March 31, 2012

Jesus Mocked Crucified


Jesus - mocked and put on the cross Matthew 27:27-44

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Originally preached at Poulner Chapel 25 March 2012


Here is a complete outline of this event from all 4 gospels! We will look at briefly the events as recorded by Matthew!

  • Pilate's soldiers crown and mock Jesus - Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:1-3
  • Pilate tries to release Jesus - John 19:4-7
  • Pilate questions Jesus again - John 19:8-11
  • Pilate attempts to free Jesus again - John 19:12
  • Pilate sentences Jesus - John 19:13-15
  • Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified - John 19:16
  • Jesus carries the cross - John 19:17
  • Simon of Cyrene bears the cross - Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:20-21, Luke 23:26,
  • Jesus speaks to weeping women - Luke 23:27-32,
  • Jesus is brought to Golgotha - Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, Luke 23:32-33, John 19:17
  • Soldiers offer Jesus sour wine mix - Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23
  • Jesus is crucified at the 3rd hour - Mark 15:25
  • Soldiers divide the Lord's clothes - Matthew 27:35-36, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:23-24
  • Accusation written by Pilate - Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, John 19:19-22
  • 2 Robbers are crucified with Jesus - Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27-28, Luke 23:33, John 19:18
  • "Forgive them..." - Luke 23:34
  • "Behold your mother." - John 19:25-27
  • Multitude mocks Jesus - Matthew 27:39-43, Mark 15:29-32, Luke 23:35-37
  • Robbers mock Jesus - Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32, 29:39
  • One robber rebukes the other - Luke 23:40-41
  • " will be with me in Paradise" - Luke 23:43

As you know from the reading we are looking at this event in the life of Jesus Christ, as recorded by his friend and disciple, Matthew. Tonight we look at Jesus mocked, Jesus crucified, and the implications and challenges we are presented with. Matthew, throughout his Gospel, presents Jesus as King - and it is probably his main theme as he writes his gospel. In Chapter 27 alone, Matthew ascribes Jesus as king 7 times. He uses Old Testament imagery from passages such as Psalm 22, Psalm 69 and parts of Isaiah to build his story.

Even if you are new to this story, nobody here should really be shocked by this macabre tale. I don't think anybody could really be that naïve about human history and some of the horrors it contains. Human history is full of incidents of people treating others in less than a human and dignified way. The horrors of the killing fields of what was Cambodia, the systematic brutality of Nazi Germany and the macabre excesses of Uganda in the last century, have often been repeated throughout history. Sadly, even at times, by Churches and those purporting to be Christians...

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March 29, 2012

Thursday Ponderings


29th March 2012

Be Kind!

1 Corinthians 13:4 says ”Love is ... kind” How often have we read that verse but not stopped to think about it. Of course I’m kind, we would cry if questioned. But what does kind mean?

The oxford dictionary definition of kind is (adjective ) - having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature:

Well that’s ok ... but is it? How friendly are you? Do you make an effort to speak to people you don’t know at church or do you always speak to people you’ve known for years? How many people that you don’t know very well have you invited back for a coffee in the last month? I’m afraid those of you who are shy do not have a let out clause. You may have to pray a bit harder before you go up and speak to someone you don’t know very well, than those of us who are more confident , but you cannot be a Christian, and remain in the clique you’ve been in for years.

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God doesn’t ask us to do anything that He doesn’t equip us fully to do but do we have faith in Him to be there for us to help us through any awkward silences.

Those of you who are retired – how fantastic is that – you have so many more free hours to serve God, So many free hours to invite people round for coffee. So many free hours to be friendly. So many free hours to be kind.

Just in case you doubt that that’s what God wants you to do. Romans 12:13 “..... practice hospitality.......” Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers…” and 1 Peter 4:9 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Going back to the oxford dictionary definition of kind, just to remind ourselves – “having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.”

Hmm generous, that’s a tricky one isn’t it. Unfortunately, here in the west our attitude is all too often – well I tithe, that’s enough, or I support such and such a charity. Or a good one is, well I give my time instead. Jesus described what he means by generosity in Matthew 19:21 He said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

And in Luke 12:33, he says “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

Obviously generosity applies to time as well but being generous with your time does not mean you don’t have to be generous with your money and possessions.

The last adjective in the dictionary definition of kind is considerate. I think the verse love others as you love yourself sums this up nicely. Basically it means treat others as you would like them to treat you .

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March 26, 2012

Think Spot


26th March 2012

G'day and welcome to Partakers ThinkSpot on Monday, the 26th of March 2012. Play the audio and see how Jim and Joy are challenging you to live your faith out this week!

