Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Cross’

The Wednesday Word: The Greatest Speech God Ever Made Part 2

September 22, 2021 Leave a comment

(For Part 1, see last week’s Wednesday Word).

Before we consider Isaiah 53:1-7, let’s stir up our pure minds by way of remembrance and think of John 12:41. There we are told that the enthroned King of Isaiah 6 is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, Isaiah realizes that the despised sufferer in Isaiah 53 is the very same person he had encountered in Isaiah 6 … and he is stunned!

You can tell by the way Isaiah is writing chapter 53 that he is living in the events and vividly seeing them. He is writing with a sense of shock.

The one whom He sees as despised, deserted and dying in agonizing pain is the same One he saw high and lifted up in overpowering splendor.

Can we be unmoved when we read this passage?

Remember how in Mark 14:33 when Christ came near to Gethsemane the pressure of our sins intensified into a crushing horror. He was ‘sore amazed and very heavy.’

Literally, He was astounded, staggered, bewildered and utterly dumbfounded.

The hymn writer described it this way,

Oh, never, never can we know,

That crushing weight of sin and woe.

When He our great sin bearer bled.

The Lamb of Calvary in our stead.

But back to what Isaiah saw in that sacred chapter. In Isaiah 53:5 he tells us that Christ was wounded. The creator controller of the universe was indeed wounded. He was nailed to the cross by iron spikes … but why? For our transgressions … that’s why. For my sin … your sin … our sin. For Jesus, sin was the real horror of the cross … not the pain of the beating or the spikes.

I am disturbed when I realize that it was my sins that put Him on that cross.

Read these Isaiah verses with ‘I,’ ‘My’ and ’Me’ instead of ‘We,’ ‘Our’ and ‘Us.’ Let’s personalize this passage.

‘He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and I hid as it were my face from Him; He was despised, and I esteemed Him not.

4 Surely He has borne my griefs, and carried my sorrows: yet I did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for my transgressions, He was bruised for my iniquities: the chastisement of my peace was upon Him; and with His stripes I am healed.

6 I, like a sheep, had gone astray; I had turned to my own way; and the Lord has laid on Him all my iniquity.

7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for my transgression was He stricken.

It’s no wonder that Isaiah was stunned! As the Hymn writer said,

Was it for crimes that I had done,

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity grace unknown

And love beyond degree.”

See the crown prince of heaven hanging naked, mocked and pain racked on that cross for you. Observe the lacerations on His back. Notice the bruises from the wicked fist blows. Look at the iron spikes in His hands and feet. The one high and lifted up is oppressed and afflicted.

Does it not leave you speechless?

The king of kings takes off His crown and is baptized in blood.

The cross says something astounding about God. It is this – God is Just – Loving – Merciful and Gracious.

Calvary is God’s greatest speech, and it leaves me speechless.

Today He is calling us to follow Him.

Will you trust Him? … Today? …

Believe on Him.

Rest on Him.

He is wonderful.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

Categories: Gospel Tags: , , ,

The Wednesday Word: The Greatest Speech God Ever Made: Part 1

September 15, 2021 2 comments

Hebrews 1:1-2, “God … Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…”

History is riddled with wonderful and mighty speeches – Consider the Gettysburg address or any of the moving speeches Churchill made during the Second World War.

God is also a speech maker. He made many speeches through the ancient Hebrew prophets.

Yes, He spoke by the prophets but His finest speech was made in the person of His son … the God/man … the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s whole life was an articulate speech announcing to us exactly what God was like.

Indeed, the greatest speech God ever made about Himself was on that day 2000 years ago when our Master was impaled on a Roman gibbet. Unfortunately, we can become so familiar with this event that we cease to be amazed by it.

But what an astonishing speech Christ Jesus made at the cross! Isaiah the prophet had a vision of this event and was stunned.

To get the backdrop, read John 12: 38-41. Verse 41 says, “These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him”.

There were two occasions when Isaiah saw the Lord.

