“Get Up!”

“Get Up!”

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

The phrase “got up” is found 41 times in the Bible. It is used four times in Matthew 9, of four different people and situations. I want us to make some application of that.

A struggling man got up and went home. This is the man brought to Christ by his four friends. Jesus began the encounter, “Take courage, your sins are forgiven” (2). This upset the Pharisees and Jesus proved His power by healing the man of his paralysis. He sends him on his way, saying, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home” (6). That’s exactly what he did (7). This amazed everyone who saw it. But what about this man? He never says a word. All we know is he obeyed Jesus. He got up and went home. When we are healed by Jesus, part of our responsibility is to take that to our homes. That may not seem like much, but it’s a great opportunity. We should go home and show our family how much this week has positively effected you. Be a blessing to your home!

A sinful man got up and followed Jesus. This is the narrator of the gospel, Matthew. He was a tax collector and Jesus called him to follow. Tax collectors were lumped in with other sinners (10-11), but they receive dishonorable mention. Matthew 9:9 says, “And he got up and followed Him.” Following Jesus changed him pretty quickly. All of us when we come to Jesus come as sinners (Ecc. 7:20; Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn. 5:19). But following Jesus will bring change (Mat. 16:24). When our sins are washed away, we are committing to follow Him and spend our lives growing closer to Christ.

A spiritual man got up and served. The third person to “get up” in this chapter is Jesus. Jairus’ daughter has died and he tells Jesus he believes He can raise her from the dead. What great faith! What does Jesus do? “He got up and began to follow Him, and so did His disciples” (19). Two things are noteworthy. First, the Creator of the universe was humble. He simply gets up and goes to serve. For good measure, He heals a sick lady on the way. Jesus demonstrated greatness by serving (Mat. 20:25-28; John 13:12-17). Second, servants influence others. The disciples got up too. Godly service is contagious! Following Jesus will lead us to serve. We must “get up” and take that mindset with us every day (Phil. 2:5ff)!

A sleeping girl got up and lived. Jairus’ daughter had died, but Jesus tells the mourners and the crowd, “Leave, for the girl has not died, but is asleep” (24). They thought Jesus was joking, but He showed that He could raise the dead as though she was just sleeping. But the girl “got up” (25). And the news spread throughout the land (26). It is so easy to fall asleep spiritually. Our fire can go out and our passion for Christ can leave us. Sometimes, God tells us, “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14). We may need to wake up, get up and live the example of Christ like never before. 

Maybe, we see ourselves in one or more of these individuals and their situations in Matthew nine. All of us must get up and go home, get up and follow Jesus, get up and serve, and get up and live. That is the essence of revival! 

Twelve Ultimate People Skills

Twelve Ultimate People Skills

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard


Some people just seem to be born with great people skills. Perhaps their personality type just naturally draws others to them. While natural ability may give some a leg up, the great news is that anyone can learn to work well with others and you can develop better interpersonal skills. In fact, it’s really a biblical command!

The church is made up of all kinds of people and that being the case, we must all be in the people business. Thankfully, our Lord doesn’t leave us high and dry to try and figure these things out on our own. Dispersed throughout the Bible we find several sections of scripture that teach us how to communicate, empathize, and get along with others effectively. God’s interpersonal skills cannot be matched. As the Creator, He understands exactly how humans think and behave. Here are twelve insights on interpersonal skills sent to us from above.

1. Speak evil of no one (I Thess. 5:14)

2. A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger(Proverbs 15:1)

3. The wise of heart is called perceptive, and pleasant speech increasespersuasiveness (Proverbs 16:21)

4. Be gentle and show courtesy to all people (Titus 3:2)

5. Do good to everyone (Gal. 6:10)

6. Bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2)

7. As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them (Luke 6:31)

8. Discern your own thoughts, identify your intentions (Heb. 4:12)

9. Treat others like you would treat Jesus. How would you interact withHim? (Matthew 25:40)

10. Season your speech with grace. It’s the saviors All-Spice for everyrelationship building goal (Col. 4:5-6)

11. Praise God and be joyful, it attracts people (Psalm 100:1-5)

12.Be ready for every good work, speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, begentle, show courtesy to all people (Titus 3:1-15)

Notice how many passages in the Bible command us to speak differently than everyone else? All of these insights can be simply summed up in just one sentence. Talk, walk, and live more like Jesus. He was perfect in every way and that includes how he interacted with others. Modeling ourselves after the Savior will not only improve our relationship skills with others, but also with Him.

