Category Archives: Bible people

Deeds, Death and Destiny

Jesus does not give us the name of the rich man (Luke 16:19-31), though He does give us the name of the beggar. There must have been a good reason for this. Perhaps there was no need to make a further spectacle of the rich man. Giving his name, and thus adding to his shame, would not have made the point more potent or made hearers more receptive. Often, however, you will read of commentators referring to him as Dives, but this is merely Latin for “rich man.” Traditions have also handed down a few names for the rich man, but we cannot know for certain if they are correct. In the end, his name really does not matter and thus is not given.

The beggar’s name is given, it is Lazarus. Lazarus is a form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, which means “God is help.” That Jesus gave a specific name indicates that this account might be more than just a parable for in no other parable did Jesus ever give the name of one of the individuals to which He referred. A parable is usually defined as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. However, it is difficult to see how this is an earthly story with such a vivid depiction of the afterlife.

On the other hand, even if it were a parable, Jesus’ parables only presented that which was real, unless this account is the exception. Jesus never made up fictional characters or places, but used that which was known and used everyday. The parable of the lost coin, the lost sheep, the parable of the sower, the parable of marriage feast, the prodigal son, the pearl of great price etc., are examples of the kind of parables Jesus told. The story of the rich man and Lazarus does not fall into this category and is probably an account of something that actually happened.

The picture painted by Jesus’ words is poignant. Here was a man afflicted with some great malady that kept him covered in sores (Luke 16:20). He was apparently unable to move himself, at least with any ease, because he was carried by others and “laid” at the place where he was (Luke 16:20). Because of this infirmity, he was apparently unable to work and had thus become poor. The word translated “beggar” is most often translated in the New Testament as poor. This man was laid at a rich man’s gate and would have been satisfied with only the few crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. It was this man’s sickness that reduced him to such beggary, and nothing else.

The beggar’s character is attested to by the fact that, upon his death, the angels carried him to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22). This suggests that he was given no grand burial and it was left to the angels to treat him with kindness. Abraham’s bosom, or paradise (Luke 24:43), is the place in the Hadean realm where the righteous go to await judgment (cf. Luke 24:43 and Acts 2:26,27). His character is also attested to by the fact that the rich man sought Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his family of the reality of this place of torment to which he had been sent.

The character of the rich man is also plainly indicated. He was clothed in purple, a precious and costly dye desired by the wealthy and powerful. He wore fine linen. Every day he ate from an expensive table of delectable (Luke 16:19). He had everything he could want and more, yet he took no interest in the poor beggar who lay at his door seeking only crumbs to satisfy his hunger pains. He must have known of Lazarus for he identified him in the Hadean realm (Luke 16:23,24). Furthermore, that he only asked for a drop of water corresponds to the crumbs that Lazarus was seeking, suggesting his timidity in asking for anything more.

It is not that the man was wealthy that sent him to torment nor that he ate well everyday. It is not that he wore fine clothes which he could afford and paid for with his own money. These things in and of themselves are not sinful. There is no indication that he had obtained his wealth in a sinful manner. In truth, it was not what he did with what he had but what he didn’t do with what he had that made the difference. During his life, he could have helped Lazarus even in the smallest of ways but made a conscience decision not to. This, it seems, was his fault.

Now in torment, he wanted the assistance from Lazarus that he refused him in his life. Probably, if he had been able, Lazarus would have helped him even then. This seems to be the kind of person Lazarus was. But there was a great gulf that separated the two compartments of the Hadean realm that held the good and bad from this earth and Lazarus was not allowed, as no one is allowed, to cross the great divide (Luke 16:26). Further, no one can leave that place prematurely (Luke 16:31). Once this life comes to a close, our eternal destiny is set, forever.

Eric L. Padgett

HE WROTE ON THE GROUND

That the Jewish leadership wanted Jesus dead, was apparently not a secret to anyone who wanted to know (John 5:18; 7:1,25). It is not surprising then that when Jesus went up to the feast of tabernacles, He went, as it were, in secret (John 7:10). Yet Jesus began teaching in the temple openly and boldly, so much so that some in Jerusalem were saying “Is this not He, Whom they seek to kill? But, lo he speaketh boldly and they say nothing to Him” (John 7:25,26). Even Jesus, Himself, openly confronted the Jews with the pointed question “Why go ye about to kill Me?” (John 7:19).

Nevertheless, however much they wanted to kill Him, no one would make the move, some because they were afraid and others because they were impressed with His teaching (John 7:44,46,47). When the officers of the temple would not bring Jesus in to the council, the Pharisees accused them of being deceived (John 7:47). Nicodemus offered a mild defense of Jesus, arguing that at the very least Jesus should be given a hearing (John 7:50,51). Finally, when they found themselves at an impasse, the council broke up in disarray, and every man went to his own house (John 7:53).

After spending the night on the mount of olives, the next morning Jesus returned to the temple and began teaching openly again (John 8:1,2). As Jesus sat down and taught all the people that had come to hear Him, that faction of the scribes and Pharisees who sought Jesus’ life approached Him with a woman whom they sat in the midst of the crowd, right in front of Jesus (John 8:3). “Master,” they said, “this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act” (John 8:4). Their intentions were not honorable for they sought an occasion where Jesus would make a mistake and entrap Himself and they could have something tangible wherewith they could accuse Him (John 8:6).

Some have supposed that the woman’s situation was like that of forced infidelty found in Deut. 22:23,24. In any case, the law required the death of both offending parties (Lev. 20:10). However, is it not curious that the male offender is strangely absent? Is it not curious that just after they had failed in trying to take Him, that they found just the right woman with which to attempt to test Him? Perhaps the guilty man was in the very crowd surrounding Jesus, or, dare we say, even among the scribes or Pharisees?

“Moses,” they said trying to give themselves some semblance of authority, “in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou?” (John 8:5). Maybe they so disgusted Jesus that He ignored them. Maybe He was drawing them further into the moral dilemma into which He was going to place them. But for whatever reason, Jesus seems to ignore them and stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger (John 8:6). They must have thought that they had caught Jesus for they “continued asking Him” the same question (John 8:7).

