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Jesus, the Exemplary Citizen
Matthew Lesson #097
October 11, 2015
“Father, we thank You that You have revealed Yourself to us in Your Word. We thank You that we have the 66 books of Scripture as the foundation for our thinking, the foundation of our lives, that in these books we learn who You are and therefore, since we are in Your image and likeness, we learn who we are. We learn of our destiny; we learn of the corruption of sin; and we learn of Your love and the grace that You have provided for us in salvation.
“But we also learn a lot about how to live our lives on a daily basis in the midst of a corrupt world, in the midst of a secular society, living as citizens of a nation of a country, and that these are principals that are grounded in establishment principals in the divine institutions of human government and nations.
“Now Father as we continue our study of the life of Christ, help us to understand the implication of what He is demonstrating and teaching that we may apply it in our own lives. In Christ’s name. Amen.”
We continue our study in Matthew 17, and we’re coming to a brief little section here from verses 22 down through 27, where we get into this last little four-verse section that’s a short section.
It’s one of the quickest, briefest, little unknown miracles in the Scripture, but it’s probably going to take us a couple of weeks to go through all the implications of that, especially since today was communion, and that took up a certain amount of time.
But what we’re going to see this morning is a picture of Jesus as the exemplary citizen. Now that’s probably not something that we normally think about. We think about Jesus in a lot of other areas in His life and ministry: His role as Messiah, His role as healer, His role eventually as the one who dies on the Cross for our sins and becomes the Redeemer of all mankind.
But Jesus is also living in a culture. He’s living in Israel at the time when they are under the heel of the Roman Empire, so He has several different administrative authorities that are over Him: The Romans, as well as the temple, the Mosaic Law because He’s still living in the dispensation of the Law.
There are implications to all of that that affect the way He lives every day. He’s a homeowner, He had a home in Capernaum—He’s either owning it or He’s leasing it. He’s got responsibilities there.
We never think about some of those kinds of things, because we elevate Him up to only that spiritual level. But He’s demonstrating in the way He lives His life as a human being.
He’s demonstrating an example for us that we are to glorify God in every single area of our life as we walk by the Spirit, and that involves every area of our life.
Now just to give you a brief review on what we’ve seen here, this is in the last six months of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and things start to get real intense, and we still have a way to go in this. We have about ten or eleven chapters left to go in Matthew, and that’s all in the last six months. So there’s a lot to cover yet.
Now Jesus has been rejected by the spiritual leadership of Israel and accused of performing His miracles in the power of Beelzebub or in the power of Satan. He’s also not looked upon fondly by the political leadership of Herod Antipas, who we saw where Herod had John the Baptist executed.
From that point on Jesus hasn’t spent a whole lot of time in Galilee. He’s gone to Tyre. He’s gone back down to the area across the Dead Sea, the area we refer to today as the Golan Heights. And then we saw that He took His disciples up to Caesarea-Philippi.
In this section, from now until His arrest, Jesus spends less and less time with the crowds and the multitudes, and more and more time privately teaching the disciples in preparation for their future ministry.
We saw that He went to Caesarea-Philippi, and it was there with that huge rock escarpment in the background that Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” Then He said, “Who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
So Jesus focused on that, and following Peter’s confession, his admission, his recognition that Jesus is the Messiah, then Jesus gave His first instruction, His first warning to them—that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem, where He would be arrested, where He would suffer at the hands of the religious leadership, where He would be crucified, where He would be killed, and He would die and He would be buried, and then He would rise again.
In the beginning of this section—I touched on this some last week—we see this second warning to that effect, but what happens after Caesarea-Philippi then, He returned back to Capernaum.
We see the incident that we saw last week with the casting out of the demon that brought these seizures on this young boy. Following that, He and the disciples will go to Capernaum.
Now I thought I’d give you a little visual aid this morning to review what went on between the Mount of Transfiguration and the deliverance of this demon-possessed boy. It is seen in a Renaissance piece of art, artwork by Raphael, who captures the connection.
I pointed out last time that in every Gospel (the three synoptic Gospels that talk about the Mount of Transfiguration), it is immediately followed as they come down off of this mountain top experience where they are in a place where they see Moses and Elijah and Jesus transfigured in His glory, they crash into the real world of controversy, the real world of demon possession, and back to the devil’s world.
