RSS

Tag Archives: Messiah

Who is Christ?

As we continue to look at the Gospel of Mark, we’re at the point where Jesus is in Jerusalem, during the last weeks before the cross.

While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David?  David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:
“‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ‘
David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”
The large crowd listened to him with delight.
Mark 12:35-37

Jesus is giving the crowd something to think about.  It’s also a testimony as to who He really is.  Any teacher of the Law would know exactly what He was saying.

First, the Lord asks a question.  Why do the teachers of the Law use the term Son of David for the Messiah?

That’s important because the phrase Son of David is never used in the Old Testament in relation to the Christ.  It does teach that Messiah would be a king from the line of Judah.

So they were right in assuming the connection to David.  But the title, Son of David, was coined by the Rabbis.  So in answering the question – they call Messiah the Son of David because their careful study of the Scripture pointed them in that direction.

The next question is harder to answer without a willingness to have your heart changed.  If David calls Him Lord, how can the Messiah be his son?  Jesus is quoting the prophecy of Psalm 110.

In the Hebrew, David gives a prophecy that “Yahweh will say to my Adonai…”.  But in Scripture, both Yahweh and Adonai are names of the one, true God.

It’s through this teaching that Jesus declares to all the religious leaders who He is.  By their own study, the teachers of that day should realize that the only way for the Son of David to be Adonai is for God Himself to take on flesh.

That’s what sets Christianity apart from all the seemingly Christian based cults.  Jesus Christ declared Himself, on more than one occasion, to be God in the flesh.  That’s the test of what is the true church versus the false.

Even in Paul’s day, there were those who would try to deny the deity of Christ.  He condemned the church at Corinth for not being careful with their teaching.

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
2 Corinthians 11:4

That’s also what separates Christianity from all other religions.  They all teach that man has to strive to reach acceptance with a god or struggle for perfection.  The true God tells us that it’s impossible for us to do it on our own.  So He took the initiative to take on flesh and provide the way of salvation for us through the work of Christ on the cross.

I am so grateful for the gift given to us by Jesus Christ.  There truly is no other name under heaven that provides such a rich reward for those who choose to follow Him.

Question: What events brought you to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 11, 2018 in The Church, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Mercy for Healing

There are certain words that we use in the church that have become watered down.  We use them a lot without really understanding their Biblical significance.

As we continue through the Gospel of Mark, we will talk about one of these words – mercy.

Then they came to Jericho.  As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Mark 10:46-48

The first thing I see in this passage is that this man believed something about Jesus.  His faith was so strong that a crowd of people couldn’t turn him from his course.

We need to know the whole story.  There’s a reason why we’re told that he was the son of Timaeus.  The Hebrew word, timaeus, means to be spiritually unclean or defiled.  He had carried the stigma of this his entire life.

The crowd looked at him and saw the son of a defiled, worthless father.  They couldn’t see any reason that Jesus would bother with someone like him.

What made the difference was that Bart knew the truth about the Lord.  It’s manifest in the words that he shouted.

“Jesus, Son of David.”  That was the title he used in calling the Lord.  That was a Messianic title.  It means that Bart was trusting Christ as the Messiah and Savior of Israel.  He was coming to Jesus because of who He was, and not just because he wanted a healing.

This blind man had been praying and meditating on the words of Christ.  How do I know this?  Even the disciples of the Lord only knew He was Messiah because of a revelation from God (Matthew 16:15-17).  So, in spite of his blindness, this man was spiritually sensitive.

“Have mercy on me!”  This is the key to the whole passage.  He wanted to be healed, yet asked for mercy.  Our generation has no concept of what this word means in the Bible.

Mercy is the favor God shows to His obedient sons and daughters.  It’s the privilege of sonship.  For a more detailed teaching on mercy, click here.

What this shows me is that Bart did not choose to identify with his earthly, unclean, father.  Instead, he found his place as a son of Abraham.  Thus, he had the right to call upon the Messiah as his Lord and Healer.  The Lord responded to his cry.

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet!  He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Mark 10:49-52

This is very applicable to us in our generation.  How do we approach God?  Do we come to Him based upon our need?

We should come to Christ on the basis of who He is.  Lord, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, etc.  We should also see ourselves correctly – as a child of God – holy and righteous in His sight.  This makes all the difference.

Question: How does your view of Jesus and yourself affect your ability to receive from God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Faith, Healing, Sonship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jesus and the Gospel

As we continue our look at the Gospel of Mark, we’ll now see how the ministry of Jesus relates to the Gospel message.  You probably already know that the word, Gospel, literally means the Good News.

But what exactly is that Good News?   I think you’ll be surprised at how the modern church has turned the message around, making it empty of its power.

If I were to ask people “What is the Gospel?” I’d probably receive many answers.  There’s a host of believers who are actively trying to “win the lost.”  They would most likely give me very Biblical answers.

What I want to know, are the perceptions of those who hear the Gospel.  From talking with unbelievers who have been “witnessed to” I could boil it down to the following: “You’re an evil sinner going to hell, but if you repeat a special prayer you can go to Heaven.”

