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Tag Archives: led by the Holy Spirit

Focused on the Cross

In today’s post, I’ll continue looking at the Gospel of Mark.  A few weeks ago we left off as Christ was on trial.  Now He’s brought before Pontius Pilate for the Roman decision on His case..  You may want to read Mark 15:1-20 before proceeding with this post.

As we saw when Jesus was before the elders of Israel, He was not led by the Holy Spirit to answer the charges being brought against Him.  They were brought by false witnesses who didn’t even agree with each other.

These leaders decided that the Lord was worthy of death.  Actually, they simply wanted Him dead whether He was worthy of it or not.  So they bring Jesus before Pilate, who was the only person who could legally pronounce a death penalty.

Of all the things the Pharisees accused Jesus of; one, in particular, caught Pilate’s attention.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
Mark 15:2

The Lord was willing to testify concerning the truth about who He was.  But why didn’t He elaborate?  I would have probably gone on to say, “Not only am I the king of the Jews but Lord of Heaven and earth as well.  I am the Creator of the universe. “

Of course, that’s the human reaction.  We have to remember; the Lord’s goal was not to be worshipped but to die on the cross for the sins of the world.  In that respect, He simply answered the question as it had been asked.

The rest of the accusations were of no consequence to Him.

The chief priests accused him of many things.  So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer?  See how many things they are accusing you of.”
But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
Mark 15:3-5

Pilate was not used to this.  Usually, a person in Jesus’ position would be vigorously claiming their innocence.  The Lord saw no need for it.  And neither did Pilate, as he later testified when the crowd was crying for crucifixion.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
Mark 15:14

I praise God that Jesus was single-minded in His determination to complete the work set before Him.  At many points, the Lord could have done something or said something that would have secured His release.  But His focus was unbreakable.  His mind was fixed upon winning our salvation.

We need the Holy Spirit to work that same attitude in us.  Too often we get distracted by side issues.  We feel the need to justify ourselves or to prove our right to do what we want.

We need to be seeking the Father for His will for our lives.  Then, with the strength of the Spirit, we move forward with unstoppable passion.  This should be our prayer for the church in our generation.

Question: Why are the distractions so tempting to us?

© Nick Zaccardi 2018

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Posted by on September 3, 2018 in Encouragement, Ministry, The Gospel

 

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To Speak or Not to Speak

I’ve been posting about the arrest and trial of Jesus.  In my last article, we saw that the disciples abandoned Him at His arrest.  Now the Lord is on trial before the religious leaders.  You may want to read Mark 14:53-65 before continuing with this post.

In this section of Scripture, Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin.  They were the rulers of the Temple in Jerusalem.  As far as Israel was concerned, their word was law.

Throughout His ministry, Christ had pointed out the hypocrisy, powerlessness, and godlessness of their lifestyle.  He exposed their desire for human recognition and they hated Him for it.

Now they have Jesus on trial.  They want Him dead and out of the way so that they can continue their agendas unhindered.

They brought many “witnesses” before them.  But it was clear from the testimony that these people were only making things up.  Not only that but on many points, they disagreed with each other.

Finally, the Lord was asked if He was going to answer any of these charges.  Much to the surprise of everyone, even modern-day believers, He makes no reply.  Why is that?

After all, it’s a part of our human nature to defend ourselves.  Jesus is before a group of people who are lying about what He’s said and done.  Yet He refuses to contradict them.  Why?

I believe that it has everything to do with the Holy Spirit.  Remember what the Lord taught His disciples.

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Luke 12:11-12

The Lord was clear that everything He said and everything He did was what He heard from the Father.  So what do you do if the Holy Spirit gives you nothing to say?  Then you say NOTHING!

That’s a lesson we need to learn.  There are times that we should keep silent.  Instead, we feel the need to defend ourselves.  Then we end up putting ourselves in worse trouble.

In the Lord’s case, the leadership of Israel was not seeking the truth of the matter.  They simply wanted an excuse to put Jesus to death.  The outcome would have been the same no matter what He said.  The Holy Spirit felt that there was nothing more to say.

But then, something new arose.

But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“I am,” said Jesus.  “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Mark 14:61-62

The high priest asked Christ to testify about Himself.  It was a straight-forward question.  Are you the Messiah?

Now He was compelled by the Spirit to give an answer.  It was in the truth of that response that the officials had the reason they needed to execute Jesus.

Everything He had ever done pointed to the fact that He was the Messiah of Israel – God made flesh.  Yet because of the political grasping of the leaders, the Lord was accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death.

The lesson for us is to always heed the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes He wants us to keep silent when we want to defend ourselves.  Other times, the Lord wants us to speak up; even if it means trouble or persecution will follow.  For us, it is to trust and obey.

Question: When has the leading of the Holy Spirit brought you opposite of what you wanted to do?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2018 in Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Gospel – Face to Face with Jesus

cross 2I’ve been talking about how Philip brought Nathanael to Christ. Jesus called Philip and he immediately shared the good news with his friend. When he was told about Jesus, Nathanael had an interesting response.

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
John 1:46

Look at his answer; it’s dripping with attitude. Nathanael was a man who was skeptical and bored with life. That’s why we can’t look at people’s attitudes when we share the Gospel with them. We must always remember to look at them through the eyes of Christ.

We can see that Philip understood this by his response. The NIV translates it as “Come and see”. But that doesn’t give you the full impact of what Philip said.

He didn’t use the normal word for see. The word he used is an excited interjection.

“You gotta see this!!!”

The truth is that disciples of Christ are excited about Christ. When was the last time you were excited about the Lord or something He did for you? How do you regain that excitement day by day?

King David is a good example to us. One day David didn’t feel like saying anything.

My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
Psalm 39:3

If you want to fan the flame of excitement, then you must meditate on the good things of God. Good things, noble things, praiseworthy things. Why would anyone one want to come to Jesus if He’s not exciting to us?

It’s not about debating with people or convincing them to trust the Lord. The key is that your excitement about Christ should lead them into wanting what you’ve found.

So Nathanael, this skeptical, bored person, went to Jesus.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”
John 1:47

When Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching, He used the same excited interjection that Philip used.

“Look at this!!!”

The Lord totally turned the tables on him. By saying that Nathanael was an Israelite with no trickery or deceit, the Lord caught him completely off guard.

The Lord knows what we need to see and hear in order to trust Him. Nathaniel was a skeptic, probably ready for a debate. Maybe had some questions to test Jesus with. Now he’s on the defensive.

That should be the case when a non-Christian comes into a group of excited believers who are being led by the Holy Spirit.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
1 Corinthians 14:24-25

It’s not about convincing arguments. It’s coming face to face with the power of God active in His people. I believe that this is the true nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Question: Do you know an example of an unbeliever coming face to face with the power of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2016 in Ministry, Power of God, The Church, The Gospel

 

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