Wednesday, October 01, 2014
In the NT meekness (prautēs and adjective praus) refers to an inward attitude, whereas *gentleness is expressed rather in outward action. It is part of the fruit of Christlike character produced only by the Spirit (Gal. 5:23, [AV]). The meek do not resent adversity because they accept everything as being the effect of God’s wise and loving purpose for them, so that they accept injuries from men also (as Moses above), knowing that these are permitted by God for their ultimate good (cf. 2 Sa. 16:11). The meekness and gentleness of Christ was the source of Paul’s own plea to the disloyal Corinthians (2 Cor. 10:1). He enjoined meekness as the spirit in which to rebuke an erring brother (2 Tim. 2:25, [AV] and when bearing with one another (Eph. 4:2). Similarly, Peter exhorted that the inquiring or arguing heathen should be answered in meekness (1 Pet. 3:15, [AV]). Supremely meekness is revealed in the character of Jesus (Mt. 11:29, [AV]; 21:5, [AV]), demonstrated in superlative degree when he stood before his unjust accusers without a word of retort or self-justification…
Connell, J. C. “Meekness.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 747. Print.
The third king of Israel (c. 971–931 bc), son of David and Bathsheba (2 Sa. 12:24); also named Jedidiah (‘beloved of the Lord’) by Nathan the prophet (2 Sa. 12:25). Solomon (šʾelōmōh, probably ‘peaceful’) does not figure in the biblical narrative until the last days of David (1 Ki. 1:10ff.) despite the fact that he was born (in Jerusalem; 2 Sa. 5:14) early in his father’s reign.
Hubbard, D. A. “Solomon.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 1116. Print.
What is a Disciple?
A disciple (from Lat. discipulus, ‘pupil, learner’, corresponding to Gk. mathētēs, from manthanō, ‘to learn’) is basically the pupil of a teacher. The corresponding Heb. term limmûḏ is somewhat rare in the OT (Is. 8:16; 50:4; 54:13; cf. Je. 13:23), but in the rabbinical writings the talmîḏ (cf. 1 Ch. 25:8) is a familiar figure as the pupil of a rabbi from whom he learned traditional lore. In the Gk. world philosophers were likewise surrounded by their pupils. Since pupils often adopted the distinctive teaching of their masters, the word came to signify the adherent of a particular outlook in religion or philosophy.
Marshall, I. H. “Disciple.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 277. Print.
What is God's Kingdom?
The kingdom of God is the major theme of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This concept, expressed in various ways, had been a central part of Jewish religious aspirations for generations. At the time of Jesus, it was popularly anticipated as a time when the promises of the Hebrew scriptures concerning the place of Israel in God’s plan would be fulfilled in a dramatic way: the hated Romans would once and for all be driven out of their land, and the people would enjoy a new period of political and religious freedom, and self-determination.
It is no wonder, then, that when Jesus emerged as a travelling prophet after his baptism and the temptations, and declared that ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand’ (Mark 1:15), people of all kinds showed great interest in what he had to say. This was what they were waiting for: a new kingdom of God that would finally crush the old kingdom of Rome. Moreover, they fully expected that they, the Jewish people, would have a prominent part in this coming kingdom under the leadership of…
Drane, John William. Introducing the New Testament. Completely rev. and updated. Oxford: Lion Publishing plc, 2000. Print.
Jesus spoke of ‘persecutions’ coming upon his followers (Matt. 5:10-12; 10:23). This is best understood as the domestic hostility in family and synagogue caused by conversion to a new faith. Jesus did ‘not come to bring peace, but a sword’ (Matt. 10:34), dividing households and causing financial and social loss to his followers. Because of their distinctive faith, Jesus’ followers might lose ‘house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, and lands’ (Mark 10:29). The problem is domestic: ‘a man’s foes will be those of his household’ (Matt. 10:36).
Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 772. Print.
October 1: The Real Reality
Ezekiel 1:1–3:15; Revelation 1:1–20; Job 32:1–10
John and Ezekiel open their prophetic books in a similar fashion—to prepare us for an unexpected view:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his slaves the things which must take place in a short time, and communicated it by sending it through his angel to his slave John, who testified about the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who hear the words of the prophecy and observe the things written in it, because the time is near!” (Rev 1:1–3).
“And it was in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, and I was in the midst of the exiles by the Kebar River. The heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of the king Jehoiachin—the word of Yahweh came clearly to Ezekiel the son of Buzi, the priest, in the land of the Chaldeans at the Kebar River, and the hand of Yahweh was on him there” (Ezek 1:1–3).
Both authors open with heavenly visions—God testifying to His people. Both place their prophecies in a particular setting, and both articulate their ideas during tragic, despairing times. We meet John on the island of Patmos, and we meet Ezekiel on a riverbank. But more important than where the visions start is where they take us: to a scenic overlook of reality, not as it appears, but as it is. God is about to reveal what’s really going on.
Prophets speak truth about what others cannot see and urge them to heed that truth. John and Ezekiel call us to something greater, something unknown. They urge us to act as if time were running out—because it is. It’s only a matter of time until Jesus comes again.
The visions of both these prophets declare that God wants to use us here and now for a grand purpose—one that we may not yet comprehend but that we must nonetheless embrace. Their message is clear: Our call may be difficult, but real reality demonstrates God working through the pain. He is bringing goodness into the world and into our lives. All we have to do is respond.
What reality is God revealing to you today?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.