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24 October - 2 Chronicles 20; Daniel 2; John 20; 21


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Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:46 AM

First Portion

2 Chronicles 20


20:1 It happened after this, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them some of the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. 20:2 Then some came who told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea from Syria. Behold, they are in Hazazon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 20:3 Jehoshaphat was alarmed, and set himself to seek to Yahweh. He proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 20:4 Judah gathered themselves together, to seek help from Yahweh. They came out of all the cities of Judah to seek Yahweh. 20:5 Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of Yahweh, before the new court; 20:6 and he said, “Yahweh, the God of our fathers, aren’t you God in heaven? Aren’t you ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, so that no one is able to withstand you. 20:7 Didn’t you, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it to the seed of Abraham your friend forever? 20:8 They lived in it, and have built you a sanctuary in it for your name, saying, 20:9 ‘If evil comes on us—the sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this house, and before you, (for your name is in this house), and cry to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 20:10 Now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned aside from them, and didn’t destroy them; 20:11 behold, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 20:12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither know we what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

20:13 All Judah stood before Yahweh, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 20:14 Then the Spirit of Yahweh came on Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite, of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly; 20:15 and he said, “Listen, all Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you king Jehoshaphat. Thus says Yahweh to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, neither be dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 20:16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they are coming up by the ascent of Ziz. You shall find them at the end of the valley, before the wilderness of Jeruel. 20:17 You will not need to fight this battle. Set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid, nor be dismayed. Go out against them tomorrow, for Yahweh is with you.’”

20:18 Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before Yahweh, worshipping Yahweh. 20:19 The Levites, of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites, stood up to praise Yahweh, the God of Israel, with an exceeding loud voice. 20:20 They rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in Yahweh your God, so you shall be established! Believe his prophets, so you shall prosper.”

20:21 When he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who should sing to Yahweh, and give praise in holy array, as they went out before the army, and say, Give thanks to Yahweh; for his loving kindness endures forever. 20:22 When they began to sing and to praise, Yahweh set ambushers against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were struck. 20:23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, utterly to kill and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, everyone helped to destroy another. 20:24 When Judah came to the place overlooking the wilderness, they looked at the multitude; and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and there were none who escaped. 20:25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them in abundance both riches and dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. 20:26 On the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Beracah; for there they blessed Yahweh: therefore the name of that place was called The valley of Beracah to this day. 20:27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in their forefront, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for Yahweh had made them to rejoice over their enemies. 20:28 They came to Jerusalem with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets to the house of Yahweh. 20:29 The fear of God was on all the kingdoms of the countries, when they heard that Yahweh fought against the enemies of Israel. 20:30 So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet; for his God gave him rest all around. 20:31 Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 20:32 He walked in the way of Asa his father, and didn’t turn aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh. 20:33 However the high places were not taken away; neither as yet had the people set their hearts to the God of their fathers. 20:34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the history of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is inserted in the book of the kings of Israel. 20:35 After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined himself with Ahaziah king of Israel. The same did very wickedly: 20:36 and he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish; and they made the ships in Ezion Geber. 20:37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have joined yourself with Ahaziah, Yahweh has destroyed your works.” The ships were broken, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:47 AM

