Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus | Week 2 | Winds & Waves

In the distance, menacing clouds arise. Upon seeing them, they scurry trying to prepare themselves, but the world around them begins to stir more and more; the clouds leap upon them rapidly. The vehement wind blows with great violence! The water around churns in anger at these disturbing touches. The sea – in it’s blind rage – takes it’s frustrations out on their small boat. The wood moans and creaks, seeking mercy under the onslaught of savage waves and ferocious gusts. Ropes shake and clamor as they smash against the sides, beams and supports. Everything dripping, both fresh and salty. This boat, containing several professional fishermen, has never seen a storm rage such as this. Danger is a foregone conclusion as at the moment death begins to sweep across the stressed boards. These fishermen know all too well.

In a last effort of hope, they realize they are missing a companion – their Leader. Ah, these disciples go looking for the one they claim and call, the Messiah; the Savior of the World. They dearly hope, but also have faith, that this title suits him well in this moment. But, where is he?! Then they find him, fast asleep! They rouse him – “We are dying!” as the boat conintues its chaotic dance across the white foam. This Teacher arises, comes out to the deck, looks at the storm, and says, “Stop!”

Immediately, the winds and the waters become quiet and calm…

 


 

In just five verses…an entire narrative; a movie being played out in front of the Disciples eyes. Here is the Word, from Luke 8.22-26:

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him? 26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.”

What is obvious in the passage is certainly Jesus just did something amazing! How many people do you know that would (1) soundly and peacefully sleep through a storm that is on the brink of killing you while you are on a boat, and (2) he commanded – and was obeyed by – the winds and the water. Amazing!

However, for this series, as you well know, we are looking into things that show Jesus to be both eternal and divine. Do the claims that he is God hold true and what does this passage show in regards to this issue. Something quite amazing actually.

In order to see this, we have to remember something important Jesus said. In John 5.19, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.'”

With this in mind, let us turn our attention to the Psalms. In Psalm 65, we see something truly remarkable. Here, in verses 5-8 we read:

“5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; 6 the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; 7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, 8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.”

Jesus, thousands of years after this passage was written, under impectable circumstances to carry this out, literally does “what he saw his Father doing.” What’s more, he does acts that are clearly contributed, according to the Psalm, only to God…

Below, I am going to show each verse again, but color code the connections.

I hope you enjoyed this second installment and look forward to meeting you here next week. Shabbat Shalom.

 


 

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Luke 8.22-26 & Psalm 65-5-8 (ESV):

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.

“5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; 6 the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; 7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, 8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.”

 

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 18 Jan 2020 11:00:46 -050000Saturday 2016 at 11:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus | Week 1 | The Eternal Ladder

Isaac was tricked! With the help of his mother, Jacob slid quietly into the room, arrayed in a disguise to make his father think that Jacob was actually his brother. The result? Jacob received his brother’s blessing – the blessing of the firstborn. This is after Jacob already tricked his twin brother into selling his birthright. He’s at it again, as Isaac’s wrinkled hand reaches out with dimmed eyes, but words full of life. Esau had enough! He wanted to kill his brother. Will this be a retelling of Cain and Abel? Not if Rebekah can help it!

She sends Jacob away until Esau can calm his fury. Jacob receives another blessing from his father with instructions on getting a proper wife for himself and he sets out. He comes “to a certain place” between Beersheba and Heran as the sun is setting. He sets up camp for the night and lays his head down on a rock.

Genesis 28.10-11, “10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.” Yet, according to Hebrew tradition, this was the most special “certain place” in all of the earth. This is the exact location of where the Temple – and specifically, the Holy of Holies – would stand in the future. Thus, what happens next may not be too much of a surprise. He has a most vivid dream of the Heaven’s opening, seeing magnificently angelic beings, and the Lord of Hosts beaming down upon the Earth.

 

Genesis 28.12-17: 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

 

What a view! What a promise! Jacob saw the Stairway to Heaven, and Led Zeppelin had nothing to do with it! He saw the access point, or the way, in which the angels come into our realm and return back to Heaven; how they came to us and back to the feet of the Lord of lords. He saw God, and God used this channel to communicate a message directly to Jacob. Talk about a moment in one’s life that’s impactful!

Yet, what in the world does this have to do with Jesus? Jesus who came into the world thousands of years after this event. Jesus of the New Testament. Jesus who is never mentioned in this story at all – how could he since he was born so much later, right? In fact, on the surface, this story really doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus! However, what if I told you that Jesus was actually a central character in this story? You think that’s crazy right? “Obviously, this guy can’t read very well – it doesn’t mention Jesus at all!” I know, and yet…it does. How do we know? Because Jesus tells us it does!

