THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE GOSPELS

From the four gospels, we read how the Jewish leaders persecuted Jesus and sought to slay him because he had done such things as healing on the Sabbath and claiming that God was his Father.

On more than one occasion they tried to stone him for declaring that God was his Father but he was delivered from them while the stones were still in their hands. On numerous occasions they attempted to end his life but they could not touch him because his hour (the hour in which he would glorify his Father by his death and resurrection) had not yet come.

Luke tells us that at the beginning of his ministry he came to Nazareth where he had grown up. While there, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day according to his custom and read from the book of Isaiah that was handed to him to read. Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and announced among other things that he is the Messiah.

This angered those who heard him so much that they wanted to kill him. The angry listeners rose up and forced Jesus out of the city. They lead him to a cliff on the hill upon which their city was built. They had every intention of throwing Jesus head first over the side of the cliff; however, Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

His life was in the Father’s hand and no one could take it from him prematurely. Yet the Bible tells us that at one point later in his ministry he chose to leave Judea because he knew that the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.

There was real unrest amongst the Jews because of those who opposed Jesus and it had become public knowledge that the religious leaders wanted to kill him. They tried on numerous occasions to arrest him but could not because his time had not yet come.

The confrontation between Jesus and those who wanted to silence him; namely the religious authorities, became so intense that they would stop at nothing to destroy him. The Jewish leaders were so adamant in their efforts to stop him that they agreed together to expel from the Synagogue anyone who confessed or believed that Jesus is the Messiah and they publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.

They became so obsessed with destroying him that they eventually decided to kill Lazarus also (whom Jesus had raised from the dead) because many people had believed in Jesus because of Lazarus. The religious authorities did not know him nor did they know God who had sent him. The truth in Jesus so angered them and hardened their hearts against God who had sent him that they were blinded by the truth in Jesus.

But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. ~ John 12:37-41


In John 9:1-6 Jesus had healed a man that had been born blind on the Sabbath day and this caused quite a backlash from the Pharisees. It was already enough that they hated Jesus but the fact that he had done this miracle on the Sabbath only infuriated them all the more. They were so against Jesus that they refused to believe the man’s testimony and expelled him from the Synagogue for testifying that it was Jesus who had given him his sight.

When Jesus heard how the man had been treated he sought and found the man and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” The man responded by saying; “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe in?” Jesus then said to him, “You have both seen him, and it is he that talks with thee.” The man then replied; “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped Jesus.

Jesus then made this incredible statement; “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind” (TNLT).

When some of the Pharisees heard Jesus say this they asked him; “Are we blind also?” In response to their question, Jesus said to them, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (KJV).

They were blind because they refused to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and they refused to believe the works which he did in his Father’s name. They refused to accept the works which God did through him because they did not know God. Jesus address their damnation to his disciples privately when he said the following:

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. ~ John 15:22-25

God did not send Jesus to be the recipient of his judgment. On the contrary, God placed all judgment into the hands of his Son. Jesus was entrusted with absolute authority over all things and this included the authority to judge.

The words which Jesus spoke from the Father and the works which he did in his Father’s name testified that he was the one sent from God to be the Savior of the world. Those who would not hear him nor believe the works he did rejected God and thereby bring condemnation upon themselves.

Jesus is the one whom God ordained to be the Judge of living and the dead (Acts 10:42) and this is what Jesus is referring to in John 5:20-30.

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. ~ John 5:20-30

The Father gave to his Son absolute authority to judge and he gave to the Son absolute authority over all things. In John 12 Jesus declares that his death and resurrection would mean judgment upon both the world and the prince of this world;

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. ~ John 12:31

When Jesus began his ministry, he announced that the Kingdom of God had arrived. By the power of the Holy Spirit he overcame this world and that is why he could say to his disciple in private; “I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

When Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, He fulfilled the scripture which says; “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.’” ~ Matthew 12:5 TNLT

The Pharisees then declared; “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!” (John 12:19 TNLT). Jesus was in complete control for the Father had placed all authority into his hands but instead of making himself King for his own glory, he chose to lay down his life for the Glory of God.

He did not exalt himself to be King but instead surrendered his life to the will of his Father to be the offering for our sin. He gave his life as a ransom for many. He is the Servant-King!

Jesus laid down his life so that the world would know that he loves the Father (John 14:29-31) and He glorified God by giving his life as a ransom for our sins (John 13:31-32). The gospel repeatedly describes his death as his departure and his going to the Father (John 13:1, 3; 16:5-7, 10, and 28). He described the laying down of His life as that of a corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying which afterwards brings forth a great harvest.

Jesus laid down his life because of his love for us (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16) and death could not hold him because he is the resurrection and the life (John 11). Jesus gave his life to redeem us with His precious blood and he conquered death for us by his resurrection so that all who believe in him would have the remission of sins and life from the dead.