But Jesus turned the tables on them. He calmly rose from His place and mades a simple statement: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). Then He stooped down again and began writing on the ground again (John 8:8). What Jesus wrote on the ground has been the cause of a lot of speculation. It has captivated the imaginations of many people for a long time. It could be that just as the finger of God wrote the tables of stone, the finger of God was now writing on the tables of stone in the temple (cf. Ex. 31:18). We simply cannot know. We need to learn that the secret things belong to the Lord (Deut. 29:29).

With this statement, Jesus pricked the conscience of every man there (John 8:9). The oldest first began to drop their stones and then the younger (John 8:9). As they dropped the stone they held, they each went out until only Jesus and the woman were left there (John 8:9). “Woman,” Jesus said, “where are those thine accusers? hath no man condenmed thee?” “No man, Lord” she replied. Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

The scribes and Pharisees not only broke the law of Moses by not examining this man and woman legally, they were partial in that they let the man go free (if he was not in on this attempt to snare the Lord) and their intentions were dishonorable from the beginning. Jesus knew their hearts. Jesus also knew the heart of this woman. We do not know her background but she was apparently of a far different character than the hypocritical Jewish leaders. Jesus did not condone this woman’s actions or pass over them lightly. He called it sin. He called upon her to sin no more. However, since there could no longer be found thetwo witnesses against her the law required, the Lord forgave her and encouraged her to change her life.

Eric L. Padgett

NOTE:
In the area of Textual Criticism, John 8:1-12 is one of the most controversial passages found in all the Bible. So controversial has this passage been that certain professors of the Christian faith, even in ancient times, have excised it from the biblical text. Many of those same ancient authorities, however, which omit the reading note where the passage in John should have been, and is now, with special diacritical marks indicating that they knew of the reading.

Some have suggested that the passage is an ancient oral tradition that found its way into the Text, though not scripture. However, it is hard to understand how or why this section was added to the text, and particularly in this place, being so controversial as it is. It makes more sense that it was excised from the text by someone who was uncomfortable reading about how Jesus treated this woman caught in the very act of adultery.

This passage is found in the Latin Vulgate in 383 A.D. Jerome based this translation on Greek manuscripts which were already available and considered ancient. Didymus the blind mentions this pasaage by 395 A.D. He lived in Alexandria. The Didascalia Apostolorum mentions the account. It was written around 230 A.D. in Syria, some have suggested it was written near Antioch. Ambrose of Milan mentions this passage no less than nine times, according to Dean Burgon, and places it in the gospel account of John.

There are other proofs that this passage is part of God’s word that cannot be gone into here. A search of the internet will provide plenty of arguments on both sides of the issue, if you are interested.

JOHN

Perhaps it is not too much of a stretch to imagine that, at some point in his time on the island of Patmos, John stood on a rocky precipice and peered out across the Aegean sea. The beautiful scenes and the peaceful rhythm of the waves would mask the political reality of his banishment. We might further suppose he might have indulged a reminiscence of a different time under different circumstances, when he was fishing the sea of Galilee with his brother and father and friends. Being now on the island for the word of God (Rev. 1:9), he might recall how it was there in Galilee it all began, when the Lord called him and his brother to follow Him (Matt. 4:21,22).

John and his brother James were business partners with brothers Peter and Andrew in fishing (Luke 5:10). Being business partners, you might also imagine that they had some social connections, as well. John and Andrew were both disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:35,40). When they heard John speak of Jesus as the Lamb of God, they followed the Lord and stayed with Him (John 1:36-39). Andrew, however, first found his brother Peter, to tell him that they had found the Christ (John 1:41).

After they had spent the day with the Lord, they must have returned back to their business because Jesus again finds them plying their trade with their father, Zebedee (Matt. 4:21). That day they were mending broken nets and getting them in order for the next excursion (Mark 1:19). How long this was after the initial time spent with the Lord is not known. But when Jesus calls John, he and James immediately leave their business and their father and follow Jesus (Matt. 4:22). Hired servants remained with their father to continue the business (Mark 1:20). Simon Peter and Andrew also followed the Lord that day (Mark 1:16-18). It was Peter who would later say, “We have forsaken all, and followed Thee” (Matt. 19:27).

But the family still communicated with their boys. Indeed, it seems that their mother was Salome, who, apparently was one of those women from Galilee, who followed and supported the Lord monetarily (Mark 15:40,41; Luke 8:1,2). She seems to be identified as the wife of Zebedee (cf. Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40). She was present at the crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:40), as was John (John 19:26). Salome was also apparently the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother, which means that John was also a cousin of Jesus (John 19:25). How appropriate it would be then, for Jesus to entrust His own mother’s care to His cousin after He was gone (John 19:25-27). John was also well off enough financially to own his own house, to which he took Mary after the crucifixion (John 19:27).

John apparently had connections with the house of the high priest. Just what they were, we have no way of knowing but the un-named disciple–which is most likely John–was “known unto the high priest” (John 18:15,16). He was well enough known that he could speak to the door-keeper and have enough influence to get her to let Peter inside (John 18:16). John is equally familiar with the name of the servant of the high priest (John 18:10). His acquaintance with the high priest must have been from an earlier time, when there were no tensions between the authorities and Jesus. Further, it is not unusual that one of the apostles might know someone of import for one of the financial supporters of our Lord was Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s servant (Luke 8:1-3).

John, along with Peter and James, formed a trio of disciples who are often grouped together. Peter, James and John were the only of His apostles He allowed to see the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:38). These three were the only ones the Lord took with Him to witness His transfiguration (Matt. 17:1). They were likewise the ones whom Jesus wanted with Him during the most agonizing moments He would face before the cross. He commanded the rest of the apostles to sit in a place in Gethsemene while He went to pray, but He took with Him Peter, James and John (Matt. 26:37). He asked them, as a friend in need might ask, to “Watch with Me” (Matt. 26:38).