The first was in Isaiah 6 :1-7. We read, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.”

Let’s look at these verses,

V1 After 52 years on the throne Uzziah had died. This must have ushered in a time of national instability. The king is dead! But amid the crisis, Isaiah “saw the Lord.”

The King was dead, but Isaiah entered the temple and saw another king. The ultimate king who sat forever upon His throne – The Throne of glory, the Throne of government and the Throne of grace.

V2 the Seraphims – covered their faces.

They couldn’t look directly at Him.

Moses was like this… the glory of God was too intense for any human being (see Exodus 33), therefore, He was only allowed to see the Lord’s back. Yet, when He came down from the mountain, his face frightened the people – He had to wear a veil. Just the reflected glory of the Lord’s back was devastating to the people.

V3 Holy, Holy, Holy – this characteristic, Holy’ was repeated for emphasis. The Bible never says God is love, love, love or God has mercy, mercy, mercy or Justice, Justice, Justice, or even wrath, wrath, wrath. But He is characterized by intense holiness.

In Isaiah 6:4 the doorposts moved. Doorposts can’t hear, see or speak but they had the good sense to move when God showed up in His temple.

And they weren’t the only thing shaking!

When Isaiah saw the living God the reigning monarch of the Universe in all His holiness, He cried out ‘WOE IS ME!’

The word ‘WOE’ sounds a bit old fashioned. But it is the critical word here.

‘Woe’ means ‘absolute despair!’ or “I’m undone” or – I’m disintegrated.” In the silent movies we often encounter the poor young girl chained to the railway track with the train coming straight for her. She could say with all-honesty, “Woe is me.”

Well, that’s what Isaiah said when He saw the Lord. This man was a respected godly man – a paragon of virtue. But in the brief second, he was exposed to the gaze of the thrice holy God he felt spiritual annihilation.

Remember now in John 12 41 we read … “These things said Isaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.”

According to this, in the Temple that day, Isaiah saw Jesus!

But more about that next week

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: The Wonderful Cross

(see Romans 3:23-28).

When I survey the wondrous cross,

On which the young prince of glory died;

My richest gain I count but loss

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Watts

Christ in His death opened the way into God’s presence for us.

Thank God for the Wonderful Cross!

When Jesus said, “I am the way” (John 14:6) He meant, He was and is the only way to God. If you are looking for God anywhere else other than the Lord Jesus, you, according to the Master, are going the wrong way. To look for another way is a subtle attack on the Lord Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is not one of many ways, He is the way! He didn’t even say His teachings led to the way. No indeed, He boldly declared “I am the way.”

‘The way’ was a particularly important idea to Israelites.

Moses had instructed them, “You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33).

Isaiah had said: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, this is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

The Psalmist pleads, “Teach me thy way, O Lord” (Psalms 27:11).

Jesus was, therefore, claiming to be the fulfillment of their instructions and desires for the way. In Him and His cross the gates of Heaven are wide open.

Thank God for the Wonderful Cross!

The Christ and His Cross are the Way. At the cross we see the free grace of God. We see a sinless man dying for His people. Despite this, the critics of free grace make works not only the evidence of salvation, but salvation itself. “There is no salvation, they say, “apart from works.” Then they say, “You won’t find out whether you are justified until the Last Day when your works will be examined.” They have a different Way than we do.

To add works to the cross is another attack on the Lord Jesus. He has made peace by the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20). Peace was not made when we added our two cents worth. Peace was accomplished at Calvary. The work was and is finished.

Thank God for the Wonderful Cross!

If the Way to God is by Christ plus our works, then works are one of our mediators. But the Scripture boldly asserts that there is but one mediator between God and man … not two (1 Timothy 2:5).

If our works mediate for us, then they are partly responsible for our salvation. But the scriptures know nothing of this way. Peace has already been made by the shed blood of Calvary plus nothing.

Thank God for the Wonderful Cross!

For a moment, let’s look at man’s contribution to the cross. When Jesus died at Calvary, it was man’s hand that drove in those nails.

