11.26.2016

Luke 23:33-43 (1)

ppt

Jesus, remember me
Reading: Luke 23:33-43
Additional reading: Luke 1:68-79, Matthew 20: 1-16
Blanks: forgive, know, today, Paradise

Jewish people count each day differently like this.
The Sabbath does not start at 12 am.
When the sun goes down, Friday is over and Saturday the Sabbath starts.
So on that night, the Sabbath began.

So we know when Jesus was at the cross and was buried on Friday just before sunset.
Anyway, today we are going to have a look at what happened when Jesus was on the cross.

About this time, many Jews came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
Many of them heard about Jesus.
Some of them wanted to meet Jesus.
But then they heard that Jesus was on his way to the place called the Skull with his cross.
That was Friday.

The Roman soldiers brought Jesus there to crucify him.
Two other criminals were there with Jesus to be crucified.

The Governor Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent.
No, Pilate could not understand Jesus.
His wife told him that Jesus was a holy man, because through her dream, she was told about about Jesus.

But Pilate ordered his soldiers to crucify Jesus.
“Pilate, what was the sin of Jesus?”
Well, Pilate ordered to write on a piece of wood why he crucified Jesus:
“This is the king of the Jews.”
Then the soldiers placed it above the head of Jesus.
He wrote this to justify himself.

So the soldiers thought that they were crucifying the king of the Jews.
They were laughing and playing games to find out who would have the outer garments of Jesus.
For the undergarment of Jesus, which was one piece garment, they cast lots to find out who could have this souvenir of the king of the Jews.

It is pitiful to look at these soldiers.
Their job was to kill people.
And their hearts became numb.
They didn’t feel for the crucified anymore.

Those priests and religious elders felt they accomplished what they wanted.
They wanted to rule and lead instead of Jesus.
They wanted power and authority.

They watched or heard that Jesus cured so many people.
Whenever Jesus had done something special, people followed Jesus and respected him.
Then instead of honoring Jesus as the Son of God, they wanted to show people who got the power in Jerusalem.
They decided to show their power by crucifying him.

Then these priests and religious leaders again said something like this concerning Jesus:
“He was good at saving others.
Now let him save himself because we know the Messiah was supposed to be victorious over his enemies.
If he was the Messiah, let him come down from the cross.”

Jesus already told people about them.
They pretended to serve God, but did what they wanted.
They chose to do evil instead of good, because of their father is Satan.
They were blind guides.
We could say that they were pastors, elders, deacons, religious persons because they took care of the temple, prayed, fasted, knew the Bible, and said that the Messiah was coming.
But since they had been walking on wrong paths for so long, their hearts became wicked.
They loved darkness more than light.
And they lived in darkness.
God knew this.
Satan knew this.
People knew this.
Now they were killing Jesus.

But Jesus came to shine God’s light and show God’s goodness.
So Jesus kept on praying:
“Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”

For their forgiveness also, Jesus was offering his body.
Jesus must forgive in order to obey God.
God’s purpose is to bring forgiveness into this world.
So he was forgiving people.
Jesus loves and died for them.

It is strange that God loves people even when they were rebellious against God.
God forgives when they were killing the Son of God.
People acted like as if they were God's enemies.
But God knew God’s enemies were not them, people.
God’s enemies were those selfish, prideful, spiritual forces.
God’s enemies were selfish, boastful characters.
God’s enemies were sins, sinful thoughts and sinful habits.

God wants to be victorious over his enemies: sins.
Jesus is victorious over his enemies: sins.

So Jesus was enduring his cross patiently as God wanted to forgive people and save them.

Through his suffering and the cross, Jesus is about to save people from their wicked thoughts, selfish behaviors and evil habits.
Jesus is rescuing people from the power of death.
Jesus frees people from fear, and worry.
Jesus frees them to live God’s holy and righteous life.
Jesus frees them to ride God’s waves of mercy and grace.

Jesus also wants his people to know that they have power to forgive others.
So Jesus said: Matthew 6:15
“If you do not forgive others their sins, God the Father would not forgive your sins.”
When they forgive, they can ask God to forgive them.
Then God forgives as they forgive.

So Jesus wanted his people to say this with him.
“Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”

When we forgive, bless and pray for them, we experience God.
If we don’t forgive, we don’t experience God truly.
It does not matter whether they pray a lot or donate a lot of money for the poor.
Those who want to experience God truly, must forgive.
So Jesus was asking his students to forgive and reconcile.
Christians must forgive.
So we ask God to help us forgive.
Through forgiveness, Jesus would introduce the true God.
Through forgiveness, people experience God truly.

And we bless those who sin against us.
If they were not blessable, our prayer comes back to us and bless us.
So we may need to bless those who are not blessable.
Anyway, Christians are those who pray more for the enemies than for their friends.
In this way, they make a better world.

