Monthly Archives: June 2018

BEHOLD, THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH!

In Syhcar, in Samaria, Jesus had been so busy with teaching the woman at the well and then the people of the city, that He had neglected to eat. His disciples, concerned for Jesus’ well-being, urged Him to eat something (John 4:31). But Jesus told them that His meat was to “do the will of Him” that had sent Him and to “finish His work” (John 4:34). Just before Jesus died on the cross of calvary, He said “It is finished” (John 19:30). He had completed the work He was given to do.

However, while the Lord completed His work on earth, He spoke about another phase of His work, especially toward the end of His work here. Jesus said “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself” (John 14:3). Jesus promised to come again. This should have given the apostles comfort after Jesus’ death and an indication that He would keep His word and rise again the third day (Luke 24:37). But Jesus did leave this world and promised to return once again (Acts 1:11; Heb. 9:27). That promise still stands.

In one of the parables Jesus delivered during His last hours on earth, He described His return in the figure of the return of the bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-13). It was the custom in those days for the bridegroom to spend time at the home of the bride’s father and then to bring his new bride to his own home. Virgins waited for the bridegroom to come, so that they could assist the bride in her new surroundings. In this parable, ten virgins wait for the bridegroom to return.

At midnight, at an hour when you might least expect it, the call came that the bridegroom approached. The bridegroom had been away longer than anticipated. The young women, who had been busy with preparations, were now weary for waiting so long and had fallen asleep. But when the call came, they arose and hurriedly prepared to go to meet the bridegroom and his new wife. Five of the virgins were wise and had prepared beforehand by taking extra oil, anticipating a longer wait. Five were foolish and did not prepare for any eventuality.

The foolish virgins desired that the wise virgins would give them of their oil, but they refused, lest they should not have enough for themselves. They counseled the five unwise to go to the market and purchase their own oil, but by the time they returned it was too late. The door to the house was shut and when they called for entrance, the bridegroom said unto them “I know you not” (Matt. 25:11,12). Someone else cannot make preparations for us; we are all going to receive the things done in our bodies (II Cor. 5:10,11).

Jesus gives us the point of this parable. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:13). Previously, Jesus had said that even the angels do not know when He will return (Matt. 24:36). There were many things the angels would like to have known but could not (cf. I Pet. 1:12). Mark also indicates that Jesus, on earth, did not even know when the return would be (Mark 13:32). If the angels and the Son did not know, how can we believe any mortal man who would claim to know the day or hour of the Lord’s return?

But as Jesus teaches us in His parable, the key is not knowing the day or the hour, but in being prepared no matter when He might return. It is easy, as the Lord delays His return, for scoffers to say “Where is the promise of His coming” (II Pet. 3:3,4). It is also easy for us who believe to grow weary in well-doing and faint as we wait (Gal. 6:9). Just as the virgins fell asleep waiting for their Lord to return, we might also fall asleep. Thus, Paul warns us:

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:14-17).

Do not be unwise. Don’t let your oil run out. Redeem the time. When the bridegroom comes will you be ready?

Eric L. Padgett

What Think Ye Of Christ?

After a long, weary day of answering the questions the Jewish leadership posed to Jesus (Matt. 21:23-22:40), in which they tried in vain to entrap Him verbally, Jesus turned the tables on them and asked them this simple question, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He” (Matt. 22:42). The Pharisees’ answer that Jesus was the Son of David was not untrue but it was also incomplete. Jesus demonstrated this answer was insufficient with His response.

The Jews continually thought of the Messiah as a national leader on the order of David who would lead Israel once again as he did to national glory. That was a materialistic view of the kingdom. Even up to the time Jesus ascended back to the Father, the apostles, themselves, were looking for some kind of return of this materialistic kingdom. The apostles asked, “Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). They, of course, were likewise misguided. Jesus had said earlier, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

Jesus asked a similar question when He came into the coast of Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-19). He asked, “Who do men say that I the son of man am?” Obviously, there were already many views circulating among the people as to who Jesus was. Some thought He was John the Baptist come back to life, others Jeremiah or one of the prophets (Matt. 16:16,17). However, until Peter spoke up, no one had ever said that the Christ was the Son of the living God (cf. John 6:68). This is clearly indicated by Jesus’ recognition that this information was given by God (Matt. 16:17).

The Old Testament speaks in several places of the “sons of God.” Moses used the expression to refer to the righteous line of Seth (Gen. 6:2). The angels are referred to as the “sons of God” (Job 2:1). It is used collectively of the people of Israel (Ex. 4:22,23). But the singular expression “son of God” is not found in the Old Testament, though the implication is there.

Naturally, the Jews rightly expected the Messiah to be a descendent of David because of the prophecies referring to the seed of David (e.g., Ps. 89:29, 132:11-12; Is. 9:7; 11:1-3, 11:10, etc.). Jehovah promised to set up David’s seed after him, that proceeded from his bowels (II Sam. 7:12). But in connection with this promise, Jehovah says He shall be “My Son” (II Sam. 7:14). The parallel account in Chronicles says that He will be “of thy sons” (I Chron. 17:11).