It was man’s hand that planted the crown of thorns upon His brow.

It was man’s hand that plunged the spear into His side.

At the cross, man did his worst against heaven’s best and

when man had done his very worst against God, God did His very finest for us … He saved us!

Thank God for the Wonderful Cross!

At the cross, God’s righteous wrath fell on Jesus. He took it and was cursed on our behalf. Because of the cross, God can now in righteous grace save His people … apart from their contributions. Because of the cross, the vilest sinner who believes may be saved. We are saved by grace without our partnership.

Thank God for the Wonderful Cross!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: A Simple Word For Us All

Have you been called to minister? Whether you know it or not, you have, all believers have. We´re here to extend the claims and fame of Jesus. We’re here to help non-believers and believers alike to see how wonderful Jesus is.

As God´s servants, may we continually show each another that Christ is precious. May we be helped to know that our sins have been cast behind God’s back (Isaiah 38:17). May we continually remind one another that the Lord´s sacrifice at Calvary was so powerful that, although He is all-seeing, the Father will never again catch sight of our sins.

Consider this, God said that He beheld no iniquity in Jacob (Numbers 23:21). But there was iniquity in Jacob, lots of it! Was God lying? No, that would be impossible!(Numbers 23:19). But, here´s the thing, because Jacob´s sin was put away at Calvary, the Father could say I find no iniquity in Him. And He says the same about us.

Calvary! What a powerful sacrifice! Eternal glory is due to the lovely Lord Jesus Christ because of it! He is the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness! (Zechariah 13:1).

It is written, “Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound” (Psalm 89:15). In the Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, we hear the ‘joyful sound’…here’s part of it.

Christ was made a curse for His people.

Under our sins, we can write in large, bold letters, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”

The English/Canadian theologian, Arthur Custance, astutely observed, “Any one of a number of deaths were possible for a condemned man under Roman law. That they should choose crucifixion was no accident since it was one form of capital punishment wherein a man was not merely put to death but was also accursed in the sight of God (Galatians 3:13). In other words, they forced upon Jesus, who was innocent, not merely the condemnation of the court, but the condemnation of God also.” (Arthur Custance, Doorway Papers).

Christ took the death of His people, and now, death has no sting with which to wound God´s elect. May we hear this frequently when we fellowship with one another.

But, it doesn´t end there. Christ Jesus is now made the Righteousness of God to His people. And how is this done? It is done by imputation. The believer is now reckoned as having the actual, entire righteousness of Christ (see Romans 4:6-8; 3:21-22; 2 Corinthians 3:21).

Believers in their new identity in Christ have no sin, curse or death. That message will never grow old. We are declared not guilty for all eternity. As it is written, ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condems? It is Christ that died; yea, rather, is risen again, and is rather at the right hand of God (the place of power and acceptance) who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

If our dear ministers in the pulpit made the gospel more prominent, it would be a blessing to their ministries. It would also encourage believers to build one another up in the most holy faith and to strive earnestly for the name and fame of the Lord Jesus.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: How God Got Rid of Our Sins

The gospel is wonderfully simple. It is the good news of the doing, dying and rising again of the God/Man. This gospel work was and is both finished and successful. As proof of this, we have, at this very moment, a glorified saviour seated in the place of cosmic authority (Hebrews 10:12).

So, let’s ask, how does God get rid of the believer’s sins? To answer this question, the Lord has taken great pains, in His Word, to show how completely He has done this. Watch how He employs word pictures that are so easily understood.

For example,

(1) In Psalm 103:12, we read, “As far as the east us so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Where is the East? Where is the West? No matter where we are on the globe there is always an east and a west. But who can tell us their actual location? If we begin traveling west, we will still be westward bound after many days of journey. Similarly, if we set out to discover the ultimate location of the east, we will never finally arrive.

As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us. This is how God got rid of our sins.