Second Portion

Daniel 2


2:1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him. 2:2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 2:3 The king said to them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream. 2:4 Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in the Syrian language, O king, live forever: tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 2:5 The king answered the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if you don't make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. 2:6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream and its interpretation. 2:7 They answered the second time and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. 2:8 The king answered, I know of a certainty that you would gain time, because you see the thing is gone from me. 2:9 But if you don't make known to me the dream, there is but one law for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, until the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation. 2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man on the earth who can show the king's matter, because no king, lord, or ruler, has asked such a thing of any magician, or enchanter, or Chaldean. 2:11 It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 2:12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 2:13 So the decree went forth, and the wise men were to be slain; and they sought Daniel and his companions to be slain. 2:14 Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and prudence to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, who was gone forth to kill the wise men of Babylon; 2:15 he answered Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so urgent from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.. 2:16 Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation. 2:17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 2:18 that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 2:19 Then was the secret revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 2:20 Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are his. 2:21 He changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings, and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding; 2:22 he reveals the deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 2:23 I thank you, and praise you, you God of my fathers, who have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we desired of you; for you have made known to us the king's matter. 2:24 Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and said thus to him: Don't destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show to the king the interpretation. 2:25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus to him, I have found a man of the children of the captivity of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation. 2:26 The king answered Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation? 2:27 Daniel answered before the king, and said, The secret which the king has demanded can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers, show to the king; 2:28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed, are these: 2:29 as for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind on your bed, what should happen hereafter; and he who reveals secrets has made known to you what shall happen. 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart. 2:31 You, O king, saw, and behold, a great image. This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and its aspect was awesome. 2:32 As for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, 2:33 its legs of iron, its feet part of iron, and part of clay. 2:34 You saw until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 2:36 This is the dream; and we will tell its interpretation before the king. 2:37 You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory; 2:38 and wherever the children of men dwell, the animals of the field and the birds of the sky has he given into your hand, and has made you to rule over them all: you are the head of gold. 2:39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you; and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 2:40 The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, because iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things; and as iron that crushes all these, shall it break in pieces and crush. 2:41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, because you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. 2:42 As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 2:43 Whereas you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cling to one another, even as iron does not mingle with clay. 2:44 In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 2:45 Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall happen hereafter: and the dream is certain, and its interpretation sure. 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and worshiped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odors to him. 2:47 The king answered to Daniel, and said, Of a truth your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret. 2:48 Then the king made Daniel great, and gave him many great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon, and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon. 2:49 Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel was in the gate of the king.

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:48 AM

Third Portion

John 20; 21


20:1 Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb. 20:2 Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”

20:3 Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb. 20:4 They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first. 20:5 Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn’t enter in. 20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying, 20:7 and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. 20:8 So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed. 20:9 For as yet they didn’t know the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 20:10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

20:11 But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb, 20:12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 20:13 They told her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.” 20:14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn’t know that it was Jesus.

20:15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”

She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!” which is to say, “Teacher!”

20:17 Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold me, for I haven’t yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had said these things to her. 20:19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be to you.”

20:20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord. 20:21 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! 20:23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they have been forgiven them. If you retain anyone’s sins, they have been retained.”

20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. 20:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

20:26 After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be to you.” 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.”

20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

20:29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.”

20:30 Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 20:31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 10:50 AM

21:1 After these things, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself this way. 21:2 Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 21:3 Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.”

They told him, “We are also coming with you.” They immediately went out, and entered into the boat. That night, they caught nothing. 21:4 But when day had already come, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples didn’t know that it was Jesus. 21:5 Jesus therefore said to them, “Children, have you anything to eat?”

They answered him, “No.”

21:6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

They cast it therefore, and now they weren’t able to draw it in for the multitude of fish. 21:7 That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!”

So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around him (for he was naked), and threw himself into the sea. 21:8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away), dragging the net full of fish. 21:9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 21:10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”

21:11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three; and even though there were so many, the net wasn’t torn.

21:12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.”

None of the disciples dared inquire of him, “Who are you?” knowing that it was the Lord.

21:13 Then Jesus came and took the bread, gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus was revealed to his disciples, after he had risen from the dead. 21:15 So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.”

He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.”

He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you have affection for me?”

Peter was grieved because he asked him the third time, “Do you have affection for me?” He said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I have affection for you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 21:18 Most certainly I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you, and carry you where you don’t want to go.”

21:19 Now he said this, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. When he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

21:20 Then Peter, turning around, saw a disciple following. This was the disciple whom Jesus sincerely loved, the one who had also leaned on Jesus’ breast at the supper and asked, “Lord, who is going to betray You?” 21:21 Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”

21:22 Jesus said to him, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” 21:23 This saying therefore went out among the brothers, that this disciple wouldn’t die. Yet Jesus didn’t say to him that he wouldn’t die, but, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you?” 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies about these things, and wrote these things. We know that his witness is true. 21:25 There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world itself wouldn’t have room for the books that would be written.

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 11:29 AM

24 October 2008

2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 10:30 AM

24 October 2009

2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:27 PM

24 October 2010

2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21

DO YOU HAVE IMAGINATION?

