Archive for March, 2012

“THE RAIN KEPT FALLING”(A Parable)

It has been my habit for a number of years to gather with a group of pastors and leaders to fellowship and pray for one another and our City. Recently, on one such occasion as we began to pray together, one of the men began to pray about “the rains falling upon our city”. As this prayer continued to go forth, suddenly! I saw a vision of rain falling all around upon roof tops with people sitting inside. As I began to pray about this vision, I had a second vision which was, as it were, a continuation of the first vision. In this vision, I saw the rains falling upon roof tops of buildings with people inside, but this time I could see that huge barrels had been placed at the four corners of the buildings to catch the rain water. As I began praying about this vision, the scene changed yet again. This time, I saw the rains falling upon roof tops with people sitting inside. Only this time, the people began to look outside the windows seeing and hearing the rain as it continued to fall upon their roof tops. In that moment, many began to step outside in the rain with their faces uplifted to the sky with joy and expectation. I felt to record the series of vision and later shared it with our congregation(without any initial personal comments). When asked, What impression,if any,they received from the series of vision? Wow! was I glad I did not initiate any personal observations. The insights and feedback was wonderful! I would have missed an enormous opportunity for the Body of believers to share their spiritual insights and perspectives. We all realized how much we were edified with each one sharing. I will not attempt to give everyone’s insights (They were varied and many), I will simply share a few of my own sense of the meaning of the series of visions.

THE RAIN FALLING ON THE ROOFTOPS

I sensed that the rains falling upon the rooftops with people sitting inside was symbolic of many of our present day churches. The roof speaks of the people of God inside under a roof of religion that provided shelter, safety and security. The only problem was that they were dry. The rains were falling (in answer to their prayers!) but unfortunately, they were too secure in their “traditional/familiar” modes to be affected.

THE RAIN FALLING, CAUGHT IN BARRELS

The second scene showed the rains continuing to fall upon roof tops, but with the barrels in place to catch the rain. I sensed that these barrels represented new ministries, perhaps a new generation of “no named” ministries. These are comprised of men and women, young and old who have cried out for the new rain. They are passionately aware that the rain is falling all around them. They,like the revivalist and reformers of old, must do what they can to capture the rain of God for a new generation. They may represent the unconventional “barrels” that have heaven’s transendent treasure inside. Church History has proven that God often has to bypass a former move to preserve the rain of God. Often the no named men and women become the forerunners and history makers of their generation.

RAIN FALLING, PEOPLE MOVING OUTSIDE

The third scene is perhaps the most encouraging. When the people inside the roofed buildings saw and heard the rain falling all around them they took a risk to go outside and experience the rain for themselves. No longer was there a concern about their outward appearance or their personal reputation…They desired to feel the rain of heaven for themselves. I’m reminded of how when the children of Israel had rebelled against God and His Word, that Moses pitched a Tent of Meeting outside the Camp so that all who sought the LORD God could meet with Him. We know of at least one young man who joined Moses in his quest for “face to face” fellowship with God…Joshua. He not only followed Moses into the Tent, he lingered after Moses left the Tent. Little did he know then that his “lingering in the Tent” beyond the Camp, would eventually cause him to be chosen to “lead” a new generation into the promised land. May we take the risk of lingering long enough in His presence to lead our generation forward into new territory in God. “Ask the LORD for rain in season of spring rain. The LORD makes the rain clouds, and He will give them showers of rain and crops in the field for everyone”(Zechariah 10:1 HCSB). “May He be like the rain that falls on the cut grass, like spring showers that water the earth”(Psalm 72:6 HCSB).

 

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher, Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content. Send all correspondence to:Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB(Pt.4)

“Do not weep. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David,has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose it’s seven seals. And I looked, and behold…in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain”(Revelation 5:5b,6a,b NKJV).

We concluded last weeks’ article with our Lord Jesus’ death. But as horrible as His mock trial, terrible suffering, and horrible death was, that was not the end, but the beginning! After three days in the grave…He arose. Sin had no claim on Him; the devil couldn’t defeat Him, and Death could not hold Him.

VISION OF HIS TRIUMPH

He appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos as the glorified Man of heaven. “I turned to see the voice that spoke to me…I saw seven lamps and golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like burnished brass…His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in it’s strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1: 12-19 NKJV).

Many believe that king David was privileged to see (prophetically) and record our Lord’s triumphal entry and the announcement of His return into heaven.