Let’s move forward a few thousand years into the future. There’s a Rabbi walking around Israel who is ready to start his teaching ministry and is gathering some other young men to be his disciples. As he’s walking around, some disciples of another prophet ask if they can go follow this Rabbi instead and this prophet gives his blessing. These two hustle to follow this man. The next day, they are walking through a town and this Rabbi tells a man named Philip to follow him and Philip runs and tells his friend Nathanael to come with him and follow this Rabbi too. Philip also tells him they have found the Messiah. Nathanael is suspicious, but comes along to what all the fuss is about.

When Nathanael meets this Rabbi, he is blown away. Jesus tells Nathanael what he was doing while alone before Philip found him – prophetic! Nathanael declares – “You are the Son of God!” Jesus tells Nathanael, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” (This is my translation, by the way.) He tells Nathanael something very intriguing… “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Here’s the entire exchange:

 

John 1.43-end: 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

What is going on here? Jesus is declaring exactly who he is! He is telling them that he was the central – quiet – character in Jacob’s story. He is the avenue between Heaven and earth. He is the one whom angels use come and go in and out of our realm. He is the One whom the Father looks along to communicate with his children. He is the eternal connection. No mere mortal could ever claim to be the avenue in which angels come in and out of this world! He is the eternal access for us to ascend to the Father. Here, he is showing them that he is eternal and that he was there with Jacob and led him to the Father. He showed Jacob he has authority over the angels of Heaven. He gave Jacob the vision that he is the “ladder, staircase; way” to the Father. Later, Jesus tells his disciples directly and clearly that he is way. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14.6)

According to Christians, Jesus is the way to God. We claim that Jesus is the only path to get to God. Why do we make this claim? Simple: it’s the claim that Jesus makes himself. However, with this story in view, we see that Jesus didn’t just say he was the way at one moment in history, but rather showed that he is the eternal access point to the Father. He is the Stairway to Heaven. He is the ladder that will lift us up to the glories of the Father’s throne, if we allow him to do so. However, if this is the case, we must also realize that it is an assent we cannot make on our own. We assume that we can make the assent ourselves or that there are other “ladders” to lead us to the Promised Land. This simply is not the case. We need divine help from the eternal One!

 


 

I hope you all enjoyed this first installment of “Threads of the Divine Nature of Jesus”. Please leave your thoughts on these passages. Hope you join next week for installment two – it may be a stormy ride…

Blessings,
Joshua

 

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 11 Jan 2020 09:30:18 -050030Saturday 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Homily Series | Installment 1 | “Descending Glory”

These posts will probably be a little more in depth, but for this one, short and sweet (at least from my comments). Hope you enjoy. 

 


 

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Holy Scriptures for 19 May 2019

 

I have linked the entire passages for each of these on their respective texts. For the purpose of this, I will just show the aspects of the texts that I want to draw your attention to.

As an American Christian, I can say that most mainstream Christianity here is focused on being “saved” in order to go to heaven. Indeed, there is some Scriptural precedence for this and I am not saying it’s absolutely wrong. However, I do believe our focus should be elsewhere.

From the readings this week, this is what stands out to me in terms of what our focus should be, bringing his Kingdom down to earth!

  • Acts 11.5-9, 15-17 – ‘“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’”’ & “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
  • Psalm 148 – notice how it is written. It starts high and then goes low. It moves from the heavens to the earth. It goes from broad to be narrow in focus. The entire flow of this Psalm is “a coming down.”
  • Revelation 2.2-4 – “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’”
  • John 13.33 – “ Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’” – notice that Jesus was not concerned with bringing us with him, but in sending his Spirit down to us!

 

As Christians, we often are going through difficult times and it seems that darkness is pressing in upon us – all around! Often, we say to ourselves, something along the lines of, “I just wish I was with Jesus so he could fix all this!” My sentiments exactly too! What’s the word that sums this up though? Maranatha! Literally, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Not, “Take me, Lord Jesus.” His focus is not about taking us out, but about empowering us to represent him well here and allow “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”

Jesus’ focus is bringing Heaven down to earth! He will redeem all of it! There are several other Scriptures that speak to this very thing. May his glory come; like Mt. Sinai, may his glory come!

Another really good book on this topic is Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright.

Again, let our focus not be on escaping, but on conquering! Our time will come, but in the meantime, let us remain faithful and true!

Father, may your kingdom come upon us! For your name’s sake and for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings.

 

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© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpMon, 20 May 2019 23:22:05 -040022Monday 2016 at 11:22 pm  Comments (3)  
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