Is your Jesus the biblical Jesus? Could your version of Jesus exist outside of American culture? Is He the Middle Eastern Jesus found in Scripture? Is your Jesus one created from your own ideas, or is He the uncreated One of heaven? We must be careful not to impose unbiblical beliefs upon Jesus. Of course, we’re not infallible in our interpretations of Scripture, yet we must strive for a correct understanding of it and of Jesus. The biblical Jesus is not American, yet He “works” in America but supersedes America. The biblical Jesus is not Chinese, but He “works” in China yet surpasses China. The biblical Jesus “works” worldwide, but He exceeds the world. He’s bigger than a country, higher than a culture, greater than the world. If your version of Jesus would have a hard time transferring to another neighborhood or nation, then your “Jesus” is an imposter. He’s not the real Jesus.
Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus’ closest followers. He was one of the Twelve, yet he had his own ideas of who the Messiah should be. In Mark 14, a woman showed up for supper where Jesus and the Twelve were hanging out. The woman poured an expensive perfume on Jesus’ head, and some of those present griped that the perfume should’ve been sold and the money given to the poor. In an alike passage in John 12, a similar thing happens, and it’s Judas who vocally corrects Jesus. However, John also notes Judas’ thieving motive. He was a corrupt treasurer of the group. It’s at this point in the Mark 14 account that Judas cuts a monetary deal with the Jewish chief priests and then begins looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus, the One who was not fitting into his mold of the Messiah.
We must be careful that our version of Jesus does not betray the real Jesus.
This week you’ll read…
2 Kings 8-14: The Kings and Chronicles books present a challenge to readers—keeping up with the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah and the story switching back and forth. Click the link below to see a helpful chart of the kings and prophets during the kings period.
1 Chronicles 8-14: Starting well is of vital importance, but so is finishing well. The only thing better than each is both. Some of the kings in 1 Chronicles started well but ended pathetically (Solomon). Some started well and ended well such as David and Jehoshaphat. Manasseh started evil but finished good. It may be too late for you to start well, but you can still finish strong. Make that your determination.
Joel 1-3: “Even now—this is the Lord’s declaration—turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, so you can offer grain and wine to the Lord your God” (Joel 2 in The Christian Standard Bible).
Mark 8-14: “While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. With him was a mob, with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had given them a signal. ‘The One I kiss,’ he said, ‘He’s the One; arrest Him and take Him away under guard.’ So when he came, immediately he went up to Jesus and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. Then they took hold of Him and arrested Him” (Mark 14 in The Christian Standard Bible).
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- July 14 (Sun):
MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.
CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.
NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.