Thursday, July 31, 2014

Father, forgive them for they know not VI

The things The Lord would accept as unintentional sins by the people of Israel that are listed in Leviticus were pretty amazing: robbery, extortion, refusing to publicly testify as to what really happened, utters an oath to do evil.

A common reaction we humans have when we wake up in the morning after having behaved badly. "What have I done?" we ask ourselves in shock and dismay. We can't imagine how it ever seemed to be the thing we chose to do.
The writer of Leviticus states, "when he realizes his guilt or when the sin that he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring a...lamb, or goat, or two turtle doves...or if he can't afford that, an ephah of fine flour."

I have a very good friend who is not a Believer. He has looked at all the world religions but has turned away from them all, for he said,  "I need forgiveness ."

Me too.

In my morning after dispair, I've found hope in all the sin offerings that the righteous Jehovah accepted of the Israelites-- even an offering of just a few cups of flour.

How much more will the offering of the Precious Lamb of God be accepted by our Heavenly Father, guilty as I may be.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Father, forgive them for they know not V

The Scriptures are filled with examples of “sins of ignorance.” With 613 commandments in the Torah, as well as several thousand years of humankind before the Torah was recorded, it is understandable to imagine that many well-meaning people could violate God's law without knowing it.

In Leviticus 4, God gives a provision for individuals who commit sin in ignorance. He even goes so far as to provide a route to forgiveness should the entire community “sin unintentionally.” However, in order for the indicated sacrifices of Leviticus 4 to result in atonement a criteria must be met: The sin must have been committed in ignorance, the individual must realize their guilt, and a sacrifice must be made.

On the cross, Jesus prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Was this prayer answered? Is Israel forgiven for crucifying Jesus? We already heard of many repenting at Pentecost, but what of the rest?

According to Leviticus 4 a criteria must be met in order for atonement to be made: The sin must have been committed in ignorance, the individual must realize their guilt, and a sacrifice must be made. For Israel, the sin was certainly committed in ignorance. The sacrifice was made at the cross. We just await the day when Zechariah 9:10 is fulfilled and all Israel will “look on Me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Father, forgive them for they know not IV

As far as we know, it had never occurred to any of the OT saints that God had a Son. Should the Jewish people have understood these passages referred to the Lord Jesus, especially as our Lord spoke so often of His Father? Despite His overwhelming miracles and despite (or perhaps because of) the godlike words He spoke, He was condemned to an unconscionable execution.

At his Pentecost sermon, Peter concluded with, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

The Jewish people who heard this message responded by saying, "What shall we do?"

What could they mean by that? They had already done it. They had done the worse thing that had ever been done. They had crucified the Beloved Son, the One so well pleasing to the Heavenly Father.

"What shall we do?" It was an outrageous question.

But filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter responded to them, "Repent...for the forgiveness of your sins."

We then read, "and there were added (to those who loved the Lord and who were loved by Him) about 3000 souls.

Amazing love. Amazing forgiveness. The Father forgave them. Until that Pentecost moment, they had no idea what they had done.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Father forgive them for they know not III

 (Isa 9:6)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
 Although clearly promised in the Sacred writings the Jewish people still persist in following the rabbinical tradition a tradition which tells them there is no Son of God.

(Pro 30:4)
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and whatis his son's name, if thou canst tell?
 Proverbs speak of the One Who is Omni-present, the One Who is Omni-potent, the One Who is the Creator and asks about the name of His son.

(Psa 2:12)
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
We are challenged to kiss the Son to do homage unto Him and all who do so are to be blessed.

(Lev 16:32)
And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments:
This Priest is truly the Son ministering in His Father's behalf; and He makes atonement for the tabernacle, for the sanctuary, for the other priests and for the congregation of Israel. This is an everlasting covenant, this atoning work of the Father's only Son.

And now 1400 years after the promise we see the Son pleading the case for His malefactors; appealing to the Father to grant to them His forgiveness.

Mitch Triestman

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Father forgive them for they know not II

Before I got married, I was good friends with two young men whose wives had divorced them.  For hours upon hours, they told me their sad stories of huge tangled webs of misunderstandings. They both really wanted to be good husbands, but finally their wives had had enough of them.  I knew one of their wives. When I heard her side of the story, it was hard for me not to disagree that she had just cause for filing for divorce.

So before I got married, I needed to make sure my future wife was a good forgiver. I gave her too many occasions that gave me opportunity to check this out. Almost 35 year later, my wife and I have a very nice relationship. Considering all that has happened over the years, it could be a relationship that has a whole lot of baggage attached to it. But we are both quick to forgive, and almost as quick to receive forgiveness (as receiving forgiveness requires one to acknowledge that he is in the wrong).

