Who Killed Jesus the Messiah?

What a big question! Like an Agatha Christie murder mystery, there are a number of individuals that are to blame. Firstly, there was the Jewish ruling religious elite. They certainly had a hand in conspiring against Jesus because of jealousy. Jesus had upset the ruling religious leaders when He rebuked them for making the holy place a market for their unscrupulous money exchange and the ripping off of the poor by making them pay exorbitant prices for the sacrificial lambs. Certainly, they were the ones that sent the Temple guard to arrest Jesus on trumped up charges of blasphemy:

“Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the High Priest, who was called Caiphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him” (Matthew 26:4).

What about the Roman procurator, Pilate? When the religious leaders had pronounced a guilty verdict on Jesus, even though their witnesses did not agree as to their testimony, they handed Christ over to Pilate, who not only had the power to crucify Jesus, but also did give Him up to the will of the Jewish elite class. He said to Jesus:

“Do you not know that I have power to crucify You and power to release You” (John 19:10).

“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” (Matthew 27:24).

Then there was one of the twelve disciples, Judas, the traitor and thief. He also was guilty and culpable (deserving blame). As the group of disciples’ treasurer, Judas had been stealing money out of the moneybag. When a woman anointed Jesus with her very expensive ointment, Judas was unhappy at the act of devotion and saw the cost of the ointment as something that has slipped through his hand. When Jesus backed up the beautiful act that the woman had done, Judas didn’t like it and went and sold his master for thirty silver coins, the price paid for a slave (Exodus 21:32).

 “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you? So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over (Matthew 26:15-16).

Who else could be blamed for the death of Jesus? What about those that every Christian is at war with—the unseen ruling evil spirits that are manipulating people on the planet for their own evil ends.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesian 6:12).

Of course, when these unseen evil spirits used Judas, Pilate and the religious elite, they did not realize the end result of Christ being crucified, and the damage it would bring to Satan and his ruling evil angels and demons.

We declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

Each of those mentioned above are fully to blame and will be brought to judgment in the age to come, when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom. But also, we sinful human beings are to blame, each of us for our own sin. God had placed a penalty on the rebellion against Him there in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17). Death would be a consequence of sin. That is not just physical death, but spiritual death, which is separation from God. This is why Jesus deliberately allowed Himself to be crucified. Ti deliver you from the penalty of sin, it was His life for your life. God came in the person of Christ to be the substitute for you and me and all those that would accept the terms of the New Covenant of God (Jeremiah 31:31). He would give new life to all who accept His death in payment for their sin. The evil unseen spirits did not realize that God would use His Son’s death as a means of deliverance for you and me from our sins:

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

What about you? Will you accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life that Christ offers you if you give up your life into His hands? Just simply tell Him, wherever you are right now, Lord Jesus, thank you for dying in my place for me and as me. I receive you into my life to cleanse me from all my sin. Forgive me for my sin, Lord Jesus, I want to live for you. Amen. If you sincerely meant that prayer, there is joy in heaven (Luke 15:10)

Keith Thomas

Obedience: The Key to His Presence

One of the things that we are told about the Holy Spirit is that He came as a dove and descended onto the Lord Jesus at His baptism by John the Baptist. John the apostle writes,

“I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “ the man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit” (John 1:32-33).

Have you ever seen a dove fly down and sit on someone? I have never witnessed this myself, although I have seen pigeons land on someone, usually for food! When we lived in England, one of our favorite places to take people was a place called Trafalgar Square. This is the place where it seems all the pigeons in London gather! You may have seen photos of tourists feeding them. Four pigeons will sit on your arm and fight for a place on your head, too! All the time I have been there, though, I have never had a dove alight on me. Even though doves are of the same genus as pigeons, they are behaviorally very different. I have never heard of a dove alighting on a person, but here in the above passage of scripture, we see a picture of the Spirit descending like a dove upon the Lord Jesus and remaining. Doves are very timid and skittish. By that I mean that the slightest thing scares them off. Any sudden noises, any quick movement and they are gone. Once the Spirit comes to us when we become believers, He will remain upon the Christian for the rest of eternity. He will never leave us. But the presence of the Spirit on us can be easily grieved to the extent that we lose something of the intimacy with the Spirit when we disobey Him. That special presence of the Spirit, called by John the anointing (1 John 2:27), must be guarded as a sacred trust and nurtured by quick repentance and forsaking of any sin if we want intimacy with Christ and have the Spirit remain on us. The Spirit descended and remained upon Jesus, which means that He was at home as He rested upon the Lord.

