Seeing His Beauty more clearly through the formal and persistent study of His Word. Ver su belleza más claramente a través del estudio formal y persistente de Su Palabra.
Find your field guide here * Encuentre su guía de campo aquí:
Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Jesús entra en Jerusalén montado en un burro.
Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
Mateo 21: 1-11; Marcos 11: 1-10; Lucas 19: 29-40; Juan 12: 12-19
Jesus looks at the temple and returns to Bethany for the night. Jesús mira el templo y regresa a Betania por la noche.
Jesus curses the fig tree. Jesús maldice la higuera.
Matt. 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14
Mateo 21: 18-19; Marcos 11: 12-14
Jesus cleanses the temple. Jesús limpia el templo.
Matt. 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46
Mateo 21: 12-13, Marcos 11: 15-17; Lucas 19: 45-46
Jesus’ authority is questioned as He teaches int he temple. La autoridad de Jesús es cuestionada mientras enseña el templo.
Matt. 21:23-22:14; Mark 11:27-12:12; Luke 20:1-19
Mateo 21: 23-22: 14; Marcos 11: 27-12: 12; Lucas 20: 1-19
Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple and His return. Jesús predice la destrucción del templo y Su regreso.
Matt. 24:1-25:46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36
Mateo 24: 1-25: 46; Marcos 13: 1-37; Lucas 21: 5-36
Judas agrees to betray Jesus. Judas acuerda traicionar a Jesús.
Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6
Mateo 26: 14-16; Marcos 14: 10-11; Lucas 22: 3-6
Jesus eats the Last Supper with His disciples. Jesús come la última cena con sus discípulos.
Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20; John 13:1-17:26
Mateo 26: 26-29; Marcos 14: 22-25; Lucas 22: 15-20; Juan 13: 1-17: 26
Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesús es arrestado en el Jardín de Getsemaní.
Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12
Mateo 26: 36-46; Marcos 14: 43-52; Lucas 22: 47-53; Juan 18: 2-12
Jesus is questioned by Annas. Jesús es interrogado por Anás.
John 18:13; 19-23
Juan 18:13; 19-23
Jesus is condemned by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Jesús es condenado por Caifás y el Sanedrín.
Matt. 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-71
Mateo 27: 1; Marcos 15: 1; Lucas 22: 66-71
Pilate questions Jesus. Pilatos cuestiona a Jesús.
Matt. 27:2, 11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-7; John 18:28-38
Mateo 27: 2, 11-14; Marcos 15: 1-5; Lucas 23: 1-7; Juan 18: 28-38
Jesus appears before Herod Antipas. Jesús es llevado ante Herodes Antipas.
Lucas 23: 7-12
Pilate condemns Jesus to death. Pilatos condena a Jesús a muerte.
Matt. 27:23-26; Mark 15:14-15; Luke 23:22-25; John 19:12-16
Mateo 27: 23-26; Marcos 15: 14-15; Lucas 23: 22-25; Juan 19: 12-16
Jesus is crucified. Jesús es crucificado.
Matt. 27:35-50; Mark 15:24-39; Luke 23:33-48; John 19:18-30
Mateo 27: 35 – 50; Marcos 15: 24-39; Lucas 23: 33-48; Juan 19: 18-30
Jesus is buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Jesús es enterrado en la tumba de José de Arimatea.
Matt. 27:60-61; Mark 15:46-47; Luke 23:53-56; John 19:39-42
Mateo 27: 60 – 61; Marcos 15: 46-47; Lucas 23: 53-56; Juan 19: 39-42
An extension of Sermon XLV in our series on Zechariah.
It is really necessary to slow down, even when it is counter intuitive. All around us, our culture is telling to go faster, to expedite all of our interactions as much as we can, all in the name of being more productive, of doing more with our time.
This acceleration makes a difference in the way we approach God. Particularly, in terms of our theological pursuits. Who has time to consider all of the different details of His work of restoration? Just give me Jesus! Is the outcry of our Christian culture. And if you can do it in bite-size pieces of information, much more the better.
When we summarize to the extreme the doctrines of Scripture (What did Jesus do for you? He died on the cross is the quick, portable and incomplete answer), we lose vital details of His work of redemption that are necessary for us to worship Him well and to face life. Yes, the details are that important. We cannot separate the the work of God the Holy Spirit in our sanctification from His justice, for instance. We cannot talk about God’s judgement of the nations without taking into account His holiness and total otherness. And what about the future glory? Would it make sense without also looking at the ministry of God the Son?
Yes, we can talk about individual biblical doctrines, but we must consider not only all aspects of those individual doctrines, but also the relationship that each one of them have with the others.
Zechariah is doing exactly that at the end of his book, from Chapter 12 to 14. This portion of the prophet’s writings are one single prophesy that includes several topics, all of which are related to one another. They form a tapestry of sorts, with individual treats interlocking, relating, informing one another. Yes, there is beauty in zooming in and contemplating each of those treats, but their beauty can only be total appreciated when we step back, and look at the whole piece of art.