That Zebedee was willing to let his sons follow their cousin, and his wife was willing to support Jesus with their money, and that John and James were followers first of John the Baptist, then of Christ, that they had connections to the high priest suggests that they were a family of religious fervor. John showed that zeal when he and James called for fire on a Samaritan village because they would not receive Him (Luke 9:51-54). But Jesus rebuked them, saying, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56).

John also rebuked those not following Jesus for casting out devils in the name of the Saviour (Luke 9:49), and his mother, evincing the same fiery spirit, sought a special place for her sons in the kingdom (Matt. 20:20-23). After word of the resurrection, John was the first to run to the empty tomb, pausing at the entrance while Peter followed and went in first (John 20:4-6). Even when writing his epistles, John showed this zeal in rebuking the error of men such as Diotrephes (III John 1:9,10) and those who would bid Godspeed to error (II John 9-11). In the early church, John and Peter are often associated together in the work of the Lord (cf. Acts 3:1; 4:13; 8:14). And yet John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was of gentle enough spirit to lean on the Lord’s breast at supper (John 13:23).

As John stood on the island of Patmos, and looked out across the Aegean sea, perhaps his mind did race back through all the events of his long life. But his mind, through revelation, also looked forward to the tribulation through which the church for which he labored would pass (Rev. 1:9; 7:14, etc.) and ultimately to it’s glorious, heavenly triumph (Rev. 21, 22). The Lord no longer spoke to him in gentle tones, but now with the voice of a trumpet (Rev. 1:10,15). John would end the Apocalypse with the promise of Jesus “Surely I come quickly.” And John would plead “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).

Eric L. Padgett

TIMOTHY

Paul had passed through the area of Lycaonia less than three years earlier on his first evangelistic tour, preaching the gospel at Inconium, Lystra, Derbe and the region round about (Acts 14:1-7). It is highly probable that Paul’s preaching at this time resulted in the conversion of Timothy, and possibly also of his mother and grandmother. Paul describes Timothy as his own son in the faith, an expression which he uses of those whom he had a hand in converting (e.g., I Cor. 4:14-16). Now, Timothy was being chosen to accompany Paul on a second evangelistic tour (Acts 16:1-5).

In his second epistle to him, Paul reminded Timothy of the sufferings he had endured at Antioch, Lystra and Iconium (II Tim. 3:10,11). At Lystra (Acts 14:8), which was likely Timothy’s home town, Paul was stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead (Acts 14:19). But as the disciples stood around his battered body, Paul astonishingly stood up and went back into the city (Acts 14:20). It is possible that Timothy was one of the disciples that “stood round about him” and was eyewitness of these events. In any event, this story would have certainly been the talk among the disciples there and Timothy would no doubt had been very impressed with Paul’s courage.

From an early age Timothy grew up learning of Jehovah and of the wonderful and exciting histories of His dealings with man. Paul observed that from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures, that is the Old Testament scriptures (II Tim. 3:15). Undoubtedly, he received this instruction from his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois whom Paul commends for their unfeigned faith (II Tim. 1:5). What role Timothy’s Greek, or a gentile, father played in his upbringing is unclear. Luke stresses the fact that he was a gentile (Acts 6:1,3) and that Timothy was uncircumcised (Acts 16:3).

That his mother married a gentile seems curious for such a devout Jewess if he was not a proselyte to the Jewish faith, which otherwise would have been an unlawful marriage (Ex. 34:10-17; Deut. 7:1-5). Perhaps he was one of those “proselytes of the gate” (cf. Ex. 20:10) who submitted to the law but was not a Jew (cf. Lev. 4:10-22). This might explain Timothy not being circumcised, as well. His father may have died early, for Paul mentions only his mother and grandmother’s faith. But for whatever reason, it was those two women who very likely guided Timothy in the way of the Lord.

This early quality instruction and Timothy’s sterling character made him a desirable worker for the apostle Paul (Acts 16:3). Also, the fact that Timothy was of both Jewish and gentile blood would, perhaps, benefit Paul in his mission to the gentiles. By the time Paul had returned to Lystra, Timothy had already developed a good reputation, for he was “well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium” (Acts 16:2). Being known by the brethren in these places suggests that he was already engaged in the Lord’s work, possibly being, as McGarvey suggests, “a notable speaker.”

There seems to be evidence to suggest, however, that as a leader Timothy was timid. Paul encouraged Timothy to “stir up the gift of God which is in thee” because God had “not given us the spirit of fear but of power” (II Tim. 1:6,7). He warned him not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord “but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel” (II Tim. 1:8). He urged the Corinthian brethren to allow Timothy to “be with you without fear” (I Cor. 16:10). On a couple of occasions he urged Timothy to “let no man despise thee” (I Tim. 4:12; I Cor. 16:11).

On the other hand, Timothy often showed great courage. He was in prison with, but was released earlier than, Paul (Heb. 13:23). Paul said he had no man like-minded, who naturally cared for the estate of the brethren at Philippi (Phil. 2:19,20). Timothy was always minded to put Christ first (Phil. 2:21). Paul also left Timothy in Ephesus while he went into Macedonia that he “might charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (I Tim. 1:3,4). This was no small task but he must have been successful for when the Lord speaks to the church at Ephesus through John he commends them for finding them liars which claimed to be apostles and were not.

Paul always showers Timothy with praise. He was Paul’s “beloved son and faithful in the Lord” (I Cor. 4:17) and “my own son in the faith” (I Tim. 1:2; cf. I Tim. 1:18). Again, Paul calls him my dearly beloved son (II Tim. 1:2). Paul called him “our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ” (I Thess. 3:2).

We need more like Timothy in the church.

Eric L. Padgett

PAUL

“Who art Thou, Lord?” Those were Paul’s words, spoken somewhere on a lonely, desert road outside the city of Damascus. But he must have had some idea already to whom he was speaking. The light shining about him was so bright, the noon day sun was hidden from his view. Yet even in this blinding light, before he lost his vision, he evidently saw the form of a man (Acts 9:7, 8, 17; I Cor. 15:8). He heard a voice calling his name, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” (Acts 9:4). The Lord would remove any remaining question in his mind as to Who was addressing him with the words, “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest.” Perhaps, in those few moments on the road to Damascus, amidst all the wonder and glory of this encounter, his life was laid out before him in his mind.

