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Jesus Christ – God and Man

Jesus Christ – God and Man

As we continue to look at the Gospel of Luke, we’re at the point where Jesus is in Jerusalem, during the last weeks before the cross. The religious leaders were testing Him with questions. Their desire was to discredit the Lord before all of the people.

Instead, their plan backfired. Their hypocrisy was exposed for all to see. Now Jesus turns things around and asks them a question.

Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’

David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

Luke 20:41-44 NIV

Jesus is giving the crowd something to think about. It’s also a testimony as to who He really is. Any teacher of the Law would know exactly what He was saying.

First, the Lord asks a question. Why do the teachers of the Law use the term Son of David for the Messiah?

That’s important because the phrase Son of David is never used in the Old Testament in relation to the Christ. It does teach that Messiah would be a king from the line of Judah.

So they were right in assuming the connection to David. But the title, Son of David, was coined by the Rabbis. So in answering the question – they call Messiah the Son of David because their careful study of the Scripture pointed them in that direction.

The next question is harder to answer without a willingness to have your heart changed. If David calls Him Lord, how can the Messiah be his son? Jesus is quoting the prophecy of Psalm 110.

In the Hebrew, David gives a prophecy that “Yahweh will say to my Adonai…”. But in Scripture, both Yahweh and Adonai are names of the one, true God.

It’s through this teaching that Jesus declares to all the religious leaders who He is. By their own study, the teachers of that day should realize that the only way for the Son of David to be Adonai is for God Himself to take on flesh.

That’s what sets Christianity apart from all the seemingly Christian based cults. Jesus Christ declared Himself, on more than one occasion, to be God in the flesh. That’s the test of what is the true church versus the false.

Even in Paul’s day, there were those who would try to deny the deity of Christ. He condemned the church at Corinth for not being careful with their teaching.

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
2 Corinthians 11:4 NIV

That’s also what separates Christianity from all other religions. They all teach that man has to strive to reach acceptance with a god or struggle for perfection. The true God tells us that it’s impossible for us to do it on our own. So He took the initiative to take on flesh and provide the way of salvation for us through the work of Christ on the cross.

I am so grateful for the gift given to us by Jesus Christ. There truly is no other name under heaven that provides such a rich reward for those who choose to follow Him.

Question: What events brought you to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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A Call for Mercy

A Call for Mercy

Among Christians, we’ve come up with our own “church talk”. There are certain words that we use in the church that have become watered down. We use them a lot without really understanding their Biblical significance.

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we’ll talk about one of these words – mercy.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Luke 18:35-39 NIV

The first thing I see in this passage is that this man believed something about Jesus. His faith was so strong that a crowd of people couldn’t turn him from his course.

We need to know the whole story. The account of this in Mark, chapter 10, tells us that he was the son of Timaeus. There’s a reason why we’re told this. The Hebrew word, timaeus, means to be spiritually unclean or defiled. He had carried the stigma of this his entire life.

The crowd looked at him and saw the son of a defiled, worthless father. They couldn’t see any reason that Jesus would bother with someone like him. Unfortunately, there are times when we look at others, or even ourselves, in this same way.

What made the difference was that this man knew the truth about the Lord. It’s manifest in the words that he shouted.

“Jesus, Son of David.” That was the title he used in calling the Lord. This is a Messianic title. It means that the blind man was trusting Christ as the Messiah and Savior of Israel. He was coming to Jesus because of who the Lord was, and not just because he wanted a healing.

This blind man had been praying and meditating on the words of Christ. How do I know this? Even the disciples of the Lord only knew He was Messiah because of a revelation from God (Matthew 16:15-17). So, in spite of his blindness, this man was spiritually sensitive.

“Have mercy on me!” This is the key to the whole passage. He wanted to be healed, yet he asked for mercy. Our generation has no concept of what this word means in the Bible.

Mercy is the favor God shows to His obedient sons and daughters. It’s the privilege of sonship. For a more detailed teaching on mercy, click here.

What this shows me is that this man did not choose to identify with his earthly, unclean, father. Instead, he found his place as a son of Abraham. Thus, he had the right to call upon the Messiah as his Lord and Healer. The Lord responded to his cry.

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Luke 18:40-43 NIV

This is very applicable to us in our generation. How do we approach God? Do we come to Him based upon our need?

We should come to Christ on the basis of who He is. Jesus Christ is Lord, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, etc. We should also see ourselves correctly – as a child of God – holy and righteous in His sight. This makes all the difference.

