Jesus christ preaching, Jesus Use Parables

Why Did Jesus Use Parables When He Did His Work?

When the Lord Jesus worked, He said many words to the people at that time. Some of them are very straightforward. For example, the Lord Jesus often said, “Truly, truly, I say to you …” Some are indirect, just as what the Lord Jesus said to Philip, “I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (John 14:10). But what really impressed me were the parables spoken by the Lord Jesus, such as the parable of the net, the parable of the shepherd’s seeking the lost sheep, the parable of an evil servant exacting a payment from a debtor, the parable of the return of the prodigal son, the parable of the marriage feast, the parable of the fig tree, and so on. Looking at these parables, I couldn’t help thinking: Why did the Lord Jesus speak these parables when He worked? What was His will hidden behind them? With these questions, I kept praying to the Lord to seek His enlightenment. One day when I studied the Bible, I read the passage of verses, “And the disciples came, and said to him, Why speak you to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matthew 13:10-16). Pondering these verses carefully and praying and seeking in the words of the Lord Jesus, I had a little understanding of His words. It turned out that when the Lord Jesus was doing His work and preaching, there were many people who came to listen to His preaching, but not all of them were the ones who truly followed the Lord and walked in His way, such as the Pharisees at that time. Their purpose of listening to the Lord’s preaching was not to seek the truth, but to find accusations against the Lord Jesus and tempt and frame Him. Some people followed the Lord Jesus because they saw that He had performed many miracles, that He could bestow upon man grace and blessings, and heal the sick and cast out demons. Their purpose was to gain more grace and blessings instead of following the Lord’s way and caring for His will. Only a few followers were willing to follow the Lord because they loved the truth and saw the authority and power in His work and preaching, such as Peter, John, Jacob, and so on. Therefore, in order to gain those who truly believed in God and loved the truth, the Lord Jesus used parables to preach to all, expressing the truth to testify God’s work, God’s disposition and to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. All of those who loved the truth actively sought for the Lord Jesus, so that they attained enlightenment and guidance from the Holy Spirit and understood the meanings of the parables. However, those who didn’t love the truth but only asked for grace and blessings didn’t initiatively seek the meanings of these words so they never understood the truth. In this way, the ones who had true faith in God and loved the truth, and those false believers and unbelievers who only asked for grace and blessings were separated and sorted according to their own kind. This fulfills what the Lord Jesus said, “Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has” (Matthew 13:11-12). This is the first aspect of significance of why the Lord Jesus spoke parables when He worked. Later, on a website I saw these words, “The first one is the parable of the sower. This is a really interesting parable; sowing seeds is a common event in people’s lives. The second is the parable of the tares. As far as what tares are, anyone who has planted crops and adults will know. The third is the parable of the mustard seed. All of you know what mustard is, right? If you don’t know, you can have a look through the Bible. For the fourth one, the parable of the leaven, most people know that leaven is used for fermentation; it’s something that people use in their daily lives. All of the parables below, including the sixth, the parable of the treasure, the seventh, the parable of the pearl, and the eighth, the parable of the net, are all drawn from people’s lives; they all come from people’s real lives. What kind of picture do these parables paint? This is a picture of God becoming a normal person and living alongside mankind, using the language of a normal life, using human language to communicate with humans and to provide them with what they need. When God became flesh and lived among mankind for a long time, after He had experienced and witnessed people’s various lifestyles, these experiences became His textbook for transforming His divine language into human language. Of course, these things that…

