Monday, September 26, 2016


But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8 ESV)
To distract myself from the tedium of doing laundry the other day, I decided to bring my “write it down” book. I just write stuff in it whenever the mood hits me. The thoughts which compelled me to tuck the book into my laundry bag, along with the mountain of laundry, had been with me for a couple days and were thoughts I knew very well.
“How do you continue to wait on God, with expectancy, as the days drag on with no answer or reprieve?”
Someone close to my heart finds herself in such a state; waiting on God to fulfill His promise to her. It has been a long time coming. Over the years, she has endured much hurt and grief, lost her hope, been discouraged, grown weary and shed countless tears of despair and longing. She has asked countless silent questions in her heart. Voiced many “how long Lord?” questions while on her knees.
Sometimes the God of the Universe, yet still the personal God of her solitary heart, breaks into her waiting with his intimate voice, “I KNOW IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME. I SEE AND I KNOW. I WILL DO WHAT I SAY I WILL DO. REMAIN FAITHFUL MY DAUGHTER.”
It isn’t a light thing when God speaks. His word is power and never returns void (Isaiah 55:11).
So what do you do after He speaks; when you know there will be yet more waiting? You open your Bible and read again the tear-stained pages of Habakkuk 2:3-4 and Lamentations 3:21-26. You focus on truth in the midst of the hurt (Phil 4:8). You talk to yourself to fight the discouragement, like David did (Psalm 42:5, 11).
Although at times she grows weary in the wait, she endeavors to not faint (Psalm 27:13).
She believes and knows two things about the Father and His heart:
-She knows He is faithful – Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
-She knows He does not lie – God is not human, that he should lie. (Numbers 23:19)
Despite the length of her wait, the ups/downs of her hope, she always returns to her expectant anticipation of God’s promise. She is an example, whether she knows it or not.
Waiting on God is a day-by-day thing; maybe, minute-by-minute! Either way, His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Joseph as a Type of Christ, Part 1

[u]Joseph as a Type of Christ, Part 1[/u], by Romans

The Book of Genesis concludes in 13 of the last 14 chapters with the story of the Patriarch Joseph.  We are pretty familiar with Joseph, and the events of his life. But did you know that Joseph was a type of Christ? A type is a prophetic foreshadowing of Jesus! Incorporated within the events of the life of Joseph is a list of about 42 types. Many of the types that I will list tonight and next week are taken from “The World's Bible Handbook,” by Robert Boyd, but to his original list I have added many more types.

[b]1.)[/b] [u]Joseph was loved by his father[/u]:
Genesis 37:3 “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.”

In the New Testament, we read of Jesus in Matthew 3:17 “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

John 3:35 adds to that: “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”

[b]2.)[/b] [u]Joseph was a shepherd[/u]:
Genesis 37:2 “These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren;”

John 10:11-14 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

[b]3.)[/b] [u]Joseph was sent by his father to his brothers[/u]:

Genesis 37:13-14 “And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.
14  And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

John 12:49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

In a Parable about His being sent by His Father, Jesus said in
Luke 20:12-13 “And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
13  Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.”

[b]4.)[/b] [u]Joseph was hated by his brothers, and their hatred was fueled by their envy[/u]:

Genesis 37:4,5: “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

Matthew 27:18  For he (Pilate) knew that for envy they (the Chief Priests and Rulers) had delivered him.

John 15:25 “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”

[b]5.)[/b] [u]Joseph's references to himself in a kingly role were resented and rejected by his brothers[/u]:

Genesis 37:8 “And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.”

Matthew 21:37-39 “But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

John 15:24-25 “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

[b]6.)[/b] [u]Joseph's brothers plotted against his life[/u]:

Genesis 37:18 “And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.”

Matthew 26:3-4 “Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4  And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.

John 11:53 “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.”

[b]7.)[/b] [u]Joseph was stripped of his coat[/u]:

Genesis 37:23 “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him...”

John 19:23 “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.”

[b]8.)[/b] [u]He was sold by a family member named Judah[/u]:

Genesis 37:26-27: “And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites...”

Jesus was betrayed by one of His inner circle named Judas, the Greek equivalent of Judah

Matthew 26:14: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

[b]9.)[/b] [u]Joseph was sold for the price of a slave[/u]:

Genesis 37:28 “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver.”

Matthew 26:15 “And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.”

In each case, Joseph and Jesus were both sold for the going price of a slave in their day.

[b]10.)[/b] [u]Joseph was taken to Egypt[/u]:

Genesis 37:28b : “and they brought Joseph into Egypt”

Matthew 2:14-15 “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15  And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

[b]11.)[/b] [u]Joseph suffered because of his brothers[/u]:

Genesis 39:1-- Genesis 40:13 tells us of all that he suffered because of his brothers' hatred of him.
The enslavement and the imprisonment that followed.

Mathew 27:33-50 tells us of all that Jesus suffered at the hands of the Jews, His brothers: the betrayal, arrest, beating, mocking, scourging and crucifixion.

[b]12.)[/b] [u]Joseph was sorely and repeatedly tempted[/u]:

Genesis 39:7  And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.”

Genesis 39:10  And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

Luke 4:1  ¶And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2  Being forty days tempted of the devil.

[b]13.)[/b] [u]Joseph resisted and overcame the temptation by his faith in, and willingness to obey, God[/u]:

Genesis 39:9 how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

Matthew 4:10 “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

[b]14.)[/b] [u]After he resisted and overcame temptation, Joseph was falsely accused [/u]:

Genesis 39:16-18 “And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.
17  And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:
18  And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.

Matthew 26:59-60 “Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
60  But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses...

[b]15.)[/b] [u]Joseph was bound[/u]:

Genesis 39:20 “And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.”

Matthew 27:2 “And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.”

[b]16.)[/b] [u]Joseph offered no defense[/u]:

Genesis 39:20 “And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.”

Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

[b]17.)[/b] [u]In spite of all he had endured, Joseph experienced God's presence through his ordeal[/u]:

Genesis 39:21 “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

When Pilate had Jesus in custody, he repeatedly declared Him innocent, and diligently sought to release Him:

Luke 23:14-15: “Pilate Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him, and release him.”

[b]18.)[/b] [u]Two other prisoners were with Joseph in prison[/u]:

Genesis 40:2-3 “And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.”

Luke 23:32-33 “And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.”

[b]19.)[/b] [u]Only one of the two prisoners (the butler) with Joseph was given good news[/u]:

Genesis 40: 21-23 21: "And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand: But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.

Luke 23:39-43 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

[b]20.)[/b] [u]Joseph was 30 years old when he began his ministry[/u]:

Genesis 41:46 “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.”

Luke 3:22-23 "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age...

Luke 4:1-2: “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness... Being forty days tempted of the devil.”

After His temptation, Jesus began His Ministry:

Luke 4:14-15: “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.”

[b]21.)[/b] [u]Joseph was elevated to a place of Glory and Power after his suffering[/u]:

Genesis 41:14, 41 “Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.

Genesis 41:41 “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.”

On the Road to Emmaus, Jesus asked the two disciples in: Luke 24:26 “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Of this, Matthew Henry writes, “The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is his will, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father, Joh 5:23. Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God?”

The astounding foreshadows of Jesus Christ was lived by the Patriarch Joseph in the Book of Genesis. The Book of Genesis is not a humanly authored Book. It is not a Book of myths or legends. And, it is not a Book of superstitious tales, or homogenized pagan folklore. The Book of Genesis includes a foundation of historical events and Themes that set the tone for the rest of Scripture. The Book of Genesis is a Book that defies the imagination, but also defies the odds against such a Book being what our critics claim it is, namely, a written work unscientific folklore or highly imaginative, humanly-devised fables . It is none of these things.  The Book of Genesis was inspired to be written by the Holy Spirit, and committed to writing by Moses. Its existence is a miraculous Gift from God to His Creation, giving us a priceless window that would not be available any other way, into the mind, the heart and the Plans of our God.  There are clear, undeniable and unmistakable foreshadows of our Savior in the life  of the Patriarch Joseph presented within its pages. We covered 21 of  them, tonight. There are about 21 more for us to look at, and we will do just that... God willing... next week.

This concludes this Evening's Discussion, [u]Joseph as a Type of Christ, Part 1[/u]

This Discussion was presented "live" by Romans on August 11, 2016

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Barabbas, A Closer Look, Part 3

“Barabbas, A Closer Look, Part 3:” by Romans

Tonight, in preparing this final Part 3 of our Discussion about Barabbas, I want to credit, again, a book that I have repeatedly used in preparing Bible Studies. It has never ceased to amaze me in terms of the variety of valuable and edifying topics,  the depth of profound insight, and it has been a veritable gold mine of unlimited riches.  I refer to “The World's Bible Handbook,” written by Robert Boyd. Barabbas presented for us an amazing picture of a guilty and convicted individual, who was deservedly facing punishment... capital punishment for his crimes. And instead of being nailed to the cross that was fashioned with him in mind, the man acting as Judge that morning, released the guilty prisoner without a scratch, and sent the prisoner to be executed Whom he repeatedly had declared innocent, and Whom he repeatedly declared as being worthy of no punishment.

Barabbas, whose name we know so well, symbolically and prophetically represented each one of us in that he deserved to be punished for his lawlessness, yet he was summarily released. He came down from that Judgment Platform without a scratch. That picture, however, goes from powerful to astounding when you realize that, in the original Hebrew, the name Barabbas “son of the father.” When you become aware of that fact, the spiritual significance of Barabbas' representing us increases exponentially. There is no way that it was a coincidence that the prisoner released had a name that was so profound with meaning. But tonight we are going to examine all that Barabbas was NOT.

In “The World's Bible Handbook,” in an article titled “I Am What I Am,” in the section commenting on 1 Corinthians 15, Mr. Boyd compiles a list that describes that fuller picture of what we, as Christians, are, that Barabbas was not. Yes, when it comes time for us to stand before The Judge of the Universe, Christians will be released,unpunished. As He did for Barabbas, Jesus Christ gave His life in my place, and your place. Jesus' Name was written and nailed to the cross, while my name, and your name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life. And it was only possible for my name to be written in the Book of Life, because of the cross... because of Jesus' laying down His Life... because He was and is the Lamb of God, slain from the Foundation of World.

In this Part 3 of “Barabbas, A Closer Look,” I have used most, but not all, of the headings and Scriptures from “The World's Bible Handbook,” but I have also added a few ideas and verses of my own to round things out. Tonight, we will be looking at, and picking up where Barabbas leaves off. We will be looking at all that we are as Christians, and all that Barabbas was not. Mr. Boyd , the author of The World's Bible Handbook, has compiled a list of those differences that is, seeing it all in one place, more inspiring than anything I have ever seen before. His list also serves to powerfully point out the stark difference between how the world writes us off as fools, compared to how God provides for us, and has welcomed us into His Family.

When the people called his name instead of Jesus' name, Barabbas was free to go. But he was not free. Jesus said beginning in John 8:34: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35    And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36    If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

Yes, Barabbas was  released back into the mob who called his name, for him to be released. And he disappeared into that crowd, and into history, never to be heard from again. He was guilty and unpunished... and Jesus was nailed to his cross, and died, innocent, in his place... just like us.

But Unlike Barabbas:

We are forgiven:
We read in Romans 4:7: “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

That, my friends, is who we are, that Barabbas was not: Blessed, because we are forgiven.
Barabbas was merely released and unpunished. Pilate did not pardon him or wipe out his criminal record. His crimes and guilt remained. His sinful nature, his worldly attractions, along with his willingness to fulfill those attractions and addictions and lusts all remained. He was only released. He was not forgiven, but we are also forgiven!