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates!  Lift up, you everlasting doors!  And the King of glory shall come in”(Psalm 24:7-9 NKJV)

JUSTIFIED

What does the resurrection mean for us? Christ, as our Passover Lamb, was accepted by the Father as a sufficient sacrifice for our sins. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life”(Romans 5:8-10 NJKV).  Please notice that Paul tells us that there are two distinct aspects of the Cross of Jesus Christ. On the one hand, we have been brought back to God through His death (Reconciliation). But equally true, on the other side of His death and resurrection we were “saved by His life”. In other words, we live by faith in a new principle of life–the Life of Christ living and working IN us.

GLORIOUS APPEARANCES

To attest to Jesus triumph over death, hell and the grave, John records several appearances in a physical body after His resurrection.  First, He is standing outside the tomb with Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18). Again, the first day of the week appearance as He stands in the midst of his disciples, shows them His wounds, and breaths the Holy Spirit upon them (John 20:19-23). Further, after eight days, He appears again in their midst, offering Thomas, who had doubts, to see and touch His wounds (John 20:26-29). Finally, He calls to Simon Peter (and his fishing buddies) to come and dine with Him.  Recall that He recreated the scene of a warm fire (Mark 14:67-72) in order to restore and re-commission a fallen apostle (John 21:1-19).  Simon Peter learned the meaning of forgiveness from God as well as his need to forgive himself.  This was as a result of His encounter with the Resurrected Jesus.

As we celebrate His resurrection of two thousand years ago, Let us be alive with expectation that He wants to be present in our midst today. “The Lord, your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing”(Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV). Let’s join Him in the Song of Redemption.  We really do have something to sing about.  “He is Risen!”

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher, Jr., All rights are reserved.  This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

CHRIST,OUR PASSOVER LAMB(Pt.3)

“And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin”(1 John 3:5 NKJV).

Of all the pictures given us by those who recorded the Gospel of Jesus Christ, none stands out more vividly than that of His arrest, trial and death. More scriptures regarding the coming Messiah will be fulfilled within hours of Jesus arrest than perhaps any other period of His earthly existence. The apostle Paul will pick up this thread of thought when he writes to the Corinthian believers. “Moreover, brethren, I declared to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”(1 Corinthians 15:1-3 NKJV).

HIS ARREST

According to all the gospel writers, the arrest of Jesus was totally bogus. Arrested in the middle of the night, after He was identified by Judas, His betrayer, for the princely sum of thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13;Matthew 27:3,9). This point is not to be overlooked because it in fact pointed to Jesus the Messiah portrayed by the Scriptures. His features were such according to the flesh that the Roman soldiers did not know how to identify Him without the help of a betrayer who knew him well. The prophet Isaiah wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him”(Isaiah 53:1-2 NKJV). Jesus was no modern day “rock star” or “Hollywood celebrity”. Outwardly, He was a normal Jewish man. But that is where the human comparison ends and the divine mystery begins. The apostle Paul wrote, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them”(2 Corinthians 5:19 NKJV).

HIS TRIAL

Although Caiphas, the high priest at that time, moved to have Jesus arrested and killed, it was all ordained by Father God that it be so. What men thought that they had “hatched a plan” to do to get rid of a religious “trouble-maker”, was necessary for “political” expediency (To keep in good stead with Rome-John 11:50) was all in God’s purposes. The apostle Peter preached to the Jewish people, “Brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ would suffer, He has fulfilled”(Acts 3:17 NKJV). Although many accusations were made against Jesus at His trial, not one could be corroborated by the testimony of witnesses…He uttered not a word. He had foretold His disciples of His trial, torture and death. This was to fulfill the Scriptures, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before it’s shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken”(Isaiah 53:7-8 NKJV).

“CARRY THE CROSS”

Jesus was made to carry his cross through the streets of Jerusalem on His way to be crucified.  Simon of Cyrene, an innocent bystander, was conscripted to carry Jesus’ cross up the hill of Golgotha. What irony…What a paradox. This African man helps Jesus carry His cross (because of his physical weakness due to His scourging) when in fact Jesus will carry the weight of our sins (and that of the world) on this very cross. “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”(2 Cor. 5:21).

