Rabboni!

 

Do you love “reunion stories” as much as I do?  The ones where the Dad has been deployed to serve his country and comes home to surprise his children in a special way, maybe disguised as someone else?  They get me every time!  Do you recall a time when you have seen someone you were not expecting to see?  How excitedly did you greet them?  

Today we look at the story of Mary returning to the tomb where Jesus was placed.  We learn a lot about people from their instinctive, immediate reactions to situations.  Here, in John’s account of the resurrection, we see how Mary Magdalene reacted to seeing Jesus.

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?  Who is it you are looking for?”  Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”  Jesus said to her,  “Mary.”  She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic,  “Rabboni!”  (which means “Teacher”). 

John 20: 14-16

Mary had been through an emotional ringer.  She had come to the tomb, expecting to find Jesus’ body.  To her surprise, the stone had been removed and He wasn’t there.  She told Peter and John, who ran to the tomb and saw for themselves.

As Peter and John returned to their homes, Mary was left there at the tomb, weeping, alone.  As she stood there, Jesus approached her, but she did not recognize Him.  Jesus spoke her name and she knew that this was Jesus.

What was her reaction when she saw Him?  She simply said, “Rabboni!”  John said that this Aramaic word means “Teacher.”  Merriam-Webster defines rabboni as Master, Teacher – used as a Jewish title of respect applied especially to spiritual instructors and learned persons.  This word clearly revealed that Mary thought of Jesus not just as a teacher, but a great teacher.  The person who had taught her so many truths!  

There were many ways Mary could have looked at Jesus.  To her, He was Rabboni.  Her great Master.  Her respected Teacher.  Her Lord.  

There are many ways people see Jesus today.  Some consider Him to have been a prophet or perhaps a wise man.  He was those things, and more.  He was the Son of God.  The Messiah.  And He was a Great Teacher.  Rabboni!  

How will you greet your Savior the day you meet Him?  

Their Possession

 

At times is hard to be satisfied and content with what we have (or don’t have).  We look at what others possess and think we might be happier if we had what they have.  Do you find yourself bitter or angry because you don’t get what you want or think you deserved?  When a job promotion falls through, a  grade in a class is not what you thought you deserved, or people fall short and don’t meet your expectations, these situations can easily upset us.

How about when God falls short of your expectations?  When you think you know what is best and God does not seem to be on the same page?  

Today we look at the Levites in the book of Ezekiel.  The Levites might have had feelings of disappointment when they did not receive land as their possession.

“This shall be their inheritance:  I am their inheritance:  and you shall give them no possession in Israel;  I am their possession.”

Ezekiel 44:28

The Levites, whom served as priests, would not be given a portion of the land in Israel.  This does not seem fair as they served God more than anyone else.  They dedicated their lives to service and in return they were the only ones who were not allowed to possess land.  

However, the verse goes on to say that “I am their possession.”  The Levites got something even better than land, they received God as their own possession.  This meant that they did not have to be troubled with the worries and labor involved with owning land.  They were given places to live and food to nourish them.  They were free to be completely dedicated to God without concerns of the material world.  

On a spiritual level, the Levites were given the gift of connecting with God in a deeper way than the rest of the nation.  This spiritual connection was one that they would enjoy for all of eternity.  

We may feel like the Levites, like we did not receive what we thought we should have.  We can have many material and earthly possessions, but the only possession that really matters is Jesus Christ.  If Jesus is truly our greatest possession than we rely on Him for every provision and trust that He has our future in His hands.  He is our most prized possession.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Plilippians 4:19

Omega

How many things have a definite start and finish?  What can you think of that has a distinct beginning and ending?  I used to be a competitive swimmer so the concept of start and finish was ingrained in my head.  The beginning of a swimming race would start with an official gun start.  The end of a race would be my hand slamming into the wall to stop the clock ASAP!  There was no messing around because the fastest time won the race.  When I was finished there was no going back, what was done was done.   The race happened between the beginning and the end and then it was over.

