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Christianity holds that it is a mistake to think of Jesus as half-man, half-God, like one of the demigods of mythology. He was, and is, completely human and completely God, a man with all of God’s nature, and God with all of man’s. This God-man had two complete natures, and yet was one person. The Second Person of the Trinity was Mary’s son. Mary’s son was God. At the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ two natures were both on display. Mary addressed him as her son, but asked him for the impossible. There were two ways for Jesus to make wine. Using the powers of his human nature, he could have begun to tread grapes, but in the middle of a wedding feast this would be impractical at best. Using the powers of his divine nature, he could have done what the apostle John records him as doing. Jesus was one person with the powers of both natures at his disposal, but at the wedding feast there had been as yet no public display of his divine nature. Much of what Jesus did, perhaps most of what he did, was through the exercise of his merely human abilities. Intellectually, he was gifted enough for his words to inspire wonder, even among his enemies. Some of what he did, though, makes sense only in reference to his divine nature. Miracles are recorded in all four gospels. Interwoven with all that Jesus did and said, it is impossible to delete them without rendering what is left of the gospels all but incoherent. Of the thirty-three recorded miracles between Cana and Calvary, six were exorcisms—miracles that seem to create more problems for the modern mind than the raising of Lazarus. If Jesus came across six cases of demonic possession in a three-year period, there is every reason to believe that demonic possession is a modern occurrence as well. It is difficult, though, to accept that demons are the cause of some of the physical and mental afflictions we now understand, or try to understand, in scientific terms. Some suggest that Jesus himself did not believe in demonic possession, that he spoke as if to demons because of the beliefs of his audience. Nowhere else, though, does Jesus nurture ignorance in spiritual matters, and he does not sound like he is pandering. When a demon speaks, we get the impression that its superiors have put it up to ask a question: “We know by now that you are the Christ, but what does that mean exactly? What are your plans, and how will they impact the lord of hell?” The gospels portray Jesus contending “not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness.” Gloriously, we get no impression at all that they are evenly matched

“Well, being born again doesn’t mean to go back into your mother’s stomach,” says Taylor, 11. “It means being born into the family of God.” Unlike Taylor, the religious leader (Nicodemus) who came by night to talk with Jesus missed the point entirely. Jesus spoke of being born again spiritually. Nicodemus thought Jesus spoke of a physical birth when he said, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4a). “To be born again means you have to trust God as your savior,” says Hannah, 10. “What that means is: 1) Believe that Jesus is God’s son. 2) Believe that He died on the cross for your sins. 3) Believe that He rose again.” Hannah’s clear presentation sounds like the Apostle Paul’s description of the gospel in his letter to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 15:3-4). Don’t get sidetracked on superfluous issues. Present the gospel clearly and concisely. “Being born again means being born or adopted into the Lord’s family and becoming one of his children,” says Maranatha, 12. “You must first believe that Jesus died and rose again. “In I Peter 1:23, it says, ‘having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.’ This means you are saved by the Word of God, and its work is eternal, never perishing.” God’s Word is God’s agent in spiritual birthing. The Bible has a lot to say about the power of God’s Word. Don’t ever underestimate the power of God’s Word to change lives: your own and others’. The longest Psalm in the Bible is entirely devoted to the importance of God’s Word (Psalm 119). “Probably the most important thing about being born again is that the Holy Spirit is living in you,” says Anna, 10. “He came, cleaned you out and is now living in you.” We live in a time that the Old Testament prophets could only dream about. Some foretold of a time when God would dwell in the hearts of his people instead of a Jerusalem temple. That time is now! Yet, many Christians remain unaware of this spiritual reality. They don’t take time to listen to the promptings, guidings and teachings of God’s Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is not living in Weirdsville. It’s productive. The Apostle Paul describes it as fruitful: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Being born again not only secures your eternal destiny with God in heaven, it gives you the possibility of living a truly productive and satisfying life. However, it’s not automatic. The same Apostle Paul who encouraged Christians to live productive lives also warned them to not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). At the moment people trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior, they are delivered forever from the penalty of sin. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, they now possess the power to live productive lives free from sin’s destructive power. Jesus wants to live though his people in a way that involves their willful submission to him. When they fail to submit, God tries to get their attention through loving discipline (Hebrews 12:6). Think about this: Being delivered from the penalty of sin is called justification. Being delivered from the power of sin is called sanctification. Memorize this truth: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Ask this question: Are you born again? Give your life to him now!!!

