In Spirit and in Truth

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then he said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted within his own country.  But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zaraphath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”  So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built that they might throw him down over the cliff.  Then passing through the midst of them he went his way (Luke 4: 24-30.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus Christ encountered extreme opposition while preaching near the city where he had been raised.  Many had seen him grow from infancy in to adulthood; they were very familiar with his family; and that familiarity created in their hearts great disrespect and disdain.  The Son of God therefore prophesied that they would reject him and that, in turn, he would bring the message to complete strangers.  Jesus referenced two Old Testament prophets who endured similar experiences.  Elijah and Elisha were messengers of God who were rejected by many of their fellow Hebrews; therefore, God used them to bless foreigners.  Elijah for instance, pronounced a three year drought upon the nation of Israel due to the wickedness of King Ahab.  During that time Elijah stayed with a poor widow woman in a foreign land where God miraculously provided for all of their needs.

                The Lord’s initial priority was to bring the gift of salvation to his own countrymen.  The majority of them however rejected Jesus as their messiah; therefore God, in His wisdom, offered the kingdom to anyone who was willing to receive it.  Paul was a disciple who boldly preached the gospel throughout the ancient world; he planted numerous churches, and was used to bring many to the faith.  Yet his love for his fellow Jews never waned.  Upon entering a city, he would first venture in to the synagogue to preach; after he was rejected, he would take the message to the gentiles (non-jews) (who were more than eager to receive the Holy Spirit.)  God’s plan has always been to use his Son to bless all nations, and tribes, and tongues; because Jesus Christ was rejected, those who are strangers have been lovingly received.

                Today membership within the body of Christ is open to all; there are no limitations; there are no ungodly requirements; true faith is not bound by race, language, or ethnicity.  God in His wisdom has chosen to make salvation available to everyone.  No longer can one nation claim God for themselves.  He has ceased to reside solely amongst the descendents of a single individual; nor, does He dwell within sacred buildings and religious institutions.  He cannot be worshipped at the temple in Jerusalem; instead He lives within the hearts and minds of those who have received Him (for God is seeking men and women who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth.”)  May you receive the Lord and be blessed; may His peace overwhelm you; may His love possess you; that you may be the man or woman God has called you to be.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your plan of salvation.  We thank You that all who desire to know You today can.  May we receive more of Your Holy Spirit.  May we draw near to You with our hearts and with our minds.  May we worship You, honor You, and praise You with every word that we speak, and with every action that we take.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.    

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