Friday, February 26, 2016

The Body’s Lamp (1)


 

Matthew 6:22
King James Version (KJV)

 22The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.


The Holy Bible says that we are to_ “Be full of the light of life so that there is no darkness in you. Have a “good” eye. Develop a personal commitment to the Lord and His will. The person with the single or good (“healthy”) eye is one whose intent is to serve God and not mammon (the money god, used here to indicate the whole system of materialism).  The person with the evil or bad eyes is selfish, covetous, and miserly.  The one’s life is full of light, meaning, and purpose; the other’s life is plunged into darkness, deprived of meaning”.  Verses 19-24

Interpretation


In researching the meaning of this parable, I discovered the following: Worldly-mindedness is as common and as fatal a symptom of hypocrisy as any other, for by no sin can Satan have a surer and faster hold of the soul, under the cloak of a visible and passable profession of religion, than by this; and therefore Christ, having warned us against coveting the praise of men, proceeds next to warn us against coveting the wealth of the world; in this also we must take heed, lest we be as the hypocrites are, and do as they do: the fundamental error that they are guilty of is, that they choose the world for their reward; we must therefore take heed of hypocrisy and worldly-mindedness, in the choice we make of our treasure, our end, and our masters.

So, what do we do?  Well, first we recognize that there is no shame in admitting to being ignorant in some areas of our lives.  After-all, what is ignorance? Put simply. . .’one just doesn’t know any better’. The shame is that after learning and acquiring the tools to better ourselves, we ‘choose’ to remain the same. Come on now, there is absolutely no reason for any of us to perish. We have the parables of Jesus Christ to guide us through life!

Matt. 6:24. No man can serve two masters. Serving two masters is contrary to the single eye; for the eye will be to the master’s hand, Ps. 123:1, 2. Our Lord Jesus here exposes the cheat which those put upon their own souls, who think to divide between God and the world, to have a treasure on earth, and a treasure in heaven too, to please God and please men too. Why not? says the hypocrite; it is good to have two strings to one’s bow. They hope to make their religion serve their secular interest, and so turn to account both ways. The pretending mother was for dividing the child; the Samaritans will compound between God and idols. No, says Christ, this will not do; it is but a supposition that gain is godliness, 1 Tim. 6:5. Here is,


In choosing the treasure we lay up. Something or other every man has which he makes his treasure, his portion, which his heart is upon, to which he carries all he can get, and which he depends upon for futurity. It is that good, that chief good, which Solomon speaks of with such an emphasis, Eccl. 2:3. Something the soul will have, which it looks upon as the best thing, which it has a complacency and confidence in above other things. Now Christ designs not to deprive us of our treasure, but to direct us in the choice of it; and here we have:

(1.) A good caution against making the things that are seen, that are temporal, our best things, and placing our happiness in them. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth. Christ’s disciples had left all to follow him, let them still keep in the same good mind. A treasure is an abundance of something that is in itself, at least in our opinion, precious and valuable, and likely to stand us in stead hereafter. Now we must not lay up our treasures on earth, that is, (1.) We must not count these things the best things, nor the most valuable in themselves, nor the most serviceable to us: we must not call them glory, as Laban’s sons did, but see and own that they have no glory in comparison with the glory that excelleth.

(2.) We must not covet an abundance of these things, nor be still grasping at more and more of them, and adding to them, as men do to that which is their treasure, as never knowing when we have enough.

(3.) We must not confide in them for futurity, to be our security and supply in time to come; we must not say to the gold, Thou art my hope.


(4.) We must not content ourselves with them, as all we need or desire: we must be content with a little for our passage, but not with all for our portion. These things must not be made our consolation (Luke 6:24), our good things, Luke 16:25. Let us consider we are laying up, not for our posterity in this world, but for ourselves in the other world. We are put to our choice, and made in a manner our own carvers; that is ours which we lay up for ourselves. It concerns thee to choose wisely, for thou art choosing for thyself, and shalt have as thou choosest. If we know and consider ourselves what we are, what we are made for, how large our capacities are, and how long our continuance, and that our souls are ourselves, we shall see it is foolish thing to lay up our treasures on earth.

