November, 2004 - Did You Ever Stop to THINK?
By Billie Marie Zal
He came into this world, well knowing what would happen to Him; He was God in the flesh. He was the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God, Son, and Holy Spirit. And He knew who He was, and what He came to do.
Scholars say that He was not aware of His Deity (within His human frame) until He was ready to minister. But they are wrong. He knew who He was, even as a Babe in His Mother's arms.
She was to be given in marriage to Joseph, probably an older man, and when she was impregnated by The Immaculate conception, he did not want to let it be known, for her sake. Then an Angel came to him in the night and told him that she was indeed a Virgin, and that Joseph was to go ahead and marry her. He was a man who loved and reverenced God, and he knew that Jesus was sent by God. So he married Mary and was foster father to the young child.
There were signs of God's glory when Jesus was born in that manger. Even before He was born that night, "there was no place for His mother and dad in the Inn." But God touched someone's heart and they found a place where animals were kept, with a manger. He knew, at birth, that the world which He came to save would be hostile. But He came anyhow. Love always embraces hostility and longs to save those who hate.
We do not know what happened during His growing up years. Little is said in God's Word. But we do know that Joseph was a carpenter and so we are sure that Jesus grew up, helping His foster father, all the while knowing that one day He would become "the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world."
Once I saw a movie about His young life. In the movie, He climbed up on a ladder to the roof top of His house and He looked out at all the surrounding area; I loved that scene because in it, the young actor conveyed the truth--Jesus knew He belonged to God. He knew He had a purpose. And He knew that one day He would perform the purpose for which He came: He was "the Word that was made flesh, and dwelt among men." He was Deity in human form, with human feelings. And that was the reason He is called in the Word, "A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief."
Did you ever stop to think (if you truly believe Jesus is the Christ) about how He felt, the Son of God in the flesh of human beings?
He had been in Glory. He had never known what human feelings can be. He never knew that sting of pain and the sorrow of rejection. He was the Beloved of all Heaven---God the Son, created by Him, and for Him, and He did not have flesh and so He did not know how hurtful life really is.
When a child is born, and is accepted and loved, and cared for, that child is secure. He knows he is loved and he can make it in this world. Jesus had no hurts in heaven.
"But God so loved . . . He gave . . ." And the Bible tells us that in the eons past, the Holy Trinity convened and it was decided that the Son of God was to come to our world, clothed in human form, and die as the perfect sacrifice so that we--if we want to be set free from sin and death, can claim Him as our deliverer.
Now He is here. And on the day that His cousin, John the Baptist, was baptizing Jewish believers in the river, he looked up and said, "Behold, the Son of God who taketh away the sin of the world." He knew, by revelation, that this was no ordinary man.
This was the Lord of heaven, come down to save His people. And He baptized our Lord Jesus, and for the one and only time in God's Word, the Holy Trinity was there, together: "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:l6-l7).
My Scofield Bible has a footnote here which reads, "For the first time the Trinity, foreshadowed in many ways in the O.T., is clearly manifested. The Spirit descends upon the Son and, at the same moment, the Father's voice is heard from heaven."
Now Jesus is ready to begin His earthly ministry and the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tested by the devil.
Why did He need to be tested by the devil? Not because He was unsure of Himself or His purpose. It was because Satan--who owns this world into which Jesus came--demands that flesh be tested. He was unsure himself of who Jesus really was, and so He tried to gain mastery over the Lord Jesus in the flesh, as he had gained mastery over all human flesh. Because the Bible does tell us: "Whatsoever is born of flesh is flesh, and whatsoever is born of the spirit is spirit."
Jesus Christ was both flesh and Spirit. But because He had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, He was "without sin." And satan failed to turn Him away from what He had come to do: deliver us from bondage to satan and sin and death.
Now He begins His ministry and this is where we do not stop to think how He must have felt. He was contained in a human body (yet without sin), and as He walked the dusty roads with the twelve whom He chose to be His disciples, He "felt the feelings of our infirmities."
He did not use His miraculous powers to obtain converts. He had to pass by people who needed deliverance; often He would say, "My time is not yet come," and that was the hurt of His life here on earth. Being God in the flesh, He could have done anything. He had--in heaven--unlimited power. But now He was come to die.
