The heroes of the Old Testament looked forward to a time when God would counter the world’s growing darkness. Some looked for God to install a great king, like David, who would lead Israel to her destiny of world dominance. Others looked into the words of the prophets whose interpretations of life gave true understanding of morals and the law. Some looked to the rituals of the sacrifices carried out by the priest for their comfort.
A major shift in thinking happened in the first century. Instead of looking forward, people of faith began looking backward to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. In Jesus they found the words of the prophets fulfilled. They saw a king, even greater than David, for he conquered death. And in Jesus blood soaked robe they saw the priest who executed the sacrifices. The cross became the altar of sacrifice, Jesus became the lamb for slaughter. His blood soaked robes were the robes of the priest who carried out the sacrifice.
On this day we look back to Jesus resurrection. We look back to Jesus who is our king, our prophet, and our interceding priest. On this day two thousand years ago; bad news lost for all time.
He is risen,
Today people are seeking absolute answers to their questions. The word absolute means, “Excellent in quality or nature.” The Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias points out four questions we seek absolute answers to: Evil, justice, love, and forgiveness. Evil, how do we define and explain it? Justice, what is just and unjust? Love, what is love; is it brotherly, godly, or erotica? What is forgiveness? We hurt someone, and ask them to forgive us.
Our search for life’s answers is complicated by a world of changing truths. Against this world, we open the Bible and read the unchanging Word of God. From the Bible we learn there is only one place in the world where the answers to these four absolutes converged at one moment, and that is at Calvary. The evil of the world was thrown upon Jesus Christ. The justice of God was executed. The love of God displayed through his Son. The forgiveness of God was heard in the Sons words, “Father forgive them for they no not what they have done.”
Embodied in the crucifixion and displayed on the cross are God’s answers to the absolutes questions of evil, justice, love, and forgiveness that man searches for.
We live in a confusing world, and many are lost. How does one find their way in such a world? The simple answer is read the Bible, for it will give you direction in life. Many do read the Bible, but instead of being found remain lost. This is because, instead of being led by what they read, they attempt to lead the Bible, and coincidently they try to lead it to where they already are!
Years ago I gave up arguing with God. I gave up telling Him what is right and what is wrong. Instead of arguing I began listening, and found myself praying, “Your will be done.” By shedding my arguments with God, I began to read the Bible with His eyes. By that I mean, I began to understand what the Bible meant when it was first written, glean the truths from the passage, and apply those truths to my life today. Amazingly I found myself no longer in disagreement with God, but found myself changing my mind, and being found by Him.
Today, I no longer expect God to change, but let Him change me. Through my surrender I no longer am lost.
The first six chapters of Daniel are about Daniel and his three friends, and their faith and courage before pagan kings. At chapter 7 the book shifts from narrated stories to mysterious visions of prophesy.
Daniel, “Was deeply troubled and his face turned pale,” (7:28) at the enigmatic images he received. And we will learn in future chapters that Daniel often became ill and was unable to work after receiving a vision from the Lord. This is quite a contrast to those who proclaim prophetic understanding today. When someone today discovers what they think is some new biblical understanding they put the word prophet before their name, and write a book to tell everyone what they think they have discovered.
It’s a dangerous thing to study prophecy to inflate one’s ego, or to give people the impression that we are a great Bible scholar. I think there is a lesson to be gleaned from Daniel’s response. When studying Daniel, or any part of the Bible, what we learn from our study should so touch our hearts that it troubles us and affects our conduct. Bible study should not be an intellectual exercise to inflate our ego, but a desire to change our relationship with God.