Thursday, 24 March 2011


It has been an interesting study recently to look at the subject of sorrow in the scriptures. Don't worry, it's not too depressing! In fact the opposite is true, it has been a thrill to look into the scriptures and see a nice little study there to build some thoughts around. I've referred to 3 main references, but I am sure that you can develop these thoughts and refer to other different scriptures if you care to.

Glasses on Open Bible

The Origin of Sorrow - Genesis 3:16,17

"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow... And unto Adam he said... cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life"

Here we have the first mention of sorrow in the Bible, and it is here that we read of it's origin. It is inextricably linked with sin! Here we read about the fall, when man brought sin into the world and death by sin. But Adam also brought something else into the world - sorrow. God had created the world free from sorrow, it was never meant to be here! But now God addresses both man and the woman and informs them that sorrow will mark their lives from now on, because they had sinned. The word sorrow means "worry, labour, pain" what an awful combination! I am sure we can all testify to the awful nature of sorrow, I am sure that we have all felt it touch our lives at some point, some of us more than most. If only Adam could have known the awful ramifications of his actions, not just for himself but for the generations to come - the affliction of sin, the burden of sorrow, and the end result for all - death. Of course death itself brings sorrow, and we will lose loved ones, those that are dear to us and we feel the pain and sorrow and loss that this brings. For the believer we lift ourselves with the fresh reminder of 1 Thessalonians 4, that we sorrow not as others which have no hope, for we know that they are absent from the body, present with the Lord. Praise God!

The Man of Sorrows - Isaiah 53:3

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief"

Of course we can't think about sorrow without thinking about the Lord Jesus as the man of sorrows. Here in the Old Testament the word sorrow means, "anguish, grief and pain". Remember that the Saviour came to where we were - lost in ruin and in sin. He came to save us, to deal with the question of sin and to provide for us a way of salvation. We remember that in his life he was marked by sorrow, bearing the hatred and mocking of men. In order to save us he must be despised and rejected - the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief! But more than this, the next verse in Isaiah 53 would tell us that he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows - here we must surely picture Calvary specifically! We remember that in death too he was associated with sorrow, for he bore our sorrows and sin on that cross. The scriptures would tell us that he bore our sin in his own body on the tree, and the waves and billows of divine judgement passed over his holy soul at that place. Is it any wonder that we can apply the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 1:12 "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow" What sorrow was his! Surely there has been none like it before or since. Surely this encourages us as we pass through this world bearing the sorrows of our experience, that the Lord Jesus has been here and knew what it was to feel such great sorrow:

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

The End of Sorrow - Revelation 21:4

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away"

How wonderful to learn that there is a place where there will be no more sorrow! Even greater to learn that it is also the place where we are going to be one day as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has been preparing a place for us that will be completely free from sorrow, sin and suffering - all those things that were brought into the world by sin! How lovely that the Lord sees fit to reverse those awful effects of the fall, and gives us a place of eternal rest completely opposite to our experience upon this sin blighted earth - Heaven will be a haven, free of sorrow!

But also consider this, that it must be a joyous place for the Saviour as well. He was received up into heaven when he left this earth, he passed into the glory and perfect bliss of heaven where there is no more sorrow and suffering for the man of sorrows, only glory, praise and honour! What an awesome prospect awaits us all when we go to be with him... we recall the words of the Psalmist "in thy presence is fullness of joy..."

" 'Midst the darkness, storm, and sorrow,
One bright gleam I see;
Well I know the blessed morrow
Christ will come for me...

He and I, in that bright glory,
One deep joy shall share—
Mine, to be forever with Him;
His, that I am there."

Yours in Christ, Mark

Friday, 18 March 2011

Jesus of Nazareth (part 2)

The other day we looked at a few references to "Jesus of Nazareth" and learned something of his humility, his humanity, his grace and compassion. Today we conclude our little mini study by looking at something of the cross work of our Lord Jesus Christ as we look at the final couple of scriptures we have to think about.

"And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS." John 19:19

This is the superscription that Pilate wrote above the cross as John records it and it is appropriate that "Jesus of Nazareth", the name associated with his manhood, his humility and his rejection should be put above the cross. The Jews despised and rejected him, they did not want him, they cried "we will not have this man to reign over us", they would say "away with him, crucify him!"

