Second Chances

“Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.” Can you imagine hearing those words? Those were the words King Hezekiah heard in 2 Kings 20:1. He responded like many would 2, Kings 20:2-3. He prayed and wept bitterly.

Then something amazing happened! Isaiah, the prophet, told Hezekiah that God would grant him 15 more years of life, 2 Kings 20:6. God gave this man a SECOND CHANCE.

Hezekiah was given 5,475 more days. If you were Hezekiah, what would you do with the rest of your time? The reality is, every second is a gift from God. What will we do with the second chances we are given?

Are you in need of a second chance?

God is merciful.

God is good.

God is forgiving.

Make good of the second chances you are given.

  1. Worship God.
  2. Serve Him.
  3. Serve Others.
  4. Prepare for Eternity.

Jesus Knows What You’re Going Through

I’m currently studying and teaching the book of Hebrews. It’s so rich. While there may be some heavy thoughts in the book, it is a book worth reading.

For those who are Christians, it’s a reminder of our great God.

It’s a reminder of our great King in heaven, Jesus Christ. We are reminded of His superiority over the angels.

We are reminded of His superiority over Moses.

As the Hebrew writers speaks about how Christ is superior, he is NOT saying that angels, Moses, or the first covenant were bad. Rather, it’s a comparison of things that were good and how Christ is so much better.

In Hebrews 2:17, the writer says, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

  • Jesus is described as being a Merciful and Faithful High Priest.
  • The writer will unpack this idea of Jesus being a priest in the latter chapters.
  • A priest was one who could relate to the people as he made intercession between God and the people. The priests in the Old Testament were appointed by God. This is what the writer will argue in Hebrews 5:1-4.
  • The book of Leviticus in chapters 8 and 9 give us more information about the Aaron and his sons becoming priests. They were appointed by God. Priests in the future were to come from the tribe of Levi. A man couldn’t just appoint himself to be a priest (although some tried and rebelled like Korah in Numbers chapter 16 and Jeroboam as he appointed men in 1 Kings 12:30-31).

Yet Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. He was the Messiah. He was King. And He also now suffers as our great High Priest of our confession, Hebrews 3:1.

The Hebrew writer will discuss this again in Hebrews 4:14-15, where he says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

WOW! How amazing is this? Why is the writer emphasizing this so much?

Because Jesus can truly say, “I know what you’re going through.”

Jesus was appointed by God to be our great high priest. This is why the Hebrew argues in Hebrews 5:1-6. Jesus was a man of the people and can relate what it is that we go through. He’s the one that can say, “I know what you’re experiencing.”

This is reason for us to turn to HIM. He is to be the source of our strength.

Not ourselves.

Not money.

Not power.

Not our careers.

Not our status on social media.

In the ancient near east, the one who was King served not only as a King but also as Priest. The king was in the best position to be an intercessor for that particular nations deity. The nation of Israel was the exception. The king didn’t rule as King and Priest. Rather, the priests were to come from the tribe of Levi.

Yet with Christ, He is both King and High Priest. He is the Son of God. This is what the Hebrew writer will argue in chapter 5. He will continue this discussion in the latter chapters as well.

So, what’s the point?

Are you a Christian? Then know that Jesus…

  1. Is a merciful and faithful High Priest.
  2. He is able to sympathize with what you’re going through.
  3. Is to be our example in all things.
  4. Is waiting to help us.

Indeed, God is GOOD.

Let us rejoice knowing Jesus is our great high priest.

Getting To Know Jesus Post #2 The Certainty Of These Things

Yesterday, I announced I’m beginning a series of posts discussing some details about Jesus of Nazareth. It’s called “Getting To Know Jesus.” You can find the link to that blog post HERE.

Below is the latest post in this series called, “The Certainty Of These Things.” If you have questions, please let me know.


The Certainty Of These Things

As we begin our study concerning the life of Jesus, it’s important to know that we can trust what we read in the Bible. The Bible claims to be “inspired by God,” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. That means that the Scriptures are “God-breathed.” God is the author of Scripture. It was God who gave direction in giving the Scripture. What’s written in the scriptures are from God Himself. These are the very words of God!

In fact, as we begin our study, you will see the great confidence Luke wanted his readers to have the details concerning the life of Jesus. Listen to what he wrote in Luke 1:1-4:

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”

What can we learn about the certainty of the things recorded for us in the book of Luke concerning Jesus?

