Friday 31 December 2010

Faithful and True

In the New Testament book of Revelation, Jesus is described as "faithful and true":
  • Revelation 3:14: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.
  • Revelation 19:11-12: I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.
The word "faithful" indicates that Jesus is completely trustworthy, reliable, dependable.  The word "true" suggests that the same applies to His words (as revealed in scripture).  We can therefore trust Him and submit to Him completely, without fear of ever being let down, misled, betrayed or abandoned.

Some other verses on this theme:
  • Matthew 28:20: Jesus said, "I will be with you always, to the end of the age".
  • Hebrews 3: Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
  • Hebrews 13:5: Be content with the things you have, for He has said "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you".
  • Romans 8:38-39: Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any spiritual powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • 1 Thess 5:23-24: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
  • 2 Thess 3:3: The Lord is faithful and will give you strength, and will protect you from the Evil One.
  • Revelation 21:5: He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Saturday 18 December 2010

Suffering Servant

The Old Testament book of Isaiah contains four remarkable passages concerned with a suffering servant.  The passages are:
  1. Isaiah 42:1-9
  2. Isaiah 49:1-7
  3. Isaiah 50:4-9
  4. Isaiah 52:13-53:12.
(For the sake of brevity, I have not written these passages out in full.  One can easily find them on the web.)

These passages prophecy the coming of a servant of God who has done nothing wrong, but is punished for the sins of others.  For example:

Isaiah 53:5-6:  He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities.  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

The New Testament writers make it clear that Jesus was that suffering servant.  For example, all four quotations in the following passage come from those passages in Isaiah:

1 Peter 2: 21-25: Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”  For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Interestingly, this issue touches on three key Christian doctrines: that Jesus lived a sinless life, that all other human beings have sinned and deserve punishment, and that Jesus took on the punishment that we deserved (when He was tortured and crucified).

Many people, even some who call themselves Christians, oppose these three doctrines and spend a lot of energy and time trying to discredit them.  One cannot do that, however, without discarding large chunks of scripture.

Saturday 11 December 2010


The Old Testament contains many prophecies that God will raise up a "shepherd" to take care of His people.  The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus is this shepherd.

See, for example, the following verses:
  • Matthew 2:6: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
  • Matthew 9:36: When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • Matthew 25:32: All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
  • Matthew 26:31: Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ "
  • Mark 6:34: When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
  • John 10:11: [Jesus said:] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
  • John 10:14: [Jesus said:] “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me".
  • John 10:16: [Jesus said:] "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."
  • Hebrews 13:20: Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep...
  • 1 Peter 2:25: For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
  • 1 Peter 5:4: And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
  • Revelation 7:17: For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
What does it mean to say that Jesus is a shepherd?  It means that He guides, nurtures and protects us.  This only applies, however, if we submit to Him and trust Him, just as sheep tend to be docile and trusting.

Friday 3 December 2010


Jesus is described in various places as being a king or like a king.  To be a king means to have majesty, power, authority and glory.  I believe however that the word also speaks of the noble, regal, dignified and magnanimous character of Jesus.

As usual, here are some verses:
  • Jer 23:5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land".
  • Da 7:14: He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
  • Zec 9:9: Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
  • Mt 2:2: "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
  • Mt 25:34: Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world".
  • Jn 1:49: Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
  • Jn 18:37 Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
  • Rev 17:14: These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.