Paul was born in the capital city of Tarsus, in the Roman province of Cilicia, situated in Syria (Acts 22:3). Paul described Tarsus as “no mean city” (Acts 21:39). According to Xenophon, it was “a large and prosperous city” (Anabasis 1:2:23) and Josephus adds of Cilicia, that “the noblest city they have, and a metropolis also, is Tarsus” (Ant. 1:6:1). Under Augustus Caesar, the city was made free and was allowed to govern itself by it’s own magistrates and did not have a Roman garrison in it as long as it served Rome. Though the city was free, that did not necessarily mean all of it’s citizens were free. So, while Paul calls himself a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37; 22:25) and free-born (Acts 22:28), that was not merely from being a citizen of Tarsus. In some way, apparently, Paul’s family–either his father or some earlier ancestor–had obtained Roman citizenship and Paul reaped the benefits of that heritage.

Tarsus was a crossroads of culture. A little north of Tarsus was the Cilician Gates which “historically. . . forms part of a route that linked Anatolia with the Mediterranean coast” (wikipedia). “It was a city so cosmopolitan that none could walk the streets without coming into contact with the ends of the earth. It was a city with such a history that none could live in it without some sense of greatness. It was a city with such a desire for knowledge, such a respect for scholarship, and such an intellectual ferment of thought that no thinking young man could entirely escape the contagion of the thronging ideas which crowded the air” (Barclay, The Mind of Saint Paul).

Tarsus was a university city. There, one had access to one of the great education systems in the ancient world, rivaling Athens and Alexandria. As it was a center of culture, it was also a great city of commerce. One of the goods which was exported was goats hair, called cilicium, which was used in making, among other things, tent coverings, sailcloth and leggings. When the goat’s hair was woven into a fabric, it was porous when dry, allowing air to move through it, but when wet it closed and formed a nearly waterproof covering, perfect for tents. Undoubtedly, Paul learned his trade from his father because of his life in Tarsus (Acts 18:3).

But while Paul was born in this Gentile city, he was thoroughly Jewish. Paul stated that his manner of life from his youth was at the first among his own nation at Jerusalem (Acts 26:4). He may possibly have spent the first decade of his life being educated in Tarsus, but, at least, by the age of twelve or thirteen, he would have journeyed to Jerusalem and there received a more exacting, rigorous Jewish education. We know that Paul’s father was a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin, as was Paul, himself (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). He studied at the feet of the famous and highly respected Gamaliel in Jerusalem and was taught according to the perfect manner of the law and was zealous toward God (Acts 22:3). He profited in the Jew’s religion above many of his own equals being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of his fathers (Gal. 1:14).

Paul’s zeal in his youth for the traditions of his fathers translated into a fiery hatred of the Lord and His disciples as an adult. The first time the New Testament specifically mentions Saul is when he is seen holding the coats of those who were stoning Stephen and taking pleasure in the same (Acts 7:58; 8:1). Luke records next that Saul, himself, made havoc of the church, entering into every suspected Christian house and dragging out those who professed Christ and shut them up in prison (Acts 8:1). Saul “wasted” the Lord’s church (Gal. 1:13). He pursued Christians even to strange cities, being exceedingly mad against them, and beat them even in their synagogues (Acts 26:10,11; 22:19). Every moment he was planning the slaughter of Christians, every breathe was a threat against the disciples (Acts 9:1).

Now back to Damascus.

Perhaps, as the Lord spoke to him on this desert road, saying “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest,” his mind raced back to see the bloody face and broken body of Stephen. Maybe he saw the face of each crying mother and each heartbroken wife as he dragged their loved ones away and beat them mercilessly. Maybe he thought of the members of his own family who were obedient to Christ even before he was and who were well thought of among the apostles (Rom. 16:7). Maybe he thought of his own blinding hatred which compelled him to injure, beat and kill those whom he believed heretic, those who dared to profess the name of Jesus Christ.

On this road, Jesus gently called his name, “Saul, Saul,” just as he had Martha (Luke 10:41) and Simon Peter (Luke 22:31). It must have startled this young man and he dropped to the ground (Acts 22:7). “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5). Saul’s actions were only resulting in more pain for himself, as if he were kicking against a pointed spike. Humbly, Saul asked, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Despite his actions, Saul was always a good man at heart, conscientiously seeking to do what he thought the Lord would have him to do (Acts 23:1). But now he was conquered, his ignorance enlightened and his unbelief dismantled (cf. I Tim. 1:13). He opened his eyes but he could see nothing, for he was blinded by the light (Acts 22:11). But for the first time in his life, he could really see.

Eric L. Padgett

ANNAS AND CAIAPHAS

Caiaphas and Jesus stood face to face. The created and the Creator in the same room. A pretend high priest and the heavenly High Priest. The chief priests and elders and all the sanhedrin had gathered in Caiaphas’ palace also, and for one purpose: they wanted to put Jesus to death. In their view, Jesus had been a thorn in their side for some time, but the resurrection of Lazarus was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. From the very day and forward that Jesus raised Lazarus, the sacerdotal tribe purposefully and actively sought an opportunity to “put Him to death” (John 11:54).

Joseph Caiaphas, as Josephus called him, was the son-in-law of Annas. Annas had been High Priest for about eight years, appointed by Quirinius in 7 A. D. but was removed from that office by Valerius Gratus in 15 A. D. Under the law of Moses, the high priesthood was held for life, but under the Romans they placed in power whosoever suited them best. So, though not now high priest, he apparently continued to wield much influence because Jesus was first brought to him (John 18:13). Luke even refers to both men as being high priests when John the baptist came preaching (Luke 3:2). Beside his son-in-law, Caiaphas, Annas also had five sons who held that office after him, further consolidating his power.