In Matthew 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34, Jesus prepares the Apostles for His coming death. James and John’s mother asks Jesus for preferential treatment for her sons. Jesus challenges their commitment and then informs everyone about how to have true greatness. Are you willing to die to yourself for Jesus? We’re All Going to Die – Matthew 20:17; Mark 10:32; Luke 18:31-32 Jesus and the Apostles are on their way to Jerusalem. Jesus will not leave the city and immediate area alive. He prepares the Apostles again, reminding them that He is going to die as the Old Testament prophesied. Death is something that is going to happen to everyone who is conceived on this earth. Not even God’s Son will escape the pain of dying. We need not lament that we are going to die, but be prepared so that we don’t have to “get ready” if that moment should come suddenly. Best Friends May Betray You – Matthew 20:18-19; Mark 10:33-34; Luke 18:33-34 One thing that makes this situation especially painful is that Jesus declares that He will be betrayed. He doesn’t give any clue that it is one of the Apostles, but He knows. He does state that it will be unfair, cruel and final. Jew and Gentile will be involved in His death (murder). How would you feel if someone that you were close to lied about you to authorities in a way that was quickly going to result in your execution? How would you feel if you knew this person was going to do that, days, weeks, even years ahead of the event? Could you tolerate having them in your company? Jesus did! No matter how much someone has hurt you in your life, you have never experienced the betrayal that Jesus endured! Bargaining With God – Matthew 20:20-21; Mark 10:35-37 The mother of James and John comes to Jesus upon this announcement and, not realizing fully what she is asking, requests that they be given special honor in Jesus’ Kingdom. She may have totally missed that Jesus is going to die and be expecting Him to set up a Kingdom in Jerusalem. That is what most of His followers are expecting from Him. Death is totally out of their minds. Whether she understands or not, she tries to bargain with Jesus for that special favor. Most people who are dying go through a phase of bargaining for more time. All of us want some kind of “glory” or recognition. We will look to God or someone else for a special favor or title in hopes that it will give us a degree of life after we are dead. Can you pay the cost ?– Matthew 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39a Jesus responds to the request for James and John by asking them if they are willing to pay the price to have the honor. They declare that they are willing to do whatever is required in exchange for the recognition. Nothing “great” comes without a cost. If you want a raise or promotion, you have to deliver more work or assume more responsibility. Although our salvation is not on such terms, privilege on this earth does require a responsibility and special commitment if we are going to receive the honor. Are you willing to die for Jesus, if necessary? Are you willing to pay the price of your life in order to maintain your eternal life with Him?

Salvation There is no issue more significant in time or in eternity than our attitude toward Jesus Christ. God divides the human race into two groups, those who believe or accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and those who reject. Salvation is as simple as accepting what Christ has done. The work has been accomplished through Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross. God the Father judged your sins while Jesus Christ hung on the Cross bearing the sins of the world. Now, eternal life and a spiritual birth is offered to everyone who will believe in Jesus Christ. …… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, ….. (Acts 16:31) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (1John5:12) Spiritual Status While salvation is easily appropriated through simple faith in Christ’s work on the cross, understanding the full scope of God’s gracious gift is far more involved. With salvation comes spiritual birth, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the ability to comprehend spiritual concepts. The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us through the study of God’s Word and if we are to receive instruction, we must examine ourselves and confess any existing sin in our lives. The Holy Spirit can not have fellowship with sin and will remain quenched while we are in an uncleansed state. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Quench not the Spirit.(1 Thess. 5:19) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psa. 66:18)