2) In Isaiah 38:17, we read, “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” What a precious passage to assure us that God no longer sees our sins. Who can see behind his back? No one. The good news is that He no longer sees our sins. He Himself hurled them behind His back…. And not just some of our sins, … all of them.

All our sins;

Every sin in thought, word, or deed;

Every secret sin;

Every presumptuous sin;

All our sin!

He cast our sins behind His back. This is how God got rid of our sin!

3) In Micah 7:19, we read “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Again, we find it is His work. He Himself cast our sins there. Not simply into the sea, but into the depths of the sea. If a person on board a ship empties some coins over the ship’s side, how much of it he will get back again? Not a red cent! All the coins would go down into the depths. So also with our sins. God cast them, great and small, into the depths of the sea, never to be brought back again.

This is how God got rid of our sins!

4) In Isaiah 44:22 we read, I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins.” Have you looked at the sky recently? There was a cloud there yesterday, an imposing one. Where is it today? … It is gone! And so it is with our sins. One day our sins rise up as a thick cloud between us and God, but God Himself blots them out because of the blood!

This is how God got rid of our sins!

5) In Isaiah 1:18, we read, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Scarlet and crimson are two of the most difficult colours to destroy, but God Himself took our scarlet sins, purges them, and, as it were, makes them white as snow.

This is how God gets rid of our sins!

It is our privilege to know, as David did, that we are, with reference to sin, made whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). God has gone to amazing lengths to get rid of our sin! (See also Hebrews 10: 17, Ephesians 1:7 and Romans 4:7-8).

Is Jesus precious to you? He remembers our sins no more. He forgives us according to the riches of His grace. Who can compute this kind of love and mercy?

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Christ Lifted Up Part 2

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

There is no doubt or hesitation in this statement. Jesus is saying, if He dies on the cross, multitudes of people will be drawn to Him. There is no hint or suggestion in this statement of any kind of failure in the cross. He MUST be lifted up and as a result He WILL draw all to Himself.

Because of His being crucified, there will be a great multitude which no man can number drawn to him. They will come to Him out of all nations, peoples, and tongues (see Revelation 7:9).

Of course, we must not read into the text (John 12:32) that which is not there. When the Master said He would draw all men unto Him, He didn´t mean all men without exception. That would be contrary to Scripture. That would mean that Hell is a monumental testimony of the failure of the cross. Plainly, the words mean that He will draw all manner of people to Him — Kings, Queens, high, low, rich, poor, moral, immoral and people of every description. All will be drawn to Him (Revelation 5:9).

If we read Acts 15:14, we will see that in the great Council of Jerusalem, James stood up and said that God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name.

And the truth is, God is yet calling out a people for His name, a people for His praise and a people for the glory of His grace.

If you are a believer, and I trust you are, let me ask, do you witness for Him and engage to some degree in His work? Is it not an immense encouragement to know that His death was not in vain? His work upon the cross has definite results —the results that He intended. Is it not an encouragement to know that Christ is not disappointed by the outcome of Calvary?

Every mansion in heaven will be occupied. There will be no empty seats. It is the great purpose of the Lord Jesus to, because of the cross, draw all kinds of people to Himself.

It is an immense comfort as we gossip the Gospel to know that there is no failure in the work the Lord finished. Christ is accomplishing His purposes and will continually accomplish them until He comes back again and welcomes all His believing people to Himself.

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China in the 1800s, said, if he had gone out to China with the idea that God was going to convert all the Chinese, he would have left China long ago. But he said he went there with the idea that God would call out a people for His name, and this purpose, he said, was accomplished. He said that in almost every province in China there were numbers ready to meet Christ when He returned.

And so, it is an immense encouragement, as we witness, to know that the Lord´s purposes shall be fully accomplished; His death was not in vain. He shall see, the travail of His soul and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).

Therefore, we should take Him at His word and believe Him when He says,

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Christ Lifted Up: Part 1

And if I be lifted up from the earth: I will draw all men unto Me; (see John 12:32-33.)

