Sunday, September 28, 2014

Can You Say Mephibosheth?

This is the true story of Mephibosheth. What a name! And what a great story! It's one of the greatest stories of friendship in the entire Bible, and it involves David and Jonathan. The book of 1 Samuel describes the relationship between David, King Saul, and King Saul's son, Jonathan. After David killed the giant Goliath, King Saul became jealous of all the praises David received. Not only that, he was threatened by the possibility of the people demanding that David be the king. Thus, Saul eventually wanted to kill David!

Saul’s son, Jonathan, became David’s best friend, and even protected him from being attacked and killed by Saul. Over time, David and Jonathan developed a sort of covenant type of friendship – one that would never be broken. Unfortunately, in a battle against the Philistines, both Saul and Jonathan were killed. This was tragic news for David. Years after the death of Saul and Jonathan, when David had become king, he began searching to see if there was anyone left in Saul's family line so he could express kindness for Jonathan's sake.

David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” At your service,” he replied. The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” (2 Samuel 9:1-3)

The name of Jonathan's son was Mephibosheth. He was just five years old when his father and grandfather Saul were killed. At that time, his caretaker nurse, hearing about the Philistine's victory, was so worried that the Philistines would track down and kill the next of kin, she fled to safety with young Mephibosheth in her arms. Unfortunately, in her haste, she dropped the young child, permanently crippling both his feet. 

So now, many years later, after learning that a son of Johathan was still alive, David summoned for him. He was anxious to meet his best friend's son.

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2 Samuel 9:6-8)

Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons. (2 Samuel 9:9-11)

There are several crucial points in this story. 
1. Mephibosheth was shown grace by the king.
2. Mephibosheth was considered a son of the king. He was provided for from that point on.
3. Mephibosheth inherited everything that was his father’s. 
4. Mephibosheth didn’t feel worthy of all he was to receive, and even referred to himself as a dead dog!
5. Mephibosheth was shown kindness because of a third party – Jonathan. 

This gives us such a great parallel between Mephibosheth and ourselves as Christians. I love it when you see an Old Testament person, place or thing pointing to Jesus and symbolizing the Church of the New Testament. The relationship between King David and Mephibosheth is a picture of the relationship between God the Father and us. Compare the 5 points above with the 5 below. 

1. We as Christians have been shown grace through Christ - we are saved by grace.
2. We as Christians are adopted as sons of God, we get to eat at his table, and He provides everything we need.
3. We as Christians inherit everything that is our Father’s – His promised rewards, Eternal life, Heaven.
4. We as Christians are not worthy of the God's grace, once dead in our sins.
5. We as Christians are shown kindness because of a third party - Jesus. 

What a great comparison to remind us of who we are and what God has done for us because of his great love for us. From now on, when you hear the name Mephibosheth, remember you are not much different than him.

Monday, September 22, 2014

90 Different Titles For Jesus!

90 Different Titles for Jesus!

Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13)
Amen (Revelation 3:14)
Anointed One (Psalm 2:2)
Apostle  (Hebrews 3:1)
Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2)
Author of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)
Beginning and End (Revelation 22:13)
Blessed and only Ruler (1 Timothy 6:15)
Bread of God (John 6:33)
Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
Capstone (1 Peter 2:7)
Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)
Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
Christ (1 John 2:22)
Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11)
Faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5)
Faithful and True Witness (Revelation 3:14)
First and Last (Revelation 22:13)
Firstborn From the Dead (Revelation 1:5)
Firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15)
Gate (John 10:9)
God (John 1:1)
Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14)
Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20)
Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2)
High Priest (Hebrews 2:17)
Holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Holy and True (Revelation 3:7)
Holy and Righteous One (Acts 3:14)
Hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
Hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27)
Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)
Jesus (Matthew 1:1)
Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
King of kings (Revelation17:14)
King of the Ages (Revelation 15:3)
Lamb (Revelation 13:8)
Lamb of God (John 1:29)
Lamb Without Blemish (1 Peter 1:19)
Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Life (John 14:6)
Light of the World (John 8:12)
Living One (Revelation 1:18)
Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4)
Lord (2 Peter 2:20)
Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8)
Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14)
Master (Luke. 5:5)
Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews. 9:15)
Messiah (John 1:41)
Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
One Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)
Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Precious Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6)
Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Prophet (Acts 3:22)
Rabbi (Matthew 26:25) 
Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
Righteous One (Acts 7:52)
Righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Ruler of God’s Creation (Revelation 3:14)
Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Revelation 1:5)
Savior (Ephesians 5:23)
Son of God (John 1:49)
Son of Man (Matthew 8:20)
Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32)
Source of Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:9)
Spiritual Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4)
Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
True Bread from Heaven (John 6:32)
True Light (John 1:9)
True Vine (John 15:1)
Truth (John 14:6)
Way (John 14:6)
Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
Word (John 1:1)
Word of God (Revelation 19:13)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Favorite Miracle

