Posts Tagged With: Roman

Questions–Then and Now

The Theater in Caesarea

Did you know that Adolph Hitler survived at least six—SIX!—assassination attempts?

As you will hear in this PODCAST, these six assassination attempts occurred in 1921, 1938, 1939, two in 1943, and the final attempt on July 20, 1944.

Get this: Any one of which, if successful, would have either prevented World War II—as well as the wholesale slaughter of six million of our precious Jewish friends—or brought both the war and the Holocaust to a screeching halt.

The older I get, the more questions I have.

As but two examples:

First: Why did God allow each of these six assassination attempts to fail?

I’m not now going to debate the ethics or lack thereof of political assassination in a time of war. Whether or not as Committed Christ-Followers we should support or condemn such actions is way beyond the scope of tonight’s discussion.

I’m simply asking: Would not our world have been a better place if just 1 of those attempts had succeeded?

What possible purpose could have been served by God allowing the likes of Hitler to live and to continue to torment the human race?

The failure of the final attempt on Hitler’s life is to me especially curious given the facts that A) Just 9 months and 10 days later—on April 30, 1945—Hitler killed himself in his bunker in Berlin.

And B) Tried and executed as a conspirator to that final, failed attempt on Hitler’s life? A man of far greater and more positive influence than I could ever hope to have, a man—to quote Hebrews—“of whom our world is not worthy.” I’m talking about the German pastor, theologian, and prolific writer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A precious, priceless servant of the Lord summarily executed by hanging a mere three weeks before Hitler bit into a cyanide tablet and shot himself in the head.

Had Hitler killed himself just three weeks earlier, would not Bonhoeffer’s life had been spared? Could not Bonhoeffer have then continued—perhaps for many, many years—to instruct and inspire the lives of countless Christ-followers the world over with his positive influence?

Why did God spare the life of a servant of Hell named Adolph Hitler just long enough to cost the life of a servant of Heaven named Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

God does not owe an explanation. But He does allow me to ask the question. So ask it, I will and I do.

That’s my first question.

My second question is this: Why did God allow a King named Herod Agrippa—a Jew who sold his soul and sold out his own people to the Romans in a cynical quest for power, position, and popularity—to live just long enough to destroy countless lives of Jewish Christ-followers in Jerusalem, as well as kill someone as stellar as the Apostle James?

James–brother to the Apostle John. Member of Apostolic trio—Jesus’ inner circle—Peter, James, and John? A man—to quote Hebrews—“of whom our world is not worthy.”

God does not owe an explanation. But He does allow me to ask the question. So ask it, I will and I do.

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.

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The Remarkable Man to Whom was Passed the Torch of Torah

Hate is a horrible thing.

Hate unbridled and unchecked is a murderous thing.

Hate in name of God is terrifying and terrorizing thing.

And as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, hate in the name of God is indeed a terrorizing thing because such religious hatred is actually viewed by the hater as a righteous thing.

Just ask a certain Pharisee—emphasis upon that lofty religious title, Pharisee, since it goes to the very heart of this story—named Saul. Yes! Saul was a Pharisee.

On the night before He was executed, as Jesus and His now-eleven disciples were slinking through the dark alleys of Jerusalem, literally one step ahead of His betraying-disciple Judas, the Temple guards, and the Roman cohort that Judas was leading to arrest and ultimately to crucify Jesus, Jesus made this chilling statement which should have given His disciples pause, assuming that in that desperate hour they had presence of mind to pause.

It’s found in John 16:2, where Jesus said this:

“The time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.”

A prediction, a prophecy that has historically come to pass in our day—the bitter result of religious extremism—far too many times to count. Bloodshed in the name of God. Be that blood shed at the hands of the Christian Crusaders, Muslim suicide bombers, or a now-ranking member of Sanhedrin—keep that label in mind; it too goes to heart of this story—Saul.

From where did Saul’s unbridled fury, his murderous hatred for Jesus and all things Jesus-related come?

Tonight, we will consider together much of what is often overlooked in any discussion about Saul-to-become-Paul’s background.

All of which will expose the degree to which God went when preparing His “Apostle to the Gentiles.”

Indeed, Paul will write in wonder in Galatians 2:8,

“For by God’s power I was made an apostle to the Gentiles.”

That power was clearly at work in Paul’s/Saul’s past. And as you are about to hear, that power was equally at work in Saul’s present here in Acts 9.

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.

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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.

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The Demoniac of the Decapolis

GeraseneDemoniacWhenever I talk about Satan, demons, spiritual warfare, or anything remotely related, the numbers of distractions in the room increase exponentially.

This is a pattern I have documented over 40 years of ministry. Regardless of time of day, day of week, season of year, or venue in which I teach, it’s as if the devil himself does not want anyone (including you) to hear what the Bible teaches about our (and God’s) archenemy.

That was certainly true at Safe Haven when I recorded this PODCAST.

Coincidence? Don’t know for sure.

What I do know for sure… What I can say without fear of contradiction is that the principles you will learn in this message from the life and ministry of Jesus to a demon-possessed man, Satan does NOT want you to hear.

Don’t be surprised at the numbers of distractions that you will face when you try to hear this.

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

God bless you as you listen. And PLEASE share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

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