The Jews were expecting this earthly Messiah but, as He did all that day long, Jesus refutes their materialistic, worldly, political notions of the Messiah with impeccable logic. In quoting Psalm 110, Jesus uses an important passage which the Jews fully recognized as Messianic and by it shows their view was limited. They had failed to understand the implications of the words. It is true that Jesus was of the seed of David according to the flesh (Rom. 1:3), but Jesus, as the Christ, was more than that (Rom. 1:4).

The passage which Jesus quoted has David saying that Jehovah says to my (David’s) Lord (adonay) “Sit Thou on My right hand” (Psalm 110:1). The Messiah was not just some royal seed of David, like Solomon or Hezekiah or Josiah. These also were of the seed of David but David did not call them Lord or Christ or Messiah, nor would He. This shows that the Christ was more than a mere descendent of David. Furthermore, the Christ sat down on the right hand of Jehovah, showing an equality with Jehovah that no mere earthly descendent of David could ever claim.

The notion that Jesus was the Messiah angered the Jewish leadership. Jesus was showing the Jews what it really meant to be the Messiah. While they might not have fully understood what He was teaching them, the realized the implications of it. As Jesus later that week stood before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas asked “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). When Jesus answered in the affirmative, they asked “What think ye?” (Matt. 26:66). They then accused Him of blasphemy and condemned Him to death.

Eric L. Padgett

I suggest reading Barclay’s comments on this section of scripture.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS GONE AFTER HIM

The city of Jerusalem was abuzz with the talk of Jesus of Nazareth. Will He make an appearance in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover or will He stay hidden (John 11:56)? In the days leading up to the feast, Jesus had intentionally kept Himself out of the reach of the Jewish leaders. They had vowed His death (John 11:53). They had also put out the word that if any man knew where He was, he should give Him up to be taken (John 11:57). So, for maybe a couple of months before the Passover, Jesus and His disciples took refuge in a city called Ephraim (John 11:54; c.f II Chron. 13:19).

Earlier, His disciples had feared that He would return into Judea (John 11:7,8) and now their fears were coming to pass. They knew what He had said concerning His own fate in Jerusalem (Matt. 20:17-19). Besides Providence, however, Jesus had something working in His favor for a while, at least—His popularity with the people. As Jesus made His way into Jerusalem, very great multitudes spread out their garments in the way and greeted Him as He entered the city (Matt. 21:8-11). Others cut down branches from palm trees and lay them out on the ground as He made His entry (Matt. 21:8; John 12:13).

The multitude that followed Jesus as He was entering the city of Jerusalem, cried “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord; Blessed be the kingdom of our father David; Hosanna, peace in heaven and glory in the highest” (Matt. 21:9; Mark 11:9,10; Luke 19:38; John 12:13). Many in this multitude were among those who saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead (John 12:17). They spoke to others about this miracle and the news of this great deed was circulated among the crowds (John 12:18). Because of it, many were waiting excitedly for Jesus to come (John 12:12). Throngs of people before and after His entourage praised Him thus as He entered triumphantly (Matt. 21:9).

Some of the Pharisees were even now brooding. They called on Jesus to rebuke His disciples for their exuberant praise of Jesus (Luke 19:39). But Jesus replied that if the people had refrained from praising Him thus, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40). Perplexed and dismayed, the Pharisees despaired because they could do nothing to Jesus, saying “Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the whole world is gone after Him” (John 12:19). At least, that is the way it seemed to the Jewish leaders.

The fact that the multitude took Him for a prophet deterred the chief priests and Pharisees from taking Him publicly (Matt. 21:45,46). All the people were astonished at His doctrine (Mark 11:18) and they were very attentive to hear Him (Luke 19:48). Yet Jesus was very bold for, though there was a price on His head, so to speak, yet He taught daily in the temple (Luke 19:47). This caused some of the people to wonder if the scribes, Pharisees and lawyers did not know already that He was indeed the Christ (John 7:25,26).

The praises that the multitude heaped upon Jesus were nothing short of Messianic. Hosanna, or the Hebrew “Hoshiah Na,” meant “save now.” It is used in Psalm 118 which was sung at the feast of the Tabernacles. Later the expression apparently became a term of praise. Thus, the people were acknowledging Jesus as the Son of David, or as Messiah. It is no wonder that the scribes and Pharisees were envious of Jesus (Matt. 27:18).

The scribes and Pharisees sought popularity. They loved the praises and accolades of men (Matt. 23:5-7). Jesus’ did not seek popularity for its own sake but popularity was His due to His authoritative teaching (Matt. 7:28,29). Undoubtedly His miracles drew the attention of the multitudes but it was His character and teaching that really impressed the multitudes (e.g.,Luke 23:40,41). The Pharisees were vain and superficial and self-serving. Jesus was genuine and sincere and selfless. And so should we be.

Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). His Great Commission was to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. One day, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, whether willingly or not (Phil. 2:10).

Eric L. Padgett