We, on the other hand, are told in Romans 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The word “transformed” in verse two is translated from the Greek word, “metamorphoo,” (pronounced: met-am-or-fo'-o) from which we get the English “metamorphosis.” We apply it to the radical change that takes place when a lowly, ugly, creep-crawly, earth-bound caterpillar changes into a beautiful, colorful, airborne butterfly. That is how radical the change is that God looks to take place when we embrace His Son, His Holy Spirit, His Way, and every facet of His Plan of Salvation.

Barabbas was not transformed in this way. He merely left the Judgment Platform to resume his old ways. The Bible is utterly silent about any conversion of any kind on his part. Not so with us...

We are a new creation:
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

We are crucified with Christ:
Romans 6:6: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:”

Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

We are dead with Christ:
Romans 6:8: “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:”

We are buried with Christ
Romans 6:4: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:”

Romans 6:6-7: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

And then we are raised with Christ:
Colossians 2:12: “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

Romans 6:3-8: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:”

As I said earlier, unlike Barabbas, we are forgiven. And, as a result of being forgiven, Paul goes on to tell us in Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

But being forgiven is just the beginning of our new lives in Christ...

Being a Christian means that we are not of this world:    
John 15:19: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

John 17:15: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

We should also remember that, as Barabbas, we were once without Christ:
Ephesians 2:12: “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

The Bible does not speak of Barabbas' hopeless condition ever being changed. He only went from being a convicted criminal, to an unpunished convicted criminal. He very likely immediately returned to that life of crime and rebellion.

Peter tells us in his first epistle, that we should expect our friends to be flabbergasted by our radical change from what we used to be, to the new creature in Christ that we have become. He writes in 1 Peter 4:3: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:”

I have no reason to believe that Barabbas' old cronies ever thought anything strange about him after his release. They witnessed, I am quite sure, the same old Barabbas, hatching plots to steal and murder and wreak havoc among the people. Barabbas' only change was from a caught caterpillar that was about to be killed by its captor, to a released caterpillar. And nothing more.

Unlike Barabbas, we read of our radical change in status from alien to citizen in Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Then Verse 19: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”  

We are justified:
Romans 5:1    ¶Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2    By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Barabbas very likely rejoiced in his release. He was a dead man walking, and he knew it. But as Christians, we rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God. Barabbas knew of  no such rejoicing, or hope or glory.

We are declared to be righteous:
Romans 3:25: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Jesus is said, here, to be our propitiation. We have all heard this word I am sure, but what exactly does it mean?

Here is the definition from the Online Merriam Websters dictionary: “to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of...” Synonyms include “appease” and “pacify”

It means that God was pacified to not punish us with the deserving death penalty that we brought on ourselves by breaking His Laws. Jesus' own blood, shed for us, and in our place, pacified and appeased God.  

Let's apply this word to a common situation: There were two people arguing. One is apologizing for some offense, and trying to put things right with his friend. Maybe he borrowed an item, and broke it. His apology is not enough. So he next offers to pay for it. That payment is the propitiation that appeases the one whose item was broken. Jesus' blood is the propitiation that satisfied the Justice of God.  We are saved by our faith in that propitiation.

But Jesus did not merely pay for our sins... He did not merely take away our sins... we read the astounding verse in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he {God} hath made him {Christ} to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Think of what this verse is saying! God made Christ TO BE sin for us... that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. It does not matter how many times I read this verse... I cannot wrap my finite mind around and comprehend the depth of love God has for us to have done such a thing.

We are sanctified (which means, set apart for Holy use):
Hebrews 10:10: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

After filling two verses naming a variety of sinners including fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, drunkards, etc who wold not inherit the Kingdom, Paul then writes in the next verse in 1 Corinthians 6:11: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

We are children of God by adoption:
Romans 8:15: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

Abba is the MiddleEastern equivalent of our English word, “Daddy.” This is how the Father wants us to understand the relationship He is trying to establish with us. As close and affectionate a picture that is painted by the phrase, Father and child, Daddy and child is just so much warmer and loving and intimate.

We are the people of God:
1 Peter 2:10: “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

“Peculiar” is not a word that is usually used as a compliment. But if you hear it in these two other Verses you might be less concerned about it being applied to us, as believers:

We read in Psalms 135:4: “For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.”

And then in Titus 2:14: “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

As we continue in this study, I hope you see and appreciate the greater and greater distance from Barabbas we are getting as we leave him in the dust. Yes! It was indeed profound that the name Barabbas meant, “son of the father.” And that, even though he was guilty, he was released without punishment. But for us, our experience goes far beyond the mere meaning of a name. God's presence in our lives literally impacts what He would have us become, and what we do become! We read in Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

But, as heirs,  what do we inherit?
Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

Revelation 21:7: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

We are members of the Body of Christ:
1 Corinthians 12:12: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”

We are the Temple of God:
1 Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

1 Corinthians 6:19: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

We are kings and priests:
Revelation 20:6: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

1 Corinthians 4:8: “Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

When Paul chided the Corinthians for taking each other to court, unable to resolve their own petty squabbles, he reminds them of the future God has in store for His saints. We read in 1 Corinthians 6:1:  “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2    Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3    Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”

When was the last time your heard of that future for Christians being preached? I didn't make up the concept of Christians, after Christ returns and we are made immortal and glorified, judging the world and judging angels. It has been written and accepted as Inspired Scripture for the past 2,000 years. But is it being regularly preached? Is it being occasionally preached?

As saints, we are seated in the Heavenlies:
Ephesians 2:5: “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

We are delivered from this present evil world:
Galatians 1:3: “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”    

We are in Christ's Kingdom:
Colossians 1:13: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

Here, again, Barabbas was released back into the world. He was neither delivered from the power of darkness, nor translated into anything different than he was the day before. Be we are!