We live in an age when scriptwriters, film and video makers employ very vivid imaginations to often create pictures of impossible scenes and events. We too can use our imaginations, but in a far more profitable way. Let’s take examples from our readings in John today. In John 20, Mary Magdalene is weeping outside the tomb because it is empty. Through the veil of her tears she turns around to see a man standing there and assumes he is a gardener and thinks that he just might have removed the body from the tomb. “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away” [John 20:15]

What a request! What a distraught state of mind she had; a state of the deepest grief! She had come to touch the body of her beloved Lord for the last time and the body had been stolen. What anguish! Can you imagine it?

Jesus utters one word: her name. “Mary” Now imagine the compassion in his voice, a compassion she had heard before, many times. Does she instantly know it is him? “Rabboni” (teacher) she is the one word she exclaims – a huge question mark in her voice as her mind does a somersault trying to believe the “impossible”?

The A V version is not a good translation of the words of Jesus, “Touch me not” Modern versions have words like “do not cling to me … go and tell my brothers.” We can reasonably imagine that Mary almost threw herself at Jesus, scarcely daring to believe this person was real. What emotion, just imagine …

Those who regularly read their Bibles get frustrated when they watch many of the movies, DVDs about some Bible story because the producers over dramatize and exaggerate and add things into it to make it more dramatic. But all who are regular and careful Bible readers can use their imagination properly, intelligently. Put your imagination to work on the climax to the fishing scene in John 21:1 onwards. The dawn was just breaking, not easy to see … can you imagine yourself as one of those fishing?
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Posted 24 October 2011 - 03:56 AM

24 October 2011

2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21

"... WHAT WILL BE IN THE LATTER DAYS"

Today we read Daniel’s account of the remarkable dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and how God revealed the interpretation to Daniel. He tells the king, “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days” [Daniel 2:28]. The interpretation was about a sequence of Empires – but at the time of the climax of human rule, no empires would then exist!

As we reflected on this we realized a remarkable thing, looking back more than 60 years to when we were young, there were still the remnants of Empires such as the British Empire in India and the Dutch in what is now Indonesia. Empires of one kind or another have existed throughout all of history – only in our lifetime has this ceased to be the case. If you include the break up of the Soviet Union into a dozen or so nations, we can say this applies only to the last 20 years!

Now the interpretation of the King’s dream shows a final time when the world will be “as you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with miry clay.” [Daniel 2:43] So today we have the unique spectacle of the United Nations. Never has a title been more inappropriate, they are so disunited! The same applies to the European Union!

The next verse is very familiar to students of prophecy, is it too familiar so that it loses its impact on our thinking? “In the days of these kings (this totally disunited time) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to other people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.” [Daniel 2:44]. This is the only hope for a hopeless world. But it is more than a hope – it is a fact of faith – a wondrous light in the darkness for those with “eyes” to see it!

God’s “stone” – Jesus – “cut from a mountain by no human hand” [Daniel 2:45] is about to destroy what Nebuchadnezzar saw. Let us make sure, by the grace of God, our faith will be such that God will preserve us at that time.
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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:53 AM

24 October 2012

2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21

"TOUCH ME NOT"

We live in an age when scriptwriters, film and video makers employ very vivid imaginations to often create pictures of impossible scenes and events. We too can use our imaginations, but in a far more profitable way. Let’s take examples from our readings in John today. In John 20, Mary Magdalene is weeping outside the tomb because it is empty. Through the veil of her tears she turns around to see a man standing there and assumes he is a gardener and thinks that he just might have removed the body from the tomb. “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away” [John 20:15]

What a request! What a distraught state of mind she had; a state of the deepest grief! She had come to touch the body of her beloved Lord for the last time and the body had been stolen. What anguish! Can you imagine it?

Jesus utters one word: her name. “Mary” Now imagine the compassion in his voice, a compassion she had heard before, many times. Does she instantly know it is him? “Rabboni” (teacher) she is the one word she exclaims – a huge question mark in her voice as her mind does a somersault trying to believe the “impossible”?

