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Love Christ through all the Scriptures  
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Reflection on John 18:1-27 2017-03-26 18:43:39

It was Passover, so the moon was full. The air would have been fragrant with the freshness of Spring, but the air near the brook Kidron must smell bloody, because on that day, all the Passover lambs were killed in the Temple and the blood was poured on the altar. From the altar there was a channel down to the brook Kidron and the blood of the Passover lambs drained away. When our Lord and His disciples finished the Last Supper meal and after He had prayed for all believers, He "left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley."  They went out of the city gate on the east side, went down the steep valley and crossed the channel of the brook Kidron which was still red with the blood of the sacrificial lambs. Would the thought of Himself being the true Passover Lamb be vivid on Jesus' mind?

Having crossed the Kidron Valley, they went up the Mount of Olives. On its slopes lay "an olive grove" which was called the little garden of Gethsemane. Only the wealthy people had their private garden on the Mount of Olives. So it must be some wealthy friend of Jesus who gave Him and His disciples the right to use the garden. "Jesus had often met there with His disciples" for peace and quiet time. Of course, Judas who already betrayed Jesus "knew the place" well. He had often rested there, listening with the other disciples to the Master's words. He knew this little garden would be the convenient spot to arrange the arrest of Jesus. "So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons." The authorities had trouble to arrest Jesus when He taught in public, for fear of the people who believed in Him. They were thrilled when Judas came to them to offer his infamous service of leading them to arrest Jesus. There is something astonishing about the force which came out to arrest Jesus. There was a company of Roman soldiers, together with the Jewish police force which were the "officials from the chief priests and Pharisees". A "detachment" could be made up of 200 men. What an expedition to send out almost an army to arrest an unarmed Galilean carpenter! But what a compliment to the power of Jesus! The Gospel according to John made it clear that both Jews and Gentiles were guilty of the death of Jesus who was about to die for the life of the world, the Jews and the Gentiles. "They were carrying torches, lanterns" to search for "the Light of the World". "They were carrying...weapons" to against the "Prince of Peace".

The other Gospels record how Judas kissed Jesus to betray Him. John does not mention Judas' kiss. John makes it clear that Judas is not the revealer but the betrayer, and rather that Jesus will identify Himself. It is not Judas' infamy that brings the success of Jesus' arrest. Rather, it is the Father's will. John also omitted Jesus' agonizing struggle in prayer and the disciples' sleepiness in Gethsemane, recorded in the other Gospel accounts. John kept the spotlight fully on Jesus who was fully prepared for "His hour" to win His personal victory on the cross in His Father's will. He would win without any help from man. Salvation itself involves no man's work. It is God's own work. 

When Jesus was fully prepared for the work of salvation, His disciples seemed deeply sleepy and did not notice the torches flickering through the olive trees and the feet tramping on the ground as the soldiers and officials reached the garden. Unlike His disciples, Jesus was fully aware of the soldiers' approach and took the initiative. "Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’" The soldiers and officials must have thought that they would have to search among the trees and in the hillside nooks to find Jesus with the help of full moon's bright light, plus the "torches, lanterns" brought by them. Far from hiding, Jesus stepped out and asked them the same question that He asked His first two disciples when the two followed Him for the first time. This question demanded an answer. The soldiers and officials replied, "Jesus of Nazareth". They referred to Jesus with His most humble and human name among all His names. 

Jesus stood alone, without weapon, as a man from an insignificant and small town in Galilee who is also God. He responded, "I am he". He used the most exalted and divine name "I am" to identify Himself. Jesus' self-identification produced dramatic effects. The soldiers and officials "drew back and fell to the ground. Judas the traitor (who) was standing there with them" must have fallen back as well. People falling to ground in the presence of God are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. Here the ones falling are Hi

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Karen的分享#20:跟车护航 2017-03-26 18:33:45








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Karen讲故事#77:士师基甸 2017-03-20 07:54:42


以色列的第五位士师基甸登台上场前,经上说,“以色列人又行耶和华眼中看为恶的事,耶和华就把他们交在米甸人手里七年。” 耶和华曾兴起远方的美所不达米亚人,近处的摩押人,土著的迦南人轮番上阵,欺压以色列人。这次,神兴起游牧民族米甸人来欺压他们,这个游牧民族说不定从哪个方向入侵,不易防御。

以色列人前面几次遭侵略时,好像还可以凑合着过日子,只需按时给侵略者上个供,送送礼就好了。这回可不一样,经上告诉我们,“米甸人压制以色列人,以色列人因为米甸人,就在山中挖穴,挖洞,建造营寨。” 有没有搞错,耶和华把祂的子民带到迦南流奶与蜜之美地享福,子民们竟然沦落到在山中打洞藏身的可怜地步。而且,“以色列人每逢撒种之后,米甸人,亚玛力人和东方人都上来攻打他们,对着他们安营,毁坏土产,直到迦萨,没有给以色列人留下食物,牛,羊,驴也没有留下。” 这些米甸人不仅自己过来随意抢劫毁坏以色列人的土产和牲畜,还招呼着别的族人一起来,还大大方方地明着抢,不屑暗中夺,索性“带着牲畜帐棚来,像蝗虫那样多,人和骆驼无数,都进入国内,毁坏全地。” 这多如蝗虫,密密麻麻的侵略者,加上他们的牲畜,抢完了还要毁,搞得“以色列人因米甸人的缘故,极其贫乏,就呼求耶和华。” 看见了吧,以色列人在一拨又一拨的侵略者手下的日子越来越难过,这回惨到要住在洞穴里,连饭都不一定吃得饱。日子过得这么惨,他们竟然还熬了七年才“呼求耶和华”。