This is so different from our Heavenly Father.  Our race begins and ends with Jesus if we so choose, but because He is the Omega, our life never truly ends.  

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:8

This verse reminds us that God is our Omega:  “Who is to come.”  These are awe-inspiring words.  It is hard to even understand what these words mean.  We understand a definite beginning and ending, but what does it mean that He is to come?  

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines Omega as the extremes of the final part.  Other words for Omega are the last, conclusion, and perfection.  Our earthly stories will one day come to an end.  They will be filled with ups and downs and well as hard and easy.  If Jesus Christ is our end, or our Omega, we can look forward to a happily ever after with Him.  

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”  The he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me:  “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Revelation 21: 5 & 6

Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last.  Jesus is the beginning and the end.  The length of His life on earth was not the extent of Him.  He existed with God in the beginning and will reign with Him forever.  God is timeless and His power is limitless.  Everything begins with God and will somehow end with Him.  

God, thank you for being the before, the now, and the forever after.  We know You never end and You never leave us.  You are the only constant within our lives.  You are the only constant beyond our lives.  We praise You for your boundless presence!  You are the Omega, “Who is to come.”

Master

Are you a Master at anything?  I found a list of things that you can actually become a master at:  Master conductor, Master gardener, Master chef, Master mechanic, Master sommelier, Master electrician, Master carpenter, and I am sure there are more that I didn’t list.  You can also get a Master’s Degree in numerous subjects.  To be a master at something means that you know a subject or can you can perform it very well.  I read that it takes 10,000 hours or more to become a master in a certain area.  That means that it would take 416.67 days non-stop to become a master in the area of your choice!  That is a lot of dedication!

To become a Master, usually one is required to become an apprentice.  An apprentice is someone who trains for a career by working under the supervision of more experienced workers.  In Biblical times (and today), a disciple was part of a deliberate apprenticeship, a follower or adherent of Jesus, the one true Master.  

In Luke 8:24 we read about the disciples calling Jesus, Master.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”  He got up and rebuked the wind and raging waters;  the storm subsided, and all was calm.  

The disciples were saying “Master, Master,” meaning teacher, chief or commander.  If you recall the story, Jesus and the disciples were boating to the other side of the lake, but as there were sailing along a fierce wind descended upon the lake.  In their anxiety and fear of the storm they cried out to Jesus as their Master.  The very next verse answers our question as to who Jesus is that He could quiet the storm.

…In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Luke 8:25

He is the Creator (John 1:1-3), the Almighty God, the real “Master” of the universe!  When the disciples called on Jesus they were looking to the one Man who has the ultimate authority over all the earth.  The one Man who could take the churning waters threatening to consume them, command, “Peace,” and have complete and immediate obedience.  Like apprentices looking to their Master for protection and provision, they pleaded with the One who could meet their needs.  

As we have been reading in every Bible Journal Post this year, Jesus has many names.  But we see here in Luke 8 that when Jesus was called out as Master in the midst of a life-devouring storm, He was moved to action.  He came to their rescue.  Jesus is the Master because He has the power and the ultimate authority to speak even to the winds and waves.  The powerful forces of nature listened and obeyed because He was, without question, Master.

Just as the disciples faced the storm, we face many storms in our own lives.  The disciples were positive that Jesus could save them from the storm and they called on Him.  Will we call on Him when we face the storms in our life?  Will we call Him Master?

Lord of Lords

My daughter has asked me the same question many times in the last couple months,  “Mom, since I will be 18 soon, can I get a tattoo?”.  We have discussed all aspects of getting a tattoo.  I don’t have one myself, but I am not opposed to her getting one.  We have talked about how a tattoo might “define” you to some people.  Some people may make judgments about you because of what your tattoo says or how it looks.  I certainly have not changed her mind about her desire to get a tattoo, so we shall see in about 3 months what she decides to do with her body.  

Today we will look at a verse that some say might suggest that Jesus had a tattoo.