God also forgives to create this new loving, forgiving and humble humanity through Jesus.
Only when people experience God’s great unconditional love, they feel overwhelmed and become humble and are changed to live like the humble, loving and forgiving God.

But the soldiers didn’t know this.
They only saw Jesus suffering.
So, they gave wine vinegar to ease his pain and said:
“If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Also one of the criminals who hung there joined them and said:
“You are the Messiah?
Then save yourself and us!”
Even though he was there because of his sins, he felt bitterness.
He didn’t love God.
He didn’t love people.

But, the other criminal understood who Jesus is.
As he was hung there with Jesus, he understood what God’s doing.
He knew what was happening.
He understood what the Messiah was accomplishing.
No other people explained to him.
But when he saw Jesus suffering but quietly believing in God on the cross, he was converted and became a believer of Jesus.
It was God’s work.
God helped him to understand who Jesus is.

So, this criminal rebuked the other guy saying:
“You better fear God.
We are here because of our sins.
But Jesus is innocent.
You know that.
He has done nothing wrong!”

God informed him that God’s Chosen One, the Savior was next to him.
This grace of God overwhelmed him.
God was giving him the last chance in life.
God was encouraging him to come heaven through Jesus.
So he sensed that Jesus was creating the new and beautiful life.

So he was like:
“Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.
I know that you will bring God’s Kingdom.
I want to be in.”

This was remarkable.
This man believed in the resurrection of the death.
This man believed that God could raise him from the death.
He believed that he would rise with Jesus if Jesus helps him.
God helps him to understand that Jesus is the Messiah.
God helped him to realize this when Jesus was suffering on the cross.

Jesus said this man like this:
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus was like:
“OK. Of course!
I am here to forgive everyone’s sins including yours.
I can give you forgiveness and eternal life.
So you who are in me will live forever.”

So he is now with God.
For 2000 years, this man lives with Jesus.
This man enjoys his eternal life right now, because he understands the truth.
So he lives in God’s peace forever.

I want to think that he understood Jesus because he heard that Jesus praying:
“Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”
Then he realized who Jesus is, even though Jesus was on the cross.
Then he thought that everybody needed forgiveness but not Jesus.
This man understood why Jesus was crucified.

Jesus said to his students:
“When I am lifted up, I will draw all people unto me.”

When Jesus is lifted up, even at this cross, Jesus was drawing all people unto him.
So this person at his cross, became a disciple of Jesus.
When God opened his eyes, he was Jesus as the good Messiah.

When Jesus is lifted up in our midst, one by one people realize that Jesus is the King of the Universe, the Son of God who created the heaven and the earth.
When Jesus is lifted up, he the Son of God will open the heaven, so that we may experience the most Holy God.

Jesus told this story:
One servant owes the king a billion dollars.
Then the king has forgiven his debts freely.
But then he went out and strangled his fellow servant for 10 dollars.
When the king hears about it, he sends him to jail.
Then Jesus says: (Matthew 18:35)
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

This story says we owes God like a billion dollars when Jesus was on the cross.
There is so much meaning and power when Jesus was on the cross.
This cross contains so much that we don’t understand.
Through the cross of Jesus, we are supposed to see God.
Through the suffering Messiah, we are supposed to see God.
Through his wounds, we are healed.
This cross also reminds us of our terrible sins, and that we could not live without having Jesus crucified for us.
So we cannot help but to walk humbly with God forgiving others.

When God opens our spiritual eyes, we see the crucified Jesus very differently.
When God opens our eyes, we see who Jesus is.
When Jesus is lifted up in our midst, we understand Jesus God.

Only God can help us understand Jesus the Messiah on the cross.
No sermon can do that.
No church can do that.
So we pray, because only God can help us understand Jesus.
Then we believe in Jesus.
Then we see God who was with Jesus on the cross.
Then we may even understand the suffering God, the suffering Jesus.
When God opens the heaven, we understand Jesus our Messiah!
We believe in God who sent Jesus the Son so that we may rise and live in Jesus.

One day, we are going to meet Jesus our God.
Though we experience Jesus in our daily life, we will also meet Jesus in our next life in a new way.
Though we live our eternal life right now, when we arrive there, we will be extremely jubilant.
When we arrive there, we will realize the life in heaven is far beyond the life on Earth.
It cannot be compared.
Here we learn to take care of our family, our house, our company or something in the power of God.
When we arrive in heaven, in the power of God, we will take care of nations.

In order to come there Jesus asks us to walk through the narrow gate and narrow road.
Jesus is asking us to follow him seeking only his glory.
When we obey Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will arrive where Jesus is in the name of Jesus.

And only those who love God arrive there.
Only those who forgive arrive there.

Do you love God?
Do you forgive in order to live with God forever?
Do you love God and love people?