I’m so glad that the first words the Lord Jesus spoke while on the cross were, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  In the very middle of a horrible offense against Him, His first thought was our imperative need for forgiveness. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Father, forgive them for they know not I

“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”

When I was a kid my father had a saying, “It's easier to get forgiveness than permission.” He would use this proverb whenever he believed there to be extenuating circumstance, uncertainty or exceptions concerning that might allow him to exceed the speed limit or go up the down escalator. Of course, every time I attempted to apply this saying as a child, I found both forgiveness and permission to be equally elusive. I was often met with the chiding, “you should know better.”

Israel should have known better. They had no reasonable excuse for crucifying anyone, let alone their Messiah. And yet Christ suggests that they be offered leniency on the grounds of ignorance.

We all require grace on the basis of ignorance. Just like Israel, none of us fully recognize the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Despite having the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and the totality of nature revealing to us the preeminence of Christ, we still seem to think that there are also other things going on in this world outside of Him and that these other things are what matter. None of us know what we do, Father forgive us all.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani XIV

(Our electricity has been out since Monday. With the electricity back--our blog is back)

When our Lord Jesus cried out,  "Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani," He was quoting the Psamist. And in quoting the Psalmist, He was also fulfilling prophesy which nobody before that time had any idea was a prophetic Psalm. And He was identifying with mankind to the deepest depth of our humanity.

Of course none of this was play acting. When Jesus cried out, His cry was a totally real cry of one feeling all the pain of being forsaken by God.

But this very real cry was so staged, so planned, so contrived. To use a profane comparison, it was like a joke that nobody knew was a joke until they heard the punch line.

Every day it is so hard for us humans not to accuse God with questions of, "how is this fair?" and "God, where are you in all of this?"
With this cry of The Lord Jesus, we get a large part of the answer, He has not forsaken us, He's in it with us. 

The Psalmist goes on to say out of his own experience, "He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted." We know that to be true for God's Beloved Son was the Afflicted One who is now highly exalted, and making intercession for us poor lonely souls.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani XIII

My almost ten year old Granddaughter confessed to me that sometimes she doubts her salvation.
It was interesting to note that on that very same day a minister of the Gospel of twenty five years experience made the same confession. I attempted to encourage them both with the same statement. I never met an unbeliever who had doubts. The lost seem to either know that they are lost and just don't care. Or they are confident that they are just fine in their standing with God.

Jesus cried, ”My God why hast thou forsaken me.  But no believer in Jesus has to ask such a question.

On those occasions when I have felt that God had forsaken me, I never had to ask for a reason. I always am aware of several reasons: my thought life, my attitude, my emotions, my actions.

A favorite expression of my father was, "Beat your children every day. If you don't know why, they do!"

We present to the Lord a plethora of reasons why we should be forsaken. There is only one reason why He doesn't. Because Jesus was forsaken for us.

Mitch Triestman

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani XII

Throughout His time on earth, Christ is almost universally misunderstood. He speaks with an authority that other rabbis do not have, so His teachings are challenged. He accomplishes miracles that other men of God cannot do, so His power is challenged. He behaves as one who is “under the law,” as no one else does; and “over the law” as no one else can, so His conduct is challenged. Both the antagonists and advocates of Christ consistently and reliably misunderstand His Person, purpose and plan.

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani” are the only words Matthew and Mark record Jesus speaking from the cross. Just like much of the rest of His life, the dying words of Christ were misunderstood. One man, on hearing Christ speak, offered Him sour wine. Perhaps this was to momentarily revive Jesus, to clear His throat so that He might more clearly explain Himself.

There need not be ambiguity in the words or work of the Father or the Son. Any uncertainty, misunderstanding or confusion we may have about the will of God, the word of God or the significance of the Lord Jesus Christ is not because God did not speak clearly enough.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani XI

The last hitch-hiker I picked up was a native American woman.
When I pulled over to let her in the car, I saw that half of her face and one of her arms was badly scarred from burns.
In a very short time she was telling me her story. Her boyfriend had gotten mad and threw some gas on her, and then threw his lit cigarette at her.
“He was drunk,” she said. “I’m still living with him.”
She explained to me she had to live some place.

I asked her if she had any support network, like a church.
At the mention of church her face became red with anger. For five minutes she told me what a lousy place this church had been to her when she had asked for help.

I felt very for bad her. 
“Have you ever asked Jesus for help?” I asked.
She beamed a big smile. “Oh yes,” she said. “I know Jesus. I love Jesus.”

