Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Women in the Life of Jesus: Herodias and Salome

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At that time Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard the reports about Jesus.  So he said to his servants, “Jesus is John the Baptist, who has risen from the dead. That is why he can work these miracles.”
Sometime before this, Herod had arrested John, tied him up, and put him into prison. Herod did this because of Herodias, who had been the wife of Philip, Herod’s brother.  John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to be married to Herodias.”  Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they believed John was a prophet.
On Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced for Herod and his guests, and she pleased him.  So he promised with an oath to give her anything she wanted. Herodias told her daughter what to ask for, so she said to Herod, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”  Although King Herod was very sad, he had made a promise, and his dinner guests had heard him. So Herod ordered that what she asked for be done. He sent soldiers to the prison to cut off John’s head.  And they brought it on a platter and gave it to the girl, and she took it to her mother. John’s followers came and got his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.-Matthew 14:1-12 (NCV)

Herodias. She was not a Believer. She is not mentioned as coming directly in contact with Jesus in the Scriptures, but she was in important figure during that time.  So, why should we take notice of her?
Influence.
Herodias was influential in the life of her daughter.  The New Testament doesn’t give Herodias’ daughter a name, but she is identified by the Jewish historian Josephus as Salome.  Ironically her name means peace.
On Herod’s birthday, Salome dances for Herod and his guests.  She dances for all these men, while her mother watches.  It makes Herod so happy that he gives he offers her up to half of his kingdom.  What kind of dancing can you do for an evil man to warrant that kind of reward?
Since she is presumably still a young girl, or a child, she goes to her mother and asks her advice on what to ask of Herod.  What an opportune moment for Herodias.  She could have told her to ask for something that would benefit her daughter.  But she does not.  Instead, because of her selfishness, and bitterness, she chooses this moment to exact revenge on John the Baptist, someone who has publicly humiliated her. So, she tells her very impressionable daughter what to ask for, the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  You will remember that John is Jesus’ cousin, and the forerunner of the Messiah.  This is going to affect John’s disciples, as well as Jesus.  Because of Herodias’ influence as a mother, her daughter does what she tells her.
She didn’t realize the influence she had over her daughter, or maybe she did.  All mothers have this influence, whether they know it or not.  Our choices invariably become their choices, creating a ripple effect.
Because of all of the people that heard about Jesus in Jerusalem and throughout the region, including Galilee, I like to think that at some point Salome heard that Jesus loved her, and converted.  That’s what He came to do, give grace, mercy, love and forgiveness for those in situations just like hers.  That same grace was available to Herodias too.

Many blessings to you as you walk in His divine love,
Beth


To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus. 



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mark 4: The Parable of the Sower


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Did you know that you can change what kind of ground you are?  In Mark 4, Jesus talks about the parable of the sower.  We know that the seed is the Word of God, and we know that the ground is people.  All four people receive the Word of God, but it affects them in four different ways.

And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.  Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
-Mark 4:13-20

The first person is an Unbeliever.  The seed was sown by the wayside.  How do you change that?  You receive Jesus into your life and become a new creation by being born again.

The second person is a Believer, but not rooted.  How do you change that?  Ephesians 3:17 tells us to get ourselves established in the love of Christ.  Learn about how much God loves you.

The third person is a Believer also, but "stuff" is interfering with them being fruitful. How do you change that?  Let it go.  Remove those things from your life that will keep you from receiving and producing all the goodness God has for you.  For me, I feel like this is where minimalism comes in.  It is an ongoing thing.  You can also watch what you focus your attention on, what goes in your eyes and ears.  Jesus said, "the eye is the lamp of the body," in Luke 11:14.

The fourth person is a Believer also.  But this one is producing fruit.  And when He says bears "fruit", it would be fruit of life in the Kingdom of God, the fruit of the Spirit, not something we think is fruitful.  Faith is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  Faith is produced when the Word is sown in someone's life and it grows, when there is nothing hindering it.  Notice one more thing.  The fruit is at different amounts.  This can change too, as you grow, and hear the Word and believe.  


The fourth person is where we all want to be, and can be. None of the other types of ground are set in stone. Just like a garden can become more fruitful with effort, so can the life of a Believer change when we believe the right things about Jesus.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

He Took Our Sicknesses


Imagine you are standing on a wooden box in the middle of a slave market.  And imagine you are covered with whatever illness you have in your body. Now imagine Jesus walks up and gets on the box in your place.  The disease leaves you and is transferred to Him.  You walk away completely clean, completely fresh, no disease of any kind, and paid for, no longer a slave.That is exactly what Jesus has done for us.  That is what happened at the cross.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—-Galatians 3:13 (ESV)

This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.-Matthew 8:17 (ESV)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.-1 Peter 2:24 (ESV)

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. -Isaiah 53:4-5 (HCSB)

To read more in the series go here:




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

31 Days of Healing: Two Blind Men Healed


Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”  So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.-Matthew 20:29-34 (NKJV)

Jesus and His disciples are leaving Jericho, the famous Old Testament city where the walls fell when the Israelites marched around it.  A great deal of people are following Jesus.  As they leave, they pass by two blind men sitting by the road.  They hear Jesus is passing, so they start crying out to Him.
They must have known who Jesus was already, because they try to get His attention.  What did they hear about Him that produced that reaction?

The phrase, "Son of David" that they used signified that they believed He was the Messiah!!  This is faith, and gets Jesus' attention.  
The people around them told them to be quiet.  Are there people around you that want you to quit talking about Jesus?  The devil sure does.  Why?  Because when you talk about Him, it produces faith.  
Jesus heard them calling.  He heard them.  He hears when you call too.
He asked the same question He asked others and He is asking still, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes.”-Matthew 20:33 (HCSB)
They told Him specifically what they wanted.
And He did it.
Moved with compassion.
He didn’t go through a list of what they had been doing wrong, or why they were blind, He just healed them.
Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him.
How does this apply to us?
When your eyes are opened, when your body is healed, you will always want to follow Jesus.  
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.-Hebrews 13:8  He is always working.-John 5:17  He makes all things new.-Revelation 21:5
And everything Jesus did during His earthly ministry, was a preview of what was going to be available to us all because of what He accomplished at the Cross.

To read more in the series go here:







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