(5.) Good counsel, to make the joys and glories of the other world, those things not seen that are eternal, our best things, and to place our happiness in them. Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. ...  to be cont'd






Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org
info@biblestoriestheatre.org


Thursday, February 25, 2016

LOVE and HATRED IN A FAMILY

BUT THERE IS HOPE IN A HOUSE DIVIDED


Proverbs 17:17 says “a friend loveth at all times and a brother is born of adversity.” God knew that there would be hardships, anger, jealousy, animosity, bitterness, and covertness.  These are emotions that have been around since the beginning of man so why should we deny that they exist in our families today?  We shouldn’t, but instead, admit that it is indeed there and seek GOD for the way to attack these emotions. Attack the sinful spirit with the Word of God, NOT the individual!  For the Bible declares that we do not fighting against flesh and blood, but principalities. All the above emotions are of the devil.  ANYTHING not of God is of the devil.  We must remember this when we are faced with differences in the family.  God does allow us to hate the sin. He guides us to “…be angry but do not sin.”

The Old Testament Bible tells of Love and Hatred in a Family over of over. Shall we begin with Brother Against Brother_ Consider Cain and Abel and twins Jacob and Esau; Cain firstborn, Esau firstborn.  Then there was Joseph, who was sold by his bothers; Son against Father (Absalom against King David); and there was the faithful and dedicated love of The Father to His Lost Son (the Prodigal Son); and Naomi and Ruth. We should always read and meditate on scripture.  Oh what needless pains we bear all because we do not take our burdens to the Lord.  O Let’s go to God's Story of (The Broken Family of Cain and Abel)...Two Brothers at War

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Cain was Eve’s first born son and a farmer.  His younger brother Abel was a shepherd.  We know what happen later; Abel killed Cain.  The ‘why’ is what happens in our families today? Yes, even murder.  Newspapers, radio and TV accounts are often telling us of this dreadful misdeed. Let’s examine what scripture tells us to be the state of mind of Abel to commit such a horrific sin against his brother.


There’s a possibility you’ve heard the same theory as I that; Cain did not approach God with an animal sacrifice (a blood sacrifice), and this is the reason God was not pleased with his offer. Well, Genesis 4 goes deeper to tell us that God knows the heart of man. Abel was a shepherd, who brought of the first lamb and its fat, and Cain a farmer, who brought fruit and vegetables.


God rejected Cain's offering not because the kind of offering was wrong, but because he was not right with God, a fact clearly demonstrated in the deliberate word order of verses 4 and 5: The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. God accepts Abel but not Cain. Abel came to God out of a broken and contrite heart. Cain's heart was not right. He did not have a genuine and proper relationship with God, as the next scene will go on to reveal (see vv. 7-16 and 1 John 3:12). Consequently, Abel's sacrifice pleased God, while Cain's did not. In short, Cain was simply going through the motions. 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. I find it interesting that there are times when it may seem easier to do as Cain, grow furious at the reproof, blame someone else (Abel), rather than acknowledge that his gift of bloodless plants and vegetables could never cover sin, repent and beg forgiveness. Instead he slew his brother in rage. We have much to learn from these brothers.

Fast forward to: 

(Genesis 37:3) “Now Israel loved Joseph…and he made him a coat of many colors.” The story of Joseph’s coat is interwoven into the world’s history of jealousy and envy. No wonder it’s called a monster.  Where ever these two emotions prowl there’s bound to be hatred.  But, even in the midst of this hatred there was unconditional and unwavering love.  Isn’t that awesome!  