这次以色列人呼求耶和华,耶和华没有像以前那样,马上给他们兴起一位士师拯救他们,而是先“差遣先知到以色列人那里”,对那些把神的话当耳旁风,忘得差不多了的以色列人说,“我曾领你们从埃及上来,出了为奴之家,救你们脱离埃及人的手,并脱离一切欺压你们之人的手,把他们从你们面前赶出,将他们的地赐给你们。又对你们说:我是耶和华你们的神。你们住在亚摩利人的地,不可敬畏他们的神。你们竟不听从我的话。” 这位替神传话的先知明确地说明了,以色列人拜假神,得罪了独一真神,所以一次又一次地受侵略者压迫。可惜不知道有几个以色列人知道,他们为什么一茬接着一茬地受罪。将要被神兴起的士师基甸就不甚明白,为什么以色列人要受这份罪。


不管怎么样,基甸这个卖力地在困难时期想方设法为家人谋福利的男人,听见耶和华的使者对他说,“大能的勇士啊,耶和华与你同在!” 使者称基甸是“大能的勇士”,是在夸他什么呢?那个时候,他充其量也就是个肯为妻儿卖命的男人,看来为家庭负责任的男人,在神的眼里是“大能的勇士”。当然,这个“大能的勇士”也有可能是预言他以后的光景。被称为“大能的勇士”的基甸,听了“耶和华与你同在”这句话,不太认同啊!他委屈地回话说,“主啊,耶和华若与我们同在,我们何至遭遇这一切事呢?我们的列祖不是向我们说,耶和华领我们从埃及上来吗?他那样奇妙的作为在哪里呢?现在他丢弃我们,将我们交在米甸人手里。” 基甸一点都没认识到以色列人拜假偶像才是他们受压迫的根源,反而埋怨神置他们于不顾,错的太离谱了!对于基甸在这个大问题上的认识错误,神没跟他理论,没准儿是因为这个问题的答案很明显,而且神已经让先知对以色列人说过了。其实,世世代代的人都愿意为他们受的苦难,跟神讨个说法,神难道没解释过吗?人们又何曾听得进去呢?

看着一肚子委屈的基甸,耶和华说,“你靠着你这能力去从米甸人手里拯救以色列人,不是我差遣你去的吗?” 神不管差遣谁去,都会把能力赐给这人。基甸此刻还真够有自知之明的,也可以说他够自卑的,我从他以后的表现看,不敢说他谦卑,只敢说他自卑。他回答说,“主啊,我有何能拯救以色列人呢?我家在玛拿西支派中是至贫穷的,我在我父家是至微小的。” 基甸没说他自己的本事大不大,他说他出身太卑微,背景不强大。耶和华对他说,“我与你同在,你就必击打米甸人,如击打一人一样。” 虽然米甸人多如蝗虫,在神眼里,击打他们和击打一个人没什么区别,这种能力,神也会赐给祂要差遣的人。

听了神的话,基甸不敢相信,他要确认一下,到底是什么人在跟他讲话,差他做事,看来基甸是个小心谨慎的人。他说,“主啊,我若在你眼前蒙恩,求你给我一个证据,使我知道与我说话的就是主。求你不要离开这里,等我归回,将礼物带来供在你面前。” 主说,“我必等你回来。” 接下来,基甸回家预备了山羊羔和无酵饼,把供物带来,摆设在神的使者面前。神的使者神仗引火,“烧尽了肉和无酵饼,耶和华的使者也就不见了。基甸见他是耶和华的使者,就说:‘哀哉!主耶和华啊,我不好了,因为我觌面看见耶和华的使者。’”  看来,基甸刚刚才确认了,跟他说话的是耶和华的使者,先前他并不确定的,所以他开始没觉得怕,没觉得自己“不好了”,因为他不知道自己亲眼看见了“耶和华的使者”。在他跟本就不认为对方是真神使者时,就轻易地将礼物带来供上,是不是拜偶像假神啊?那么他此刻怎么突然确定了,跟他说话的是真神了呢?这是因为只有独一真神是不需要人们的供应的,所以把供物烧个干干净净。而假神偶像们是对人们有所需求的,偶像和罪人们在互相需要的时候,会互相利用,偶像是不会把供物烧干净的,会留起来用。

耶和华看见基甸终于明白过来是谁在和他讲话了,也有了敬畏之心,就安慰他说,“你放心,不要惧怕,你必不至死!” 基甸听了这话,应该跟我们听了福音又相信的感觉一模一样吧!罪人被神免去罪的惩罚就是福音。难怪基甸马上敬拜神,给神“筑了一座坛”,表达他敬拜感恩之心。当天晚上,神就派基甸做事,神让基甸做的第一件事,不是“从米甸人手里拯救以色列人”,而是先从自家除去偶像。神要基甸出手

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