Healing for the Deaf

“They did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask him” Mark 9:32

It can be very difficult to communicate with someone who is not “on the same page” with regard to a particular subject matter. There can be misunderstanding among people because of this. No one views and comprehends their world from a vacuum or blank sheet. Jesus’ disciples were not listening to Jesus from a blank sheet either. They had been taught in the synagogues by the Rabbis.

When Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain their heads were filled with the teachings of the Rabbis. Much of it was very good but some was not helpful. When they arrived high on the mountain Jesus was transformed before their eyes and His glory shone through (v 3). In addition, Moses and Elijah appeared before them speaking with Jesus concerning His approaching death. Peter recognised that this is what the Scriptures taught; that Elijah would appear prior to the establishing of the earthly kingdom. What he had not been taught and did not understand was that there was still other Scripture to be fulfilled before the earthly kingdom would be established (cf. Isaiah 53).

On this occasion the Father spoke audibly and directly to the disciples. This may be the only time He did this, so it must also be very important. It was a short message but one we would profit to take notice of: “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (v 7). The disciples had heard other teachers but now they must listen only to what Jesus was saying if they were to correctly understand and be prepared for what was soon to happen. Before the earthly kingdom would come Jesus must die and rise again (vv 9, 31).

The disciples had no idea what He was speaking about. The Rabbis had not taught them of a Messiah who would die and rise again so they dismissed it as too hard to understand or irrelevant. Jesus wanted them to understand this future event so that they would be prepared and not panic or despair when the event occurred. They dismissed His words even though they had just heard the Father say, “Hear Him.”

We can only correctly understand the times in which we live when we “Hear Him.” Jesus and the Bible give us a huge amount of information concerning our times and future times and events. These will prepare us so that we do not panic or despair when they come to pass. When Jesus was taken to be crucified the disciples fled because they had not heard and understood His words but were still held in the grip previous teaching. They were afraid to ask Jesus what He meant when He spoke of rising from the dead and therefore they remained in ignorance. We have no reason to follow their example. God has spoken, Jesus has spoken and we have His word to prepare us. Will we “Hear Him?”

Current world events may lead a person to worry or despair but when we hear what Jesus, the prophets and Paul  have said regarding the latter days we can observe that God has foretold all these things in order to prepare us. It is essential that we come humbly to His word at least daily and ask Him to correct us where we have unwittingly misunderstood or dismissed His word.

The Closing Horizon

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in your likeness” Psalm 17:15

There are quite a few men in the Old Testament who indicate, like David in this Psalm, that they believed in resurrection. Since they had no precedent, how did they come to believe what the world considers unbelievable? It can only have come from God Himself.

The author of Hebrews writes of faithful Old Testament people, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For these who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland” (Hebrews 11:13-14). People of faith could see the fulfilled promises of God on the horizon of time. For them it was “afar off” but for us it is ever so much nearer. The prophetic Scriptures build our expectation that the horizon we look to is not so far off.

Our expectation is put in New Testament words by the Apostle John, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

Jesus gave His disciples a look into the immediate future as well as to the horizon when, on the night He was betrayed, as He shared the Passover with His disciples and instituted the Lord’s Supper He said, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). On the eve of His crucifixion Jesus pointed His disciples’ eyes to the horizon of reunion in resurrection in His kingdom.

The Apostle Paul writes that he received instruction direct from the Lord in regard to the Lord’s Supper. It is a time when we refresh our personal intimate relationship with Jesus. Only those who have experienced Christ in their lives can “remember” Him. We cannot remember what we have never experienced. Paul ends by saying that when we share in this Supper we “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Every time we take the bread and the cup we are testifying that we are looking to the horizon where we see the fulfilment of all the Lord’s covenants and promises. Like Abraham, Job, David, Jonah, Isaiah and Moses we see the ever closing horizon when we shall see Jesus face to face.

Paul affirms, “If we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” “If we died with Christ, we believe we that we shall also live with Him” (Romans 6:5, 8).

Nation Against Nation

“Nation will rise against nation.–­and kingdom against kingdomThere will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7)

The history of mankind from the day Cain killed Abel until the present has been one of continual wars, murders and fighting. Governments and leaders have been promising to end the killing of people and yet it is arguably at an all time high. In addition to these kinds of killing of people we could add abortion and euthanasia.

Will people ever stop killing other people? Jesus says, ‘No!’ In fact, He says that mankind would annihilate itself if He (Jesus) did not return and prevent it (Matthew 24:22).

On Anzac Day each year we set a day aside to remember the terrible loss that is always the consequence of war. But that has not reduced war in the world. The Bible teaches that man will get worse and wars more common as time passes until mankind wars openly against the Lord Himself.

Sin makes people do what otherwise seems quite ridiculous. Is there anything more futile than the created being making war on the One who created him and sustains him?

‘Will people ever learn?’ we ask. Intellectually and corporately we know that war is killing us all but we are powerless to stop it. As long as there is anger, greed, hatred, revenge, lust, coveting and the like, men will always find themselves at war.

Only when the Prince of Peace comes and reigns in the hearts of men will men know peace and only when He reigns in the world will the world know peace.