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Mark 10:17-18: “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.””

All of us have been taught throughout our lives, whether we wish to admit it or not, whether we were willing participants or not. Some of the people who taught me, I remember more fondly than others. Some were good teachers. Experience itself can be a hard teacher. But there are some good teachers we can all recall. Two instances I remember: one was my grandmother, who taught me in Sunday School when I was very young. She and my mother made sure I knew about God, Jesus, and the Bible. Two, was my first grade teacher; as a little boy, I had a crush on her! 🙂 She was so tall and pretty. She loved us kids in her class a lot. Now, she could be tough when she had to be, but I fondly remember learning the alphabet and math under her guidance. (For the record, when I saw her years later, I discovered that she wasn’t as tall as I thought…but then again, I was a short first-grader!) I still love her; she was a second mama figure to us!

Good teachers are those who care about us, and want us to learn the right things. The rich young ruler, when he greeted Jesus, addressed Him as “Good Teacher” due to His reputation as a prophet and teacher. I find Jesus’s response wonderfully ironic when He answered him and said, “why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” And, of course, Jesus is God!

The point is, Jesus does care about us, He loves us, and He wants to teach us. What we have to do is learn (and I do mean LEARN) to listen and to obey Him, when He teaches us.

Class is in session.

Something to think about!

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Ever seen two bighorn sheep “go at it”? Our pastor used to live in the Rocky Mountains area, and he has seen them. He told me it is truly something to see these 600-lb rams go full-tilt at each other, and then you hear that “CRACK” as they collide. It’s the power in that sound that gets your attention. I’d only seen it on TV programs such as National Geographic specials or Marty Stouffer’s Wild America.

When I first saw this name for Jesus, I was curious. True, Jesus is not recorded in the New Testament as calling Himself by that name, but others did. Once God loosened his mute voice upon the naming of his son John, Zacharias the priest (the father of John the Baptist) praised God, saying “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,” (Luke 1:68-69) I had thought “horn” in this case meant something like a musical instrument, but I was mistaken.

Below are some commentaries I have copied on this verse; I found them at http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/1-69.htm

You’ll also find the most common cross-reference from Psalms 132:17: “There I will make the horn of David grow; I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.”

“Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
(69) Hath raised up an horn of salvation.—The symbolism of the horn comes from Psalm 132:17, where it is used of the representative of the House of David, and answers to the “Anointed” of the other clause of the verse. It originated obviously in the impression made by the horns of the bull or stag, as the symbols of strength. Here, following in the steps of the Psalmist, Zacharias uses it as a description of the coming Christ, who is to be raised up in the House of David.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
And hath raised up a horn – A horn is a symbol of strength. The figure is taken from the fact that in horned animals the strength lies in the “horn.” Particularly, the great power of the rhinoceros or unicorn is manifested by the use of a single horn of great “strength,” placed on the head near the end of the nose. When the sacred writers, therefore, speak of great strength they often use the word “horn,” Psalm 148:14; Deuteronomy 33:17; Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:21. The word salvation, connected here with the word “horn,” means that this “strength,” or this mighty Redeemer, was able to save. It is possible that this whole figure may be taken from the Jewish “altar.” On each of the four corners of the altar there was an eminence or small projection called a “horn.” To this persons might flee for safety when in danger, and be safe, 1 Kings 1:50; 1 Kings 2:28. Compare the notes at Luke 1:11. So the Redeemer “may be” called the “horn of salvation,” because those who flee to him are safe. In the house – In the family, or among the descendants of David.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
69. horn of salvation—that is “strength of salvation,” or “mighty Salvation,” meaning the Saviour Himself, whom Simeon calls “Thy Salvation” (Lu 2:30). The metaphor is taken from those animals whose strength is in their horns (Ps 18:2; 75:10; 132:17). house of … David—This shows that Mary must have been known to be of the royal line, independent of Joseph; of whom Zacharias, if he knew anything, could not know that after this he would recognize Mary.

Expositor’s Greek Testament
Luke 1:69…because kings were anointed with a horn of oil…because in their horn all horned animals have their power”

Many times, Christians and non-Christians alike point to the meekness and gentleness of our Savior. But do not be misled. Jesus is the mighty Horn of Salvation; only through Him can we be saved from sin. And as you’ll recall, He could be roused to righteous anger, too (just ask those moneychangers in the Temple!) Like the contemporary song states, “Our God is Mighty to Save”.

Something to think about.

John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.””

