Invitation

A man heard a knock at the door so he opened it and there standing before him was Jesus. The man was very surprized and pleased to see Him. The man then invited Jesus into the house and asked Him to sit awhile and eat with them. The man's wife came into
the room and said to Jesus,

"This is the first time I can recall that you have ever come to our house?"

Jesus replied, "I cannot recall ever being invited before".

While the man and his wife were eating their meal with Jesus they asked Him many questions.

The man said, “We have heard many reports of you but these are a mystery to us, so can you tell us more”? 

Jesus replied, “The scriptures do speak of my time so you would be forewarned of my coming”.

“Yes we have read them,” said the woman. “But can you expand on them a little more for us?”

 “There is much written about me in the scriptures”, said Jesus. “These are the scriptures that one day will be referred to as the Old Testament. But to say they are old and no longer relevant is to say the Creator of the world, who existed before time is old, and therefore is also no longer relevant. I am sure you would agree this is not true, as the truth of these scriptures will last forever.” Exodus 40:8  

I know the scriptures are true,” said the woman. “But what is this we hear that you were born of a virgin?

“Is that what the scriptures tell us?” Jesus replied, “There will be much debate over this in the years to come but as you know that no matter what term is used, young women or maiden, in our society this does denote a virgin. People believe the world was made in six days and God put the stars in place and has created this world you live in. They believe that God is all-powerful but then have trouble believing that He cannot touch a young lady so she can be with child. Have you ever looked at a newborn baby? Have you not seen the beauty of creation through that new life? Surely if God can do this He can do anything. The Scriptures say dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven.” [Job 25:2]

“But which town do you come from?” asked the man.

 

Before Jesus could answer, the man said, “We were in a crowd in Jerusalem and we heard people say that you came from Nazareth. But surely the one to come was to come from Bethlehem?”

[But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. Micah 5:2]

Jesus asked the man where he was born and where did he live now?

“I see your point” replied the man, “I was born in Beersheva but now I live in a town outside Jerusalem”

Yes said Jesus, “I may have grown up in Nazareth but I was born in Bethlehem and both my mother, Miriam, and earthly father came from the line of David who were from the line of Jesse.” [Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1]  

“There are many do’s and don’ts in the scriptures, but where is the love of God you speak of?” the man asked. 

Jesus replied, “You say you have read the scriptures but have you ever stopped and studied them? If you had you would have seen that the first sin ever committed was met with grace”.

"What do you mean" asked the women? When Adam and Eve sinned they were kicked out of the Garden.”

“This is correct” answered Jesus, “But God could have destroyed them and that would have been the end and then God would not have to have gone through what He has to get the people to come back to Him. Cain killed his brother and then God put a protection around him, when God could have punished him much more severely. There are many places the love of God is shown. Like to Abraham when he got impatient and had a child Hagar and when Hezekiah cried out to God, through grace, he was given another fifteen years of life. Have you any more questions?

“But what about the Flood? All the people other than Noah and his family were destroyed. Where was the grace then?” asked the man.

“I repeat,” said Jesus, Again God could have wiped out the entire human race because of their sin, but He did allow it to continue through Noah. God wants all people to repent of their sins but if they don’t; well it is up to them. Go and read 2 Chronicles 7:14, and you will see the love of God calling His people back to Himself with love and grace. What did the Israelites do to obtain their release from the bondage of slavery? Absolutely nothing except cry out to God and He heard their cry and out of love for them He rescued them. What about King David, have you read what he did to obtain personal pleasure for a moment in time?"

“King David, committed adultery and murder and when challenged; cried out to God for forgiveness. ‘Wash me with hyssop’ [Psalm 51] was a cry from David’s heart. God heard this cry and forgave him. Samson, was to live under a Nasserite vow, but turned his back on all that was good. But in the end his cry to God was also heard. The scriptures are full of love and grace, you only have to open your heart to God and you will see this,” Jesus continued, “And, then we had Sodom and Gomorrah, they were into every sexual sin possible. And yet God was prepared to let them live if He could just find ten righteous people in the whole town. But in the finish He could only find Lot, his wife and their two daughters.”  

“But Lot’s wife died” said the women.

“Yes she did but only because she was disobedient to what God told her to do, she looked back at the world and not forward to where God was leading them. For every action there is a consequence, if only she had trusted in God. The scriptures tell us that God does not want to see anyone perish, is that not love?” [Ezekiel 33:11] countered Jesus.

