By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
As we reflect on the life of Jesus Christ, let us also take into account the foreshadowing of His life/death found throughout the Bible. The birth of Jesus Christ was prophesied approximately two thousand years in advance of His birth. We find multiple accounts spoken from a variety of people, over many years, and none of them are in contradiction of the other. We even find the belief of Herod (nonbeliever) was so strong that he ordered the killing of “all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years and under” (Matthew 2:16). Let us examine the facts for ourselves and be equally moved to engage in righteousness.
Jesus was to be a descendant of King David:
Jeremiah 23:5 (NKJV): “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
Matthew 1:1 (NKJV): The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
Jesus would be born to a virgin:
Isaiah 7:14 (ESV): Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Matthew 1:18 (NIV): This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus would die by crucifixion:
Psalm 22:16 (NKJV): For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet.
Luke 23:33 (NKJV): And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
Jesus would not have any bones broken:
Psalm 34:20 (NKJV): He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.
John 19:32-33 (NKJV): Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.
The only thing greater than the cited prophesies coming true, is the fact that Jesus knew ahead of time and remained faithful unto death. Let us always be moved to righteousness by the example and faith of Jesus Christ.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
We have all noticed there are thousands of divisions (denominations) among the followers of Christ. A division is defined as the action of separating something into parts. In similar fashion, a denomination is defined as a separate branch of the church. But why are there so many divisions among the church? The Apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit helps us understand what creates divisions.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV): I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
It is likely we all agree there should be an earnest desire for Christians to be united in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ. It is less likely we find the same consensus when it comes to agreeing with one another. Divisions come from our disagreements and our unwillingness to be perfectly united in mind and thought with God and the brotherhood. We have to desire truth (fellowship with God) and we have to deeply love one another (fellowship with brotherhood); as love and truth (words of the Lord) will last forever.
1 Peter 1:22-25 (NIV): Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
Divisions (denominations) will continue as long as we are unwilling to focus on the word that was preached to us in the Bible. Jesus Christ is the founder/perfecter of our faith and we need to remove the opinions that contradict that understanding. We must stop slowing ourselves down with all the additional concepts; standing firm in the principles that our creator set in place over two centuries ago. Reminding ourselves that anything created after or added to perfection would only unsettle the perfection Christ formed.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV): Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
One of the vows commonly found in Western weddings is the promise to love through the good times and the bad. Marriage is a promise before God to stay with someone until death. We recognize that we will grow old and that we will change. We comprehend some of those changes may draw us closer together, while other changes may push us further apart. We understand there may be unforeseen events that can challenge that commitment, but it is our responsibility to exhaust all options available. We are but an obedient child to the standard our Father has set on what love is.
Romans 5:8 (ESV): But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
To make a long term relationship work requires a commitment that few achieve. To make a relationship work, we must give the most of ourselves when our spouse deserves it the least. Christ made it clear, loving and treating others well when they are loving and treating you well is not saying much.
Luke 6:32-34 (NIV): "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.”
Understanding how difficult this can be, we must constantly remind ourselves of the perspective we are to have. Loving our spouse (or anyone) through the “bad times” is much easier when we have a humble heart. The wages of all sin is death, and while we may personally believe some actions are “more bad” than others, our love can cover a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). We only need to be willing to forgive and show mercy to our loved ones, as God forgave and showed mercy to us (Matthew 6:14-15). And while it may not always be easy, there is nothing more difficult than being judged without mercy because we didn’t show mercy to our loved ones.
James 2:12-13 (ESV): So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
You cannot help but notice the sharpness of criticisms Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Not only did Jesus call them wicked and adulterous (Matthew 12:39), He compared them to a man who was repossessed by demons due to his own shortcomings.
Matthew 12:43-45 (NIV): “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
There is a lot we can learn about the relationship between man and demon from these verses. Once an unclean spirit was excised from a person, it travels through dry places seeking rest without victory (v. 43). If you consider that the gospel of Jesus provides the water of eternal life, it is no surprise the void of God would be a waterless, desolate, and barren place.
John 4:14 (ESV): But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
It is humorous how the demon states it is going to return to the house it left as if it chose to leave in the first place. The reality is the demon was thrown out by God when the person dedicated their life to Christ. Unfortunately, this person lost Christ along the way and when the demon returned, the house was still clean, but empty (v. 44). In an attempt to strengthen its hold on the man, the demon brought reinforcements (v. 45). The number seven in this verse should be considered “many” as seven denotes perfection, whether good or bad. Considering that Christ described the demons as “more wicked”, we are able to observe that demons appear to have degrees of wickedness. Throughout the Bible we see passages that speak on a saved soul straying from righteousness would have been better off to have never known Christ (2 Peter 2:21).
2 Peter 2:21 (NIV): It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
This parable is consistent with that lesson and a humble reminder that salvation is a marathon we cannot win on our own.