I did a study of Joseph’s coat and discovered the following: The coat was an emblem of love. Joseph’s coat was a colored picture of a father’s love. It was made and presented, because it says, “Israe1 loved Joseph.”  Awesome!  But then there were the siblings.  What do you suppose irked them the most?  Was it because he was a dreamer and to them it might have felt like he was boasting of who he was to become, or do you suppose the hatred came at the presentation of a coat perhaps they deserved?  Hard to say, isn’t it?  I’m not a therapist, but I’d speculate that the hate that drove Joseph’s brothers to plot to kill him had festered for a bit. Do you suppose they simply woke up one morning and said “Today we kill Joseph?”  But while they were plotting to kill Joseph, unbeknownst to them God had destiny for Joseph.

And Joseph never stopped loving his brothers and father. The love that flowed through his veins was the same blood Naomi and Ruth share; the same love between the father and the Prodigal Son; and the same love that God showers upon us. Wouldn’t you say that through Christ we can do all things?  And that would mean love those difficult to love family members?  I know it can be tough sometimes, BUT if we say we love Jesus we can love anyone. He did.  However, as Christians, we all know that part of the answer as to why there is conflict in the family is a result of the curse of Adam and Eve. The Bible tells us that every single one of us has been born into this world in sin and iniquity. This is why Jesus had to come to die for all of us – because we have all sinned and have fallen way short of the glory of our God.




Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org
info@biblestoriestheatre.org



 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Budding Fig Tree

 32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.


This is a very short parable on understanding the “signs of the times”.

Christ looked to find some fruit, for the time of gathering figs, though it was near, was not yet come; but he found none. I think He made this fig-tree an example, not to the trees, but to the men of that generation. It was a figure of the doom upon the church, to which he came seeking fruit, but found none...The disciples could not think why that fig-tree should so soon wither away; but we know that all wither who reject Christ.

The fig tree was a common tree in Palestine and it stood out in the winter more than other evergreen trees with its bareness.  It was one of the last trees to leaf after winter, so its shoots were an indication of summer.  Jesus used an image from nature to illustrate a spiritual lesson and the point of the parable is clear.  As trees and seasons point to the future, so discernable events or signs point to the coming kingdom of God.

Jesus has said that in the last days there will be certain signs to watch for. These signs include the fact that you will “hear of wars and rumors of wars” and the scripture warns us “not to be troubled,” for all these things must come to pass,” (Matthew 24:5-7).


Jesus said in the same passage (Matthew 24:7), “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places.” There are many famines in Africa and starvation in other developing countries. Farmers are familiar with the locust and mice plagues that devastate their hard work. In recent times, we have heard of increasing earthquakes happening worldwide. “These are all the “beginning of sorrows” (v.8). They resemble labor pains the earth is suffering before the great and terrible Day of the Lord is birthed. The tsunamis, earthquakes, famines, diseases and viruses are all the “beginnings of sorrows”.

REFLECTION
Luke 21:29-33

29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  32 I tell you the truth; this generation [3] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

THE RETURN OF CHRIST AND THE END OF THE AGE

For the watching believer the indicators of the Lord’s return will be clear.  For believers, the cosmic disasters predicted by Jesus are a sign of hope and joyful expectation (“stand up and lift up your heads”) that the visible establishment of God’s rule (“the kingdom of God”) and the safety of believers (“redemption”) is near.  The Christian need not be afraid of the upheaval and turmoil of nations because history is moving to the climax that God has appointed for it. 

THE CERTAINTY OF CHRIST’S RETURN

It is important that believers understand that God keeps his promises.  The second coming of Jesus is certain.  Jesus stressed the absolute certainty of what he had promised.  It would be easier, he said, for the present universe (“heaven and earth”) to perish than for his “words”, or everything that he has said, to fail.  The universe will some day cease to exist (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1) but his teaching has absolute certainty, reliability, and lasting authority (Isaiah 40:6-8).  The early Christians welcomed one another with the greeting “Come, O Lord.” (1 Corinthians 16:22).  Every generation since Jesus has been faced with the reality of signs pointing to the end of the age.





Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

...also known as the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins


It is up to each of us to determine whether we will be wise or foolish; whether we will externally display our belief and obedience in Christ while inwardly and privately failing to comply; whether we will be able to enter into the Lord’s rest, or whether He will shut the door and say   “I know you not”. 