We are each a child of light to the lost:
Acts 13:47: “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”

Ephesians 5:8: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

We are co-laborers with God:
1 Corinthians 3:9: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

We are servants of Righteousness:
Romans 6:18: “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

We are God's Workmanship:
Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

We are like Christ:
1 John 4:17: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

We are at Peace with God:
Romans 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

We are Heaven's Ambassadors:
2 Corinthians 5:20: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

We are empowered witnesses:
Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

We are the salt of the Earth:
Matthew 5:13: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

We are the light of the world:
Matthew 5:14: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

We are highly valued:
Luke 12:6: “... ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

Of more value than sparrows? Is that being highly valued? Well, it certainly is when you consider what Jesus said immediately before that: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” Yes, we are highly valued!

We are Jesus' disciples:
John 13:35: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” and

John 8:31: “...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”
We are Jesus' friends:
John 15:14: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

We are victorious:
1 Corinthians 15:57: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

But even far above being victorious, we are more than conquerors:
Romans 8:37: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

We are glorified:
Romans 8:30: “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

So... who are we?    

We are Christians.    

We read in Hebrews 3:14: “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end...” Besides being made “partakers of Christ,” we read in 2 Corinthians 2:15: “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ...” On another level we are told in Ephesians 4:25: “...for we are members one of another.” The list of positive themes that describe us can supply us with many, many hours of meditation and edification in our spiritual walk. I have never heard any of our detractors ever use any of the adjectives, descriptions and categories that I used, tonight, to describe who and what we are. The world dismisses us as fools believing in fairy tales.

They don't have the remotest idea of the blessings poured out on us by God. But remember, Jesus told us to expect to be resisted and rejected: He said beginning in John 15:18: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.”

But I also hasten to add these words of consolation that Jesus also spoke to us in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Lastly, we are  complete  in Christ:
That is such a reassuring and comforting thought: We read in Colossians 2:10: “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”

Now, if you think I could get through a Discussion without sharing with all of you the comments of Matthew Henry, you are wrong. Regarding all the things that Barabbas was not, and our being complete in Christ, Mr. Henry writes: “We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word "complete," is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. "In him," not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head.

The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls.”

Paul tells us what will happen to His living and/or resurrected followers (us) when Jesus returns beginning in 1 Corinthians 15:51: "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52     In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53     For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
We will then join Him in rulership of the earth as He makes His way to Jerusalem to set up His Kingdom. We read in Zechariah 14:4: "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east..." And we are included also in prophecies of His Return! Notice Jude 1:14: "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints..."

Jesus says two stunning things regarding our future in the Book of Revelation: First, in Revelation 3:21: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."  And then in Revelation 2:26: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:" Does it occur to any of you that Jesus' Title. "King of Kings and Lord of Lords"  includes us in that Title? We are the kings that He is King of, and we are the lords that He is the Lord of.

Peter confirmed this in 1 Peter 2:9: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." Daniel confirmed this in Daniel 7:18: "But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." And Jesus Himself, confirmed this in Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"

Barabbas, “the son of the father,” was a convicted criminal who was released without punishment. He was, from one perspective, the symbolic black and white snapshop of what we experience when we first become Christians. But there is so, so, so much more to our redemption than merely not being punished. And I hope you now see, in full color and in 3-D, a fuller, deeper, wider and higher scope of what God sees when He sees us.  

This concludes this Evening's Discussion, “Barabbas, A Closer Look, Part 3"
This was written by and delivered “live” by Romans on Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

Barabbas, A Closer Look, Part 2:

“Barabbas, A Closer Look, Part 2:”

Tonight, in preparing the necessary Parts 2 and 3 to last week's Discussion about Barabbas, I consulted both the Internet for support material, as well as a book that I have repeatedly used in preparing Bible Studies. It has never ceased to amaze me in terms of the variety of valuable and edifying topics,  the depth of profound insight, and it has been a veritable gold mine of unlimited riches.  I refer to The World's Bible Handbook, written by Robert Boyd. Barabbas presented for us an amazing picture of a guilty and convicted individual, who was deservedly facing punishment... capital punishment for his crimes. And instead of being nailed to the cross that was fashioned with him in mind, the man acting as Judge that morning, released the guilty prisoner without a scratch, and sent the prisoner to be executed Whom he repeatedly had declared innocent, and Whom he repeatedly declared as being worthy of no punishment.

Barabbas, whose name we know so well, symbolically and prophetically represented each one of us in that he deserved to be punished for his lawlessness, yet he was summarily released. He came down from that Judgment Platform without a scratch. That picture, however, goes from powerful to astounding when you realize that, in the original Hebrew, the name Barabbas “son of the father.” When you become aware of that fact, the spiritual significance of Barabbas' representing us increases exponentially. There is no way that it was a coincidence that the prisoner released had a name that was so profound with meaning.

But I am going to go in a direction even I did not expect in Part 2, tonight. There is profound spiritual symbolism in Jesus being the innocent Lamb of God was slain, and Barabbas as the "son of the father,・being unpunished and released. In spite of their deep and focused significance, they are, in the final analysis, an incomplete, one-dimensional, black and white picture. Tonight, I want to turn this point-and-shoot snapshot into a full-color, High-Definition, 3-Dimensional motion picture.    

Jesus certainly laid down His Life for us. I do not question that. I certainly do not disparage that. What I am saying is that, in addition to the vital importance and significance of Jesus' fulfillment of the spritual symbol of the sacrificial Lamb of God, that is just one facet of the many, many roles that Christ fills. Paul tells is in so many words, in 1 Corinthians 5:7: "... even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:" In the original Passover, those who obeyed God's Command through Moses to smear the blood of a sacrificed, unblemished lamb on their doorposts, were passed over. The Angel of Death harmed no one who was under the blood of that lamb. After that, every year a Passover lamb was slain in the observance of the Passover. And when each  lamb that was sacrificed shed its blood, it provided a commemorative meal for a family. The lamb's part in the observance was complete and over. However, when Jesus shed His blood, and died and was buried, His role in our lives... His role in our Salvation, and His role in our Eternity was not complete and over. He said in John 10:17: "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."  Peter declared the continuation of Jesus ministry in his first sermon, to members of the very mob who called for Jesus to be crucified. We read beginning in Acts 2:22: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23   Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24   Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

And then in verse 36: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Yes! Jesus was crucified and died. But He is back!! Jesus declares in Revelation 1:18: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

In the next chapter, there is an account of God, through Peter and John, healing a lame beggar outside the Temple. We read beginning in Acts 3:11: "And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
12   And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
13   The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
14   But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
15   And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
16   And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
17   And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
18   But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
19   Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20   And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:"  

Jesus was the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World, and He died and was buried. But His Soul did not see corruption; He was raised from that tomb. He is alive. He has ascended to Heaven, and He has resumed His Glorious Place at the Right Hand of God.

