I Thess 1.7-9 shows that when we believe something enough to fundamentally change our lives, it makes a powerful statement to the world. Our reason for this change is outlined in 1.10: We’re waiting for God’s son to come from the sky. This verse is a summary of our purpose.
Jesus came back to life as proof of concept. Death is terrifying to most of us because it’s unknown. Jesus died and came back to life after a couple of days to prove that death’s temporary. Paul hints in I Cor 15.50-52 that death will only last fraction of a second from our perspective. One moment we’ll pass away, the next we’ll be awakened by Jesus’s return. This is a huge comfort to us because we’re God’s people. But this should be terrifying to people who don’t love God. When we come back to life, we’ll get to leave this place with Jesus. But everyone else will suffer forever.
We also learn from 1.10 that Jesus’s return is to rescue us when God unleashes his anger on the earth. II Pt 3.5-7 describes the end of earth as a fire-flood. It’s clearly compared to the ancient world’s water flood. I Thess 4.17 tells us that we’ll meet him in the air, which would have to take place before the atmosphere is obliterated by whatever thermal event wipes this place out (II Pt 3.10, 12). Jesus is our savior. To put σωτήρ (soter) in modern English, Jesus is our rescuer. What’s he rescuing us from? Our sin is part of that, but ultimately he’s going to rescue us from God’s anger when the world is destroyed for the last time (Phil 3.20; I Thess 1.10).
“Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, brother of James, Joses, and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us? And they took offense at Him. Then Jesus said ‘a prophet is not without honor except in his hometown among relatives and those of his household.” – Mark6:4
“Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenters son?” – Matthew13:54
Factor1 – LOCATION: Nazareth was located 3 miles fromSepphoris which at the time was developing quickly as part of Herod Antipas beautification project. It would eventually be known as “The Jewel Of All Galilee.” Jesus would have witnessed and perhaps helped his father cut stone in the quarry that was half way between Nazarethand the developing city.
Factor2 – DEMAND – In the days of Jesus there weren’t many trees in the area, and there still aren’t many today. To try and make a living working with a material that wasn’t readily available or even used much would be difficult.
– Factor3 LANGUAGE – “Tekton” simply means “builder” The Messiah was a handyman, and the spiritual connections in yourmind mayalready be forming.
Factor4 – SCRIPTURE – Luke 20:17ff – Jesus tells the parable about the wicked tenants, after Jesus is questioned about His authority in thetemple by the scribes/chief priests, He looks at them and says “The STONE the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?” quoting from Psalm 118.
Again quoted by Peter as he defends himself in front of religious leaders in Acts 4 “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected byyou the builders.” It was a reference to David’s lineage to theMessiah and it would have been familiar to Jewish stone builders.
Since I was a boy, “A Wonderful Savior” has been one of my favorite hymns. A multitude of reasons are cited in this beautiful song, all of which builds my adoration for the Lamb of God! Let me suggest three reasons why I think Jesus is a wonderful Savior.
He has a wonderful nature. Jesus is Divine and eternal. He possesses all the traits of Deity without qualification or limitation (Col. 2:9). That means He has the power to save “to the uttermost” (Heb. 7:25). Not only does He, as God, have the power, but He has the love (1 John 4:8). He has not only the power and the will, but also the desire.
He demonstrated wonderful love. Again, what could drive the perfect God to die for woeful, sinful, and wicked man? There was nothing in us deserving of love, so this says everything about Him and nothing about us. He loves me because HE is wonderful (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:25; cf. Rev. 3:9).
He has opened wonderful doors of opportunity. Paul loved using this terminology. He told Corinth in two letters about the Lord opening such doors for him (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12). He told the church at Colosse (4:3). He reported as much to the church at Antioch at the end of the first missionary journey (Acts 14:27). We cannot separate these opportunities from the Savior. Who do we seek to promote? What is our message? Who is the object of hope? He opens doors because of who He is. The Godhead, when we pray and seek His will, opens the doors through divine providence. How enriching and rewarding when we step through those wonderful doors!
Fanny J. Crosby had in mind the event up on Mt. Sinai when Moses received the ten commandments and the Lord descended in a cloud and stood with Moses there. It is a beautiful picture of a God who condescends to lowly man. That’s what Jesus did! He lowered Himself for us (Phil. 2:5ff). Thank God for such a Savior as we have!