HIS DEATH

The cross that was to publicly humiliate Jesus in His death, actually became a thing of wonder. He turned the “cursed tree” into a platform or pulpit to preach His final message of Father’s love. He not only was willing to suffer for us…He prayed for us (as the high priest did uniquely on the Day of Atonement-See Hebrews 7:17-28). Further, He shed His sinless blood for us. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins”(Leviticus 17:10). Ultimately, He gave up His life in exchange for ours. This is not only the message and meaning of the Cross…It is it’s invitation. The apostle Paul put it this way, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again”(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NKJV). The nails did not hold Jesus on the Cross…His love for you and me did. Why did Jesus hang there? In the words of Brennan Manning, Jesus was saying as He was stretched between heaven and earth…”I am dying to be with you”.

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher, Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content. Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB(Pt. 2)

“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted by the devil.”(Luke 4:1-2a NKJV)

Jesus had spent his first thirty years in relative silence and seclusion, living in the small town of Nazareth. He lived among his people the Jews and enjoyed a common life among his family and community. We saw in our last article the silence was broken with John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”(John 1:29). But also, the voice of His Father from heaven broke the silence of perhaps four hundred years, declaring “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased”(Luke 3:13 NKJV).

PROVING GROUND OF THE SPIRIT

After Jesus was announced and affirmed, he was driven by the Spirit into the ultimate proving ground…the Judean desert. The howling wild animals, the barren conditions of the wilderness, blazing sun by day, cold desert floor by night would have been enough to test his metal. But in addition to these bleak conditions…He was confronted by the devil after fasting with only water. And one more thing, humanly speaking…He was alone, no human comfort.

Fasting in the midst of aloneness. We in the West have all but lost sight of the place of fasting in our “spiritual” routine. And yet there is great benefit from fasting. The LORD moved the prophet Isaiah to write,”Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness; To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out? When you see the naked, that you cover him, and hide not yourself from your own flesh?”(Isaiah 58:6-7 NKJV). Was God the Father using this occasion of temptation in the wilderness to highlight Israel’s neglect of the poor and less fortunate? Was He not indicating that it was more than the Roman yoke of the oppressor that needed to be broken?(Jesus will later offer a “Yoke that is light and easy”, that will bring true rest from all weariness). Jesus teaches by way of His example that fasting is for today; it must be part of our kingdom lifestyle. It is not only good for us,personally, but fasting is a means of breaking the spirit of the yoke of oppression from others. He did not say, “If you fast” but “When you…fast”(Matt.6:16).

PURPOSE IN THE TEST

Why did Jesus have to go through the forty days of wilderness temptation? He was being tempted by the devil, but being tested by God. He was representative MAN. In other words, all that the first MAN, Adam, failed in while in the garden, Jesus had come to undo. Adams’ failure was in the most perfect environment, garden of Eden. Conversely, Jesus must face the prince of this world, not in the lovely setting of a garden but in the wasteland of a desert (Prophetic of the effects of sin).

ONE MAN

Jesus’ temptations were real in order to be acquainted with the very temptations Adam and every other “son of Adam” faces. He knows what it feels like to be tempted with sin’s ploys and Satan’s toys. John the apostle wrote that we were not to love the world and it’s shiny, alluring promises.  How will the worlds’ temporary joys and effervescent pleasures help us when we lose our own soul? Jesus was tempted in all points as we are(And Adam was) yet without sin. What does that mean for us? First, It is possible to choose not to enter into a cycle of sin and unrighteous behavior. “There is no temptation but what is common to man. But God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted above what you can bear. He will make a way of escape for you”(1 Corinthians 10:13). Second, although God allows us to be tempted, He does not tempt to sin. Satan is the Tempter.  But God will allow temptation to TEST us in order to BLESS us.  I’ve taken many a test or exam in the course of my life. But never did I take a test to fail but in order to PASS. Passing a test was in order to go on to complete the course, go on to the next grade level. In other words, God tests us with the goal in mind of a PROMOTION. So it was true of Jesus Christ, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many….For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans5:12,15,19 NKJV).

THE LAST ADAM

Jesus is the Last Adam, who sets free all who believe in His victory over all the schemes of the devil. The writer to the Hebrew believers sums it up beautifully, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage”(Hebrews 2: 14-15 NKJV).

 

© Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher, Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it not be altered in any way from its original content. Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB(Pt. 1)

“In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son…to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”(Galatians 4:4).

THE RIGHT TIME

“All roads lead to Rome” was a phrase used to express the intricate network of roads under the Roman Empire during the time of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. While this is a very interesting part of human history, it is even more remarkable when you consider that God chose this particular time frame in history to unveil the mystery of His redemptive plan for mankind.

