The time is coming near in which Jesus the Christ’s earthly ministry is to end. He has taught His disciples so much and has been preparing them for His being gone. Now, He needs to help them understand and prepare for what is to come in the much further future.
It’s interesting to me how CEO Jesus thinks and works. He starts His ministry, but he doesn’t do it alone. First He preps and plans, but it’s not just His plan. He takes on the plan of the Master Architect. He sees the need (the people’s need for a redemptive relationship with the Father / YHWH) and works toward providing for that need. He brings along a team of people to help Him do the work, and in the process He is also training them up (mentoring them) to take over the work when He leaves. He trains and prepares them to rise up, take the reigns, and make the work succeed. He brings in not just the front runners, like Peter, James and John, who are continually involved as part of the face of the work, but also those who are behind the scenes making things happen like Mary, Martha, Simon the Zealot, Judas, etc. He genuinely cares about what He is doing and the long, long-term of what He is building, even if it means stepping on some toes and going toe-to-toe with some powerful people. He sacrifices everything He has for this work, even to the point of giving up His own life to make it happen. Yet when He does this, He does not leave His followers unprepared or without the support that they need to make the work succeed. He knows what is going to happen and He is prepared to send “the helper” to them at the right time.
Yet what we see here in this chapter is Jesus forecasting. He is looking to the future. He understands what He is building and what His people need to prepare for future problems and trials. He is giving them insight into the long-term plans and goals, the overall vision of the work, and what kinds of problems and trials they can expect in the decades to come. He gives them an overall understanding of not only what the work is, but WHY the work needs to be done, and what they can expect to see and do. He needs His people to look to His return; to see the BIG picture and to Be Ready!
Are we looking at the BIG picture? Are you ready?
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
“When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.” When i read this, I take it as Jesus instructing and sending out the disciples and while they are sent out to do the work of ministry, He is going to their home cities to teach and preach. It seems almost like a mentality of, “You go take care of these places and meanwhile I have your back. I am going to make sure your families and friends are taken care of. ” It’s like His reaction to their stepping out is to take care of those they care about.
Meanwhile, John the Baptist, the one who recognized Jesus conception from the womb and leapt in his mother’s womb at His presence, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the one who told Jesus that he couldn’t baptize Him because he was not even worthy to untie His sandals, the one who heard the voice of God (YHWH) speaking and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, the one who said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, that John; He has set for too long and has come to the point of wondering and doubting that which He had previously known beyond a shadow of a doubt. So he sends his disciples, the ones that are left, to Jesus to ask if He is the one. Jesus reaction is not one of disgust that John is even asking such a thing and reacting in such a way, but His reaction is to tell them to observe and report. That that is the answer for John’s doubt. There is no criticism of John, only comfort.
Meanwhile, Jesus begins to respond to the reaction of the cities He has already been to. He had preached, and taught, and healed, and done miracles, and called them to repentance, yet they had not. They had continued doing what they knew was wrong and treating Jesus teaching like a passing fad. So Jesus pronounces “Woe” on them. They rejected the message, so that reaction is going to affect their standing on the judgment day.
Finally, Jesus calls for a reaction from the people. The conclusion to the chapter is, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
So what is your and my reaction to His message?
John J. Camiolo Jr.
As time goes on, Christ continues ministering. It doesn’t matter where He is, or what He is doing, He keeps ministering. However, as you will see, the people’s response to Him contrasts greatly. A paralytic is brought to Him. He tells him that his sins are forgiven, and not long after that, to get up and walk. The scribes (educated folk) criticize him for the first thing, and the people were awestruck and praise YHWH for both. Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees criticize Him for mingling with the rabble. Meanwhile, the tax collectors and sinners come to repentance. John (the Baptist)’s disciples critically question him about why they and even the Pharisees disciples fast, but Jesus’ don’t. Jesus replies that now is not the right time. If you expect too much from someone or something at the wrong time, you can destroy the work that needs to be done.
Day by day, people keep coming to Him, in spite of the scribes and Pharisees criticisms. We actually begin to see deep contrasts in who and how people come to Him. A synagogue official (public VIP figure) comes boldly to Him pleading with Him to heal and revive his dead daughter. Meanwhile an unclean woman with an issue of blood comes to Him secretly hoping to get a scrap from the master’s table. She wants to be healed. While she comes in secret, He heals her publicly. While the leader calls to Him publicly, Jesus heals his daughter in secret.
