“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
As we read the works of nineteenth-century atheists, we find that they were not particularly concerned to prove that God does not exist. These atheists tacitly assumed God’s nonexistence. Instead, they said that after the Enlightenment, now that we know there is no God, how can we account for the almost universal presence of religion? If God doesn’t exist and human religion is not a response to the existence of God, why is it that man seems to be incurably homo religiosus—that man in all of his cultures seems to be incurably religious? If there’s no God, why is there religion?
One of the most popular and famous answers was the argument offered by Sigmund Freud. As a psychiatrist, Freud knew that people are afraid of lots of different things. Such fears are understandable, as there are all kinds of things in our world that represent a clear and present danger to our well-being. Other people can rise up individually in anger and try to murder us, or they may unite and attack us on a grand scale in warfare. But in addition to the human sphere of fear and danger, there’s also the impersonal realm of nature, particularly in previous ages when people did not have the protection against the natural world that we enjoy in this world of modern technology. Though natural terrors still strike us with fear at times, in the past people were exposed in a greater way to storms, famines, and floods. When diseases such as cholera or the plague could wipe out entire populations, life seemed more fragile and nature seemed more threatening.
Today we perceive that science has the responsibility of somehow taming the unruly forces of nature such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and fires. And in many ways, science has been successful in helping us prevent natural disasters from doing their worst and in helping us recover quickly after nature assaults us. But, Freud said, the ancient man’s dilemma was how to deal with these things when their destructive impacts were much worse and harder to recover from. You can talk to a human attacker, sign a peace treaty with a foreign power, or otherwise negotiate your safety with people who might threaten you, but how do you bargain with disease, storms, or earthquakes? These forces of nature are impersonal. They don’t have ears to hear. They don’t have hearts to which we can appeal. They have no emotions.
So, Freud argued, religion emerged as humans personalized nature and made it something they could negotiate with. Human beings invented the idea that natural disasters were inhabited by personal spirits: a storm god, an earthquake god, a fire god, and gods related to various sicknesses. These gods wielded natural forces to cause disaster. Having personalized these dangers, human beings could apply the techniques that we use to negotiate with personal hostile forces to the impersonal forces of nature. We could, for example, plead with the storm god, pray to the storm god, make sacrifices to the storm god, repent before the storm god in order to remove the threat. Eventually, human beings consolidated all the gods into one single deity who was in control over all these forces of nature and then pleaded with him.
I’m fascinated by Freud’s argument because it’s a reasonable explanation for how people could become religious. It is possible, theoretically, that there could still be religion even if there were no God. We know that we are capable of imagining things that don’t really exist. In fact, the Bible is replete with criticism of false religion that invents idols.
Yet there’s a difference between possibility and actuality. That what Freud said is possible doesn’t mean that it actually happened that way. The major hole in his theory is this: If Freud’s theory is true, why, then, was the God of the Bible “invented”? This holy God, we see in Scripture, inspires far greater trauma in those whom He encounters than any natural disaster. We see, for example, how even righteous Isaiah was completely undone by meeting the God of Israel face-to-face (Isa. 6:1–7). Well-meaning Uzzah was struck dead when trying to steady the ark of this holy God (2 Sam. 6:5–10). Peter, James, and John at first saw the revelation of Christ’s deity and their hearing of the Father’s voice not as a blessing but as a terror (Matt. 17:1–8).
Why, to redeem us from the threat of trauma, would we invent a God whose character is infinitely more threatening than anything else we fear? I can see humanity inventing a benevolent god or even a bad god who is easily appeased. But would we invent a holy God? Where does that come from? For there is nothing in the universe more terrifying, more threatening to a person’s sense of security and well-being than the holiness of God. What we see throughout the Scriptures is that God rules over all of the threatening forces that we fear. But this same God, in and of Himself, frightens us more than any of these other things. We understand that nothing poses a greater threat to our well-being than the holiness of God. Left to ourselves, none of us would invent the God of the Bible, the being who is a threat to our sense of security more primal and more fundamental than any act of nature.
Martin Luther and the other Reformers understood the holy character of this God. For them, the recovery of the gospel was such good news because they knew the trauma of holiness and that the only way to endure the presence of this holy God’s judgment is to be covered in the holiness and righteousness of Christ. Five hundred years after the Protestant Reformation, the church desperately needs men and women who understand the trauma of God’s holiness, for in understanding that holiness we see that the gospel is the only thing that can give us confidence that when we meet this God face-to-face, His holiness will embrace us and not cast us into eternal judgment. May God in His grace grant to all of us a renewed vision of His majestic holiness.
This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.
God Gave All His Love in a Lump Psalm 136; 1 John 3:1; 4:9–10, 19
My brothers, when God first began to love you, he gave you all that he ever meant to give you in the lump, and eternity of time is that in which he is retailing of it out.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
He Who Complains, Sins Exodus 16:2; Numbers 11:1; Jonah 4:1–2; Philippians 2:14; James 5:9
Complain as little as possible of the wrongs done to you; for, commonly speaking, he who complains, sins, because self-love magnifies the injuries done us, and makes us believe them greater than they really are.
FRANCIS DE SALES
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
A common claim among critics of Christianity is that early Christian doctrine was a bit of a mess. What we believe now—about the incarnation, divinity of Jesus, etc.—was a late development within the early Christian movement. And, so the implication goes, the earliest Christians did not necessarily believe the same things as later Christians.
Even so, I think we can see the seeds of many of our core doctrines at a remarkably early point. Yes, it took time to develop these ideas. But it doesn’t seem like they were late impositions on the church as is so often claimed.
A good example of this phenomenon is an amazing paragraph in one of our earliest Christian apologies. Aristides, a converted Athenian philosopher, wrote an apology to emperor Hadrian around 125 A.D. As such, it is one of the earliest patristic writings we possess. It is a lengthy treatise which compares the God of Christianity with the gods of the barbarians, the Egyptians, and the Greeks.
But, at one point, he summarizes what Christians believe in a manner that would rival even the Apostle’s Creed:
The Christians, then, trace the beginning of their religion from Jesus the Messiah; and he is named the Son of God Most High. And it is said that God came down from heaven, and from a Hebrew virgin assumed and clothed himself with flesh; and the Son of God lived in a daughter of man. This is taught in the gospel, as it is called, which a short time was preached among them; and you also if you will read therein, may perceive the power which belongs to it. This Jesus, then, was born of the race of the Hebrews; and he had twelve disciples in order that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished. But he himself was pierced by the Jews, and he died and was buried; and they say that after three days he rose and ascended to heaven (Apol. 2, Syriac).
Aristides makes it clear that Christians affirm a number of key truths:
1. The divinity of Jesus: “God came down from heaven…” In the mind of Aristides, Jesus is not an angel, or a semi-divine being, but the very God of heaven itself.
2. The incarnation: “clothed himself with flesh.” In very vivid language, the author affirms that Jesus is God enfleshed; he took upon himself a real human body (contra the Docetists).
3. The virgin birth: “from a Hebrew virgin.” This doctrine flows naturally from the prior two. If Jesus is God, and he took on human flesh, then his conception would be distinctive from other human beings.
4. The authority of the Gospels: “taught in the gospel…and you also if you read therein, may perceive the power which belongs to it.” Notice for Aristides, there are books called a “gospel” which you can “read” to learn more about the person of Jesus. Moreover, these gospels contain a certain “power” which the reader can discern.
5. The authority of the apostles: “and he had twelve disciples.” Aristides recognizes that Jesus had an authority structure through the twelve that was necessary “so that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished.”
6. His death on the cross: “pierced by the Jews.” This is a clear reference to Jesus’ crucifixion under Pontius Pilate at the request of the Jewish leadership.
7. His resurrection: “after three days he rose.” Jesus did not stay in the grave but was raised from the dead.
8. His ascension: “ascended into heaven.” Jesus returned to his former heavenly home, in a position of power and glory.
This is a surprisingly thorough and wide-ranging summary of core Christian doctrines at a very early point in the life of the church. And it was this form of Christianity that was publicly presented to the Emperor. Once again, we can see that core Christian beliefs were not latecomers that were invented in the fourth century (or later), but appear to have been in place from the very beginning.
We do not fully grasp Christ’s love for us. How could we? A divine love that sacrificed a face-to-face relationship with the Father (John 1:1)—who can comprehend? A heavenly love that incarnated itself in the frailty of created man (2 Corinthians 8:9)—who can plumb? An eternal love that chose death, suffering, and wrath for the sake of sinners—who can fathom?
Christ’s love is too wonderful to fully appreciate and too vast to wrap our minds around. His love reaches the heavens and tunnels into the unknown (Ephesians 3:18). And yet, “to know the love of Christ” for us—even though it “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19)—is what spurs our love for Him (1 John 4:19). Comprehending the incomprehensible is what undergirds all praise (Psalm 63:9), relieves all doubt (Romans 5:10), and removes all fear (Romans 8:35-39). Only Christ’s love can satisfy our soul (Psalm 63:10), free us from self-centered drive (Ephesians 5:2), and compel us to live for His Gospel (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Though we will never fully plumb the love Christ has for His own, we must still try. And treasure what we find.A Loving Savior and His Troubled Soul
As John 11:33 opens, Jesus arrives in Bethany, ending the four days of silence, questions, and confusion that Mary and Martha experienced at the death of their brother, Lazarus. If you know this story, you know what Jesus is about to do: He will wield His power over the grave, reach into Sheol, and snatch a friend from death’s grip. The Lord of life is about to conquer the king of terrors. The Master of the grave will soon empty Lazarus’ tomb.