The miracles He performed were done only to confirm the prophecies concerning Messiah in the Old Testament. He did feed the hungry, heal the sick, open blind eyes. But only because He must fulfill those prophecies in order to establish His Person as Israel's Messiah.
Imagine One who is Love personified having to pass by a little child who is sick; animals that were being treated with cruelty, women who were afflicted with widowhood, prostitutes, child molesters, thieves, murderers, the proud and haughty, the infidels, the terrorists, the religious hypocrisy, and not being permitted to save, and change, and heal, and comfort.
But He kept God's Word, He was/is God's Word and He was faithful even unto the end.
When His cousin, John the Baptist, was imprisoned by Herod and sent word to Him by his own disciples, "Art thou the one, or should we look for another?" He did not despise John for doubting. Who wouldn't doubt, chained in a hole in the ground, awaiting execution?
But Jesus answered John's disciples, "Go, and show John again those things which ye do hear and see. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me" (Matthew ll:4-6)
Instead of being angry with John for his honest doubt, Jesus instead praised him--something which Jesus rarely did. John was beheaded, but he is great now in the kingdom of heaven.
Did you ever stop to think how Jesus felt when the one who had come before him, to prepare the way for Him (John, His cousin), was killed for His sake? And He couldn't even go bury Him; His purpose was to die and He never turned back.
Did you ever stop to think how Jesus felt when He "knew the thoughts" of those who walked with Him? They were continually arguing over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. It hurts to be used by those you love; and Jesus hurt.
Did you ever stop to think how Jesus felt when He was hated by the very ones to whom He came, to establish His Kingdom right then?
The Pharisees (religious system) despised His doctrine, the way He dressed, the coarseness of His disciples, the way He forgave, and eventually their hatred led to His death on the cross.
Why did He have to die this way? The Bible tells us that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin." (Hebrews 9:22) Did you ever stop to think of how He felt on the very night before He was arrested, while having the last supper with His disciples, He knew very well that Judas left to betray Him? Yet He continued to love Judas, even though He had called him, "the son of perdition."
That is what Satan hates. It is Love, not human love because Satan can give us human love. But He cannot duplicate Divine Love; and when we love those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who despitefully use us, then we possess divine Love, or perhaps Divine Love possesses us. And Satan is defeated to make His next move against us.
If you believe it was no big thing for Jesus to drink that Cup of the world's sin, presented to Him by the Father as His disciples lay sleeping, then remember that He shed droplets of blood in His sweat. Scientists say that when someone goes through some horrible time of stress, it is possible for the capillaries to break and blood is mingled with sweat.
Here we see the Son of God, clothed in human form, taking the cup which would send Him to His death on a cross. And it was not the pain and suffering on the cross which caused Him to have such horror in His heart. It was the reality of what the human race had become: every sin that can be committed was contained in that Cup.
And He drank it. And He drank it alone, the three men whom He had asked to "watch with Him" while He prayed did not care enough about Him to stay awake. Did you ever stop to think how He felt that night? Alone. The precious Son of God had never known such aloneness.
But worse was to come. As He hung on the cross after He was declared guilty of blasphemy, the sun refused to shine. A great darkness descended upon the earth and Jesus cried out to His Father, who could not look upon Him because He was filled with our sin "Father, Why hast Thou forsaken me?"
He had never been alone. His Father had always been with Him, and the Holy Spirit had always been with Him. But sin caused God to momentarily draw back; did you ever stop to think how horrible was that darkness?
Someone wrote once that God was so heart broken when His Son hung dying on the Cross that He placed crepe paper across the skies. I believe it was like that, and my heart breaks to think of that day when the sun refused to shine and creation lay in darkness.
If that were the end of the story, it would be a terrible hopeless situation. But it was not the end. Early on an Easter morning, Jesus Christ arose. I don't know how He arose. I was not there. Nor was anyone there to see this power of the resurrection released. But it happened. And when that power comes into our lives, we know beyond any doubt that yes, it happened.
The sun shone again, the trees and mountains sang with joy, and earth was delivered from the curse that came upon mankind the very day that Eve sinned.
