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Tag Archives: John the Baptist

The Final Reveal

Reality Television shows often share a similar format.  Shows like Bar Rescue, Garage Restoration and Home Makeover attempt to give someone a better life.  Candidates are chosen based upon human interest stories, tragic events or unfortunate circumstances.  Producers reveal the past, present and the potential future if given a chance to succeed.  The climax occurs at the final reveal with some sharing an update of life since the show was filmed.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children, Matthew 11:25.

The Bible refers to another reveal.  In the Old Testament, prophets spoke of a coming Messiah, one who would save people from their sins.  After John the Baptist arrived early in the first century, Jews began to wonder, is this the One?  When John heard of these rumors, he quickly silenced them.  John refers to himself as a messenger, preparing the way for the one to come.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” – Matthew 11:2-3

While in prison, John sent his disciples to receive assurance on his hunch about Jesus.  The verse above highlights the initial question.  Likely frustrated, Jesus replies with a question of his own.  You see, Jesus’ teaching style forced followers to figure things out on their own.  Thus, instead of dumbing things down, Jesus put the onus back on John’s disciples.  What do all these miracles mean?  What do you think?  At the end of chapter 11, Jesus confirms what some suspected, He is the Son of God.  This is the final reveal, the exclamation point of the gospel, “Jesus came to restore that which was lost,” Luke 19:10.

by Jay Mankus

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Should We Be Expecting Anyone Else?

Whether you are an employee, novice or student, there is a hesitancy that exists within human beings.  This fear of the unknown inspires the question, “Am I on the right track?”  Until you receive confirmation, subtle doubts will linger.  This anxiety causes many to wonder, “should I be expecting someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor, Matthew 11:4-5.

Before John the Baptist is murdered in the first century, he was imprisoned.  Something within him sensed death was near.  Thus, in his last days on earth John sought the truth, hoping to receive assurance to his assumptions.  John sent some of his own disciples to Jesus to confirm if Jesus was indeed the Messiah spoken by the Old Testament prophets.  The passage above is Jesus’ response to John’s question.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me, John 14:6.

A few years later, Jesus’ disciples developed a similar concern, not sure who their leader really was.  This uncertainty led to chatter between disciples, wondering if there was a connection between Jesus and God.  As Passion Week began, Jesus’ last week on earth prior to his crucifixion, he silences any remaining doubt with the passage above.  Surely, upon hearing the news that Jesus was the only way to God the Father resolved this life long question.  The answer is no!

by Jay Mankus

 

The Hidden Years of Jesus

In the life of a Jew, adulthood begins at age twelve.  A ceremony known as a Bar-mitzvah for boys and Bat-mitzvah for girls commences this stage in life.  Luke 2 provides the only glimpse of Jesus’ life as a boy during his Bar-mitzvah.  Following this event, there are 18 years of silence known as the hidden years of Jesus.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart, Luke 2:51.

Despite this gap of missing time, there are a few things we know about Jesus.  First, Jesus continued in the ways of his earthly father Joseph as a carpenter.  According to Luke, Jesus remained an obedient son, providing for his mother Mary after Joseph’s death.  The next time Jesus appears in the Bible is in the day of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man, Luke 2:52.

There are 3 qualities that highlight the missing years of Jesus,  First, Jesus grew in wisdom by daily taking time alone to pray with his heavenly father.  Second, Jesus’ actions, constant care and nurturing words magnified his stature as a godly man.  Finally, as Jesus keep in step with the Holy Spirit, God favor remained on Jesus in the form of daily blessings.  All these things prepared Jesus for the accounts portrayed in the four gospels which transformed the lives of 11 disciples.

by Jay Mankus

Matters Related to God

Since Adam failed to demonstrate leadership and Eve fell for the Devil’s trap, God’s perfect world vanished.  Thus, one of God’s first course of actions was to send a second Adam to restore that which was lost.  A temporary plan was put into practice, using a high priest to atone for the sins of Israel.  However, the Lord allowed time to pass before his resolution was unveiled.

Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, Hebrews 5:1.

John the Baptist was chosen to serve as a messenger to communicate this matter.  One of the first objectives was to make a stark contracts between the God of the Old and New Testament.  The Lord was willing to offer His one and only son, not to condemn the world, but to save it.  Protected by angels and guided by the Holy Spirit, Jesus invested the last three years of his earthly life setting the stage for the modern church.  The only thing remaining was for the Father of life to stand by, allowing Jesus to become the perfect Lamb of God.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him, John 3:17.