Jesus also teaches us that no matter how gentle and loving we are, we’ll still make some people upset. That’s alright! As long as we’re acting like the Lord in all things.

The Herodian Dynasty: Herod The Great

The Herodian Dynasty: Herod The Great

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

The Herodian dynasty actually began during the civil wars of the first century B.C., when Palestine passed from Hasmonean (a Jewish family that included the Maccabees) into Roman rule. “The name ‘Herod’ is Greek and originated with a shadowy ancestor about whom, even in antiquity, little was known. Two ancient traditions make him either a descendant of a notable Jewish family with a lineage traceable to the Babylonian exile or a slave in the temple of Apollo in the Philistine city of Ashkelon. Neither can be proved” (Achtemeier 385). For well over a century and a half, the Herods would figure prominently in the Roman government under a multitude of emperors from 67 B.C. to about 100 A.D. The first ruler of this dynasty is Antipater I, who is appointed governor of Idumaea by the Hasmoneans. The Idumaeans are forced to “convert” to the Jewish faith, making them Jews at least in name. Meanwhile, Antipater’s son, Antipater II, through military and political savvy, earned Roman citizenship for his family and positions of power for his oldest two sons, Phasael and Herod. The latter was named governor of Galilee and was ultimately known as “Herod the Great.”

“Herod the Great” is the first of this dynasty to be mentioned in Scripture. He has a long reign characterized by guile, violence, and political alliance. By the time we read about him at the birth of Jesus, he’s months from dying. He had had ten wives and borne several sons who would fight with each other before and after his death. He had won acclaim among the Romans for his grandiose building projects, including the city of Sebaste, Strato’s Tower, Caesarea Maritime, Masada, Machaerus, the Herodium in Perea, the Alexandrium, Cypros, Hyrcania, and the Herodium southeast of Bethlehem (ibid. 386-387). No doubt his greatest architectural achievement was the extravagant rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem, which the disciples of Jesus took such great pride in (Mark 13:1). 

This Herod is shown to be cunning (Mat. 2:7), deceitful (Mat. 2:8), violent-tempered (Mat. 2:16), and vicious (Mat. 2:16-19). Information gleaned from outside the Bible confirm these character traits. Josephus especially chronicles Herod’s depravity with reams of material about murders he committed, intrigues he entered into, and power struggles he fought (Antiquities 14-18). Blomberg observes, 

It is often observed that there are no other historical documents substantiating Herod’s “massacre of the innocents.” But given the small size of Bethlehem and the rural nature of the surrounding region, there may have been as few as twenty children involved, and the killings would have represented a relatively minor incident in Herod’s career, worthy of little notice by ancient historians who concentrated on great political and military exploits (68). 

In addition to what we read of him in Matthew 2, “many of Herod’s building projects serve as backdrops for events of the New Testament” (Winstead, n.p.). Bethlehem is near the Herodium. Gospel writers repeatedly reference his rebuilt Jerusalem temple (John 7-10). The book of Acts refers to his coastal city of Caesarea, called Caesarea Maritima (Acts 8; 21:8; 23:33)–different from Caesarea Philippi in Matthew 16:13. As a living legacy to his wickedness, three of his sons disputed over what and how much territory they would rule. Augustus Caesar settled the matter by dividing the kingdom “but withholding the royal title of “king” from all of the heirs” (Garcia-Treto 378). 

The most notable thing about a man who pursued and was granted a measure of earthly greatness is the contrast between himself and the baby Jesus, “king of the Jews” (Mat. 2:2). He sought power and greatness. Jesus emptied Himself to be born in our likeness (Phil. 2:5-7). Herod sought self-preservation, but Jesus came for our preservation (1 Tim. 1:15). Herod jealousy guarded his position, but Jesus “gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). We will see the contrast between Jesus’ kingdom and the sordid legacy of King Herod, revealed in what the Bible says of his wicked descendants. 

