All the Scriptures Point to Christ

Luke 24 & John 20-21

The closing sections of Luke and John’s gospel are rife with personal encounters and dialogues with the risen Jesus. These interactions with Jesus and Peter, the two men on the Emmaus road, the women at the tomb, and the various other interactions show the personality and humanity of Jesus. Jesus shows his sense of humor on the Emmaus road, he eats a meal with his disciples, and restores and forgives Peter.

In the midst of these interactions Jesus, as he always does, teaches. I’d like to draw our focus to what Jesus tells the two men on the Emmaus road in Luke 24.27. Luke writes, “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, he explained to them the things concerning himself in all the scriptures”. This verse is pregnant with meaning and significance! This verse states very clearly that Jesus is the centerpiece of scripture. All roads in the Bible lead to Jesus Christ. Notice that the verse says, “Starting with Moses and the prophets.”. Moses represents the writings of the Pentateuch and the prophets represent all the major and minor prophets. Starting from those two places Jesus taught the men that the entirety of the Old Testament points toward to himself. 

This teaches us that the whole of the Bible is beneficial and needed for believers. A whole Bible makes a whole Christian. For Jesus, the disciples, Paul, and the early church the Old Testament was their Bible. The New Testament is built off of the foundation of the Old Testament. Not only do we learn about Jesus in the gospels and the New Testament but in light of the New Testament we see Jesus in the Old Testament. That’s why I love and encourage Bible reading plans that take you through the whole of scripture. Jesus is the crowning Jewel of scripture. From Genesis to Lamentations to Obadiah a road to Christ can be found. Now I would warn against over reading Jesus into texts but this is where interpreting correctly is important.

The take away is Jesus can be found in all the scriptures, therefore, let us read the whole of scripture and learn of Jesus. 

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Luke 24 and John 20-21

Tomorrow we begin the exciting book of Acts to see what happens after Jesus’ resurrection – Acts 1-3

The Promise of Jesus’ Presence

Matthew 28 & Mark 16

Praise God that Jesus was raised from the dead and lives forevermore! Today we close out the gospel of Matthew and Mark with reading about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. I want to focus in on the last phrase of Matthew 28 and the closing phrase of the gospel where Jesus says, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NASB)

Just a few lines earlier Jesus declared that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him and then charges his disciples to make disciples. Concluding his final words he promises them he will always be with them and never leave them. Not only did Jesus promise to always be with his original disciples but he promises to always be with all who follow him. What a comforting truth especially during this season of life all of us are living. Life in general is tough but living as a Christian, a true follower of Jesus, can be even tougher at times. Take heart and remember that you are never alone. The resurrected all-powerful living Christ abides with his people! 

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Matthew 28 & Mark 16

Tomorrow we will finish the other two gospel accounts – Luke 24 and John 20-21 as we continue on our chronological Bible reading plan through 2020.

A Kingdom Not of this World

Luke 23 & John 18-19

At the time this devotion is being written the election for the president of the United States will take place in five days. As American Christians the realities of democracy, patriotism, and freedom run deep in our veins. The way Jesus describes his kingdom to Pilate in John 18 is something not only each American Christian needs to be reminded of but each Christian wherever they live needs to be reminded of. As Christians our primary citizenship is not the country we currently reside in, it is the kingdom of God. 

Jesus says to Pilate in John 18.36, “My kingdom is not of this world”. “Not of this world” means, not of this present world system. The kingdom Jesus presides over operates in a totally different realm than the kingdoms of this present evil age do. And because we belong to God this means we are citizens of a different kingdom (Phil. 3.20). We are citizens of the kingdom of God first then citizens of our natural country second. 

While all of us are saturated with the current country and culture we live in, we should remember, our citizenship is with the kingdom of God primarily and we are to live out the kingdom life in whatever context we live in. As followers of Christ our lives are to be lived against the grain of the current ways of life, just like how Jesus said his servants wouldn’t fight over him because they belonged to a kingdom that was not of this world

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passages can be read at BibleGateway here – Luke 23 & John 18-19

Tomorrow we will read Matthew 28 and Mark 16.

