Friday, 9/21/18 – Tough Question

“How could Jesus ‘learn obedience from what He suffered’ and be ‘made perfect’? (Heb. 5:8)
Was there a time when Jesus was disobedient, or imperfect?”

20180918_193624I stopped by a yard sale one day a few years ago and noticed a toaster oven that looked like a good deal. “Does it work?” I asked the seller. “Yeah, you can try it out if you like. Got an extension cord right here.” So, I plugged it in, ran it through its settings – toast, broil, bake… checked out the timer… “ding!” Yep, it worked just fine. “OK,” I said, “I’ll buy it.” And that old toaster oven served us well for several years.

I’ll get back to this later, but now let’s look at the passage which prompted today’s question…

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 5:7-10).

In English the word ‘perfect’ generally refers to a thing that is ‘flawless,’ but the Greek word τελειόω used here for ‘perfect’ has a much wider meaning. It can mean to make perfect, but also to carry something through completely, to accomplish, or to add what is yet lacking in order to render a thing full or to bring it to fulfilment.

Elsewhere in scripture Jesus said He had not come not to destroy the law but to fulfill it. (Matt. 5:17). Sin still required a sacrifice to atone for it, but now Jesus Himself would be that sacrifice once and forever more. During his sojourn on this Earth he would show himself to be that ultimate high priest as well.

Suffering is a part of human experience. If Jesus were to fulfill the role of high priest, then sharing in suffering would be a necessary part of it. In order for Jesus to share in human suffering he had to be incarnate and live for a time among us. This He did for thirty years – from babe to man — prior to beginning His three year ministry.

Although Jesus was perfect in his very nature, to become our high priest he had to experience the temptations and suffering of our humanity and yet not be conquered by them as was the first man Adam. He had to demonstrate in practice what He knew He already was. Only in this way could he prove that he was indeed our sinless High Priest.

Where we failed when tested in the Garden of Eden, Jesus succeeded when tested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thus He qualified to offer Himself a Sacrifice in our stead.

Barnes puts it like this,

Yet learned he obedience – That is, he learned experimentally and practically. It cannot be supposed that he did not “know” what obedience was; or that he was “indisposed” to obey God before he suffered; or that he had, as we have, perversities of nature leading to rebellion which required to be subdued by suffering, but that he was willing to “test” the power of obedience in sufferings…

Like the toaster oven I mentioned above, He had to be “tried” in order to prove His worth.

Thank the Lord that Jesus always passes every test and — if we have made Him our Lord — He now dwells within us and helps us to do likewise.

Press on…

Got question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 9/14/18 – Tough Question

“Are dinosaurs in the Bible?”

20180913_065036Whether or not you believe dinosaurs are found in the Bible their remains are certainly found in museums and archeological digs around the world. Some ancient cave deawings may also depict them. We cannot dismiss them.

But whether or not the Bible mentions any animal neither proves nor disproves its existence. Many creatures are not mentioned in the Bible; the common house cat may be one of them, though there is one staring me down right now — our own “Miss Molly” wants her morning scratch.

20180913_064919One theory is that dinosaurs roamed the earth very early in its creation – In fact all within Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 during a sort of failed ‘first attempt’ at creation resulting in the earth being ‘without form and void.’ Personally, I have a hard time accepting a God Who botches up!

20180913_080112The book of Job is understood to be the oldest book in the Bible. Chapters 40 and 41 describe two creatures: one a land dwelling herbivore and the other a tightly scaled see creature. We have only been able to guess just what these are. Some have suggested the elephant or hippopotamus or perhaps a large crocodile. But the descriptions could equally apply to a few species of what we call dinosaurs.

20180913_065158God is actually challenging Job in these chapters, pointing out His own might by a sampling of things He created.

In Job 40:15-24 He describes the “Behemoth.” This creature “feeds on grass like an ox,” has mighty muscular strength, it’s tail “sways like a cedar,” it’s skeletal system is like bronze and iron. It stands firm in the Jordan, resisting the strongest raging of its waters.

Job 41:1-2,7,12-32 describes the “Leviathan.” This beast has an impenetrable skin of scales, powerful jaw and “terrible teeth all around.” It “sneezes” out flashes of light, and from its mouth “sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.” This creature “makes the deep boil like a pot” and “leaves a shining wake behind him.” Psalms 74:14, 104:25-26, and Isaiah 27:1 also mention this one.

20180918_172128What ever happened to these animals? Did they perish in the great flood? (It is difficult to imagine these beasts also on the ark!) Short answer is: we just really do not know. Just as there are many things about the future that we cannot know now, there may also be many things about the past that we cannot know until all is revealed in eternity.

One thing for sure though, we serve a powerful God Who demonstrates His strength in creations past, present and future.

Press on!

Got question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 9/7/18 – Tough Question

“How can a person get past a sense of unworthiness and receive all that Christ wants to give?”

I’m sure that on some level we have all felt this way. “For me!? Oh you shouldn’t have!” Some extravagant gift was given for which we feel unworthy and to us this graciousness seems wasteful or unnecessary. But despite your protests the deed is done and all you can do is express your humble gratitude.

But when it comes to the graciousness of God the stakes are raised to the nth degree! I a sinner and the free gift eternal life! Further transforming gifts of love, joy, peace, endurance, guidance, safety and courage… answers to prayers for provision, healing, direction in life!

The Truth is we are unworthy! And the more we realize this fact the more thankfulness and love our joyful hearts should generate.

Luke relates an episode in Jesus ministry where while dining in the home of a Pharisee, a sinful woman approaches with a jar of expensive perfume. Coming up behind Jesus she weeps her tears onto His feet, wipes them with her hair, kisses them, then pours on the perfume. All of this is her expression of thankfulness and worship. Jesus responds with a parable about two debtors then states this principle: “Whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” The more one realizes one’s unworthiness, the more one apprehends God’s Grace and the greater will be one’s gratitude. (Read the whole story: Luke 7:36-50)

God delights in bestowing His goodness on those who cannot repay! Remember the story of the man who gave a banquet but the invited guests refused to attend? He told his servant to go out to the streets and alleys and gather the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. (See Luke 14:15-23) — and He tells us to do the same:

“…When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.” (Luke 14:12-14)

God doesn’t want repayment, He simply wants us to feel the joy as we express our gratitude back to Him and worship Him with our hearts, our words, our lives! Someone has stated: “Abundant life is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to Him!”

Do you feel unworthy? You are, but you are also in the best position to return to Him the greater praise and love!

Be thankful — and Press on…

Tough Question

Check here on Fridays when we’ll take a look at some of your tough questions about the Bible, Christian living, and growing in God.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” – 2 Tim. 2:15 (NIV)

Got a question? See the Contact page and send it off to me. We’ll see what we can discover together. 🙄