"Seven Questions and Seven Answers; One for each day of the Week usually posted by Saturday"
How is Jesus "the Truth"?
Truth is rooted in the eternal God who’s all powerful and unchangeable. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is Truth” (John 17:17).
Truth is far more than facts. It’s not just something we act upon. It acts upon us. We can’t change the truth, but the truth can change us. It sanctifies (sets us apart) from the falsehoods woven into our sin natures.
As Christ the living Word is truth, so his written word is truth. Though heaven and earth will pass away, God’s truth never will.
Over half the New Testament uses of “truth” (aletheia) are in John’s gospel. Truth is reality. It’s the way things really are. What seems to be and what really is are often not the same. As I develop in my novel Deception, “Things are not as they appear.” To know the truth is to see accurately. To believe what isn’t true is to be blind.
God has written His truth on human hearts, in the conscience (Romans 2:15). Shame and twinges of conscience come from a recognition that truth has been violated. When the world hears truth, if spoken graciously, many are drawn to it by the moral vacuum they feel. The heart longs for truth—even the heart that rejects it.Truth is far more than a moral guide. Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t say He would show the truth or teach the truth or model the truth. He is the truth. Truth personified. He is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims.
Get Ready for Spiritual Warfare?
When it comes to the Christian life, we will either gain or lose ground. We will either win or lose. But we have to be involved in the spiritual battle. Spiritual pacifists will be knocked down, because the Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground.
It is up to us to fight the good fight of faith. So we need to suit up and learn the principles from God’s Word that teach us how to be more than conquerors in Jesus Christ.
First, we need to put on the full armor of God as we engage in the spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:11 tells us, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (NKJV).
The phrase “put on” carries the idea of doing something once and for all. It speaks of permanence. The full armor of God is not something we put on and then take off again. We are to keep it on all the time.
Second, we need to be aware of the fact that Satan is not the equal of God. The devil would like us to think that whatever God can do, he can do, as though they were two sides of the same force.
Although Satan is a powerful spirit being, he is far from God’s equal. You see, God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. God is omnipresent. God can do anything that He wants to do, anywhere and anytime.
Satan is none of those things. He has limitations as to what he can do.
Third, we need to realize that the devil will primarily attack us in the realm of the imagination. The apostle Paul mentioned this in 2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (NKJV).
The devil knows that if he can get us to think about something, we are only a step away from actually doing it. He knows that our minds are “command central.” It is here that we reason. It is here that we remember. It is here that we dream.
Our minds are the hard drive, the place where everything originates. Satan knows that it is only a short step from a thought to an act.
Last, we need to understand that the devil works with two very close allies: the world and the flesh. “The world” is the world system that is hostile toward God. It is living for personal gratification, our own will above all else.Then there is the flesh. When the Bible speaks of the flesh, it speaks more of the depraved, fallen human nature in which we are gratifying sensual appetites
What Was the Triumphal Entry?
When Jesus came to Jerusalem for the last time, He arrived to the adulation of many and the cheering approval of the crowd. The Triumphal Entry, as it is called, served a deeper purpose than simply a parade in His honor, however.
His coming in this manner had been revealed clearly in the Old Testament: the method, the timing, and the meaning. Zechariah 9:9 had told of the King's coming on the colt of a donkey so that Israel would recognize Him. From Daniel 9:25-26 the exact time of the Messiah's arrival can be calculated. Psalms 118:21-29 had announced the meaning of Christ's arrival, which the crowd realized in their shouts.
This event also fulfilled Jesus's promise. Several weeks earlier, some Pharisees came to lure Him back to Judea. Jesus said that He would not return until such time as the citizens of Jerusalem would say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Luke 13:31-35). Perhaps He intended this to further establish His credentials as the promised Messiah.
The Triumphal Entry accomplished two major goals. Because of the heightened excitement caused by the resurrection of Lazarus and then the public entrance into Jerusalem, He piqued the curiosity of the people there—important because of the many pilgrims who had come to the city for Passover. In addition, the approbation of the crowd protected Him, at least initially, from the murderous desires of the spiritual leaders in Jerusalem. The delay allowed the prophecies of the Old Testament to be fulfilled.In a way, His entrance established a test for the people in Jerusalem. While many cheered His arrival, their faith would be challenged when He did not live up to the conquering Messiah of popular imagination. Instead, He effectively took over the Temple and called the people to the Kingdom of God. After several days, the shouts of praise turned into shouts for crucifixion.
Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?
Dr. Ray Pritchard
Fig trees are for making figs.
Pretty simple, really. We plant apple trees because we want apples, peach trees because we want peaches, orange trees because we want oranges, and fig trees because we want figs. We might as well ask what good is an apple tree that doesn't produce apples? You might as well cut it down. Or curse it, as Jesus did the fig tree (Matthew 21:18-19).
How did Jesus know the fig tree was barren? Because the leaves and the fruit typically appear at about the same time. To see a fig tree covered with leaves but with no fruit meant that it was barren.
