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INSPIRATIONAL Blog

Weekly inspirations from Aurora Colony Vineyard's owner, John Moore.
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John Moore
 
September 20, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Desertions and Betrayals

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death and the final desertions and betrayals.

60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward

61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”

63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.

66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.

67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him

68 and said, “Prophecy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.

75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.  Matthew 26:60-75.

1. Colossal Life Failures.  Nothing really compares to these denials by Peter coupled with the wholesale desertion of Jesus by ALL of the disciples.  Incredible.  Three years of 24/7 training, teaching, loving, warning, demonstrations of work only done by god, affirmations of the heavenly Father, fulfillment of prophecies, miracles, raising the dead.  Incredible. 

2. Results of Failure.  Simply, Pete was crushed.  He wept bitterly.  If ever you think one would not recover from personal failure, it would be Peter.

3. Life after Failure.  But not so with the grace and forgiveness of God.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  Luke 22:31-32.

Yet in one of the most powerful expressions of grace, redemptions and recovery, Jesus affirms that Peter and God had unfinished business. This is incredible.  What have you done that you believe is not now forgivable?  There are consequences, but forgiveness and grace are always there.  This is so powerful we will spend next week on it also.  Stay well.

Time Posted: Sep 20, 2022 at 10:45 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Desertions and Betrayals Permalink
John Moore
 
September 12, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – the Sham Trial and Conviction and Death Sentence (Part Six)


“Christ before Pilate” by Mihály Munkácsy, 1881 from Wikipedia

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.  The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[a]  65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”  “He is worthy of death,” they answered.  67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you? Matthew 26:62-29.

1. False Charges, Phony Witnesses, Perjured Testimony. Everything about this trial was wrong. It was not legal nor religious by any Roman or Jewish standard. Accusations went unchallenged. Jesus remains silent until His authority and relationship to the Father was challenged. Jesus knew this trial was ‘going the way it was predicted and was written’ and the greater redemptive purpose was hours away.

2. Prediction of Future Vindication. Everything about the Kingdom of heaven and Jesus’ standing with the Father was heavenly, not earthly. There would be a time of verification.  The Son of Man sitting at the hand of God and coming in the clouds. Remember His words?  He could have the Father call down 72,000 angelic warriors.  But this was not time or place.  The heavenly scenes were coming in the future.

3. Condemnation and Assault and Battery. Nothing about this ‘trial’ justified He is worthy of death. He has blasphemed. Being spit on and struck. But as the Scriptures, He was a lamb being led to the slaughter, and was submitted to the will of God and the heavenly hosts.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth. Isaiah 53:7-9.

Yet in this crucible of suffering and testing, the betrayal of Jesus by his disciples was not complete.  Peter’s failure next, and what we can learn from it.  Stay well.

Time Posted: Sep 12, 2022 at 2:35 PM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – the Sham Trial and Conviction and Death Sentence (Part Six) Permalink
John Moore
 
September 5, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – A Kingdom from Heaven and not from Earth (Part Five)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.  Matthew 25:55-56.

1. Betrayal and Raising the Sword. Everything nailed down seems to be coming loose in these final hours. Judas comes, and with a kiss, betrays Jesus. Friend, do what you came for. Amazing the grace of Jesus to this betrayal, all the while in extreme distress about the prospect of the cross. Now Peter raises a sword to defend Jesus. And Jesus rebukes Peter and the disciples for thinking the power in this world is a measure of heaven.

2. 72,000 Angelic Warriors! By contrast, Jesus assures his followers that His heavenly Father could send legions – thousands, an innumerable number – of angelic warriors to assist him if needed. But the cross was necessary for God’s redemptive purpose through Jesus to be completed, for the Scriptures of the OT as to the Lamb of God, to be fulfilled. 

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the Lord Almighty.“Strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered,  and I will turn my hand against the little ones. 8 In the whole land,” declares the Lord,
“two-thirds will be struck down and perish;  yet one-third will be left in it.9 This third I will put into the fire; 
I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’  and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zech 13:7-9.

3. Yet Fear and Desertion was the Result. Despite all the teaching of Jesus about the suffering and persecutions which were to come, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matt 5:10-12.

