Do we know Jesus? It seems like a trivial question to ask. Of course we know Jesus. We go to church every week (or attend online services in this current situation) and we listen to sermons. We even call ourselves Christians so of course we know Jesus…right?
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8)
Jesus was in the image of God, yet He did not boast about His equality with God. Instead, Jesus humbled Himself to become a servant of all, taking the form of man. From birth to death, Jesus Christ exhibited His humility and obedience. Jesus was born in a manger, a lowly place, to demonstrate that He came as a servant to save the humble and needy. On the cross, Jesus exemplified total surrender to the will of God.
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:13-18)
This passage tells us that not all prayers are the same. Some are more powerful than the others because of the person who is praying. It means that God doesn’t only listen to the words of the prayer, but He also looks at the person who is praying. If the person is righteous before God, his prayer can be just as powerful and effective as that of Elijah who prayed for famine and there was famine, prayed for rain and there was rain. So then the key is the righteousness of the person. But in our Christian living, we may find it hard to do what is right in the eyes of God all the time. We may not commit the mortal sins, but we may daily commit sins that we think are less serious. We unconsciously give the word of God different weights or degree of importance. But in reality, all of God’s word is important and need to be practiced for us to be righteous.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Jesus Christ is the true vine; the Father is the vinedresser, and we are the branches. This is an apt analogy of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. How does this relationship affect us? What does our Father expect of us who are believers of Christ? How can we live up to His expectations?
Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Gen 22:1-2)
Here talks about the greatest test that God had given to Abraham — a test that would measure the faith which had been steadily growing up to this point in Abraham’s life, faith that would later define him as the “father of faith”. This chapter has been the focus of countless sermons and articles. I’m sure Abraham is a well-known patriarch whom we have all heard and read about. It is from this chapter that he is frequently brought to the foreground as one of the greatest examples of complete obedience to God.
But what of his son, Isaac?
In fact, the interactions that Isaac had with Abraham can actually teach us a few important lessons with our relationship with our parents as children. Continue reading