You may well have heard the song 'Love Changes Everything' made famous by Michael Ball several years ago. One of the lines reads Life will never be the same again.

Certainly when a young man meets a girl and like turns to love and from once a week the scene changes and they cannot see enough of each other. In fact t they do not want to be out of each others company and marriage takes place and they become One. Life will never be the same for them ever again.

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Likewise when a person realises who Jesus Christ is and what Jesus Christ has done for them they see that in God not only do have they a Saviour but see that a vital part of their life has been missing and God has a plan for their life. Having dealt with their sin problem through atonement and now He wants them to love and serve Him. Again think of the line of that hymn. Life will never be the same.

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March 22, 2012

Thursday Ponderings


22nd March 2012

Overcoming Envy!

1 Corinthians 13:4 says” Love does not envy.” It is a hard to put into practice at all times. As a divorced woman, I find it hard sometimes not to envy those people who have someone with whom to share their lives. Someone to cuddle up next to on the sofa, someone to share how each day has been, and someone to care about me. Of course I have family and friends who love me dearly but they have busy lives and don’t have the time always to listen, when I need to talk.

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I don’t work at the moment so money isn’t in abundance, so occasionally I envy my sisters who are both very high earners and can buy what they want, when they want. Or I walk past a huge rambling house in the country and think, wouldn’t it be nice to live there.

Mark 7:21-23 mentions envy amongst a list of evils including murder! It states: "For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Romans 1:29 also has envy included in a list of types of depravity: This list too includes murder "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice." So evidently envy isn’t too be regarded as a minor sin.

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

In Philippians 4:12, Paul says he has learnt the secret of being content at all times, whether in times of want or times of plenty. The secret I believe is in knowing God our father intimately, the more we know God the easier it is to trust Him that He knows what’s best for us. The next time you find yourself envying someone, try to think of something to thank God for, or just praise Him for who He is.

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March 20, 2012

POD - Psalm 89


Psalm 89

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1I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

2For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

3I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

4Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.

5And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

6For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?

7God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

8O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?

9Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

10Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.

11The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.

12The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.

13Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.

14Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

15Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

16In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.

17For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.

18For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

19Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.

20I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:

21With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.

22The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

23And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.

24But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

25I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.

26He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

27Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

28My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

29His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

30If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;

31If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;

32Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.

33Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.

34My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

35Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.

36His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

37It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

38But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.

39Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.

40Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.

41All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours.

42Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.

43Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.

44Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.

45The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.

46How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?

47Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

48What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

49Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?

50Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;

51Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.

52Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen.

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March 19, 2012

Think Spot


19th March 2012

G'day and welcome to Partakers ThinkSpot on Monday, the 19th of March 2012. Play the audio and see how Jim and Joy are challenging you to live your faith out this week!

Deceivers or Receivers

2 Tim.3:7, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Approaching two young ladies and two young men who belonged to a certain religious cult (I knew this as I had met the two men previously. They were now resting from their door to door visitation at a local coffee house I go to regularly.. I had felt deep concern for them for some while and feeling compassion for them after prayer really felt pressed to ask them a particular question . This question along with its answer had been on my mind and heart all morning and I knew I was meant to use it in my work as an evangelist with someone who God would place in my path that day.

March 18, 2012

Luke Looks Back 06


Luke Looks Back Chapter 6

Study 6 - Luke 4:31-5:26

The Authority of the Messiah

This passage has been carefully structured by Luke around the idea of authority. It starts off with 2 episodes in which Jesus shows his authority by first driving out an evil spirit and then healing many people. It ends with 2 episodes in which Jesus heals a man of leprosy, a symbol of evil, and heals a paralysed man. In between these 2 pairs of episodes Jesus shows his authority by proving that he, a carpenter, can catch more fish than the fishermen can. This middle story is the most important because it shows the authority Jesus had most clearly.

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First we read Luke 4: 31 - 44

Question 1: Twice in these episodes, when the man with an evil demon calls him 'the Holy One of God' and when the demons call him 'the Son of God', Jesus was more accurately identified by demonic powers than by ordinary people. Why was that? What are our modern day equivalents?

That is a hard question to answer. Perhaps the otherworldly powers were more sensitive to the power of Jesus than ordinary people were. Are we as sensitive to the things of the Lord as we should be?

Question 2: Why does Luke tell us that Simon's mother-in-law went straight back to the housework.

Luke tells us how complete and natural the healing was. Simon's mother-in-law was able to go back into the kitchen and work. In the ordinary way she would have needed time to recover from the fever. The healing by Jesus was very special. In the same way when he heals us of our problems, physical, mental or spiritual, he often heals us instantly.