At this hour the success of God through Jesus seems in shambles. Fear, failure, denial, desertion. But from a heavenly observation, everything in time and eternity is posed for redemptive success in the next hours – the death of Jesus, the taking of the sins of the world on Him, the culmination of the salvation promises, the defeat of Satan, the proclamation in hell that death is defeated, and the verification through the resurrection. Treat this week like your Easter week with thanks to God for His great work on our behalf. Next, the sham trial, all to fulfill the purposes of God.

Time Posted: Sep 5, 2022 at 2:31 PM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – A Kingdom from Heaven and not from Earth  (Part Five) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 29, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – The Right Way to Pray (Part Four)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39

1. Real Prayers Expressing Hope for the Future. My Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me. This prayer of Jesus is almost beyond comprehension. AS God, He knew full well the unavoidable necessity of the cross. It was the whole redemptive purpose, from Genesis to Revelation. Yet this prayer says to us – first, God is our heavenly Father. Go to him when in a dilemma. Second, make your request known to Him. Don’t hold back.  Ask and you shall receive. The Luke 18 widow who never stopped asking the judge for relief. And her prayer was answered! And the parable taught us, we should always pray. As fully man, Jesus was devastated – my soul is overwhelmed. And in that state and dilemma, he brought his request back before God the Father.

2. Real Prayers Kneeling in Submission to God’s Will. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Regardless of the dilemma, the confusion, the fear, the doubt, a true disciple kneels at the throne of God and says, not my will but yours be done. Every true saint has the regular course and pattern of, in the midst of a crisis, trusting and leaving the results to God.  

Two passages well summarize the lessons of what is true prayer in the Bible. 

First, the instruction to lay your request before God:

 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:2-5.

Second, to leave the results to God:

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Matthew 6:9-13

We can’t improve on the life and model of Jesus in this third stage of preparation for His suffering and death on the cross. Blessings to you this week. Fourth stage next week.

Time Posted: Aug 29, 2022 at 8:57 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – The Right Way to Pray (Part Four) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 22, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Failures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Three)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:40-41.

1. Patterns of Failure in Life. Could you men not keep watch with me?  In one sense, the disciples did not disappoint. They consistently missed some if not most of Jesus’ teachings on his death and resurrection, they deserted him at his trial and after, and though he predicted Pete’s failure while clearly troubled and distressed (Matt 26:37), even so, they lost any message about vigilance.

2. Guarding against Failure. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. In Jesus’ final hours, he still instructs on spiritual life and being a disciple and follower. The warning is that vigilance and prayer are the guards against failure and temptation. Lessons not learned now, but later, by the disciples.  

3. Explaining the Life of a Disciple. The spirit is willing but the body is weak. In one sentence Jesus summarizes the spiritual life – the writings of Paul in Romans 7.  Thee is for every disciple the draw of God through the Spirit and the resistance which comes from the flesh, from our sinful nature.  We will never be relieved from this spiritual conflict on this planet; hence, watch and pray.

The spiritual life of a disciple begins with believing in and receiving the offer of salvation in Jesus. 

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:10-13.

That spiritual life continues with the commitment and vigilance of right decisions and spiritual growth, regular asking God for wisdom for right living and perseverance during hard times.  

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:2-5.

The spiritual life is as simple and as profound as that. Best to you this week. 

Time Posted: Aug 22, 2022 at 11:57 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Failures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Three) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 16, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – Overwhelmed with Sorrow (Part One)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:36-39.

1. Jesus preparing for the cross with prayer. After the prediction of Peter’s denial, Jesus took his disciples into the garden of Gethsemane. Leaving them, he moved to a different place nearby and began to pray to his Father.  This is a moving and touching picture of the relationship of God the Father and God the Son. Three persons yet one. Jesus as fully man and fully God

6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Philippians 2:6-8.

2. The Humanity of Jesus Before his Death. Rarely have the Scriptures been more honest in the life of Jesus ‘my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death'. This poignant picture of Jesus was shared with his disciples. Yet, they would not hear this and did not stay vigilant. More on that next week.