Question: How does your view of Jesus and yourself affect your ability to receive from God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Healing, Sonship

 

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Last Days – The Days of Lot

Last Days – The Days of Lot

I’m posting about Christ’s teaching on the Last Days in Luke, chapter 17. After talking about the days of Noah, the Lord goes on to describe the days of Abraham’s nephew, Lot.

“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

Luke 17:28-29 NIV

This event is recorded in Genesis 19. You can read through that chapter to get the whole story.

Two angels arrived in Sodom to visit Lot. Lot invited them into his home, knowing who they were.

When the men of the city heard that travelers were in Lot’s house, they demanded that Lot turn them over to the crowd. According to the Bible, they wanted to rape these angels. Lot then tried to reason with the men of the city but they wouldn’t listen.

You probably know what happens in the city of Sodom. The two guests, who happen to be angels, come to Lot’s defense. They bar the way into Lot’s house and bring blindness upon all the men of the city who are trying to get in.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Genesis 19:15-17 NIV

With the coming of the dawn – THE DAY – judgment came upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Once Lot and his family were out of sight of the city it was all over. The day that Lot left the city was the day that judgment fell. Now bear in mind that the inhabitants of those cities had some warning. Lot spent the whole day before trying to convince them.

The angels told Lot that if he had any loved ones in the city he should go and warn them. The Bible says that he went to his sons-in-law and they laughed at him. The city was warned. But because Lot wasn’t as in tune to the Lord as Noah, they didn’t have as much time to prepare. In both Noah’s day and in Lot’s the people ignored the warning.

Now I’ll ask the same questions I asked in my last post. When it was all said and done, who was left? According to Scripture it was Lot. Who was taken? Again, according to Scripture, it was the inhabitants of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Twice in the verses from Genesis 19:15-17 the angels said that the inhabitants would be “swept away.” That concept is very important.

We need to understand what will happen when Christ reveals Himself at His return. In my next post we’ll look at how Christ summarized His teaching on this future event.

Question: How does this knowledge affect how we live for Christ?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2022 in Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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Last Days – The Days of Noah

Last Days – The Days of Noah

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. At this point, I’ve been posting about the Lord’s teaching on the last days. Last time, we saw the warning He gave to His disciples that He would not return in their lifetime.

Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.”
Luke 17:22-24 NIV

He had to tell them the truth. They weren’t going to see the days of the Son of Man. Now that’s a term we need to understand. He had never yet used that term with His disciples before that day.

Let’s look carefully at the words of the Lord as He explains it to His disciples. He talked about the days of the Son of Man culminating in His day. Notice that He says in verse 24, “For the Son of Man in his day…”singular.

The word day means one literal twenty-four hour day. So what we see are “the days of the Son of Man” leading up to “the day of the Son of Man.” Thankfully He’s not finished with His explanation.

“But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
Luke 17:25 NIV

Here Jesus explains to them what He’s going to do. He still hadn’t died yet and the disciples needed to prepare themselves for the shock of seeing their Messiah hung upon a cross. Unfortunately, the disciples never really heard what Jesus said, and ultimately were taken by surprise by the death of the Lord.

We’re now going to look at verse 26. Please read it carefully because a lot of people use these comparisons out of context and twist them all around to mean something other than what’s written.

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”
Luke 17:26-27 NIV

Notice that Jesus again uses the phrase “the days of the Son of Man.” It will be just like in “the days of Noah.” Notice “the days of the Son of Man” culminates in “the day of the Son of Man.” Compare that to “the days of Noah” culminating in “the day Noah entered the ark.” It was on that day that the flood came and destroyed them all.

At that point, when all were safe inside, God shut the door. That was it, there was no turning back. No one could leave, and no one else could enter the ark of salvation. This is an important point in the principle Jesus is trying to get across to His disciples.

When all these things had taken place, the judgment of God fell upon that ancient world.

Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
Genesis 7:22-23 NIV

Now it’s important for me to ask you another question. According to the Scripture above, who was left? The answer is simple yet ignored. It clearly states that Noah and everybody in the ark were left. Who was wiped away from off the face of the earth? Every person and animal not in the ark.

It’s so clearly stated that you might ask why I’m emphasizing this issue. There’s a very important reason. Most of the people, who interpret this section of Scripture, rip it from its context, reverse it, and say that Noah was taken and the rest were left. We’re not going to do that today. I believe this verse as written and refuse to do any scriptural gymnastics to try and make it say something that it doesn’t. Here’s a parallel passage of Scripture.

and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Matthew 24:39 NIV

Even in His comments concerning the flood Jesus makes it abundantly clear that it was the sinners that were taken and Noah who was left. This is a very important concept to grasp. It goes against most of the teaching in the church today. Yet it’s vital that we agree with what Christ says no matter what anybody else teaches.