The sons of Annas were as corrupt as any of the worst priests before the captivity or the sons of Eli. They were greedy wealthy and apparently gained their wealth, in part at least, through the sale of necessary items for worship in the temple at exorbitant prices. Jesus’ vehement condemnation of making the house of prayer “a den of thieves” struck directly at the heart of Annas and Caiaphas (Matt. 21:13; Luke 19:46). Violence was no stranger to them. Stealing was not below them. Even murder had its place in their arsenal.

That night, Annas was the first to interrogate the Lord. We know not the contents of that interview (though some commentators take John 18:19-23 as the interrogation by Annas. Others view it as Caiaphas’ interrogation, which is the view taken here). When Annas was done with Jesus, he sent Him to Caiaphas (John 18:24). In his interrogation, the high priest sought something whereby he could legally justify putting Jesus to death. He wanted the death sentence carried out by the hands of the Romans to exculpate himself and bring legitimacy to the “trial” (cf. John 18:31; Acts 6:10-12; 7:57,58).

In hopes of finding some incriminating piece of evidence, the high priest first queried Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine (John 18:19). What the exact questions were, we do not know but Jesus’ response emphasized the fact that He had nothing to hide, for He had taught openly to the world, in the temple and synagogues, where the Jews often assembled and those who had heard Him knew what He had taught. The high priest already knew at least one of the disciples for he knew one, possibly John, who was allowed into the Palace “with Jesus” during the “trial” and was known well enough at the palace that the door keeper acceded to his request to allow Peter access (John 18:15,16).

Throughout the long, cold spring night, Caiaphas allowed Jesus to be humiliated by the men who guarded Jesus. They mocked Him and hit Him, blindfolded Him and struck Him more, spit upon Him and blasphemed Him (Luke 22:63,64; Mark 14:65; Matt. 26:67,68). After this, when the morning came (Matt. 27:1; Luke 22:66), when the full sanhedrin assembled, and the chief priests and elders were assembled, as well, witness after witness was produced to incriminate Jesus. It was a crowded palace. There were many, if not all, of the seventy members of the sanhedrin. The chief priests and elders were there along with a host of so-called “witnesses,” who had been assembled in the hopes of trapping Jesus. There were also many onlookers trying to get a glimpse of Jesus.

When witness after witness failed to produce one scintilla of evidence against Jesus, when witness after witness contradicted the other witnesses, Caiaphas was left to salvage his mock trial (Matt. 26:59,60). Frustrated, he lashed out in anger, “Answerest Thou nothing?” But Jesus held His peace (Matt. 26:62,63). “I adjure Thee by the Living God, that Thou tell, us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God, the Blessed” (Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:61). Perhaps all that were in the room became silent, waiting for some kind of response. The air must have been thick with the smell of oil burning in the lamps and a fire burning in the court and with anticipation.

Jesus finally spoke. He could have remained silent, but He said, “If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I ask you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22:67-69). Then they all joined in, breaking the silence–“Art Thou then the Son of God?” they asked (Luke 22:70). “I am, thou hast said, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64). Caiaphas must have felt a sense of relief. Thinking he had the charge that he needed to condemn Him before the Romans, he dismissed the rest of the witnesses. “What need we any further witnesses? for we ourselves have heard of His own mouth” (Luke 22:70,71). “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment” (John 18:28).

The “trial” of Jesus before Annas, Caiaphas, the chief priests and all the sanhedrin was a farce. It was illegal on many levels and unjust at its core. How could those who paid Judas to betray the Lord be trusted to judge Him fairly? How can any man judge God. Caiaphas had said that it was “expedient that one man should die for the people, and that a whole nation perish not” (John 11:49,50). Though he did not realize it, he was speaking prophetically of Christ’s remedial work. In attempting to stop Christ, Caiaphas fulfilling his own prophecy.

Eric L. Padgett

JUDAS

YOU’RE A JUDAS! What a most loathsome and unwelcome defamation. No matter how egregious the offense of which one might be accused, to bear above that the weight of being a Judas is to bear a weight too heavy to be borne. Down through history others have worn the ugly badge of traitor. Benedict Arnold betrayed Americans. Guy Fawkes committed treason against the British Crown. Brutus betrayed Julius Caesar. Ephialtes betrayed the Spartans. But to wear the name of “Judas” is to wear a name that is particularly associated with the most despicable and personal kind of treachery.

Judas, meaning “Praise,” is the Greek form of the popular Hebrew name Judah (cf. Matt. 1:2) The name of Judas was actually a very popular and common name in the first century. Six people mentioned in the New Testament wear the name Judas (Iscariot; the other apostle named Judas, or Thaddaeus – Luke 6:16; Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; the brother of Jesus – Matt. 13:55; the Galilean who led a Jewish rebellion – Acts 5:37; the Damascene, with whom the apostle Paul stayed – Acts 9:11 and Judas Barsabbas – Acts 15:22). In 2016, however, it was number 4,362 on the list of popular boy names in America. Not too many women are in a rush to name their boys Judas.

The meaning of the name Iscariot is still disputed by some. Most Biblical scholars probably associate it as identifying the location from which Judas came, namely, Kerioth in Judah (Josh. 15:25), the man of Kerioth (Ish Kerioth). Since Kerioth was in Judah, Judas was the only one of the twelve apostles to be other than Galilean (Acts 1:11; 2:7). This may have caused some isolation on his part and, consequently, resentment. Others argue that Iscariot refers to a “man of murder” or that he was part of an assassin’s group known as the Sicarii, but this group was probably too late for Judas to have been associated with it.

We are not told how or when Judas became a disciple or whether or not he was first a follower of John. In His second year, after He continued all night in prayer to God, Jesus carefully chose twelve of His disciples to be His apostles (Luke 6:12,13). He also at this time gave them power against unclean spirits and to heal all manner of sickness and disease (Matt. 10:1-15). Judas was one of those men the Lord chose and one of those to whom He gave this great power. Was Judas sincere when the Lord prayerfully chose him? It is entirely possible that Judas was sincere at first, though not necessarily the case. It is possible that a man may fall so far so fast.