The story of Luke 5: 1 - 11 is clearly the most important part of this passage. Fishing with nets in the Sea of Galilee was done when the fish rose to feed on the surface at night. There could only possibly have been a shoal near the surface in the daylight if a new fresh water spring had opened up in the seabed. (This is an area of volcanic activity). Jesus knew something nobody else did.

We read these verses now. 5: 1 - 11

Question 3: What might Simon and John have said to each other when they thought Jesus could not hear when he, a carpenter, told them to go fishing in broad daylight!

"Who does he think he is?" "Telling us where and when to fish indeed." "What does he know about it?" "He's only a carpenter." "Thinking because he is a prophet he knows where to fish. What rubbish!" And so on.

A boat of those days has been dug up. It was 8m long and 2m wide. So it would have needed a crew of rowers and would have held a lot of fish before it began to sink! So this was a very big catch meaning enough money for many weeks for the families concerned.

Question 4: What did Peter do which he must have done so that nobody else was able to share their good fortune (listen again to v 7)?

Signalling instead of shouting would have stopped other fisherman realising what had happened and joining in the big catch.

Question 5: What does this episode teach us about the relationship between money and spiritual commitment?

Practical rewards do sometimes follow devotion of time and energy to spiritual matters as they did in this case. But they do not always do so. We must be prepared to sacrifice things for the sake of the Kingdom.

Question 6: Peter wanted to distance himself from Jesus when he 'fell at Jesus' knees and said "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man"' because he thought the unclean contaminated the clean and he was unclean. How did Jesus view this? What is the implication for us?

Peter was following the teaching of the OT. Leviticus 10: 10 says, 'distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean'. These teachings were mainly about ceremonial cleanliness. Jesus ignored such things. He taught that the things that matter are love God and loving our neighbour. Ceremony is not important in the Kingdom of God.

Question 7: Peter recognised the authority of Jesus over him as a result of the events on the lake. How do we know Jesus has authority over us?

The disciples had seen a great miracle. But so do we when the Almighty God calls us to follow him and we respond. He then forgives our sins, promises us final salvation at the end of the ages and gives us his Holy Spirit to guide us until then. If we do not recognize his authority we are poor judges of what is good and great and what is of great advantage for us!

Read Luke 5: 12 - 26.

"Leprosy" in the Bible may not have been what we call leprosy these days but any of many skin diseases.

Question 8: Jesus said "I am willing" and touched the man. What does that tell us about Jesus?

Jesus entered fully into human life. He related easily to the outcast, leper man and touched him. That made him, Jesus, unclean under Jewish law but Jesus ignored that. He was interested in the realities of life not the details of religious practice.

Question 9: The paralysed man's sins were forgiven not because of his faith but of 'their faith'. Do you think one person's faith can work to heal someone else today?

If faith cannot work like that there is not much point in praying for anyone else - which we all do. It is lovely the way Jesus says 'I am willing' to heal someone and calls the guy on the stretcher 'friend' even although his friends have just made a mess of the roof of what was probably his, Jesus' , house.

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March 15, 2012

Thursday Ponderings


15th March 2012

Talk about Him! Show Him!

If you love someone it’s difficult not to talk about them – think about when you first fell in love with someone, their name would slip into conversation all the time. It’s not how much you know that makes it easy to tell others about God; it’s how well you know Him, because if you know Him you can’t fail to be in love with HIM.

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It’s our responsibility as Christians to tell others about God and what He has done for us, in sending His son to die as a sacrifice for our sins. Matt 28:19-20 says "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." It is Jesus talking. He is not giving this command to evangelists only but to all His disciples, including us. Acts 1: 8 states "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Note the word witness, that’s all evangelism is, witnessing about God’s love. Again it is Jesus talking to his disciples, so it applies to us as well. 2 Timothy 4: 5 instructs "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." Please note the words do the work of an evangelist. It is very clear that we cannot opt out of this. I talk to people all the time about my faith because people ask me about it. They want to know what I believe about all sorts of things. If I don’t know where a particular: in the bible is, I have a very bad memory, I can tell you what the: is but not which book chapter and:, I simply tell them I’ll look it up and get back to them. Or if I’m unsure what I believe about something I am honest and tell them I haven’t thought about it or don’t know enough the subject to give them an answer.

I have to tell you that I ask God to send people that ask me about my faith and God is very good at that!

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March 12, 2012

Think Spot


5th March 2012

G'day and welcome to Partakers ThinkSpot on Monday, the 12th of March 2012. Play the audio and see how Jim and Joy are challenging you to live your faith out this week!