THREE times in the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to the fact of His being lifted up on the cross. On the first occasion, He spoke about it in a private conversation with Nicodemus. Remember how He said, ´´As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish; but have eternal life´´ (John 3:14-15).

Notice also how He spoke of the necessity of the cross. He said, “Even so MUST the Son of Man be lifted up: “

Again, in a public discourse: in the Temple, Jesus said. “When you have lifted up the Son of Man then shall you know that I am He.” (John 8:28).

Then shortly after His triumphal. entry into Jerusalem He said, “And, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me ” (John 12:32-33).

Those were prophetic words telling of the manner and results of Christ’s death.

If He had been put to death by the Jewish authorities as a blasphemer, His death would have been by stoning; But that was not the way the Father intended. He had purposed to inflict the death penalty on the Beloved One, the representative man. The Father was responsible for Christ´s death. Neither the Jews nor the Romans killed Jesus…. They were used in that terrible event, but Jesus was executed by the Father. Otherwise, justice would not have been served.

But back to our main theme. One of the things we learn from our text is that the drawing of men to Christ would be absolutely dependent upon His death. The Master said, “And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me.” There could have been no ‘drawing of men’ to Christ for salvation if He had not died upon the cross!

We read in John 6:44, “No man can come unto Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.” But what would have been the point of the Father drawing men if Jesus had not died for their sins? There would have been no salvation if Christ had not died! And so, in John 12:24 He says, ” except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides, alone.” Jesus was speaking of Himself. He was that corn of wheat, and unless He had died on the cross, He would have been alone. No one would have been saved.

And so, our Lord here teaches us that it was absolutely necessary for the salvation of His people that He should die upon the cross. He does not say. ” If I go on working miracles, my miracles will draw all men unto Me “; or ” I if I go on living a holy, and godly life I will draw all men unto Me. No! A thousand times No! Here´s what He did say. “If I be lifted up (on the cross) I will draw all men unto Me. Thus, our Lord fixes our attention upon His death in order to show that His death was essential for our salvation.

His death upon the cross is the great central truth of the Gospel and except He had died no one would ever have been saved. Therefore, let us hold fast to what has sneeringly been referred to as “Blood Theology.” Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (Hebrews 9:22). God justifies … freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Whom God hath set forth to be a wrath offering through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: OUR GLORIOUS SIN-BEARER Part 1

” Who himself bore Our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For you were as sheep going astray but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” I Peter 2: 24, 25.

Briefly, let´s consider 4 main points from this lovely text

(I) A Glorious Person;

(2) A Great Substitution;

(3) A Grand result;

(4) A God blessed evidence.

1. A Glorious Person,

Who is this glorious person? He is the Lord Jesus or as Robert Hawker used to call Him, “Our most glorious Christ.” He is God and Man in one Person. In these days when some preachers and teachers are denying the essential Deity of Christ, we have the joy and responsibility to exalt our Master in every way. He bore our sins! God Himself, as a man, stepped into our shoes and died in our place.

The Gospel is the good news of Christ. What an excellent statement of His glory we have in the opening words of the Epistle to the Hebrews. There we learn that Christ has been appointed heir of all things. He made the worlds; He is the brightness of the Father´s glory, and the express image of His person. He upholds all things by the word of His power. Yet this exalted One became the person of the cross. What humility! What astonishing truth!

What a glorious sin bearer!

2. A Great Substitution

” Who himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”

We are sinners-great sinners. How are we, then, to get rid of the guilt of our sins?

There is only one way.

There is only One person who can remove it, …Jesus…and this He did by His substitutionary death. He is the great substitute.

“Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” The word ” bore” means to be carried-in a sacrificial sense. It is used in the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) of the placing of the victim upon the altar. The sin offering, in the Old Testament, carried the people’s sins to and upon the altar. However, it was merely a type and picture which looked forward to the arrival of the great Substitute. But Christ, the true sin offering, bore our sins- not typically- but by imputation. As Isaiah 53:6 tells us, ” The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

On the day of atonement, when we read “Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat .. , and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited” (Leviticus. 16: 21, 22). This was all done in anticipation of the arrival of the glorious sin-bearer.