“But what about the rules” asked the man?

“Those rules as you call them, are there for your protection,” replied Jesus. He went on, “Let me ask you a question, do you have rules for how your household is to operate and how the children are to respect you as parents?”

“Of course,” retorted the man, “Just imagine what would happen if I just let our children do as they liked with no direction.”

Jesus was quick to point out, “I believe you have answered your own question, the people of God are His creation, His family and if there were no rules to live by how do you think they would act?” The man nodded in agreement. “Or, if they ignore the rules what do you think society would be like? So what is the problem you have with God’s rules as laid down in Exodus 20?” asked Jesus.

“These rules are very difficult to keep,” said the women.

Jesus continued “So you prefer there were no rules and you made your own as you went along?”

“Well no,” she replied, “ I could not see that working as everyone would have a different idea on what was right and what was wrong. So the rules would have to be done set by a higher authority, wouldn’t they?”

“I believe you see the problem, any rules set would have to help the people and society and not against it. This is why God, who is the highest authority, set these rules, as He knows the beginning from the end. He can see the bigger picture and only wants good for all people,” answered Jesus. “Is it so difficult to love God and to put Him at the centre of your lives? Is it so difficult to see your neighbour through the eyes of God? Each and every one of you are wonderfully made in His sight, why is this so difficult to grasp?” queried Jesus. 

Before Jesus could answer, the man said, “We were in a crowd in Jerusalem and we heard people say that you came from Nazareth. But surely the one to come was to come from Bethlehem?”

[But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. Micah 5:2]

Jesus asked the man where he was born and where did he live now?

“I see your point” replied the man, “I was born in Beersheva but now I live in a town outside Jerusalem”

Yes said Jesus, “I may have grown up in Nazareth but I was born in Bethlehem and both my mother, Miriam, and earthly father came from the line of David who were from the line of Jesse.” [Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1]  

“There are many do’s and don’ts in the scriptures, but where is the love of God you speak of?” the man asked. 

Jesus replied, “You say you have read the scriptures but have you ever stopped and studied them? If you had you would have seen that the first sin ever committed was met with grace”.

What do you mean asked the women? When Adam and Eve sinned they were kicked out of the Garden.”

“This is correct” answered Jesus, “But God could have destroyed them and that would have been the end and then God would not have to have gone through what He has to get the people to come back to Him. Cain killed his brother and then God put a protection around him, when God could have punished him much more severely. There are many places the love of God is shown. Like to Abraham when he got impatient and had a child with Hagar and when Hezekiah cried out to God, through grace, he was given another fifteen years of life. Have you any more questions?

“But what about the Flood? All the people other than Noah and his family were destroyed. Where was the grace then?” asked the man.

“I repeat,” said Jesus, Again God could have wiped out the entire human race because of their sin, but He did allow it to continue through Noah. God wants all people to repent of their sins but if they don’t; well it is up to them. Go and read 2 Chronicles 7:14, and you will see the love of God calling His people back to Himself with love and grace. What did the Israelites do to obtain their release from the bondage of slavery? Absolutely nothing except cry out to God and He heard their cry and out of love for them He rescued them. What about King David, have you read what he did to obtain personal pleasure for a moment in time?

 “Let us do an over view of the teachings that were written in stone and by the finger of God. I am sure you both will agree with me if God wrote these things in stone, He means them to be permanent. Do you agree?” asked Jesus.

The man and the women thought about this for a moment as this conversation was starting to make them ask of themselves who was this man talking to them?

Jesus continued, “The first commandment instructs the people to love God, He loves you so there should be no problem in returning that love. The next is, have no other gods besides Him. He is the creator of all things and yet people will turn away from Him and worship the creation instead of the one who created it all. Then we have, do not use His name in vain. But sadly this will become one of the most abused commandments of them all as even my name will be used incorrectly in the years to come.”

Jesus continues his overview of the commandments, “After this comes the commandment to keep the seventh day holy. All these can be summed up in the answer I gave to the Pharisee when he asked me what is the greatest commandment and my answer was. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart mind and body. That was my answer then and it will remain my answer for all time.”

The man replied, “ I believe we have done this so what else do we need to do?”

“Someone else asked me that question not so long ago, answered Jesus, “and the answer I gave him and the Pharisee, who asked about the greatest commandment, is basically the same, love your neighbour as yourself.”

