Thinking Theology: A Q&A with Dr. John MacArthur, Day 12

Today’s reading is drawn from Mark 14:61.

Did Jesus claim to be God during His trial?

In Mark 14:61, when Caiaphas, the high priest, asked Jesus if He was the “Christ,” the term refers to Jesus’ claim to be the promised Messiah. The “Son of the Blessed” clearly refers to Jesus’ claim to Deity. This is the only New Testament use of the expression, and it is an example of Jewish wording that avoided using God’s name. Jesus’ acceptance of messiahship and Deity (see Luke 4:18–21; John 4:25, 26; 5:17, 18; 8:58) had always brought vigorous opposition from the Jewish leaders (John 5:19–47; 8:16–19; 10:29–39). Clearly, the high priest was asking this question in hopes that Jesus would affirm it and open Himself to the formal charge of blasphemy.

Jesus’ response that “I am” (v. 62) was an explicit, unambiguous declaration that He was and is both the Messiah and “the Son of Man”—Jesus used this commonly acknowledged messianic title of Himself more than 80 times in the Gospels, here in a reference to Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 (see Rev. 1:13; 63), a ceremonial, and in this case contrived, display of grief and indignation over the presumed dishonoring of God’s name by Jesus (see Gen. 37:29; Lev. 10:6; Job 1:20; Acts 14:13, 19). Strictly speaking, Jesus’ words were not “blasphemy” (v. 64) or defiant irreverence of God (Lev. 24:10–23), but Caiaphas regarded them as such because Jesus claimed for Himself equal power and prerogative with God.

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The Pilgrim’s Path: Devotions for Life’s Journey, Day 6

Today’s reading is drawn from Matthew 3:1-12.

 

Addressing Questions: Unseen Realities

 

You might be surprised to learn that Jesus spoke more about the reality of hell than anyone else in the Bible. Hell is a real place, and real people go there.

God does not enjoy it when people choose hell (“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live” Ezekiel 33:11). When people continue to resist God’s influence in their life, he simply gives them what they want: lots of distance from him—for eternity.

There is no second chance after we die. Our decision for or against Christ while we’re alive settles our place in eternity. Invite Jesus Christ to be involved in every aspect of your life. Ask him to be your forgiver and to lead you from this day forward. He doesn’t want you to walk away from him. That’s why he came—to call you home and to be your “shepherd.”

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Your Money: Yours to Manage, Day 2

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Today’s reading is drawn from Deuteronomy 8:10-18, 1 Chronicles 29:10-14, Matthew 25:14-30, Romans 14:12.

The financially confident woman knows that money is for managing first and spending second.

This isn’t just another reminder that “it’s all God’s money.” Of course, money does originate from God’s hand. However, practically speaking, he has put you in charge of a certain amount of it. In that sense, your money is your money to manage. And God expects you to use it well and not to abuse your responsibilities.

The Old Testament tells how the Israelites gave offerings to God out of the abundance he’d given them. Approximately two-thirds of Jesus’ parables are about money and financial management.

In one of Jesus’ parables in the New Testament, he likened spiritual faithfulness to being a responsible manager or steward of funds (see Matthew 25:14 ñ 30). In this story, only two of three managers graduated from God’s Business School with their MBAs. (The other flunked out.)

One of the prerequisite “courses” in this prestigious university underlines the principle that money is for managing first and spending second. The difference between the two is the difference between the financially foolish and financially confident woman.

The foolish woman imagines having her own money means fine living and gratifying her indulgences.

  • So she lives beyond her means.
  • She confuses desires with needs.
  • She loses sleep over unpaid debts.
  • She wonders where all the fun associated with having her own money has gone.

In contrast, the financially confident woman recognizes God as the source of her money.

  • She has a sound plan for the amount divinely allotted to her.
  • She knows she cannot afford to keep all her money, so she gives generously.
  • Out of what is left, she pays herself first, saving aggressively.
  • Then, she is free to spend her money within the boundaries she has established.
  • She knows the secret to enjoying life’s pleasures is not living on credit, paycheck to paycheck. Rather, she is in control of her money, not the other way around. The financially confident woman forgoes temptations to spend her money today, and by doing so she manages to be good to herself tomorrow.

When we graduate from God’s Business School, we will have our MBA in Biblical financial principles — rules to live by that honor us as intelligent women who are respected managers of God’s money.

Reflect

Would you describe yourself as a financially confident woman?

 

Obedience to God – Day 6

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Today’s reading is drawn from Daniel 3:16-18.

Most of what God requires is so easy and beneficial that we obey without even thinking about it. A smaller number of commands require discipline, commitment, accountability groups—some intentional decisions and maintenance. But periodically, the leader finds they are backed into a corner. That’s when it’s crunch time: “Obey God and lose the deal,” “Obey God and kill the chance for a promotion.” For these three young men it was, “Obey God and lose your life.”

For Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—and for all of us—obedience at that level requires a clear conviction. At that level, obedience is never based on what’s at stake, what’s to be gained or lost. It is only based on what’s real. To these three men the furnace was real. The threat on their life was real. The choice they faced was real. But, more importantly, so was the sovereign God.

For these three young men, this issue was highly focused. Although two conflicting orders were given, the issue wasn’t so much “What was the order?” but “Who gave it?” For these three, the order of a king who could take their lives would never take precedence over the will of Almighty God. Their story of courage has inspired untold numbers of believers who have faced the fire—both literally and figuratively—over the centuries. Let their courage work its way into your life as well.