Question: Does this challenge or confirm your beliefs about the Second Coming of the Lord? How?

If you want a more detailed teaching on the Second Coming of Christ, click here to check out my book: The Third Watch – It’s Later Than You Think.

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2022 in Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Judging Ourselves Rightly

Judging Ourselves Rightly

In my last post, I talked about discerning the times we live in. Jesus rebuked the people of His day for not seeing that it was the time for Messiah to arrive. Then, by knowing this, they would see that He was the long-expected Christ.

The Lord continues this thought a little further.

Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”

Luke 12:57 NIV

This is an important principle for us to understand. We need to be able to look at our situation in relationship to God’s Word – and decide what’s right. The Jewish people failed the test and paid the price for it.

Jesus warned them about what was coming.

As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

Luke 12:58-59 NIV

Jesus talks here, about someone you’re in disagreement with. You think that you’re right and he’s wrong. That’s how the leadership of Israel was viewing their Messiah.

They didn’t like what He was teaching them. They were upset over the fact that the Lord pointed out their inconsistencies. They were at odds with Him on many levels.

Jesus tells them that it will take hard work, but they need to be reconciled with Him. This involves changing the way they think about their lives and ministries.

Now was the time for them to repent and change. There will come a day when it’s too late. Jesus Christ, Himself, will change from being their Advocate and will become their Judge.

I don’t believe that the Lord is talking about the final judgment here. That’s because there will be a payment the person in prison can make in order to be released.

There are those who have a point of contention with Christ and His ways. They like the fact that Jesus is Savior, but they don’t want to acknowledge Him as Lord.

That was the problem in ancient Israel. They wanted a Messiah who would free them from bondage to the Roman Empire. They weren’t looking for a spiritual leader to free them from the bondage of sin.

We’re much the same in our generation. We want to be freed from sickness, depression, fear, and poverty. At the same time, we don’t want the Lord to mess with our internet time, TV binge-watching, or social calendar.

In the above verse, the phrase, try hard literally means to work at it. This means that changing our attitudes to the Lordship of Christ is hard work. In our humanity, we want to set the agenda for our lives.

The Lord warns us that there’s a price to pay for doing it our own way. We find ourselves “locked up.” We can’t seem to enter the abundant life spoken of in the Scripture. Many times, there are hard decisions and actions we have to take to get back on track with God’s will for our lives.

Many times, people have asked me why they keep having to deal with the same problems over and over again. Sometimes, it’s because God is trying to get your attention. He wants you to see that you’re heading in a wrong direction.

James tells us that problems are trials of our faith (James 1:2-3). If you fail a trial, you may have to go through it again. Your best solution is to learn the lesson and pass the test. That’s why we’re told to test ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Learn the lesson of Israel. Follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Wholeheartedly listen to and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit working in you. That’s the best route to a fulfilled life.

Question: How do you view the Lordship of Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Let Praise Arise

Let Praise Arise

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul is wrapping up his thoughts. He’s talking about the work that Christ had to do for us.

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written:”Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.”

Romans 15:8-9

The word, Jews, in this verse is literally the word, circumcision. This means that Christ became a servant of the covenant law on behalf of the truth. According to Paul, He did this for two reasons.

The first was to establishstabilize, confirm – the promises made to the patriarchs. He had to come under the law in order to fulfill the law. That’s because the Law of Moses was an addendum to the covenant of Abraham.

It needed to be completed and abolished. In this way only the promises and covenant of the patriarchs remain.

The second reason Christ did this was so that Gentiles will glorify God because of His mercy. Now those who were not physical members of the Hebrew family can join them under the covenant.

Then he quotes Psalm 18. This is a victory psalm of David when he beat the Philistines. It speaks of the victory of God’s anointed king in the line of David. Now, because of this work, we are His descendants.

Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

Romans 15:10

This is a quote from Deuteronomy 32:43. Why would the Gentiles rejoice with His people? The Gentiles can praise God because they were included in the atonement.

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.”

Romans 15:11

Here he quotes from Psalm 117, calling the nations to praise God for what He does in Israel. Through Israel, the entire world is blessed with salvation.

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.”

Romans 15:12

Here, Paul is actually paraphrasing Isaiah.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.

Isaiah 11:10

Paul explains that Messiah will arise and rule over all people. Many will bow before Him willingly and put their hope, their expectation in Him.

Knowing that he’s writing to a mostly Gentile church in Rome, Paul now gives his final desire for these Gentile believers.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

This is Paul’s prayer for the Gentile churches. He calls upon the God of our expectation. He wants the Lord to fill you with joy and peace.

