Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven                 that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

Demons Fear & Obey – In the Gospel of Mark chapter 5 verses 1-20, Peter has just finished taking Jesus across the Sea of Galilee when a demon possessed man approaches the boat.  We’re provided details that this man lives among the tombs, has often been bound to be restrained but broke the chains, and constantly cried out and had self-inflicted wounds.   Here is a man who knows no peace, who when asked by Jesus what the name of the demon is, is told “Legion; for we are many.”

Jesus told the demons to leave the man and they obeyed him.  Peter and those who knew the man now observed him sitting down quietly, clothed, in his right mind, and perhaps for the first time in his life, knowing peace.  Instead of a life causing fear and terror, he left proclaiming to people in the region the great things Jesus had done for him and everyone marveled.  Like Peter, here was a man whose life was radically and dramatically changed.             

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?
 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven                 that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

His Calling – Peter was a fisherman by trade.  The Gospel of Luke chapter 5 verses 1-11 describe how after fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus instructed him to put his nets out into the deep water only to have the nets filled with fish to the point that the nets began to break.  We’re told Peter’s reaction involved amazement, fear, and falling down at the feet of Jesus saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”   Jesus responded, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”

And Peter left the fish, the boat, his profession – everything and followed Jesus.  And he was with Jesus during the entire time of his public ministry, so we have the reliability of an eye-witness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What Right did Peter Have to Make This Claim?

The Christian faith is sometimes criticized for the exclusive claims made that salvation from sin is only available through Jesus.   While exclusiveness is not confined to Christian faith, it is worth exploring why the claim is made.  Is valid proof offered?   Is there anything that might be unique compared to other faiths?  Are there credible witnesses?  Is the evidence compelling?

Peter, one of the Apostles and someone close to Jesus, provides a good case study.   He is perhaps the most emotional and genuine follower of Jesus in terms of his struggles to grasp the reality of Jesus and to faithfully and consistently follow Him.   And yet, his life was radically changed as evidenced by his statement to the Jewish religious leaders as recorded in Acts 4:12,

                “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven
                that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”

In future posts we’ll consider the evidence and proof that lie behind this claim.

Imagine the News

Jerusalem Temple Tribune – “Pagan Nobility Pose a Strange Question to King Herod”

News sources in the palace have advised that a large group of men known as Magi have travelled to pay Herod a courtesy visit with an unexpected question, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?”  Much to King Herod’s surprise their question was quite sincere and genuine.   They assumed that he would be aware of the event.   It was further reported that Herod consulted the Scribes, Lawyers and other experts of the Scriptures and was told that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.    Herod conveyed this finding to the Magi and asked them to report back when they had found the One, as he "wanted to go and pay homage to Him as well."

A palace correspondent reported as the Magi were departing from the palace that evening they became quite excited at sighting the bright object which that re-appeared in the sky.   They claimed they had been following this object for quite some time, that once again it was moving and they were determined to finish their journey.

Our Bethlehem correspondent reported that the entourage came to a small home in Bethlehem and begged entrance where they paid homage to the young boy child named Jesus and gave him gifts befitting of a King.   Our source was unable to estimate the value of the gifts but it was said to be quite extravagant.  A curious observation was that the Magi did not begin their journey home by way of Jerusalem, but had decided to take a different route.   It was further reported that the young family vacated their home shortly after the visit and their whereabouts are unknown.

In other news from Bethlehem, soldiers of King Herod conducted a raid and have killed all baby boys, two years of age and younger.   No explanation has been offered for the King’s actions.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Imagine the News

Jerusalem Temple Tribune – “Shepherds from Bethlehem Claim Angelic Appearance”

News has come from the region of Bethlehem that some shepherds are now claiming an appearance by an Angel to announce the birth of, as they put it, “A Savior who is the Messiah and Lord!”   The shepherds insist that while they were watching their flocks that suddenly there was a bright light and that a being, having the appearance of a man, told them not to be afraid and instructed them to go to a stable in Bethlehem where they would find this Christ child lying in a feeding trough.”   They further claim that they left their flocks (a violation of their profession) and went to Bethlehem and found a new born baby boy in a feeding trough, just as the angel had said.   Incidentally, they also claim the parents had just travelled from Nazareth for the required Roman census.

When the High Priest and Sanhedrin were asked to comment on this news, those who could be reached scoffed at these tidings stating:

·         Just like the similar report by Zacharias about a year ago, God no longer speaks directly to His people – He has entrusted that responsibility to us.

·         Think about it – would the Messiah actually come as an infant?  Would he be born in a barn and placed in a feeding trough?  Of course not!   And why would He be born in a place like Bethlehem?  At this observation one of the Scribes who asked that his name not be disclosed, did indicate from the prophet Micah, there was the mention that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem.

·         They concluded by asking us if there wasn’t any real news that we could devote our time to reporting?

In other "real" news a very bright object has been sighted in the night skies east of Jerusalem that seems to be moving.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Imagine the News
Jerusalem Temple Tribune – “Young Girl Claims Angel Appeared to Her”
A young girl of Nazareth recently returned from a 3 month visit to a cousin and was noted to be “with child.”   The family asked that their name not be referenced in this article as they are very embarrassed – not only that their daughter has become pregnant, but that the only reason she has offered is that an angel had appeared to her and told that even though she was a virgin, that she would give birth to a child who would be the “Son of God.”   Per the parents of the girl, “Our daughter has never done anything like this before, yet she persists to claim the reason given is true.”   Recall just a short while a Priest named Zacharias also claimed an angelic experience in the temple.
Our Nazareth correspondent interviewed her fiancé who indicated he was devastated and as shocked as everyone else.  He has indicated his desire to dismiss his wife-to-be without exercising his right to have her put to death for her indiscretion.  
A few days later, our Nazareth correspondent heard rumors that the fiancé is also now claiming to have been instructed by an angel in a dream that the young girl is telling the truth and that the son she will have should be named Jesus, because this child will save His people from their sins.  Further, the fiancé has now decided to take the young girl as he wife, despite the objections of his parents.
After bringing this information to the High Priest and Sanhedrin, this story is once again being dismissed, with the recommendation that parents not accept such ridiculous stories from their children or their friends.      

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Imagine the News

Jerusalem Temple Tribune – “Priest Unable to Speak About His Experience.”

Zacharias, who had been chosen for the great honor of over-seeing the incense offering emerged unable to speak.  Sources indicate he was in shock and had to be helped by those who had gathered to pray.  Later when he had collected himself, he asked for writing materials and indicated an angel named Gabriel had appeared to him with news concerning him and his wife Elizabeth having a son in their old age. Needless to say, this caused quite a stir among those worshipping at the temple, raising questions about this possibly being a prelude to the coming of the Messiah, as a forerunner was expected.

After consulting the high priest and other officials, the account is being dismissed as improbable due to the following facts:
  • The LORD has not communicated directly to his people in over four centuries.
  • Zacharias’ wife is so old, that she is no longer able to give birth to a child.
  • Zacharias must have been overwhelmed by his serving and is expected to fully recover from his so-called experience.
  • If the Messiah was to come shortly surely it would have been revealed to the High Priest and the other authorities.

Other Priests serving have been cautioned to not disturb the temple faithful and to maintain order as specified by those in authority.