That is why Jesus’ emotional response in verse 33 comes out of nowhere. John tells us that Jesus “was troubled” (ταράσσω) as He eyed Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus is shaken, disturbed by what He sees. There is a heaviness upon His soul. One translator put it this way: “Jesus gave way to such distress of spirit as made his body tremble.” The always calm Jesus is now agitated, even horrified. His bones tremor at the sight.
Compare this reaction to what Jesus commands His Apostles in John 14:1: “Do not let your heart be troubled[ταράσσω]” (John 14:1). But here, what Jesus commands His Apostles not to be, He is. The one who once slept soundly while a storm raged around Him now churns on the inside. The one who stood boldly before the demonic realm is distressed, unnerved, distraught—in a state of spiritual agitation that causes tears to stream down Jesus’ face in verse 35; “Jesus wept.”
We must ask why: Why is Jesus weeping? Why is God’s Son experiencing such inner turmoil? We must ask what: What could shock incarnate God to the point of tears? What is disturbing His tranquil soul?
We know it’s not the loss of Lazarus because Jesus will rectify that in a few minutes. It’s not the sorrow of Mary and Martha because Jesus will soon give their brother back.
We are told in verse 36, “The Jews were saying, ‘See how He loved him!’” (John 11:36). Jesus trembled because He loved; He wept because He cared. What the crowd said was true—but the love that the crowd had in mind did not even scratch the surface of the love Jesus had for Lazarus.
A Weeping Savior Because of His Coming Cross
The crowd thought Jesus wept because He arrived too late to save a friend. They thought He cried because He would not see Lazarus again. This is why “some of them said, ‘Could not [Jesus]…have kept this man from also dying?’” (John 11:38).
But Jesus was not weeping because He would never see Lazarus again. No, He shed tears because He knew He would see Lazarus again. Jesus wept, not because Lazarus died, but because He was about to call Lazarus from the grave.
As Jesus stood before Lazarus’ tomb, He trembled because He sawHis demise. This is why John describes Lazarus’ and Jesus’ tomb with eerie similarities (compare John 11:38, 44 with 19:38, 40; 20:1).
Lazarus’ tomb was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ fate—and it startled Jesus like never before. Jesus knew what must be done if He was to conquer Lazarus’ death: For Lazarus to rise, He must die.
He must pay the required cost to fix sin’s rupture, break death’s chains, and satisfy God’s wrath. As Mark Jones wrote, “Jesus knew that if Lazarus were to come out of the grave, then He Himself must enter it. No wonder ‘Jesus wept.’”
And we know the cross caused Jesus to tremble because each time ταράσσω is used in John’s gospel, with reference to Jesus, it is always because of His coming death.
John 12:27 – “My soul has become troubled [ταράσσω]; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.”
John 13:18, 21 – “I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me’…When Jesus had said this, He became troubled [ταράσσω] in spirit.”
Christ’s commitment to our salvation caused His tears to flow. Love shook His soul. He was forsaken and crushed because He loved (Psalm 22:1; Isaiah 53:10), smitten and afflicted because He cared (Isaiah 53:4). Isaiah was right, only through “the anguish of[the Servant’s]soul…[would] He justify the many” (Isaiah 53:11). And for Jesus, that anguish of love began in Bethany, as He stood before Lazarus’ grave with tears streaming down His face.
Let us never take His love for granted. Let us never think our “Savior approached [His sacrifice for us] in a spirit of untroubled calm.”
Comprehending the Incomprehensible
Do you see why we will never be able to fully grasp Christ’s love? Christ’s love for us cost Him everything. Words on a page cannot do this justice. Our puny minds cannot fathom all the implications. His love is boundless. As the hymn writer penned,
Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.
To fully comprehend the incomprehensible is an impossible task. And yet we must try, for there is no greater motivation to live for our Lord than to be overwhelmed by His love for us. We must plumb its infinite depths, reach for its immeasurable heights, stretch for its endless breadth, and then confess our inadequacies when we hit a wall and can go no farther. And then we must love Him—the one who trembled, wept, and died because He first loved us.
 My previous blog posts on John 11 can be found here.
 A living picture of this word is found in John 5:7 where a tranquil pool is “stirred up” and agitated.
 As quoted in R. Kent Hughes, “John: That You May Believe” (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1999), 285.
 John used a different word for Jesus’ weeping than he did for the weeping crowd in v. 33. Jesus’ tears in verse 35 are not the loud, public tears of verse 33. Jesus’ tears are the quiet and personal tears of a weeping Savior. Why the difference in wording? Because John knows Jesus is weeping for a different reason than the crowd.
 There is only one other passage in the Gospels where we read that Jesus cried, and that is found in Luke 19:41. There, Jesus wept because God would bring judgment upon Jerusalem using the hands of Rome. Here in John 11, Jesus also weeps because of a coming judgment, but in this instance, it was a far more severe judgment that was about to fall—judgment from the hand of His Father that would be meted out in full upon Himself (Isaiah 53:10).
 Mark Jones, Knowing Christ (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016), 141.
 John is the only Gospel not to record Jesus’ tearful prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). One reason is that he didn’t have to. Rather than recording one night of agony over the cross, John showed that Jesus’ Gethsemane struggle “was the culmination of a struggle that preceded it.” Merrill C. Tenney, John and Acts in The Expositors Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 129.
 Leon Morris, Reflections on the Gospel of John (Peabody: Hendriksen Publishing, 2000), 416. Milne adds, “For in his death he must not only face the reality of human finitude, the ending of his mission, the mockery of his enemies in whose eyes he will die a failure, and in addition the appalling physical and mental suffering of death by crucifixion. Beyond all that he must also face the Father himself, the one to whom he has been inseparably bound for all eternity, not in the warm embrace of his everlasting love, but in the terror of his holy and righteous wrath. He must in fact become the object of divine rejection, the bearer of the implacable antipathy to sin and evil of the ever-living God. He was troubled. Indeed, he had reason to be.” Bruce Milne, The Message of John (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 189.
2:13 Words fail Jeremiah as he struggles to make sense of what has happened. It is as catastrophic as a churning sea.
2:13 The statement “for your ruin is spread wide as the sea” suggests immensity, that which is illimitable and without exact dimensions.
2:13 What can I say for you. The meaning seems to be, “What can I tell you about suffering, you who have suffered so much?” No ready answers occur to someone who witnesses sorrows like these.
2:13How shall I console you: Jeremiah had no words to help the grieving women of Jerusalem as they looked helplessly on their dying babies.
2:13. The second portrait was of a man trying desperately to offer comfort to a grieving friend. The city’s hopeless condition prompted Jeremiah to address Jerusalem directly: How shall I admonish you? Sadly her ruin and brokenness were so severe, as vast as the sea, that there was nothing to be done to heal the virgin daughter of Zion. Only the Lord our Healer (Ex 15:26) could restore Jerusalem.
Beyond compare and beyond healing (13)
In another brilliant twist in the dramatic nature of this poetry, the Poet turns from his own tormented grief to the one whose incomprehensibly dreadful suffering was the cause of it. For the first time, he speaks directly to Lady Zion. In fact, it is the first time anybody has spoken to her, or even seemed to listen to her. ‘Look and see,’ she had pleaded, ‘Is any suffering like my suffering?’ (1:12). She had heard no answer yet, human or divine. But now, at last, the Poet himself comes alongside her, for he at least certainly has seen. He has seen so much that he is sick to the stomach. The Poet becomes the answer to the appeal within his own poem, and compels us the readers to join him in silent witness.
‘Witness’, indeed, is the meaning of the Poet’s opening question: What can I say for you?—not just ‘to you’. The Poet wants to speak up on her behalf, to be her advocate, to bear witness to all she is suffering. But what can he say?—it seems beyond all reasonable testimony. All through chapter 1 we heard the refrain, ‘There is no one to comfort her’. Now at last the Poet himself will try. But how can he do so?
One form of comfort to a suffering person (even though it is usually a rather thin and unhelpful line of approach), is to share similar sufferings of one’s own or others, to offer some comparable tale of woe that reassures the sufferer that they are neither unique nor alone in their pain. But the poet can offer nothing of the sort. With what can I compare you … To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you …? There is no answer. Jerusalem’s suffering is beyond comparison and beyond comfort. Or rather, the only comparison he can think of merely magnifies the enormity of it all. Your wound is as deep as the sea. The sea—symbol of all that is unbounded, infinite, chaotic and beyond measurement. Any wound as deep as the ocean is surely beyond healing.44
The language of wounds and healing (13c) is strongly reminiscent of Jeremiah. A passage in that book that comes very close to the thoughts of Lamentations 2 is Jeremiah 30:12–17. It is a beautiful text that begins with exactly what we read here:
Your wound is incurable,
your injury beyond healing.
There is no one to plead your cause,
no remedy for your sore,
no healing for you.
All your allies [lovers] have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you.
I have struck you as an enemy would …
Jeremiah then went on to promise complete reversal, accomplished by God’s sovereign grace alone—a reversal that would spell God’s judgment on those enemies and God’s healing for his stricken people.
‘I will restore you to health
and heal your wounds,’
declares the Lord.
But the horizon of the Poet and Lady Zion in the tear-stained dialogue of Lamentations 2:13 has not yet stretched that far. All they can see is a devastating wound that is beyond any possibility of healing. What else could they envisage amidst the smoking ruins of their city and a countryside torn up and trampled down?
When we wish to alleviate grief, we are wont to bring examples which have some likeness to the case before us. For when any one seeks to comfort one in illness, he will say, “Thou art not the first nor the last, thou hast many like thee; why shouldest thou so much torment thyself; for this is a condition almost common to mortals.” As, then, it is an ordinary way of alleviating grief to bring forward examples, the Prophet says, “What examples shall I set before thee? that is, why or to what purpose should I mention to thee this or that man who is like thee? or, What then shall I call thee to witness, or testify to thee?” But I prefer this rendering, “To what purpose should I bring witnesses to thee, who may say that they have seen something of a like kind? for these things will avail thee nothing.”