Let us understand that “History is His-Story”. History is the stage that God uses to introduce “The Drama of Salvation”. Through the common language of Greek and common roadways of Rome   it set the stage for the Good News of Jesus Christ to travel quickly along these roads. Long before electronics, radio, internet technology, etc.  Men and women who had both heard and believed the Gospel message carried it along the Roman roads to other parts of the Empire while doing business.

PROTECTED FROM THE ENEMY

Jesus was born during the time of the Roman Empire; a rule that proved very oppressive to the Jewish community in particular because of their desire to maintain their distinct culture and freely practice their Jewish religion.

He was kept safe, away from the attempt by Herod to snuff out his life while a young child. A genecide, ordered by Herod fulfilled the words of the prophet, “Rachel weeping for her children,and would not be comforted, because they are no more”(Matthew 2:18).

Joseph and Mary protected and raised Jesus during his early years. Jesus learned the trade of carpentry, being raised through early manhood in the town of Nazareth. This gives us a little insight into those silent years. He lived a normal, poor villagers’ life, among the common people. He experienced their hard aches, joys and struggles as a normal Jewish young man.  Further, we also know from the scriptures that he had brothers and sisters, who only saw him as a normal “Older brother”. He was normal without a glowing halo to point to his divine nature. The only hint recorded was when at the age of twelve he was found in the temple asking and answering questions among the religious leaders of his day. To Mary & Joseph, he replies “How is it that you did not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”(Luke 2:49)

BREAKING THE SILENCE

At the age of thirty, while Jesus came stepping into the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist, the silence was broken. It was broken in a two-fold manner. First in the earth, by John when he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”(John 1:29). Again, the silence was broken from heaven. “As Jesus was coming up out of the waters of baptism, while praying the heavens were open and the Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved son in whom, I’m well pleased'”(Matthew 3:17).

The Father’s Affirmation

What that must have meant to the Lord Jesus we can only speculate. But in an age when there has been so much lack of “fathering”…Having His true Father’s affirmation would have been wonderful. Not only was it no doubt exhilarating but absolutely necessary for the temptations He was about to pass through. He is about to be tested as never before in the Judean Wilderness.

The Father’s affirmation fortified him against the cold desert nights, the forty days of hunger, and the relentless pressure and temptation to deny his very soul’s identity…”If you are the Son of God…”(Luke 4:3).  Like never before we need to hear the voice of a father (and ultimately our heavenly Father) assure us of how much they love us as sons and are proud that we are their sons. Like the Lord Jesus, this must go beyond performance. It must help establish our true identity as sons of the living God, whereby we cry by the Spirit of God, Abba, Father!”(Galatians 4:6)

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher,Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB(Pt. 1)

“In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son…to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”(Galatians 4:4).

THE RIGHT TIME

“All roads lead to Rome” was a phrase used to express the intricate network of roads under the Roman Empire during the time of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. While this is a very interesting part of human history, it is even more remarkable when you consider that God chose this particular time frame in history to unveil the mystery of His redemptive plan for mankind.

Let us understand that “History is His-Story”. History is the stage that God uses to introduce “The Drama of Salvation”. Through the common language of Greek and common roadways of Rome   it set the stage for the Good News of Jesus Christ to travel quickly along these roads. Long before electronics, radio, internet technology, etc.  Men and women who had both heard and believed the Gospel message carried it along the Roman roads to other parts of the Empire while doing business.

PROTECTED FROM THE ENEMY

Jesus was born during the time of the Roman Empire; a rule that proved very oppressive to the Jewish community in particular because of their desire to maintain their distinct culture and freely practice their Jewish religion.

He was kept safe, away from the attempt by Herod to snuff out his life while a young child. A genecide, ordered by Herod fulfilled the words of the prophet, “Rachel weeping for her children,and would not be comforted, because they are no more”(Matthew 2:18).