What follows is that far more complete, multi-faceted picture of the Roles Jesus fills, today, based on the Names and Titles that highlight the Roles that Christ fills for us:

(This list is from "A List of 150 Titles," found at the website: )

Jesus is our Advocate – 1 John 2:1

Apostle and High Priest of our Confession – Hebrews 3:1

Author and Finisher of our Faith – Hebrews 12:2

Bridegroom – John 3:29

Captain of our Salvation – Hebrews 2:10

Deliverer – Romans 11:26

Faithful and True Witness – Revelation 1:5; 3:14

Firstborn among many brothers – Romans 8:29

Gate of the sheepfold – John 10:7

Good Shepherd – John 10:11; 14

Great Shepherd of the sheep – Hebrews 13:20

Head of the Church – Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22

High Priest – Hebrews 3:1; 4:14; 7:26

Holy Servant  – Acts 4:27

Image of God – 2 Corithinians 4:4; Colossians 1:15

Indescribable Gift – 2 Corinthians 9:15

Intercessor – Hebrews 7:25

King of Kings – Revelation 17:14; 19:16; 1 Timothy 6:15

Lamb of God – John 1:29

Leader and Savior – Acts 5:31

Light of the world – John 8:12

Lord both of the dead and the living – Romans 14:9

Lord of Peace – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Mediator – 1 Timothy 2:5

Messiah – John 1:41; 4:25

Mighty God – Isaiah 9:6

Power and wisdom of God – 1 Corinthians 1:24

Power for salvation – Luke 1:69

Prince of Life – Acts 3:15

Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

Ransom – 1 Timothy 2:6

Redeemer – Isaiah 59:20

Rescuer from this Present Evil Age – Galatians 1:4

Radiance of God’s Glory – Hebrews 1:3

Resurrection and Life – John 11:25

Ruler and Savior – Acts 5:31

Savior of the world – 1 John 4:14; John 4:42

Shepherd and Guardian of our souls – 1 Peter 2:25

Son of the Most High God – Mark 5:7

Spiritual Rock – 1 Corinthians 10:4

True Vine – John 15:1

The Way the Truth and the Life – John 14:6

Wisdom of God – 1 Corinthians 1:24

Wonderful Counselor – Isaiah 9:6

Word of God – Revelation 19:13

Word of Life – 1 John 1:1

Meditate on each of the above Names and Titles of Christ. Look up the references, and read the whole passage in the verses before and after the specific verses listed to get a better grasp of, and appreciation for, what each Name or Title signifies.  As you read each Name and Title, consider how each one represents how our Lord and Savior is, as important as it is, far and above so much more than being "The Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world,"  as John the Baptist identified Him in John 1:29.

Consider: As enlightening as these Names and Titles are, Scripture goes into far more detail about what Jesus' continuing Ministry, and what He has been doing with, for, to and through His Church for the past 2,000 years since His resurrection and ascension back to the Throne of God. I based most, but not all, of the points that follow on what is found at the website:

Below is a greatly consolidated summary from that website which goes into far greater detail. You can go to it for a more thorough review of Jesus' continuing Ministry. As you read each facet of that Ministry, consider how each one of these facets goes so far beyond Jesus being that sacrificial Lamb of God.

Scripture tells us He is at the Right Hand of God. We read in Luke 22:66-69: “And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led Him into their council, saying, Are you the Christ? Tell us. And He said unto them, If I tell you, you will not believe: And if I also ask you, you will not answer Me, nor let Me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God."

On the night before His crucifixion, He prayed to His Heavenly Father in John 17:5: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."

When Christ was raised from the dead, He was raised to the highest possible position of authority. After His resurrection, when He first appeared to His disciples behind those locked doors, He said in Matthew 28:18: "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."  We also read in Ephesians 1:20: "...when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21   Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22   And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church."

Another one of Jesus' Roles today is that He is our High Priest. The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 3:1-2, “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to him that appointed Him.” We also read in Hebrews 4:14-15: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

What is the Jesus' Role as the High Priest? He makes intercession for us: Hebrews explains in Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore He [Christ] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them." In making those intercessions Christ takes upon Himself the additional Role of Mediator. Notice 1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." But let's see how this Intercession / Mediation works to our Eternal Benefit: Hebrews 8:6 tells us, "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises."

What is that Better Covenant? Hebrews 10:16-21 answers that question: "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17   And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18   Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
19   ¶Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20   By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21   And having an high priest over the house of God;"

Another of His Roles is that He Guides His Church. We read in Colossians 1:18-19: "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19   For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

The very next verse goes on to tell us that Jesus does so much more than that which has already been declared! Colossians 1:20: "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." In In addition to His Mediation and His Intercessions for us, Jesus also reconciles us to His Father, through His Blood.

When He was a man on earth, Jesus' earthly father Joseph taught Him carpentry, which included masonry and other building skills. He is still a builder even today, as He builds His Church: Peter writes in I Peter 5:7: "You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” In building that Church, Jesus adds specific members to perform and offer specific skills and functions to His Spiritual Body. We read in I Cor. 12:18-31, "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19   And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20   But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21   And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22   Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23   And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24   For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25   That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26   And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27   ¶Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28   And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29   Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30   Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31   But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Jesus' death and resurrection are each separately vital to our Salvation. They each contribute in their own very special ways. Notice how the Apostle Paul highlighted how each plays a part in our Salvation. We read in Romans 5:10: "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Notice especially the last part: "...much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

Besides reconciling us, and saving us, Jesus also sanctifies us:
We read in Hebrews 2:11: "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."