The Prophet, then, means that comforts commonly administered to those in misery, would be of no benefit, because the calamity of Jerusalem exceeded all other examples, as though he had said, “No such thing had ever happened in the world; God had never before thundered so tremendously against any people; were I, then, to seek to bring examples to thee, I should be utterly at a loss; for when I compare thee with others in misery, I find that thou exceedest them all.” We now, then, perceive the meaning of the Prophet: he wished by this mode of speaking to exaggerate the grievousness of Jerusalem’s calamity, for she had been afflicted in a manner unusual and unheard of before; as though he had said that the Jews had become miserable beyond all other nations. Why then should I bring witnesses before thee? and why should I make any one like thee? why should I make other miserable people equal to thee? He adds the reason or the end (for the ו, vau, here ought to be so rendered) that I might comfort thee, that is, after the usual manner of men.
He afterwards adds, because great as the sea is thy breach or breaking; that is, “Thy calamity is the deepest abyss: I cannot then find any in the whole world whom I can compare to thee, for thy calamity exceeds all calamities; nor is there anything like it that can be set before thee, so that thou art become a memorable example for all ages.”
But when we hear the Prophet speaking thus, we ought to remember that we have succeeded in the place of the ancient people. As, then, God had formerly punished with so much severity the sins of his chosen people, we ought to beware lest we in the present day provoke him to an extremity by our perverseness, for he remains ever like himself. But whenever it may happen that we are severely afflicted and broken down by his hand, let us still know that there is yet some comfort remaining for us, even when sunk down in the lowest depth. The Prophet, indeed, exaggerates in this place the evils of the people; but he had previously begun to encourage the faithful to entertain hope; and he will again repeat the same doctrine. But it was necessary for the Prophet to use such words until those who were as yet torpid in their sins, and did not sufficiently consider the design of God’s vengeance, were really humbled. He adds,—
Ver. 13.—What thing shall I take to witness for thee? rather, What shall I testify unto thee? The nature of the testifying may be gathered from the following words. It would be a comfort to Zion to know that her misfortune was not unparalleled: solamen miseris socios habuisse malorum. The expression is odd, however, and, comparing Isa. 40:18, A. Krochmal has suggested. What shall I compare? The correction is easy. Equal; i.e. compare (comp. Isa. 46:5).
2:13 /Mem. The poet takes a sympathetic stance toward the people of God. Rather than berating them for rebellion, he comforts them and shares in their anguish and sadness. However, words fail him when he tries to describe the extent of their suffering. Provan puts it well, “… the poet is searching for an historical analogy to Zion’s downfall. If such could be found, then she might find comfort knowing that her plight was not unique, and perhaps in being aware that destruction was often not the end of the story” (Lamentations, p. 73).
Twice the poet refers to the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem by the epithet Daughter, qualifying it the second time as virginal. Such a description again heightens the pathos of the destruction. It’s not a city, but a daughter that has been horribly hurt. Indeed, the destruction of the city is finally likened to a deep wound in the Virgin Daughter’s flesh. The wound is so deep that it rivals the sea itself in depth. Questions surround the possibility of the Daughter’s healing. Both Micah (1:9) and Nahum (3:19) utilize the metaphor of a wound to describe judgment against a city or people, but no prophet uses it more than Jeremiah. Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11 connect the wound that is coming to God’s people with the action of false prophets (Lam. 2:14 will connect the language here with false prophets as well). Jeremiah 14:17 describes the wound as inflicting Jerusalem here depicted as a virgin daughter. Other occurrences include Jeremiah 8:22; 10:19; 15:18; 30:12, 15.
2:13 What evidence can I present to you?
To what can I compare you, daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you that I may comfort you,
O virgin daughter Zion?
For your breaking is great as the sea;
who can heal you?
The poet for the first time directly addresses the city. This and the following verse are connected by the desire to comfort Zion, but nothing the poet has to say or teach can reverse the injury done by the false prophets. Despite his identification with the city’s agony, the rhetorical questions the poet poses only serve to emphasise his inability to provide answers. The opening question is somewhat obscure, ‘What will I act as a witness ˻for˼ you?’ Though prophetic testimony was often comprised of warning and correction, a different construction is used here and the sense may be positive (Job 29:11; cf. Mal. 2:14). In the light of the rest of the line, it seems probable that, when the poet addresses Zion, he responds to her earlier challenge to see if there was any suffering like her suffering (1:12), and asks what evidence he can bring before Jerusalem or what analogy he might draw to set her situation in perspective. For a third time mention is made of the need for an adequate comparison, to what can I liken you? The vocative daughter Jerusalem (literally, ‘the daughter, Jerusalem’, possibly with an emphatic use of the article) indicates the poet’s attachment to the city and his identification with it in its suffering.
Zion’s need throughout has been for comfort, but the refrain throughout chapter 1 emphasised that such comfort was not forthcoming (cf. 1:2). The poet is trying to provide solace by identifying a place that has undergone an experience similar to that of Zion. If there had been any other instance of survival after such a catastrophe, then that might provide a glimmer of hope for Jerusalem, a precedent which might have moulded her thinking. But the implied answer to the questions is that no adequate comparison can be found. The addition of virgin to the address daughter Zion serves to emphasise the extent of the suffering. ‘Virgin’ refers to a young woman of marriageable age, one who is viewed as healthy and strong (cf. 1:15)—yet here she has been struck a crippling blow! Zion as the focus of divine revelation and presence is suffering in a unique way because her vitality has been sapped by the withdrawal of the Lord who had previously blessed her.
To the ancient Israelites the sea stood for what was inconceivably immense, agitated and threatening. The poet cannot visualise any suitably comforting comparison for Zion’s situation, and has to admit that her breaking/‘injury’ (cf. 2:11) is incomparable. The thought may be that the injury done to her is as great as that which the fury of the sea might inflict, but the repeated and relentless action of the sea may well focus on the unbounded nature of Zion’s affliction. Who can heal you? does not at first sight present any solution to the problem posed by the wound experienced by Zion. But then, did not Zion confess that the Lord was greater than any force or set of circumstances to be found in the created realm? ‘You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise you still them’ (Ps. 89:9). ‘Mightier than the sound of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty’ (Ps. 90:4). Here is the crux of the matter. These forces had been unleashed against Zion by the deliberate act of the Lord. Even as she is driven to see that the Lord who imposed this blow is the only one able to control it or take it away, there still remains the question of why he should remove what he has justly imposed.
Desperate Need (2:13)
13 The poet asks a series of four questions. The first is one of consternation—poetic exasperation—which implies that although Yahweh had sent his servants the prophets again and again for centuries, the people would not listen. Or, rather, they chose to hear what they wanted to hear. So what more could the lamenter say to them? What more could he say to admonish them or to witness to them?
This question is followed by a parallel pair of questions indicating the frustrated desire to comfort the audience: “With what can I compare you …? To what can I liken you …?” The second half of each line contains the parallel designation of the audience: “Daughter of Jerusalem” and “Virgin Daughter of Zion.” The last question implies resignation on the part of the lamenter, who declares (lit.), “Like the sea [vast and deep] is your brokenness/collapse,” followed by the rhetorical question, “Who can heal [restore] you?”
 Kaiser, W., Jr. (2017). Lamentations. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1237). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., La 2:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Ferris Paul W., J. (2010). Lamentations. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah–Ezekiel (Revised Edition) (Vol. 7, pp. 606–607). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
Thoughts on today’s verse
Ask! So often we’re afraid to ask for help because we have to admit we don’t have the answers. Seek! Effort and interest and perseverance are necessary and that’s sometimes hard. Knock! But God wants us to use the A.S.K. principle and bring our hearts before him. So let’s not whine, complain, desire, and want. Let’s A.S.K. our Father and seek his glory.
Waiting Father, I am sorry that so often you hear only my whines, complaints, and concerns. You have been so generous with your love. Help me to keep my heart set on you and your will today as I ask you to minister to the things on my heart. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
“I am the LORD your God. . . Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10
Have you ever spent a day watching the activity of a mother bird following the arrival of her latest brood? She has one purpose only – to bring good things to the open mouths of her hungry children. Unable to care for themselves, her babies wait in expectation for her presence and her provisions. And all day long, she feeds them, knowing they will grow and survive only as she supplies their needs.
The Lord made a promise in Psalm 81:10: “I am the LORD your God. . . Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” When we are convinced He is the Lord our God, we will open our lives wide to Him. Like a baby bird in dependence on another, we will wait in expectation for what He chooses to bring our way. When we are trusting Him, we will accept the abundance He brings and let Him fill us to the full. A wide mouth in expectation of blessing requires this deep and open trust.
Imagine if a baby bird decided he would rather fend for himself. How far would he make it from the nest? How soon would he require the sustaining influence of his mother’s care again? And I wonder – Is this how God views our doing, our working, our going, and our efforts? In their place, these are right and good. But does He see personal attempt alone with no expectation on Him? Our efforts are useless apart from His blessing – the kind of blessing He promises to open, trusting mouths.
How wide is your mouth and mine?
Father, Thank You for promising to abundantly meet our needs as we trust in You. Grant us the faith that opens our mouths wider to Your blessing today than they were yesterday. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Satan Starts Small with Temptations Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2
Satan will seldom come to a Christian with a gross temptation. A green log and a candle may be safely left together; but bring a few shavings, then some small sticks, and then larger, and you may soon bring the green log to ashes.
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Members of the Church Like Members of the Body Romans 12:4–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–30
For as the members compose one body to which the soul is joined, and again as each member is necessary to every other, the one helping the other in the performance of its functions, so it is true of the members of the church by virtue of the power of communion and the bond of love.
