Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith — to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
The message of the gospel that apostle Paul was proclaiming is the culmination of long hidden mysteries that had worked quietly through a great span of time carried by the words of the prophets to secure the redemption that was able to be received by us gentiles through faith.
This astounding feat of layered planning and the marshalling of nations and peoples over so many years to weave the fabric required to make possible so great a salvation, was suddenly revealed as the completed work of Jesus Christ when He died on a cross, was buried and rose from the dead. Because of this, any person around the world could turn to the Lord Jesus in faith and be saved.
The deep wisdom of God to accomplish this became visible after the powers of darkness were humiliated and defeated and the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ became evident to all creation when Jesus was resurrected and ascended to a throne of great glory in heaven.
We gentiles gratefully acknowledge the gargantuan effort it took the Lord to provide a way out of the pagan darkness in which we were lost until the coming of the wonderful gospel of Jesus.
Psalm 147 verse 5 rightly says;
Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.
As does Job 12 verse 13:
“With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding.
The Lord Jesus was born as a child and grew up in every way that a man would, except that He was absolutely perfect.
Perfection in this sense means that He was completely righteous to the degree that He could not contravene any law in anyway and would have rather died than break even a single law of God.
At the end of His time on earth, Jesus faced that very conundrum where He could either avoid the horror of death on a cross or he could surrender Himself to be put to death so that He would not disobey His Father in heaven.
He, being flawless, set His face to flint and underwent the Roman execution of crucifixion and fulfilled what His father had asked of Him. He Himself had no fault whatsoever but suffered the death that a sinful man would have deserved.
In death, Jesus descended into the courts of the spirit where He was to undergo scrutiny so that his enemies could justify His death and admittance to hell.
Psalm 7 verse 1 - 6 describes the defense Jesus mounted in that court. He spoke of the consequences that were hanging over Him if any fault was found in Him. He also said that if He had done anything wrong, He would rightly be chased and torn apart and trampled to death by His enemies.
But Jesus, innocent, claimed exoneration and called on God the Father to rise in rage against His false accusers. The passage says this;
Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands—if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe—then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust.
Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies.
In Ezekiel chapter 18, the prophet, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, painstakingly outlined the legal position that Jesus was in at that court session in the spirit.
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:
“‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.
In the context of the passage, the question raised was whether a son could be culpable for his father's sins or if a father could be culpable for his son's sins.
Here, the Lord God declares, "The one who sins is the one who will die" which unequivocally stipulates that if a person did not sin themselves, they will surely live. It is this fundamental law that underwrote Jesus' resurrection from the dead. As Ezekiel 18 verse 9 continues;
He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous he will surely live, declares the Sovereign Lord.
But if Jesus, the eternal and sinless one suffered and died even though He was innocent, God made it possible for the suffering and death that Jesus endured to be transferred to our account so that we sinners who deserved death, could have our sins paid for.
Because we believed in Jesus and asked Him, in His mercy, to save us, He undertook to redeem us and ransomed us from the kingdom of darkness and moved us into His kingdom of light.
Bless the Lord who underwent death that we could be made alive in Him.
The Lord Jesus, after a long journey through Samaria, sat by a water well as He waited for His disciples to return from buying food.
A Samaritan woman came by the well to draw water for herself and He asked her for a drink of water. She, knowing the customs of the day, was surprised because Jews had no dealings with Samaritans.
Because of this, she asked Him how he could expect her to draw water for Him when their cultural identities forbade interaction.
Jesus responded to her by telling her that if she knew who was asking her for a drink, she would have asked Him and He would have given her living water. In John 4 verse 10, Jesus said to her;
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
Jesus, in this passage, revealed a profound spiritual truth about how the Holy Spirit was going to fill people and that the Spirit of God would be a spring of living water who would well up to eternal life in those who believed in Jesus.
This concept was further clarified by Jesus in John 7 verse 37 - 39 as he taught around the temple courts in Jerusalem. The passage says this;
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Here, the Lord Jesus again used the imagery of living water flowing like a river inside of us when we believed in Him.
The apostle John, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, resolves for us in this passage, that the living water is, in fact, the Holy Spirit with whom those who believed in Jesus are filled.
Bless the great Lord of Heaven and earth, who gives us living water and whose Spirit then seals us till the day of redemption.
While the Lord Jesus was teaching in the Galilee area, a contentious issue came up.
The people were trying to find Jesus and Jesus discerned that they were looking for Him because He had miraculously provided food for the crowds. Jesus wanted to disabuse them of the idea that His value to them was that he could provide food for them.
He informed the people that His true value to them was that He was the bread of life and that their responsibility before God was to believe in Him.
He told them that believing in Him was how they could enter into eternal life by partaking in the bread of life which was His body (being broken and sacrificed on a cross to pay for their sins).
The contention arose when Jesus told them that they would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to attain life. This was controversial to his listeners and even to His own disciples who grumbled at Jesus' words and said it was a hard teaching to accept.
Now, Jesus was using the metaphor of eating to signify believing. Believing is a form of ingestion into ones heart where to disbelieve is to reject while believing is accept and take into ones heart.
Jesus, who corporealy came down from heaven, was like bread from heaven that can be compared to the manna that God sent down from heaven to keep the children of Israel alive in the wilderness.
Now, to believe in Jesus who came down from heaven is pictorialized in the eating of the manna and thus the metaphor is extended to include the eating of the flesh of the one who was sent from heaven and drinking His blood.
The following passage out of John chapter 6 verse 30 - 59, touches on these points.
So they asked him (Jesus), “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Thus the Lord taught us how believing in Him makes us alive in Him.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27 verse 5 says that in the day of trouble, our Lord will hide us in His dwelling place where we are concealed in His sacred tent and placed out of reach upon a perch.
Isaiah 25 verse 4 says this;
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall
Here, the Lord shields us from distress from storms and from the heat. He also protects us from the ruthless who would otherwise pummel us like a storm driving against a wall.
The Lord highly favours those who dwell in the shelter of the most high. Psalm 91 lists the calamities against which the Lord shields those who seek shelter in Him.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
In a stunning development in the narrative as the time of Jesus' crucifixion came near, Jesus reveals some of the machinations that were on going in the spirit realm as the kingdom of darkness tried to figure out what the kingdom of light was doing.
The calculus settled on was that testing Simon Peter so that he buckled and thus discrediting him was the best way to preclude the setting up of the kingdom of light after Jesus was killed.
In the court of heaven, Satan demanded that that he be granted access to Simon Peter and he was given the access by the court. Jesus prayed for Simon Peter so that after he fell, he would be restored from weakness and that he would be a source of strength for the fledging group of believers. Luke 22 verse 31 - 32 reads this way;
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
The Lord prayed for Peter so that he would be restored to the best possible footing as a source of strength for the others.
In His magnificent High Priestly prayer, Jesus prayed for all His people who had followed Him as well as all those who were going to follow Him in the future. John 17 verse 20 - 21 says;
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
This High Priestly role continues to this day where Jesus continually intercedes for us before the Father as described in Hebrews 4 verse 14 - 16;
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”