Why Read the Bible?

“Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe practice it to be holy.” These words are written in the front of my Bible. They remind me how important the Bible is to me. It is my food and drink. It is described that way in the Bible It is also described as Honey as well as a hammer. A lamp and light to my path. Strong meat, a sword, milk and I am sure a good number of other words because it is so important and so indispensable to the Believer.

March 11, 2012

Luke Looks Back 05

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Luke Looks Back Chapter 5

Study 5 - Luke 4:14-30

The Announcement of the Messiah

(in his home town)

We start off this study with a question. Question 1: Where was your hometown? What was, or is, memorable about it?

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Read Luke:4:14 to 23.

Nazareth was the hometown of Jesus, where he grew up. It was a small village in the middle of the province of Galilee, mainly of Galileans but including some Jews from the far away province of Judea. The people of Galilee were often of mixed ancestry so there is likely to have been considerable antagonism between them and the purer blooded Judean Jews who regarded themselves as the only proper Jews. As a result Judean Jews of Nazareth, as the family of Jesus were, were most probably foreigners in their own community. The two slightly different peoples were probably not friendly to each other. That, not the best of places, was where Jesus spent most of his childhood days!

Luke uses the story of what happened when Jesus read from the OT book of Isaiah in the synagogue there, to start explaining how we are to understand the ministry of Jesus. Jesus had to deal with a strong expectation among ordinary people that the Messiah would behave in certain ways. He had a major job to change that expectation.

Jesus read just one and a half verses from Isaiah 6. We will read more verses to get the context of what he read. We may assume his listeners knew the passage well so that hearing the verses he read they would immediately remember the following verses. Listen carefully to the picture these verses give.

Isaiah 61: 1 - 7.

Question 2:         What would those verses have made them think Jesus was going to do if he really was the Messiah? What would they have been expecting him to call on them to do?

Like many of the other passages in the Old Testament that talk about the Messiah these verses would have made them expect leadership in a successful military campaign against the Romans. Brothers, called the Maccabees, had led Israel against the Syrians 200 years earlier with great success. If he succeeded the men would expect to have to join his army. Of course, we know that such a venture would have been hopeless. The Roman armies were exceedingly difficult to beat. Only the most warlike of peoples in other parts of the Empire had any success against them, and then not for very long.

Question 3: The next half verse in Isaiah to the one Jesus read says 'and the day of vengeance of our God'. He stopped without reading that out. What would that have suggested to the people who listened to him?

I think they would have found it a great puzzle, which is why they listened to what he said next so carefully. He seemed to be promising that he would be a mighty spiritual leader but not a war leader. They would have thought of 'the day of vengeance' as the day when their God would bring the world they knew to an end with the defeat of the hated Romans.

Read Luke 4:24 - 30

Question 4: Jesus went on to remind them of the stories of the widow of Zarephath and Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2 - 10a the brook Kerith was east of Jericho, Zarephath was the other side of Israel near Sidon, a Phoenician city)) and of Naaman and Elisha (2 Kings 5: 1, Aram was another name for Syria ). Why did Jesus do that? What point was he making, apart from the obvious one of 'not in my hometown'?

All these places were outside Israel. He was saying that as they rejected him he was going to go to other people outside Israel. They did not like that idea at all. Quite why he did that is a bit of a mystery.

Question 5: If a politician, wanting to influence people and starting off an election campaign was nearly lynched - murdered by a mob - as Jesus was he would not be likely to get on very well.  The story does not give a good impression of Jesus. Why does Luke tell us about this episode when he could so easily not have done so? What is it about the ministry of Jesus that Luke wants us to think about?

Luke is expecting what he writes to be read mainly by Gentiles - Romans. He has emphasised that the 2 great prophets Elijah and Elisha helped Gentiles. Christian faith is for all peoples, not any special nation or people group. Probably the fact that Jesus was rejected by the Jews like this made him sound better to a Roman, like Theophilus! But, above and beyond that, Luke will have chosen this episode because it gives such a clear picture of what Jesus was going to do in his ministry.

Question 6: It says, "Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on his way". What does that suggest?

It tells us that Jesus had an unusual air of authority about him. Perhaps too, that angels protected him.

Question 7: Looking now at the whole story - what 2 things is Jesus emphasising by what he says and does that are of fundamental importance in our understanding of God and of faith?

He has appealed to the Scriptures of the Old Testament to establish who he is. And the Scripture he read emphasised the work of the Spirit both for preaching and healing. These are the 2 fundamental sources for our understanding too - the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit - though we have, of course, the tremendous advantage of having the writings of the New Testament as well as those of the Old.

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