If that’s what they got out of an encounter with a Christian, then something’s wrong with our approach.  There’s no way to demonstrate a statement like that.  That’s why so many unbelievers are bitter toward those who have tried and failed to convert them.

We need to return to a true understanding of what the Good News is all about.  That’s why Jesus, Himself, is a great example.

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  “The time has come,” he said.  “The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!”
Mark 1:14-15

Jesus made two statements.  The kingdom of God is near was the Good News.  God was showing up on the scene to change their lives for the better.  Freedom, healing, and deliverance were about to be demonstrated to the people of Israel.

The Lord then told those listening to Him how to respond to this Good News.  Repent and believe is not the Good News, it’s the response that’s needed.  We must learn that the power is in the Good News, not in the response to the Good News.

In many cases, we’ve started calling the response, the Gospel.  You can’t go out preaching “repent and believe” and assume you’re bringing the Gospel to the world.

When it comes to the Good News, one size doesn’t fit all.  There are gang members and single moms, Wall St. executives and the homeless.  Is the Good News the same for all of them?

Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the response to the Good News must be the same for all people.  But the message itself will be different depending on who you’re talking to.  This is how God established it in His Word.

God, Himself, gave us four Gospels.  Matthew was written for the Jews and Mark for the Romans.  Luke was for the Greeks and John contained Good News for the Christian.

It’s a fact that religious people need to hear something different than the unchurched.  The Bible itself describes the Good News in many ways.  It’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom, of God, of Christ, of God’s grace, of your salvation, and the Gospel of peace.

Of course, no matter how the Gospel message is tailored to an audience, Jesus Christ is central.  Furthermore, it all must be demonstrated by the power of the Holy Spirit in order for the world to see the full picture.

Question: How can you bring the Good News to those in your sphere of influence?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 6, 2017 in Ministry, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Gospel Beginnings

Over the last year or so, I’ve been systematically teaching through the New Testament in the order that it was revealed to the church.  Today, I’m starting the fourth of what I call the foundational books.  They are James, 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, and Mark.

I believe they are the foundation on which the rest of the New Testament is written.  The Gospel of Mark is the foundation for all that we know about the life of Christ – the Messiah.

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Mark 1:1

I think that it’s clear the way the Holy Spirit inspired Mark to open this Gospel account.  This is the beginning; literally the commencement, of the gospel of Christ.  This is where our knowledge of how Jesus lived gets its formation.

But who is this man, Mark, which paints this picture of Christ?  We don’t know much about him.  Most of what we believe comes from various church traditions.

I think that the best explanation is that he is John-Mark, from the book of Acts.  He was a relative of Barnabas and traveled with him for a while on a missionary journey with Paul.  He was young then and wasn’t prepared for this type of ministry.  He soon abandoned Paul and Barnabas.

Many believe that when he left the traveling life, he settled down as one of Peter’s helpers.  The Apostle mentions Mark in the greeting of his epistle.

She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.
1 Peter 5:13-14

Since he traveled with Peter for so long, it’s believed that most of Mark’s gospel comes from the preaching of Peter.  He gives very brief stories and an immediate application of truth.  It sounds very much like how a “street preacher” would talk to a crowd.

That Mark grew and matured under Peter’s mentorship is without question.  He left the missionary life when he was younger, and actually caused a split between Paul and Barnabas.  However, later on, even Paul saw the change that had taken place in his life.

Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
2 Timothy 4:11

As we read through this Gospel, my desire is that you get a clear foundation of who Christ is and how He lived.  God in the flesh.  Yet he humbled Himself to function as a man led by the Holy Spirit.

In the Gospel of Mark, we see Jesus Christ as the conquering Savior.  We also see Him as a humble Servant of God the Father.  It’s a contrast that we should be striving for in our ministries.

This is the beginning of the Gospel.  It’s the first glimpse that the Holy Spirit gives us into the life and ministry of Jesus.  Let it speak to you in the coming weeks.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, I encourage you to do so.  In that way, you won’t miss any of the teachings in this series.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit brought you to where you are today?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Sign

One WayWe have entered what is traditionally thought of as the Christmas season. During this time we think about what the birth of Christ means to us. As I was meditating on it, this verse came to mind.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

This is a prophecy about the Messiah being born of a virgin. We sometimes hear it read during this season.

As wonderful as this verse is, it’s even richer when you know the whole story. I believe in the importance of context. So I want to talk about how this prophecy came about.

King Uzziah was one of the greatest kings of Judah. He served God faithfully and gained victory after victory. One of his failures was that he didn’t remove the high places where people worshiped other gods in Israel.

Then one day, in an act of pride, he decided that he was holy enough to burn incense in the temple. Because of this, he was struck with leprosy until the day of his death.

Then Uzziah’s son Jotham became king. He served God and kept the status quo. Just like his father, he didn’t remove the high places. During his rule, Israel and the nation of Aram start to attack Judah.