3. Jesus’ prayer despite the Inevitability of the Cross – ‘if possible, may this cup be taken from me, yet not as I will, but as you will.’  Again, an incredible glimpse into the trauma of the One who would bear the sins of the world on his Righteous being, and moreover, his submission to the will of the Father.

Huge lessons here about life, about prayer, and about trusting God for our future, even contrary to what we want.  God’s blessing to you this week as you meditate on these concepts. They are worth some quiet time between you and your God. Best.

Time Posted: Aug 16, 2022 at 11:52 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – Overwhelmed with Sorrow (Part One) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 8, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Filures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Two)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week.

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”  Luke 22:31-34.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.  17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” John 21:15-19.

1. How to Handle Inevitable Personal Failure – Making Too Much of It. It is the catastrophic final week of Jesus’ life. Everything seems to be coming apart. A sham trial. A wrongful conviction, and now Peter and ALL the disciples desert Jesus. Never have men been given so much and responded more poorly. First, life after failure.  In the midst of the prediction of Peter’s denial, he PREFACES this prediction with the words ‘when you have recovered, go and strengthen your brethren.’ Do you see this! Do you see life after failure?  Jesus, while praying for Peter, and knowing of his betrayal, reminds him of two things: (1) First, you will recover! Do you see that? What an amazing promise. And (2) second, there is life after failure. There is ministry, there is service, and there is a life that is pleasing to God. Don’t be harder on yourself than God is! With repentance comes forgiveness.

2. Handling Failure – Making Too Little of It. There are consequences for sin, every time.  13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:13-15. Jesus, in asking Peter three times if he loved Him, was reminding him of his past failure. Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?"  Peter knew it.  But that was not the last chapter.

3. Learning Life’s Lessons in the Crucible of Faith. As predicted by Jesus, Peter’s life would end in martyrdom, and we know, historically, that he was crucified in death. But until then, and so it happened, he had a task at hand.  Serve others. Feed the sheep. Make the most of the time that he had.

No better lesson can be learned in life. We all have feet of clay. No one is perfect. In life, with our children and families, and with others, in work situations, we fail. Matthew 5 reminds us that, against the standard of the righteousness of God, we are guilty of murder, adultery, theft, greed, and other life consequences. But to the disciples, and to us, the final chapter is this. Strengthen yourself, recover, repent as needed, and reach out to others. The task is still ahead. Do you see it? Your God-ordained design is to do good works. 

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:8-10.

Next week. The four stages of preparation of Jesus for suffering, death and the cross. Stay well.

Time Posted: Aug 8, 2022 at 11:51 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Filures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Two) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 1, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross - Life’s Biggest Failures - Getting Into and Out of Trouble (Part One)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week.

33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”  34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.  35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.  Matthew 26:33-35.

1. Failure and Collapse Among the Disciples. Jesus correctly predicted that Peter would soon desert him – would deny any knowledge or association with Jesus – and this during this most critical of times where Jesus’ life hung in the balance, humanly speaking. But all of the disciples reaffirmed Peter’s pledge. They would never disown Jesus.  Yet the following narrative is clear.  Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.  Matt 26:56.

2. Understanding the Nature of Spiritual Failure. Certainly, we all fail. How does that happen? At its core, failure and sin in the life of the believer is rooted in our sinful nature, which comes from our continuing humanity marked out as fallen from the garden of Eden.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:13-15.

Though redeemed, such that the sting of death is defeated, the struggle to do what is right, what is the bidding of the Spirit of God, remains.  And James is clear: by [our] own evil desire.

3. The Encouragement that Failures are Followed by Success. Certainly was true of Peter and the disciples.  They did not let their wholesale denial and desertion of Jesus mark the last chapter of their lives.  They recovered, gathered together, and went out preaching Jesus and the Resurrection. And this is consistent with what Jesus wanted for Peter.

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32.

Do you see it? The words that should burn themselves into our souls, stamped over and covering the fears and struggle of our failures, are twofold: (1) But I have prayed for you, and (2) when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Our divine advocate is not only the Holy Spirit but Jesus himself, praying for us, believing in us and the work we do for the Kingdom. And failure is not the end of our lives. There are needs in the world and opportunities to reach out to others. Don’t let your legacy end in failure. Every great man and woman in the Bible was marked not by failure, but by getting back up after their failures, and committing themselves to faith and obedience – to serving others. God’s best to you this week. Make this a core theme in your life. It is in my life.