Perhaps you are reading this, and you know you are lost. You know you are very far from God. Consider this: The iniquities of all Christ´s people met on Jesus. “Christ has once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). In the beautiful language of Toplady, we may say:

“From whence this fear and unbelief?

Has not the Father put to grief

His spotless Son for me?

And will the righteous Judge of men

Condemn me for that debt of sin

Which, Lord was charged to Thee?

“Turn then, my soul, unto your rest

The merits of your great High Priest

Have bought thy liberty;

Trust in His efficacious blood,

Nor fear thy banishment from God,

Since Jesus died for thee.”

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Barabbas and the Gospel

December 5, 2018 6 comments

And so Pilate, … released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, … to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15).

Pilate freed Barabbas, the felon, and sent Jesus to the cross.

Pilate, as you remember, had no love for Barabbas, but wanted to save Jesus. So, he hit on the idea of offering the people a choice between the two men. It was customary to free a prisoner at the time of the Feast of Passover; so, Pilate asked the crowd, “Which of the two do you want me to release?” (Matthew 27:21-22).

He was astonished when the people enthusiastically called out, “Barabbas!”

Who was Barabbas?

To the Romans, Barabbas was a terrorist who had committed murder during a rebellion (Mark 15:7). John adds that Barabbas was also a robber (John 18:40).

The name Barabbas is interesting. It means “son of the father.” Some suggest that it means son of a Rabbi. If so, Barabbas was a preacher’s kid! … and so was John Wesley Hardin…one of the most notorious killers of the Wild West.

Barabbas had been condemned to die. He was a rebel against the law, a robber and a murderer. And now the outraged law had apprehended him and he’s on Death Row.

BTW,…everyone reading this who has not come to Christ as a hell-deserving sinner looking for mercy is sitting on death row. You are not on probation but under damnation.

Suddenly, people were calling his name, “Barabbas! Barabbas!” The next thing he heard was a crowd yelling, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Perhaps, he thinks it’s a lynch mob. He’s terrified. Then, he hears the prison door slowly opening and a bewildered guard said, “Barabbas! There’s a man named Jesus who is going to die in your place. He is going to be nailed to your cross. You are free to go.

As Barabbas emerged from the jail, the crowd was surging toward Calvary. And legend has it that Barabbas followed them. Think of it, he hears the hammer and knows that the blows that are fastening Jesus to the cross were meant for him. He knows that, quite literally, he, Barabbas, is the one who should be executed.

Barabbas, as he looked at Jesus on the cross, must have received a clear understanding of the Gospel. He must have thought,

“That man took my place.

I am the one who should have died.

I am the condemned murderer.

That man did nothing wrong.

He is dying instead of me.”

Barabbas sees Christ upon his cross. After that, he had no need to go to seminary to understand the Doctrine of Substitution.

Barabbas knew that he was a guilty, worthless wretch, under the condemnation of the law.

Barabbas saw the meaning of the cross. Jesus was actually dying in his place. Barabbas would have known that he had done nothing whatever to deserve Christ dying in his place. He knew that Christ’s death for Him was an act of pure, undeserved grace.

Because of the cross, Barabbas was free from the penalty of the Law. Suppose a soldier had recognized Barabbas and tried to arrest him. He legally could not have done it! Barabbas was a free man. The substitute had died in his place.

All Barabbas would have needed to say was ‘Jesus has died for me.’ Likewise, when the Law points its condemning finger and says we’re guilty…we point toward Jesus and say…He died for me….and I am free!

Remember this, if sin speaks louder in our conscience than Christ, it is because we have taken our eyes off the Gospel.

To be frank, I’ve never liked Barabbas. I wanted the crowd to yell,

“Release Jesus!”

“Crucify Barabbas!”

But instead, they roared for the opposite.

Barabbas, a villain, was set free and Jesus took his place. I hate that.