On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 19:16

So?  If Jesus had a name written on his thigh, does that mean he had a tattoo?  Some people conclude from reading the verse above that Jesus must have had a tattoo on his thigh.  But, because Jesus was a Jew and Jewish Law warned not to put tattoo marks on yourself (Leviticus 19:28), Jesus probably did not put a mark on himself.

So, what does it mean that on Jesus’ robe and on His thigh He has “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” written?  The book of Revelation is filled with symbolism, and this description is most likely symbolic.  The mention of the name being written on Jesus’ thigh is probably figurative.  The mention of the name being written on His robe and His thigh could very well mean that the words were not on His skin at all, rather, they were written on the part of His robe that covered His thigh.

In any case, it does not seem that Jesus had an actual tattoo.  The best way to find out and confirm the truth of the matter is to declare Jesus as Lord of your life and be with Jesus when He returns to earth.

But if the title Lord of lords is so important, what does it mean?  The idea of Jesus being King of kings and Lord of lords means that there is no higher authority.  His reign over all things is absolute.  God raised Him from the dead and placed Him over all things.

21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:21-23

In the end, all other rulers will be conquered or abolished, and He alone will reign supreme as King of kings and Lord of lords of all the earth.  There is no power, no king, and no lord who can oppose Him and win.  

We have the choice to follow Him and make Him our Lord of lords.  If we make the choice we will indeed be a witness one day to see first-hand the answer of Jesus and His tattoo. 

The End

 

“This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:  I am the first and I am the last;  apart from me there is no God.
Isaiah 44:6

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22:13

I love a good before and after.  That is probably why I can sit and watch endless episodes of Chip and Joe on HGTV.   Watching the two of them transform a house is incredible and awe-inspiring.  Or cooking shows, I love watching a chef go from the before, with 10 or so individual ingredients to a final finished scrumpsish dish.  Or, weightless transformations, the before and after pictures are amazing.  Or finally,  first and last day of school pics.  Of course this school year is ending in a way that no person could have predicted so we may not see as many of the photos, but the transformation of a child from the first day of school to the last is always dramatic.  

What about God?  How is He the first and the last?  The beginning and the end?  Have you read the Bible all the way through and seen the transformation from living by the Law to the freedom of a Savior?  It is incredible!  

God is eternal.  God is the start of it all.  He is the Alpha, which is the first letter in the Greek alphabet.  And God is the end of it all, the Omega, the last letter.

Since we know that we are far past the beginning of time and because we see that the end has not yet come, then we must live in the meantime, the present.  This means that you and I get to play our parts in God’s great plan.
In the end, it is all about Jesus.  It always has been about Jesus.  It always will be about Jesus.  

The Bible begins with Jesus.  
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

The Bible also ends with Jesus: 
‘I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’
Revelation 22:13

The first 5 verses of Revelation chapter 22 tell us how the world will be in the last days.  The language is figurative, so it is not an exact description, but it is full of images of life and blessing.  The Bible begins and ends with a garden, symbolizing God’s life of blessing and his good plan for his people.

The Bible is one long invitation to come to Jesus.  In him, you find the meaning and purpose of your life.  Part of that purpose is to invite others to come, so that they too will find refreshment and fulfillment in the water of life that Jesus pours out on all who come to him. 

God is the before, the now, and the forever after.  He will never end and never leave us.  He is the only constant within our lives.  He is the only constant beyond our lives.  

Jesus

Where did your name come from?  Is there a story behind your name? Are you named after a family member?  Or is your name a name that your parents thought was a good fit?  I remember the excitement in naming my 3 children.  

My first born was a boy and we had many names picked out.  One day when I was about 4 months pregnant and getting my hair done, a mother walked in the salon with her adorable baby boy.  His name was Jackson and I knew from that moment I would name my boy the same name.  We did choose his middle name to be a family name, the same as his Dads.  Then the same with my 2 girls that followed.  I chose their first names Emmerson and Carson because I wanted to  follow with the “son” endings.  We also used family names for their middle names.  Emmerson is June after my husband’s grandma and Carson is Caroline after both of my grandmothers.  Their middle names are emotionally connected for both my husband and I.  