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Iran: Three mysterious explosions devastate country’s infrastructure Another series of suspicious explosions and accidents in Iran have the Islamist regime scratching their heads and asking if they are the victims of their own incompetence, Israeli ingenuity inspired by a Semitic drive for self-preservation, or perhaps the wrath of the God of Israel. Three explosions in five days On Saturday evening, a large fire broke out in a steel mill in Zarand, Kerman Province leading to a large explosion. A large explosion resulted and though several people were injured, no deaths were reported.
National Hurricane Center tracking disturbance in Caribbean: Here’s the forecast Hurricane forecasters on Monday morning were tracking a disturbance in the Caribbean Sea, according to a 7 a.m. update An area of low pressure is expected to develop over the southwestern Caribbean by Thursday or Friday, and “some development” will be possible after that as the system moves slowly northwest toward Central America,
Supreme Court refuses case to include women in military draft On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it won’t take a case, brought by the National Coalition For Men, which challenged the constitutionality of the male-only draft. In a decision with no noted dissenting opinions, the court declined to take the case. In the opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the court had decided to defer the matter to Congress, as it “actively weighs the issue.”
State Dept. leaders were warned not to investigate China’s Wuhan lab leak COVID theory, former officials say Former State Department officials told Fox News that the department’s leaders were warned against investigating ties between gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the origins of COVID-19 due to concerns that such investigative efforts could bring “unwelcome” attention to the U.S. government’s funding for that research. Officials’ confirmation to Fox News … last week on an internal State Department memo it obtained from January 2020, written by Thomas DiNanno, the former acting assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance. DiNanno wrote that his bureau and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, “warned” leaders “not to pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19” because it would “‘open a can of worms’ if it continued.”
Biden DOJ proposes new pistol brace rule and model ‘red flag’ gun confiscation legislation On Monday, the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden introduced model legislation states can use to pass extreme risk protective orders, commonly referred to as “Red Flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to seize a person’s firearms if a judge agrees that they pose a significant enough risk to themselves or others even if they’ve committed no crime.
Biden State Dept refusing term ‘Abraham Accords’ A recent report claims the Biden administration has instructed its State Department to refrain from using the term “Abraham Accords.” Other reports indicate that the current administration is doing substantially more than that; taking actions that endanger peace in the region in order to empower Iran.
‘F–k Israel’ spotted in background of popular Nintendo game Nintendo recently apologized for anti-Israel graffiti visible in one of its video games, as well as any resulting ramifications from the offensive message. A child playing the video game Nintendo Splatoon 2 took a screenshot on May 18 of a wall in the game that showed the phrase “Fxck Israel,” as if it was graffiti.
Bennett-Lapid gov’t to be sworn in Sunday, Netanyahu heads to opposition Knesset speaker Yariv Levin announced on Tuesday that the new unity government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid would be brought to a vote of confidence and be sworn in during a special session of the Knesset on Sunday. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid congratulated the setting of the date for the vote, tweeting “It’s happening!”
Jordan’s tribal problems continue – analysis The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, one of the most stable countries in the region, is going through internal difficulties as King Abdullah II tries to deal with some troubles with the previously very loyal tribal communities. While far from the coup initially claimed by an American newspaper, the troubles that began with the house arrest of former Crown Prince Hamzah, the king’s half-brother, have spread to some tribal communities.
iOS15: China exempt from Apple ‘private relay’ privacy feature Apple has announced a raft of new privacy protections at its annual software developer conference. They include a function called “private relay”, where users’ web browsing behaviour can be hidden from Apple, internet providers and advertisers. Apple has been under pressure to cut down on the tracking of user data.
IAEA urges Iran to explain uranium particles at undeclared sites The head of the global nuclear watchdog is deeply concerned that Iran has still not explained the presence of uranium particles at three undeclared sites. Rafael Grossi told the International Atomic Energy Agency’s member states that nuclear material or contaminated equipment had been at the locations.
‘Times have changed’: Saudi Arabia-Syria in rapprochement talks Saudi Arabia is close to reaching an agreement on diplomatic normalisation with President Bashar al-Assad’s government, as Riyadh jockeys to play a lead role in removing the Iranian presence from Syria, Al Jazeera has been told…According to a senior official…“the political mood within the House of Saud has changed, many senior royals, particularly Mohammad bin Salman [MBS] himself, are keen to reengage with Assad”.
‘Ring of Fire’ – Annular solar eclipse of June 10, 2021 An annular solar eclipse of June 10, 2021, will be visible from northern Canada, Greenland, and Russia, with a partial eclipse visible from northern North America, Europe, and Asia. During the event, a bright ring will surround the moon silhouette at the peak of the eclipse, hence, the Ring of Fire name.
Vaccine-related serious events in the US hit more than 200,000 – with more than 900 among teens The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had received more than 200,000 reports of adverse effects following vaccination for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), data from Dec. 14 of last year until May 14 of this year showed 227,805 post-vaccination adverse events. It also noted 943 adverse events among those aged 12 to 17.
Mysterious Brain Syndrome Grips Canada Forty-eight people from the same small Canadian province struck with a baffling mix of symptoms including insomnia, impaired motor function and hallucinations such as nightmarish visions of the dead.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, we’ve argued he was Donald Trump’s best hire. He showed everyone why once again Tuesday with an op-ed coauthored with former Dick Cheney aid Lewis “Scooter” Libby and published in, of all places, The Washington Post.
It’s remarkable enough to see the Trump wing of the GOP collaborating with the George W. Bush wing on a policy recommendation, but it’s even more significant that the objective is essentially recommending ways to, as Mark Alexander wrote last year, “send Xi Jinping the bill” for the ChiCom Virus pandemic. And the WaPo published it.
Pompeo and Libby cut right to the chase:
A great diplomatic challenge lies before the Biden administration. Chinese Communist Party malfeasance sped the coronavirus into an unsuspecting world, killing 3.7 million people so far and inflicting global economic havoc. President Biden has an opportunity and responsibility to lead a fair, effective international response. Whether he does so will have enormous implications for the future.
Unfortunately, they write, “Biden shows little sign of rising to this task.” They point to Biden’s intelligence community investigation as a good sign, but they diplomatically leave out the fact that Biden killed Pompeo’s State Department probe. They also warn that Biden has hedged on whether the true source can ever be known.
The pair continue:
The bill of particulars against the CCP begins with the overwhelming evidence that for weeks in late 2019 and early 2020, as the coronavirus was loose in China and people fell ill, Beijing covered up its dangers, exponentially accelerating international harm. Even as CCP leaders eventually imposed domestic restrictions, they allowed unwitting travelers to visit infected zones and then spread disease and death abroad.
And it was China’s reckless conduct of inherently dangerous activities — whether in unsanitary “wet markets,” where live animals are sold for food, or in CCP-run virology labs — that unleashed the virus in the first place.
Again, Pompeo and Libby choose the diplomatic path, allowing the “wet market” theory to still stand as a possibility. As we have documented extensively, however, it is nigh on certain that the coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, not a wet market. And as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy duly notes, the strong circumstantial evidence is more than solid enough to put this beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s not a criminal case; it’s international policy.
The real problem lies in what happens if the world looks the other way in the face of such blatant ChiCom malfeasance. Pompeo and Libby put it this way:
China already knows it can go largely unpunished for its push into the South China Sea, for its outrages against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, for throttling democracy in Hong Kong, for intellectual property theft that costs foreign states hundreds of billions of dollars annually. If the CCP similarly escapes consequences for playing the central role in a cataclysm that strikes innocents in homes across the world, it will grow ever bolder, seeing few lines it dare not cross.
So what do we do? Many nations must work together and use their economic power as leverage to exact some form of payment or otherwise “impose heavy costs on CCP leaders and China’s economic activities.” China may be quite strong, but it cannot withstand concerted economic pressure from numerous other nations. China “would surely retaliate harshly,” Pompeo and Libby warn, including by causing further disruption in our already disjointed supply chains. So, they conclude, “Finding ways to deflect the blows from China’s response would be the most demanding part of Biden’s diplomatic challenge.”
Donald Trump was the first American president to take the Chinese threat seriously. Now the entire world has been given 3.7 million reasons to do likewise. What will Joe Biden do now — continue to be beholden to the ChiComs, or work to exact the justice we all deserve?
In her first foray into addressing the ongoing border crisis after nearly three months as Joe Biden’s “border czar,” Kamala Harris continued her practice of avoiding a visit to the U.S. southern border because, as she said herself, “I don’t understand the point.” Instead, she bypassed the border as she flew down to Central America on her “root causes of migration” tour, with the first stop being Guatemala. If Harris’s reception there is any indication, however, Biden is likely regretting his decision to make her the face of his immigration policy. Greeting Harris upon her arrival to Guatemala were protesters touting signs such as “Kamala, Trump won,” “Kamala, Go Home,” and “Kamala, Mind Your Own Business.” Another sign hoisted onto a roadside billboard read, “Stop Funding Criminals.”
Hilariously, on the flight to Guatemala, Harris gave reporters on the plane cookies decorated with her image “made in the style of her official White House portrait.” The narcissistic gesture unsurprisingly garnered deserved derision. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel quipped, “Handing out cookies with her face on them as the border crisis rages… The modern-day equivalent of ‘let them eat cake.’” Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) took a more serious tack: “VP is passing out cookies to the press with her face on them while the cartel makes hundreds of millions of dollars smuggling drugs and children across the southern border. This is all possible thanks to the Biden/Harris Administration’s policies.”
Even more ridiculous than Harris’s cookie charade was her lecturing of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei as to the reason immigrants are flooding over the U.S. southern border. The “longstanding issues that are often called the ‘root causes’ of immigration,” she opined, include “extreme weather conditions and the lack of climate adaptation; as well as … violence against women, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and Afro-descendants.”