WHAT JESUS HAS TO SAY ABOUT HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION

When I teach on the subject of the cross of Christ, I like to begin by addressing this question: What did Jesus actually say about his own death? I find it unsettling that many Bible teachers and even theologians tend to pass over this very important question and inadvertently treat the words of Jesus as an unimportant part of the equation. Of all the people from whom we could learn about the cross, why wouldn’t we want to first hear what Jesus had to say?

I also like to follow up with this question: How did the apostles, those who were personally trained by Jesus, describe His death? Once, while teaching a Bible School Seminar, I presented this to the students. I must say, it was tough sledding for the first hour because of the things the students had been taught. During the break between sessions, there was quite a buzz as some of the students were discussing the thought provoking challenge that I had set before them.  

After the break, I began to take them systematically through the scriptures to show them what Jesus actually said and later to what His apostles actually preached. The students began to catch on and at one point one of them blurted out, “How (or where) did you learn all of this?” They were experiencing a real epiphany as the scriptures began to open to them.

The Bible tells us that there was an exact time 1 when Jesus began to teach his disciples about his crucifixion and resurrection. According to the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly affirmed that he would suffer unjustly from the hands of sinners and that he would rise again on the third day.

In all of the accounts that we have in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, never once does Jesus ever refer to his death on the cross as rejection or condemnation from God to satisfy God’s wrath. He always declared what the scriptures had already prophesied: the Messiah would be rejected and condemned by men.

Again and again, Jesus stated that God would raise Him from the dead contrary to what sinful men would do to him. This view of the cross and resurrection is taught all throughout the New Testament.

Understandably, the apostles of our Lord did not comprehend the meaning of His death before He was crucified, but after His resurrection, Jesus opened their understanding so that they could comprehend the scriptures. Their eyewitness accounts, along with the scriptural insight given to them by Jesus, were empowered on the Day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit. As a result, they preached the death and resurrection of Jesus as they understood it from their Master and the One sent by him.

If you would like to learn more, follow the link below.

THE STONE THE BUILDERS REJECTED: https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/the-stone-the-builders-rejected/

CAN THE MARK OF THE BEAST BE TAKEN BY ACCIDENT?

There are Christian people who have fears about the mark of the beast, and one of those fears is potentially taking the mark unknowingly, or accidentally. These fears are often magnified by conspiracy theories such as the covid 19 vaccine being the mark of the beast.

The idea that a Christian, or anyone at all can receive the mark of the beast unknowingly or accidentally, speaks volumes to the lack of sound doctrine which is prevalent among evangelical Christians. The covid vaccination is not a sign of apostasy, but those who turn away from sound doctrine are, and those who believe that you can unknowingly receive the mark of the beast are dabbling with real apostasy by abandoning sound doctrine in Christ.

In 2 Timothy, Paul writes the following:

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-4

Conspiracies which circulate on social media platforms (often repeated by Christians) are fables, and they are not in line with sound Biblical doctrine. The truth is in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:21), and the idea that a person who loves God can unknowingly take a mark whereby they will damned is by definition a heresy, for it is a denial of the true faith in Christ. Maybe your “god” (the one you imagine) would damn you to hell for something you did unknowingly, but not the true God and Father of Jesus Christ!

In John’s gospel, Jesus says the following:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. ~ John 10:27-29

If a person could unknowingly receive the mark of a man (the mark of the beast) and consequently be condemned, that would mean it is possible to be plucked out of the hands of Jesus and out of the hands of the Father. Yet Jesus says such is not possible.

According to scripture, we are kept by the power of God unto salvation. Consider the words of the apostle Peter:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ~ 1 Peter 1:3-5

It’s unfortunate but not uncommon that some people project onto certain Biblical texts (such as those which mention the mark of the beast) their own superstitions, and in doing so they undermine the very gospel they claim to believe.

In the gospel, God’s righteous character is revealed in and through Christ, and the New Testament repeatedly underscores the truth regarding God’s keeping power for those who trust in him. In his letter to Timothy, Paul declares: I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. ~ 2 Timothy 1:12

You never see Paul being worried about the mark of the beast. Paul was persuaded that God would keep him and taught this as an essential part of our faith towards God. Not only does Paul teach it but others in the New Testament do as well. Consider Jude’s encouraging words:

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. ~ Jude 1:24-25

Jude’s doctrine is consistent with Paul’s who says the following to the Romans:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:31-39

In the book of the Revelation, those who received the mark of the beast were not tricked, conned, or deceived. They were marked because they rejected God and refused to repent, and whether one believes the mark of the beast is literal, symbolic, past, present, or future, there is absolutely no truth in the belief that anyone could receive it accidentally or unknowingly and thus be rejected by God.

Such notions are a fallacy and undermine the words of Jesus in John 10, the words of Paul in Romans 8 and the entirety of the doctrine of God in Christ. If the truth be known, that is exactly what Satan wishes to accomplish with fear regarding the mark of the beast. Such conspiracies have no place in Bible interpretation and have no place in Christian behavior, and those who embrace them deny the very truth by which they were saved.