The A V version is not a good translation of the words of Jesus, “Touch me not” Modern versions have words like “do not cling to me … go and tell my brothers.” We can reasonably imagine that Mary almost threw herself at Jesus, scarcely daring to believe this person was real. What emotion, just imagine …

Those who regularly read their Bibles get frustrated when they watch many of the movies, DVDs about some Bible story because the producers over dramatize and exaggerate and add things into it to make it more dramatic. But all who are regular and careful Bible readers can use their imagination properly, intelligently. Put your imagination to work on the climax to the fishing scene in John 21:1 onwards. The dawn was just breaking, not easy to see … can you imagine yourself as one of those fishing?
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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:58 AM

24 October 2013

2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21

“THAT BY BELIEVING YOU MAY HAVE …”

We felt overwhelmed by the lessons contained in today’s 3 readings. First there was a sequel to what we read yesterday about Jehoshaphat. We read today of his remarkable God ordained victory over a large group of nations that came against his nation. Their efforts disintegrated into civil war [2 Chronicles 20:20-30], we see a repeat of this to some extent today in the nations north and south of Israel!

It was most interesting that the Israeli Leader, Netanyahu, in a report on October 3rd on his address to the U.N. apparently made no less than 5 references or allusions to the Bible, and not all were from the Old Testament! He clearly reads Isaiah. Today the “surrounding nations” [Zechariah 12:2] are in disarray; are events building up to fulfill Zechariah 12:6?

We put the jigsaw pieces of prophecy together – as closely as possible – but we need to be sure that all the adjoining pieces really lock together, before we can speak or write with total certainty. Most of us are familiar with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that we read today and the interpretation as revealed to Daniel. Daniel 2:39 has always seemed to us a difficult fit; after all the third kingdom, commonly accepted as the Greek dominion, never “bore rule over all the earth” – it never functioned as a kingdom with a central seat of Government as the others did. It was the Romans who “bore rule over all (the then known) earth.”

But we are not saved by having our interpretation of the detail of such prophecies correct but by our reaction to and acceptance of what Christ really taught. As we read the climax of John’s gospel we saw how he made this point very succinctly, “ … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” [end of John 20:31]

The genuineness of belief is shown by how people live as a result. What kind of “life” are you having? Are you believing (and therefore living) so that “you may have (eternal) life”? Paul made the point to the Colossians that they must “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [Colossians 1:10] How ‘real’ is your belief?
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- DC



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Posted 24 October 2014 - 01:27 PM

24 October 2014
 
2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21  
 
“THAT BY BELIEVING YOU …” 
            
We are inclined to feel that the 4 chapters we read today – are the most intensely meaningful of any of the days’ readings  throughout the year: they need to be read slowly so that we imbibe the fullness of their meaning. 
            
The N.T. readings are the last 2 chapters of John’s gospel; and provide us with John’s intimate account of the resurrection and the events that followed. He and Peter ran to the tomb and Peter  entered the empty tomb and “saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple (John), who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed …” [John 20:4-8]
       
At the end of the chapter John writes, " Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;   but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  Believing?  We show whether we have real heart-felt belief - by our resultant actions. Let us ‘drink deeply’ into the reality of what John has written.
            
Our first reading showed us the belief of King Jehoshaphat when his nation faced an attack by numerous armies that are far greater than his. His resultant approach to God is a great example for us. In our second reading we saw the faith and actions of the young Daniel in the events which happened after God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a remarkable dream.  God gives Daniel the 'insight' into the meaning of the huge multi-metalled image that the King 'saw' in his God-given dream. 
            
We are intrigued that the understanding of the meaning of the component parts of the image have apparently remained unchanged since the first Century, yet as we personally look back on the last 1900 years we see the possibility of a much better 'fit' to the events of history.  But this is not of high importance, what is important is how the dream points to the establishment of God's eternal kingdom on earth, for, Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar," in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever" [Daniel 2:44]  The kingdoms, or nations, of our world are to be “broken in pieces” and formed into a kingdom that will stand forever!   And so, as John told us and all his readers, he wrote his account so "that by believing you may have life" in this kingdom. 
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- DC


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Posted 24 October 2015 - 10:29 AM

24 October 2015
 
2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21  
 
"UNLESS ... I WILL NEVER BELIEVE"
            
We have an inspiring, indeed, heart searching set of stimulating chapters today; it is doubtful there is another set of readings like it in the whole year.  We might be inclined to overlook the lessons in 2 Chronicles 20 with its detail of Jehoshaphat’s desperate prayer ­ and its dramatic answer.  The Moabites and Ammonites combined as “a great horde …” but a prophet is sent to tell him, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD ... Do not be afraid ... the LORD will be with you." [2 Chronicles 20:15,17]  Is there not a parallel in this, to some extent, with the experiences awaiting us in these very last days? 
            