The people had spoken, this was their estimation of the Son of God, the one who had been sent to seek and to save that which was lost! To them he was Jesus of Nazareth, the one they despised and rejected. We may also marvel that this Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was associated with such good works and compassion (as in the case of blind Bartimaeus  and Acts 10:38 would also link this title with his good works) and that had done so much good should now be found crucified in agony and shame upon a cross. It was this name "Jesus of Nazareth" that hung above the cross! The Jews thought that this was the end of it, that he was defeated. In actual fact he was finishing the work God had given him to do, here was victory not defeat!

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

"Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here..." Mark 16:6

These are great words indeed and as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we should love to read them! They are words that give us assurance, hope and joy. How wonderful that this title, associated with his lowliness, his humble earthly associations, his rejection and death on the cross should also be used in connection with his glorious resurrection! We thank God that he arose, and we wonder afresh at that great victory, a victory over death hell and the grave.

"Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!"

We also remember that on the road to Damascus the voice from heaven that addressed Saul of Tarsus was identified as "Jesus of Nazareth" the risen and ascended Son of God (Acts 22:8). So we have yet more to thank God for, not only did he rise from the dead but he ascended to the right hand of God on high! The rejected and lowly one who was found in fashion as a man, returned to the glorious position he had ever occupied with his father God in heaven. What a Saviour!

We bless God for his Son, Jesus of Nazareth whom we have come to know and trust as Lord and Saviour. I hope that this simple consideration of the title "Jesus of Nazareth" has been interesting and an encouragement to us as we have considered something of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ, Mark

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Jesus of Nazareth (part 1)

In our last post we looked at the word 'wonderful' in relation to the Lord Jesus and I hope this was beneficial to us all. Today we are going to look at that more familiar title of the Lord Jesus as referred to in the New Testament - "Jesus of Nazareth". I first looked at this about two and a half years ago and found it to be a lovely train of thought. Let us take a look at a few scriptures together.

"And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject unto them" Luke 2:51

We start here, at the beginning! This verse describes the Lord Jesus as a young boy going down with his parents to Nazareth, the place where he would live until the commencement of his public ministry when he would move to Capernaum (Matt 4:13). The verse struck me as it states that the Lord Jesus was "subject unto them", that is his parents. What a marvel that the Lord Jesus should be subject to anybody! Here was the very Lord of Earth and Heaven, the one who had created all things, and who upholds all things by the word of his power and here he is being subject to the creatures of his hand! The word means "to obey" and carries with it a sense of humility and meekness. What a lovely thought that the Lord Jesus should come into this world and be found as a young boy being obedient to his parents! How this must have stood out to the world, that here was a young boy who was perfectly obedient to his parents - how unusual! Of course we know that it was evidence of his sinless, perfect humanity - he could not sin, but it is lovely that the Word of God records that he was willing to take that lowly place there in that town of Nazareth.

"We saw thee not when thou didst come
to this poor world of sin and death,
nor e'er beheld thy cottage home
in that despised Nazareth;
but we believe thy footsteps trod
its streets and plains, thou Son of God!"

"can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" John 1:46

Of course Nazareth did not have a god reputation amongst the people of the

[caption id="attachment_108" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A view over Nazareth today"]Nazareth today[/caption]

day, particularly devout Jews such as Nathaniel! Remember that Nazareth was a town that was in the district of  "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt 4:15 or "Galilee of the nations" in Isaiah ch 9), so-called as there was a high mix of Gentiles with Jews in that area, and of course this caused it to be despised by the Jews. You can almost hear the scorn and disgust in Nathaniel's voice, but just moments later he was going to declare the one from Nazareth to be the very Son of God! Nathaniel had questioned whether "any good" could come come out of Nazareth, and he was to learn that the very best had come out of Nazareth, the greatest person that had ever walked the earth had come out of that despised place called Nazareth! Of course we believe that the Lord Jesus had ultimately come from the Fathers side, but nevertheless he faced opposition because of the earthly place was associated with. Also remember the fierce criticism that Nicodaemus faced when he dared to defend the Lord Jesus? "Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." Such disdain! This would remind us that he was despised and rejected of men, he would come unto his own and his own would not receive him.

"And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth..." Mark 10:47

Of course this reference is from the account of Blind Bartimaeus as he met the Saviour that day in Jericho. The scripture records that Bartimaeus reacted when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth who passed by. The one who the Jews despised because of his claims, his power, his authority and because of his humble background (in earthly terms) - it was this man that brought hope and cheer to the heart of Bartimaeus! It was in Jesus from Nazareth that he saw salvation and a solution - this man could heal him, and he was going to stop at nothing in order to meet him and seize his opportunity! We remember the faith that he showed that day, he believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of David, therefore proclaiming him to be the Messiah that should come from the line of David. Of course we remember that the Lord Jesus blessed him with sight that day, and this would remind us of our own experience with the Lord Jesus. We thank God afresh for the day that we met the Saviour! We praise him for that day when we made that step of faith and the man Jesus of Nazareth became so much more than that - he became our Lord and Saviour!