Only God can help us to love God and love people.
That is why we pray to God and praise and worship only God.
When God helps us to love God and people in God’s way, we know that we will arrive there.
May all of us arrive there safely.
Amen.

Let's pray:
Jesus, remember us.
We remember you.
Help us to understand you and your way of living.
May we may join you and live in your way.
May you change the world for your glory.

We want to love you.
Help us to love you.
We love you.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen

Note:
The second criminal feared God and repented for his sins and loved Jesus.

11.19.2016

Ezekiel 47:8-12

ppt

Jesus who make us holy and pure
Reading: Ezekiel 47:8-12
Additional readings: Lev 18:25

About 1400 years before Jesus came, Moses heard these words.
In Numbers 5:2, God said to Moses:
“Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has a defiling skin disease or a discharge of any kind, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body.”

In Leviticus 15:31, God also said to Moses:
“You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean.
Then they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.”

At that time, Moses and his people were living in the camp in the desert.
And when people became unclean, they were removed from the camp.
Those who had skin diseases or were bleeding or touched something dead were living outside of the camp.

Then Moses was guiding people not to touch those who were unclean.
So what happened when people touched them who became unclean?
Let’s say your friend touched something dead or had a skin disease.
But you didn’t know and played with him for the whole day.
Now what do you need to do?
You need to follow some religious ritual to be clean again.
Until then, you were temporally unclean.

Moses also commanded if priests and Levites touched a corpse, they should be barred, from temple service for a week.
In fact, if anyone touched a corpse, they were unclean for seven days.
So for seven days, they underwent a purification ritual:
That is, they washed their clothes and bathed themselves on the third day and on the seventh day. (Leviticus 17:15-16, Numbers 19:11-13)
Then they were clean:

What if they did not purify themselves on the third and seventh days?
They were not clean.
They had to follow this 7 days ritual.

If priests or Levites were unclean like this, they should not serve in the temple.
What if an unclean priest approaches the sanctuary which is holy?
His uncleanness may cause him to die:
So they should avoid touching what was holy.

Now let’s say that there was a priest who didn’t care about this.
So he didn’t purify himself after he became unclean, and then served in the tabernacle.
Then he defiled the Lord’s tabernacle.
Even if he was still alive, he was out.
He was no longer part of Israel.

Now remember the Good Samaritan story?
The priest and the levite didn’t want to touch the man who was half dead.
Remember?
They might have thought like this:
“While I help this man, he may die.
Then I touch the dead and become unclean.
Then I can not serve in the temple for seven days.”

But the good Samaritan didn’t care about that but helped the victim.
So telling this story, Jesus was stating that compassion is more important than religious ritual of cleanliness.
Loving a person is more important.

Then we also see that Jesus touched dead bodies: e.g., Matt 9:25; Mark 5:41; Luke 8:54, Luke 7:11-17.
Jesus touched the dead and raised them up.
When Jesus touched them, they started talking.

Even though Jesus touched the dead, he is still clean.
We are going to think about why is that later.

Anyway, Moses asked people to follow a religious ritual of cleansing with water for a period of time.
They understood that through water they can be clean religiously.

John the Baptist simply used this concept in his ministry of baptism.
Then he asked people to repent, be baptized and be clean.
We still use this concept a bit in our baptism.

But also this cleansing water itself explains the ministry of Jesus.
The water washes people and cleanses them.
Jesus touches people, and heals them.
Same thing, huh?

In Leviticus 15:19-24, we read:
“‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days.
Anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.”

If you read on, it explains that whatever she touched became unclean.
If this lady touched those who were clean, they also became unclean and impure religiously.

So remember the Jewish lady who came and touched the corner of Jesus’ garment to be healed: Matt 9:20-22; Mark 5:27.
She was a woman with a flow of blood.
She was unclean.
According to what we read in Leviticus 15:19-24, whatever she touched became unclean.
So since she touched Jesus, did Jesus become unclean?

Anyway, she was very worried when Jesus was looking for her.
She was not supposed to touch anyone.
But she was healed when she touched Jesus.

Then Jesus said to the woman:
“Your faith has healed you.
Go in peace and live healthy.”
Now what?
She became pure and clean through her faith.

Did Jesus wait and wash himself to be religious pure after this?
No, Jesus didn’t become unclean.
Jesus was differently.
So Jesus continued the works of God because he was clean.
In fact right after this, Jesus raised a dead girl to life.

Now Moses was told that if someone touched lepers, he or she became unclean.
So after touching lepers, they needed to follow a purification process.

But Jesus touched the leper and healed them: Matthew 8:3
Jesus could heal the leper through the power of his words: Luke 17:11-17.
But sometimes, Jesus reached out his hand and touched them and said:
"I am willing. Be clean!" (Matt 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45)
Then immediately they were cleansed of their leprosy.