It has been called “The Dark Ages Of The Old Testament.” During the period of the judges, there was moral, economic, social, political and religious decline. We often read that, during this time, the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
History keeps repeating itself in the book of Judges. The people do evil, God allows and oppressor to persecute them, the people turn back to God and plead for deliverance, and God raises up a deliverer to defeat the oppressor and deliver Israel. Here, we speak of the “cycle” of Judges: sin, servitude, sorrow, supplication, and salvation.
Their enemy invaders came from the East (Mesopotamia), the Southeast (Moab), the North (Canaan), the East (Midian and Ammon), and the Southwest (Philistia). It is interesting that Israel overcame Canaan in the militarily brilliant strategy orchestrated by God (Central Canaan—Josh. 7-8, Southern Canaan—Josh. 9-10, and then Northern Canaan—Josh. 11-12). As a result of Israel’s failure to utterly destroy the inhabitants of Canaan, the six oppressions came from the central, south, and north—each places where God had given them victory. What a reminder that when we don’t defeat the enemy, he will return! The enemy was sin!
Here is my summary of the book of Judges, as seen in Judges 2:16-19:
The rescued—“Them” (Israel)
The rivals—“Those” (God’s enemies)
The ruination—“Plundered them” (oppression)
The refusal—“They did not listen to their judges”
The reveling—“Played the harlot after other gods”
The retreat—“Turned said quickly”
The right road—“In which their fathers had walked”
The role models—“Father, obeying the commands of the Lord”
The resolution—“They did not so”
The raising—“The Lord raised them up judges”
The relationship—“The Lord was with the judges”
The restoration—“Delivered them from the hand of their enemies”
The repentance—“The Lord was moved to pity” (KJV—“It repented the Lord because of their groanings…”)
The return—“When their judge died, they would turn back”
The retrogression—“Acted more corruptly than their fathers”
The resilience—“Didn’t abandon their practice or stubborn ways”
The judge was the savior of the people. Time and time again, the people put themselves in a position to need some serious rescue, and our long-suffering God was willing to soften His heart to their cries. Eventually, His patience ran out and even in this time period there were severe consequences. How often do we need the blood of Christ and the forgiveness of the Father? Often, we need forgiveness for the same sins repeatedly. We wonder how Israel could fall into the same traps, but we do well to identify and avoid them in our own times. We have the benefit of both Old and New Testament Scripture, and they would have only had the writings of Moses and Joshua when they lived. May we learn from these ancient lessons (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11) and stay off that ancient cycle.
A little less than a century ago, Henry Barraclough wrote one of the most unique, lyrically-rich songs in our songbook. The musical arrangement is soothing in a way that matches the meaning of the words. However, its poetry has caused some problems.
The first verse begins, “My Lord has garments so wondrous fine, and myrrh their texture fills; Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine, with joy my being thrills.” This and the following verses must be understood in light of the chorus, which essentially tells us that Jesus left the perfect splendor of heaven to come to this sinful earth because of His unmatched love. With that background, we understand Barraclough’s meaning to be figurative. Jesus did not wear the clothes of a king while on earth. Thus, the writer seems to speak of the qualities of Jesus’ character, the power and influence of it. Myrrh is a perfume, a theme the writer uses through the various stanzas of the song. So, this first verse speaks of the attractiveness of Jesus’ character.
The second verse talks about the sorrow and pain He allowed Himself to endure. While we think of aloe as a healing plant, the writer speaks of it in the sense of its bitter root (see the footnote at the bottom of the song in Praise For The Lord). While Jesus was a king, He was also the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (cf. Isa. 53:3).
The third verse shifts the focus to Jesus as the Great Physician. He’s an attractive king, He’s a suffering Savior, but He’s also the able healer. The word “cassia,” as once again a footnote supplies, is a “medicinal herb.” The idea is that He rescues us from our sin problem.
The final verse refers to Jesus’ second coming. He will bring the faithful Christian to heaven. Taken together, we see Jesus in the “garb” (clothes) of King, Savior, Physician, and Judge. Driving it all is “only His great eternal love.” Understanding the underlying theme of the songwriter helps us to better worship and better appreciate the perfect Son of God.