Harden not your Hearts

After expounding on the “household of God” and demonstrating the superiority of the Son over Moses, the “servant of God,” the study continues with a lesson drawn from the story of Israel. During its sojourn in the wilderness, the Israelites complained bitterly against Moses for leading them to a place lacking sufficient water.

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Discipleship & Suffering

For disciples, retaliation and violence are NOT appropriate reactions when persecution does occur. Rather than respond in kind, they must meet threats with humility, mercy, and love. This is what it means to “deny yourself” and “take up his cross.” And while praying for one’s “enemies” is contrary to the “wisdom of this age,” it epitomizes the paradigm of Christ crucified.

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Jesus or Caesar?

When offered by Satan, Jesus refused the political power of Rome. So, why do we continue to seek what he rejected? When I became a disciple of Jesus, I was taught NOT to “be unequally yoked” with the world. Yes, conditions around the globe were tragic, but what did we expect from a world order under Satan’s boot? What humanity needed was the good news of God’s kingdom, not another corrupt political ideology.

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Jesus is the Faithful Witness who summons his disciples to emulate his example by themselves bearing faithful witness in a hostile world.

Two themes are repeated in the book of Revelation – “witness” and “overcoming,” and they are closely related. Beginning with Jesus and his own witness in his death, his followers must persevere in his “testimony,” and in this way, they “overcome” and one day will emerge victorious in the city of “New Jerusalem.” They are called to “overcome, even as I overcame.”

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To follow Jesus wherever he goes necessitates a lifetime of self-denial and sacrificial service for others.

When Jesus dispatched his disciples to announce the “good news” to the “lost sheep of Israel,” he warned them to expect to find themselves as “sheep among wolves.” Hostile men would haul them before “councils and whip them in their synagogues,” and his followers would be hated “by all men for my sake.”

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