Sources Cited

 Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 385. Print.

 Blomberg, Craig. Matthew. Vol. 22. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992. Print. The New American Commentary.

 Garcia-Treto, Francisco O. “Herod.” Ed. Mark Allan Powell. The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated) 2011 : 378. Print.

 Winstead, Melton B. “Herod the Great.” Ed. John D. Barry et al. The Lexham Bible Dictionary 2016 : n. pag. Print.

palace ruins built into the rocks in Masada, Palestine.
Herod’s Palace at Masada (Photo Credit: Kathy Pollard, July 2017)

Do You Know Him Or Know Of Him?

Do You Know Him Or Know Of Him?

Tuesday Column: Dale Mail

blond man with goatee smiling at camera with blazer on
Dale Pollard


God speaks of Himself as simply “I Am.” This is one powerful statement depicts His infinite presence and His existence through every age. What does it mean to know Him? How do you know if you do? To know of Jesus is very different than knowing Him.

John is one of those books in the New Testament that will help us to become better aquainted with the Christ. John paints us a vivid picture of who He was and is on a deeper level than even the three previous books.

He’s the Bread of life, Light of the world, the Gate, Good Shepherd, Resurrection and Life, the Truth, and the Vine. All of these titles found within the book teach us a little more about the Savior of the world. There are seven “I Am” statements in John referring to Jesus and three hundred throughout the entire Bible. They begin in Genesis and end in Revelation, and in many books in-between. You just can’t read very far without discovering something very profound about it’s Writer.

He’s eternal. God’s desired response to this is simply for us to believe, respond, and live with our minds and hearts prepared to live with Him. When Jesus describes Himself as the “I Am” it makes the religious leaders want to kill Him in John 8. To know Jesus, to really know Him, is something that many people have not fully understood. Even as Jesus walked among us mortals and witnessed His miraculous power there were still several that didn’t realize what it meant to follow Him Luke 9:57-62.

While it’s true that everyone is made in the image of God, few reflect the Father’s image. Those that know Jesus introduce others to Him. With the knowledge that we are imperfect, let’s not forget that we also have the ability to have a relationship with Him. I am flawed and I am weak, but the Great I Am is interested in who I am.

By the grace of God, I am His child. He is the bread of life that sustains us, the light that guides us, the gate we’ll walk through, and the truth that will save us. It’s not how great I am, but how great the Great I Am is. Do you know Jesus?

Jesus Has All Authority

Jesus Has All Authority

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

Jesus has come to Jerusalem and taken the gloves off. By His unparalleled authority, He is directly challenging the religious establishment whose shallow righteousness has been rejected by His Father. He has come to take the Old Law out of the way and establish His church. It’s teaching like this parable in Luke 20:9-18 that will provoke those leaders to the point that they will trump up charges and bribe false witnesses to arrest, try, and have Him crucified. This parable is stark and shocking, and the moral as heavy as an anvil. Notice.

THESE LEADERS WERE GUILTY OF IMPROPER STEWARDSHIP (9). The “man” in the parable represents God, the Father. He made Israel a nation and gave the Jews a Law to follow and keep. The Jews, particularly the religious leadership, were entrusted with faithfully carrying it out, but they did not. 

THEY WERE GUILTY OF TAKING WHAT DIDN’T BELONG TO THEM (10). In fact, these leaders–dubbed “the vine-growers” by Jesus in this parable–thought that they were in charge. They sought to make people subject to them, to follow their rules (cf. Rom. 10:3-4). The end result was vain religion (Mat. 15:8-9).

THEY WERE GUILTY OF ABUSING THOSE SENT TO THEM (11-15). The “slaves” sent to them were presumably prophets and teachers, no doubt inclusive of John the Baptist. These were the Father’s spokesmen, come to teach and correct them. Each one sent was treated the same, sad way: they “beat him and sent him away empty-handed.” Last of all, the son was sent (13-14). The “owner” (the Father) sent Him, saying, “I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him” (13). Instead, seeing Him as the heir, they plotted to kill Him (14). Obviously, Jesus is referring to Himself and the very thoughts these religious leaders were thinking as He told the parable! 