We trust these first few thoughts on this subject will have been of blessing and encouragement to us, and we will look at the last couple another time. Please feel free to make comments or suggestions on this subject or indeed any other, I will be pleased to hear from you.

Yours in Christ, Mark

Friday, 11 March 2011


VERY often when we think of the Saviour and look for words to describe his person, we use the word "wonderful". And we do well to use this word, for there are several "wonderful" references in the Old Testament that we will look at here that can be lifted from the context and used to hang some thoughts regarding the Lord Jesus Christ.

"his name shall be called Wonderful" Isa 9:6

What a start! It was foretold before ever the Lord Jesus came into this world that his very name would be called "wonderful". The word here means 'miracle' or 'marvellous thing' and what an apt description of the Saviour this is! The verse is in connection with his incarnation, and wasn't this indeed a miracle? His birth was indeed miraculous but surely of more wonder is the fact that God was pleased to be manifest in the flesh at all! That he should be found in fashion as a man - now that truly is "WONDERFUL"! I'm reminded of the chorus:

"His name is Wonderful, His name is Wonderful,
His name is Wonderful, Jesus my Lord!"

"wonderful knowledge" Psa 139:6

The next 3 references to the word 'wonderful' are by the Psalmist and we are going to freely admit to lifting them completely out of context and just use the phrase to apply to some thoughts concerning the Saviour. This verse would make me think about the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. As God we recognise that he knew all things, but there are a number of things specifically mentioned that the Lord Jesus 'knew'. We remember that he knew what was in man, he knew the hearts and minds of men, he knew their wickedness, their plotting and scheming! He knew who would betray him, and he knew that he would suffer many things and be crucified. And yet he came! I am sure if you or I knew that we would be despised, rejected and ultimately be killed in a certain place then we would do our utmost to avoid it, but the Lord Jesus still willingly came such was his love for us.

"wonderful testimonies" Psa 119:129

'Testimonies' in this reference would refer to the Word of God, and it's principles and precepts. This would speak to us of the spoken words of the Lord Jesus, which of course were the very words of God! We remember his wonderful words which would cause men to wonder at "the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth", so different and distinct from other men. They had never heard anyone speak like this before or since - "never man spake like this man!" His words were perfect and true, they showed the character of God and bore constant witness and testimony to the Father! We remember that here was one who could say; "I will, be thou clean"; "Peace, be still"; "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" and; "it is finished" Such wonderful words!

"wonderful works" Psa 40:5

We are not now thinking about his knowledge or his words, but on his works. The word 'wonderful' here means 'separate or distinct from'. What a good description for the works of the Lord Jesus Christ, which caused him to stand out and distinguished him from all other men! Who else could quell the storm, feed 5000 men besides women and children, completely heal the leper, cast out demons, raise the dead back to life, cause the blind to see and the lame to walk??!!

But surely his most wonderful work was that which he undertook at the place called Calvary. Like all his other works it was perfect, it was complete, it brought blessing to others, and it brought much glory to God! As we consider our 'wonderful' Saviour through this short and simple consideration let us praise God for him once again!

Yours in Christ, Mark

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Lord Jesus as the "Son of..."

Welcome fellow believers! I think it is time for a mid-week pick-me-up perhaps! Let's look at some thoughts concerning the Lord Jesus together.

As we read through the scriptures, we can see many different titles and pictures of the Lord Jesus, and in this little study we will look at those titles where he is referred to as the "Son of..." I looked at this last year and found that these titles each bring out a different facet of the Saviour's character, so I hope these simple thoughts are of benefit to us and once again cause us to glorify God for His Son.

An open Bible for study

The Son of God

What a tremendous place to start by thinking once again of the Lord Jesus as the Son of God! This truth is often refuted by the world (as it was by the Jews in His day) so we do well to remind our hearts of this and encourage ourselves in the enjoyment of this truth. The Gospel of Mark would commence with that bold proclamation - "The Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God" and of course this is something that John is particularly concerned about in his Gospel, in fact it closes - "but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Son of God". He was God manifest in flesh, he was co-equal with God, the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person - he was the very Son of God. We remember that God would proclaim from heaven:

"this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased"

Here was God's estimation of his Son, despite what men would say and do to him, God was well pleased with his Son!