It was over. Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, was resurrected from the dead, and over five hundred people saw Him after He arose.
But the first person whom He revealed Himself to was a woman. The Bible scholars say that it was Mary Magdalene who had been a prostitute and whom Jesus rescued from the religious hypocrites who had dragged her to a place where she would be stoned to death for her sin.
I believe that she is the very first person to whom He made known that He was not dead. He lived again!! At first she did not recognize Him and as she wept at the tomb, He asked her, "Why do you weep?" I can imagine how she felt. Can you? Her Lord, Her Savior, Her deliverer, who had forgiven her of her sin and made her whole was dead. And she replied,"They have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him."
Then Jesus said, "Mary." That's all He said, just her name.
And immediately she recognized Him. Did you ever stop to think how she must have felt? Many of us have had pets whom we adored; we see them die and we bury them, and we mourn. Think how we would feel if three days later, as we stood at their grave, that pet suddenly appeared. Think of the joy we would have! Or loved ones, suddenly appearing again! Now we know how Mary felt, and she ran to tell the others. We cannot keep such joy, we must share it.
The reason that Mary did not recognize Him at first was because now Christ possessed His glorified Body. From that day on, only a spiritual revelation could reveal Him to our hearts. And we are saved by a spiritual revelation of the Christ, if we gladly receive Him, no matter what.
That is the story, then, of how Jesus came, of how He felt, of how He kept God's will even unto death. And of how He loves us.
The next time you get out your porn magazine, or hate someone in your heart, or complain about how bad your life is, or resist the love of God that comes to you in so many ways, or hate those who have authority over you, or lie, or cheat, or steal, or become bitter----remember this Life that came down from heaven and think upon the things He endured just so you can be set free.
Never a day goes by, but that I thank Him for my life with all of its hurts, its disappointments, its discouragements. It is well with my soul, and it is well with my being. And that is why I share my life with each of you.
May God be with you and bless you and cause His face to shine upon you, and give you His peace. One day, we will gather round His Throne and be able to sing praises unto Him. And we can begin to do that, in our hearts, today.
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Written in November, 2001
Prayer Requests for November, 2004
Prayer Requests for November, 2004:
Pray for Cantrell Watts to be delivered from fleshly temptations. He is having a very hard time right now and he also needs peace of mind.
Dori Harper of Baytown, Texas is undergoing treatment for Hepatitis Type C, which she has as a result of a blood transfusion she received in 1965. She has asked for our prayers.
Willie Davis, who is at Danville, Illinois, is having new DNA testing on his case. He is represented by the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University, and he has asked that we pray for quick results to this testing.
Johnnie Dunnum needs his I.D. back and has asked us to pray about that. Johnnie has been with us a long time and always prays for everybody on the prayer list.
Anthony Grayson wants us to continue with prayer for his legal efforts. Also, we are asking you to pray that God will send a good woman into his life.
Tommy Hayes, who is at the Robertson Unit, Abilene, Texas, would like to be transferred to a facility where he can be closer to his family. Pray that this will happen for him.
Timothy Haynes at Cushing, Oklahoma has been moved to another unit where he has to live with young, loud and often times disrespectful people. Pray for his patience in dealing with this.
Pray for the family of David Lee Starr. Many of them are ill. David is at Brickey, Arkansas.
Karen Griffith - for her recovery, that God will take care of her family and children while she is in the hospital.
Pray for all our neighbors across the road. They have many medical problems to deal with.
Pray that Robert Russell, that he will get to see his Mother again before she dies.
Francis Nolan Holland needs prayer that he will not be bitter and that his nerves will settle down.
Continue to pray for his health in general.
Continue to pray for Judy Oakley. Her blood tests are improving.
Cleon Johnson is trying to locate his daughter. Pray that he is successful.
Pray for William Smith, that he won’t be so hurt by his family. They do not support or stand by him.
Keep praying for Robert Heffernan. He has Congestive Heart Failure but it is treatable and “healable,” we believe.
Pray for Mr. Hurst and his daughter, Sandra, who has third stage stomach cancer.
Continue to pray for Dr. Scott.
Pray for everyone in prison and especially those on Death Row.
Pray for Wingspread.
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