Whatever else may be obscure about him, the scripture is clear as to his character after he was chosen to be an apostle. Judas was apparently enamored of money. He was the treasurer for the Lord, the one who held the bag of money which was used to support the Lord and His apostles (John 12:6) which was received at the hands of certain benefactors (Luke 8:3). John plainly says that he was a thief who had no concern for the poor. He was not moved in the least by Mary’s loving treatment of Jesus in lieu of his impending death, but was more concerned with the money he believed was being wasted (John 12:3-5). Mark said he had “indignation” at this “waste” (Mark 14:4). Jesus rebuked Him for his misplaced priorities and abuse of Mary.

Although it is entirely possible that Judas was sincere when the Lord chose him, Jesus nevertheless knew what would ultimately transpire from the beginning and who would betray Him (John 6:64). He spoke of Judas as a devil (John 6:70,71). Whether or not Judas knew what he would do from the beginning is unknown, but he did know what he would do at least two days before he did it (Mark 14:1-5). Certainly these ideas had to be building up inside of him for some time and Jesus’ rebuke of his greed must have been the tipping point. From that time on, he “sought how he might conveniently betray Him” (Mark 14:11). He intentionally “went to the chief priests to betray Him unto them all for the promise of money.

In Old Testament history, David was betrayed by his close advisor, Ahithophel (II Sam. 15:31). In writing about this incident, David wrote, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). The Lord, troubled in His spirit at the thought, quotes this passage and applies it to His own betrayal (John 13:18-21). After Jesus shared bread with Judas, fulfilling the prophecy, satan entered into Judas and he went out to betray the Lord (John 13:24-30). Jesus’ quote of this prophecy reiterates the deep sense of hurt Jesus felt at Judas’ betrayal.

We can’t know if there were any other motives beside greed that moved Judas to betray the Lord of if he had any expectations that Jesus would deliver Himself by a miracle, as many a commentator has supposed, but we do know that Judas’ betrayal did not come without some very strong feelings of guilt and remorse. When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and threw the blood money back at the chief priests and elders (Matt. 27:3-5). Apparently, Jesus’ death was not his goal. But seeing that would be the outcome, he took his own life and went unto his own place (Matt. 27:5; Acts 1:25).

While Judas acknowledged his guilt, his sorrow was not of the godly sort leading to salvation (II Cor. 7:10).

Eric L. Padgett

PETER

No set of eyes ever pierced another soul so deeply. Peter had just denied his Lord with words marred with cursing and swearing, saying, “I know not the man” (Matt. 26:74). Immediately, while he was still speaking, “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62). How alone the Lord must have been (Is. 53:3,11; Psalm 22:1) and how guilty Peter must have felt. One glance from those eyes, eyes that were sometimes like flames of fire, conveyed more than we can ever know (Rev. 1:14,17).

Peter was a fisherman by trade, along with his brother Andrew (Matt. 4:18). They probably followed in the occupation of their father, Jonas, though we know nothing about him directly (Matt. 16:18). Peter owned at least one ship, himself (Luke 5:4), and was in a business partnership with James and John (Luke 5:7,10). He was a married man (Mark 1:30; I Cor. 9:5), though we have no record of any children born to him. Again, along with his brother Andrew, Peter owned a home in Capernaum (Luke 4:38; Mark 1:29), though his hometown was apparently Bethsaida (John 1:44). It is believed that the ruins of Peter’s house can still be found in Capernaum. He and his wife, his mother-in-law and Andrew lived in this place and Jesus was there often.

The Barjona family must have been somewhat religiously inclined. Though a fisherman by trade, Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35, 37,40). When Andrew had heard John speak regarding Jesus as the Lamb of God, he, along with another disciple, probably John, followed Jesus and spent the rest of the day with Him (John 1:39). Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a full day of conversation with the Lord and wouldn’t it be nice to know what they discussed then? One cannot but help believe that Andrew and John spoke of this conversation with Jesus with their respective brothers, Simon and James.

Indeed, after his day with the Lord, the first task of Andrew was to find his brother, Simon, and bring Him to Jesus and introduce Jesus to him as the Messiah (John 1:38-40). When Jesus later saw Simon and Andrew working, He called them and they “straightway left their nets and followed Him” (Matt. 4:18,19). They not only left their nets but they left all and followed Him (Mark 10:28). Their previous encounter with Jesus no doubt prepared them for this call. After this time, nothing was ever the same for Simon.

After Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth, He came into Capernaum and Simon heard Him teach with power on the Sabbath days (Luke 4:31,32), and perform wondrous miracles (Luke 4:33-37), including healing his wife’s mother from a great fever (Luke 4:38-41). On one of those occasions when Jesus was teaching, He entered into Simon’s boat (Luke 5:3). When the teaching ended, Jesus instructed him to “Launch into the deep” and let down his nets. After protesting, Simon was then so astonished and overwhelmed by the great catch of fish miraculously produced, that he fell to his knees before Jesus and proclaimed his own sinfulness before the holy Son of God (Luke 5:4-8).

On another occasion, sometime between three and six in the morning, the waves of the Sea of Galilee were being whipped up by stormy winds, tossing around a small boat (Matt. 14:24). The apostles, at Jesus’ command, had taken this boat to get to the other side of the sea (Matt. 14:22). But during the darkness of the night Peter, in the ship with the other apostles, saw Jesus coming to them, walking on the sea (Matt. 14:24,25)! Walking on the sea! Peter impetuously requested to walk to Jesus on the storm-tossed sea and as long as he kept his eyes on the Lord, he, too, walked on the water (Matt. 14:29). But when the sea-water and the wind hit him in the face, and he took his eyes off of the Lord, he began to sink, only to be saved by the Lord and rebuked for his lack of faith (Matt. 14:30,31).