Jesus’ Final Teachings

John 14-17

The contents of John 14 to 17 are Jesus’ final words to his disciples (except Judas) and his prayer to his Father moments before he is handed over. The one dominating overarching theme in these four chapters is the absolute unchallenged supremacy, beauty, and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus states the following:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” 

– John 14.6

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” – John 14.14

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” – John 14.27

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love” – John 15.9

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take heart I have overcome the world” – John 16.33

“…these things I speak in the world so that they may have my joy made full in themselves” – John 17.13

What Jesus prays for in chapter 17 is what he taught and instructed in chapter 14 to 16. Jesus prayed for each believer to have unity with him, to be filled with his joy, to be sanctified in the truth. The life we have in Jesus is so beautiful and precious. Jesus Christ is the living water. Let us drink from him deeply and without reservation. Let us be always dependent and in communion with Jesus. Abiding and communing with Christ is the key to realizing the fullness of joy, peace, and love. In addition, we see the work of the Father, the work of the son, and the work of the spirit active in lives of those whom God has saved. The Father has chosen us, the son has died for us and bought our salvation, and the spirit makes us alive.

To God be the glory in the name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit!

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – John 14-17

Make sure you come back tomorrow when we will read Matthew 27 & Mark 15. We are getting to the end of the gospels.

Love Like Jesus

Luke 22 & John 13

John 13 is the only chapter in the four gospels that record Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. In John 13.34 Jesus teaches “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love another”. What is the newness of this commandment Jesus gives his disciples and to us? I believe it is the phrase “even as I have loved you”. The way believers are to love each other is no longer patterned after how we would want to be loved (Lev.19.18) but there is a new way to love each other. The new pattern of love is Jesus himself. 

What does it mean to love other Christians like Jesus? This is a very tall order! Where do we start?! I believe the washing of the disciples feet provides a framework for what Jesus had in mind when he said love each other as I have loved you. 

There are two lessons/principles we can learn from Jesus in this account that we can emulate in our lives towards other believers. The first one can be read in John 13.4-5,12-15. Jesus illustrates humility. Jesus as Lord and teacher took the position of a common house servant when he got on his hands and knees and girded himself with a towel to wash feet. If anyone’s feet should have been washed it was Jesus yet the holy selfless Lord and teacher put aside his rightful privileges to serve his students. Jesus humbled himself. Likewise we as Christians are called to humble ourselves before each other and seek out the interest of others before ourself (Eph. 4.2, 5.21, Phil. 2.3-5). 

The second lesson we can learn form Jesus is that to love each other involves humbling ourselves before each other and serving one another in practical ways. The act of washing feet in antiquity served a very practical purpose. Most people wore open-toed shoes or sandals and people walked everywhere. The result was people’s feet would easily become dirty, rough, and caked with filth. No one would want to track the dirt through someone’s home so either the homeowner or a servant would wash the guests feet as they came in. It was practical for the guest and the homeowner. 

What is involved in loving other Christians as Jesus loved us? Looking at the real life illustration of Jesus washing his students’ feet, we learn to love one another involves humbling ourselves before others and serving them in practical ways. 

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Luke 22 & John 13

Tomorrow we will read John 14-17.

The Most Needed Ministry

Matthew 26 & Mark 14

In the closing moments of Jesus’ life after the last supper he took his three closest disciples and prayed. Jesus was a man of prayer and it is fitting that in the final moments before he is handed over he prays to his Father. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of prayer. Many of us are guilty of not praying as we ought to. Look at the degree to which Jesus expected his three closest disciples to pray. In Matthew 26.36-41 and Mark 14.32-38 he asks them to remain and watch while Jesus went off and prayed. Watch and pray are synonymous words. To watch is to pray and to pray is to watch. 

When Jesus comes back the first time he questions Peter, James, and John and says, ”You couldn’t keep watch for an hour?” Jesus expected his disciples to pray for a whole hour! Many of us can only last a few minutes let alone an hour. If prayer was important to Jesus and his ministry and his relationship with God CERTAINLY it must be a priority for us. I would venture to say prayer is one of the most neglected and undervalued ministries. Jesus never believed prayer was expendable, neither should we. 

Do you want to grow with God? Do you want to grow in spirituality? Do you want deeper intimacy in your relationship with God and other believers? Do you want to combat spiritual darkness? Do you want to see people saved? Pray. Pray. Pray. 