Giammattei was unequivocal in rejecting the Biden/Harris administration’s dubious “root causes” narrative. “We are not on the same side of the coin. It is obvious,” Giammattei observed. “We are in agreement on the ‘what’ (the immigration crisis). … We are not in agreement on the ‘how.’”
Furthermore, he laid the blame squarely on Biden and Harris for the failure to send “a clear message to prevent more people from leaving.” And regarding the message that Biden did send — “We’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children” — Giammattei noted, “The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States.”
Harris, in what appeared to be an attempt to appease Giammattei’s demand for a clear message against migration, stated, “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come.” Where was this message months ago? Of course, we know the reason is that the Biden/Harris regime policy is an open border.
Sometimes, a story is best driven home by considering its converse. In this case, that would be a lecture delivered at, say, Liberty University, whose title is “The Psychopathic Problem of the Black Mind,” and whose material includes little gems such as, “Black people make my blood boil,” and this:
“I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any black person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f—ing favor. … We keep forgetting that directly talking [with blacks] about race is a waste of our breath. We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ain’t gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain.”
Of course, no such lecture exists, and no such sicko ever delivered it. So vile and hateful are the musings that they don’t even pass the giggle test. But swap out the three instances of the word “black” for the word “white,” and you’ve got the verbatim rantings of an unhinged New York-based psychiatrist named Aruna Khilanani, who was recently invited to unburden herself in front of impressionable young minds at the Yale School of Medicine.
Your tuition dollars at work. If you’re an idiot.
Just when we think the Left can’t possibly stoop any lower, can’t possibly debase our institutions any more thoroughly, they tell us to hold their Pinot Grigio.
Bari Weiss, the free-thinking, truth-telling, classically liberal journalist who resigned in disgust from The New York Times nearly a year ago, has unearthed and collected the components of Dr. Khilanani’s April lecture on her blog: the audio recording of the lecture, the poster that advertised the event, and a lengthy interview with Khilanani for masochists who haven’t yet had their fill of her vile racist garbage.
It’s hard to believe that someone who’s so clearly disturbed is licensed to prescribe antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and other powerful medications to actual afflicted humans. And one wonders what sorts of thoughts the Bad Doctor shares with her patients. One even wonders whether this might be part of a radical new approach to psychiatry — one designed to make one’s patients believe they aren’t nearly as disturbed as they think they are. Might they all end up leaving Dr. Khilanani’s office thinking, Who’s shrinking whom?“
The Yale School of Medicine did ultimately issue a statement about their invited guest, but only after some faculty members (to their credit) expressed their concerns. “In deciding whether to post the video,” the school wrote, “we weighed our grave concern about the extreme hostility, imagery of violence, and profanity expressed by the speaker against our commitment to freedom of expression. We ultimately decided to post the video with access limited to those who could have attended the talk — the members of the Yale community.”
Given that our nation’s most prestigious universities have become so bizarre, so leftist, and so utterly out-of-touch with Sane America, is it any wonder that prospective employers are intentionally averting their gaze from job applicants with Ivy League credentials? In an exquisitely timed Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates,” R.R. Reno, editor of First Things, writes, “A decade ago I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and the rest. Today? Not so much. … I have no doubt that Ivy League universities attract smart, talented and ambitious kids. But do these institutions add value? My answer is increasingly negative. Dysfunctional kids are coddled and encouraged to nurture grievances, while normal kids are attacked and educationally abused.”
Think about it: Would you want to work with someone who’s spent the past four years or more being fed a steady diet of the likes of Dr. Aruna Khilanani?
The disastrous “America Last” policy Joe Biden is pursuing has meant a lot of winning … for America’s enemies. These actions are going to have to be mitigated once Biden leaves office — ideally with the election of a Republican president in 2024.
Obviously, the two biggest foes are China and Russia. Yes, grassroots Patriots are rightly concerned about Iran, given that regime’s genocidal ambitions, but Russia and China have the greatest ability to do America harm, and Biden’s policies are enabling them. The thing is, we have long known what needs to be done, but George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and even Donald Trump never paid their full attention to those foreign policy imperatives.
We’ve talked about the fact our troops deserved better than Bill Clinton’s cutbacks, Bush’s errors of omission, Obama’s bungling, and a distracted Trump. Our failures to keep our military properly funded, equipped, and with a force structure that can provide sufficient capability to fight both Russia and China will continue under Biden. Keep in mind, fighting a war is a bad option — and only to be used when failing to act is worse. But what can be done short of fighting a major war? Let’s consider each of these potential opponents.
In one way, Trump — the alleged Russian puppet if you believed the hysterical claims “reputable” Leftmedia outlets — was actually keeping Russia in check with a two-front “war.” First, he was boosting American production of oil and natural gas, lowering prices on those commodities with the resulting strategic benefits. Second, he was also fighting to keep Germany from further geopolitical kompromat over Russia’s gas pipeline.
In short, if you want to cripple Russia strategically without a war, boost American energy production. It worked in the 1980s when the Saudis boosted their oil production (see Victory by Peter Schweizer), and it was working under President Trump. What also will help is to boost our forces — and moving them to Poland as opposed to Germany. Strykers and an airborne brigade won’t stop a horde of Russian tanks — armored and mechanized infantry, with heavy support from A-10 Thunderbolt II close-air support planes will.
When it comes to China, a different natural resource must be developed. Currently, a large portion of rare-earth metals — and the refining process — are currently under ChiCom control. This could be changing, particularly with the Marcus Island motherlode. But it can’t just stop there. We need to hold China to account for the cover-up of the initial outbreak, at the very least, regardless of the origin of the coronavirus.
But the best way for America to get a reckoning from China is to engage in a massive naval, air, and space buildup and to also bring manufacturing back to the United States. (Biden’s Navy budget does just the opposite.) In particular, we will need to cut off China’s sea lines of communication, particularly for oil from the Middle East. Former President Trump is right to call for China to pay, but we shouldn’t take ChiCom blood money from the Uygher genocide. The better way to get $10 trillion in reparations is to deny it from China in the first place.
The fact of the matter is that Russia and China are dangerous threats to the United States. However, both have serious vulnerabilities that can be exploited — and the president after Joe Biden will need to do so because, compromised as he is, he surely won’t do it.
On Friday, Facebook dealt another blow to free expression when it announced that Donald Trump would be suspended for two years from its Facebook and Instagram platforms — a suspension that the company warned would be reinstated if certain conditions were met.
It was the highest penalty possible under cowardly Facebook’s new content moderation rules, and it was a compliment of sorts for the 74-year-old former Republican president, who continues to live rent-free in the heads of Democrats and Big Tech titans everywhere.
The penalty was announced by Facebook VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, the former British Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister who got bounced out of Parliament in 2017. Zuckerberg no doubt got him for a song. “Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension,” said Clegg, “we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols.”
It’s a pathetic state of affairs indeed when a political palooka like Nick Clegg can tell a former U.S. president what he’s allow to say and when. Trump had a combined 56 million followers on Facebook and Instagram when he was banned for having questioned whether Sleepy Joe Biden got all 81 million of those votes on the up-and-up.
It’s interesting — and to Trump supporters, infuriating — to note that Hillary Clinton also questioned the results of a presidential election — the one she lost to Trump. We’re still waiting for her to be banned for having told everyone who cared to listen that the 2016 election was “stolen,” and that Trump was an “illegitimate” president. While it may be true that Hillary didn’t take to Facebook directly to make those repeated claims, they were certainly spread across social media by her surrogates.
Power Line’s John Hinderaker has an excellent analysis of Facebook’s decision, in which he notes this doozy from the Oversight Board: “The Board found that the two posts by Mr. Trump on January 6 severely violated Facebook’s Community Standards and Instagram’s Community Guidelines. ‘We love you. You’re very special’ in the first post and ‘great patriots’ and ‘remember this day forever’ in the second post violated Facebook’s rules prohibiting praise or support of people engaged in violence.”
One wonders whether we’re allowed to praise or support our police or military on Facebook, as they’re repeatedly and necessarily “engaged in violence.”
Asks Hinderaker, “Haven’t a great many Democrats praised Black Lives Matter and even Antifa when they engaged in riots, arson and violence far more destructive than the Capitol intrusion of January 6, which was actually invited by some Capitol guards, and which was almost entirely peaceful? They certainly have.”
As for Trump, he had a few words for Zuck and his speech-suppressing stooges: “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election,” he said. “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!”
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For the record: “Unless and until China comes forward with convincing evidence that the lab-leak theory is wrong, the position of the United States and the world must be that China is culpable.” —Andrew McCarthy
Judicial benchmarks: “This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. The banned ‘assault weapons’ are not bazookas, howitzers, or machineguns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes. Instead, the firearms deemed ‘assault weapons’ are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles. This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes.” —Judge Roger T. Benitez in striking down California’s “assault weapons” ban as unconstitutional
Upright: “Most Americans — and that includes a good number of Democrats — are sick of the transgender assault. They’re tired of being force-fed radicalism that denies reality on everything from Blue’s Clues to Fruit Loops. They’re not sitting at home celebrating the movement that’s robbed us of girls’ sports, children’s privacy, women’s rights, and free speech. They’re not sprinting to Twitter to applaud a cause that’s suspending Christian teachers, rewriting the English language, and advancing its agenda on the backs of mutilated teenagers’ bodies.” —Tony Perkins
Beltway protection racket: “No.” —Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki when asked if she could “imagine any circumstance where President Biden would ever fire” Anthony Fauci
Inflation of a different sort: “Prices increasing due to major supply chain price pressure industry-wide. Raw materials especially. … Our biggest challenge is supply chain, especially microcontroller chips. Never seen anything like it.” —Elon Musk
And last: “There are times when I consider what people like Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, Soros, Bezos, Gates and their trained monkeys in the media, are doing to America and I find myself wondering if I’m suffering from the onset of Tourette’s Syndrome or if, all things considered, disgorging a constant torrent of obscenities is perfectly reasonable.” —Burt Prelutsky
Therefore, this author finds it unnecessary to point out the obvious by trying to convince you of Joel Osteen’s heresies–namely, the self-centered Prosperity Gospel–and, instead, focus on some Scriptures and apologetics to refute it. At the end, Voddie Baucham’s commentary is extremely helpful in helping us put it together in a practical and passionate way.