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, and asked His apostles who people were saying that He was, they reported the popular views that He was John, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets come back to life (Matt. 16:13,14). But when Jesus asked the more personal question “But whom do ye say that I am?” only Peter responded. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Not that the other apostles did not believe the same, but only Peter was bold enough to give it voice at that moment. His response showed the spiritual heights to which Peter could rise.

And yet, Peter could also wildly miss the mark. After bringing them to the point of acknowledging His deity, Jesus then began to reveal to them that He must suffer (Matt. 16:21). But Peter, in tempting the Lord not to go through these trials, was being used as a tool of satan and the Lord rebuked him for it just as He had praised him for his previous confession (Matt. 16:22,23). Then, shortly after this, during the Transfiguration, Peter would place on the same level as Jesus both Moses and Elijah only to be rebuked by the voice of God from Heaven commanding obedience to Christ alone (Matt. 17:1-5).

Peter was again greatly missing the mark. He had followed the Lord after His arrest and into His trial. Only shortly before he had confidently affirmed that, though all men should be offended, he would never be offended because of Jesus (Matt. 26:33). But now, under the real possibility of capital punishment, and when it seemed everything had gone wrong, he was cursing and swearing that he did not know “the Man,” and would not so much as mention His name (Matt. 26:72). Then, in one of the most powerful moments recorded in scripture, “the Lord turned and looked upon Peter” and Peter’s courage completely left him. He swiftly fled and found a place to weep bitterly (Luke 22:62).

A lesser, weaker man, might have taken the easy way out and taken his own life (Matt. 27:1-5). But Peter, though full of human imperfections, was not weak. He cried his heart out, he entertained doubts (Mark 16:14), he wanted to go back to his old trade, until the Lord proved His resurrection by His appearance (Luke 24:34; I Cor. 15:). He faced his mistakes.  Then a little over a month later, Peter stood in the public square in the very heart of Jerusalem, when it was full of more people than at any other time of the year, and unashamedly and unafraid proudly proclaimed the resurrected Lord (Acts 2).

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).

Eric L. Padgett

MARY

She saw the precious, little child to whom she gave birth, now a man full grown, suspended between heaven and earth, beaten, bloodied, mocked and nailed to a cruel, Roman cross. As she gazed, not just upon the God who condescended to man’s low estate (Phil. 2:5ff), but also upon the man who was her son, surely a sword pierced her to the very soul, just as old Simeon had prophesied thirty-three years earlier (Luke 2:35). What a blessed burden this woman bore throughout her life. It is no wonder that she, above all women, was chosen by the Lord to be the vessel which, after He had left the Glories of Heaven, carried Him to this mundane, mortal sphere.

No less than a personal call from the angel Gabriel would suffice to announce to her the glorious events which unfolded in her life and changed the world (Luke 1:26). She was highly favored by the Lord and blessed among women (1:28). Needless to say, she was “troubled at his saying” that she would bear the Son of God (Luke 1:29, 32, 35). Yet her words, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” marked her meek acceptance of Gabriel’s shocking announcement and demonstrated her deep faith and humble spirit. This is the same humble attitude the Lord exhibited in the garden when He said, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Luke 26:39).

Who better to understand and relate to what she was experiencing than Elizabeth? Gabriel had mentioned her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also blessed to “conceive a son in her old age” (1:36). She was already six months with child when Gabriel announced Mary’s conception and when the two met, the babe in her womb leaped for joy (1:44). Mary’s subsequent praise of the Lord demonstrated a great humility and a long and intimate acquaintance with Holy Scripture, especially Hannah’s song of thanksgiving (cf. I Sam. 2:1-10 and Luke 1:46-55). These two women spent the next three months communing with one another likely until just after John was born (Luke 1:56). Now she had to face Joseph.

How does a woman tell her betrothed that she is with child that is not his but that she has not been unfaithful to him? That this child is the promised Messiah and is a supernatural work of God? How would a man accept that? It was difficult enough for Joseph, himself a just and compassionate and holy man, for he thought it best to put her away privily to spare her the shame. Even in what he thought might be her sin, her character spoke for her until the Lord assured him that Mary was innocent. He would thenceforth share in any reproach brought upon the family by those assuming the child had been born out of wedlock (cf. John 8:41).

Mary’s composure throughout all the tumultuous events of her life testify to her faith and grace. Money was scarce for them (cf. Luke 2:22-24; Lev. 12:6-8). Traveling at this time for the census would be difficult (Luke 2:1), giving birth to Jesus in the manger because there was no room in the inn (2:7), dealing with the speculations of those who heard the shepherds’ report of the heavenly host’s announcement (Luke 2:8-20, see esp. v. 18), taking Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord forty days later (Luke 2:22; Lev. 12:2,4 – and where she received Simeon and Anna’s prophecies – vv. 25-39), receiving the magi (Matt. 2:10-12), fleeing the country to escape Herod’s cruelty (Matt. 2:13-15), returning to the lightly esteemed Nazareth (Matt. 2:23; John 1:46), running his business and rearing other sons and daughters (Matt. 13:55,56; Mark 6:3) would no doubt challenge this family.

When Jesus was twelve years old, when the family went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover and returned back home, Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem unbeknownst to Mary and Joseph, arguing with the doctors of the law (Luke 2:41-45). When they discovered that He was not with them and went back to Jerusalem, Mary reproved Him having treated them thus. However, Mary was gently reproved by the words of the young Jesus when He told her: “How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (2:49). And though she did not yet fully understand all these things, she kept them in her heart (Luke 2:50,51).

After his cousin John’s endorsement of Him (John 1:29-37; Matt. 3:7-15), particularly after the Father in Heaven’s announcement of His divinity (Matt. 3:16,17), and after His temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13), Jesus publicly announced Himself as Messiah in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30). He had already gained fame as a teacher in the synagogues in the region (Luke 4:14,15). Though this is where Mary and Joseph had reared Jesus, no mention is made of her presence there or of her other children, when the multitudes attempted to kill Him (Luke 4:28-30). As is usually the case, Mary kept herself in the background.