THEY WERE GUILTY OF LOSING WHAT WAS ENTRUSTED TO THEM (16-18). Instead of being convicted by this parable, these religious leaders recoil at the moral of the parable: “What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others” (15-16). Their emotion boils over and they audibly reply to Jesus’ parable, “May it never be!” They missed the travesty of the behavior they and their forefathers had shown to God’s messengers and the sin they were about to perpetrate on His Son. They didn’t want to lose their grip on the power and influence they had taken. But Jesus doubles down, changing the imagery from a vineyard to building construction. They were going to reject Jesus, the stone, but He would be made the chief corner stone. He would judge and destroy them, if they did not abandon their rebellion.

Jesus is full of love, kindness, and peace. But, that’s an incomplete picture of Him. He came to establish His rule and reign. He must be King and Lord of our lives. We must submit to His way and truth to enjoy His life. 

Open Bible on a black table with book marker and pink highlighting
Jesus Has All Authority
Lessons We Learn From Jesus’ Temptations

Lessons We Learn From Jesus’ Temptations

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

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Neal Pollard

Jesus knew temptation. The writer of Hebrews makes that point about Him in assuring us He, as our High Priest, knows just what we are going through in this life (2:18; 4:15). His suffering allows Him to sympathize. I am comforted to know that He understands, since He is like me (Heb. 2:17). Luke (4:1-13) records this significant and pivotal moment in Jesus’ life before He begins His public ministry. It gives me necessary insight into who Jesus is, and it helps me fight the common battle against the enticements of my flesh, my eyes, and my pride.

TEMPTATION STRIKES THOSE IN A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. To be clear, temptation strikes “every man” (Heb. 4:15). But, sometimes we conclude that it’s not so bad or so frequent for the spiritually strong. Here is the perfect Son of God, described as full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit (1), who encounters the tempter (2). Being spiritually strong can help make navigating temptation easier than it is for those who live according to the flesh (Rom. 8:5-14), but no one was closer to God and more spiritually healthy than Jesus as He walked the earth. How helpful to consider Paul’s warning here: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). 

TEMPTATION STRIKES IN PREDICTABLE AREAS. John classifies temptation into three major categories: “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 Jn.2:16). Methodical Luke lists Jesus’ temptation in that very order (cf. Mat. 4:1-11). The serpent, approaching Eve, must have appealed to these very areas at the beginning (Gen. 3:6). The devil does not have to get more complicated than that because these avenues are overwhelmingly effective for him. Though this and other passages reveal the Evil One’s intentions and efforts, we are fully accountable for how we respond to temptation (Jas. 1:13-15). We must take responsibility for how we handle temptation. 

TEMPTATION STRIKES WHEN WE ARE VULNERABLE. Jesus has gone an unfathomable 40 days without food when He encounters the devil (2ff). The devil goes straight for this susceptible area. Think back to times when you haven’t gotten proper rest, you faced stress and pressure, you were sick or felt poorly, and other trying times. These can easily become doors we open to sin. All of us will experience physical and emotional weakness. We must be aware that these lead to spiritual exposure. 

TEMPTATION CAN MAKE US CALL WHAT WE KNOW INTO QUESTION. Twice, the devil uses conditional statements to try and create doubt. First, he says, “If You are the Son of God” (3). He called Jesus’ identity into question. Then, he says, “if You worship me” (7). He seeks to get Jesus to question His loyalty. It was not a matter of what Jesus intellectually knew, but Jesus dwelled in the flesh (John 1:14; Heb. 2:14). Be aware that temptation will cause us to question things we know, too. That includes our exalted identity and our true motivation.

TEMPTATION IS THWARTED BY AN OMNIPOTENT TOOL. Jesus wins His battles with the devil and temptation by leaning on truth. There are 86 quotations of Deuteronomy (the second giving of the Law of Moses) in the New Testament, and Jesus quotes this book in reference to each of the devil’s temptations (8:3; 6:13; 6:16). Proper knowledge and handling of Scripture help even when enemies of truth, even the devil, try to misuse Scripture against us (as he does with Jesus, misapplying Psalm 91:11-12). Scripture is God’s own weapon, given to us not to cut and maim others but to fight off temptation and fend off the biggest threats to our faith and soul (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17). 