And Raphael captures that in this picture. The upper half of the picture, which I’ll zoom in on in a minute, is a picture of Jesus, Moses, Elijah. And then here are Peter, James, and John falling down before Him.
As you move down the picture from the Mount of Transfiguration, you see this crowd. It’s a darker crowd that’s gathered together there. You see the young boy who is demon possessed here on the right hand side.
It’s a little lighter there to focus our eyes on him. He’s being brought to Jesus’ disciples. You see the controversy taking place between Jesus’ disciples and the religious leaders as neither one are able to cast out the demon.
Now in this slide I’ve blown up the upper half so you can see it a little more clearly.
Then this slide shows the lower half of the slide. Raphael captures the significance of the relationship between those two events, that Peter had said, “Well, Lord, let’s just stay here.”
That’s like a lot of people, a lot of Christians. They would rather isolate themselves into a world of Christianity, where they’re very comfortable. This happens, I understand, in a lot of these mega churches.
They have their bowling alleys and their athletic groups, and they have all these things that go on, and that’s really great and wonderful for a lot of reasons.
But there are a lot of Christians who can get so embedded in their Christian culture in those mega churches that they have no clue and no relationship with unbelievers in their life.
Now there are times we’ve all gone through in life where we don’t have a lot of contact sometimes with unbelievers. I’ve certainly been there. I remember in an evangelism class when I was in Dallas Seminary, and we were required—in a three-week class— to witness to 10 unbelievers over that three-week period.
That’s a lot of witnessing when you’re taking a 16-, 18-hour graduate-load of courses, and you haven’t talked to an unbeliever in probably the two or three years since you’ve become an evangelical monkey in seminary, and you’ve got your head buried in Greek and Hebrew text, and you go, “I don’t even know where to find one right now!”
So I ended up pathetically going to some mall and just passing out some tracts and talking to people at the last minute to try to get this assignment done.
I’ve had periods in my life, as I’m sure you have, where you look around, and you really aren’t in that much of a contact with unbelievers. Then I have periods where seems like I’m just surrounded by unbelievers.
This is unfortunately what happens with a lot of folks. They would rather stay up here on the mountain top experience than get down here in the real world, the devil’s world, the corrupt world, where it’s pretty messy.
The disciples failed like a lot of Christians fail, because they weren’t walking by faith. They were unable, as we saw last time, to cast the demon out. Jesus says it is cast out by prayer.
Remember the “and fasting” was added later on. The evidence from the manuscripts is it was not in the earlier manuscripts.
So this then is connected to where we’re going today. But I wanted to make a particular point, because what we saw last time was there is particular language, technical language, that’s used in demon possession stories that indicate that demon possession takes place when a demon, an immaterial spirit, takes up residence and can control from the inside a person’s body.
Remember, only an unbeliever—not a believer. Believers can’t be demon possessed because our bodies have been transformed into a temple of the Holy Spirit.
But the technical words that are used aren’t the word “demon possessed” because in the Greek, that’s simply a word that means to be acted upon by a demon.
It’s these other words that are important:
EISERCHOMAI means that a demon has gone INTO something. He went INTO the Gadarene demoniac. The demons went into the swine. The demon had gone INTO this little boy.
Then in the Scripture it says that the solution is that Jesus cast out the demon. It’s not the word EXORKIZO. It’s the word EKBALLO, which means to cast out, which implies it has to be IN before it can be OUT.
Then we’re told that the demon goes out of (or came out of) the person, using the word EXERCHOMAI.
That language is very important, and it is used consistently throughout all of these demon possession stories.
Now immediately after this, the disciples go home and they’re staying—as the NKJV says in Matthew 17:22—they’re staying in Galilee. That’s not really the proper use.
Have you noticed we’ve got an idiom that’s developed over the last seven or eight years in English that where you’re staying is where you’re living?
“Where are you staying?” means where are you living? “Well, I’m staying over in Tomball, or I’m staying over in the 5th Ward, or I’m staying in Clear Lake.”
That means you’re living there. OK. That’s not what this is talking about.