“The problem with a man-centered church like Saddleback is that the church is bound together by a celebrity pastor rather than by the blood of Christ. This is why Warren’s church would have fallen apart; because the church is devoid of Christ.”
Warren said according to the Register that his successor would take the lead role with the church and he will step back into a less “visible position as founding pastor,” but he and his wife, Kay, will remain part of Saddleback into their older years.
“For 42 years, Kay and I have known this day would eventually arrive and we’ve been waiting for God’s perfect timing,” he said.
Warren told the congregation that during a prayer retreat in early 2020 prior to the pandemic, he and his wife sought “a clearer vision” from God on their retirement, but they did not feel comfortable leaving after that retreat. He now says that he can see why God held him there; “It would have been practically impossible for a new pastor to hold our church family together without being able to hold public worship services for over a year,” he said. View article →
He Became What We Are That He Might Make Us What He Is 2 Peter 1:4
The Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ … through His transcendent love, became what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.
IRENAEUS OF LYONS
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
The Watchmaker Analogy Psalm 104:1–30; John 1:1–3
In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there: I might possibly answer that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever; nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given—that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz. that, when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g., that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion.… This mechanism being observed (it requires indeed an examination of the instrument, and perhaps some previous knowledge of the subject, to perceive and understand it; but being once, as we have said, observed and understood), the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer: who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
19:5 Here is the man (Lat ecce homo) conveys a sense of, “Look at the poor fellow!” In his mock regal clothes, Jesus made a heartrending sight. In the context of John’s Gospel, the statement may also highlight Jesus’s humanity and invoke messianic passages such as Zch 6:12.
19:5 Behold the man. A natural way for Pilate to introduce the accused, but providentially a significant statement. Jesus is the last Adam, who sums up all that humanity could and should be.
19:5Behold the man Pilate may be ironically pointing out the weakness of Jesus; He hardly appears to be a king at this moment. John’s audience, however, knew the truth.
19:5Behold the man! (Latin Ecce homo!) probably conveys the sense, “Look at the poor fellow!” (In other words, “What possible threat could this man pose to the government or to anyone else?”) In his mock regal garments, Jesus must have been a heartrending sight. But in the context of John’s Gospel, the statement may also highlight Jesus’ identity as one who is truly the perfect man, and in that case Pilate’s words are recorded to show the irony of the situation. Traditionally the location of this event has been identified with the Ecce Homo Arch, which marks the traditional site for the Antonia Fortress on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. However, most scholars believe the pavement in this locale to be later than the time of Jesus and the arch to be Hadrianic (i.e., 2nd century). See also note on v. 13.
19:5 “Behold, the Man!” Pilate dramatically presented Jesus after His torturous treatment by the soldiers. Jesus would have been swollen, bruised, and bleeding. Pilate displayed Jesus as a beaten and pathetic figure hoping to gain the people’s choice of Jesus for release. Pilate’s phrase is filled with sarcasm since he was attempting to impress upon the Jewish authorities that Jesus was not the dangerous man that they had made Him out to be.
19:5. So much is conveyed in this one short verse. Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. The King of kings is publicly humiliated. He willingly submits Himself to this, giving powerful proof that this is indeed the Christ, the Son of God.
Pilate’s words “Behold the Man!” are a bit enigmatic. Is he belittling Him to appease the crowd? Or is he in a roundabout way actually honoring Jesus? Probably Pilate intended to appease the crowd, and John and the Holy Spirit intended the reader to see the deeper significance.
Ironically, “Behold the Man!” is the answer to Pilate’s own question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Jesus is the truth (John 14:6).
19:5 As Jesus came out with the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate announced Him as “the Man.” It is difficult to know whether he said this in mockery, in sympathy, or without any particular emotion.
19:5 Jesus being (1) dressed as a mock king and (2) so badly beaten was Pilate’s attempt to show the ridiculous nature of the Jewish leaders’ charge of sedition. For John it may have also been an allusion to Zech. 6:12.
Ver. 5 Pilate saith unto them, Behold the Man.—
Ecce Homo:—“Behold the Man”—
I. From Pilate’s standpoint. 1. He was a Roman, and apart from the interests of the empire, cared little for the creed or worship of the Hebrews. It was no part of his duty to interfere with the religion of the people he was ruling. Provided it did not lead to sedition he was content to let it contemptuously alone. “What is truth?” he asks, “What is it worth? What has it done? Is it worth any one’s while risking anything for it? It is power, and not truth we need. Let us have something practical, tangible, and not vain and idle discussions about abstract questions.” 2. Pilate is a type of a vast multitude. Like the compilers of an encyclopædia, they cannot avoid becoming acquainted with the titles of religious subjects, parties, men. Yet if pressed would deliver themselves very much after Pilate’s fashion. To offer Christ to men of this character is to “cast pearls before swine.” What is the “truth in Christ” to them? He may be “chief among ten thousand,” and able to give pardon, and righteousness, and grace, and glory. But He is not money, business. He cannot give social rank, political success; and so they spurn the offer. This man is a sample of Satan’s workmanship—the devil’s masterpiece. But “what shall it profit a man,” &c.
II. From the standpoint of the Jews. 1. The guilt of Pilate was great, but it is not for a moment to be compared with that of the high priest. “He that delivereth Me unto thee hath the greater sin.” They saw the light and hated it. They knew the truth and rejected it. They could not resist the evidence that Jesus was the Christ; but He was a Christ so different from Him whom they desired that they cried, “Crucify Him!” 2. Here is another and far more perilous standpoint: to look upon Christ and His religion as something to be hated and banished. Let me speak faithfully of the danger of this class. The sin that will banish the perpetrators from the presence of the Lord at His coming is not the sin of Adam. That has been atoned for by the second Adam. It will not be the sin of ignorance. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It will not be any word or deed too heinous to be forgiven; for there is no exception to the gracious offer: “If we confess our sins,” &c. But it will be that of rejecting—calmly, wilfully, and persistently—the greatest offer which God has made to us: His Son as our personal Saviour. “He that believeth not,” &c.
III. From the believer’s standpoint. During the “Reign of Terror” an old French gentleman walked up to the gate of the prison in hope of getting a brief interview with his son, then lying under sentence of death. His name was Loiserolles. As he stood there, the dreaded cart arrived at the prison door. “Loiserolles” was one of the names shouted; and “Here I am, Loiserolles!” was answered suddenly from the crowd. The voice was not that of the young prisoner—asleep at that moment in his cell—it was older, feebler, and a trifle more eager than a prisoner’s might be supposed to be. But there was no time or care to make investigation. The father was taken for the son, bound, hurried off, and executed. He died for his boy who was asleep. Not till long afterwards did the younger Loiserolles know at what a sacrifice his life had been purchased. And if we may be allowed to compare small things with great, I would say that the day of our trial and judgment was passed; the morning of our execution had arrived. We, as prisoners of sin, were summoned to receive the death penalty; the sons of men were called. But “I am the Son of Man” was the answer given to the challenge. “If, therefore, ye seek Me, let these go their way.” The central truth of our Christianity is the Saviour that died for us and rose again. Can you look upon Jesus in this light? Do you see Him to be your Substitute, Intercessor, Prince, and Saviour? Then you have beheld the Man. (R. Balgarnie D.D.)
I. His humanity attested. His flesh was lacerated, His body bruised.
II. His innocence confirmed. Scourging had elicited no secret crime.
III. His Majesty revealed. He endured without complaint.
IV. His love proclaimed. He suffered stripes that sinners might be healed.
V. His divinity suggested. Only a Son of God could have borne Himself so. (T. Whitelaw, D.D.)
Ecce Homo, or perfect humanity:—When you point to any object or event you never know what the witness really sees. Hold a picture before a score of people, and they all see and value it differently. In a wild district I saw a rude stone wall. To the simple builder and passers by it was just so many stones held together by mortar. But an instructed eye saw in succession blocks of quartz, trap, schist, sandstone, conglomerate, and other suggestive monuments of the world’s history. Point out the stars to a multitude. All see the same objects, and yet not the same.