Jesus is in Heaven right now, sitting at the Right Hand of God. But He is our soon-returning Savior and Lord and King. Upon His arrival, Jesus will seize control of the Governments of the earth, becoming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Does it occur to any of you that Jesus' Title. "King of Kings and Lord of Lords"  includes us in that Title? We are the kings that He is King of, and we are the lords that He is the Lord of. But we will go into far greater detail regarding that, next week.

The Sacrificial Lamb of God was a foreshadow and symbolic picture of Jesus to be sure! But there is so much more that Jesus has done and is doing where our Salvation, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification and Eternity is concerned. I would have been remiss to not share it all with you.

Next week in Part 3, I will share with you all the things that we are, that Barabbas was not.

This concludes this Evening's Discussion, Barabbas, A Closer Look, Part 2"
The above was written and presented by Romans, "live" on Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Barabbas: A Closer Look

"Barabbas: A Closer Look" by Romans

We recently completed a review of the Gospel According to John. Since then, I watched, again, The Passion of the Christ, which I have not seen in years. And I watched that scene with Jesus and Barabbas standing before Pilate. Normally, when we get to that part of the Account of Jesus' trial before Pilate, we kick Barabbas to the curb, and forget about him as if he were nothing more than a meaningless and unnecessary footnote. After all, if Barabbas were never even born, or did not appear on that Judgment Platform at the same time that Jesus was being tried, the crowd would still have demanded of Pilate that Jesus should be crucified. But this time when I watched that scene, I realized that Barabbas was not a footnote in this flow of events at all. I realized, as I never saw it before, that Barabbas was a critically essential part of this story, and a significant symbol in God's Plan of Salvation.

Let's notice the flow of events from Matthew's Gospel:

Matthew 27:15    Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16    And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17    Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18    For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19    When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
20    But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
21    The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
22    Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23    And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24    When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25    Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26    ¶Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Instead of kicking Barabbas to the curb as many of us, including me have done,, let's stop and zoom in on his presence, [i]at that precise moment in history[/i], on that Judgment Platform with Jesus.

Was Barabbas guilty?

Notice the Scriptural notation regarding Barabbas: John 18:40 tells us, “Now Barabbas was a robber.” Notice: It did not merely say that he was charged with robbery. No... it said he "was a robber." Also consider: Clarke's Commentary says, “Barabbas was a robber - The later Syriac has in the margin that he was a chief robber, a captain of bandits, and it is probable that this was the case. He was not only a person who lived by plunder, but shed the blood of many of those whom he and his gang robbed, and rose up against the Roman government, as we learn from Luke 23:18: “And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas.  19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murd+er, was cast into prison.).”

And then in Mark 15:7, we read this: "And there was one named Barabbas... who had committed murder in the insurrection." Once, again, the text does not read that Barabbas was accused of murder, or was being tried for murder. Mark tells us that he "had committed murder in the insurrection."

What is an insurrection? It is a revolt... a rebellion. In this cultural setting, if Barabbas had been part of an insurrection, he would have been part of, or the leader of a gang in rebellion against the Roman occupation of Judea. Any murder that he committed would have been the murder of Roman soldiers as they were sent in to put down that rebellion. So, we see that Barabbas was the Roman equivalent of Public Enemy Number One. The Romans had quelled the insurrection, had arrested and apparently tried the rebels, and found them guilty.

So, yes, in answer to my question, Barabbas [i]was[/i] guilty. He stood before Pilate's Judgment Seat... and before a Judge who knew he was guilty. I believe it is quite likely that the Romans were planning for three prisoners to be crucified that morning. I believe that Barabbas was going to be one of those who were to be crucified.  

As I watched, "The Passion of the Christ," I paid particular attention to the Barabbas character on the screen. It was interesting how he was depicted in that movie. He was an unshaven, wild-eyed, disheveled, unkempt, snarling embodiment of the criminal element. But I looked at him in a new way, and from a perspective that I never have before. I will go into further detail about what prompted that new perspective a little later. But as I watched the proceedings, it finally penetrated my thick skull that here was a guilty individual, both fully expecting and deserving to die for his crimes. Instead, the unthinkable happened: Pilate released him.  

The Greek word for “released” is apoluo -- pronounced: ap-ol-OO'-o
it means "to free fully or pardon:"
Throughout the New Testament, apoluo is also translated as the words:  (let) depart, dismiss, forgive, let go, loose, send away, release, and set at liberty.

Jesus used this Greek word, "apoluo," in one of His Parables. In Matthew 18, Jesus is presenting the Parable of the servant who owed his master the equivalent of a gazillion dollars, as we would phrase it today. Ten thousand talents is an unimaginable sum. The servant begged his lord to not put him and his family in prison, but rather to give him the time to pay it back somehow, as if that were within the realm of possibility. [u]It was not.[/u] Then in verse 27, Jesus continued the flow of the Parable:

27 "Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed (apoluo) him, and forgave him the debt."

Just as that servant was loosed from his debt, Barabbas was also loosed... (Greek, apoluo) ... released... dismissed... freed fully.

Pilate had earlier brought to the attention of the mob, the custom he followed to release a prisoner at Passover Time, Barabbas would have been both scourged and crucified. Scourging was a brutal  flogging with whips that had bits of metal and bone embedded in the ends of the straps. After suffering the wounds inflicted by a scourging, many prisoners did not survive long enough to be crucified. Had he survived it, Barabbas would next be crucified and, as the Roman custom was, an inscription would have been nailed above him on his cross, naming both him and his crime. His would have read, "Barabbas, robber and murderer." But that inscription was never written. The mob who had been incited against Jesus called for Barabbas to be released, and for Jesus to be crucified. We read in John 19:19: “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Jesus took the place of Barabbas on that cross. Jesus took the punishment that Barabbas deserved. Jesus suffered the death penalty in the place of a man who deserved to die... a man who was, instead, released without so much as a scratch... Barabbas did not deserve to be released. Like one of the crucified prisoners whom we call "the Good Thief," who said in Luke 23:41, “... we receive the due reward of our deeds,” perhaps Barabbas also knew he brought that death sentence on himself, and was deserving of it. Barabbas did not ask the judge, Pilate, in this case, to release him. It was the Judge's idea to set in motion set in motion the events the yielded for him this utterly unmerited pardon. Unmerited pardon... Isn't that how we define, “Grace.” Isn't that what Barabbas received?