Hundreds of thousands of us today are in this position. Confidence has been dulled and patience worn thin. It is so hard to wait and be prepared always. But we should not permit ourselves to slumber. The Lord has given us this parable as a distinctive word of warning.

I read a commentary on The Ten Virgins_also called The Wise and Foolish Virgins that went thusly:  “spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant . . . the kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . Our lives must be the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living.”

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells a story about a party of virgins (perhaps bridesmaids or torchbearers for a procession given the honor of attending a wedding. Each of the ten virgins is carrying a lamp (or torch) as they await the coming of the bridegroom, which they expect at some time during the night. Five of the virgins are wise and have brought sufficient oil for their lamps. Five are foolish and have not.

"Those that were foolish took with them their lighted lamps, but had no more oil than that which was in their lamps; but each of the wise young women carried also a bottle of oil. It was night, and while they were waiting for the bridal party they all fell asleep. At midnight they were all awaked by the sudden cry, 'The bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet him!'

And the foolish ones said, 'Let us have some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the other young women said, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you too; go to those who sell, and buy oil for yourselves.'

"The young women who had no oil went away to buy; and while they were away the bridegroom came, and those that were ready went in with them to the feast; and then the door was shut. And afterward the other young women came, knocking on the door, and calling out, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'


 Narrative

Relationship to the Kingdom
Keep your lamp trimmed and burning.

The question of salvation or entrance into the kingdom is the subject of this parable. Preparedness is the response of faith which will enable one to enter the kingdom at the time of the Bridegroom’s unexpected arrival. The lack of proper preparation is the demonstration of unbelief which will disqualify one from the entrance and enjoyment in the kingdom.

In some of my studies, I’ve taken note that scholars stress the suggestion of “alertness,” but take notice of the fact that ‘all’ the ladies were asleep.

My personal belief is this: First, it is important to note:  The focus is not really on whether or not they had known a man, it is just that these are young unmarried girls.  Secondly, that the ten virgins were all “members of the Church”.  Having all received invitations to the marriage celebration, they each fully expected that they would be allowed into the wedding. Each presented herself at the door, readily waiting for the bridegroom so that they might enter in with Him.


Keep your lamp trimmed and burning is a gospel-blues song based on the parable. It has been recorded by such artists as Blind Willie Johnson, Rev. Pearly Brown, and Rev. Gary Davis (aka Blind Gary Davis).  It goes thusly: 

Our lamps are trimmed and burning,
Our robes are white and clean;
We’ve tarried for the Bridegroom,
Oh, may we enter in?

Finally, I will say this: in this particular parable the fact that the oil was a physical object of needed goods. This necessitated the purchase of the oil in preparation for the bridegroom’s arrival. Likewise, we have been commanded time and time again to store a year’s supply of food, water, clothing, and fuel to withstand and survive the great perils that will precede the bridegroom’s literal arrival.

Have we been listening and responding to the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Often I still find myself chastising my adult children about these famous words “I was going to do it.” We cannot say when we arise to trim our lamps, that we were not warned. We cannot say that we had insufficient time, nor funds, nor opportunity. We have all been warned of the bridegroom’s arrival, and have been adequately and repeatedly instructed as to what type of oil we must store in preparation for the event(s).  Let’s get ready.




Playwright Janet Irene Thomas           
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Monday, February 22, 2016

BIRDS OF PARADISE or FLOWERS OF THE FIELD

Matthew 6:24–33 (King James Version "KJV")


No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.




Name worry as sin.  We must discipline ourselves to turn from any anxiety, and choose to trust the Lord.

Compare Matthew 6:24 to the first two lines of verse 47 from the Gospel of Thomas:  47. Jesus said, "A person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows. And a slave cannot serve two masters, otherwise that slave will honor the one and offend the other.  

Be loyal to God. Forsake any ambition that compromises your commitment to God. 