I. What the actors in that tragedy beheld. All the world was in that crowd. 1. Pilate; or what worldliness beheld. A mysterious man—no ordinary criminal. Superstition is never far from worldliness. There was fear in the mind of Pilate at something supernatural at the back of demeanour so strange, placid, and holy. 2. The priests; or what bigotry beheld. Jesus has not respected their traditions and echoed their dogmas; therefore, He is an imposter and blasphemer. There is no hate like priestly hate. Bigotry in the midst of revealed religion is farther from God than heathen worldliness. There was some lingering susceptibility in the breast of Pilate; in the Hebrew priest, none. Pilate saw something which excited both awe and pity. The priests nothing but the hideous creation of their own malignant passions. 3. The mass; or what ignorant resentment beheld. The Christ of their desire was only a more vulgar rendering of the political Messiah of the infuriated priests. Scarcely a week ago, they greeted Him as their King. But there is Jesus, weak, bound, silent, and trampled upon. They saw one who raised their expectations to the highest, and disappointed them. A mob is never so savage as when it conceives itself to be imposed upon by one whom it has made its idol. They therefore join in the cry, “Crucify Him!” 4. The soldiers; or what heathen brutality beheld. A hardened Roman in the ranks could feel nothing but contempt for a Jewish criminal. Such men could admire and adore a Cæsar who could lead them through fields of slaughter to the fame of a Roman victory. They understood that He was a sham king from a district in fanatical and turbulent Galilee. 5. Nicodemus; or what unavowed discipleship beheld. Lack of courage and decision brought no consolation in this dread hour. Little has he risked to avert this tragedy, and he is beginning to feel it. 6. The centurion; or what heathen piety beheld. “The Son of God.” 7. Peter; or what the unfaithful apostle beheld. Jesus cast one look on him, but the apostle could encounter that eye no more. 8. Judas; or what the traitor and apostate beheld. From that eye, so downcast, he has often seen look forth the love of God. The memory of that sight is fire unquenchable, the writhing of the worm that never dies. 9. John; or what the disciple whom Jesus loved beheld. He could not look for his tears; but yet he saw what few eyes there witnessed, but what we need to see to-day—our Incarnate and Redeeming God. 10. Mary; or what the mother and the believing woman beheld. How her motherly love and her religious reverence are wounded by the suffering and shame heaped on her Son and Saviour! There are other holy women here. Shame on the men among His followers! Where are they?
II. What we behold in the Man of Sorrows. 1. A man. (1) He was born of a woman. He passed through the life of a little child. (2) In the home of Joseph, at Nazareth, there were many boys and girls. It was no unimportant contribution to the development of our Saviour’s wide and sympathetic manhood, that brothers and sisters were the companions of His first years. The temptation in the wilderness was not our Saviour’s first nor last trial. His young life had its tests. (3) Our Lord, too, was born in circumstances favourable to the culture of a true manhood. Among the humble poor, and inured to a lowly calling. Men who begin their career at the summit of society do not uncommonly acquire much real fellow-feeling with classes which lie farther down. Men from the ranks, who have lived through the grades in their ascent, develop human sympathies deeper and broader. Every great worker for God and humanity has to be brought by some means or other into personal contact with the multitude. Galilee was a more important school than the halls of the Rabbis at Jerusalem. (4) Jesus had His personal friendships. He is beneath a man or above him, who is without human friendship. 2. A tempted man (Heb. 4:15). One with the form and the faculties of a man, is yet not a man if without temptation. 3. A suffering man. That pain is allotted to sinful creatures is not surprising. But here is one who never transgressed a precept. He suffered with the race and for the race which He came to save. But the ministry of suffering must come to every man. We bring into the world only raw materials. The discipline of life must weave the precious fabric. The suffering Jesus garnered in His sinless humanity the precious fruits of trial and sorrow (Heb. 2:10). When your soul is bowed down, to which friend would you go in your sorrow? You could not repair to inexperienced amiability and to goodness unruffled by trial. A bosom so smooth has not treasured the balm of fellow-feeling for which the smitten heart aches to its very core. 4. The Man. Jesus is the only one who can be so styled. He is the perfection of humanity. Human beings at the best are a mixture of good and evil. Jesus Christ was “separate from sinners.” He belonged to a totally different classification. He has more than every man’s excellence, and exhibits no man’s defect. Qualities seemingly opposite and irreconcilable were habitually blended in Him. The extreme of ease and dignity, loftiness and condescension, gentleness and severity, manly firmness and womanly sympathy, &c. 5. Is He man only? Nay, verily. Standing alone as a creature, no one can be complete as a man. One only perfect Man has been in our world, and He was the Incarnation of God. (H. Batchelor.)
Behold the Man:—
I. The false and impious assumptions respecting the Lord, which the Jews, in connection with His exhibition to them, indulged. They regarded Him—1. As mean, when He was eminently dignified. 2. As guilty, when He was absolutely innocent and holy. 3. As being hostile to their interests, when He was infinitely kind and benevolent.
II. The rightful tribute which the exhibition of Him in His true character must always secure. “Behold the Man!” and there ought to be—1. Homage. 2. Penitence. 3. Trust. 4. Love. (J. Parsons.)
Behold the Man:—
I. Whom the world desired. This is He of whom the prophet spake—“the desire of all nations shall come.” At the Fall, preparations were begun for the advent of the Deliverer, and continued without intermission. 1. We all know in general what forms these preparations assumed: how the early promise of Eden was brightened and enlarged; how sacrifice was instituted at the very gates of Paradise; how a great system of type and shadow succeeded pointing to Him; how the law became a schoolmaster leading unto Him; how prophets foretold His sufferings and glory. 2. While thus instructing them so carefully in spiritual things, He was also conducting them providentially, and was making the lessons of their outward life—the mercies and the judgments, the wars and the captivities, the declensions and revivals of their national history—to co-operate with the things more expressly gracious, in preparing a way for “the Messenger of the covenant,” and in preparing the mind and heart of the Church, to give Him a loving and loyal welcome. Accordingly, we see a grand procession of joyful worshippers at the opening of the New Testament history—angels, shepherds, Simeon and Anna, and the wise men. 3. In the outer world, also, God was working by His providence and Spirit to prepare the nations for the coming of His Son. We behold a succession of rising and falling monarchies, of dreadful battles, the building and the burning of cities, the terrors of superstition, constant strange movement, but never to any “dawning of the day,” and man, as man, felt more deeply as time rolled on the moral hopelessness of his condition without celestial help. There was thus a yearning for deliverance, a longing in the hearts of men for relief, and liberty, and higher life—for recovery of long-lost fellowships, and for returning presence of God. Then, in the fulness of time, He comes to answer the world’s questionings, to relieve its sorrows, to meet its deepest wants. “Behold the Man” whom all other men in their best moments were yearning for and inly pining to see! How strange then that we have to say—
II. Whom the world crucified. 1. If ever there was an act in which this whole world was united, the crucifixion of the Son of God was that act. It was the fair outcome and expression of its moral dispositions, and its spiritual state before God. It was not without a struggle that it was done; there were many relentings and misgivings, just as there are now to men when they sin. In following the steps of His pilgrimage and ministry, we sometimes think that the world is going to open its heart and receive Him at once. But how fallacious such appearances! The world, thus put on its solemn trial, failed to prove itself true, and brought out before other worlds the most conclusive proof of its depravity and guilt. “The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.” One who “did no sin,” who missed no opportunity of doing good and glorifying God—was not suffered to live. There was much to attract in His life and character, but, as the event proved, there was more to repel; and humanity, which had fallen before in the first Adam, fell again just before it rose in the second. Christ was “the desire of all nations” before He came, and that proved that man had not fallen into an irretrievable degradation—that seeds and elements of good were working in him still, and that the great Father was not forgetful of His prodigal children. Christ was the rejected of all nations when He came, and this proved that our fall was not a temporary and a trifling circumstance, but that it had rent the most sacred bonds, and filled human nature with guilt and sin. 2. But oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! The world crucified His Son, and He made that very crucifixion the means of the world’s life. The same event which proved the sinfulness of our nature as nothing had ever proved it before, turned full upon the world in sudden revelation the love and mercy of God; and what to our natural judgment would have seemed the most impregnable of barriers in the way of our return to God, was made the means of our repentance, and the gate of everlasting life. He vindicated Divine righteousness while proclaiming Divine mercy; He honoured the law by making the gospel.
III. Whom the world will crown. Heaven has crowned Him already. 1. But earth must crown Him too. And she will. He must be honoured in the very scene of His humiliation. He must gather joys where He sowed tears and sufferings. He must claim a kingdom where He shed His blood. And not a murmur of dissent will be heard from shore to shore as proclamation is made through every land that “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.” 2. We neither know exactly how nor when this great result is to be brought about; the times and the seasons are reserved in the Father’s power. But what of that? If I cannot tell the length of the prophetic days, am I to hope or labour any the less earnestly for that blessed day of millenial peace and joy which, when they have elapsed, will come? If I cannot interpret aright the sound of one angel’s trumpet, am I not to speed “another angel who flies in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach.” (A. Raleigh, D.D.) Behold the Man!—
I. Whom? The Man—perfect humanity. 1. Physically, Christ was perfect—(1) In form. It is not without significance that He is the principal figure in art, and that the world’s great painters have depicted Him as “the altogether lovely.” We have no portrait of Him extant, but it is difficult to believe that the genius of eighteen centuries has nothing corresponding to its ideal. (2) In health. He bare our sicknesses, but was never ill Himself. No disease could prey upon a sinless body. What vigorous health must Jesus have had to have maintained such unruffled calmness and nerve, through these protracted proceedings, after the agony of Gethsemane; and then after such sufferings to have survived to die on the Cross. 2. Intellectually. (1) He was without doubt. He had perfect intuitions of God and Divine things. Hence the perfect confidence with which He moved towards each of the phases of His great career. (2) He was without error. He had perfect knowledge of all things that pertained to His mission. Hence He never made a mistake, or failed to deliver a necessary truth. (3) He was “the Truth” personally. Compare Him with others. 3. Morally. (1) He was without sin, as confessed by Himself, Pilate, Judas. Peter tells us He “did no sin.” John, that He “had no sin.” (2) He was entirely holy. Not only was there no law broken by Him: He fulfilled all righteousness. (3) He was utterly self-abnegating and benificent. “He went about doing good.” “Greater love hath no man than this.” &c.
II. In what character. 1. As a Saviour. Had He not been a man He could not have qualified Himself for this office by death. Had He not been the Man, the Man appointed, perfect, Divine, His death had been of no avail. But being “without blemish,” He was the accepted “Lamb of God that taketh away,” &c. 2. As an example. Students require the best models in art, music, literature. Perfect imitation may be beyond reach; but the study of imperfect models infallibly ensures imperfection. So with man. But there is only one perfect Model—Him who left us an example that we should follow His steps. 3. As a Friend. Who possesses such qualifications for friendship as Christ? 4. As Lord.