It is wonderful to contemplate a day in which temptation will be permanently past-tense (cf. Rev. 21:1ff; 1 Cor. 15:55-58). Until then, we benefit so much from seeing how Jesus coped with the bane of temptation. It also helps us appreciate what He endured in order to give us salvation. 

Vasily Polenov (1909), “Christ In The Desert”
Make Like A Tree And “Leaf”

Make Like A Tree And “Leaf”

Friday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

carl-pic

Carl Pollard

The Redwood National Park in California is home to the world’s tallest tree. Standing at over 380 feet tall this tree is incredible to look at. The California Redwood is estimated to be able to reach a staggering 425 feet in its lifetime. It continues to grow all its life and there’s a reason it gets so tall, as the lifespan of this tree is up to 2,200 years. Think about that! There are redwood trees that are still growing today that were planted 200 years before Christ was born.
The California Redwood is massive. It is over 29 feet in diameter and has a root system that spreads over three miles underground. These trees are truly incredible. But like most trees, the key to their growth is water. California redwoods consume over 56,000 gallons of water each year or 150 gallons of water each day!
 
In Psalm 1:1, we are given this description: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” This person is blessed when they avoid the progression of sin. Notice how the psalmist describes the progression:
 
  • Walk not in the counsel of the wicked.
  • Nor Stands in the way of sinners.
  • Nor Sit in the seat of the scoffers.
 
These steps illustrate what people do when they are tempted by sin. They walk among it, noticing the wicked and their deeds. Once they walk among it, their curiosity gets the best of them and they begin to pause and spend time in the presence of sinners. Finally they are fully drawn into sin and they sit down and practice the evil that they have observed.
 
Rather than walking, standing and sitting with sinners, the righteous man delights in the law of the Lord. Verse two says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” The choice is obvious for the righteous man. He avoids the sin and chooses the Word of God over anything else.
 
Verse three reads, “He is like a tree that is planted by the waters that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, in all he does he prospers.” The source of life for this tree is water. Just like the California Redwood needs water in order to grow, the saved man spends his time next to the source of life. What is this water? John 4:14 reveals, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” For the Christian, our source of life comes from Christ. We are able to grow and thrive on the words of God.
 
Let’s make the decision daily to be firmly planted in the words of life. That way, we too can be counted as righteous!
General Sherman (Sequoia National Park)
Fred Baur

Fred Baur

Thursday’s Column: Learning From Lehman

bwilsons

Braden Wilson

It was 2008, just 20 days shy of his 90th birthday, when Fred Baur died. On the way to the funeral home, his kids decided to stop at a nearby Walgreens to pick up some salty snacks. They debated for a bit, should it be sour cream and onion, cheddar cheese maybe? Larry and his siblings finally decided on Original. 

You see, Fred adored his kids, but his passion was snacks. His accomplishments included a variety of frying oils and freeze-dried ice cream. 

Fred was an American organic Chemist that had received both his masters and PhD at The Ohio State University, and it was 1966 when P&G came calling. Evidently, in the 1960s, there was a problem with the packaging and shipping of potato chips. By the time the consumer would pick up potato chips at a store, well, they were merely in pieces. This is where P&G thought Fred could help solve this problem. 

After two years of experimentation, Fred developed a chip of dried potato flakes, added a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients, and cut them into thin hyperbolic paraboloids. With this shape, Fred could neatly stack his chips into his vacuum sealed tube. 

By this time, you know that I am referring to Fred’s invention of Pringles, but the story doesn’t end there. Fred still wasn’t done with his invention. 

There were problems:

First and foremost, they tasted like sawdust, so Fred spent another 2 years to improve the taste. Then, another issue. Frito-Lay sent lawyers because they said Fred’s chips weren’t potato chips at all because they were just 42% potato. 

After some time and haggling, they decided to call them potato crisps. 