[i]Isn't that [b]exactly[/b] what we receive?[/i]

Don't we receive unmerited pardon because, as with Barabbas, Jesus took upon Himself the death penalty that each of us deserves? Jesus died... for our sins... for our rebellion... and  for our iniquity.

As Isaiah phrased it in Isaiah 53:5: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
But now I want to share with you why I paid attention to Barabbas as I never had formerly.
As I said earlier, even if Barabbas had not been standing before Pilate's Judgment Seat that morning, we would still have had a picture of the Lamb of God, laying down His Life, and taking away the sin of the world. Barabbas' presence there, however, painted for us such a perfect and more complete picture of Jesus' Divinely appointed, substitutionary role in the Plan of Salvation. We had, in that one scene, the Judge, in the person of Pilate, releasing the guilty prisoner, Barabbas... dismissing him with a full and complete pardon, and without a scratch. And then, in that same scene, the same Judge, who had repeatedly declared Jesus innocent, ordered Him to be executed.

And the reason I stopped to pay close attention to that scene in the movie, The Passion of The Christ, is because I had looked up the meaning of the name: “Barabbas.”

Does anyone know what his name means?

In Hebrew, the prefix "Bar" means "son of." Notice in these verses how that prefix is used:

Mark 10:46: "And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging."

Acts 4:36    And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,)

Barabbas means, “[i]son of the father[/i].” The innocent Jesus  literally took our place on the cross, receiving undeserved punishment for our sins, while Barabbas, symbolically taking our place, is released without punishment.

[b]Now think:[/b] Even if his name was Fred, the guilty Barabbas' being released, and Jesus taking his place on the cross, provided for us a complete picture of the mercy and unmerited pardon we have received. But think of how more clear and powerful it is for us that a man named, Barabbas, which means "son of the father," is in understanding what God has done for us.

Now, some of you may be saying, "Jesus is the Son of the Father. How can you be saying, 'Barabbas is the son of the father'?" That is correct. Jesus IS the Son of the Father. And He is "the only begotten Son of God" as we read in John 3:16. I am only pointing out that the name  Barabbas MEANS, "son of the father," providing a deeper significance to his being released unpunished, even though he was guilty. Jesus, again, is the "only begotten Son of the Father," but Scripture tells us in Hebrews 2:10    ¶For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Are we not the sons who are spoken of in that preceding verse, released, receiving unmerited pardon, and ultimately brought to glory by and through our punishment being  paid in full by Jesus on the cross? Are we ever specifically called "sons of the father"? Not in a phrase, but yes, we are in several verses:

First, consider, Galatians 4:4    But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5    To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6    And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Abba. There it is again. Abba. Father. Barabbas means, "son of the father." That is us!

Also, consider Romans 8:15: "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." There is Abba, again!

How about Hebrews 12:7: "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"

Then there is 1 John 3:1: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God..."

But I don't want to overpower these references with any gender bias. We also read beginning in 2 Corinthians 6:16: "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18    And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord

Sons of the Father? Yes. Daughters of the Father? Yes. Children of God? Yes!
Notice: Romans 8:16   The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Barabbas, as I personally and incorrectly regarded him for so long, [i]was [b]not[/b] a footnote![/i]

Barabbas on that Judgment Platform, in rich spiritual symbolism, [i]was and is me![/i]

[i]And Barabbas was and is you![/i]

Barabbas, the son of the father, came down from that Judgment Platform, not dying for his crimes, his sins or his lawless rebellion, but, rather, was freed. And he came down without a scratch, an undeserving recipient of unearned, unmerited pardon.

I have known, or [i]I thought I knew[/i] the names and the flow events of the trial before Pilate for most of my life. I thought I understood what happened. But I didn't. It had been right there in plain view, right under my nose the whole time, but I never saw it until a few weeks ago. How did I miss, for decades, the clarity of how the release of Barabbas was the very picture of our own guilt going unpunished? And now, I can never think of or hear the name Barabbas, again... I can never read of Jesus' trial before Pilate without having a far deeper understanding of the things that took place at that trial, and how they provided such a sobering and powerful picture of the Plan of Salvation.

There is, however, yet another level of understanding that we need to examine where Barabbas is less than a perfect, spiritual symbol. He did not ask for a pardon, to be forgiven or to be freed from the death penalty that he deserved. His freedom was given him by Pilate without his asking for it. We are no more deserving of that free pardon, but we do and must ask for it. As Barabbas did not, we have to acknowledge our sins, acknowledge that we have brought on ourselves the penalty for our sins -- the death penalty. And we must ask to be forgiven. Our being forgiven by God is a beginning... it is NOT an end to the things we do in our relationship with God. It is not like signing on the dotted line of a lifetime membership. We do not sign and walk away, and never think about the terms of the contract we just signed. We must repent of our sins – do an about face – and walk away from our former sinful lifestyles, patterns, affections, mindset, and priorities. We must choose, daily, God's Way over our own former ways that conformed to and approved of the world's system of rebellion against God. And when we fail... when we fall back into a previous habit or tendency... God is there waiting to hear us confess that sin, and to forgive us. We read in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This we must do on a daily basis, perhaps multiple times per day. Backsliding into a former pattern of sin is not an option. In order to grow out of sin, the indwelling Holy Spirit helps us to win one sin battle after another, and put out one sin fire after another. It is a daily warfare that we must wage that Barabbas was not called upon to wage. Jesus said in Mark 13:13: “... he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Notice John 8:31: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;" Jesus said this to [b]BELIEVERS[/b] [i]not unbelievers![/i]

To the idea of thinking that just believing is enough, consider the sobering words that we find in James 2:19: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." Does that sound like just believing is sufficient? In Mark 7:6, Jesus exposed and denounced His fellow Jews regarding their counterfeit worship, "Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."