If we will give ourselves over to the ministry of prayer and intercession God will grow and mature us. Prayer is too valuable to discard, it’s too precious to pass over, and it’s too powerful to be ignored.

Lord Jesus stir in our hearts a desire and hunger for prayer! Raise up men and women who will pray! Amen!

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Matthew 26 & Mark 14

Tomorrow we will read Luke 22 & John 13.

Test Yourself!

Matthew 25

Today as we look at Matthew 25 we should take notice that though we are starting a new chapter the context surrounding this chapter is the same as that of chapter 24. Matthew 24 and 25 are a single unit of thought. This can be seen in verse 1 with the word “then” (the NIV says “at that time”) indicating what Jesus was speaking about in chapter 24 is continuing into chapter 25. The focus of the chapter is about the end of this age when Jesus returns and the judgement that he will enact. 

There are three pictures of judgement in chapter 25. The first two are parables (the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents) and the last one is a description of the judgement scene. 

In the first parable there are ten virgins who wait for the bridegroom. The bridegroom delays in appearing and all fall asleep but suddenly the bridegroom appears but only five are ready for the bridegroom while the other five are not ready and they are denied entrance into the wedding feast. The virgins denied entrance are then told by the bridegroom he never knew them. 

The second parable is about a master and his slaves. The master gives each slave a talent (an amount of money) and went on a journey. When the master returns only two of the three slaves honored the master with what they were given. The third slave squandered his talent and is rebuked by the master and the slave is thrown out into the outer darkness.

The third picture of judgement involves Jesus separating goats from sheep among the nations. The sheep and goats represent those who belong to Jesus and those who do not. The sheep (believers) are rewarded with the kingdom and the goats (non-believers) are cast into hell with satan and his demons. 

What are we to make of this chapter? What does Jesus want us to learn from these three pictures of judgement? I believe it is this.

There is a judgement coming and not everyone who calls themself a Christian will enter into life. The reality is, not everyone who calls themself a Christian is a true believer. In all three teachings there is one group of people who are then divided into those who are accepted and those who are rejected. Many people comprise the Church but not everyone who attends church is a true believer. The judgement of Christ sorts out the self-deceived from the real believers. Jesus himself teaches this earlier in Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43 in the parable of the tares. And he also teaches this in Matthew 7.21-22. 

Who are you? Are you deceived or a true believer in Christ? The five virgins were accepted into the feast because they were ready and prepared. The 2 slaves were honored by the master because they were faithful with what the master had given them. And the sheep entered the kingdom because they loved and served other Christians in need. 

A true believer will have evidence of salvation in their life. A true believer bears the fruit of the spirit, they grow in holiness, they grow in their disdain for sin, they hunger for the scriptures, they serve other Christians and people. A real believer matures and grows in Christ.

Paul tells the Corinthians in II Cor. 13.5 to test themselves against the scriptures to see if they are in the faith. Compare yourself to scripture and to the words of Jesus. Have you really received salvation from God? In addition to this, talk with mature believers closest to you about this serious matter if you question your salvation.

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Matthew 25

Tomorrow we will read Matthew 26 and Mark 14.

Don’t Be Deceived

Matthew 24

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew’s account of what you read in Mark 13 yesterday. In the twenty fourth and twenty fifth verse Jesus says “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance”. 

There is a huge difference between a good tested quality product and a cheap knockoff version. The same is with Christ but even more so. Jesus warns his disciples and us that there will be people who claim to be God’s real messiah and savior. Jesus is telling all of us don’t be fooled. I want to highlight 2 aspects of Jesus’ warning.

The first is notice the plurality of “Christs” and “prophets”. There have been and will be multiple people who seek to deceive people and other Christians. This had a very real meaning to the first century church. Before the time of Jesus and after him there were multiple Jewish men who claimed to be God’s real messiah. And even in our time there have been many who have claimed to be God’s special prophet or savior. 

The second aspect of this warning I want to highlight is that Jesus says that signs and wonders will accompany these false prophets and Christs. It’s easy to dismiss someone as crazy if they claim to be a prophet or Christ but what if miraculous events accompany their claims? What are we supposed to think!? Remember that there is a supernatural enemy that opposes God, Jesus, and Christians. For every miracle God performs a counterfeit miracle can be performed by Satan and spiritual darkness. An example of this can be found in Exodus 7.8-13. There must be other factors we must take into consideration such as – does what the person say align with scripture? Is God glorified? 