Joseph and Mary protected and raised Jesus during his early years. Jesus learned the trade of carpentry, being raised through early manhood in the town of Nazareth. This gives us a little insight into those silent years. He lived a normal, poor villagers’ life, among the common people. He experienced their hard aches, joys and struggles as a normal Jewish young man.  Further, we also know from the scriptures that he had brothers and sisters, who only saw him as a normal “Older brother”. He was normal without a glowing halo to point to his divine nature. The only hint recorded was when at the age of twelve he was found in the temple asking and answering questions among the religious leaders of his day. To Mary & Joseph, he replies “How is it that you did not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”(Luke 2:49)

BREAKING THE SILENCE

At the age of thirty, while Jesus came stepping into the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist, the silence was broken. It was broken in a two-fold manner. First in the earth, by John when he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”(John 1:29). Again, the silence was broken from heaven. “As Jesus was coming up out of the waters of baptism, while praying the heavens were open and the Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved son in whom, I’m well pleased'”(Matthew 3:17).

The Father’s Affirmation

What that must have meant to the Lord Jesus we can only speculate. But in an age when there has been so much lack of “fathering”…Having His true Father’s affirmation would have been wonderful. Not only was it no doubt exhilarating but absolutely necessary for the temptations He was about to pass through. He is about to be tested as never before in the Judean Wilderness.

The Father’s affirmation fortified him against the cold desert nights, the forty days of hunger, and the relentless pressure and temptation to deny his very soul’s identity…”If you are the Son of God…”(Luke 4:3).  Like never before we need to hear the voice of a father (and ultimately our heavenly Father) assure us of how much they love us as sons and are proud that we are their sons. Like the Lord Jesus, this must go beyond performance. It must help establish our true identity as sons of the living God, whereby we cry by the Spirit of God, Abba, Father!”(Galatians 4:6)

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher,Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB(Pt. 1)

“In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son…to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”(Galatians 4:4).

THE RIGHT TIME

“All roads lead to Rome” was a phrase used to express the intricate network of roads under the Roman Empire during the time of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. While this is a very interesting part of human history, it is even more remarkable when you consider that God chose this particular time frame in history to unveil the mystery of His redemptive plan for mankind.

Let us understand that “History is His-Story”. History is the stage that God uses to introduce “The Drama of Salvation”. Through the common language of Greek and common roadways of Rome   it set the stage for the Good News of Jesus Christ to travel quickly along these roads. Long before electronics, radio, internet technology, etc.  Men and women who had both heard and believed the Gospel message carried it along the Roman roads to other parts of the Empire while doing business.

PROTECTED FROM THE ENEMY

Jesus was born during the time of the Roman Empire; a rule that proved very oppressive to the Jewish community in particular because of their desire to maintain their distinct culture and freely practice their Jewish religion.

He was kept safe, away from the attempt by Herod to snuff out his life while a young child. A genecide, ordered by Herod fulfilled the words of the prophet, “Rachel weeping for her children,and would not be comforted, because they are no more”(Matthew 2:18).

Joseph and Mary protected and raised Jesus during his early years. Jesus learned the trade of carpentry, being raised through early manhood in the town of Nazareth. This gives us a little insight into those silent years. He lived a normal, poor villagers’ life, among the common people. He experienced their hard aches, joys and struggles as a normal Jewish young man.  Further, we also know from the scriptures that he had brothers and sisters, who only saw him as a normal “Older brother”. He was normal without a glowing halo to point to his divine nature. The only hint recorded was when at the age of twelve he was found in the temple asking and answering questions among the religious leaders of his day. To Mary & Joseph, he replies “How is it that you did not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”(Luke 2:49)

BREAKING THE SILENCE

At the age of thirty, while Jesus came stepping into the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist, the silence was broken. It was broken in a two-fold manner. First in the earth, by John when he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”(John 1:29). Again, the silence was broken from heaven. “As Jesus was coming up out of the waters of baptism, while praying the heavens were open and the Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved son in whom, I’m well pleased'”(Matthew 3:17).

The Father’s Affirmation

What that must have meant to the Lord Jesus we can only speculate. But in an age when there has been so much lack of “fathering”…Having His true Father’s affirmation would have been wonderful. Not only was it no doubt exhilarating but absolutely necessary for the temptations He was about to pass through. He is about to be tested as never before in the Judean Wilderness.

The Father’s affirmation fortified him against the cold desert nights, the forty days of hunger, and the relentless pressure and temptation to deny his very soul’s identity…”If you are the Son of God…”(Luke 4:3).  Like never before we need to hear the voice of a father (and ultimately our heavenly Father) assure us of how much they love us as sons and are proud that we are their sons. Like the Lord Jesus, this must go beyond performance. It must help establish our true identity as sons of the living God, whereby we cry by the Spirit of God, Abba, Father!”(Galatians 4:6)

(c) Copyright 2012, Walter Fletcher,Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com