Fred persevered.

He gave birth to an iconic brand that many of us still enjoy today. Through years of experimentation, development, and disappointments, lawyers-at one point P&G wanted to trash the idea. 

But Fred persevered. 

He was able to see his brand break 100 million in sales. He was able to see it break 500 million in sales. However, he wasn’t there in 2011 when P&G sold Pringles for almost 2.5 Billion Dollars. 

That brings us back to 2008 when Fred’s children showed up to the funeral home with the Original flavored can of pringles. Fred’s wish was to have his ashes be placed in a Pringles can when he passed. 

Fred got his wish.

As great as this story is, we wouldn’t have this story if it wasn’t for Fred’s perseverance. And as great as Fred’s perseverance was, we have so many examples of greater perseverance in the Bible. 

Consider Joshua, Job, Jeremiah, Nehemiah and our greatest example of perseverance, Jesus. These are just a few of the many examples the Bible gives us. 

Two points I want to quickly make about Perseverance, and the lesson is yours. 

Number 1. WE HAVE A NEED FOR PERSEVERANCE.

It’s not a matter of if, but when…Christians Will Face Tribulations in Life. Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 

Christ never promised us that this life would be a bed of roses. The Gospel never said we’d go to Heaven on “flowery beds of ease.” Rather, we are promised that we shall have hardships and tribulations in this life, especially if we are faithful Children of God.

Only those who persevere receive the reward. Revelation 2:10-11 tells us, “ Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Number 2. PERSEVERANCE IS DEVELOPED IN TRIBULATION.

Romans 8: 18-28 can be summarized as this: Viewed in faith, tribulation is a friend rather than an enemy. I don’t know a lot of adversity that is necessarily fun, but we can learn from it, and we can grow from it. 

In Deuteronomy 8, the Israelites failed to see the benefits of their trials. 

In Numbers, we see there was an Exodus of over one Million Israelites. 

We later see that only two Persevered and reached the promised land. 

In 1 Corinthians and Hebrews, Paul admonishes us not to imitate the Israelites.

Rather than complain, rejoice in God’s work in your life. 

Difficulties and trials would not normally be considered an occasion for joy but think about James and Paul and how they exhort us to look beyond the immediate pain and discomforts of trials to the lasting effect they have on the character of the Christian. 

It is the development of our character, that should cause us to rejoice in adversity. Always remember who wins in the end. 

We all have mountains to climb and sometimes holes to dig ourselves out of. Perhaps you want to begin to persevere and put on the armor of God through Baptism. There is no better time than now. Perhaps you’ve been baptized, and you’re currently trying so hard to climb the mountain that you’re on and you’ve had setbacks. We would love to help you reach the peak. 

Much More Better

Much More Better

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

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Gary Pollard

Jesus wants us to have a perfect eternity with him because he sees us as family (Heb. 2.11-14). He took drastic measures to make sure anyone who wants to could easily get a passport to heaven. 

  • He took a 33 year demotion to save us (Heb. 2.9). The engineer and fabricator of reality stepped down to an entry-level position so His own creation could abuse and kill him. 
  • An immortal being allowed Himself to die. He did this to experience what all of us have to experience (2.9). 
  • The best pulmonologists have a respiratory disorder (or a family member with one). They empathize and know from personal experience what works. Jesus was the perfect person to give out freedom because He personally experienced what we go through. If someone’s going to be in charge of handing out grace, who better than someone who can empathize with our struggles (2.10; 17,18)? 
  • He makes us perfect in God’s eyes (2.11). 
  • He brags on His family to the father and to the faithful dead who are hanging out with Him until judgment (2.11-13; 12.21-23). 
  • Death is scary and uncertain, but not for Christians. Satan used our fear of death against us (2.14; cf Rom. 8.15), but Jesus confiscated Satan’s power.  
  • He made God very accessible, which makes it easy to stay faithful (4.16). 
  • He’s better than ancient human priests – and even they were gentle/patient with ignorant and weak believers (5.1,2). If they were patient with ignorant, weak believers, He’s even more patient (5.5-10). 
Teens stand for Scripture reading at recent Summer Youth Series (Chase Johnson reading)
A GLIMPSE OF HOW JESUS DID MINISTRY (Luke 5:12-26)