Jesus also told us, "John 14:15: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." One of those Commandments to those whose sins are forgiven is that we forgive in kind: Notice beginning in Matthew 6:14, from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  (15):  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
As we close, let's go back one last time to the Parable in Matthew 18 where the servant was loosed from a gazillion dollar debt to his lord. Once again, the word "loosed" was from the same Greek word "apoluo" that was translated "released" in regard to Pilate's handling the prisoner Barabbas. That servant in the Parable went out and refused to forgive the debt of a fellow servant who owed him some trivial $1.98 debt. Let's read how Jesus described the reaction of the lord who forgive that gazillion debt towards that unforgiving servant: And then notice carefully, Jesus' own summary which explains His whole reason for even speaking the Parable to begin with: We read beginning in Matthew 18:32: "Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:" Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? (34) And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. (35)   So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

There is very little comment necessary, here. WE, each of us, have been forgiven of an insurmountable and unpayable debt by our loving Heavenly Father. Our sin debt was paid by Jesus for us, in the same way that He was nailed to the cross originally set aside for Barabbas. Barabbas was released without deserving that release, and pardoned without punishment. We, too, are loosed from our debts. We go to the Father and ask us to do us, and He DOES. But when we ask for and receive that forgiveness, He fully expects us to pass along that forgiveness to those who have wounded and offended us on so many different possible levels. And God expects us to show our debtors and offenders the same unmerited pardon that Pilate showed Barabbas. Mercy, kindness and forgiveness even when it was not asked for! The Apostle Paul phrased that mindset like this in Ephesians 4:30   And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Like us, Barabbas, whose name meant "son of the father," was released. He came down from that Judgment Platform without a scratch... free to go. And we never hear from him, again.

We, too, have been forgiven. Pardoned. Loosed. Released. Barabbas was released, and disappeared into the crown, and into history. Unlike Barabbas, our release is not the end of the matter... that is just the beginning. As adopted sons of the Father. we do not simply walk away, and are never heard from again.

We are the lights of the world, and a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14).
We are Ambassadors for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

We are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" (1 Peter 2:9).

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).

We read of Jesus bringing "many sons unto glory." With that in mind, notice what Paul wrote in Romans 8:18-19: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God" (New American Standard Bible).

As members of the Family and Ruling Kingdom of God, after our release, [i]we do not[/i] disappear into any crowd, only to resume our former sinful and criminal pursuits. [i]We do not[/i] disappear into history and are never heard from again. [b]We have a future[/b] that goes far beyond our release from our having to pay the penalty for our own sins. God forgave us that He might give us the incomprehensible future He had Planned for us all along. To those who continue in Jesus' Words, and fight that good fight of faith, and finish the course, as Paul wrote in his final epistle in II Timothy 4:7, they will hear the incredible declaration quoted in Matthew 25:34: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Jesus made the astounding promise in Revelation 3:21: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

Written by and originally delivered "live" on Thursday, July 21st, 2016.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Daily Devotional Bible Verse
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 ESV)
Have you ever seen a picture of a beautiful celebrity without makeup? They look average, normal or even down right awful. But when we see them on TV and in the movies they are larger than life and seemingly spotless. But the images we see are fabrications, the actors and actresses are painted with makeup and placed in ideal lighting situations. Sure, Leonardo DiCaprio is a good looking guy in any light, but a false beauty is created in the cinematic world.
Now, let’s see the Gospel picture for what it really is instead of altering and modifying reality as movies do. We are not saved because of what we’ve done, but in spite of it. We are not beautiful without Jesus, but hopelessly marred by sin. We are like celebrities with no makeup, no physical trainer, no personal chef or personal hygiene. But rather than let that truth sink into us, we can make up our own little movie where we are the hero (we never sin, never gossip, always read our Bible, and join all the ministries at church) and look perfect. Jesus turns into some sort of sidekick that wants to be our friend and help us. We must remember to no play the hero and put on the makeup. The only hero in this real life movie can and must be Jesus!
Even though we are sinful and rebellious God still loves us. This is the Gospel, that while we were still sinners Jesus died for us. When we understand this it helps us see the way things really are. King Jesus is eternally perfect and beautiful and we are not, but he loves us anyway and makes us like him. He started it and he’s going to finish it. When we understand the true Gospel instead of making up our own, we are free to love and worship Jesus as Savior instead of trying to play that role ourselves.

Remember, we are like a no makeup celebrity photo. We can paint ourselves pretty on the outside, but only Jesus makes us eternally beautiful.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

2 Timothy 3:16 – God Speaks Still

Daily Devotional Bible Verse
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV)
Have you ever felt like God has quit speaking? Maybe sermons are losing their impact, times of genuine worship in life are growing more scarce, and overall, you’re coasting on spiritual memories and past times? Whatever the reason, there are times in life in which we feel disconnected from God and alone.
If you feel this way, consider looking deeper into your Bible. The Bible was faithfully recorded by inspired men from all walks of life, who lived across three continents, and compiled the texts over a period of fifteen hundred years without ever contradicting one another. God spoke then through Scripture, and He is still speaking through it now.
When we neglect to meet God in the words He preserved for us, we lose our bearing in life and He seems distant. However, the wonderful truth is that God hasn’t moved and He is still speaking to us through the Bible. Remember; it’s not just a book with worn-out phrases, rather, it’s a treasure house of truth that’s living and active. The Bible is a fountain of living water and is intended to be our prime source of strength. Pick it up, dust it off, and draw near to the God who speaks still.
Approach Scripture with the understanding that God still speaks to us every time we read His words.