As He goes on and casts out demons, the religious leaders follow along with the gentile beliefs and decide that the only way for a demon to be cast out is if you send in a stronger, tougher demon to kick the first one out. But then you end up with a different, stronger, demon to deal with.
Yet none of this matters to Jesus. He feels compassion for the people for they are like sheep without a shepherd. So, what’s His response? That answer is in chapter 10.
I have been waiting for this chapter. I knew that it was coming, and to some extent i have been dreading it. After everything that has happened. After all of the preparing and anointing and consecrating, the time comes for Aaron’s grown sons to step up and do their part, and what happens? Immediately they mess it up. It’s not even like they just forgot something. It’s that they knew what they were supposed to do and purposely did the wrong thing.
We don’t know what they were thinking. We don’t know their plans, or their purpose, or their intent. All we know is what happened, and the response of YHWH God to their clear violation of his law. They “offered strange fire before the LORD (YHWH)“. Strong’s concordance describes this word “strange” as;
זוּר – zûr (zoor)
A primitive root; to turn aside (especially for lodging); hence to be a foreigner, strange, profane; specifically (active participle) to commit adultery: – (come from) another (man, place), fanner, go away, (e-) strange (-r, thing, woman).
So the word “strange” here is defined under the context of foreign (not natural), profane, and adulterous. So we aren’t just talking about mixing up the spices differently than they were supposed to. We are referring to a completely inappropriate and sinful offering given to YHWH, the one HOLY God.
Here are the priests, the ones who are to stand before YHWH and represent the people. They are to be coming into God’s presence holy, bringing a holy sacrifice to cover the people and their sins, and what do they do on one of the first days of their job? They offer a profane and adulterous offering to YHWH! They insult YHWH and basically do their best to slap Him in the face. YHWH’s response? Fire comes out from His presence and consumes them! They are destroyed on the spot.
When those who are supposed to be standing before the LORD and ministering to YHWH and the people are purposely rejecting and disobeying Him, what does it say about Him, and what does it mean for them? Those who are leaders and ministers need to take His work seriously. If we don’t, what will His response be to us. Those who are leaders are held to a higher standard, but we also have the potential for a greater reward. However, we MUST pursue the holiness of the LORD.
John Camiolo Jr.
In the New Testament there is a listing(s) of spiritual gifts. Gifts given to the people of the body of Christ in order to strengthen the body and to help the people do the work of ministry. There are people who debate about how many “gifts” are actually represented in the list(s) and what it all means. It can be an interesting conversation sometimes trying to process through the information, but the conversation of the gifts of Spirit will oftentimes come back to the Old Testament. To Exodus 31. Why? “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.” Suddenly, there is a whole new discussion. Are there “gifts” of the Spirit that we don’t even know about? YHWH gave this man and others gifts to be able to do the work of building the tabernacle and all that was to be in it. They were given gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the people and the work of service, yet craftsmanship is not listed in the New Testament gifts. It certainly gives you pause to think.
I would so love to see the work that was done by these people. I can only imagine the beauty and craftsmanship of their work. To see the alter and the tabernacle. To smell the incense and the sacrifice. To hear the sounds of the work and the worship. What beauty. But, it is not a privilege that i will have on this side of eternity.
The other key aspect of this chapter is its focus on the Sabbath. Six days are for work, and one for rest. God takes that command very seriously, even when we don’t. We know that we should be taking a day of rest, but how often do we truly take a Sabbath? Aren’t we working around the house, or in the yard, or preparing for work, or some other “important” task. I know that many times i’m teaching a class on Sunday mornings. Monday through Friday i’m teaching college level psychology in the high-school. Wednesday through Saturday i’m working with boys and young men who have low IQ’s and behavioral problems. Add to that the time spent working around the house, and that i am working on this project almost every day, and it all adds up to working 7 days a week almost every day of the year. I know i’m not the only one who does this kind of thing. So if God’s word is so important, and He takes the Sabbath so seriously, why don’t we?