Three insights will help us understand this story. First, in the Old Testament the fig tree often stood as a symbol for the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 8:13; Hosea 9:10). Second, we also need to observe that the cursing of the fig tree occurs on Monday of Jesus's Passion Week, four days before his crucifixion. Third, this story is placed next to the story of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:12-17). The money lenders had turned the Lord's house into a den of thieves. They were profiteers who exchanged foreign currency and also sold the animals that worshipers from distant towns would buy to sacrifice before the Lord. By shrewd marketing they could charge exorbitant rates and make a killing off the pilgrims who came to worship. The whole scene angered our Lord because he knew that the temple should be a house of prayer for all nations.
Cursing the fig tree was Jesus's way of saying that the whole nation had become spiritually barren before the Lord. They had the form of religion but not the reality. They knew the right words to say, but their hearts were far from God.
How is Jesus Our Substitute?
On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had committed every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe. Did you get that? God treated Him as if He committed, personally, every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe though the fact is He committed none of them. That’s the great doctrine of substitution. And that’s the first side of imputation. God imputed our sins to Him. He was guilty of none of them. God treated Him as if He committed all of them. And He just unloaded His fury for all the sins of all the people who would ever believe in Him in the history of the world. He unloaded all His fury against all their sins on Christ.
To borrow the language of Leviticus 16, Jesus became the “scapegoat.” The scapegoat was guilty of nothing. But the High Priest, as it were, laid all the sins of the people on the scapegoat and sent him away. He was without sin. But sin was credited to His account as if He had personally committed it and then God punished Him though the fact is He never committed any of it. That’s imputation.
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “When Jesus came into the world why did He have to live all those years?” If I was planning the plan of redemption I’d have had Him come down on Friday, die, rise on Sunday and go back to Heaven Monday. Why 30 years? Why 30 silent years?Jesus lived a full life was that He might live a complete life fully righteous. That He might live a complete life absolutely without sin, absolutely perfect, so that that perfect life could be credited to your account. That’s the backside of imputation. On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He lived your life so He could treat you as if you lived His life. That’s the Gospel. That’s substitution.
Why Did the Crowd Turn Against Jesus So Quickly?
During the Passion Week, the crowd in Jerusalem seems to have had a major swing in opinion. Jesus entered the city to praise and adoration but, by the end of the week, faced a crowd shouting for His crucifixion. Can such a change really happen so quickly?
We must consider first that the people shouting "Hosanna" when Christ arrived were not the residents of Jerusalem. Instead, He rode in the company of pilgrims coming to the city for Passover. Because of the news about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and hopes that the Messianic Kingdom would soon begin, these pilgrims took to shouting and praising in their enthusiasm. Singing on the road to Jerusalem was not uncommon, and with their false ideas about a Rome-conquering Messiah, the enthusiasm spilled over into palm branches.
Most of the people in Jerusalem, to put it mildly, disagreed with the "unlearned" rabble from the country. Among these types we find the Pharisees, who urged Jesus to rein in the crowd. When Jesus refused and claimed the rocks would praise Him if the people didn't, their animosity only grew. Between these two opposing currents, Jesus rode into town.
We can envision a Jerusalem packed with outsiders pressing close to hear Jesus answer the challenges of Israel's leaders who came to embarrass Him. But this only incited more anger. Jesus had at least the superficial support of the outsiders, but the insiders—though they feared the temporary crowds—only needed opportunity, which came soon enough.
Thus, when those insiders arrested Jesus and brought Him to trial, the former supporters likely felt intimidated by the authority of the leaders. Supporting someone is much easier when there's a reduced chance of being imprisoned for it (e.g., Peter's denials). And perhaps some of those wrapped up in the enthusiasm for Jesus were just as quickly wrapped up in the fervor against Him.
Not all those who supported Jesus turned against Him. Some, in fact, later wrote the accounts we have today.
Why Did the Romans Allow the Triumphal Entry?
G. Campbell Morgan
Look for a moment at the Triumphal Entry of Jesus as a Roman would have looked at it. Has it ever occurred to you that it was a very remarkable thing that the Roman officials did not interfere with this demonstration?
The Romans were there to quell insurrection, to hold in check the turbulent Jews, and yet, there was no interference on their part! They were accustomed to see these vast multitudes gathered for religious exercises at Jerusalem; but they were perfectly aware of this strange movement and this unusual excitement manifest. They knew of the prophet of Nazareth, but they did not interfere. Why not? Because the whole thing was so utterly and absolutely contemptible.
I put it more strongly still and say that which we describe as a triumphal entry would have been in the eyes of the Roman a laughing stock; the Roman who had seen in the eternal city sitting on its seven hills, the triumphal return of a conqueror! I need not stop to describe in detail those triumphal entries, in which the conqueror, with kings whom he had overcome in war chained to his chariot wheels, amid the acclaim of the assembled multitudes, entered the city in military magnificence. Some old soldier who had seen such an entry into Rome would look at this entry characterized by old clothes, broken trees, unarmed peasant folk, and would have held it in supreme contempt.It was just a mob; unorganized, shouting, tearing branches from trees and casting them in the way, taking their garments off and putting them across the back of the colt upon which a man rode. A man riding upon old clothes, in the midst of broken trees, surrounded by a shouting mob. That would have been the Roman outlook upon the whole scene: Grotesque!