What Is Recorded about Jesus Is True

Luke carefully recorded the events detailing the life of Jesus for a man named Theophilus.

  1. Luke received information from those who were eyewitnesses of Jesus, Luke 1:2. Those eyewitnesses were the apostles who were with Jesus in the first century, Luke 24:33-48. Luke’s account of the life of Jesus was written around 60–62 A.D.
  2. Eyewitness testimony is the most powerful kind of testimony. While Luke was not one of the apostles, he was able to learn about Jesus from them. As a result, he could with great confidence write out in consecutive order the details concerning the life of Jesus. He was also guided by the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 3:3-5. Therefore, we can trust his words. This is the exact truth concerning Jesus. What should we conclude from this point? That we can trust what is written for us in scripture. 

The gospel of Luke shows the life of Jesus intertwined in history.

  1. Jesus really did live. There are some who may deny this, but to do so goes against history. Virtually all scholars agree that Jesus lived. What’s written about Him is not fiction. A careful reading of Luke will help you to see that Luke recorded numerous leaders and politicians that lived in the days of Jesus. For example in Luke 2:1-2, Luke said, “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.”
  2. In Luke 3:1-2, it says, “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.”
  3. It could be easy for us to see if Luke was making these names up. We can fact check these places and these people to see if they really did live. What’s the point? The point is that the life of Jesus is a part of history. He walked and lived on earth.

A Jewish historian named Flavius Josephus wrote about Jesus in the first century.

  1. Josephus lived from 37–100; he became the greatest Jewish historian of his time and wrote about Jesus. In one of his works called Antiquities of the Jews, which he finished around 93 A.D., book 18, chapter 3, and section 3 said this about Jesus: At this time (the time of Pilate) there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” Why do we need to know this information?
    1. Others spoke of Jesus outside of the Bible.
    2. Josephus was not a Christian, yet he wouldn’t deny that Jesus really did live.
    3. Just as Josephus spoke of Pilate so did Luke, Luke 23:1-13, 20, 24.
  2. What Luke recorded about Jesus was written in the first century. What Josephus wrote about Jesus was in the first century. Including Josephus and his writings according to Frank Turek in his book, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.”, there are 10 known non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of His life. By contrast, over the same 150 years, there are 9 non-Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus. So, discounting all the Christian sources, Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the Roman emperor. We can learn from these sources that:
    1. Jesus lived during time of Tiberius Caesar.
    2. He lived a virtuous life.
    3. He was a wonder-worker.
    4. He had a brother named James.
    5. He was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
    6. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
    7. He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover.
    8. Darkness and an earthquake occurred when he died.
    9. His disciples believed He rose from the dead.
    10. His disciples were willing to die for their belief.
    11. Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome.
    12. His disciples denied the Roman gods and worshiped Jesus as God.

We have accurate copies of what men like Luke and the apostles wrote concerning Jesus.

  1. When we speak of the New Testament documents, we are referring to 27 books. These were written by the end of the first century. In 2 Peter 3:14-16, the apostle Peter referenced Paul’s writing as scripture (divine writings). In 1 Timothy 5:18, the apostle Paul referred to Luke’s writing (from Luke 10:7) as scripture (divine writings).
  2. It is true that none of the original documents remain. We have only copies of the original writings called manuscripts. Yet there are thousands of copies written in Greek (5,800 complete or fragmented), (10,000 in Latin), and (9,000 in various languages like Syriac, Coptic, Latin, Arabic).
    • The earliest manuscript is the John Ryland’s fragment (called this because it is housed in the John Ryland’s Library in Manchester, England). It’s dated between 117–138 A.D.
    • It was found in Egypt—across the Mediterranean from its probable place of composition in Asia Minor—demonstrating that John’s gospel was copied and had spread quite some distance by the early second century.

The New Testament writers were only concerned about writing what was true. 

This is why when you read in the New Testament, you will see the writers discussing embarrassing details about the apostles (like in Matthew 16:21-23). They didn’t try to hide anything. This is why we read some demanding sayings from Jesus (like in Matthew 5:27-32). The apostles were not trying to deceive anyone. They simply wanted people to know the truth.

So what’s the point of all of this? What we have in the New Testament is true. The information we have about Jesus is trustworthy and reliable.

New Series: Getting To Know Jesus

How much do you know about Jesus the Christ, the Son of God? Do you believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God? When it comes to Jesus, there are many different views that people have. When Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:13-14 what people said about Him, they gave Him various answers. The passages says, “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

During His ministry Jesus was accused by some to have a demon, John 10:20.  The text says, “Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” There were others who couldn’t see who He really was, because they simply saw the boy of Joseph and Mary.