Mary also bore the burden of a divided family. Her other children, James, Joseph, Simon, Judas and at least two daughters (Matt. 13:55,56; Mark 6:3), did not believe Jesus’ claim that He was the Messiah or that He could perform miracles. They urged Him to go to into Judea, which was unsafe for Him at that time, to show Himself to the disciples (John 7:3-5). While His brethren at first did not believe Him, it seems after some time they were converted (Acts 1:14). James and Judas, at least, became believers for they wrote the New Testament epistles which bear their names. What role Mary played in their conversion, if any, cannot be known.

In Cana of Galilee, Mary appealed to Jesus to remedy a mundane social oversight–there was a lack of wine at the wedding to which Jesus was invited. Perhaps Jesus’ own presence there had caused the problem, because many more people might have come knowing that He would be there. And perhaps this is why Mary wanted Jesus to do something which would prove His claims. And though she is gently rebuked by Jesus for assuming she could control His actions, she, nevertheless, informs the servants to do whatever He tells them. She acts the part of a loving mother who desires to see her child succeed.

It must have been excruciating for Mary to see her son treated as He was by the multitude, doubted, despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. She spent the greater part of His life with Him in Nazareth as He carried on Joseph’s trade until He began to publicly proclaim Himself as Messiah. If the Lord ever appeared to Mary after His resurrection, there is no Record of it. The last we see of Mary is when she continued with one accord with the apostles and disciples, the women that followed and supported Jesus, and her children. None of the New Testament epistles directly mention her again.

She was a sincere, humble and godly woman, devoted to the Lord and His Cause. She was a woman most worthy to be emulated, but not worthy of worship. She was, after all, a woman, a wife and a mother.

Eric L. Padgett

THE HERODS

Mothers and fathers could be heard weeping openly and loudly. There was no comforting these grieving parents and families at the loss of their children, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, and grandchildren. These innocents were cruelly and systematically murdered without hesitation, without remorse, all to fulfill the desires and political ambitions of one, evil man. This is not a mass murder scene in some modern metropolis, but the scene in a little, obscure village two thousand years ago.

The perpetrator of this heinous, unforgettable slaughter was king Herod the Great. Herod (meaning “hero” or “son of a hero”) was an Idumean by birth, though it was claimed, apparently falsely, that his family came from one of the more important Jewish families to come out of the Captivity. He is said to have been intelligent and capable but mercilessly conniving and cruel. He aligned himself with whatever political forces in Rome would best serve his fortunes. He would stop at nothing, not even blatant infanticide, to advance his political standing and power and he ruled firmly for the next thirty-three years (37 B.C. – 4 B.C.).

Much has been made by modernists over the fact that in all of contemporary, written history only Matthew records this gruesome event (Matt. 2:16-18). But it is well known that this slaughter was clearly within the moral capabilities of Herod. After Herod took Jerusalem by military force (37 B.C.), he summarily executed forty-five of his political enemies, including all of the Sanhedrin save two. He also had John Hyrcanus, his wife’s grandfather, strangled because he thought he was plotting to take the kingdom from him. Indeed, he “slew also all those of his own family” who believed “that Herod’s government should cease, and his posterity should be deprived of it” (Ant. 17:2:4), including his wife and sons.

It was during the last days of Herod the king that Jesus was born (Matt. 2:1, 19,20). Hearing that influential foreigners were looking for the one born king of the Jews not only troubled Herod but also all Jerusalem. The citizens of Jerusalem were no doubt troubled because they feared what this old despot would do. Their fears were justified for he slaughtered dozens of innocent children to kill just one whom he feared would depose him as king.

The Holy Spirit says that these events fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jer. 31:15; Matt. 2:15). Some, including McGarvey, have said that Jeremiah did not intend this as a prophecy of these events but that Matthew merely adopted the wording as a fitting representation of the current situation. But the greater context of the passage in Jeremiah is clearly Messianic and other passages are used in the same way (i.e., Is. 7:14; II Sam. 7:12,13). If the author (in this case, the Holy Spirit) of a passage (Jer. 31:15) says that this is it’s fulfillment (Matt. 2:16-18), what right do we have to tell Him that He is wrong?

Josephus tells us that before Herod died, he realized no one would mourn his death. To make certain that there would be mourning on that occasion, Herod called to Jerusalem “all the principal men of the entire Jewish nation, wheresoever they lived” and locked them in the hippodrome and ordered his sister to have them all killed when he died so that there would be mourning in the land upon his death (Ant. 17:6:5). Fortunately, his sister did not carry out those wishes and set the men free. But so many are the cruel acts of Herod the great that the slaughter of dozens of innocent children is perfectly in keeping with his character.

The son of Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (4 B. C. – 39 A. D.), is also involved in the life of Christ and the early church. This Herod, motivated solely by unbridled lust for his illegitimate wife’s daughter, was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist (Matt. 14:1-12). Antipas is also the Herod mentioned in scripture who laboriously questioned Jesus, hoping to see some miracle (Luke 23:8) and when Jesus would not so much as speak, He, with his men of war, contemptuously mocked the Saviour (Luke 23:11). Interestingly, one of the early leaders in the church at Antioch had been brought up with this Antipas (Acts 13:1).

In Acts twelve we have recorded for us the acts of Herod Agrippa I, King of Judaea (41–44 ce), who “stretched forth his hand to vex certain of the church (12:1) and killed James, the brother of John (12:2) and imprisoned the apostle Peter, intending to kill him, as well. Because of his pride, however, the Lord smote him dead and he was eaten of worms (Acts 12:20-24). Agrippa II is seen in the trial of Paul and is notable because of his admission, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 25:13-26:32).

It is ironic that these descendants of “Esau tried still to get from Jacob the forfeited blessing (Gen. 27:29, 40), in vain setting up an earthly kingdom on a professed Jewish basis, to rival Messiah’s spiritual kingdom” (Fausset). While the Jews rejoiced over the death of Herod because they were set free from a mad tyrant, the world ever rejoices over the death and resurrection of Jesus because He sets us free the spiritual bondage of sin.

Eric L. Padgett