Though we probably will not encounter someone who will say, “Follow me, I’m the savior of the world” it doesn’t mean that there aren’t false teachers who teach false doctrine. We must always be critical of the teaching that we allow into our lives. Remember to test EVERYTHING against the scriptures. Whether it comes from your friends, your pastor, or even your parents. The best way to avoid deception is a two step process: one, know what the scriptures teach, and two, test everything against the scriptures. If it conforms with scripture receive it. If it doesn’t conform with scripture, reject it. 

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Matthew 24

Tomorrow we will read Matthew 25

Be on the Alert!

Mark 13

Many teachings and thoughts could be extracted from the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24, Mk. 13, Lk. 21). For us this section of the gospels will be the focal point of our devotions today and tomorrow. For our devotion this morning I want to look at the last verse of Mark 13 where Jesus concludes “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert’”.

This section of the gospels (Matt. 24, Mk. 13, and Lk. 21) have in mind two future events. Jesus prophesies the destruction of the Jerusalem temple (AD 70) and speaks to the events that will foretell of his second coming. In Mark 13.31 the message Jesus communicates to his disciples is the one he also wants all those who follow him to know as well, namely, “Be on the alert”. The New Testament as a whole has an urgency to it. This theme of being on alert and aware of the coming of the Lord is present throughout the New Testament. Though Jesus ascended two thousand years ago and hasn’t come back yet it does not mean we should live complacent lives as Christians. Here are some other texts that speak to urgency in the Christian life:

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly in the day…” —Romans 13.11-13

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” — Ephesians 5.15-17

“…let us be alert and sober…” (Read I Thess. 5.1-8)

What does it mean to live on the alert as a Christian? What did Jesus mean when he spoke these words? In light of these texts above and the whole of the New Testament to live alertly is to have the conduct of our lives be in line with the words of Jesus. To live alertly means to quit wasting time with sinful behaviors and practices and start living in light of eternity and the judgement seat of Christ (II Cor. 5.10). 

Is there a sense of urgency in your following of Jesus? If the day of judgement was tomorrow would you be ready? Not only in the sense of would you be saved or not but would you be proud of the life you lived and know that you were sold out for Christ with the time God had given you? Don’t be complacent, be on the alert.

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Mark 13

Tomorrow we will read Matthew 24.

Not So Sweet and Mild Jesus

Matthew 23 and Luke 20-21

I have a confession to make. I really don’t like conflict and because of that I don’t always confront situations or people as I should or as is necessary. Now thankfully the Lord is growing me in this area because the reality is confrontation and conflict is necessary. Actually the New Testament teaches that there is a time and place for believers to hold each other accountable with regard to sin. Many Christians and churches struggle with this. It’s uncomfortable, awkward, and scary yet our Lord himself exemplified this in today’s chapter of Matthew 23 (read Matt. 18.15). 

Seven times in Matthew 23 Jesus says “woe to you” with reference to the Pharisees. “Woe” is a prophetic denunciation that the prophets in the Old Testament used to warn people that their behavior was not pleasing to God and if they didn’t correct their actions God’s punishment and judgement would come. 

The crime of the Pharisees was that they were so caught up in religious activities that it compromised true obedience God really desired. Jesus loves and forgives but he will not tolerate empty obedience and religious service. He will not be sweet to that which God hates and opposes. Likewise as followers of Jesus we must strive to become like him in all respects including standing up for the truth even when that means calling out sin and that which God hates. 

This must be done with great wisdom and care and love. I’ll include passages that speak to this theme. I’d encourage you to read them and get exposed to this New Testament teaching. We as Christians have a duty to lovingly hold other believers accountable with regard to sin. 

Passages for further study:

.Matt. 16.21-23

.Matt. 18.15-20

.I Cor. 5.1-5

.Gal. 2.11-14

.Gal. 6.1

.Eph. 5.11-14

.I Tim. 5.20

.Tit. 3.10-11

.Jam. 4.17

Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passages can be read or listened to at Bible Gateway here – Matthew 23 and Luke 20-21.

Tomorrow we will read Mark 13.

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