When Jesus touched the leper, the Pharisees could not understand this Jesus.
They were surprised whenever Jesus touched the impure.
But they could not accuse Jesus, because when Jesus touched those were unclean, they became pure and clean.
So they could not ask Jesus to follow water purification rituals.

A sinful woman in town came with an alabaster jar of perfume.
She stood behind Jesus at his feet weeping: Luke 7:36-38.
She began to wet his feet with her tears and then wiped them with her hair.
Then she touched Jesus:
She kissed his feet and poured perfume on them.
She was religiously and morally unclean.

But Jesus said something like this to her:
“Your sins are forgiven.
Your many sins are forgiven.
You are clean.”
So again, the one who touched Jesus was cleansed and healed.

Now let’s think about this:
Why did Jesus never go through a purification process?
Why did Jesus ignore that purification process of washing with water?
Why didn’t Jesus become unclean?

Jesus was theologically a very different person.
Then who is this Jesus?
The Bible explains like this:

About 800 years before Jesus came, Isaiah saw a vision.
Isaiah said like this: Isaiah 6:6-7
A seraphim (which means an angel) took a live coal from the altar with tongs.
This seraphim flew with a live coal and touched the mouth of Isaiah with it and said:
“See, this has touched your lips.
Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Just one touch cleansed his sins completely.
His sins were forgiven and taken away.
As soon as this live coal touched him, he was clean.
This live coal explains the power that Jesus has.
That is, Jesus was the live coal that Isaiah saw.
So people experienced forgiveness through Jesus the Christ.
Jesus can forgive people and say:
“Your sins are forgiven.”
When Jesus says this, it is true.

About 600 years before Jesus came, Ezekiel also saw a vision.
Ezekiel said like this: Ezekiel 47:8-12
From the Sanctuary of the temple, this special water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Dead Sea.
When it empties into the sea, the salty water becomes fresh.
Swarms of living creatures (honeybees) will live wherever the river flows.
There will be large numbers of fish as this water flows and makes the salt water fresh.
Where the river of water flows everything will live.
Fishermen will stand along the shore.
There will be places for spreading nets in the Dead Sea.
There will be many kinds of fish like the Mediterranean Sea.

But since people need salt, some swamps and marshes will not become fresh.

But still fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.
Their leaves will not wither.
Their fruit will not fail.
Every month they will bear fruit.
Because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.
Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

What does it mean?
Have you been to the Dead Sea?
Have you seen the Dead Sea in TV?
The Dead Sea is dead, literally dead.
Meaning, there is no trees, no fish, no life because there is too much salt in the water.
No tree can grow.
No fish can swim under the water.
They float above the water.
So no fish could live there.

But in this vision of Ezekiel, the special water flows from the temple.
Whatever it touches, it gives life.
Wherever the water touches, there is living things: tree, fish, fruit.

This water explains that there is something that does not become unclean when it touches something dead.
This water makes everything clean and alive.
This water explains the power that Jesus has.
This water explains the ministry of Jesus.

Jesus was the living water flowing from God.
So when Jesus comes close and touches us, we are alive and clean.
When Jesus touches, people become clean.
In fact, people need to touch him to be healed.
People need to believe in him and get to know him to be clean.
Because in Jesus, there is holiness and purity.
His words purify people.
His purity transforms them to be pure.
When Jesus touches, he gives life.

Moses said like this: Deuteronomy 30:6:
“The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love God with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
Moses saw that in the future, God will make our hearts pure and make them live.

Jesus encouraged people not to worry about cleansing the outside with purification process.
Jesus encouraged people to have inward purity and pure love.

Jesus was like:
“Instead of working hard to be ritually clean, learn to have a clean heart.
If your hearts are clean, everything is clean.
You are spiritually clean.
So learn to guard your hearts.
Learn to have pure hearts.”

Jesus teaches us to have a clean heart.
His words purifies our hearts: Matt 23:25-26; Luke 11:39-41.
When Jesus creates a pure heart in us, we start noticing that we pray differently and live differently and experience God differently.

When God speaks in the name of Jesus, we become clean before God.
Our hearts become clean.
Then we may live speaking the holy truth.

So we Christians do not follow those old cleansing ritual with water.
Instead, we believe in Jesus.
We confess that we just need Jesus.
Then when we want to be pure and holy in God, we come to Jesus.
We come and enter into his presence.
Then we are clean.
In the name of Jesus, we become clean and holy.
So we allow Jesus to cleanse us and purify us and heal us.

May we continually allow Jesus to do his good work in us.
May God live through us and speak through us.
Then we may live for God and speak for God.
May God touch and heal so many people and purify them in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank for cleansing us to live holy.
Purify our hearts.
Purify our life.
Purify our words.
Purify our thoughts.
May we live holy in you.
In your name, we pray.
Amen.