But, when I look inside myself I realize I am Barabbas. I’m in the same shoes. And you are Barabbas, too. We’re the guilty ones. We’re the scoundrels, but we go free because Jesus died in our place.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word – No, No, No, No! (Pt 4)

November 28, 2018 2 comments

No Authority but the Word of God.

“The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments principally teach what we are to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of us. Simply speaking, we do not accept doctrines and practices which cannot be established in the Word of God.

Would that some Charismatic preachers I’ve heard held to this maxim. Their practices are simply nuts. I have searched in vain to discover the scriptural authority for their ghoulish habit of lying on graves thus soaking up the anointing of dead ministers. That and any number of weird non-biblical practices such as angel dust, honey angels, soakings and the like must be rejected. Why? They are not authorized by the Scriptures.

There is no authority but the Word of God.

Not only so but the Scriptures and not even the creeds, are the sole and sufficient rule of faith and duty. Creeds must always bow in submission to the Scripture.

In addition, every ecclesiastical pronouncement that comes from the Bishop of Rome must be weighed against the teaching of the Bible.

If I can make a statement here without being accused of hate speech, the Roman Catholic Communion officially holds to ‘scripture + tradition’ as the basis of authority for faith and practice. Indeed, they go farther than that for, since the infallibility decree of 1870, they hold that the final seat of authority in all matters of faith is the Pope (when he speaks ex-cathedra). He incorrectly claims to be the source of authority for faith and practice.

(Believers, however, on this point, side with Martin Luther who refused to be moved unless it could be shown that his teaching was contrary to the Bible. He boldly declared, “Here I take my stand; I can do no other; so help me God.)”

But, so what about Dr. Luther? Our Master, the Lord Jesus, proclaimed the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, for He said; “The scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). He also declared that “Heaven and earth shall pass away—but My Words shall not pass away!” (Luke 21:33). Indeed, Jesus and the New Testament writers quote from the Old Testament some 295 times. They believed in the authority of the Word.

In spite of this, many who claim to be followers of Christ side with the spirit of the age and approve gay marriage, abortion, and the likes. Baffling!

They could learn from Paul when he asks: “For what saith the scripture?” (Romans 4:3). Or be instructed by the Bereans who tested all things by Scripture (Acts 17:11).

As Believers, we hold to the authority of the Bible. It is clear, authoritative, and final. There is no need for some external source of authority whether Popes, creeds or worldly standards to explain everything. The litmus test is solely and only “What saith the Scriptures?” We have the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit, and we are as well able to understand the message of the Book as any who have lived from the demise of the apostles to this hour.

There is no authority but the Word of God.

The Bible is the Christian’s standard for his rule of life. Its truth never changes. The law of the Lord is perfect (Psalm 19:7). We cannot hold this truth too firmly.

In refuting the errors of the Sadducees, Jesus said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew I2:29). He also warned the Pharisees in Mark 7:13 that they were making the word of God of none effect through their tradition.

There is no authority but the Word of God.

In Proverbs 30:5-6 we read,

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add not unto his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.”

But contemporary society thinks it knows better than the Scriptures. With each passing year, modern thinking gets more and more out of step with the Bible. And some Christians buy into this and make excuses for the poor antiquated Book. But we daren’t offer excuses for the Bible. It says what it says. It refuses to be tamed. Unlike us, the Bible won’t compromise. God says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, … For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

To those who pick and choose which Bible passages they want to believe, I would ask, have you been justified by faith?

You say, “Yes.”

But, by what authority do you say that?

“On the authority of the Word of God,” you reply.

But how do you know that the scriptures are authoritative? You reject much of what the word says about sin and immorality.

“Yes but the Bible is out of step on those matters,” you say.

How then do you know that it is accurate in matters of your salvation? Isn’t it time to stop picking and choosing which scriptures you want to believe?

As believers, we simply learn to rest on God’s unchanging word. God said it, that settled it. I believed it, that settled me!

There is no authority but the Word of God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com