the Parable of a Shepherd Seeking the Lost Sheep

My Harvest From the Parable of a Shepherd Seeking the Lost Sheep

Whenever reading these lines from Scripture: “How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Mat 18:12-14), I feel very moved in my heart, as God loves men so much that He won’t leave anyone as long as the sheep belongs to Him. But I had been wondering before why the Lord Jesus expressed His love for us human beings by parable and what the Lord’s will was? I didn’t understand the profound meaning within it until one day I saw the word of God on the gospel website. God’s word says: “(Mat 18:12-14) How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. “This is a metaphor—what kind of feeling do people get from this passage? The way this metaphor is expressed utilizes a figure of speech in human language; it’s something within the scope of human knowledge. If God had said something similar in the Age of Law, people would have felt that it wasn’t really consistent with who God was, but when the Son of man delivered this passage in the Age of Grace, it felt comforting, warm, and intimate to people. When God became flesh, when He appeared in the form of a man, He used a very appropriate metaphor to express the voice of His heart in humanity. This voice represented God’s own voice and the work He wanted to do in that age. It also represented an attitude that God had toward people in the Age of Grace. Looking from the perspective of God’s attitude toward people, He compared each person to a sheep. If a sheep is lost, He will do whatever it takes to find it. This represents a principle of God’s work among mankind this time in the flesh. God used this parable to describe His resolve and attitude in that work. This was the advantage of God becoming flesh: He could take advantage of mankind’s knowledge and use human language to speak to people, to express His will. He explained or ‘translated’ to man His profound, divine language that people struggled to understand in human language, in a human way. This helped people understand His will and know what He wanted to do. He could also have conversations with people from the human perspective, using human language, and communicate with people in a way they understood. He could even speak and work using human language and knowledge so that people could feel God’s kindness and closeness, so that they could see His heart.” From the word of God, I understood that through the parable—“a man seeks the lost sheep,” the Lord Jesus used the feeling that we can understand to describe God’s eager desire to save people, so that we can experience God’s sincere feelings of expecting mankind to be able to return to the proper path after going astray. When a person strays far from God, God’s intention in wanting to find him is the same as the man’s intention in looking for the lost sheep; when this person is recovered and returns to God again, God feels the joy which is like that of the man finding his lost sheep. But the Lord Jesus’ word didn’t mean that He preferred this lost sheep to the ninety and nine that did not go astray, but expressed God’s love and expectation of mankind. God values us and hopes that we can turn to Him and come before Him to worship Him. So we can understand God’s love for mankind. Apart from this kind of joy, God also made clear to us His resolve and attitude of saving people and never giving up until He gains people. The Lord Jesus also used this parable to let us understand His will toward the people He intends to save. When we are immature and get lost, God is worried about us by our side, and arranges all kinds of situations to awake us and causes us to no longer be harmed by Satan. For instance: When I first started to believe in God, I was so tempted by social evil trends that I just worked hard to earn money, without regular gatherings. Just when I was about to be lost in the social trends and devoured by Satan, God arranged some situations to awake my heart. At that time, I often hit a wall when I did things. Besides, I also felt that I lived like that so miserably and tiredly, feeling empty inside. At last I thought of God, so I came before God once again, admitted my sins and repented to God. God gave me one more opportunity, which made me feel the warmth of His love. Now, I look back on it: If I had not hit a wall in the world and not experienced the pain of living for money, I wouldn’t have turned around; on the contrary, I would still keep on falling into the whirlpool of money from which I would be hard put to extricate myself, let alone have the chance to get God’s salvation. Meanwhile, I also…

Lord Jesus Preaching

What Is the Moral of the Parable of New Cloth on an Old Coat?

