Posts Tagged With: Caesar

“Seeker-Sensitive”? (Or Not!)

Embedded deep within the pages of the Old Testament we find one of God’s most precious promises.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, this bright ray of hope-filled sunshine was written to Jewish exiles in Babylon who were at the time experiencing their darkest hour.

It was written by the weeping prophet Jeremiah, who himself desperately needed a stabilizing reassurance from God that He had not, did not, and would not ever, no matter what, abandon His people.

Even though they had dramatically abandoned Him.

This unbreakable promise is found in Jeremiah 29:13, and is as true today as it was then, as true for us as it was them.

Hear it in the NIV, words worthy of memorization:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

What’s the key word? Seek. בָּקַשׁ ḇâqaš. A rather intensive word that means “to seek or pursue earnestly.”

This word goes way beyond idle curiosity or a casual pursuit. Bâqaš speaks of a wholehearted desire.

Bâqaš The exact same word David used in Psalm 40:16,

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who—Listen!!!—long, long for your saving help always say, ‘The Lord is great!’”

This is the very same image that Jesus invoked in the Sermon on the Mount when He said,

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

This is Hebrews 11:6, that reads, “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently (earnestly, sincerely) seek Him.”

I can assure you—and as you are about to see—one Cornelius, a centurion from Caesarea, was in every sense of the word a diligent, earnest, sincere seeker.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Want Me to Go WHERE? You Want Me to Do WHAT?

I want you to imagine for a moment this scenario. (As you will hear in this PODCAST, a potentially familiar biblical story to you.)

That being said, see if you can guess the name of its principle player.

His people were ravaged by a barbarically blood-thirsty Empire, the armies of which decimated his land, desecrated his holy places, and butchered his people.

His hatred for these pagan barbarians flamed in his guts with the white-hot fury of volcanic rage. A smoldering-just-beneath-the-surface-anger that could have understandably erupted into a deadly confrontation at the slightest provocation.

But God is a God of mercy, isn’t he?

So He asked this man to set aside his prejudices, to extinguish the fiery rage that blazed within him. And in the face of the mountain of abuses he and his people suffered at the hands of these hedonistic heathens, these merciless marauders, to travel into the very power-center of this occupying power in order to share with the people there the Good News of God’s redemptive love.

The notion that he would engage these interlopers on any level was utterly repugnant to him. Not to mention his absolute inability even to entertain the slightest possibility that some such as these might spend an eternity with him in Heaven.

He didn’t want God to save them; He wanted God to obliterate them.

So down to the seaport city of Joppa he went (that’s your clue to this mystery man’s identity) where he confronted a personal crisis of faith unlike he had ever experienced before.

Does he walk away in rebellion against God? Does he get into a boat and sail away, in direct defiance of God’s revealed will?

Or does he submit himself to the task to which God called him, knowing full-well that in doing so he may-well place himself squarely in the crosshairs of his sworn enemy?

To whom am I referring? Who was this singularly-selected servant of God, forced to face such a potentially life-threatening, history-altering choice?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Man Who Crucified Jesus

Good-Friday-proces_1386504bHe is the forgotten figure in the Crucifixion-Resurrection drama. A remarkable man who came to a most-remarkable conclusion.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, I am referring to the Roman officer who actually crucified Jesus.

At the conclusion of the crucifixion, this Roman officer — who had literally just killed Christ — made this stunning statement:

“This man truly was the Son of God!”

Now, I have to ask these questions:

  • How in the world did he come to this conclusion? This Roman? This executioner? This worshipper of many gods? This witness to, and participant in, more crucifixions than he could count?
  • What was it about this crucifixion that set it apart from all the others over which he, as a commander of 100 elite Roman troops, presided?
  • What pushed him over the line from a polytheist to a monotheist? A worshiper of Caesar as god into a worshiper of Jesus as God?
  • And what was it exactly that convinced him beyond the shadow of any doubt that the man he had just executed was in fact Almighty God?

I am profoundly grateful to professors Schmidt, Vanderlaan, Gundry, along with author Lloyd C. Douglas who wrote a wonderfully insightful historical novel, The Robe, for gently nudging my thinking in the direction to ask and now answer these intriguing questions.

Questions about what-in-the-world convinced this Roman Officer to conclude that the man he just crucified was not just a god, but as he exclaimed,

“This man truly was the Son of God!”

What did he see that we, not being Roman, might miss?

In order to answer these questions, I need to take you on a little trip, back in time many centuries, and to the East many thousands of miles, to Rome itself. There, we will attend the grandest, gaudiest, and most glorious of spectacular events. All to answer the question, What caused this elite Roman military officer to conclude that the man he just executed was indeed “the Son of God”?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.