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The Identity of Jesus - Calvary

Threaded through the Gospel of Mark is an ironic theme: Until his crucifixion, no man recognized who Jesus was or acknowledged him to be the “Son of God,” though the very demons he exorcised knew exactly who he was. At his baptism in the Jordan River, a divine voice from heaven proclaimed Jesus “Son.”  The demons that Jesus cast out recognized him, though when demonic spirits attempted to identify him to the crowd, he silenced them (“for they knew who he was.” In contrast, men and women in the gospel narrative were unable to perceive his real identity, including members of his own family (Mark 1:10-11, 1:24, 1:34, 5:7). After Jesus cast out a demon, the watching crowd “was amazed, one and all, so that they began to discuss among themselves saying, What is this?” Even his closest disciples appear clueless in Mark’s account. Following the miraculous calming of a storm, the disciples were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?” Even a miraculou…

Confrontation in the Temple - Setting of the Olivet Discourse

SYNOPSIS:  The teachings of Jesus on the Mount of Olives followed his confrontations with the Jewish religious authorities and his departure from the Temple for the last time, leaving it “desolate.”
The so-called “Olivet Discourse” is a part of the larger story of the final week of the life of Jesus that took place in Jerusalem, and of his conflict with the Jewish Temple authorities. His confrontations with them set the stage for his execution at the hands of the Roman government (Matthew 24:1-25:46, Mark 13:1-37, Luke 21:5-38.

The Discourse began with a prediction by Jesus of the impending destruction of the Temple. He gave this shortly after his striking denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees, and his final departure from the Temple (Matthew 23:34-3924:1-3Mark 13:1-4).

Several terms in his denunciation of the religious leaders become literary links to his subsequent discourse on the Mount of Olives (e.g., “this generation,” “desolate”). Likewise, verbal allusions to clauses from…

The Temple Setting of the Olivet Discourse

SYNOPSIS:  The Olivet Discourse was given at the end of the public ministry of Jesus after his final departure from the Temple and several days of growing conflict with the Temple authorities.
The Olivet Discourse is found in Mark Chapter 13 (also, Matthew 24 and Luke 21), the last recorded block of teachings by Jesus. The Discourse resulted from the growing conflict between Jesus and the Temple authorities in Jerusalem during his final week, a conflict that culminated in his death on a Roman cross.
For example, in Mark 11:12-25, Jesus cursed an unfruitful fig tree in order to portray judgment on the Temple because of its rotten “fruit.” That same day he “cleansed” the Temple, an act that brought him into conflict with the Temple authorities, an act so “offensive” that the High Priests and Scribes then “began seeking to destroy him.”
The High Priests and other religious leaders also confronted Jesus, asking by what authority he was teaching and otherwise operating. He responded by asking…

The Messianic Reign of Jesus in the Book of Revelation

SYNOPSIS:  In the book of Revelation, Jesus begins his Messianic Reign over the Cosmos following his Death and Resurrection in fulfillment of many prophecies
The book of Revelation assures beleaguered Christians that, despite appearances, Jesus reigns supreme and is in firm control of history. His authority is based on his past Death and Resurrection that inaugurated his present reign.
The kingdom of God may have a future consummation but, already, it is underway. Jesus is the “first and the last, the living one who was dead but now lives forevermore,” and he has authority over life and death (Revelation 1:17-18).
A messianic prophecy used repeatedly in Revelation to portray the present reign of Jesus is Psalm 2:1-8, especially, the promise that the “kings of the earth” would be subjected to the rule of God’s Son.
(Psalm 2:1-9) – “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh and…

Why do the Nations Rage? – (Psalm 2:1-6)

SYNOPSIS: The New Testament applies the plans of the rulers of the nations to destroy the Son described in the second Psalm to the conspiracy of the leaders of the Jewish nation to slay Jesus.
The second Psalm is recognized as messianic and applied to Jesus by the New Testament several times. But precisely when did he fulfill the predictions of this Psalm of David (e.g., Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1:6)?

According to some interpreters, the fulfillment of the promise to install the Messiah on the throne of David lies in the future, along with the predicted “rage” of the nations against him. In contrast, in his gospel account and the book of Acts, Luke applies the Psalm to the arrest, trial, execution, and resurrection of Jesus. (Psalm 2:1-6) - “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh and against his anointed; Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us. He that…

The Order of Final Events - (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

The Apostle Paul outlines a sequence of events to occur at the “coming” or parousia of Jesus in his first letter to the church at Corinth. Parousia or “arrival” is one of several Greek terms applied by Paul for the coming of Jesus, always in the singular. Regardless of which term used, he always spoke of one “coming,” “revelation,” or “appearance” of Jesus, not two or more (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). The resurrection of the righteous, final judgment and the New Creation are all linked in the future coming of Christ in the New Testament, along with other related events (Romans 8:19-28, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 5:23, 2 Peter 3:3-12, Revelation 20:10-11). In this letter, Paul does not set out to provide a detailed roadmap of future events but, instead, to present arguments that prove the necessity of bodily resurrection. Apparently, some members of the church denied the reality of resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12). These doubters were members of the same group that overvalued their “spiritualit…

Firstborn of the Dead – Resurrection Hope in Colossae

In his letter to the church at Colossae, the Apostle Paul lays stress on the exalted position and sovereignty of Jesus Christ that resulted from his obedient death and subsequent resurrection. Apparently, some members of the congregation remained ignorant of or confused about the Risen Savior’s authority even over hostile spiritual powers, therefore, Paul reminded them of just how highly God had exalted Jesus, the now “firstborn of the dead.” (Colossians 1:18-19) – “And he himself is before all things, and in him all things adhere. And he himself 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.” The pronoun rendered “he himself” (twice) is emphatic in the Greek; the stress is on Jesus and what God accomplished in his death and resurrection. Jesus is now “before all things” (present tense) and in him, all things “adhere” or “hold together.” Implicit in this language is that Christ did not always have …