The Son of Man

But equally, we see the Lord referred to many times as the Son of Man. If we were to write down all the references to this title we would see that almost all of the references are in connection to one of two ideas:

  • His Coming ("the Son of Man is come...")

  • His Sufferings and death on the cross ("the Son of Man must suffer...")

In either case it draws attention to the meekness and humility of the manhood of the Lord Jesus and his saving work in coming into this scene to die on the cross. We should rejoice in the fact that we have a Saviour who not only is the Son of God, but was willing to humble himself and condescend to coming into this sinful world, and here to suffer and to die on the cross! We remind ourselves of the words of the apostle:

"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. " Philippians 2:7-8

The Son of David

There are fewer references to this title but they are certainly beautiful in that they are used to illustrate the grace and compassion of the Saviour in his dealings with poor and needy souls. Remember that Bartimaeus would cry out in faith  "thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" Also the Canaanite woman would appeal to him on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter using this title, and again there was another occasion with two blind men and they once again appealed to him as the Son of David. This was faith on their part for they were recognising him as the Messiah that should come from the line of David, and the Lord would take time to deal with them and bless them in such a miraculous and tender way. We love to think on the compassionate nature of the Saviour who took the time to bless those who were needy, and how he has blessed us as sinners saved by grace!

The Son of Mary

Surely this title would remind us of the rejection of the Lord Jesus, and the disgust and indignation of the Jews as they would recall that he was merely the son of Mary, the carpenters son, the man from Galilee of the Gentiles! We recall the words of Nathaniel; "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Of course the scriptures would prophesy of him that he would be "despised and rejected of men" and that he would come unto his own but his own would not receive him. How sad that here was one who came from the mansions of glory, and they were privileged to come into contact with him, and they could have known him, the very Lord of heaven! But how sad that the Lord Jesus would say "and ye will not come to me that ye might have life".

He would be rejected and crucified at the hands of wicked men, but we know that this was not defeat but victory, as he would offer himself as a willing and perfect sacrifice for our sin, and accomplish the work that God the father had given him to do.

We started our thoughts by thinking of the title "the Son of God" and we close by remembering that the scriptures would say that "he spared not his own Son..." How lovely to think that God would give his very own son to die in our stead!

As we journey through another week, let us keep these thoughts in our hearts and offer praise and worship to God for his lovely Son.

Yours in Christ - Mark

Friday, 4 March 2011

Some "great's" - a short appreciation of Christ (part 2)

Today we are continuing in looking at the second part of our six 'great's' in relation to our Lord Jesus Christ, last time we looked at three in connection with his life and earthly ministry. Today we shall look at three in relation to his death, burial, resurrection and return to the earth for the second time.

"great love wherewith he loved us" Eph 2:4

Perhaps it should come as no great surprise for us to learn that his love for his people is also described as great. We remember that the scriptures would say; "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for this friends" John 15:13 We spoke about his love in some detail last week, but we do well to remember that great love once again! No love has been seen like it before or since, and what a marvel to think that we are the subjects of such a great, divine love, vast and immeasurable. It was a love that will neither diminish or wane! It was also a sacrificial love of course, a love that would take him to Calvary to suffer and die for us.

"why lavish love like this, o Lord, on me?
thou lovest me!"

"a great stone" Matt 27:60

[caption id="attachment_103" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="An ancient tomb complete with stone, possibly similar to the sepulchre where the Lord was laid"]An ancient tomb complete with stone, possibly similar to the Lord's tomb[/caption]

Subsequent to the death of the Lord Jesus we remember he was buried in a new tomb, the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. We remember that the Pharisees had good memories (seemingly better than the disciples!) for we recall that they approached Pilate concerning security for the tomb: "we remember that that deceiver said... After three days I will rise again" Matt 27:63 Of course Pilate replied giving his consent for an armed guard to be placed around the tomb and his final words on the subject are interesting: "make it as sure as ye can" How futile! They could not stop the Prince of Life from coming forth from the grave! They could not thwart the purposes or promises of God, no matter how 'sure' they made it! The great stone that bore the seal of man lay rolled to one side for all to see, that this Jesus had risen from the dead, just as he said he would.

"He's alive, he's alive, he's alive forevermore,
Jesus is risen from the dead!"

