The Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost, was a celebratory feast which saw Jews assemble in Jerusalem from all over the known world. This was when the Holy Spirit arrived on the 120 followers who had been told to wait, and His arrival signaled a move of God upon His people, with its effects felt throughout the world.
After Jesus had returned to heaven, His disciples were dedicated to the mission they had been given. There were two ways we can see their dedication - their unity of heart, and their perseverance in prayer. Today, these two aspects are hallmarks of Christians who continue to be dedicated to making our Lord’s name great.
Many people today are fixated on various things - cell phones, social media, politics, and the like. As Christians, though, our efforts should be fixed on God’s purpose for our lives; as we do this, we must be sure we are not focusing on the wrong thing (even though it may be a good thing), or focusing on simply keeping things the same. God has called us to be His witnesses here, today.
The Lord’s Supper is a memorial to Christ’s sacrifice. It not only reminds us of what He has done, it also shows us how far we have drifted, and helps us understand that He can change us into what we were created to be.
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As Jesus spoke with His disciples in the upper room, He prophesied His coming death. Beyond that, though, He said that the key to serving God was following His example. By following Him, our faith cannot be hidden, and will bear much fruit.
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Jesus came to save. As Paul wrote to Titus, the man he left to minister to the church in Crete, he expressed the immediate, ongoing, and future salvation brought by our Savior.
Bethlehem was a small town, especially when compared to Jerusalem, considered the capital of Israel. Yet, Micah prophesied that out of this small town, a King would come. The Messiah would come from Bethlehem, challenging the world’s view of greatness, privilege, leadership, and blessing.
The kingdom of Judah had earned God’s judgment, and Zephaniah had prophesied its coming. His last prophecy, though, was one of great joy, promising that there was a Coming One Who would forgive them, restore them, bring them victory, and bring them home. The prophecy wasn’t just for Judah; it will be fulfilled when Christ returns to reign over His creation.
The prophecy we read today was not quite the response that the original recipients thought they would receive; they questioned God’s justice (and, thus, His character). God’s response was that messengers were coming - yet, the messengers were not bringing a message that God’s people could do no wrong. Rather, the message is that God’s people will be refined and purified. While the world stands at the brink of judgment, God’s people will not be ultimately destroyed; the often-painful refining will lead to true peace.
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Jeremiah, known as the “Weeping Prophet,” did not enjoy bringing prophecies of judgment, but the majority of the messages God gave him to proclaim were judgment on Israel for their sin. However, he did bring an encouraging Messianic prophecy, telling God’s people that their trouble and judgment would not go on forever. This prophecy brought a promise of hope in a time of despair, a promise of righteousness in a world of injustice, and a promise of salvation to a people in bondage.