11.12.2016

Luke 21:5-19 (1)

ppt

Jesus who proclaims the truth
Reading: Luke 21:5-19
Additional reading: 2 Thess 3: 6-13
Hymn: 440, 355, 357 (354)
Blanks: thrown, follow, end, testimony, words

Jesus came to shine God’s light.
There were darkness in the world because the priests and teachers were talking about God without understanding who God is.
Some of them were called Rabbi, or experts in law.
Because they didn’t understand God, they were spreading false rumors about God and misled people when people came to know God.
When they explained about God, they explained about a mean, judgmental and very picky god who loves money and has fun making people follow his difficult inhumane rules.
Like this they were standing between God and people and prevent people to come closer to God who loves them.

Jesus grew up with them and got tired of them.
So when Jesus started his ministry, Jesus called them hypocrites and liars.
Jesus said that they were like beautiful tombs which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.
Meaning, they were spiritually dead.
So they were guiding people to become heartless and judgmental people who pretended that they were righteous.
Jesus pointed out and opposed them and openly challenged them so that he could save some of them.

So those religious experts got mad and oppose Jesus.
They wanted to challenge Jesus’ teaching and find some fault in his words.
But they could not find any fault.
Jesus was so wise and perfect in his speech.

But still they wanted to kill Jesus.
So they tried to find some reasons to accuse him so that they could officially oppose him and kill him.
Jesus was the Messiah that they didn’t wanted to have.

But a big crowd of people loved Jesus and respected him as a prophet.
So these religious experts decided to kill Jesus in a shrewd way so that people might not riot against them.

Jesus became famous, because he cured so many people.
How could people not love him when Jesus healed their sister, mom, brother, father, son and friends?
Jesus healed everyone whom they brought to Jesus.
How could they not love this Jesus who blessed the poor?
So those common people loved him.

Only when Jesus spoke God’s truth, some tried to kill him.
There were times when Jesus preached and they tried to kill him.

When Jesus preached at his own hometown, he said that God chose to show mercy to others instead of them.
Jesus talked about their spiritual state.
But instead of repenting and accepting the message of Jesus, they wanted to kill Jesus.

In another time, when Jesus said that he is the Son of God, religious people tried to kill Jesus.
In other time, Jesus healed people on Sabbath and humiliated those who stopped Jesus from healing on Sabbath.
Then they wanted to kill Jesus.

Then some people said that Jesus was out of his mind.
Even his relatives of Jesus agreed with them.
Because when they heard about the words of Jesus, they could sense that Jesus was heading for a big trouble.
It was not the Jesus that they knew.

When he started his ministry, Jesus didn’t hide the truth.
Jesus talked about the truth whether people liked it or not.
Jesus talked about the truth whether people killed him or not.
Jesus shines God’s light saying:
“I am the truth, the way and the life.”

Then as the time of his departure came close, things became very intense.
Those priests kicked people out of their synagogues if they thought Jesus as a prophet, or a messiah.
They didn’t allow them to use their marketplaces.

Then they tried to work with Roman officials to accuse him saying that Jesus taught people not to pay tax and claim himself to be the king over the Jews.

Jesus knew and spoke against them.
Jesus was like:
“They killed God’s prophets and holy people.
They killed those who tried to give God glory.
They misused God’s temple for their profits.”

Then sometimes, Jesus spent time only with his students.
Jesus was happy that they believed that Jesus spoke the truth.

It was emotionally difficult to speak the truth knowing to be killed.
Can you imagine how difficult it was for Jesus to maintain his emotional stability?
I am not sure whether I could handle this kind of emotional pressure:

But Jesus told his students that those high priests would reject Jesus, and hand him over to be killed.
Jesus told that he would be handed over to the Romans to be killed.
Jesus would go through this to save God’s elect.
He was ready to die to save the people he loved.
So their job was not to protect Jesus.
It was the will of God.

Then Jesus informed that they would also experience rejection and persecution to save more people.
They would face oppositions to save people in the name of Jesus.
Some people would reject them when they preached the truth.
But some would obey and accept the story of Jesus.

Anyway, preparing his heart Jesus came to Jerusalem.
In a few days, Jesus would be captured and crucified.
Then Jesus again drove out the merchants at the temple.
Jesus was like:
“God wants people to pray in the temple.
Get rid of this fundraising stuff.”

The priests who took care of the temple felt attacked and challenged.
Then even his student Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus and hand him over to the priests.

But other students didn’t really understand what was going on.
So looking at the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, they were like:
“Wow!
Look at this temple, Jesus.
What beautiful stones!
What a wonderful gift to God!”

They could not understand.
They were not ready to understand what Jesus was facing.
So Jesus taught them:
“The days are coming when all these stones will be thrown down.”

Then they were shocked and asked:
“Teacher, when?
When is it going to be?”