I wonder if Mary thought of baby names when she was pregnant with Jesus?  I imagine she did, but that had to be a huge burden to name the child she was carrying.  Maybe she and Joseph had a list of names?  If they had their own ideas, they would be thrown out after the angel appeared to Mary.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21

Why did the angel tell Mary and Joseph to name the baby “Jesus”?  Is there some significance to the name Jesus?  No, these letters and sounds are different in every language that the name is translated.  It is a fairly common Jewish name and is still used today.  

Jesus’ name means Yahweh saves.  It is the same name as Joshua in the Old Testament.  The name of Jesus is significant because of who it represents.  It means “God our Savior.”  Jesus Christ is Immanuel, “God with us”.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”  (which means “God with us”).

Matthew 1:22&23

Jesus came to earth as a man in order to die in our place and become our Savior.  This is why the angel said, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

The name of Jesus reminds us about the amazing humility of the Son of God when he came as a man to die.  As his followers, we must also strive to show the same selfless humility that Jesus demonstrated while on earth.

Jesus’ name is to be glorified far above every other name.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11

Praise the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our awesome Savior!

Holy One

Leviticus 11:44 – For I am the Lord your God;  so consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy.  You shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm or crawls on the ground.

Joshua 24:19 – Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the Lord [if you serve any other gods], for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His].  He will not forgive your transgression [of His law] or your sins.

1 Samuel 2:2 – There is no one holy like the Lord, There is no one besides You, there is no Rock like our God.

Isaiah 6:3 – And one called out to another, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts;  The whole earth is filled with His glory.”

Revelation 4:8 – And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes all over and within [underneath their wings];  and day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy [is the] Lord God, THE Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all], Who was and who is and who is to come [the unchanging, eternal God].”

The Greek word, “hagios”, is used 235 times in the New Testament.  The word is used in reference to many different things in the Bible.  The word is an adjective, a word that describes a characteristic of a person, place or thing.  

The word “hagios” is used in the Bible to describe things.  The ground is described as being “hagios”.  Faith is called “hagios”.  Women have been described as “hagios”.  Conversation and conduct are sometimes called “hagios”.  A city, a place, a covenant, a commandment, and the scriptures have all been called “hagios” in the Bible.  

God himself is described as “hagios”.  The one thing that is referred to as “hagios”, far more times than anything else in the Bible is the Spirit of God.

Do you have any idea what the English word for “hagios” is?  The word is ‘holy’.  God is holy, and the Spirit of God is holy!  But what does the word really mean?  The fundamental meaning of the word “hagios”, is ‘different and unlike the rest’.  So when the Bible says that God is holy, it means that God is different from all else.  And the Holy Spirit of God, is a Spirit that is different from all other spirits.  There is none like it.  It is unique, and it is separate and it is exclusive.

When the word holy is used to describe something other than God or His Spirit, it means that the thing being described is different from the world, and that it is “like God” in some way.

It is easier to think about God being holy and set apart than to think our ourselves as holy.  But what about you and me?  We are also called to be holy.

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;  for it is written:  “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:15 & 16

When I read this verse and think that I am to be holy because God is holy, I get overwhelmed because I know that I will fail.  But, we might misunderstand what this scripture is saying.  God is not saying that we need to be as holy as He is (that is impossible).  He told us to be holy BECAUSE He is holy.  

Holiness means absolute purity of our walk before God.  Every thought we think, every thing we do.  Thankfully, God, the Holy One, sent His Son Jesus for us so that we have any chance to live a Holy life here on earth.  We have to acknowledge our sin and accept the forgiveness He has offered.  Then God shares His own holiness with us in the person of His Son.  He washes away every sinful stain, then actually allows Jesus Christ to become our holiness.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

1 Corinthians 1:30

In the Christian life, this is the process that we continue to live through.  We learn more about God’s holiness and consequently we learn more about our own sinfulness.  Then we acknowledge the sin, enjoy God’s forgiveness and give Him more control in our life.  We grow a little more in His holy likeness.  