Time Posted: Aug 1, 2022 at 12:08 PM Permalink to The Week of the Cross - Life’s Biggest Failures - Getting Into and Out of Trouble (Part One) Permalink
John Moore
 
July 25, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Understanding Betrayal In Jesus’ Last Days

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week.

31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written  “‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’[a   32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. Matthew 26:31-35.

1. Judas. A study in Utter Rejection of Jesus. Imagine if you can, the disciples traveling with Jesus for 3 years, with various responsibilities. Judas the treasurer of the group, trusted with the financial resources of the disciples.  Yet, it was Judas who humanly fulfilled the prophecy ‘I will strike the shepherd’. And his betrayal is revealed publically to the disciples but in acts of mercy, he is not cast out of the group nor the last hours of association with Jesus. Amazing.

2. Peter. A Study in Failure and Recovery. The second revelation is predicting again Peter’s denial of Jesus.  Now one of the leaders of the disciples – the one on whom was the Rock, and the Church would be built – would deny he knew Jesus not once, but three times. What was left for the disciples to rely on? 

3 .All the Disciples – Will Fall Away. Talk about a failed enterprise. The three years of Jesus teaching and ministering to the crowds was seemingly having no effect nor lasting work. The leader shortly to die. The disciples ALL scattering. The shepherd is killed, the sheep are ALL scattered. While the disciples will later form the foundation of the church, for now, the focus is only and ultimately back to Jesus and the cross.

This passage speaks about commitment and priorities. It illustrates that even during hard times Jesus asks that we follow Him. We may not understand fully, but we can trust him who has gone before us. No better harbor of safety. Blessings to you this week. Be encouraged that we are better than the failures that mark out life as we know it.

17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[a] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted..  Hebrews 2:17-18.

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6.

Time Posted: Jul 25, 2022 at 12:29 PM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Understanding Betrayal In Jesus’ Last Days Permalink
John Moore
 
July 18, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Jesus to Return – Making My Life Count - Part Five

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life.  His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples.  In this final week Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days.  This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus.  Yet in this impending crisis, again, a woman, Mary, comes to worship Jesus sacrificially.

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”  Matthew 26:10-13.

1.  Jesus’ Death Again Predicted. On three other occasions, Jesus has predicted his death.  Now he predicts it with the added detail of crucifixion. This should have horrified the disciples, but asked from the details of the plot of Jesus’ enemy to falsely accuse and kill him, the disciples are left to dispute and squabble in these final hours.  They were indignant. Really! Their indignation should have been for the soon coming of the cross, not a sacrificial act of worship.

2. Again, the Female Follows of Jesus Better Understood the Scope of His Message. Jesus has again predicted his death, now by the savagery of the cross.  Martha and Mary, of the household of Simon (John 12), come to serve and worship him. In this, Mary took what was undoubtedly the best of what she had – an alabaster jar of expensive perfume – and poured it over the head of Jesus, in worship, understanding what was coming for her Lord.

3. Jesus’ Correction and Affirmation.  Even in this last week, the named disciples were in confusion.  What was coming?  How were they to react?  What was the purpose of the Passover?  Jesus affirms the worship of Mary.  Wherever the gospel is preached, throughout the world, what she has been done will be told in memory of her.

No better commendation or memorial.  What a life epitaph!  An act of worship that becomes praiseworthy worldwide. This certainly is a climactic act of worship that says the following – the greatest acts of worship are to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart and soul and mind.  And remembering the woman who ended up at the empty tomb, and then went everywhere telling those around them that He is Risen!  Loving your neighbor as yourself.  These are the two great acts of worship and commendation that summarize all of the Law and the Prophets.  The greatest of approval by God.  The point: no sacrifice is too great in our worship of Jesus, what we have, what we are.  Best to you this week.

Time Posted: Jul 18, 2022 at 3:03 PM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Jesus to Return – Making My Life Count - Part Five Permalink