Instead of saying, “37 years later” Jesus explained to them about many future events.
Jesus was like:
“False teachers are going to show up.
Some will say: “I am Jesus.” (Have you heard about them?)
Some will say “Jesus is the Christ,” and deceive people, just like Satan tried to tempt Jesus quoting the Bible.
They will talk about Jesus in a wrong way and mislead others.

“Some false teachers will talk about the end time in unhealthy ways.
They will say, “The time is near. The end is near!” and make people feel fearful.
And when they are fearful, these false teachers will mislead them.
They will use this part of the truth out of proportion.
So if anyone talks about the end time too much and prepares for the end time, be aware and don’t go after them.
Those who try to save their life in a wrong way may lose it.
Those who are interested in the end time rather than Jesus, are misled. Just bear God’s fruits in the name of Jesus.
Then God will come and find you.”

Jesus didn’t want his students to be influenced by those false teachers.
Jesus didn’t want them to be influenced by the pharisees and the teachers of the law.

When Jesus talks about the end time, he did in order to help people to serve God and people.
It is not to scare them but to encourage them to trust God and love God and obey God Jesus.
Then they are safe in Jesus.

Then Jesus talked about the end like this:
“You can sense when the world is heading to its end.
Nation will rise against nation.
Kingdom against kingdom.
There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues in many places.
There will be fearful events and great signs from heaven.
People may faint in fear of what is coming.”

But before these things happened, the truth of Jesus is shared in its full power.
Then some false teachers may feel threatened and hate those who carried the message of Jesus.
They may persecute those who speak the truth of Jesus saying that they are troublemakers.

Jesus spoke like this:
“People will arrest you and persecute you.
They will hand you over to prisons.
You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.
Do you know why these things will happen?
Because you are also my people and my mouths.
They will give you an opportunity to speak the truth for me.
So you don’t prepare anything to say.
I will give you the words of wisdom to say.”

Until the end, God will use God’s people to speak the truth.
Then people will at least hear from God.
Speaking God’s truth, they may suffer but some will listen to God's voice and realize the truth and have eternal life.

Then because it will become so intense, Jesus said something like this:
“There is no telling who will hate you because of me.
People will worry and be panic.
So, even your parents, brothers, relatives and friends will turn you in.
Then they will put some of you to death.”

Then Jesus assured them like this:
“But, God is in control.
Every detail of your body and soul, even the hairs of your head, is in my care.
So, stay with me.
Stay with me to the end.
That's what is required.
You'll be saved.
You won't be sorry.
Christ in you is greater than anything.
So, don’t worry or act out of fear.
Have faith in me.
God is with you.
There is nothing you need to worry about.
Have peace.
Act out of peace.
Help people to find true peace of God.”

Then a few days later, Jesus was captured, insulted, persecuted and killed.
It was God’s plan.
So Jesus didn’t fight with those who tried to kill him.
Jesus didn’t destroy them with his heavenly power.
Jesus came to give his life so that he could save his people.

But Satan might have tempted Jesus saying:
“No! You cannot die here.
You need to protect your truth.
If you die here, who will preach the truth?”

But Jesus knew that in order to bring the eternal kingdom of God, he needed to speak the truth and die and rise again.
Then he could bring God’s kingdom when he returns, on the last day.
So Jesus moved along with God’s plan.
Jesus gave his life to God on the cross and then rose again to shine God’s truth.

When his students speak for God, they may experience oppositions.
Some spoke the truth and were crucified.
So Satan might have tempted them too.
“No! You cannot die here.
You need to speak the truth of Jesus.
If you die here, who will preach the truth?”

Jesus said something like this:
“Like every seed, if you die for the truth, you will bear much fruits.
But if you love your life and could not let go, you will lose your life and its fruits.
But if you lose your life for the gospel of Jesus, you will be saved and have eternal life.”
So like this, they glorify God through their death, just like Jesus set his life as the example.

God’s people speak God’s truth even though some people may not welcome God’s truth, just like Jesus of Nazareth speaks the truth and lives today.

When we know God’s truth, we need to speak God’s truth, even if we may die.
Then we produce God’s fruits.
In this way we shine God’s light.
Then one day we will rise to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we speak God’s truth, we may find new friends.
Or we may find new enemies.
Then we need to pray for our enemies and bless them.
We are called to pray according to what God wants.

But when we fail to speak the truth or lie, we need to repent.
We cannot preach both gospels and lie, even if it is only a white lie.
The more we speak even white lies, we may be not suitable to speak for God.
So we need to be careful of what we say, because we can sin by what we say.

We can be saved by what we say.
God encourages us to speak the truth.
God's people speak the truth and live forever.