In fact, the word that is used here in the Greek is the word SUSTREPHO, which means to gather together. And what this implies is that:
Remember before the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus took three of the disciples Peter, James, and John with Him, and they left the other nine behind. Then they come back together with that episode of the young boy that’s having the seizures.
So now what this text is saying is when they had come back together—when they had gathered together—so now the team is back in place, and they’re back in Galilee.
Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”This is the second warning I talked about last time.
It’s interesting that the word that’s used for “about to be betrayed” is the word PARADIDOMI, and it means in its most generic sense to simply be delivered to someone or to be handed over to someone.
So in a generic sense, we could look at this and say, well, all Jesus is saying is that the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.
But what we’ll see—after I get away from this slide so I want to say it now—is that this word is the word that is consistently used in the Gospels to describe Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. So I think it’s more specific than just a generic term of handing Jesus over.
We do find the generic sense, for example, in Isaiah 53, one of those great chapters you should know and should read over and over again in the Old Testament that is the prophecy of the suffering Messiah.
And in Isaiah 53:6, a verse that I quote regularly, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him.”
Now the Hebrew word implies that God is putting our sins, casting them upon the Lord, but when that was translated into the Greek, into the Septuagint by the rabbis, they used the word PARADIDOMI, which means to deliver over. So it’s saying the Lord has delivered Him over to sin. That’s the idea in the Septuagint.
They used the word again in Isaiah 53:12, which reads, “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
That Hebrew word translated “poured out” was translated as PARADIDOMI in the Septuagint again. So this is just a generic use of being given over or delivered over to something.
We also have that generic sense of PARADIDOMI in the New Testament:
Romans 4:25, Jesus “was delivered up because of our offenses.” So this is getting its language and its frame of reference from the Old Testament in Isaiah 53, “He was delivered up for our offenses and was raised because of our justification.”
And then in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” There’s PARADIDOMI again.
So we see that this generic sense is definitely true in the sense that God is the One who from eternity past decreed that Jesus Christ would go to the Cross, and there He would bear the sins of the world and pay for the sins of the world.
But the word is used, as I said earlier, consistently as the word that has a narrower meaning than simply deliver over for the betrayal of Judas Iscariot. So this is the first hint of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas. And so it is that indication.
Now Judas is the one who betrays Jesus. He leaves. He’s there, as we just celebrated communion, the Lord’s Table. When the Lord celebrated Passover with His disciples, He gave them a forewarning that one of them was not clean.
In other words, He says, “All of you are clean—positionally—except one.”That indicated that there was one there who was not a believer.
This fits with what Jesus said back in John 6:70, 71. Jesus said, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is the devil?”
Now if you look at that in your NKJ version, in a lot of English versions, it doesn’t have a definite article in the Greek. So it’s translated “a devil.”
There’s only one Devil, and that’s Satan. That’s Lucifer, the son of the morning, HEYLEL BEN SHACHAR, as he’s described in the Hebrew of Isaiah 14.
So it’s the kind of noun that Greek grammars call “monadic.” Now that doesn’t mean anything to about 90% of you, but there’s somebody who will catch the significance.
That means it’s a distinctive, unique kind of noun that in and of itself, it is definite. So it should be translated the Devil. He’s not just a devil.
In the KJV when it was translated—and each of these translations have their idiosyncrasies—and one of the idiosyncrasies of the original KJV was every time they came across the word for demon, they translated it “devil.” That leads to a misunderstanding that nobody was possessed by devils—they were possessed by demons. There’s only one Devil.
Then in John 6:71, He makes it clear, or John makes it clear, that Jesus was speaking of Judas Iscariot. He said he was the Devil, “Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him.”
Now in John 13:2, this is indicated when they are observing the Lord’s Table. When they were finishing the main meal, verse 2 says, “The devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him.”
That word is PARADIDOMI, the same word that we have in our passage in Matthew 17:22.
“After supper being ended, the devil having put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot.”He had already done this earlier, before the meal. It’s a perfect tense verb. It’s completed action. He put it into his heart to betray Jesus,
Then in verse 18, Jesus said, “I don’t speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ ”
So they take the matzoh, and they broke it, they’d make a little matzoh sandwich, and He gave that to Judas. That is what He’s talking about here. “When I give that to somebody, that’s the person who’s going to betray Me.”