And we can tell that we are gazing at great, really truthful theology when it translates into a great and truthful force to direct our life of worship and interactions with other human beings.
CALL TO ACTION ONE: Look at the whole! Do not be satisfied with headline theology. All of Scripture is useful to equip you. Yes, it will require from you to invest some of your most valuable resources – time being the first of them – but the result is worthwhile.
His Beauty not only secures our salvation, but it also secures our future place in glory. His work of restoration is not limited to give us a clean slate, leaving everything else from that point on to our own abilities. He saved us from something specific – God’s wrath – and for something specific: to be like Him. In this last part of his book, Zechariah gives us some hints of what we are going to look like, in that future state of glory when the consummation of our salvation will finally take place. Our strength will be the LORD, perfectly (12:5). He will have His Spirit, perfectly (12:10). We will be clean, perfectly (13:1). But, for me, the best part is that my idolatry and my tendency to corrupt His word will be removed. It will be cut off. Perfectly (13:2-6).
Then, we live in between the acquisition of our salvation and its consummation. Our daily lives take place in the tension of the already and the not-yet. And while we wait for that consummation, He is at work in and with us, to make us more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ. This process is called sanctification, and it was defined by a group of very smart people, many years ago, this way:
(Question 35 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)
|Q: What is sanctification?
This work of His free grace is making us able to operate in the rarefied atmosphere created by our sin, in a way that resembles His holiness. We are able, more and more, to faithfully imitate the Lover of our soul.
CALL TO ACTION TWO: Consider both extremes of His salvation for you: its acquisition and its consummation. If you focus only if the acquisition, you may get the impression that the rest – making it all the way to glory – depends completely on you. If you only consider the consummation and the glory that is to come, you may lose interest in living this life in a way that reflects His character for others to see it.
And one more thing: when are faithfully present in the in-between, we can find peace and freedom to share with others.
CALL TO ACTION THREE: Take His work of sanctification in you out for a spin. He is doing nothing short of a miracle, transforming you more and more into the image of Jesus Christ! Take that transformation out into real life to see how it holds. It will. You are being well equipped to do something that will not go unnoticed: love others – specially those who do not share your cultural preferences – in a redemptive way.
Recordemos Su gracia por nosotros.
Covenants are cultural artifacts that are not unique to the Bible. In Old Testament times, covenants were something common, specially between kings and the people they ruled. This type of formal agreement would start with an enumeration of all the previous deeds and attributes of the king. Then, the details of such contract would be detailed.
A covenant would include positive and negative consequences of keeping it or breaking it, correspondingly.
In Scripture we often see God’s prophets enacting God’s message for His people. To charge them with infidelity, God ordered the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute, for instance. In this case, the LORD commanded Zechariah to be a shepherd who made a covenant of Grace and Union with the flock, to remind Israel of the formal relationship between Him and them. Because of the way the flock behaved, the prophet grew tired of them. The situation was so bad that the sentiment was reciprocal. Then, the prophet broke the covenant he has with the people, illustrating in this way that God had the right to break His covenant with them, since they – His people – had betrayed Him.
God could terminate the covenant.
He still would be righteous and fair, since it was His people who broke it first.
He could terminate the covenant, just like Zechariah exemplified it.
He could. But He won’t. Jeremiah 31 – 33.
Because, then, His work in us is secured by His character – formal, that is the way our LORD really is – we can have peace, now. We can go through life knowing that His love for us is secured. We can face our pains and joys with the certainty of His work, presence, grace for us. Even when our circumstances call for despair, we can be at peace knowing that we are resting under the coverage of His protection. The ground can shake under our feet, but He is the rock of our salvation.
And since He has promised in a very formal way that He will finish the work that He has started, we know we can have certainty for the future. He will carry us over the finish line. This is biblical hope. It is for sure. It is not good wishing, but the certainty that at the end, our sin will not have the final word. There may be, still, many áreas in my life that are in need of His restoration. I am still struggling with my three enemies, but because of His formal promises, demonstrated by the Incarnation of God the Son and the restoration from God the Holy Spirit, one day I will be where my Lord is, contemplating the glory He had with the Father before the foundation of earth.
What should our response be, then? If we can have peace for today and hope (certainty) for the future – all because He assures us, with a promise and an oath, that He will finish the good work He has started in us – then, How is this reality supposed to affect our daily life? One thing is for sure: our response should not be to ignore our problems or circumstances. His truth is not a way to escape the pains and sufferings of this life. It’s neither a call for inaction, for an I’m-just-going-to-wait-until-He-returns kind of attitude toward the issues we face, personally and as a community.
The first consequence of this peace and hope is that both, pains and joys, are set to their right size. In other words, the certainty of His covenant allows us to see life with the right perspective, from the right point of view.
Second, this peace-hope pair must move us to action, here and now. Our secured place in glory – His glory – should enlarge our heart with a desire to exercise mercy, forgiveness. We should be so intoxicated by the grace the Triune God of Scripture has given us, that we should not be able to help it, and we should be looking for the smallest excuses to give it away.
Imitating the goodness, generosity, love and grace our LORD because we have been the recipients of them.
Not a bad way to live, right?
We are frequently told that before we can love others, we must love ourselves. The implication here is that we cannot assist anyone one unless we are personally in optimal conditions; the circumstances we are in, then, dictate how we live this life. Now, the passage we are considering today tells us something different. Our well being is not in function of our personal assessment of the circumstances we find ourselves in, but in how much our life – empowered by God the Holy Spirit and including life’s pains and joys – reflects the character of the Triune God of Scripture. And, as we discussed at our gathering After The Worship Service on Sunday, we can conclude that this desire for others to see His Beauty is fueled by compassion, mercy, grace. The very things we have received from our God.
If we grew up on the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, it’s hard to imagine an ice cream sundae. If we grew up in Georgia, it’s hard to imagine 50 different types of snow and ice. And if we never experienced the love of a good and wise earthly father, it is hard to believe God the Father can be like that.
But the fact that it’s hard to imagine does not mean God the Father is not loving, good and wise.
But how can we know Him better? How can we experience His love more?
Scripture tells us many ways…
We can know God through creation (Rom 1:20, Psalm 19:1-4). His goodness & power are evident in all of the myriad blessings we take for granted each day. Think of something as simple as the fact that a banana, an apple, and an orange are just the right size for our hands. They even come with organic “wrappers” that keep them clean and moist until the right time.
We can know Him through scripture (Heb 1:1)
“I’ve heard a thousand stories” (many people give their opinions on God)
“You tell me that You’re pleased” (John 17:23)
“You’re a good, good Father… it’s who You are” (Psalm 100:5)
“And I’m loved by You… it’s who I am” (1 John 3:1)
“You know just what we need before we say a word” (Matt 6:8, 32)
“As You call me deeper still” (John 17:3)
Have you ever placed your faith in Christ as the only payment for your sin? This is how we become a child of God (John 1:12). What is preventing you from taking that step? You could express it in a prayer right now.
If you’ve already placed your faith in Christ, what is preventing you from drawing near to God your Father with more abandon? What do you think He feels when He thinks of you? How does your answer to that question compare to scripture? How could you express your desire for and trust in Him in a prayer?
When someone puts their faith in Christ, God could just pardon them. But He goes so much further… He adopts them! If you want to dig deeper into this reality, click here to go to reformari.org and see how the Westminster Standards summarize scripture about it.
Last Sunday we talked about how circumstances are not the standard by which we should measure God’s work in and for us. The text also guided us to consider what we really believe about our dependency on His Beauty, not only to get this year going in the right direction but to face all of life. We said that humility is the place to get us started.
What does it mean to live our lives from a position of humility? And, how do we know we have it? Well, let’s talk about it.
There is definitely a place for remembering, especially at holidays. Sometimes it’s part of honoring and sometimes it’s part of healing. And there is nothing wrong with happy feelings. God made us to have feelings, after all, and when things are right, it can feel like a hot cup of cocoa for the soul.
But there’s a kind of sentimentality – especially at Christmas – that can get in the way of deeper, richer joy.
So much of our emotional energy and focus during this season can go into the ‘appetizers’ of heaven, that we can forget the Real Thing. For example, we may research, save, fight the lines, all so that we can get the ‘perfect’ gift for someone. Or we may work hard to get the right people at the right place at the right time doing the right traditions or else it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. Are gifts and home and loved ones bad? No, but the best they can do is point us to the real Source… that is, they are meant to increase our longing for the companionship and satisfaction and wealth that God has made available at His side through Christ. The more we get to know Him, the more we see that He is the best family and the best gift.
This is unexpected good news. For those of us who would probably be relatively happy during this season with earthly comforts, it frees us from the tyranny of the sentimental. We don’t have to ‘feel’ a certain way to really experience Christmas. We are free to look through and past God’s gifts to God Himself. And it’s also good news for those who find it hard to be happy during Christmas. Even when we don’t have the loved ones or the things or any other earthly comfort, our ultimate hope is not at stake.
Here is a Christmas carol that helps us remember this…
This song captures key parts of the great story of redemption that God is writing. Creation… the Fall… Redemption… Consummation.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
For so very long we were without hope in our sin and our lies, longing (‘pining’) for Him to come.
Hoy Emmanuel es “Dios ya con nosotros”
But the eternal God became a human! Near… touchable… with blood and nerves and tears.
Chains shall He break… and in His name all oppression shall cease
And one Day He will return to finish what He started… the redemption of His people and of creation.
There is no Christmas-release movie, no updated model [of whatever device we want], and no special person that compares to the solid joys and lasting pleasures at God’s side in the grand narrative that He is writing us into.
What feeling are you most hoping to have during Christmas?
How can you instead look to Christ and His character and rescuing work on your behalf for satisfaction?