In the Marvel comic book The Avengers, there was a storyline in Avengers Annual #14 called “The War to End All Skrulls” (the Avengers part of this story was called “Fifth Column”). It had the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, out in space, converging on a plot by a member of the shapeshifting Skrull alien race to use a “doomsday” weapon. A renegade named Zabyk was threatening to use a galactic bomb to take command of the Skrull race in the aftermath of the destruction of its throne world by Galactus. He used the genius of an old compatriot, a scientist named Myrn, to fuel a hyperwave bomb through a dimensional interface on the old Skrull power asteroid to “change the Skrull race forever”. The Avengers had allied themselves with a Skrull contingent under General Zedrao (originally to stop Thanos’s self-proclaimed granddaughter Nebula), and partnered with Zabyk’s old rebel ally, Prince Dezan, to try and stop him. To activate the bomb, Myrn had Zabyk shapeshift his form into insulate-armor, needed due to heavy radiation leakage during the bomb’s powering up. In his moment of seeming triumph, Zabyk slew Myrn and activated the bomb. What the bomb did, though, was not what everyone thought. The dimensional radiation from the bomb stabilized the Skrulls’ deviant DNA throughout the galaxy, thus removing their shapeshifting abilities! As Myrn said, “it would change the Skrull race forever”.

Once the Avengers and the Fantastic Four had broken through the chamber to confront Zabyk, he was pitifully whimpering that he couldn’t get out of the armor! As Reed Richards commented to Zabyk and to Captain America, they had found the dying Myrn when they entered the space station. He confirmed what Reed suspected the device to be. “Ironically,” Reed commented, “Zabyk killed the only person who could have possibly helped him get out of the armor”. No one else could.

In the passage above, Jesus is at the tomb of Lazarus, who had died days earlier. In talking with Lazarus’s sister, Martha, Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again. When Martha answered that she knew he would rise in the resurrection on the last day, Jesus said to her directly, “I am the resurrection and the life”. Only through belief in Jesus as Savior and Messiah, would a Christian never die. Our old bodies may pass, but our spirits will be forever with Him! Jesus goes on to demonstrate this by physically calling Lazarus back to life.

Only one Savior can give us that promise of resurrection and life. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not any other prophet of any other religion in the world. Only Jesus gave Himself on the cross as the perfect offering for our sins, and only Jesus died and rose again to conquer sin and death’s power…forever! On this evening before Easter, think on that thought…and rejoice!

Happy Easter! He is Risen indeed!

Matthew 11:19: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
Mark 2:16-17: “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.””

Garfield the cat was looking down at a caterpillar, who said (thought), “I’m going to be a butterfly”. “And just how are you going to do that?” Garfield asked. “Uh…” the caterpillar says, pauses, and then says, “I know a guy.” When I read that, I smiled, thinking that the caterpillar was referring to the Creator.

Back in my post of Acts 11:25-26, I used the “I know a guy” quote in the analogy of Barnabas and Paul. In society today, it seems like everyone “knows” someone who’s well-connected, has influence or power, or has favors. Garth Brooks turned this phrase on its ear with his old country ballad “Friends in Low Places”. However, when you think about it, it is always nice to know someone who can help you in situations where you cannot help yourself or achieve some goal by yourself.

The scoffers derided Jesus Christ out loud, saying he frequently was seen with “tax collectors and sinners”, the lowest of the low. Even in Mark 2:16-17, they question why He ate with them. How blessed are we sinners that Jesus didn’t separate Himself, but came to us, to save us, to pay our price, to redeem us. Our Messiah wasn’t some upper-crust rich snob who didn’t let himself be seen with those lower in class; instead, He reached out to us, as a Friend.

What a Friend we have in Jesus!

Something to think about.

Mark 6:3 [“]Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” so they were offended at Him.”

My oldest son is about to embark on his first post-graduate job in his chosen field. Up to now, he had a job at a concrete fabrication plant. It was hard work, but it demonstrated his work ethic and provided a decent paycheck. He knew God had a carpenter’s job for him, though…it was what he wanted to do. He has good gifts for it, and graduated from our local technical school with a degree in it. Now he’ll get to fulfill his love of carpentry. I always told him that, among other benefits, carpentry is one occupation that can’t be “offshored” to a foreign country. Whenever I take that 2 week break to travel with our Carpenters for Christ, even though I’m primarily a videographer, I do pitch in and help where I can. It’s such a sense of fulfillment to see a building rise from an empty foundation, and by the time we leave, a structure for a church body is sitting on that site. You get a great sense of accomplishment.