God uses the persons who speak the truth in love.
God helps us to use kind words so that we may live with the Holy Spirit.
God helps us to speak the truth in the most loving way of Jesus.
When we speak the truth in love, we sense the presence of God.
Then we experience God’s power.
Then people know that we are God’s people.
Because there is power.
Through us God can transform people’s life.
Then we will be surprised by the way God works.
Then we will be able to rejoice with God.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for your words and guidance.
May you speak through us.
May you help us to be faithful disciples of you.
In your name, we pray.
Amen.

11.05.2016

Luke 20:27-38 (1)

"I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting"
Reading: Luke 20:27-38
Additional readings: Hosea 6:1-2

Do you believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting?
Do you believe that God is interested even in your body and raise your body up when Jesus returns?

We know Jesus experienced the resurrection of his body.
When Jesus was facing his death, Jesus knew that he would rise again and have his glorious body that does not get old.
That is what Jesus accomplished in God.
Then after that, Jesus ascended into heaven to be with God and is preparing places for us.
Then one day Jesus will return and transform our bodies so that we may be with him forever.

So when Christians die, they are continually with God.
When people die in Jesus, they are with God and wait to receive their transformed body at the day of resurrection of life.
Then with their transformed body, they will live with Jesus.
And God will reward them because they believe in God and obey God.

So in short there can be two kinds of experience for Christians.
Some will die and rise again in the name of Jesus.
Some will not die but see Jesus returning to rule over everything.

And believing in and obeying Jesus is the big deal.
It would make a huge difference eternally.
Those who live in the name of Jesus will rise again in the name of Jesus.

But then Jesus talked about the day of resurrection of life like this: Matthew 24:40-42
Two men will be in the field.
One will be taken and the other left.
Two women will be grinding with a hand mill.
One will be taken and the other left.

What’s that mean?
God will take only those who believe in God and obey.
God will take those who receive the faith of Jesus.
God will welcome them into God’s new world to be with God.

Here it is not about with whom you are.
It is not about whether your father is a pastor or whatever.
It is not about whether you live with a holy person.
It is not about whether you are a member of God’s church.

God only takes those who know God and hear what God is saying to them.
God will take them and welcome into God’s age to come.

For some reason, Satan didn’t like this idea.
I don’t know what wrong with him.
So Satan would try to prevent people from going to be God forever.
Satan would work hard to produce some false messiahs and false prophets and false teachers who may perform great signs and wonders.
Satan would produce some pastors or leaders who perform great signs and wonders even at their churches.
They may deceive many people through their teachings and miracles.

Those who caused people to sin like that and those who were deceived might be very sad at the day of resurrection.
God didn’t promise salvation to those who continually sin and use God’s name to do what Satan wants.
So if some churchgoers had continually done things that God hated, God might say at the day of the resurrection:
“I don’t know you.
Away from me, you evildoers.”

Jesus even says: (Matthew 24:24)
Those false prophets and teachers will deceive, if possible, even the elect.

So we pray that God may help us to be with God forever.
Then we also watch the fruits of these people.
Through fruits, we may know whether they are of God or not.

Does the love of God manifest through them?
Is the peace of God experienced through them?
Do they live like Jesus who lived the holy and humble life?
Do those who follow them live like our gentle Jesus?

Now in the days of Jesus, there were those who taught that there was no the resurrections of the body.
They didn’t believe in afterlife, angels, or spirits. (Matt 22:23-33)
Even the Pharisees disagreed with them.
But who were these people?
They were called Sadducees.
They were the Jewish upper class in the days of Jesus.
They maintained the temple and were religious.
But they were more political than spiritual.
They were liberal and worldly.

But they said that they believed in Moses and his five books in the Bible.
Then saying that they didn’t found any mention of resurrection there, they didn’t believe in the resurrection of body or soul or spirit.
They didn’t believe that there were rewards or penalties after death.
These Sadducees were like:
“When someone dies, he goes into history and exists anymore.”

What happened when they thought like that?
They must have served God to have a better life right now.
They wanted to enjoyed right now.
Then they wanted to stabilize social conditions and order.
They might not want a political trouble that the Messiah might bring it.
They were like that.
They loved the dominant Greek culture.
They accepted Hellenism and followed Hellenistic culture.

In the Bible, we read many prophets talked about resurrection.
The prophet Isaiah said: (Isaiah 26:19)
“Your dead will live, Lord.
Their bodies will rise.
Let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy.”

The prophet Ezekiel said: (Ezekiel 37:13)
“You, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.”

But Sadducees would not agree with these these biblical writings of prophets.
They didn’t see them as God’s prophets.
As a result, they didn’t listen to God when God spoke through prophets.
So they might not have welcomed John the Baptist who was God's prophet.
To make their earthly life move smoothly according to their plan, they might have rejected God’s prophets, ignored them or even killed them.

Anyway one day some Sadducees came to ask Jesus a question:
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
So, here is a situation.
There were seven brothers.
The first one married a woman and died childless.
So the second married her but died childless.
Like this, all the seven married and died, leaving no children.
Finally, the woman died too.
Now you see she was married to the seven.
Sp if there is the resurrection, whose wife will she be?
You see Moses’ teaching and the idea of resurrection does not go well with each other.”