By Yaning One day, after a meeting, a sister asked me, “Brother, the Lord Jesus said, ‘No man puts a piece of a new garment on an old; if otherwise, then both the new makes a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agrees not with the old’ (Luke 5:36). Do you know what this parable means? What does the Lord want to tell us through it?” Hearing the sister’s questions, I thought that I happened to have some understanding of this parable of the Lord Jesus, so I replied without thinking, “In the Old Testament, the Israelites were required to fast on the day of atonement every year. But as the salvation of the Lord Jesus had come, the old practices were no longer applicable, and people should abide by the new requirements proposed by the Lord. By telling this parable, the Lord Jesus warns us that in our faith in Him, we cannot cling only to the laws of the Old Testament like the Pharisees did, but instead should accept and follow the Lord’s words and act in accordance with His teachings.” Upon hearing my answer, the sister nodded her head, and I also felt gratified for my ability to understand the Lord’s will. Just then, Co-worker Zhang, who had recently returned from another place, said, “Brother Wang, I used to think like you. But God’s words are the truth and contain deep meaning. A couple of days ago, I had a fellowship with a brother from another church on this verse. Through reading a book of truth, I gained some deeper understanding about the Lord’s will behind this parable. How about we fellowship together?” Hearing that Brother Zhang had a deeper understanding and knowledge about this verse, I said happily, “That would be great!” “Brother Zhang,” the sister anxiously cut in, “since you have a deeper understanding, please tell us about it!” Brother Zhang smiled and said, “OK. Let me first read a passage that we read that day.” As he said this, he took a tablet out of his bag and read, “‘Because there are always new developments in God’s work, there is work that becomes obsolete and old as new work arises. These different types of work, old and new, are not contradictory, but complementary; each step follows from the last. Because there is new work, the old things must, of course, be eliminated. … The work of God is always new and never old; it never forms doctrine, instead changing continually and being renewed to a greater or lesser extent. Working in this way is an expression of the inherent disposition of God Himself. It is also the inherent principle of God’s work, and one of the means by which God accomplishes His management. If God did not work in this way, man would not change or be able to know God, and Satan would not be defeated. Thus, in His work, changes continually occur that appear erratic, but which are actually periodic’ (‘Only Those Who Know the Work of God Today Can Serve God’). “From this passage we can see that God’s work does not follow rules, and that He performs new work in accordance with His plan for mankind’s salvation as well as according to the degree of mankind’s corruption by Satan. God’s work varies with the age and period, and is not everlasting and immutable, and He always does newer and higher work. When the new work begins, the previous work becomes out of date, and God embarks on another plan and carries out new work. For example, Jehovah God did the work of issuing laws and guiding the lives of people. Under the guidance of Jehovah God, the Israelites of the time learned how to conduct their lives and how to worship God, and understood what sin was. But in the later period of the Age of Law, as man was becoming more and more corrupted by Satan, no one was able to keep the laws and commandments any longer, and all were in constant danger of being sentenced to death by the law. In order to save mankind, God incarnated into the image of Jesus and, on the basis of the work of the Age of Law, did a stage of work of redeeming mankind through crucifixion. The Lord Jesus brought a new age, fulfilled the laws and commandments, gave people a new way to practice and proposed new requirements for them, such as being tolerant and patient, loving their enemies, being the light of the world and salt of the earth, and so on. From the outside, these two stages of work appear different, but they actually complement each other, through which God saves mankind from the influence of Satan step by step. From this we can see that God’s work does not remain unchanged, but rather is always moving forward, and that God’s requirements of mankind are becoming ever higher. “The Pharisees back then, however, didn’t know God’s work. They abided by religious notions and used the laws of the Old Testament to examine the Lord Jesus’ new work and words. They said that the Lord Jesus sat at the table with tax collectors, and that He and His disciples had violated the laws by not keeping the Sabbath day and not fasting, thereby denying that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah. So when the Lord Jesus said, ‘No man puts a piece of a new garment on an old; if otherwise, then both the new makes a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agrees not with the old’ (Luke 5:36), He was telling people that God’s work is ever new and never old, that the work of redemption God ushered in was new, and that God wouldn’t do the new work and the old one simultaneously, for that would make it impossible for the new work to be carried out.” After listening to the brother’s fellowship,…

It Is Finished

The True Meaning of the Last Words of Jesus Christ on the Cross “It Is Finished”