“So how do we do that?” asked the woman.

“Well if you read the scriptures you will see the basics of how this is achieved.”

Jesus said this to provoke them to open the scriptures and see for themselves how this could happen, if people would just read and obey. Leviticus 19:18.

The man answered with, “The Rabbi said.”

Stop there” said Jesus, “The Rabbi may have said, but what do the scriptures say? You need to read them for yourselves otherwise you will never really see what is actually written, and then ask God to help you to grasp what is being said. This will be a major problem in the future when the people will be forbidden to read the scriptures and many errors will come into the teachings. Let us go back to the commandments for a moment; you know the ones that teach about loving your neighbour. Instead of me telling you what is there, how about you reading them?”

The man took out the scroll and turned to Exodus (20) and read, “Honour your mother and father and you will live long in the land. You shall not murder. You shall not be a false witness. You shall not steal. You shall not commit adultery and you shall not covet anything of your neighbour.”

“Can I make a short comment on each of these you have read?” asked Jesus.

“Please do replied.” the man.

Jesus explained. “It is important to honour your mother and father as they brought you into the world and gave you life.”

But what if they are bad parents?” Asked the woman.

“Whether they are good or bad, if you hate your parents this will only teach you hate and where will that get you in society? It also says not to steal; there are different ways to steal. Like just taking something that belongs to someone else or it can be through greed and doing things that do not honour God. This is why there are the other rules about forgiving debts and releasing slaves after seven years or fifty years. It is to keep a balance within society. After all you are here for just a breath in time and at the end it all just goes to someone else, no matter how much you have. Much stealing comes from disobeying the other teachings such as coveting. You covet, you want, you do anything to obtain what you see. Whether it is money, items or your neighbour’s wife. Then adultery occurs all of this can then lead to the ultimate; murder. In God’s eyes even thinking these things is as good as doing them.”

“So who can be saved?” interrupted the man.

The woman said, “Before you answer that question what about the rules, there are so many.”

“Yes there are rules concerning the land and health and I am sure you can understand these are there for two reasons, the first being you know you can get very sick by eating the wrong foods, foods that go bad very quickly.” Answered Jesus.

“Yes” said the woman, “We had a neighbour that ate some something that the scriptures said not to, and she became very sick, but thankfully she recovered.”

“As it is with the land,” continued Jesus, “If the land is not rested it will ‘die’ and become unproductive and the crops will fail. This will then result in starvation of the people and this is not what God, in His love wants to happen. So if we look at the scriptures you will see they are there to help and not hinder.”

“But there is a lot to remember and it is very difficult in our weakness to obey all that we read,” replied the man.

Jesus went on, “There are plenty of examples in the scriptures of this weakness, and Joseph’s brothers come to mind and how they sinned. People are weak and that is why God promised a better way, a way that cannot fail and it does not depend on your strength but on God’s promises. As the scriptures tells us; If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. There have been many prophets sent to warn the people but did the people listen? No, they preferred to go there own way.”

Like who? Asked the man,

“You, who say you have read the scriptures and you ask such a question?” Asked Jesus, “Where do I start, Samuel, spoke to Saul and Saul did his own thing and failed to repent and went further and further from God. Moses was given the Word directly from God and still the people rebelled. Isaiah for half of his recorded message tried to warn the people to turn back to God. And, what about Jeremiah? He was abused then beaten and thrown into a well and why? This happened because he took a message to the people warning them of the trouble that lay ahead and how to avoid it. How many warnings does God have to give the people?”

“We have heard you have been speaking to the people and warning them of their behaviour. Did you really throw all the corrupt money lenders out of the Temple?” Asked the woman.

“I did and if they try to re-establish their sinful acts I will do it again.” Replied Jesus.

“Jesus” asked the woman, “I have many friends who have talked about you and what you have done for them. Would it be alright for me to quickly go around the village so they can come and talk with you?”

“Sure” replied Jesus, “you have plenty of room, go and get them and I will wait for you to return.”

The woman hurried off and while she was away her husband showed a little concern.

“I know some of the people my wife is talking about so are you sure you want to meet with them”? He asked.

As they were talking people started to come into the room and found a place to sit. By the time the woman arrived back, there was standing room only. But the people did not mind as they had heard so much about this man they called Jesus, they were just happy to be there.