Everybody’s talking and chatting and not paying attention, like they often do in Bible class, and so they didn’t catch that. So people didn’t realize. Peter’s going, “Is it me?” Somebody else is going, “Is it me?” They’re all upset.
So then in verse 26, “Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.’ And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, and son of Simon.”
“Now after the piece of bread,” What does that verse say? “Satan entered him.”That’s the same word that’s used again and again and again in all the demon possession stories: EISERCHOMAI, to go into.
Since Christian believers cannot be demon possessed, Satan enters into Judas, and that indicates he’s Satan possessed, and he’s not a believer.
So the first indication, the first suggestion, from Jesus is that He will be betrayed.
Now earlier I had on this slide the quote here. It goes to a prophecy in Psalms 41:9, and that’s the quote that Jesus says there in Matthew 13:18.
In Zachariah 11:12–13 is the Old Testament prophecy that He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, which was the price of a slave.
So this is the prophecy from the Old Testament that Jesus would be betrayed, the Messiah would be betrayed, and from Psalms 41:9 and Zachariah 11:12–13, and then its fulfillment.
After Jesus tells them a second time that’s He’s going to be betrayed, and they’ll kill Him, and that on the third day He’ll be raised up, we’re told something new.
They’ve been told this before. We’ve been told He’s told them this before, but we weren’t told before what their reaction was, because immediately what happened? Peter opened his mouth and said, “No, Lord, this can’t happen.” Now we’re told how they reacted to it.
They were exceedingly sorrowful. See, they’re hearing “I’m going to be killed,” but they’re not processing the resurrection.
They didn’t even process the resurrection when it happened. It took them a while to process that. It had never happened before. They just couldn’t put that together.
So they’re discouraged, and what happens I believe, is everybody goes home for the evening. Most of the disciples didn’t live in Capernaum. Peter, we know, lived in Capernaum. In fact, we know pretty well, and I’ve shown you pictures where he lived in Capernaum, and now the Roman Catholic Church has built a church over that house to help preserve it, which it does. And Jesus also lived in Capernaum.
As they’re going to their homes, when they had come to Capernaum, that would probably just be Peter and Jesus, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?”
Now this is really an issue that is not mandatory, and so it gives us a little interesting insight into Jesus the Jewish citizen, because there’s this tax that’s not necessarily required, but Jesus is going to pay it.
Peter immediately answers and says, “Yes,” because he understands that the Lord paid His taxes.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use legitimate deductions on your taxes. This is a little different type of situation, but it does emphasize the fact that this tax was there and was necessary to be paid.
So Jesus and Peter are there. This tax collector comes up out of nowhere, so there’s a lot of speculation: Has Jesus paid this before? It’s never been taught before. Maybe because He was traveling, this hadn’t happened before. And the assumption in the way this question is asked is, “Your Teacher doesn’t pay the temple tax, does he?”
Now there’s some indication at this time that rabbis weren’t required to pay the temple tax, and because He’s up in Galilee, maybe He wasn’t required to pay the temple tax, but the assumption is that He’s not paying the temple tax. It’s probably true that He wasn’t obligated to pay the tax, but it was part of what was necessary for the upkeep of the temple.
The principal that we see here is one that is stated clearly by Paul in 1 Corinthians—that we are to do everything to the glory of God.
That means we should go above and beyond the call of duty in every single area to make sure that there’s no area where we can be even, if possible, falsely accused by someone. We live as believers a life above board, and we do the best that we can. In every area of our life we do the best that we can.
We can really go overboard if you have tendencies towards obsessive compulsiveness and try to be perfect in everything, but we can’t do that. But we can do the best that we can.
I work out pretty regularly at a CrossFit gym, and one of the things that they do is they give the standard, which is what those who want to go into competition do in terms of their performance.
And trust me, in this life, I will never even approximate competition level. I won’t even approximate in most cases the next level, which is performance level. I’m doing good sometimes to even do fitness, and I’m just there with like the babies doing the elements level about half the time.