This is the tale of a collision between two processions. One of the processions was a funeral march coming out of the city of Nain, and one was a procession of Jesus and His followers approaching Nain.

"Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him." (Luke 7:11)

For some time, there had developed a multitude of people following Jesus wherever He went, as was the case here. And as it worked out, at the exact point in time when Jesus and His followers arrived at the gates of Nain, they met up with a funeral procession leaving the city.

Back then, with few exceptions, it was unclean for Jews to be buried inside the city walls. So they would take the corpse outside of the city gate to their designated burial ground. The dead were embalmed with spices, wrapped in cloth, and brought out on a bier, which was something like a stretcher. This practice of being wrapped in linen can be seen in the example of Lazarus as well as Jesus Himself.

"As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her." (Luke 7:12)

Notice the two important points found in verse 12. First, it says that the dead person was an only son, and secondly, that the mother was a widow! In the culture of the day, when a husband died, the son would take care of his mom. But in this case, not only did the mother lose her husband, but now, she lost her only son. And with her only son dead, she was left alone, with no one to care for her. 

Yes, two large crowds meet. Not for a dispute, not for a protest, not for a reunion, but for something unplanned, unforeseen, unimaginable - an astonishing miracle by Jesus. Jesus did a lot of miracles - most were to demonstrate His deity - His power - His authenticity - and to instill belief. However, the primary reason that Jesus performed this amazing miracle was not for any of those things, although all of them were sort of secondary spin-offs. The prime motivation for this miracle was strictly compassion.

When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” (Luke 7:13)

Of all the people assembled that day, notice who Jesus immediately focused on...the mother who was grieving. He wasn't focused on all the people. He wasn't even focused on the dead person. When Jesus saw the mom mourning, he saw her heart, and therefore, in response, His heart went out to her. And look at what Jesus says to the mom..... "don't cry". This says volumes about who Jesus is.

Moved by sympathy and compassion, Jesus not only comforts the mother, but He acts. What He does next is not the result of the mother's request, for she didn't request Him to do anything. And it's not the result of what the mother expected Him to do, because she didn't expect Him to do anything. For all we know, she didn't even know who He was! And I suppose that's why this is my favorite miracle of Jesus. It's a miracle strictly driven by compassion. Now Jesus did many miracles of compassion, but for me, this one demonstrates it the best.

This particular miracle was unprecedented by Jesus because it's the first time that Jesus raises someone from the dead. That's right, He raises the dead son back to life! Wow!

Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” (Luke 7:14)

Jesus speaks directly to the dead young man, and commands him to come to life! What power and authority! And as with all of His miracles, they override the laws of nature, they are without failure, and they are totally complete. The young man not only sits up, but he immediately begins to talk! Jesus restores the son to his mother. Can you visualize the scene? Can you hear the mom's reaction? Can you imagine the crowd's response?

The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (Luke 7:15-17)

Talk about a feel-good miracle! And you can be sure of this...."Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) That means that Jesus is just as compassionate today. That's the type of King we have. That's the type of God we have.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

The lesson here is that God is a God of compassion, He's the Father of compassion, the originator of compassion, the source of compassion, and the example of compassion. We should therefore be compassionate also, and comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. Let's put that into practice.