By Lingling That Sunday morning was just like any other as I opened my Bible and began my spiritual devotions, when I then saw Hebrews 9:28 that said: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation.” Thinking about it carefully, I couldn’t help but feel confused. “That can’t be,” I thought. “Didn’t the Lord Jesus saying ‘It is finished’ upon the cross mean that God’s work to save man was totally finished? When the Lord returns, we can immediately enter heaven and will feast with the Lord, so how come this says that the Lord Jesus will appear again to save man when He returns? What on earth does it all mean?” The more I thought about it, the more doubtful my heart became … “This won’t do! I must find someone to fellowship this with,” I thought. Just then, I thought of my co-worker from the church, Sister Xiao Xue. We usually discussed the Bible together, and it just so happened that Sister Xiao Xue had just returned from attending a gathering elsewhere, and there was nothing she couldn’t help me to seek. I went to Xiao Xue’s home, and when I saw that both Sister Xiao Xue and her husband Brother Xu were at home, I blurted out my question: “I am confused about something that I’d like to talk with you about. We all know that the Lord Jesus said “It is finished” when He was upon the cross. This meant that God’s work to save man was over, and as long as we believed in Jesus, then the Lord would no longer regard us as sinful, and when He returns, we will immediately be raised up into heaven. And yet it says in Hebrews 9:28: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation.” This says that God will appear again in the last days to perform His work to save us. How do you understand this?” Xiao Xue smiled and said, “This question you ask just so happens to be one that I’ve been discussing with brothers and sisters on my trip away, and after a few days of fellowship, we finally came to a conclusion. In actual fact, when the Lord Jesus said ‘It is finished’ upon the cross, He didn’t mean that God’s work to save mankind was completely finished, for He had previously prophesied: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). ‘And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:47–48). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2–3). The Lord has already told us clearly that when He returns in the last days, He shall express the truth to the churches, tell us many mysteries and also perform the work of judgment. God is faithful, and everything that God has said shall come to pass.” I contemplated Xiao Xue’s fellowship, and I thought, “Yes! God is faithful, and seeing as the Lord Jesus prophesied that He shall utter more words and perform more work in the future, then that must surely come to pass.” Brother Xu continued, saying, “Yes, the Lord’s words can never just come to nothing. Moreover, we should also be aware that when the Lord Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ He meant that God’s work to redeem mankind was finished and that man would no longer be put to death by the law. Thinking back to the end of the Age of Law, mankind was being corrupted deeper and deeper by Satan, they were no longer capable of observing the law and were in constant danger of being put to death by the law. In order to save man, God incarnated in the form of the Lord Jesus and preached the gospel, healed the sick and cast out demons wherever He went. He performed many miracles and was ultimately nailed to the cross to redeem man from sin. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ He meant that as long as all those who accept His salvation confess their sins to Him and repent, then their sins shall be forgiven, they shall enjoy the grace He bestows, and they shall no longer be condemned and put to death by the law. After listening to his fellowship, I suddenly saw the light, and said, “Brother Xu, your fellowship has made me understand. The Lord saying ‘It is finished’ actually meant that God’s work of redemption was finished, and that as long as we trusted in the Lord and confessed and repented, then our sins could be forgiven, and we would not be put to death by the law.” Sister Xiao Xue then said, “Thank the Lord, it’s really great that you can come to this understanding. The Lord Jesus acted as a sin offering for man and He redeemed man from sin and forgave man his sins. This was the mercy of God, but it did not mean that we were then free of sin, because our sinful nature still remained deeply rooted within us, and we were still capable of being frequently subject to the bonds of our sinful nature and committing sin and defying God. After we believe…

the birth of the Lord Jesus

Why the Pharisees Could Not Recognize the Lord Jesus Was the Messiah

By Liu Fang Two thousand years ago, the Israelites desperately longed for the coming of the Messiah, but when the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, finally arrived, the Pharisees actually nailed Him to the cross, and as a result, the Israelites were subject to God’s punishment—the destruction of Israel. This bitter failure really calls for our reflection: How come the Pharisees who had believed in God for generations resisted God? Now it is already the last days, and the prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled. At this critical time of welcoming the Lord, how can we avoid following in the footsteps of the Pharisees? As we all know, at the end of the Age of Law the Israelites, according to the prophecies in the Scripture, all longed for the Messiah to come and save them. At that time, the Pharisees, after hearing the prophecies about the coming Messiah, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6), and “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2), began to fancy what He would be like based on the literal meaning of these prophecies. In their mind, the One who was to come must be called Messiah. Since He would come to rule, He must be someone who would be born into a royal palace with a heroic bearing and commanding presence, who would grow into a great warrior like David and lead His people to drive the Romans out of Israel, rescuing them from the oppression of the Romans. However, the fulfillments of the prophecies were not as the Pharisees had imagined. When the Lord Jesus came, He was neither called the Messiah nor born into a royal palace. Instead, He was born in a manger and grew up in a poor carpenter’s home. His external appearance was not as majestic and extraordinary as they had fancied, but was very ordinary and normal. He didn’t lead the Israelites to overthrow the rule of the Romans, but walked among the people preaching the way of repentance, and taught them to practice forgiveness and tolerance and to love others as themselves. Seeing the Lord Jesus, who was ordinary and normal, not like the Messiah they imagined, the Pharisees stubbornly held on to their own notions and imaginings, concluding that He couldn’t be the coming Messiah, and seized upon every chance to condemn and resist Him. Even though the Lord Jesus performed many miracles and expressed many truths, from which many people recognized that He was Christ, the Pharisees didn’t have the slightest intention to seek. Regardless of how profound the Lord Jesus’ preaching was or how many miracles He performed, they obstinately rejected His work and even incited the people of Israel to resist and condemn Him. Later, they went so far as to collude with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus—the Messiah who had come, committing a heinous sin and offending God’s righteous disposition, and ultimately were subject to God’s punishment—the destruction of Israel. The failure of the Pharisees is really worthy of our self-reflection. They treated the prophecies about the Messiah based on their own conceptions and imaginations, which led to them becoming the ones who bitterly longed for the arrival of the Messiah but nailed Him to the cross. We all know that the prophecies in the Bible are about the things that God will accomplish in the future, which cannot be fathomed by us humans. So how should we treat them in a way that is after God’s heart? The Bible says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21), and “Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). These verses tell us that the prophecies are all from God, which cannot be commented on at will by us. We cannot interpret them literally, or rely on our own notions to speculate on them or determine their meaning, because they will only be fulfilled according to God’s own plan. God’s work is wondrous and full of His wisdom, which cannot be fathomed by us humans. If we define God’s work based on the literal meaning of the prophecies, we are liable to resist God and ultimately be destroyed by our own conceptions and imagination. Compared to the Pharisees, there was a group of people who approached the prophecies of the Messiah in a different way. When seeing the Lord Jesus, who was ordinary and normal in appearance and not in accord with their fantasies about the Messiah, they didn’t hold on to their conceptions and imaginings but focused on listening to His words, and finally recognized through His words and work that He was the coming Messiah. Just like Simon Peter—he once said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Why could he say these words and recognize the Lord’s identity as Christ? This is because he found that what the Lord did was totally beyond what humans can do, that what He said contained the truth, and that He possessed the essence of God and “the words of eternal life.” The woman of Samaria is another example. When she…