Jesus said, “The man of this house has warned me of the type of people who his wife had gone to collect.”

There was a murmuring among the people and a few started to make a few comments towards the man. Jesus went on,

“You might take offence at such a statement but if you had read the scriptures you would know what the man has said is very true, and that includes himself.”

At this the man looked sharply towards Jesus but Jesus ignored the look and continued.

“There is a story in the scriptures of being right before the king. How many of you know the story of Esther?”

Many indicated they did not really know that much about Esther, so Jesus explained. “Esther was part of the Kingdom and she had even found favour with the King. But even she was not allowed to enter into his presence without being called. If she did she could die. However she did and was only saved because the King held out the scepter to her indicating she was safe.”

“But we are Israelites, interrupted one of the guests; “We know the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob so we are already part of His Kingdom.”

“You may be part of the Kingdom but you have read the scriptures so don’t you know even Moses could not go in the presence of God without being called. And to go into the Tabernacle of God he had to go there through Aaron the High Priest. ” 

“But those scriptures were for then and a thousand or more years have passed since some of them have been written. Surely things change as society changes?” asked the man.  

“Theft is still theft, adultery is still adultery and murder is still murder. So what has changed?” asked Jesus.

“Well society, some things are more acceptable now than when these scriptures were written.” Answered the man.

Like what? Asked Jesus.

“Like some of the sexual orientation,” replied the man.

Just because the world think things are more acceptable does that change scripture?” asked Jesus. “Plus in the scriptures of Isaiah it says the scriptures will last forever. If things listed as sin were listed as sin when these scriptures were written, like I have already mentioned. Why should anything else change? Sin is sin no matter what period of time we live in. Society is very quick to change scripture to suit its actions instead of society changing its action in line with the scriptures. If you sin you still have to repent of that sin no matter what the world decides. Sin is still sin, the rules are altered by mankind not by God. Read Numbers 23:19 and you will see that God is not a man that He should lie or change his mind.” 

At this statement several people started to wonder who this person was; not only did He speak with authority. The words He spoke made them think of their lifestyle and what they needed to do to be right in the eyes of God. After all they were happy in what they were doing and could see nothing wrong with their actions. But Jesus was reminding them of the scriptures and they could not deny what He was saying was actually correct. Jesus gave them time to talk among themselves and to discuss what they had heard and needed to repent of.

The people the women had invited were getting quite convicted so one of them asked, “What do we need to do, how can we be made right according to scripture?”

Jesus let them think on the question for a moment, then he asked, “What do the scriptures tell you?”

The people did not answer straight away, as they knew what they said, but discussed among themselves on how they could answer. If they said they were not sinners; they knew Jesus would tell them to go back and read the scriptures again. They knew God was telling them very clearly in scripture the need to repent. If they answered that they knew they were sinners, then they were sure Jesus would tell them to repent and go and sin no more, just as He had told the lady they had heard about who had been taken to Him who had been caught in adultery. So they decided to ask Jesus some more question to see if there was any way they could justify what they were doing was OK.

"Jesus, you said to Nicodemus that unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven? We have gone to the synagogue every week all our lives. We have looked after the poor and the widows so surely we are OK and a few little sins will not stop us from seeing the coming of God’s kingdom?” stated one of the guests. Many of the others were now smiling as they too thought for what they were doing would be enough not to exclude them from the Kingdom to come.

Who is Jesus

Jesus looked at them all and could see they were happy with their friend’s statement. Then He said, “I told some people a while ago about the Pharisee who was very pleased with himself and thanked God he was not like many of you here. As far as he was concerned his good works would get him into any kingdom. Then there was the Tax collector who stood far off and cried out to God as he declared himself a sinner asking God to have mercy on him. Which of the two do you think went home to his house justified before God? Remember those who exalt themselves will be humbled and he who humbles himself before God will be raised up.”

The people looked at each other and again they were convicted in their hearts and knew if they asked any more questions they would really need to admit they were more like the Pharisees than they wanted to admit. So they chose to be quiet.

Jesus went on, “You wonder whom I am, and this will be debated until the end of time. So I ask you to look at what has been taking place over the last three years.”

The man interrupted, “Yes we have seen and heard many things, people have come to us with reports of you healing the sick and forgiving sins. But surely the Pharisees are right, only God can heal and only God can forgive sins?”