What about you? If someone were to ask you who is Jesus, what would you say?

How can one really learn about Jesus? Where can we go to learn about His life, His teaching, His miracles, His death, and His resurrection? The answer is the Bible.

This series of lessons that I will be posting the next 6-7 days will assist you in learning the facts about Jesus. More importantly, it will help you to know what Jesus desires from us in our lives. The information in this booklet will come from the gospels. The word Gospel means good news. There are four books in the New Testament that are referred to as the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). These four books provide us with the most information about Jesus than any other book/s in the world!

If you want to get to know Jesus, then you must open up your Bible. As we dive into our study you will learn a lot about Jesus and the Bible. As you study, I want you to be thinking about one question that you will need to answer.

“If Jesus is the Son of God, will you submit to Him no matter what the cost may be?”

Be thinking about this as we study. Jesus wants you to submit to Him. Salvation is free, but there is a cost if you decide to follow Him. Listen to the words of Jesus in  Luke 14:25-27.

“Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple.”

Thank you for reading. Here’s what’s on the schedule in the coming days. If you have questions, please let me know.

  1. The Certainty of These Things
  2. Basic Facts About the Gospels
  3. The Names of Jesus
  4. His Teaching
  5. The Miracles of Jesus
  6. The Death, Burial, and Resurrection
  7. Salvation, Commitment, the Lord’s Church

Surviving Storms

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

Do you trust God? Our currency has written on it, “In God We Trust.” But do we trust Him? It’s easy to say we do, but it’s another to live it and believe it. It’s easy to raise our hand in Bible class and say, “We should always trust God.”

But it’s different when you experience a death in the family. It’s tough when there’s something wrong with your child. It’s challenging when problems arise in the church. It’s hard when you have to make a choice between your friends and your God. It’s difficult when you’re the only one in class who believes in the creation story. You wouldn’t think that God’s people would need to be reminded to trust in God, but we do. God’s people have always needed reminders.

This was true even for the apostles.

The apostles saw the miracles of Jesus. There was no reason for them not to have faith. Yet they needed to be reminded to trust God!

 In the gospels, we read  about the apostles going through a couple of storms. They would have to trust in God. We can learn some lessons from these stories as we think about different storms we will face in life.

 Storm #1: Mark 4:35-40

After a long day of teaching on the sea, Jesus told the apostles to cross to the other side. Earlier that day Jesus had taught parables to the crowds, Mark 4:1. Soon after they began to cross over to the other side, they ran into some problems. There arose a fierce (great) wind. Water began to pour into their boat. You would have thought that they would have been accustomed to this being that many were fishermen. This was no regular storm. Fear quickly set in the  hearts of the apostles. They cried out to Jesus for help, and He responded, Mark 4:38. Yet is was Jesus who then questioned them about their faith. This entire series of events is amazing to consider.

 Storm #2: Matthew 14:22-33.

After feeding 5,000 people with a boys sack lunch, Jesus told His apostles to get into the boat. While the apostles were in the boat crossing the sea, Jesus spent time in prayer, Matthew 8:23. By the time He would begin to cross the sea, His apostles were far ahead of Him. Instead of Jesus taking a boat to catch up to His apostles, He decided to go on a walk. It’s here that we find Peter asking Jesus to walk on the water,Matthew 14:28-29. That took some FAITH. But as he saw the winds, Peter became fearful, Matthew 14:30. What can we learn from these stories?

 1. Live with faith. Storms will come. Life can change from calm to stormy quickly. Trials don’t make us unique. How we respond to them is what will make us unique. Jesus demands that walk by faith.

2. Storms will reveal our faith. It’s been said, “Trials don’t make or break you. Instead, they reveal you.” Trials will reveal what kind of faith we have (shallow or strong). The disciples faith was shaken but then strengthened as a result of the storms, Mark 4:41Matthew 14:33. Storms can actually be good for us as they will help us to draw closer to God.

3. Know that Jesus cares. He cared for His apostles and He cares for us.

4. Trust the facts and not your feelings. No matter what we face, we must remember that God is in control. The disciples FELT like they were going to drown. But they fact is they had Jesus on board. During storms, focus on Jesus and what you know, compared to what you are feeling. That’s how we will be able to survive storms. 

Benjamin Lee.