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Posts Tagged ‘John the Baptist’

John 1:29: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!””

Night of the Lepus” was a science fiction/horror film from 1972, starring Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, Paul Fix, and DeForest Kelley. In this film, the monstrous antagonist was kept secret in press releases and trailers. Finally, when the film debuted, the audiences saw that the monstrous creatures stalking the humans were…giant…bunny…rabbits. Yep, you read right. Giant bunnies that had become carnivorous were the monsters in this film. Now, you can make a lot of animals look vicious or creepy: spiders, snakes, bugs, wolves, bears, bats, etc….but bunny rabbits? Even as a child watching this film, my only thought was “they don’t look scary”…not even with ketchup on their mouths to be the effect of blood! Believe it or not, this was based on a novel, The Year of the Angry Rabbit , by Russell Braddon (I’m sure something got lost in translation from book to film). This movie went down in the annals of B-movies and camp. Who would believe a killer bunny? (more information can be read at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Lepus).

Our Savior has many titles, but one may strike non-Christians as odd. Jesus has been described as King, God, Lord, Savior, Shepherd, and Alpha and Omega. But do you realize one of His titles is…the Lamb of God? “A lamb?” you might ask. Yes, because besides all of His mighty titles, Jesus Christ came as a living sacrifice to pay our sin debt. In Bible times, sacrifices were made at the temple to pay for atonement from sins. Often, a spotless animal was the sacrifice, and in many of those cases, it was a lamb without blemish. A lamb, meek and mild. Our Savior is the Lamb of God; He willingly went to the cross to pay a debt we couldn’t pay…the only spotless, perfect sacrifice that could be made. The world might ask, “your Lord is a Lamb?” Yes…THE LAMB OF GOD. Unlike Hollywood movies, this is fact, not fiction.

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.

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Verse 5: “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Years ago, Marvel Comics published a comic series entitled What If ___? and then would fill in the blank. The first story was entitled “What if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four?” In the original storyline, Spider-Man tried to join, but was rejected by the FF when he was told they didn’t get paid salaries (Spidey was trying to find a way to earn more money to support him and Aunt May). In this “what if” story, the FF does accept Spider-Man, and the story unfolds following the new Fantastic Five. The ending is not a happy one, as history takes a different path for the participants. Serving as the narrator of these alternate reality stories was Uatu, a member of the alien race of Watchers, who monitor and observe reality…but are not supposed to interfere. Uatu framed the storyline by using a device in his home on the moon that allowed him to see alternate realities, and how certain actions had different consequences.

Having just read about Apollos in the previous chapter, and how Aquila and Priscilla mentored him in understanding the full Gospel message, we are reminded that, up to then, Apollos taught about Jesus, but only understood the baptism taught by John the Baptist. We don’t know if the disciples that Paul encounters were taught by Apollos or by someone else. The actions of Apollos in the previous chapter frame the consequences that these men were under in this chapter. Nevertheless, Paul instructs them and completes their understanding of the Holy Spirit and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Now, the men, after this action, faced better consequences, since they received the Holy Spirit and were truly complete in their salvation.

Actions and consequences. God has given us a sacred mission; to tell the world the Good News of Jesus Christ. We can’t trust the world to tell them; Christians need to share the knowledge of this gift so that all may come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Something to think about.

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Verse 26: “So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”

My family recently upgraded to using smartphones. Now, when you get through laughing or rolling your eyes at how long it took me and my family to “join the 21st century” 🙂 let me explain why I mention this. I know a little about smartphones from having to deal with them via my workplace’s oncall phones. However, as my wife and I fumble through learning all the new stuff, sometimes my sons have to show “dad” how something is done (or a quicker way to do something.) A good friend at work, who also is my manager, is my new “Master Yoda” when it comes to answering questions or telling me the whys and wherefores of how apps work on my new phone. Sometimes, too, he just completes my understanding on what I thought I knew well.

Today’s verse refers to Apollos, “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures”. The passage tells us that he was “instructed in the way of the Lord” and he was “fervent in spirit”. Sounds like a missionary just like Paul, eh? Well…not quite. You see, Apollos only knew of the baptism of John; he didn’t know about post-Pentecostal knowledge and being filled with the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ. He was still “new” to all this. Aquila and Priscilla, being Christians more mature and experienced in the faith, took Apollos “under their wing” to teach and to instruct him in the complete knowledge of Jesus Christ. They helped to complete his understanding; now fully equipped, Apollos was on fire even more for Jesus! He went to Corinth and “greatly helped those who had believed through grace”.

Even modern evangelists don’t quit studying God’s Word, even if they have read the Bible through several times. They don’t quit praying. They keep listening to God and His Word through the Holy Spirit. So don’t be afraid, young Christian, of listening to wise counsel of older, more experienced Christians. Sometimes, how will you ever know unless you ask? Or to put it Biblically: Matthew 7:7.

Something to think about.

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verse 5: “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

If you have ever been to the beach, you know the feeling when you get hit by a big wave right on the shore. When I was a kid, we use to pretend we were body-surfing by waiting for one of the waves to swoop us up and ride it the few feet into the beach. Of course, we got occasionally swamped by a big wave and entirely inundated by the water, head to toe. Now we would hurriedly stand up or right ourselves so we weren’t washed out to sea, but you understand the feeling. You are completely covered by the water before you come out.

Jesus is reminding the disciples here that John the Baptist baptized with water (symbolically, to show repentance; I read this in the study notes of the Holman Study Bible NKJV Edition), but that soon they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I can only guess that the disciples would try to make a comparison in their heads over the water baptism to what this baptism by the Holy Spirit would be. But I’m not going to jump ahead here; that’s covered in more detail in Acts 2. 🙂

What I find comforting is that when we were are filled by the Holy Spirit when we come to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in our lives, it isn’t just part of the way…it’s ALL the way! Not like the Greek myth of Achilles, who was invulnerable except for the heel his mother held him by when she dipped him in the River Styx. We are completely covered, head to toe…just like one of those big waves.

Something to think about.

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