After Jotham, Ahaz became king. He didn’t serve God at all. He actually worshipped at the high places. Then Israel and Aram begin to step up their attacks. Judah is in absolute fear over this.

It’s at this point in their history that God sends the prophet Isaiah with a Word for Ahaz.

“Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood — because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.’”
Isaiah 7:4

Isaiah prophesies about victory. But then he says something interesting.

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
Isaiah 7:10-11

This is absolutely incredible. He is told to ask anything, even to the point of raising the dead. That rarely happens.

We serve a God of signs. A sign, in Scripture, means a signal – like traffic signals. A sign is a signal of God’s will.

Stop, do not enter, one way. It’s one of the things God uses to make sure we’re on track.

The world is full of signs. We were given the sun, moon and stars. God has established them as signs for times and seasons. A rainbow is a sign to remind us of God’s covenant.

I want to take a few posts to talk about supernatural signs, and how they fit into the plan of God for us.

Question: Can you think of any other signs that God has used?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Victory of the Cross

JesusThis is my final post in my series about the cross. I want to remind you of a verse we looked at when we first started.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Galatians 3:13

The Messiah had to go to the cross – it was a law hidden in the mind of God from eternity past. It was also a law that whoever hung on a cross was under a curse. So, Jesus had to take a curse with Him to the cross.

One of the greatest truths I can think of is this – He had no curse of His own, so Christ took our curse to the cross with Him that day. On top of all that, He took our transgressions with Him as well. What a glorious day that was! The devil had no clue what was about to be unleashed in that hour when Christ declared, “It is finished.”

We are now restored to right fellowship with God, because of the work done on the cross. I only need to accept it by faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t need to work for it or do anything to make up for my past. It has all been washed clean by the blood of the Perfect Sacrifice.

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Galatians 3:14

The Lord didn’t only provide forgiveness and restoration for His people, the Jews. He provided a way of salvation for the entire human race. Even though I was born a Gentile – apart from the promises of God – I can now enter into the covenant of Abraham. Now, because of the cross I can stand as a child of God, washed clean by His blood.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15

Along with our transgressions, the Lord took the entire addendum to the covenant. The law of Moses, that had blocked the way to God for so long, was finally dealt with. Christ, Himself, fulfilled all the terms of that additional provision and left it hanging on the cross for all of Heaven and hell to see.

The Bible is clear that the power of sin is the law. That is the only foothold that the enemy can use against us. It was now done away with. There is now no basis for a charge of any kind against those who are in Christ. The entire kingdom of the enemy now stands powerless against those who know what was accomplished by Christ on the cross.

So many powerful events surrounded the crucifixion of Christ. The sun went dark as earthquakes rumbled throughout the earth. The veil that sealed off the Holy Place of the temple ripped completely in half. The ground opened up and many saints who had died were seen walking about during the next few days. We cannot even fathom the power that was released when Messiah was killed according to the plan of God.

We need a deeper revelation of the cross. Rather than a place of pain and weakness, it has become, to us, a monumental victory. If only we could understand and embrace the power that was released that day.

Question: How has the cross changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have You been Bought Off?

PeopleWe call Satan “the enemy.”  But in many cases, it looks like regular church people have accepted payment from him to ignore the work of God.  Are you one of these individuals?

God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
Romans 1:9-10

In this verse, the word serve literally means to serve as a hired menial.  So Paul is saying that he considers himself hired by God for a purpose.  He understands that there’s a payment, a reward that he will receive from God for a job well done.

How do we handle this?  In our modern American culture there’s not a lot of job loyalty anymore.  People are constantly keeping their resumes tuned up in case a better position opens up in another company.  It’s unfortunate, but this same mindset has spilled over into the church.

Satan tries to capitalize on this thinking.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Matthew 4:8-10

In this verse we see Satan trying to give Christ a better offer.  It was promised that the Messiah would one day rule over all the kingdoms of the world.  But by God’s way, the Lord would have to suffer and die in agony to receive it.

Satan is giving Christ the chance to bypass all the pain.  By a simple act of devotion, He could receive the reward without the pain of the cross.  I’m so glad that Jesus saw through the deception, and carried out God’s plan as it was meant to be done.

Satan tries to buy us off all the time.  He holds out to us all the pleasures, entertainments, and activities of the world.  He tells us to just play with these toys for a little while.

“They’re not sinful, and nobody will be hurt by them.”

But there’s a price that’s being paid.  The work of the kingdom is being ignored by a large segment of believers.  There are souls not being saved, prisoners not being set free, and lives not being healed.  There’s a calling that only you can fulfill.

If you’re looking for a better offer, Satan will give it to you; he just won’t follow through with it.  It’s time for the church of Christ to rise to its feet.  We must throw off the distractions of the world and complete the assignments that we were call to do.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
Hebrews 12:28

Our wages from the Lord are well worth what we are called to do.  We are hired by God for a purpose.  Let’s give all and do great things for God!

Questions: How has the enemy tried to buy your time?  How have you answered his offer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Ministry, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,