Unfortunately, today many Christians are distracted by deception philosophy and human traditions.  Making the complex simple, matters related to God can be summed up in three biblical principles.  Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind.  Love you neighbor as yourself and pray for those who persecute you.  By doing this you will emulate the love of Christ and remind the world of a gracious and merciful God waiting to save those tangled by sin.

by Jay Mankus

Human Inspired or from Above?

When an individual wakes up, the day can dictate one’s degree of excitement.  Anticipation for an activity, event or the weekend can produce adrenaline, enthusiasm and vigor for life.  However, sometimes the energy burst you receive may come from above?

“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?” – Mark 11:28

In the days of Jesus, his ministry was always under scrutiny.  Whether he was feeding the masses, performing a miracle or outwitting the Pharisees, religious leaders doubted his authenticity.  It wasn’t until Jesus used John the Baptist as an illustration to prove inspiration can come from above.

.John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”- Mark 11:30

Following a milestone or success story, individuals will give a myriad of responses.  Some will credit their coach, trainer or parents.  Others may reference their discipline, re-dedication  or state of the art training program.  However, a few will profess of a higher power, strength from above which ultimately led to their victory.  Although the media may not show all those who give glory to God, I believe human inspiration only takes you so far.  With this in mind, tap into the Holy Spirit to help reach your full potential.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Real Life Superhero

Whether you are referring to one of Marvel Comics fictional characters, watching a Super Friends episode or analyzing films like Unbreakable, superheros often have 3 things in common.  First, each possess some sort of super human power which defies the laws of physics and gravity.  Second,  individuals keep a low profile, developing an alias to keep their true identity a secret.  Finally, most have an arch enemy who seeks to ascertain a weakness, trying to uncover their krytonite.

While reading the gospel of Mark, I stumbled upon an interesting thought, Jesus was a real life superhero.  Like Superman, Jesus came from another world, Colossians 1:15-17.  Before the day came to reveal his special powers, Jesus lived in obscurity as a carpenter in the lowly town of Nazareth.  Jesus flew under the radar for thirty years until John the Baptist was imprisoned, then killed.  However, before his three years of public service began, a real Devil threatened to destroy Jesus’ ministry before it began.

Following the calling of his first four disciples, Mark 1:16-20, Jesus introduced himself to the Jewish community.  Meanwhile, a demonic spirit tried to spoil his coming out party, Mark 1:23-26.  Foiling his enemies first plot, the legend of Jesus began to spread.  Similar to modern superheros, Jesus remained humble.  Rather than proclaiming, “look what I’ve done,” Jesus gave his heavenly Father the credit.  Nearly 2,000 years following his resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit has been left behind so that those who believe, Romans 10:9-10, may experience an extraordinary life, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

 

Six, Six, Six

In biblical numerology, the number 7 is symbolic of perfection, like a complete 7 day week.  Thus, the number 6 refers to being incomplete.  Without a day of rest on the 7th day, a week is imperfect, breaking from God’s design for mankind in Genesis 2:2-3.  Meanwhile, the number 3 indicates wholeness, like the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  When you add 3 sevens together, this signifies complete perfection.  On the other hand, 666, also known as the mark of the beast, represents complete imperfection.

Ezekiel 28:11-19 contains a prophecy against the King of Tyre.  Strangely enough, this leader is compared to Lucifer, the angel of song thrown out of heaven by God the Father.  Based upon the account in Genesis 3:1-5 and Matthew 4:1-10, the devil appears to be an imposter, someone trying to imitate the Lord of All.  This masquerade continues today with angelic qualities, described by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.  Although counterfeits have nearly exact features, time will give away their cover.  In the end, this knock off of the Creator of Life will be exposed, but will his victims have time to turn back?

Every decade, another prophet so to speak will claim he or she knows the day when Jesus will return.  Others will swear to be made aware of signs from the Holy Spirit like a modern day John the Baptist.  Their words can be tested, using the Bible as a measuring stick, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.  Some may even fall prey to spells cast by these dynamic leaders just as Jesus predicted nearly 2000 years ago, Matthew 24:10-11.  Since everyone is forced to live in the world, the best solution is following the words of Jesus’ baby brother, James 4:7-10.  May this advice serve as a blue print, to protect you from the schemes of the one labeled six, six, six, Ephesians 6:10-11.

by Jay Mankus