This poor poor woman.
So forsaken.
She knew Jesus, who also had been so forsaken, would not turn her away.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Eloi, Eloi Lema Sabachthani X

Those in the crowd were uncertain about His cry. Certainly the weakness of the voice due to the physical suffering contributed to the uncertainty.

Normally when referring to the Scriptures Jesus preferred the Septuagint translation. But here He cried in the language of the land. 

Both the cry and the language speak to His humanity. In this agony He returns to the language of the people which interestingly, isn't clearly understood.

How can this be understood? The promised Messiah is prophesied to be God Himself Isaiah 9:6. He is both Everlasting Father and Mighty God. In Isaiah He is God with us. And in Zechariah 14 it is the LORD that shall go forth. This Messiah is the God of Creation, and this Creator has come to the land as fully man. And lives His life in this land, and in the language of this land He cries His final words.

He Who made and spanned the splendor of the Cosmos limited Himself to a language and to a land. And because of Him, one day I will fly away from this land. 

Mitch Triestman

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Eloi, Eloi Lema Sabachthani IX

When the disciples of Christ asked Jesus how to pray He instructed them to address God as “Our Father.” When Jesus prayed, He also called God “Father.” Yet on the cross, Jesus cries out to God addressing Him as “My God, My God.” This is the only time in Scripture that Jesus directly addresses His Father as “My God.”

This special terminology seems to indicate that something profound was happening within the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Perhaps it was that at the moment Christ was becoming sin on our behalf He related to God not as His special Father, but as a just and powerful “God.”At the cross "My Father" became "My God."

God told Israel that He would be “their God.” He rewarded their righteousness and punished their wickedness. He was a source of provision and judgment. Many know God is “their God.” He gives them daily provision, but someday will exact justice and respond to sin with appropriate condemnation. But through salvation I do not address God as just "my God" Because of the cross "my God" became "my Father."


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani VIII

Nothing is sweeter than seeing a small child in his mother's arms, patting her and saying, “My mommy, my mommy.”

We're not very far along into our lives when we start becoming possessive. Sometimes that is not a good thing. If we feel something belongs to us, we are inclined not to want to share it. But it is such a good thing when our possessiveness is in our relationships. All of us need to know that certain special people totally belong to us, like our mom and dad, and our siblings and grandparents, and our friends, and our spouse. And then our own children.

When the Lord Jesus cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, Lema, Sabachthani” (My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me), some of the bystanders were confused by what He said, even though He said, “Eloi” twice. They knew He was calling out to someone special and they figured that maybe it was Elijah. I wonder, could they not understand Someone so possessive of God?

Our Lord's cry on the cross was not one merely of despair. It was a cry from the One to the One who so completely belonged to Him.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani VII

"My God My God " Has anyone ever thought about how unusual that cry is?
Is it necessary to cry out to God twice? Does He cry a second time for dramatic effect? 
Or is there a more profound way of understanding these last words of the first advent?

It might not be that Jesus is calling out to God the Father and to God the Holy Spirit with the dual reference. 
But it is logical that if the Father in His Holiness turned His back to the Son, Then at that moment Jesus was rejected by the Spirit of Holiness as well. 

The man Jesus who was born in Bethlehem was like other Old Testament Saints Filled with the Spirit, And like other Old Testament Saints the Spirit would leave them. In the flesh Jesus lived a perfect Spirit filled life. And we in the Spirit have the ability to conquer the flesh perfectly. Yet we fail miserably. The contrast between us and Jesus proves that He is truly God. What a contradiction that Jesus promises us a comforter who will never leave us and never forsake us regardless of our sin. And yet the comforter left Jesus comfortless because of our sin. 

Mitch Triestman  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani VI

 Bill Gates has said many times that giving away money is much more satisfying than making money. He’s persuaded several of his billionaire friends to do join him in his philanthropic ventures.

Good for Bill, and good for the billionaires!

But, as the Lord Jesus said regarding the widow who gave of her two mites, “this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.”

To give out of abundance is very nice, but it really doesn’t tell us much about the goodness of the giver.

So how can God, in all His wealth and power, show His goodness?

Mitch wrote his blog post dated July 12: All things are held together by the Word of His power and in that moment all things were precarious: the angels cowered, the earth quaked, the darkness ruled as the cry Elio, Elio, lema sabachthani? rang out.

God gave until it hurt; until it hurt so bad, it seemed like He began to lose His grip.