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

As we grow in His image we become more and more set apart unto Him.  The more we get to know God as the Holy One, the more joy we bring to living.

The Lord is His Name

When you meet someone for the first time, the first thing you usually learn about them is their name.  You might chat for a bit, walk away and then think, “what was their name?”  My husband is a master at learning and remembering names.  When we moved to Arizona years ago he had to manage 150 employees and he was determined to know their names before he started his first day on the job.  He sat for hours with pictures and names and memorized them all.  I remember him telling me  how impressed the people were when he actually knew their name before he even met them.  Now I on the other hand am really bad and don’t usually make an effort at knowing someones name.  I should probably work on that.  

Names are important.  There is nothing more personal to you than your name.  To execute a legal document, you have to sign your name.  No matter what you fill out on a form, it is not final till you end with your signature.  Your name is what identifies you.  Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches”.  People associate your name with your character.  

Regrettably, 3000 years ago in the book of Amos, the people of Israel got so caught up in their prosperity that they lost their connection with the Lord and His name.  Likewise, we today are not much different.

Over the years, Israel lost touch with the Lord.  Each generation moved farther and farther away from who the Lord was.  So Amos had to introduce them to the Lord them all over again.  They had to start with His name.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name;

Amos 5:8

Amos wanted to do more than tell the Israelites about the name of the Lord.  He  wanted them to know that the Lord is at work and is actively involved in their lives.  In the book of Amos, the Lord is active.  52 times in this book the Lord says, I WILL:

I will send

I will break down

I will destroy

I will not let

I will slaughter

I will turn

I will not

I will make

I will bring

I will give

I will test

I will no longer

I will not delay

I will never

I will kill

I will reach

I will search

I will command

I will never

I will give

I will restore

I will repair

I will rebuild

I will bring

I will firmly plant

People today might believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth, the stars of Pleiades and Orion, the day and the night, the rain and the seas, but they are not convinced that He is directly involved or active in their everyday lives.

If you look back over your life, can you see things that occurred, and say that was the Lord?  In Amos 2 we see that God has the Israelites look back to see what He has done in their lives.

“Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks;  I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath.  Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.  And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites.  Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”  declares the Lord.

Amos 2:9-11

We may not know it at the time, but isn’t it amazing to look back at your life and see the hand of God who directed your steps and decisions?  

In today’s society many if not most people know about God.  They have heard about Him and His power, but they don’t know His Name.  Paul tells us in John 17:26 that we are to make His name known to others.

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

His name is the Lord and He is active in our everyday life!

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

16-Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17-and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Exodus 3:16-17

Do you believe God’s promises?  It is a matter of yes or no.  If you do, the above verse says, “I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction…to the land flowing with milk and honey.”  God promised this to our forefathers, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  He promises the same to us.  

God promised Abraham land, many descendants, and blessing.  He repeated this promise to Isaac, Abraham’s son.  And then he also gave the same promise to Isaacs’s son Jacob.  Because of this multi-generational impact, God is rightly known as the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The first three words of verse 16 are Go and Gather.  It made me think of the past week and what we are all facing with Covid-19.  How much have you ‘gone and gathered’ over the past week?  Have you been preparing for a longer “shelter at home” than the media is speaking about?  Obviously, many Americans have gathered way more than their share as grocery store shelves are empty of many items.  

Besides gathering needed items to physically survive these weeks ahead, I think this verse is pertinent for exactly where we are.  Go and Gather.  Yes, go and gather physical items you may need, but more importantly, Go and gather your people!  Obviously this will be a small group (under 10) in you home.  But, with the vast opportunity  of social media, gather people online.  Tell them the stories and promises of the Bible.  The stories where God brought His people out of trials.  God has prepared us for such a time as this.  Look to our heroes of the Bible and how God provided and made a way out for them.  

Wont he do it again??!!