The Divine Demonstration (Part Two)
By Bob Myhan
As pointed out previously, God identified Jesus as His Son audibly at the latter’s baptism by John.
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17)
This was not, however, the only way that God identified Jesus as His Son nor was it the first time that He had done so. Jesus said,
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)
He further said,
“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you--Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?“ (John 5:45-47)
Moses had, indeed, written about Jesus.
“And the Lord said to me: 'What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him’” (Deut. 18:17-19).
The Jews of Jesus’ day were aware of this statement of Moses.
“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No." Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" (John 1:19-22)
In the second gospel sermon recorded, Peter said,
“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.' Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.” (Acts 3:13-24)
Though the Pharisees accepted the Old Testament scriptures as the inspired word of God they refused to reconsider their gross misinterpretation of them in the light of what Jesus had done in so obviously fulfilling them. Because of this, Jesus said,
But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish--the very works that I do--bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. (John 5:36-38)
On the Day of Pentecost that followed the Lord’s ascension to heaven, Peter affirmed,
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” (Acts 2:22-24)
Peter also referred to the Old Testament prophets showing that Jesus was “delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God.” (Acts 2:25-36)
[To be continued]
THE POWER OF ONE
By Bob Hutto
People sometimes get the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and pressures of life. We may think that there is more to do than we can possibly accomplish, and that it is hopeless to try. The evil in the world is too great, there are too many people that need encouragement, there are too many that need to be taught the gospel. If what John says is true, that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), how can one person make a difference?
David was a youth when he fought Goliath (1Samuel 17). The giant had intimidated the army of Israel and its king into inaction. When David understood the challenge issued by Goliath and what a shame it would bring to God’s people, he took up the fight. He selected five stones from the brook, put one into his sling, flung it at the giant, and killed him. Saul’s army did not go out with him nor did his brothers. He was one man alone, yet he killed the giant, put the Philistines to flight, and won the victory for God’s people.
Elijah stood alone against 450 prophets of Baal (1Kings 18-20f). He challenged them to a battle of the gods. If their gods could send fire from heaven and consume their offering, then Israel would serve Baal. If their gods could not consume the sacrifice, but Jehovah could, then Israel would worship Him. The false gods failed, but Jehovah did not. At the end of the contest, when the Lord had sent fire from heaven and burnt the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, the people cried out, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God". Elijah was just one man, His opponents were numerous and strong. Yet the one routed many.
We could easily relate other stories in the Scriptures which inspire us to action for good though we may act alone. But the reverse is true as well. One can be a tremendous influence for wrong. Paul observes, "So then as through one transgression there resulted in condemnation for all men...." and, "For through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners" (Romans 5:18-19). He is speaking here of the influence of Adam in the world. Adam was one man; he committed one transgression. But his influence for evil is still being felt in the world today.
On the other hand, consider the effect of Christ’s work. Just as through the sin of one man condemnation came into the world, through the work of one Man (Jesus) righteousness is made available to all. We only quoted the first part of Romans 5:18 above. The rest says, "even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." Though at times Jesus had disciples around Him, at the critical points in His life He was all alone. He was only one man, but He was one man who had the courage to act when He was called upon.
What should we say about these things? First, though we think we are all alone, we are not. There are many others who are fighting the same battles we are fighting. They, too, stand opposed to false teachers and immorality in the world. They, too, are fighting personal battles to overcome the ‘sin that so easily besets’ them. When Elijah expressed his feelings of aloneness, God assured him that there were yet 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).We are not alone. God still has His faithful remnant in the earth.
Even if we were alone, we could still do right. God does not challenge us to take the right stand only if there are others who will take it with us. He tells us to "put on the whole armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). Whether those schemes involve personal temptation to sin, the threat of false teacher, or confronting sin in others, we are challenged to stand firm. What can one person do? He/she can stand for right.
Standing and acting alone may do more good than we realize. Joseph stood alone and saved the nation of Egypt. The woman at the well acted alone and saved the men of the city. Andrew acted alone to bring Peter to Christ who in turn preached to thousands in his lifetime. Today there are people who, acting on their own initiative, are planting and watering the seed. Who knows what growth the Lord will provide? Not only will we save ourselves, we may save many others as well. Contrariwise, if we remain silent, or if we exert an influence for evil, who knows what kind of eternal damage we can do? We will not only lose our own souls, but perhaps the souls of others.
No Christian is ever truly alone. God has promised to always be with us. He has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever fail you" (Hebrews 13:5). John also reassures us, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). Do you remember the story of Elisha and his servant? The king of Syria wanted to capture the prophet and Elisha’s servant became afraid. God showed the servant the advantage the two of them had over the army of Syria. "And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:17). Elisha demonstrated to the Syrians the power of God so convincingly that they no longer came into the land of Israel.
Perhaps at times God will ask us to act alone. Though this be the case, we can certainly do it successfully. Many of God’s people have done so before us. Others will do so after we are gone. Know that, though we be forsaken by all others, God is with us, and that He will give the increase. May we simply put on the whole armor of God, be prepared, and do His work. & [Via The Oak Grove Bulletin]