Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd


TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

Thank you for reading our twenty second installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at Psalms chapter sixteen which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will resurrect from the dead…

Holy One not corrupted

Psalms 16:10 (ESV) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

This is an awesome piece of prophecy that is often quoted when we are looking at Messianic prophecy. Like many of David’s prophecies in Psalms it has two direct applications:

1) The life of David
2) The life of Jesus

The life of David

David was sure in his faith that his soul would not be abandoned to the grave.

The life of Jesus

As we read in Acts 2 (further down this article) Peter quotes this verse and refers it directly to Jesus. This refers to Jesus by stating the words “Holy One” as Jesus never committed any sin and was the literal first born without blemish that is called for in the Law.

Jesus would not see corruption as his body would only lie in the tomb until the third day, his physical body would not deteriorate until day 4, again fulfilling prophecy. This is confirmed in both Matthew and Acts as we read below.

Matthew 28:1 (ESV) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Why the two Mary’s?

The two Mary’s come to the tomb and expected to see a dead Jesus, remember how I keep saying that God is in control? God knew the calendar and knew that the Sabbath would be slap bang in the middle of this, God planned it this way and the two Mary’s come to finish the body that had hurridly been taken off the cross and put in Joseph’s tomb.

We read there was a great earthquake and an angel rolled back the huge stone and sat on it. We are not privy to whether the earthquake was due to the angelic intervention or did God send the earthquake to loosen the stone? Does this not give a demonstration of the power of God, that one of his angels could effortlessly move huge stones?

Where were the guards?

The guards were also missing, now Roman guards were there “on pain of death” so it was not a usual circumstance that they would appear “like dead men”. The angel was reassuring to the women and wished to confirm that Jesus was indeed resurrected and the angel said where they would find Jesus.

Answered prayer

We see that the women got an answer to prayer that they were not expecting, Jesus had in fact been resurrected. They whole idea of coming back from the dead and living eternally was beyond what they thought was possible. You have to understand that they had personally witnessed Jesus die in the cruelest way possible and they literally saw the blood and water hit the ground as Jesus was pronounced dead and were there at the last possible minute and saw their Savior died.

An appropriate place

Which is why it was completely appropriate that they took the angels invite to see the place where Jesus was placed. This solidified any testimony they had relayed to the disciples and others stating that the messiah was no longer in the tomb. They were now eye-witnesses and primary witnesses to the fact that he had resurrected.

The two Mary’s were given an appropriate place in relaying the news both to the disciples and also in being one of the first to see the resurrected Jesus. They were truly Women of faith having the desire to come to the tomb, even when they thought their Savior was dead. They worshipped at his feet giving him the praise that was due him, if he was not God they would be sinners under Jewish law.

Peter’s Pentecostal Sermon

Peter confirms this on the day of Pentecost, lets look at the book of Acts chapter two:

Acts 2:22 (ESV) Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit spoke in a very volatile situation with no fear. You have to remember that this is Peter who just about fifty days earlier had denied his LORD three times under far less pressure.

Peter speaks what is known in scripture as “Peter’s sermon”, whilst this is a good title I would suggest that “The Holy Spirit speaks through Peter” is more apt. Peter quotes the verse that we stated above as well as another verse in Psalms chapter 16, which Peter goes onto explain why the Holy One could not be bound by death, the full quotation is below:

Psalms 16:8 (ESV) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Peter begins with the words “hear these words” or to paraphrase “listen to me” in addition to the speaking in tongues, the miraculous signs and wonders and the explanation from the prophet Joel, Peter makes sure that they are fully aware of the reason behind this is Jesus.

This is a challenge for me as I know how many opportunities I have blown because I have not given full attribution to the LORD Jesus Christ. So many good deeds that could have given glory to God but I did not go that extra mile. People that have crossed my path but I have not introduced the gospel to them, I lament in my soul but I am encouraged by Peter’s boldness and makes me realize that God can use even the flawed to accomplish his will.

Peter pulls no punches and lets them have the truth, this is barely two months after Jesus was crucified (basically says “You crucified the messiah sent by God!) Let’s just say that people will have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, it was a big deal when he was speaking of these things. He starts with “a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know” Everyone in that crowd was aware that he died and was crucified, this is a sound evangelical principle to begin with what people know about Jesus and build from there, but Peter does not stop there.

Peter goes on to attest that he rose again in verses 24-33, he quotes the verses much better than I have and explains wonderfully that the one who was quoted to “not see corruption” was in fact Jesus of Nazareth. (Known also as the Christ)

What a wonderful Gospel message, that Jesus took the full wrath of God that was reserved for us who remained in our sins. Jesus was the only innocent, sinless one who not only died as a sacrifice for our sins in the cruelest, most barbaric way that was ever designed for a criminal to die, he also resurrected and these people attest and are witnesses to the fact to show that because of the resurrection we have proof that Jesus sufficiently paid for our sins. He also tells us that we need to call on the LORD to be saved in verse 21, the full quotation is below:

Call upon the name of the LORD

Acts 2:21 (ESV) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

And that is the truth, Jesus is the only way to be saved from your sins and be reconciled to God. Obviously I want to see you join me in heaven, but only you can make that choice to accept Jesus as LORD of your life. If you are still in your sins, you are already in slavery to whatever you have as your God; this has no eternal value so I urge you to investigate the claims of Jesus as your messiah.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.

TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th


TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th

Thank you for reading our fourteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Yesterday we looked at the prophecy that the messianic was going to be betrayed,  from the scriptures that we read we discovered that the betrayer was one of Jesus hand picked disciples called Judas Iscariot. 

The prophecy spoke that the messiah would be betrayed, it also spoke of a potters field being bought for that same price, a slaves price of 30 pieces of silver. Let’s look again at the verse in Zechariah.

Zechariah 11:12 (ESV) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.

Let’s catch up with Judas

Judas is a troubled soul at this point, he took the money and betrayed the messiah. Let’s look at the verses that conform the prophecy in the twenty seventh chapter if the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 27:3 (ESV)  Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Whatever you win, whatever you lose

Verse three reminds me of the song by the British rock band called “Status Quo” called “Whatever you want” which has the lyrics…

“Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
You pay your money
You take your choice
Whatever you need
Whatever you use
Whatever you win
Whatever you lose”

Remorse or repentance?

We read that when “Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” he seems more concerned with the consequences of his actions than the actual sin itself. Some translations have the word as “remorseful” this tells it’s own story.

His heart was guilty on what he had done, that is remorse as opposed to repentance.  He acted next out if self guilt, this is where sin turns to tragedy.

Judas the nobody

Judas really was a nobody until Jesus selected him, he had three years of being in the Inner sanctum of the messiah’s teaching, saw many miracles and heard Godly teaching direct from God himself and he still missed the point.

Judas was also keen for the mission to be accepted by men and the times we hear him speaking up were on the ways Jesus was different to the other holy leaders.

Judas suffered from wanting to be associated with the Godly things but perhaps not be holy himself. He solicited the people he looked up to (for he religious leaders) and tried to find a way in by being useful to them.

He also did this at a price. Judas wanted to he his being regarded as a partner in this enterprise. I have no idea what Judas thought was going to happen but I bet he did not think it would escalate as quickly as it did.

Atonement or regret?

We could finish the article there and it would be sufficient. However we read that Judas tries to undo the wrong by paying the money back. Perhaps in atonement but mainly in regret.

I have been there,  been rescued from my bad decisions but still had consequences due to my sins, I am overweight due to previous bad good and health choices,  I have been poor due to bad lending decisions in the past and had to pay back instead of build wealth. I am sure we all can think of ways we have been delivered but still had consequences.

Holy reasoning

He used the holy law to try to return the money. He wanted to give the money back saying it was wrong for him to take it, obviously Jesus captors had no interest either way whether Judas profited from his crime or not, they already had what they wanted.

Judas, even after all this actually tells the truth about Jesus “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” this shows me two things.

1) His remorseful heart – Judas of a week ago would have turned this into profit by having his testimony bought.
2) The profound effect that Jesus must have had on him, that he could not slander him and declared that the charges against him (Jesus) were false.

Judas at no point accused Christ of anything, when he betrayed him his question was “what’s the price to deliver him?” Not at any point was there a discussion regarding the guilt of Christ. (That did not exist)

Obviously he panics when he realizes what has been put in motion cannot be stopped, he tosses the money on the floor and comes to a sad end.

Judas sad demise

Judas goes and do what desperate people do, come to a desperate end. Between here (verse 5) and Acts 1:16-19 we get exactly what happened to him, let’s read what Peter says in Acts 1:16-19.

Acts 1:16 (ESV) Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

So he hangs himself, eventually either by decomposition or gravity taking hold the hung body falls from the tree and bursts open. They were in a Jewish holy time so I doubt anyone would defile themselves by handling a dead body so he could have been up there in the baking sun for several days. 

The field of blood

Aptly named huh? Sin always has it’s end results and this is unlike any other. Judas is recorded as being remembered to this day and having property named after him. I bet that it was not what he wanted to be known or remembered for.

The compound interest of sin

Judas caught himself in sin, he chose not to repent and compounded sin upon sin. He never resolved the issue with God and became that anguished that he ended up taking his own life when he tried to reconcile a load that he was never designed to bear.

Sin is like a high interest loan from a loan shark. Once you cash out,  you may the balance and then much more. Often times sin compounds on sin and this is eloquently shown in this passage of scripture.

One of my first jobs as an adult was working in a bank and the idea of compund interest is that you earn interest on the interest on the borrowing, sin rarely pays back like for like.

Two deaths, two different outcomes

Two people in this section of scripture died this weekend, both had starkly different outcomes

1) Judas – died in his sins by his own hand with no peace with God.  Eternally he is separated from God.

Judas to me is an example that even if you are not following God,  he can still use you to fulfill the plan of God. The same could be said for the Pharisees and the Romans.

2) Jesus – died for the sins of the world a sinless, blameless man, at perfect peace with God. Rose again three days later and now eternally with God.

We all are going to end up either with or without God for eternity. Which outcome do you choose?

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.