So, what have we learned thus far?  NOT TO WORRYTRUST GOD! Oh, how I thank God with ‘all’ my heart for the ‘gift’ of clarity and understanding of His Word.  Once upon a time, it took work not to worry, didn’t it? Praise God that that old man is gone!

Here, in this Parable of The Birds of Paradise, we pick up where you left off with Jesus’ theme of single-hearted devotion to God and deals with the interconnected attitude of freedom from anxiety over daily needs.  He illustrates the worthlessness of worry by showing that it is unnecessary, unfruitful, and ″unbecomingto a Christian.  There is not quite any one sin against which our Lord Jesus more largely and earnestly warns his disciples, or against which he arms them with more variety of arguments, than the sin of disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of life, which are a bad sign that both the treasure and the heart are on the earth; and therefore he thus largely insists upon it. Here is,

I.            The elimination laid down. It is the counsel and command of the Lord Jesus, that we take no thought about the things of this world; I say unto you. He says it as our Lawgiver, and the Sovereign of our hearts; he says it as our Comforter, and the Helper of our joy. Hallelujah!  What is it that he says? It is this …and he that hath ears to hear, let him hear it. Take no thought for your life, nor yet for your body (Matt. 6:25). Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? (Matt. 6:31) and again (Matt. 6:34),

      II.     Meditation: What does "serving two masters" and "anxiety" have in common?  They both have the same root problem -- being divided within oneself.  The root word for "anxiety" literally means "being of two minds".  An anxious person is often "tossed to and fro" and paralyzed by indecision. Fear of some bad outcome usually cripples those afflicted with anxiety.  It's also the case with someone who wants to submit to God but also live according to the world's standards of success and fulfillment.  Who is the master in charge of our lives?  Our "master" is that which governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, controls the desires of the heart and the values we choose to live by.  We can be ruled by many different things --  the love of money or possessions, the power of position, the glamour of wealth and prestige, the driving force of unruly passions and addictions. Ultimately the choice boils down to two: God and "mammon".  What is mammon?  "Mammon" stands for "material wealth or possessions" or whatever tends to "control our appetites and desires".  There is one Master alone who has the power to set us free from the slavery of sin and fear.  That Master is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus uses the illustration of nature — the birds and the flowers — to show how God provides for them in the natural order of his creation. How much more can we, as his children, rely upon God's providential care?

God is utterly reliable.  In the Lord's Prayer we are reminded that God is our provider when we pray: Give us this day our daily bread.  What is bread, but the very staple of life and symbol of all that we need to live and grow.  Anxiety is neither helpful nor necessary. It robs us of faith and confidence in God's help and it saps our energy for doing good. Jesus admonishes his followers to put away anxiety and preoccupation with material things and instead to seek first the things of God — his kingdom and righteousness.  Anxiety robs the heart of trust in the mercy and goodness of God and in his loving care for us.  God knows our needs even before we ask and he gives generously to those who trust in him.  Who is our master -- God or mammon?


III.        "Lord, free me from needless worries and help me to put my trust in you.  Make my first concern your kingdom and your righteousness.  Help me to live each day with trust and gratitude for your providential care for me".

IV.         In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus addresses double-mindedness, particularly in the way people focus their thoughts and concerns on what to eat and what to wear, then spare some consideration for God. The people made food and clothing main concerns - instead, God should be their primary concern. Jesus was trying to tell the people: all they need to do is "seek first" the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness of God. If they do so, God will provide food and clothes for them as well. Consider this a promise from Him: if we love the Lord with all of our spirit and all of our mind, He will take care of us. 




Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Friday, February 19, 2016

The Wedding Feast (4)


                                  - Matthew 21

Recap. When you strip away everything from all the religions of the world, except for its basic tenant of faith, you with either find man working his way towards God, or the cross of Christ. The cross is the only way to salvation. Our wedding garment is Jesus Christ Himself, and unless we put Him on, we will miss the wedding feast.




Resume. For his crime against the king, the improperly attired guest was thrown out into the darkness. For their crimes against God, there will be many who will be consigned to the darkness. That darkness is existence without God for eternity. Christ concludes the parable with the sad fact: “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” This deals with salvation and its offer being available to everyone, but only a few accepting it.