But the guys that I’m working out with, they’re younger—that’s a big advantage—they’re younger, and they’ve been doing this longer. So they perform at their level, and they’re performing at performance or competition level. And if I put my eyes on them, I’m in serious trouble.
My chiropractor likes it when that happens. It makes him rich. He loves CrossFit people.
CrossFit’s a great example because when I go work out, I’m doing the best I can do, not the best that I could do when I was 40 or 30 or 20, but the best that I can do right now. And I’m not doing the best that somebody else can do. Sometimes I can’t even do the best I could do three weeks ago. I’m just doing the best I can do today.
That’s the Christian life. Sometimes our days are trade-offs. We do the best that we can do today.
Jesus is giving us that standard of what it is to be an excellent citizen. And He’s paying His taxes.
Now this is an interesting tax, and the interesting word on this tax, because it’s a Greek word. The Greek word is DIDRACHMON.
There’s a coin that they used called the drachma, and the DIDRACHMON, that “DI” prefix at the beginning means what? Those of you who like words have figured it out. It means “two.” It’s a two-drachma tax.
Two drachma were equivalent to half of a shekel. So this is the half-shekel tax that was first mentioned in Exodus 30:13–16 that was assessed to everyone once a year for the tabernacle originally. Then it became implemented for sustaining, taking care of the upkeep for the temple.
Each person was assessed this half-shekel tax, and they would take this tax to the temple, deposit into three chests that were kept in the inner storage areas, probably down in the Temple Mount underneath, and it was used for a lot of different reasons.
It was also opened to great abuse, so it wasn’t always used for the right things, and it wasn’t always used for the upkeep of the temple. Sometimes it was used for bribes. Sometimes it was used for other kinds of grafts. Sometimes it was used to pay off foreign rulers not to attack. It was used for a lot of wrong things. It was used to promote a corrupt priestly hierarchy and bureaucracy.
But Jesus didn’t say, and I’ve heard conservatives say, “It’s not godly to pay an income tax, because they use it for ungodly things.” Jesus paid a tax that was used for a lot of ungodly things. There’s the end of that rationale. He paid the tax, and it was a tax that was paid annually.
So when Peter is asked this question, his immediate response is, “Yes, He pays the taxes.” Jesus is not a tax shirker. He pays His taxes.
So he comes into the house. That’s where Jesus was, and Jesus knows what’s been going on, and He decides to use this as a good teaching moment. So we’re going to point something out here.
He says to Simon, “What do you think, Simon?”—Let’s think about this a little bit. “From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?”
The illustration here is that the king’s got a castle. The king’s son lives in the castle. Do they tax the king’s son to take care of the castle? No, they don’t.
What’s the analogy? The temple is—what did Jesus call it? — “My Father’s house.” Does the Son of God have a requirement to pay the upkeep on His Father’s house? No, He doesn’t. This isn’t an obligation. So that’s the point that He’s making. It’s pretty simple.
Peter recognizes that and says, “Well, only strangers are required to pay for the upkeep, not the people that live there.” And Jesus says, “Well then, the sons are free.”
So here’s the point. Jesus is not necessarily obligated to do this, but when these guys are coming to Him, they’re like a lot of unbelievers. They’re poking at us to see where we’re going to fail.
We’re watched. You’re watched by two kinds of people. You’re watched by unbelievers who are really looking for an opportunity to point out your flaws and your failures.
We see a great example of this in the media. They are always looking at mostly conservatives and especially Christians to see where they’re going to slip up. As soon as they have the slightest little mistake in their opinion, they immediately broadcast this and publish it on front page news and say, “See, they can’t live up to their own expectations.”
Of course they’re unbelievers. They don’t understand anything about grace or Christianity. They’re just looking for ways to tear down people.
But then there are other people who watch us and pay attention to us, and they want to know if we really live out what we believe. They want to know are we some kind of hypocrite. They want to know just what happens.
I know this is true in my own life, that people I know who are unbelievers don’t miss a thing. We are to live before them to the best of our ability consistently with our Christianity. That’s part of our non-verbal witness.
But this is a situation where they’re trying to trap Jesus, and so Jesus is not going to give them an occasion to create an issue. That’s a point that we should understand as well, that we should not give people an occasion to dishonor God or to blaspheme God.
So Jesus makes this point, and then in verse 27 He says to Peter, “Nevertheless, lest we offend them.”
See, the issue isn’t, “I got to pay the taxes because that’s what the law required.” It’s that, “This is optional, but I don’t want to create an issue that’s not important.”
So we don’t want to offend them.
This is that word SKANDALIZO. It’s the same word that’s used in Romans and in 1 Corinthians talking about don’t put a stumbling block before a weaker brother.
Don’t create an issue when it’s not necessary, and it’s going to distract somebody from a focus on the truth and on the Gospel.
So Jesus says, “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take out the fish that comes up first.”
How many of y’all ever caught a fish, and it’s got money in it? This is the miracle. It’s going to be the first one. He didn’t say “bait the hook.”
I remember when I was three years old, I was fishing off of a pier at my grandmother’s, and it was right at the height of the Mayfly infestation. I had just learned how to bait a hook with these Mayflies, and I would put one on the hook and throw it in the water, and I’d get a fish. I had pulled in like four or five fish. And I was in such a hurry, I forgot to bait one, and they just grabbed the hook anyway.
This is that situation. He’s just casting out the hook, and He took the first fish that comes out.
That’s what Jesus says, “When you’ve opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money.”
That’s really vague, and you miss the point. What he finds is a stater, not a half shekel or the DIDRACHMON. There wasn’t a DIDRACHMON coin.
You really had to pay this tax for two people at a time, and what you paid it with was a stater. A stater was equivalent to one shekel, and it would pay the tax for two people. So what Peter pulls out is a stater, which is worth a shekel, and that will pay the tax for both of them.
So the point that we see here is Jesus is going above and beyond to make sure that His life is reflecting the glory of God.
Now the challenge that we get from this, looking at this as Jesus as a citizen, is this: what are the limits to the citizenship, the secular citizenship of a Christian in whatever country in which we live, whether it’s in the Roman Empire of that day or today? What is our role in politics?
Just as a teaser for next week, Philippians 3:20 says that our citizenship is in Heaven.
There are some Christians who have said, “Well, if our citizenship is in Heaven, then our earthly citizenship is irrelevant. Let’s just go sit on the mountain top like Peter wanted to do and ignore that.”
There are others who say, “Well, we don’t want to go that far, we still have to be involved a little bit. At least vote. Anything beyond that, though, that’s Christian activism.”
Well, is it? Where do we cross those lines? We need to understand that.
We’re getting ready to go on a year of intense electioneering, and we have a significant election coming up in the City of Houston that every believer needs to vote in, and if you don’t do anything else, vote against Proposition 1. That’s important. That’s the so-called bathroom bill. I’ll talk about that a little more next time, but we’ll come back to that.
The third position is what is genuine activism, which is usually generated by Marxism, liberation theology—the idea of going out on the streets and demonstrating and doing all kinds of really illegal things in order to create social change and social justice. Those are always code words for some kind of hidden Marxism.
Next time we’re going to build off of our understanding of what Jesus exemplifies in terms of being a godly citizen, to see how that applies to us in terms of the role that the believer has in his nation today.
With our heads bowed and our eyes closed.
“Father, we’re thankful for this opportunity to come together this morning and to take this time to reflect on Your Word, to be reminded that Jesus had to go to Jerusalem, He had to be betrayed to fulfill prophecy, had to be arrested, He had to suffer, He had to die in our place in order to accomplish redemption and to pay the penalty for our sin, and that because He paid the penalty for our sins, we have forgiveness.
The issue is trusting in You to realize that forgiveness, and to be born again to receive the imputed righteousness of Christ, so that salvation is a free gift. It’s not something earned or deserved. It was earned by Jesus Christ alone on the Cross, and by trusting in Him alone, we have eternal life.
Father, we pray for anyone listening who may never have trusted in Christ, may be unsure or uncertain of their eternal destiny, that they would take this opportunity to make that sure and certain by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins.
Father, we pray that You would challenge the rest of us, give us an opportunity to reflect and think this week about how we as believers glorify you through the way in which we carry out our roles and responsibilities as citizens of this country.
And we pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”