III. Where. 1. Under conviction of sin—“To whom shall we go?” 2. In trouble. 3. In difficulty. 4. In the hour of death. 5. In the day of judgment. (J. W. Burn.)
The mind directed to Christ:—The hour of the Saviour’s sufferings was come—Judas had betrayed Him—His disciples forsaken Him—His enemies apprehended Him—but Pilate seeks to release Him; hence the scene before us. Let us inquire—
I. What we shall behold in the Man Christ Jesus. 1. The perfection of purity, meekness, and benevolence. 2. An amazing work for the redemption of mankind. 3. The boundlessness of the Father’s grace.
II. The purposes for which we are to behold the Man Christ Jesus. 1. That our hearts may be melted into contrition. 2. That wavering faith may be established. 3. That Christian principle may conquer carnal policy. 4. That love may be cherished towards all His followers. 5. That believers may be comforted in suffering and in death. (Congregational Pulpit.)
The appeal of Pilate:—Weakness is sometimes not much better than wickedness. It places a man at the disposal of other weaknesses—Ahab, Pilate. We have here—
I. An appeal for pity for Christ. It was this; not a mocking. Pilate was anxious to get Christ off. It was not to aggravate Christ’s misery, but to excite the compassion of His foes. Pity—1. For a prisoner. 2. For a prisoner unjustly accused. 3. For a prisoner whose sufferings and shame men enhanced by cruel mocking. Dressed up as a king. And yet He was one. Men can only caricature the reality of Christ and Christianity.
II. An appeal from Pilate to the Jews. 1. From Pilate. (1) An old soldier. (2) A heathen. (3) One who despaired of truth. 2. To the Jews—(1) To whom He came. (2) Who had opportunity to test His claims. (3) Who were convinced of them, but rejected Him, because He was not the rebel they wanted.
III. An appeal from one who nevertheless put Christ to death. Pilate did his utmost to save Jesus, with one exception, his own interest. He tried by expression of his own conviction, by delay, by solemn acts, by appeal to justice and to pity. He would not endanger self. So now men may feel for Christ—do much for Him—reprove others, and yet stop short at sacrifice.—1. Of worldly interests. 2. Of sinful lusts. (A. J. Morris.)
Ver. 5.—Jesus then came forth, at Pilate’s order, into some prominent position, wearing (φορέω, not φέρω), as a regular costume, the thorny crown, and the purple robe, and he (Pilate, from his judgment-seat) saith to them, as this hateful and tragic melodrama was being enacted, Behold the Man! Ecce Homo! This was, doubtless, said to mitigate or allay their ferocity. “Let his simple humanity plead with you! After this surely you can desire no more.” “The Man,” rather than “the King.” As Caiaphas did not know the enormous significance of his own dictum (ch. 11:50), so Pilate, from his purely secular position, did not appreciate the world-wide meaning of his own words. He did not know that he had at his side the Man of men, the perfect veritable Man, the unattainable Ideal of all humanity realized. He did not anticipate that that crown of thorns, that robe of simulated royalty, that sign of bloody agony, and these insults borne with sublime patience and ineffable love, were even then lifting Jesus to the throne of eternal memory and universal dominion; nor how his own words would he enshrined in art, and continue to the end of time a crystallization of the deepest emotion of the Church of God. The hymn of Gerhard expresses in thrilling tones the universal and perpetual feeling of all Christians—
“O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden
Voll schwerz und voller Hohn!
O Haupt zum Spott gebunden
Mit einer Dornerkron!”
But the appeal to humanity was vain, and Pilate’s momentary sentiment failed of its end. Not a voice in his favour broke the silence; but—
5 Jesus therefore came out, dressed as he was in his “royal” robes and wearing his “crown.” It was plainly ludicrous to take seriously any suggestion that this figure of scorn had pretensions to kingship. The very sight of him ought to be enough to demonstrate this and allow Pilate to release him. As Jesus came out, the governor introduced him with the words, “Here is the man!” Abbott points out that in the classics this on occasion means “the poor man,” “the poor creature.” Pilate may be using the words in a somewhat contemptuous manner. The expression need mean no more than “Here is the accused,” but it is likely that John saw more in it than that. For John Jesus is THE man, and in this dramatic scene the supreme governing authority gives expression to this truth. It has been suggested that John is making an allusion to “the Son of man,” but it is impossible to imagine Pilate voicing such an allusion. It is, however, not unlikely that John intends “the man” to evoke memories of Jesus’ favorite self-designation.
5 Jesus emerges into the bright light of the morning “wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.” Though it is probably more conjecture than exegesis to discuss the precise nuance of Pilate’s declaration, a good case can be made from the context that what he said was something like, “Here he is, poor fellow! Isn’t it ridiculous to consider this hapless creature as holding any pretensions to kingship?” While Pilate may have spoken with feigned contempt, John and others across the centuries have understood “the man” quite differently. Morris, 793, writes that “John intends ‘the man’ to evoke memories of Jesus’ favorite self-designation.” Tasker, 208, says that as Christians reread these famous words, they see in them “humanity at its best, the suffering Servant in whom God delights.” Others discern an allusion to Zechariah 6:12 (“Here is the man whose name is the Branch”). In the Latin Bible the phrase is translated Ecce homo, which has provided the name for the famous arch that marks the starting place of the Via Dolorosa.
 Bowman, R. M., Jr. (2017). Is Jesus the Only Way? In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1703). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
1 Kings 3:9 – May we pray for wisdom as well. Too often people pray for health, wealth, and prosperity, when God wants to give us all that – but first wisdom. And if we don’t walk in God’s ways – we’re not getting the fringe benefits. (1 Kings 3:14)
1 Kings 4:21 – Solomon’s reign seems impressive but – as Samuel warned in I Samuel 8:14-15 – he will take your fields, vineyards, olive groves, grain, vintage, and more! While prosperity is fun, it is also expensive (1 Kings 12:4).
1 Kings 4:25 – This verse is the first use of George Washington’s favorite phrase “every man under his vine and under his fig tree.” Professor Daniel Dreisbach has written extensively on this.
A preliminary survey of Washington’s papers reveals that he quoted this phrase on nearly four dozen occasions during the last half of his life. Most, but not all, references were made in private missives, anticipating a retirement to Mount Vernon, his beloved home on the south bank of the Potomac River. Washington, it should be noted, was not alone among his contemporaries in his attraction to this Hebrew blessing.4 Even Martha Washington borrowed the phrase in her correspondence.5
1 Kings 4:26 – Solomon is violating Deuteronomy 17:16.
Acts 6:10 – Stephen’s job description was to “serve tables” (Acts 6:2), but he spake with wisdom and the Spirit. They charged him (Acts 6:14) with the same charge they attacked Jesus with (Mark 14:58).
He that laboreth – literally, as in the margin, i. e., “The desire of the laborer labors for him” (or, helps him in his work), “for his mouth urges him on.” Hunger of some kind is the spring of all hearty labor. Without that the man would sit down and take his ease. So also, unless there is a hunger in the soul, craving to be fed, there can be no true labor after righteousness and wisdom (compare Matthew 5:6).
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Joseph Prince was born in May of 1963 to an Indian Sikh priest and a Chinese mother. During his earlier childhood, he lived in Malaysia. In 1983, Prince helped found New Creation Church. He was born Xenonamandar Jegahusiee Singh, but in 1990 he changed his name to Joseph Prince and was appointed senior pastor. He is married to Wendy Prince and has two children with her. In 2008, people started questioning whether or not he should be living as lavishly as he is.
How much does Jesus love us? He humbled Himself leaving the place of glory in heaven, not only to dwell among sinners, but He took upon Himself our human nature, sin excepted. He was despised and rejected by men, beaten, scourged, spat upon, crucified, endured the wrath of God, died and was buried all for the sake of our salvation.
He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He offered up the supreme, the all-sufficient sacrifice pleasing unto the LORD. How can we even begin to grasp the magnitude of the love of Christ toward us sinners? We simply can’t.
And now, to us, as dear children of the Father, in Christ, as those redeemed by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, the command is given, “Be imitators of God.” Love as the Father loves – sending His Son. Love as the Son loves – sacrificially, by laying down His own life to give us life, abundant life, now and in eternity. See in the love of the Son, the love of God the Father for us. Wow! What a standard! May others see God’s love through our love, a sacrificial love, following the supreme example of Christ Jesus our Saviour.
Suggestions for prayer
Help us to love others as God, in Christ, loves us. Help us to see that lovelessness is a sin from which we must repent.
Rev. Henry Van Olst felt called to the ministry at the age of 32 after 12 years of working in the accounting field. He served the Parkland Reformed Church (URC) of Ponoka, Alberta from 1993 to 2005; served in several other churches, and upon retirement in 2020 moved back to Ponoka, Alberta along with his wife Mary, to be closer to their four married children and fifteen grandchildren. Rev. Van Olst remains active in preaching and teaching as the church is currently vacant. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
In this episode, Dinesh reveals how the Biden administration and various Deep State swamp creatures shut down a legitimate investigation into the origins of Covid. Fauci says any criticism of him or of China is a criticism of science—Dinesh reveals how science is used as a cover for lies and treachery. And Dinesh ponders the anomaly that “woke” corporations don’t seem very eager to highlight Gay Pride Month in places like China and the Middle East.
Getting it wrong still again. The growing acceptance of the China lab-leak theory demonstrates the utter incompetence of the ruling elites. Will they ever be held to account? Also, the west often uses the issue of human rights as a political weapon. Now it is being used against the west.
CrosTalking with Marcus Papadopoulos and George Szamuely.