The Resurrection of Lazarus

The Resurrection of Lazarus Proved 2 Aspects of God’s Essence

Each of our brothers and sisters who believes in the Lord Jesus knows that the Lord Jesus did the work of redeeming humanity in the Age of Grace. He not only bestowed compassion and tolerance upon us, teaching us to be tolerant and patient and to repent and confess, but also manifested many miracles, such as, letting the blind see and the lame walk, healing the lepers, feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, raising Lazarus to life, and so on. None of these miracles doesn’t show forth the authority of God. But when I read chapter 11, verses 43-44 of the Gospel of John, “And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go.” After reading this passage of scripture, I thought that at that time Lazarus had already been dead for four days, and maybe his body had started to smell, but just one word from the Lord Jesus raised him from the dead. What are the intentions of God behind this matter? This question puzzled me for a long time. It was not until once I read some words in a book that the doubt in my heart was resolved. 1、The Resurrection of Lazarus Proved That the Lord Jesus Was the Incarnate God Himself The book says, “The Lord Jesus doing something like this was extremely significant in that age. Because God had become flesh, people could only see His physical appearance, His practical side, and His insignificant side. Even if some people saw and understood some of His character or some strengths that He appeared to have, no one knew where the Lord Jesus came from, who His essence truly was, and what more He really could do. All of this was unknown to mankind. Too many people wanted proof of this thing, and to know the truth. Could God do something to prove His own identity? For God, this was a breeze—it was a piece of cake. He could do something anywhere, anytime to prove His identity and essence, but God did things with a plan, and in steps. He didn’t do things indiscriminately; He looked for the right time, and the right opportunity to do something most meaningful for mankind to see. This proved His authority and His identity. So then, could the resurrection of Lazarus prove the Lord Jesus’ identity? Let’s look at this passage of scripture: ‘And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth.’ When the Lord Jesus did this, He said just one thing: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ Lazarus then came out from his tomb—this was accomplished because of a single line uttered by the Lord” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III”). Through this passage of words I saw that when the Lord Jesus worked and appeared to man two thousand years ago, nobody knew who He was. Many people were filled with a curiosity and doubt toward Him. The disciples that followed Him didn’t recognize the identity of Him either. Some of them called Him teacher; some also said He was the greatest of prophets. From these facts, I saw that no more than a few people knew His true identity in that age. In order to prove His identity to mankind, the Lord Jesus used the miracle of bringing the dead back to life to reveal His authority and power to make man know that He is God Himself. From this miracle He performed, I saw that He neither observed any rituals nor set up an altar to pray to the God in heaven before He spoke. He only said loudly, “Lazarus, come forth.” Then Lazarus who had been dead for four days came out of the tomb. As soon as God says one sentence, the matter is finished. The prophets in ages past also performed a lot of miracles, but the miracle of bringing the dead back to life could not even have been performed by any prophets. This miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead has proved the identity of the Lord Jesus—the incarnate God, for only God seizes the key to Hades. The time when we are born or die is only determined by God. Evil spirits and Satan, including servants from Hades, are all unable to command mankind’s life and death. It is only God Himself who can perform this miracle. The Lord Jesus performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, which lets us recognize that His identity is God Himself and achieve a completely new awareness of His true identity and all that He has and is, and finally we are able to truly believe in and follow Him. This miracle the Lord Jesus performed is extremely meaningful. 2、The Resurrection of Lazarus—the Manifestation of God’s Authority The book says, “When the Lord Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, He used one line: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ He said nothing aside from this—what do these words represent? They represent that God can accomplish anything through speaking, including resurrecting a dead man. When God created all things, when He created the world, He did so with words. He used spoken commands, words with authority, and just like that all things were created. It was accomplished like that. This single line spoken by the Lord Jesus was just like the words spoken by God when He created the heavens and earth and all things; it equally held the authority of God, the ability of the Creator. All things were formed and stood fast because of words from God’s mouth, and just the same, Lazarus walked out from his tomb because of the words from the Lord Jesus’ mouth. This was the authority of God, demonstrated and realized…

