Category Archives: Gospel

Inadequate Understanding of Love


Our understanding of God’s love is so raw since it is shaped by our culture we were born in and raised, books that we read, music that we listen to, and movies that we watch. What we understand as love is only what we are capable of ourselves doing it to others. That is utterly inadequate definition of love. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of what love really is. God is love,[1] and His love is actualized and demonstrated in the person of Jesus Christ on the Cross in Calvary. He is no less than the incarnate Son of God, preexisted with the Father, not made but begotten, the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form.[2] Without diminishing his divinity, he voluntarily took a human form to deliver the humanity from the bondage of sin by offering himself as the ultimate sacrifice.[3] For the penalty of sin is death.[4] Jesus paid the price by his own blood even when we were still sinners.[5] And that is love.


Scripture References:

[1] 1 John 4:8

[2] Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:6-8

[3] Hebrews 10:10

[4] Romans 6:23

[5] Romans 5:8

Biblical Nuggets: Coins of the Gospel- A Silver Shekel


A Silver ShekelRome operated a mint in Tyre that produced silver shekels of high purity (94 percent silver or more). These and half-shekels were the only coins accepted by the temple in Jerusalem. The high priests paid Judas with silver shekels like this one to betray Christ (Matt 26:15). This was also the coin Jesus told Peter to find in the fish’s mouth (Matt 17:27).


Source:

Hubbard, Shiloh, Elliot Ritzema, Corbin Watkins, and Lazarus Wentz with Logos Bible Software and KarBel Media. Faithlife Study Bible Infographics. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012.

Three Major Themes in the Gospel of Matthew


In the previous post, I mentioned that the Gospel of Matthew has a special Jewish flavor in its contents and characteristics, since it was written especially for Jews in mind. It’s Matthew’s effort to tell the story of Jesus in the backyards and alleys of Jerusalem and the hills and plains of Galilee and beyond that Jesus was the Promised One, a true deliverer – Messiah – who came to establish the Kingdom of God. Let’s review briefly three major themes that run throughout the gospel account here.

1. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

a. Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy.

Matthew quotes prophet Isaiah (7:14) to point out how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy through virgin birth (Matthew 1:23). Micah 5:2 is fulfilled by being born in Bethlehem. The prophecies in Hosea 11:9, Micah 7:9 were also affirming that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Isaiah 40:1,2; 52 Psalm 118:12, Zechariah 12:10, and the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52, all these are testifying Jesus as the Coming Messiah.

b. New Moses

Moses in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament have significant similarities. Both were priests, and teachers of the Laws. Their birth caused uproar and disruption in the society. Moses received the Law in the Sinai, and Jesus gave the Golden Rules (first sermon) in the Mount Olive. Moses is the mediator of the Old Covenant through animal sacrifice, whereas Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant through his own blood.

c. Jesus as the King from the line of David.

The genealogy of Jesus clearly shows that he is from the line of David. The significant number of passages in the Scripture tells us that he is from the Davidic line. People in Israel addressed him as the “Son of David” during his earthly ministry (Matthew 12:21; 21:42). Therefore, He is the rightful heir the throne of David.

d. Jesus is the Seed of Abraham

Jesus is attributed as the hope of nations, whereas Abraham is known as the blessings for the nations.

2. God (the Father/King) is the God of both Grace and Judgment

This theme also plays out throughout the book. The Parable of Weeds (13:24-42), the Parable of Talents (25:14-30), and the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (20:1-16) show how gracious God is. At the same time, the Parables of the Great Banquet (22:1-14), the passage of the Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees (22-25), and the signs and of the end time and judgement day chapters show how strictly judgmental he is.
3. The Kingdom of God does not Belong to One Particular Ethnic Group.

It is extended to all people from all nations and tribes. Matthew 28:16-20 explicitly talks about people from ends of the earth; the book of Revelation (7:9) also gives us the heavenly glimpse that a great multitude of people beyond our capacity to count come from every nation, and all tribes and people and tongues and worship the Lamb.

Sabbatum Excerpt: A Grace-Awakened Approach to Mission by George Verwer


There is such a need for this grace-awakened, big-hearted approach in mission work. There are so many areas where a lack of grace causes hurt and tension and positively hinders the work of God across the globe. So often our fellowship as Christians seems to be based more on minor areas in which we are like-minded, than on the real basics of the gospel and the clear doctrines of the Christian faith which are so amazing and on which we should be more united…

I think of all the people who have been rejected, to some degree, because they did not fit in with someone else’s expectations – because they were not Baptists or Anglicans or because they did not speak in tongues, or did not come up to the mark on any one of a hundred possible issues, which may or may not be of genuine importance. Many have felt rejection and hurt because they were not received by those who emphasized the gifts of the Spirit, simply because they did not have the same understanding of those gifts. The reverse is also true. Those who emphasize the gifts of the Spirit have felt rejected by members of the body who didn’t.

What makes this problem even more complex is that so often preachers emphasize these smaller issues from the pulpit, affecting how their congregations think and how they evaluate other people and their beliefs. It seems to me that our behavior often testifies that these little issues are more important to us than the unity and reality that we have in Jesus Christ by the new birth through His Holy Spirit. We lack grace in this area.


George Verwer, Out of the Comfort Zone: Grace, Vision, Action! (Authentic Publishing: Colorado Springs, CO, 2000), 5-6.