Put on the wedding garment that God has provided to you. That garment is the salvation found in Jesus Christ by His atoning death on the cross for your sin. We are all sinners (see Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death” (see Romans 6:23). Physical death for all mankind because of the sin of Adam, which we all inherit (see Hebrews 9:27). Spiritual death which is eternal separation from God (see Revelation 20:14), and functional death for the Christian living with unconfessed sin in their life, preventing them from serving God (see Revelation 3:1).

With this garment, with Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will be attending the greatest wedding feast of all time and eternity - the wedding supper of the Lamb (Christ) mentioned in Revelation 19:7-9. The Parable of the Wedding Feast was a direct warning and pronouncement of condemnation on the Pharisees. The Parable of the Wedding Feast is also a message to us, to make sure we are relying on God’s provision of salvation, not our own good works or religious service.


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QUESTION 2
Answer | Next question

This parable is filled with much symbolism, as in all parables. Let us examine some of the symbols, and construct a "glossary", to help us glean the deeper meaning.

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son ..." Matt 22:2

1.Who is the "King"?
2.Who is the son?
3.Who is the bride?
4.What is the "marriage" (what does it represent)?   

ANSWER 2

In the parable, the King is God, and the Son is Jesus Christ. The marriage is an allusion to the joy that is possible for those who are the bride of Christ, that is, the church. All those who love Christ, and live in the light of His commandments are joined to Him, in His body, as a bride and bridegroom are joined in marriage.

"And wherefore is it called a marriage? One may say. That thou mightiest learn God's tender care, His yearning towards us, the cheerfulness of the state of things, that there is nothing sorrowful there, nor sad, but all things are full of spiritual joy: Therefore, also John calls Him a bridegroom, therefore Paul again saith, "For I have espoused you to one husband;" and, "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church."" (St John Chrysostom)

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"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, {3} And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come."                
           (Matt 22:2-3)

1.Who are these first servants?
2.How did the servants accomplish their task?
3.There are two "callings" mentioned, "to call them that were bidden." What are these two callings?

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The servants are the holy prophets, who proclaimed the coming of Christ by their words and deeds.
"And when were they bidden? By all the prophets; by John again; for unto Christ he would pass all on, saying, "He must increase, I must decrease;"7 by the Son Himself again, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you;" and again, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."9 But not by words only, but also by actions did He bid them, after His ascension by Peter, and those with him. "For He that wrought effectually in Peter," it is said, "to the apostleship of the circumcision, was mighty also in me towards the Gentiles."

The two callings darkly mention a deep mystery - how God is revealed to the human soul. Our salvation is corporate, and it is personal. Truly the breath of the Holy Spirit enlightens a man, but this does not happen to him in isolation, as he must also be part of a body, that is the church, and respond to its faithful teaching.

"If they were already invited, why are they going to invite them again? Learn, then, that each of us by nature has been called towards the good, for we are being called by the word of the innate teacher within us. But God also sends us external teachers, to call us from without, we who were first called by the word in our nature." 

For answers to the above questions, and a more in-depth study of the "The Parable of the Wedding Feast" click:

Remember: "For many are invited, but few are chosen."  Let’s choose today to be counted among those that are chosen.





Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Wedding Feast (3)


                                         - Matthew 21

Recap. The Pharisees and others throughout history have wanted people to believe that they were acting for their good while trying to achieve their own agenda; more often than not, an agenda that would place them above all others, an agenda that actually sought out wealth and power while the people they governed came in a distant second. John 11:45-53 is a most revealing passage pertaining to true concern of the Pharisees. It concerns the plot by the Pharisees to murder Jesus because of His popularity. Note verse forty-eight; note their primary concern; that the Romans would take away “their place.” For these type people, both then and now, murder is preferable to losing “their place.”