There is joy and peace that comes from expectancy. In human terms, we’re sometimes disappointed by those we place our expectancy in. But, in Christ, these qualities can overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What aspects of your salvation causes you to praise God the most?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2021 in Spiritual Walk, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Israel Restored

Israel Restored

As we go through the book of Romans, Paul has been talking about the spiritual condition of Israel. He tells us that many had refused the knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ. Because of that, these persons lost their place in God’s kingdom.

But, there’s a remnant of Jews who have chosen to follow the Messiah. It’s Paul’s desire that Israel as a nation turns to Christ.

And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Romans 11:23-24

According to Paul, Israel’s unbelief is not a permanent condition. If they come to faith in Christ, God can re-graft them into the tree.

As Gentiles, our very nature was wild. Yet, in Christ, God could graft us into His kingdom. How much more could God bring back those who were a part of the “founding family.”

A Jew coming to Christ has a background of knowledge that the Holy Spirit can draw on. Their eyes can be opened to the truth. They start further along than some Gentiles who have to start from scratch.

Paul now gives us a prophetic look at the future of Israel.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

Romans 11:25-27

We need to understand what the apostle is saying here. In Scripture, the word, mystery, means something hidden until the time it happens. It’s just like the start of the church. No one saw it coming until Christ rose from the dead.

Paul doesn’t want us to be ignorant of the mystery concerning Israel. He doesn’t want us to become conceited, thinking the church is just a Gentile thing.

What’s happening in the spirit, is there’s a part of Israel that has experienced a hardening. But, it’s only temporary, until the number Gentiles is complete.

Jesus said the same thing concerning the nation of Israel.

They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Luke 21:24

Paul and Jesus use almost the same words – times of Gentiles filled up vs. Gentiles coming in filled up. The times seem to be fulfilled at this point, since Israel has once again become a nation.

The mystery is that all Israel shall be saved. Then he quotes Isaiah who says that the Deliverer will turn away “worshiplessness” from Jacob. It’s a new covenant when their sins are removed. But we know that can only be done by faith in Christ.

Here’s how Jeremiah puts it.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Jeremiah 31:33

This is a great description of righteousness as Paul has been teaching it throughout the book of Romans. This is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. That’s why we, as believers, must be constantly praying for Israel’s salvation. That their eyes would be opened to the truth of Christ.

Question: How often do you pray for the spiritual restoration of Israel?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Prayer, The Gospel

 

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Who is Christ?

As we continue to look at the Gospel of Mark, we’re at the point where Jesus is in Jerusalem, during the last weeks before the cross.

While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David?  David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:
“‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ‘
David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”
The large crowd listened to him with delight.
Mark 12:35-37

Jesus is giving the crowd something to think about.  It’s also a testimony as to who He really is.  Any teacher of the Law would know exactly what He was saying.

First, the Lord asks a question.  Why do the teachers of the Law use the term Son of David for the Messiah?

That’s important because the phrase Son of David is never used in the Old Testament in relation to the Christ.  It does teach that Messiah would be a king from the line of Judah.

So they were right in assuming the connection to David.  But the title, Son of David, was coined by the Rabbis.  So in answering the question – they call Messiah the Son of David because their careful study of the Scripture pointed them in that direction.

The next question is harder to answer without a willingness to have your heart changed.  If David calls Him Lord, how can the Messiah be his son?  Jesus is quoting the prophecy of Psalm 110.

In the Hebrew, David gives a prophecy that “Yahweh will say to my Adonai…”.  But in Scripture, both Yahweh and Adonai are names of the one, true God.

It’s through this teaching that Jesus declares to all the religious leaders who He is.  By their own study, the teachers of that day should realize that the only way for the Son of David to be Adonai is for God Himself to take on flesh.

That’s what sets Christianity apart from all the seemingly Christian based cults.  Jesus Christ declared Himself, on more than one occasion, to be God in the flesh.  That’s the test of what is the true church versus the false.

Even in Paul’s day, there were those who would try to deny the deity of Christ.  He condemned the church at Corinth for not being careful with their teaching.

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
2 Corinthians 11:4

That’s also what separates Christianity from all other religions.  They all teach that man has to strive to reach acceptance with a god or struggle for perfection.  The true God tells us that it’s impossible for us to do it on our own.  So He took the initiative to take on flesh and provide the way of salvation for us through the work of Christ on the cross.

I am so grateful for the gift given to us by Jesus Christ.  There truly is no other name under heaven that provides such a rich reward for those who choose to follow Him.

Question: What events brought you to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2018 in The Church, The Gospel

 

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Mercy for Healing

There are certain words that we use in the church that have become watered down.  We use them a lot without really understanding their Biblical significance.

As we continue through the Gospel of Mark, we will talk about one of these words – mercy.

Then they came to Jericho.  As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Mark 10:46-48

The first thing I see in this passage is that this man believed something about Jesus.  His faith was so strong that a crowd of people couldn’t turn him from his course.

We need to know the whole story.  There’s a reason why we’re told that he was the son of Timaeus.  The Hebrew word, timaeus, means to be spiritually unclean or defiled.  He had carried the stigma of this his entire life.

The crowd looked at him and saw the son of a defiled, worthless father.  They couldn’t see any reason that Jesus would bother with someone like him.

What made the difference was that Bart knew the truth about the Lord.  It’s manifest in the words that he shouted.

“Jesus, Son of David.”  That was the title he used in calling the Lord.  That was a Messianic title.  It means that Bart was trusting Christ as the Messiah and Savior of Israel.  He was coming to Jesus because of who He was, and not just because he wanted a healing.

This blind man had been praying and meditating on the words of Christ.  How do I know this?  Even the disciples of the Lord only knew He was Messiah because of a revelation from God (Matthew 16:15-17).  So, in spite of his blindness, this man was spiritually sensitive.

“Have mercy on me!”  This is the key to the whole passage.  He wanted to be healed, yet asked for mercy.  Our generation has no concept of what this word means in the Bible.

Mercy is the favor God shows to His obedient sons and daughters.  It’s the privilege of sonship.  For a more detailed teaching on mercy, click here.

What this shows me is that Bart did not choose to identify with his earthly, unclean, father.  Instead, he found his place as a son of Abraham.  Thus, he had the right to call upon the Messiah as his Lord and Healer.  The Lord responded to his cry.

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet!  He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 10:49-52

This is very applicable to us in our generation.  How do we approach God?  Do we come to Him based upon our need?

We should come to Christ on the basis of who He is.  Lord, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, etc.  We should also see ourselves correctly – as a child of God – holy and righteous in His sight.  This makes all the difference.

Question: How does your view of Jesus and yourself affect your ability to receive from God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Faith, Healing, Sonship

 

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Jesus and the Gospel

As we continue our look at the Gospel of Mark, we’ll now see how the ministry of Jesus relates to the Gospel message.  You probably already know that the word, Gospel, literally means the Good News.

But what exactly is that Good News?   I think you’ll be surprised at how the modern church has turned the message around, making it empty of its power.

If I were to ask people “What is the Gospel?” I’d probably receive many answers.  There’s a host of believers who are actively trying to “win the lost.”  They would most likely give me very Biblical answers.

What I want to know, are the perceptions of those who hear the Gospel.  From talking with unbelievers who have been “witnessed to” I could boil it down to the following: “You’re an evil sinner going to hell, but if you repeat a special prayer you can go to Heaven.”

If that’s what they got out of an encounter with a Christian, then something’s wrong with our approach.  There’s no way to demonstrate a statement like that.  That’s why so many unbelievers are bitter toward those who have tried and failed to convert them.

We need to return to a true understanding of what the Good News is all about.  That’s why Jesus, Himself, is a great example.

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  “The time has come,” he said.  “The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:14-15

Jesus made two statements.  The kingdom of God is near was the Good News.  God was showing up on the scene to change their lives for the better.  Freedom, healing, and deliverance were about to be demonstrated to the people of Israel.

The Lord then told those listening to Him how to respond to this Good News.  Repent and believe is not the Good News, it’s the response that’s needed.  We must learn that the power is in the Good News, not in the response to the Good News.

In many cases, we’ve started calling the response, the Gospel.  You can’t go out preaching “repent and believe” and assume you’re bringing the Gospel to the world.

When it comes to the Good News, one size doesn’t fit all.  There are gang members and single moms, Wall St. executives and the homeless.  Is the Good News the same for all of them?

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the response to the Good News must be the same for all people.  But the message itself will be different depending on who you’re talking to.  This is how God established it in His Word.

God, Himself, gave us four Gospels.  Matthew was written for the Jews and Mark for the Romans.  Luke was for the Greeks and John contained Good News for the Christian.

It’s a fact that religious people need to hear something different than the unchurched.  The Bible itself describes the Good News in many ways.  It’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom, of God, of Christ, of God’s grace, of your salvation, and the Gospel of peace.

Of course, no matter how the Gospel message is tailored to an audience, Jesus Christ is central.  Furthermore, it all must be demonstrated by the power of the Holy Spirit in order for the world to see the full picture.

Question: How can you bring the Good News to those in your sphere of influence?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2017 in Ministry, The Gospel

 

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