There is nothing so free as the gift of salvation, but to pay for that gift, it cost God—a lot!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eloi Eloi Lema Sabachthani V

The term “god-forsaken” is most often used figuratively to describe places where one might not wish to be, or situations that are best avoided. “My car broke down in that god-forsaken wilderness between Pennsylvania and California.” “Why do the Phillies stick with that god-forsaken line-up?” We recognize, of course, that none of these things are truly forsaken by God. He is intimately concerned with some of the most seemingly innocuous circumstances (2 Kings 6:5-6).

If you were to do a search of the words “God/LORD” and “forsaken” in Scripture you would get several dozen hits. However, outside of this quotation of Psalm 22 and the suffering of Christ, it is not “God-forsaken,” but rather “God, forsaken, i.e., God who is the forsaken one. 

It is Christ alone who can ask “My God, my God, why has though forsaken me?” The answer to His question is that God has forsaken His Son, because we have forsaken our God.

Daniel Triestman

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eloi Eloi Lema Sabachthani IV

Charles Wesley penned the words:
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, should'st die for me.

This is the incomprehensible moment in history when the Holy Son of the Heavenly Father was savagely ripped out of the bosom where He alone belonged. Isaiah 53 speaks to the moment by telling us the He made His grave with the wicked and with the wealthy in his plural death.  He dies once when He became sin for us, He who knew no sin; and then He dies a second death, when He dismissed His physical life with dignity and nobility and majesty as He commends His Spirit into the hands of the forsaking Father.

Mel Gibson and others have clarified for us the physical sufferings endured by our Savior. But I submit to you that as horrific the excruciating pain of crucifixion must be: the nails, the cruel wood, the whips and the crown of thorns could not combine to total the real horror of the darkness of history's darkest moment.  All things are held together by the Word of His power and in that moment all things were precarious: the angels cowered, the earth quaked, the darkness ruled as the cry Elio, Elio, lema sabachthani? rang out.

Jesus who was from the beginning Pros Ton Theon Face to Face with God, Jesus who through all eternity has enjoyed a perfect harmonious relationship with the Father, Jesus is now the accursed thing and is ripped out of the presence of the God whose arm is not short nor is His ear heavy.

Tell me how is it that Jesus agonized to be apart from the Father and I am so comfortable in my sin?

Why does He scream in anguish, and I hop out of fellowship as calmly as I would step off a curb?

Mitch Triestman

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Eloi Eloi lema sabachthani II

Suddenly bees were swarming into my face, up my shirt, on my legs and arms. One of the bees must have shouted to his comrades, "1 2 3 STING!"
I didn't move.
All I thought was, "Lord, why is this happening?"

I was hiking up Mount Shasta in Northern California with a bunch of friends from college.
It was a beautiful morning of bright sunshine.
We watched a rock come racing down the mountain not very far from where we were hiking.
Then another rock.
Then a bunch of rocks.
My buddy and I found the base of a small cliff as rocks whizzed over our heads.
Then we heard someone from our group cry out, "God, why are you doing this to me. God, help me."
We looked around the edge of our cliff and saw our friend had been hit in the shin by one of the rocks. He was bent over in the middle of the path of the flying rocks.
"Get over here," I screamed to him.
Fortunately the rocks stopped coming down for he hardly moved.
So odd.
Disaster strikes and the first thing we do is cry out, "God why are you doing this to me?" 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Eloi Eloi lema sabachthani III

My greatest concern is to be rejected--to have people look at me and turn their heads in disdain.
That's why, if my friends and church fellowship wouldn't find it offensive, I would wear a cross.
I would like to have something to remind me every day that what others think of myself is a distraction from what is good, from what the Lord would have for me to do.
Nothing speaks of rejection like the cross. What suffering could be so deliberate, so humiliating and so public?
The Lord Jesus said that if we choose to follow Him, we need to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily--that means to embrace rejection! 
The Lord Jesus was even willing to be rejected by God (how can that be?) that not His own will, but His Father's will be done.
Curiously, such an exercise of disregarding the evaluations of others, gives us the vision and the ability to be mindful of others.

Eloi, eloi, lema sabachthani

What can it mean that the very Son of God would speak such words of total dispair?
Who is it that can truly believe that God has forsaken them?
We were touring at the Church of the Sepulcher in Jerusalem when a family of Italian looking ultra-dressed adults entered, and reverentially bowed, genuflected and prayed.
"Who were these people and what had they done that they felt the need of such a pilgrimage?" I wondered with all my preconceptions and prejudices.
Whatever they had done; whatever they were doing, they still had hope in God, in the Son of God who had died with so much grace that He had more than enough to share with them. 
From my tourist eyes, I could see no dispair in any of them, only the hopefulness of supplicants before a renowned benefactor.