Resume. The city of both types’ people is destroyed. This speaks to the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation in A.D. 70 and to the destruction of the cities of the world mentioned in the book of Revelation. God is long-suffering and patient, but He will not tolerate wickedness forever. His judgment is well-earned by mankind, and it will come to those who have ignored His offer of salvation. Considering what that salvation cost Jesus, is not this judgment well deserved (see Hebrews 10:29-31)?

The invitation is then taken and given to everyone at the crossroads, to strangers both good and bad. This refers to the gospel being taken to the Gentiles. The Gospel message is available to everyone. This message was certainly not lost to the Jews, who considered Gentiles beneath their contempt (see Romans 9:30-33).


N
ow, when the king enters the wedding feast, he sees a man without a wedding garment. This would be a gross insult to the king. Considering the fact that no one invited from the street corners would have been expected to have had a wedding garment with them, it is evident that the king himself provided the garments for the guests. To refuse to put this garment on is insulting to the one who provided it.

This insult of refusing proper attire for the wedding feast would have been obvious to the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking, but this also refers to apostate Christianity. It speaks to those who are Christians in name only. To those who are depending on their own works, their own self-righteousness, to make them acceptable before God. This will not work (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Just as the king provides the wedding garments for the guest, it is God who provides salvation for mankind. 

To refuse this salvation is insulting to God because in this refusal you are treading on the very blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. When you strip away everything from all the religions of the world, except for its basic tenant of faith, you with either find man working his way towards God, or the cross of Christ. The cross is the only way to salvation. Our wedding garment is Jesus Christ Himself, and unless we put Him on, we will miss the wedding feast. ....to be continued





Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Wedding Feast (2)


                                  - Matthew 21
Recap. The wedding banquet was one of the most important and joyous occasions in the Jewish life and could last for up to a week. Christ compares Heaven to the wedding banquet that a king had prepared for his son. Certainly a royal wedding would far surpass that of a commoner. The mention of the oxen and fattened cattle having been butchered in vs. 4b indicates it is being prepared and will be fresh, a royal feast where the best of everything is available and plentiful. Indeed, Christ first public miracle was at the wedding feast of Cana in supplying an abundance of the best wine.




Resume. To the Pharisees, the sending of the first servants would have spoke of the Old Testament prophets, while the sending of the second set of servants is representative of John the Baptist, the first prophet in over four hundred years, and also Jesus’ disciples mentioned in the tenth chapter of Matthew. It is also representative of God’s long-suffering nature toward man. The invitation is an invitation to salvation, first offered to the Jews, who, for the most part ignore it, and then to the Gentiles.

Note that it is not because they could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come to the wedding feast, that some of the guest failed to respond to the invitation. This speaks not only the Jews, but to mankind in general who fail to seek out God. Everyone at one time or another wonders about the big questions of life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Everyone at one time or another wonders about the question of God, but we become so enamored with ourselves that we fail to seek the answers to these questions where they can be found, the Bible. We become so involved with the everyday practice of life that we fail to find its meaning. We take the path of least resistance and seek comfort. We answer those questions with what will please us, only to find that after a lifetime of trying to satisfy ourselves, we are never satisfied. That is because we live in time, but were made for eternity (see Ecclesiastes 3:11).

The rest of the invited guests who failed to respond to the invitation took it upon themselves to mistreat and murder the servants. While this describes the Jewish ruling class of the day, it also represents mankind at various places and times throughout history, Mankind who has made God into its own image and will not tolerate the truth. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (see John 14:6).

The Pharisees and others throughout history have wanted people to believe that they were acting for their good while trying to achieve their own agenda; more often than not, an agenda that would place them above all others, an agenda that actually sought out wealth and power while the people they governed came in a distant second. John 11:45-53 is a most revealing passage pertaining to true concern of the Pharisees. It concerns the plot by the Pharisees to murder Jesus because of His popularity. Note verse forty-eight; note their primary concern; that the Romans would take away “their place.” For these type people, both then and now, murder is preferable to losing “their place.” ....to be continued





Playwright Janet Irene Thomas
Founder/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts