Andrew Adams, Orillia, ON
THE SAVIOUR EXPLAINED - (Romans 3:26)
With the theological insight into the meaning of the Name, and the personal testimony to His death and resurrection, it is no wonder that the apostolic writers used the name of Jesus to build the teaching of the gospel. In his exposition of the gospel in Romans 3, Paul states that the righteousness of God is declared by Him being "the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." The whole purpose, process, and promise of the gospel message is built around the glorious fact that "Jesus" is everything in it.
So confident is Paul in the validity of his message, that not even the preaching of "another Jesus" (of the same kind) by other messengers or the receipt of another spirit and message (of a different kind) by the Christians at Corinth could change him from delivering the real truth in power and conviction (2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6-9).
Seven times in the Epistle to the Hebrews the writer uses the solitary Name "Jesust to highlight and emphasize what He has accomplished by His descent and sacrificial death:
Heb. 2:9 We see Jesus, who was made a little
lower. . for the suffering of death, crowned with glory.
4:14 . . . a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.
6:20 . . .a forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.
10:19 . . .enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
12:2 . . looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith.
12:24 . . Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.
13:12...Wherefore Jesus also ... suffered without the gate.
By using the simple human Name of Jesus, the apostolic writers emphasized what was accomplished for the salvation of mankind by that condescending humanity and lowly walk. He became like us and identified Himself with us to redeem us for Himself. What matchless grace!
THE SURETY EXPECTED - (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
The work of Jesus is a personal guarantee to every believer of their own personal safety and security in the face of the uncertainties in human death. The passage before us reminds us of the Christian principle that death is considered a "sleep" to the believer, and therefore, there is the assumption that there will come a time of awakening.
His statement is so constructed that it has resulted in many interpretative suggestions. The very difficulty in translating it has emphasized the variety of thought. Here are four different translations: Literal Greek "For since we believe that Jesus died and arose, so also God, the sleepers (ones having been put to sleep) through Jesus will bring with Him." King James: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." NIV: "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." Panin-Numeric; "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, even so them also that are fallen asleep will God, through Jesus bring with Him."
From verse 13 we understand that there was a sorrow among the Thessalonians that those who had died had "missed" the blessings of the Lords coming. Paul assures them that the death and resurrection of Jesus is their guarantee of the safety of their fellow-saints and their share in the coming of the Lord. The term "the sleepers through Jesus" is a backward looking perspective (as the terms "the dead in Christ," v. 16, is a forward looking one). This is understood because it is an aorist passive participle, indicating an act in the past performed on them at a given point in time.
The term may suggest that they have been put to sleep by Jesus (i.e. He did it to them) thus showing the will and purpose of God in the fact of their death. Because the solitary Name of "Jesus" is associated with the fact of sleeping, there is the confidence that they are associated with Him in that human experience of death and, therefore, shall also be with Him in resurrection. They will have an advantage over the living and remaining (the underlying theme of the whole passage) because they will experience what He experienced, which those raised "living" will not, i.e. resurrection. "Sleeping through Jesus," therefore, is a term describing the safety and security of those who have died prior to the Lords coming.
THE STAR EXHIBITED - (Revelation 22:16)
The great reality of the revelation of God is that the Highest took the lowest place, the Prince of Glory was a humble carpenter, and the King became a servant. But, having done what He was sent to do, and by virtue of Him finishing His mission effectively, triumphantly, and eternally, He has returned to that environment of glory which was originally His. Now lie is waiting for the Fathers time to be manifested for what He really is. That is the message of the Star.
In Numbers 24:17, Balaam prophesied "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel." The star and the sceptre (symbols of heavenly glory and power) are linked together in an unnamed Person, who is declared to be "He that shall have dominion" (v. 19), the One who will subdue Israels enemies.
When the magi came to the nation of Israel in Matthew 2, four times the star is mentioned in association with the Babe that is born "King of the Jews." Again, the star and the kingdom (symbols of heavenly glory and power) are linked, but now there is a Person identified, albeit just a Babe.
But the last mention in scripture of the solitary Name of "Jesus" leaves no doubt as to who this star-centered Person really is. "I Jesus... I am the root and the offspring of David, the Star, the bright, the morning (one)." This is a unique use of the word "morning" in the NT which highlights the point of daybreak. It is just at the break of the day that this star is at its brightest and most conspicuous in its exhibition. Such shall this Jesus be when He appears for us. Notice again the consistent linking between the star and the kingdom by calling Himself the root and the offspring of David, for it is through David that our Lord Jesus Christ has the rights to the throne of Israel.
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Let all who are sad take
We are not alone in our hours of pain;
Our Father looks down from his throne above
To soothe and comfort us with His love
He leaves us not when the storms are high
And we have safety for He is nigh.
Can we deem trouble what He doth share?
Oh, rest in peace, for the Lord doth care.