By the way, what a sad and merciless and wicked story they made!
But at least they brought a honest question.
So, Jesus answers them.

Now we need to know the Hebrew verb: ייבם.
What’s that mean?
If a man dies and leaves a wife with no children, his brother must marry the widow.
That is doing ייבם.
Then the first son she bears will carry the name of the dead brother.
In this way, they wanted to continue their family genealogy as it was.

You know in ancient Korean, it was important to have at least one boy who could carry the last name of their family.
But they went even further than that.
But then it was also about 2000 years ago.
Today, I don’t think Jewish people think like that.

Anyway they wanted to talk about the lady with 7 husbands.
Jesus replied something like this:
“The people of our age marry and are given in marriage.
But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage.
They can no longer die, because they are like the angels.
They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”

What does it mean?
When we rise again, when we are resurrected, we don't marry.
You are not going to be Mrs. So And So.
You will not be someone’s wife or hubby.
You will be like angels.

Do you think angels marry?
No.
Like that, we will not marry.
We will be all children of God.
And because there is no marriage anymore, we will have a very different concept in terms of relationship in heaven.
There is no my family or your family.
We are one family of God.
For that kind of life, we will change including our body.

God created marriage to explain and help us understand the mystery between God and the church.
That is over when we experience the resurrection of life.

Now when we rise to eternal life, we will not die again.
In order to prove that, Jesus talked about what Moses wrote.
You know Sadducees believed in Moses and his 5 books.
So, Jesus talked about God’s appearance to Moses in the burning bush.
God said to Moses:
“I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

God is not saying:
“I have fun with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
They are dead and gone.
They are not existing anymore.
So I want to have fun with you.”

No.
God is saying:
“Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is alive with me.
They exist with me.
You will also be with me like that.
But I want to save my people.
So while you are on earth, will you work with me to save them?”

So Jesus says:
“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
For God all are alive.”

In God there is no dead person.
In God all is alive.
In God, Abraham is alive.
Isaac is alive.
Jacob is alive.
And all their friends are alive in God.

Moses served God and now lives with God.
As a proof, this Moses appeared when Jesus was transfigured in the mountain, remember?
At that time, Moses knew that Jesus needed to be crucified and rise again.
Moses knew about the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

Now in John 5:28-29, Jesus says:
All who are in the tombs will hear the voice of Jesus and come out.
Those who have done good will come out to the resurrection of life.
Those who have done evil will come out to the resurrection of judgment.

So there are two different kinds of resurrection.
Some will rise again to be rewarded by God and to live forever.
But some will rise to be judged.
Those who live in their wicked way will rise again to be judged on the day of judgement.

So one day Jesus will return to judge and reward based on what they have believed and have done.
Jesus our Almighty God will judge rightly.
So everyone will see each consequence of good life and bad life.
Jesus will judge based on the words that he has already spoken in the gospels.
Based on these words Jesus will judge people.
Those who believe in Jesus and obey Jesus would rise to be rewarded.

When people have the words of Jesus in them, Jesus can live in them and work through them.
Then Jesus will raise them to be with God forever and live eternal life.
They will experience the resurrection of their body, when Jesus returned.
They will have their new glorious bodies and reign with God.
Each will have their unique resurrection body which lasts forever.
This transformed body may truly accommodate what their spirits really want.
So they may be able to pass through wall and door like the resurrected Jesus.
They may appear and disappear like the resurrected Jesus.

Jesus would guide them to enter into God’s new world that lasts forever.
This new world will wait for them.
In this new world there is not sin.
So there's no suffering.
There's no pain, or heartache.
There is only God’s freedom and God’s goodness.
There is God’s peace.
There is love.
There is joy.
There is God.
Every holy people dream of this world.
But we cannot even imagine what would be like.
But one day, our body will be transformed to live in this God’s new world.

When we believe in this, we may have all the right reasons to live holy.
We want to live the righteous life of Jesus.
We want to love God without fear.
By the grace of God, may we live in the way of Jesus.
May we receive a great reward from Jesus as Jesus rewards according to what we believe and do.

Even though we could not see that world now, we experience peace, freedom, joy, forgiveness, laugh, hope through Jesus who is there.
So we can guess what kind of joy and peace we may experience there with Jesus.
May our hope continually grow in this faith of Jesus.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help me believe in the resurrection of life so that we may live with you forever.
Heal us and restore us to live the life you want us to live.
Help us to rise again in you.
Heal many people in your name so that they may be there where you are.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen.


Note:
Sadducees claimed that they were sons of Abraham.
Did they receive the temple tax?

John 8:56
"Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
Abraham is alive and have looked the life of Jesus.