A GLIMPSE OF HOW JESUS DID MINISTRY (Luke 5:12-26)

NOTE: Brent had surgery today to have a tracheotomy put in place. He’s still very critical and today marks one month in the Trauma ICU at Erlanger’s Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. People from all over have been praying. Thank you! Please continue in prayer for him. I’m filling in for Carl today, who is filling in for Brent tomorrow. Here’s today’s “Preachers Pollard” blog post…

Thursday’s Column: Brent’s Biblical Bytes

Neal Pollard

I taught the course, The Preacher And His Work, at the Bear Valley Bible Institute for about a decade. At one point during those years, I reworked the curriculum and my approach was that God had one son, and He was a preacher (a famous quote from a 19th-Century Spurgeon sermon). Every one of us who serve formally as gospel preachers have the perfect model of a preacher in Jesus. But, thinking more broadly about the service (ministry) we have as Christians, He serves as an example for all of us. In this paragraph, we have the perfect microcosm of Jesus’ overall approach to service that can help us as we try to serve Him every day.

JESUS SERVED WITH HUMBLE WILLINGNESS (12-15). Jesus has just picked a small group of men to mentor (1-11), and what better way to start their training than by showing them how to respond to those in need? Of course, Jesus’ mission was broader than theirs or ours. He was proving Himself to be the Son of God by “miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through” Him (Acts 2:22). But the “how” of His approach is worthy of our imitation. A man in deplorable condition begs for His help, if He is willing, and Jesus says, “I am willing” (13). Then, He helps Him. But, Jesus is not wanting fame or acknowledgement. He even asks the healed leper not to tell anyone except the priest as he went and obeyed God’s commandment by making an offering for the cleansing according to the Law of Moses (14). Despite Jesus’ desire that this remain a secret, news inevitably spread! Jesus shows us a heart willing to help, but not wanting the credit. What an example! 

JESUS SUPPLEMENTED HIS SERVICE WITH SOLITUDE AND PRAYER (16). This is a remarkable, almost parenthetical statement. Between the leper and the paralytic, as well as others whose stories aren’t specifically shared by Luke, Jesus needed to “often slip away to the wilderness and pray” (16). This phrase is pregnant with meaning. He would go “often,” not occasionally. The perfect Son of God often needed the spiritual recharge He got from communion with God. How much more is that true of us? The word translated “slip away” conveys the idea of retreat or withdrawal, and implies going to a place and spending some time there (BDAG 1043). I wonder how someone doing such prolific and prominent work could manage to slip away, but it must have meant so much to Jesus that He insured that it happened. The more actively I serve Jesus, the more crucial time spent alone with God becomes! I do not want to be so focused on spiritual service that I neglect my own spiritual strength! 

JESUS STRENGTHENED HIS MESSAGE WITH SERVICE (17-26). The bulk of this parable is devoted to the healing of the paralytic, who is aided by the service of his friends. We’re familiar with this story, as friends filled with faith, lower the paralyzed man through a roof for Jesus to heal him. We may forget that the occasion that drew such a crowd was Jesus’ teaching people who had come from near and far, including teachers of the law. The service-opportunity, Jesus being asked to heal the paralytic, was in the middle of the teaching opportunity. Jesus amplified the power and truth of His message by His humble willingness to help. Jesus proves the authority of His work and message, as well as His power to forgive, by healing him. 

Notice how the people reacted (26). They were struck with astonishment. They glorified God. They were filled with fear. They left that day with an unforgettable impression. We understand that Jesus’ mission was unique. His purpose was greater than ours, proving Himself to be God in the flesh, endowed with miraculous powers, and doing all of it with perfect sinlessness. But, His mentality and His ethic is completely reproducible. God needs you and me actively serving Him before a lost and dying world. We have the power to help everyone with their greatest need, but we can support the message just as Jesus did. We can prove God’s love by our willing service. Let’s all do ministry like Jesus did, and we will impact the world just as He did.  

Have you watched “The Chosen”? Very touching series!