"And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory"

We praise God that the Lord Jesus did rise again and we thank God that he is returning once again to the sky first to take his waiting people home to be with him in heaven - this is what we commonly refer to as the rapture. However it is true that he is also coming for a second time to the earth - this time not in meekness and humility but as a verse states "in power and great glory". This time his purpose will be very different, not now has he come to die on a cross, but this time to resume his dealings with this earth and his people the children of Israel. We remember that this will be to establish his kingdom in what we call the millennial reign of Christ. What a time of peace and blessing this will be for the earth and for the children of Israel, and how sorely it will be needed! How reassuring and comforting to know that God is not yet finished with his people and his earth. Some would tell us that this earth is going to self-destruct in some sort of environmental or biological catastrophe but we know from the Word of God that this cannot happen, as the God still has a plan and God's calendar cannot be determined for him!

We trust that these few simple meditations will be a blessing to us and encourage us in the days in which we live.

Yours in Christ, Mark

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Some "great's" - a short appreciation of Christ (part 1)

As we pass through this world we can easily get discouraged as we hear the name of the Lord Jesus blasphemed and the things of God mocked and ridiculed by men and women. We do well to remind our hearts that the one they pour scorn on is actually the Great One that the Word of God speaks about! Let us recall a few scriptures together and encourage ourselves and think on the greatness of our Saviour...

"for he shall be great" Luke 1:15

This verse takes us right back to his birth and his coming into the world, and right from the outset it was foretold that the little baby born to Mary would be 'great'. Usually it would be very hard to say that with any degree of confidence about a little baby, but we remember that he was a great person (God manifest in flesh), he had come from a great place (the glory and eternal bliss of heaven) with a great purpose (to save his people from their sins). Little wonder the angel would say "for he shall be great..."

"great multitudes" Matt 4:25

Matthews gospel is the gospel of the great multitude, the phrase is used seven times in Matthew and only on two other occasions elsewhere, both in Luke's gospel. It would tell us that during the Lord's earthly ministry there was a period of great popularity when "the common people heard him gladly" and the multitudes would press upon him. This was a feature of the Lord's earthly ministry, there were multitudes of people that had a need and they saw in the Lord Jesus one who could meet that need. We remember that multitudes of sick folk would press upon him, whether he was in a house, in the streets or by the seaside - they came to him from "every quarter" and he would bless their lives in ways which had not been possible before. What a gracious and compassionate man he was, he never turned anyone away! As a practical side note, compassion and grace are surely characteristics that should mark every believer in Christ for it so marked out our Saviour.

"a great storm... a great calm" Mark 4:37, 39

a storm, waves crashing against the rocksWhat a magnificent account we have here in this portion, where the Lord Jesus demonstrated his great power as the creator God in silencing the great storm in an instant! What a comfort for us to know that the one in whom we have put faith and trust in is the one who can transform a great storm into a great calm, with just the word of his mouth. Knowing that as the storms of life come hard against our lives we have a Saviour who could stand on the deck of that ship being ravaged by the wind, with the crashing waves and the violence of the sea and surveying all this could utter "Peace, be still" and instantly the storm is silenced and a great calm replaces the chaos and violence of the storm. The Saviour offers peace with God in salvation but we can also enjoy peace as believers on a daily basis I believe, through a close walk with him and an appreciation of our position in him.

I trust that as we have reviewed these first three of six "greats" in relation to the Lord Jesus that we have been encouraged this far. Tomorrow we will look at the final three I have in mind, and I trust that this will serve as an interesting and profitable mini study.

Yours in Christ, Mark.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Believers Blog is 1 month old!

[caption id="attachment_97" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="the believers blog is one month old!"]Happy Birthday celebrations[/caption]

A few days ago marked the 1 month anniversary of the believers blog, and I was so busy I missed it! Never mind I thought I would mark the occasion by thanking you for your support and comments, and once again encourage you to spread the word about the blog to friends and family - we would love to see more visitors to the site!

Web traffic has steadily increased, but is still very much in it's infancy as we are only a month old and I am sure only a very small percentage of believers know about the site!

There is plenty more to come from the blog, I have still yet to launch a couple of ideas I have for the site, hopefully they will both be successful...

Above all I hope that what has been posted and enjoyed on the site has been profitable and that the Lord Jesus has been honoured and glorified in it all.

Yours in Christ, Mark

1 Kings 19: Elijah and God

I was listening to a podcast the other day which was speaking about 1 Kings 19 and it reminded me of how very relevant this passage is to ou...