Lord Jesus and disciple peter

Why Did the Lord Jesus Approve of Peter’s Faith?

By Zhang Jin In Matthew 16:18-19 the Lord Jesus said: “And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Whenever I read these two verses, I would think: Why did the Lord Jesus give Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven? Since the Lord Jesus bestowed upon Peter such great authority, it means that the Lord Jesus approved of Peter’s faith and that Peter was a person after God’s heart. But I couldn’t understand why the Lord commended Peter since he had denied knowing the Lord three times before His crucifixion. I was very perplexed. One day, I opened the Bible, and turned to Matthew 16, trying to find from the context the prerequisite and background for the Lord Jesus’ giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 16:13-19 records: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He said to them, But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” I read these verses repeatedly and pondered them carefully: Did the Lord Jesus approve of Peter because, of His disciples, only Peter recognized He was the Christ? Why did the Lord Jesus say that Peter was blessed and give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven after he answered Him by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”? But I still could not figure out why the Lord approved of Peter’s faith, and didn’t know how I should pursue to receive the Lord’s approval of my faith. I asked all the preachers I knew these questions, but no one could give me a satisfying answer. I was very disappointed: Why do none of them know the answer? How then can they lead the believers onto the path of being approved by God? I felt that the prospects of my faith in God were bleak, thinking: If only I could see the Lord Jesus and ask Him about that. … Later, I finally found the reason that Peter gained God’s approval from a book, which says: “Why is it said that Peter is a fruit? Because he has something of worth, or something worth perfecting, he has a resolution to seek truth and has a firm will; he has reason, is willing to suffer hardship, and he rejoices in truth in his heart, and when he encounters something he will not let it go. These are all strong points.” “After a period of experience, Peter saw in Jesus many of the deeds of God, saw the loveliness of God, and saw much of God’s being in Jesus. So too did he see that the words of Jesus could not have been spoken by man, and that the work Jesus did could not have been done by man. In Jesus’ words and actions, furthermore, Peter saw much of the wisdom of God, and much divine work. During his experiences, he did not merely come to know himself, but also focused on observing the actions of Jesus, from which he discovered many new things; namely, that there were many expressions of the practical God in the work that God did through Jesus, and that Jesus’ words, actions, the ways He shepherded the churches and the work He carried out differed from any ordinary man. Thus, from Jesus he learned many lessons that he was supposed to learn, and by the time Jesus was about to be nailed to the cross, he had gained some knowledge of Jesus—a knowledge which was the basis of his lifelong loyalty to Jesus, and of his crucifixion upside down for the sake of Jesus.” “Though there were three times when Peter denied knowing Christ, and though he tempted the Lord Jesus, such slight human weakness bore no relation to his nature, and did not affect his future pursuit, and cannot sufficiently prove that his temptation was an act of antichrist. Normal human weakness is something shared by all people in the world—do you expect Peter to be any different? … Though the many years of painful experiences of Peter are not recorded in the Bible, this does not prove that Peter did not have real experiences, or that Peter was not made perfect. How can the work of God be fully fathomed by man?” “Peter was made perfect through experiencing dealing and refinement. He said, ‘I must satisfy God’s desire at all times. In all that I do I only seek to satisfy God’s desire, and whether I am chastised, or judged, still I am happy to do so.’ Peter gave his all to God, and his work, words, and entire life were all for the sake of loving God. … What Peter cared about was the true love within his heart, and that which was practical and could be achieved. He did not care about whether he would receive a reward, but about…

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