Jesus looked at him for a moment and then said, "who do the scriptures say I am?"

The people in the room thought about this question and discussed in amongst themselves while Jesus was talking to the owners of the house. They knew the scriptures and knew of all the messianic scriptures that related to the Messiah. They had to agree that this Jesus they were talking to, did fulfill all they could recall. But then they started to tell each other all the things they had heard and seen that Jesus had actually done, so they made a list of them.

John, who was baptizing people in the Jordan, said Jesus existed before him. But we know John was born before Jesus. This aligns with the statement in Micah that, "he existed before the days of eternity."

One of them said they had heard Jesus say, "Before Abraham was I was."

He changed physics at a wedding when he changed the water into wine. And we know He multiplied bread and fish to feed thousands.

Another said they had heard Jesus say that the people were to pray in His name for things to be done. But He did things by just speaking just as God had spoken and the things were created.

One of Jesus' disciples was present and said, "I was in the boat on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus spoke and the wind and waves obeyed Him. And yet we know in the Psalms it tells us God sends the rain. So to do what Jesus did he was either working against God or showing us exactly who He is."

Another said he had heard the disciples of Jesus complaining that they could not drive out demons, but Jesus just spoke and they obeyed without question.

The list was growing as another said, "The scriptures say to worship the Lord your God, but Jesus accepted the worship of the people. Especially when He was entering into Jerusalem a few days ago." "But not only that, when the Jewish leaders told Him to stop the people. Jesus answered that if they did even the stones would worship Him. Was He saying even creation would worship Him?" 

This made all those discussing who Jesus was a little uneasy, as they had doubted who He was but the evidence was building towards them having to make a decision.

Then the disciple with them said, "Jesus had told Peter to attend His sheep. Surely this was a direct reference to the Book of Ezekiel 34 where God told the people to take care of His sheep." Then he went on to tell them about Thomas, "Thomas was not with us when Jesus appeared to us and would not believe until he saw for himself that Jesus was alive. The next time Jesus appeared and Thomas was with us, Jesus told him to touch the wounds on His hands and side. Thomas dropped to his knees and cried out, my Lord and my God!"

Jesus knew what they had been discussing so He walked over to them just in time to hear one of them say, "But the Jesus you are all talking about was crucified, was He not"? "Yes" said the disciple, "But when we went to the tomb on the third day Jesus was not there just as said would happen. He has since appeared to us and many others and we have seen the wounds."

Jesus then said, "Thomas doubted but believed when he touched the wounds so here see for yourselves." They saw and believed! And they all went very quiet and did not need to ask any more questions.

As Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do you say I am" He is asking the same question of every generation the same question. It is time for us also to answer His question posed to us so long ago.

 

Mount of Olives

It was now time to go so Jesus invited the people to come with Him.

“But where are you going?” Asked the man but some said they had to return home and left.

Jesus said, “Come and you will see but we have to return to the Mount of Olives.”

“The Mount of Olives.” Exclaimed one of the guests, “What is there for you to do?”

Jesus said nothing but just walked on. So the people all agreed to go and see what the Lord was going to do in such a place. After all the Mount of Olives is not a place to go by yourself at anytime. So they decided it would be better to ensure Jesus would be safe so they went with Him.

When they neared the summit, Jesus had walked on ahead of them and then He stopped and turned to them all and said, “Stay in Jerusalem until you receive the Power from on high and then you will be witnesses for me to the far corners of the earth.”

While they were still trying to take in what He had said, a large cloud appeared and Jesus was taken up and He rose into the cloud out of their sight. The people were amazed at what they had just witnessed. They knew that Jesus had been raised for the dead. Some of them there had seen Him die on the cross. They knew He had been buried and the grave sealed. They had talked with Him in the house and had eaten with Him, so they knew He had been raised from the grave. But now he seemed to just lift off into the air like a feather on a breeze. As they stared steadfastly at where Jesus had gone, two men in white robes stood there and said, “Why do you stand there gazing up into heaven? He may have gone from sight now. But one day He will return as He left and to He will come again to this mountain here in Jerusalem.”

Then they remembered what Jesus had said to them, “Keep watch because you do not know what hour your Lord will be coming. As He will come like a thief in the night at an hour when you least expect Him to.”

Now they were fully convinced that Jesus was exactly who He said He was and is and will always be.

“I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I hold they keys to all things and all places” Amen