isaac Watts give us these words from his song When I Survey:
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Jesus, I want to be at my best for you this day. (William Cook)
This devotional is the Friday, April 1, 2016 entry of Opening the Word.
Bremner Cross by NPS / Jacob W. Frank is licensed under CC BY 2.0

2016-03-30T08:00:00+00:00March 30th, 2016|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Why Jesus' Trial by the Sanhedrin Illegal?

In "Word Focus" Darrell Grim writes:

The Sanhedrin was the ruling body of the Jews. It consisted of seventy-one members including scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and elders. The high priest was the presiding officer. Certain regulations were set forth to cover such events as a trial. There was to be a quorum of twenty-three. Criminal cases were all to be tried in the daytime and must be completed during the daytime. A trial could only be finished on the day it was begun if the verdict was “not guilty.” Otherwise, a night had to pass before a guilty verdict could be pronounced. No decision of this body was valid unless they met in their own meeting hall in the Temple precincts. All evidence had to be sworn to by at least two witnesses who were examined separately and had no contact with each other. A false witness was punishable by death. In every trial the evidence for the innocence of the accused was to be put before the court before any evidence of his guilt. In their rush to eliminate Jesus, the Sanhedrin completely disregarded its own rules.

Discussion: What happens to a society when its courts no longer uphold justice?
Source: Jesus, Son of God: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 16.

2016-03-18T08:00:00+00:00March 18th, 2016|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The Forgiving Savior

Lesson 1 - March 6, 2016
Focus Text: Matthew 9:1-7; John 8:1-11
Central Truth: Christ’s character is marked by His forgiving love.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list at least two ways Christ’s forgiving love should change our lives.
Lesson Outline:

  1. Jesus' Power for Forgiveness (Matthew 9:1-7)
  2. Jesus' Predisposition for Forgiveness (John 8:1-5)
  3. Jesus' Perspective on Forgiveness (John 8:6-9)
  4. Jesus' Purpose in Forgiveness (John 8:10-11)
2016-03-02T15:20:00+00:00March 2nd, 2016|Categories: Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

Do you understand who Jesus truly is?

"After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself." (John 21:1)
In "Word Focus", William Sillings writes:

The word showed (ephanerosen — aorist) in verse 1 means “to make manifest, to make visible.” ... The verb means simply that Jesus appeared to the disciples in bodily form. It seems certain that no theological concept is actually implied. Nevertheless, it may be inferred from the events in this passage that not only did Jesus want to give them assurance of His bodily presence, but more than that, He wanted to help the disciples finally grasp who He really was — the divine Son of God, not just their teacher, not just their rabbi, not just an itinerant preacher, not merely a good leader. He was indeed God in the flesh.

Discussion: What are some similar misconceptions have about Jesus today?
Discussion: What does it mean for Jesus to be God in the flesh?
Source: Miracles of Jesus: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 40.

2016-01-14T08:00:34+00:00January 14th, 2016|Categories: Lesson Highlights|Tags: , |0 Comments


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