Jesus is a builder. Of course, in the verse today, the scoffers were referencing the fact that Jesus was a carpenter, having learned the trade from his human father, Joseph, also a carpenter. That is why they couldn’t understand the wisdom and teachings he was preaching. “But, he’s just a carpenter”, they said. No, Jesus is THE Carpenter. He is the Master Builder who can take destroyed lives and fix them. He is in the business of building up, not tearing down.

Have you put your life in the hands of the Carpenter today?

Isaiah 28:16 – “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.””
Ephesians 2:20 – “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”

The following dialogue comes from the new Super Secret Secret Squirrel cartoon, which Hanna-Barbera aired as part of the show 2 Stupid Dogs.

Secret Squirrel was locked up in a cell in a straitjacket. A microscopic menace named Quark had made it look like he was crazy so that he would be locked up. Quark was destroying massive buildings, to which Secret asked him: “how could a subatomic speck like you destroy all those structures?”

Quark: “oh, it’s so simple; I just pulled out the bottom atom!” (which he demonstrates by removing the bottom atom of the stool Secret had sat upon, causing it to crumble.)

After bragging about his plan to wipe out North America for his entertainment career, he escapes. Suddenly the wall falls down; there stands Secret’s faithful sidekick, Morocco Mole!

Secret: “Morocco!”
Morocco: “Secret! I knew you weren’t crazy. You’re only crazy about catching criminals!”
Secret: “Thanks, Morocco. By the way, how did you knock down that huge wall?”
Morocco: “Simple; I just pulled out the bottom brick! heh.” (showing Secret the bottom brick as he unties him.)

Now what that humorous cartoon points out is a very simple construction fact: most all structures have a dependent component that the rest of the building is fabricated upon. It’s known as the cornerstone in most buildings. Wikipedia defines a cornerstone as “The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone)

My father, a retired brick mason, always started laying out a building by constructing a corner to build the intersecting walls off of; without that steady corner, the walls wouldn’t be sound enough.

What is Jesus without the church? Well, He is still the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, God; that doesn’t change. What is the church without Jesus? That’s the point in a nutshell. Without Jesus, the church would be like other religions that eventually cave in and collapse. It would be a shell, a sham, a house of cards that would fold under pressure.

Christian, remember today that Jesus is the Cornerstone of your faith; faith built upon such a Rock can stand up to anything.

Something to think about.

John 6:35 “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.””

In the Columbo mystery episode entitled “Any Old Port in a Storm”, the killer tried to cover up the victim’s murder by making it look like he had hit his head while scuba diving, and thus drowned. The murderer disposed of the body several days later after returning from out of town to setup his alibi. Columbo is set on the case by the victim’s fiancĂ©e, who filed him as a missing person. The detective’s suspicion is aroused when he find out something in the autopsy report. In talking with the fiancĂ©e, he discovers the victim was a real healthy, athletic adventurer, and ate to support his active lifestyle. The autopsy report shows that he hadn’t eaten in several days; the fiancĂ©e confirms he would never starve himself like that. Columbo even cryptically quotes the report as “depriving himself of food would leave him extremely weak”…”so why would a guy go scuba diving, if he hasn’t eaten in several days?” Columbo thinks out loud.

Food is one of the basic necessities we must have to survive; our physical bodies must have nourishment.

Famed chef Jose Andres was interviewed back in November of 2017 by Anderson Cooper for the CBS news program 60 Minutes. In it, they were discussing the chef’s efforts to help feed the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. During the conversation, Cooper states that “it’s so interesting to me how for you (Andres), food is at the center of everything.” Jose Andres replied, “Anderson, food touches everything. Food is in our DNA. Food touches the economy. Food is science. Food is romanticism. Food is health. Food has many of the opportunities to have a better tomorrow.” (this entire interview can be found at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/feeding-puerto-rico/).

Jesus told his disciples, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger”. Our spiritual lives crave nourishment as well. They can wither into nothing without the fulfillment that they need to grow. Many a scientist has “withered” trying to fill that void with intellectual musings. Jesus is the only answer for our spiritual sustenance, growth, and maturity. Similar to what Jose Andres said about food, to a growing Christian, Jesus touches everything.

God gave my wife an epiphany on this title. She remarked, “The Bread of Life was laid in a feeding trough.” Remember, that’s what the manger in the stable was…a source of food.

Something to think about.