Then, our next reading is the well-known chapter Daniel 2 ­ and it is evident to us we are living "in  the days of those kings (when) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever" [Daniel 2:44]
            
And finally we have the marvellous last 2 chapters of John's gospel, his intimate account of the resurrection of Jesus and his appearances to prove he is alive. When he appears to the disciples, Thomas is absent.  When the others testify to him they have seen the Lord, he declares, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe." [John 20:25]
            
We could say the same, yet we believe - what is the foundation of our belief ­ of our convictions?  The events of history make no sense unless the resurrection happened ­ leading to the wonderful transformation of belief and hope that spread through the ancient world. The disciples changed from being a frightened group of distressed men ­ into the very opposite!  They were totally committed for the rest of their lives.  
            
John in particular wrote of his inspiring experiences, finishing with 3 very meaningful epistles. How challenging is his conclusion of John 20 today!  His point is challenging!  "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."  Let us "believe" and speak and act in ways which show this ­ every day.   
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- DC


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Posted 24 October 2016 - 09:21 AM

24 October 2016
 
2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21  
 
“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO …”
 
We have a remarkable set of readings today, probably the most remarkable and thought challenging in the whole year! First in 2 Chronicles 20 we have Jehoshaphat’s impassioned prayer which is dramatically answered. Then in Daniel 2 we read of the remarkable dream given to Nebuchadnezzar which Daniel reveals to him – and then gives the king the interpretation: this reaches its’ climax with the words, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever …” [Daniel 2:44]
 
Our readings then climax with the last 2 chapters of John’ gospel which detail the appearances and teaching of Jesus after his resurrection. The disciple Thomas was not there at first and he would not believe Jesus was alive again. He had surely witnessed his awesome death – being among “all his acquaintances … who had followed him” and who “… stood at a distance watching these things.” [Luke 23:49] 
 
Thomas declared, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe." [John 20:25] Then later, Jesus appears to them all! This includes Thomas, who then declares his belief. “Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." [John 20:29] May we be so “blessed.”
 
John ends this chapter by writing, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. 
 
This means – “you may have” eternal life – to be wonderfully given when Jesus returns – and how soon now!? We are awed to think his return is now very near – and, to quote the climax of Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream; to be there at the time when “… the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed … it shall stand forever.” [Daniel 2:44] “Blessed are those who ...”
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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:43 AM

24 October 2017
 
2 Chronicles 20
Daniel 2
John 20; 21
 
"THAT BY BELIEVING YOU MAY HAVE …" 
 
We felt overwhelmed by the lessons contained in today's 3 readings. First there was a sequel to what we read yesterday about Jehoshaphat. We read today of his remarkable God ordained victory over a large group of nations that came against his nation. Their efforts disintegrated into civil war [2 Chronicles 20:20-30]. In our lifetime we have seen a repeat of this, to some extent in the actions of the nations north and south of Israel!  Today the "surrounding nations" [Zechariah 12:2] are in disarray; are events building up to fulfill Zechariah 12:6? 
 
We put the jigsaw pieces of prophecy together – as closely as possible – but we need to be sure that all the adjoining pieces really lock together, before we can speak or write with total certainty. Most of us are familiar with Nebuchadnezzar's dream that we read today and the interpretation as revealed to Daniel. 
 
Daniel 2:39 has always seemed to us a puzzling interpretation; history shows that a the third kingdom, commonly accepted as the Greek dominion, never "bore rule over all the earth" it never functioned as a kingdom with a central seat of Government in Athens as the others did in their capitals. It was the Romans who "bore rule over all (the then known) earth." What followed the Romans, history shows it was the Islamic conquests! Finally recent history shows they have disintegrated into strong and weak nations – the influence of some having "oil" has made some strong.
 
But we are not saved by having our interpretation of the detail of such prophecies correct but by our reaction to and acceptance of what Christ really taught. As we read the climax of John's gospel we saw how he made this point very succinctly, "… these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (end of John 20)
 
The genuineness of belief is shown by how people live as a result. What kind of "life" are you living? Are you believing from your heart (and therefore living) so that "you may have (eternal) life"? Paul made the point to the Colossians [Colossians 1:10] that they must "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." How "real" is your belief?
-------
- DC





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