R.T. Kendall explains it this way in his book entitled, The Sensitivity of the Spirit:

“That the Holy Spirit descended and remained on Jesus tells us as much about Jesus as it does about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was at home with Jesus. They were mutually adjusted to each other. Jesus carried no bitterness or hate, no grudges, panic or spirit of vindictiveness to drive away the gentle Spirit. Described by Matthew as “gentle and humble in heart,” Jesus did not quarrel or cry out (Matthew 11:29). Yet “a bruised reed he will not break” (Matt. 11:20). He never struck out to hurt another.

The apostle Paul admonished us, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit has feelings, and we can hurt His feelings when we grieve Him by the things we do. The Greek word translated “grieve” (lupeo) comes from lupee, which means “pain” or “sorrow.” It is the opposite of joy.

We know from the apostle Paul that the Holy Spirit can also be quenched. In Paul’s words, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). The words put out come from the Greek word sbennumi, which basically means, “to quench.” In the ancient Greek world it referred generally to extinguishing fire or burning objects. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to the people gathered in the Upper Room as what seemed to be “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3). Paul’s warning not to quench the Spirit can only mean that the Spirit’s fire can be put out.”[1]

Listening to His voice and obedience to the Lord are the keys to walking and keeping in step with the Spirit as we walk through this world. Jesus made this clear in this passage to the disciples:

23Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me (John 14:23-24).

We must make the effort to not only know Christ’s teaching, but to also walk in obedience to what we learn of Him. The Lord says that this is the proof that you are a Christian; that you obey what Jesus taught. He is looking for God lovers. Those that are in a love relationship with Jesus Christ are those that obey His teaching, not only when men’s eyes are on you, but when nobody’s eyes are on you, God’s alone. The more you are obedient to a heart level, the more of the Spirit you will have. To walk in step with the Spirit is to live in such a way that you are agreeing with the Holy Spirit at every step. When you get out of step with the Holy Spirit, be quick to change and to repent so that you can quickly get back in step with Him and walk in His ways. If you keep yourself in step with the Word of God and the Spirit of God, the presence of God will be on you and with you. And this will be apparent to those around you.

Keith Thomas

[1] R.T. Kendall, The Sensitivity of the Spirit, Published by Charisma House, page 26.

The Holy Spirit Reveals Truth

pentecost“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you (John 14:15-17). 

One of the first things we should notice about the Helper, the Holy Spirit, is that He is called another Advocate (John 14:16). This word another means another of the same kind. He is like Christ—in fact, He is called the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9, 1 Peter 1:11). More than that, He is called the Spirit of Truth (Verse 7). If you are a Christian–having repented of sin and received the free gift of salvation–then the Bible says that ALL of God’s people have the Holy Spirit:

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9).

As Jesus was saying the words at the top of the page, the Holy Spirit had been living with them, but Jesus tells them that He shall be in them. This speaks of what would happen on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would come upon all the believers and empower them, baptizing them into the spiritual Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). On that day, He would reside in them, not just be with them. This thought that the Spirit had been with living them could be:

1) A reference to the presence of Christ living with them as they went from place to place with Him, especially since it was written of Jesus that He had the Spirit without measure (John 3:34).

2) The reference to the Spirit being with them could also be talking about the time He sent them out in ministry and He had given them authority and power to lay hands on the sick and cast out demons (Matthew 10:8, Luke 9:1-2). Their ministry of doing the works of Jesus was a result of the Spirit being with them, but as yet He was not indwelling them. The Spirit could only come into them as their hearts were purified by the finished work of Christ on the cross and their faith in that accomplished work (Acts 15:9).

Jesus then tells the disciples that when the paraklētos (The Holy Spirit, the divine Helper) comes within them, as He did on the Day of Pentecost, from that point on the Holy Spirit would teach them and remind them of all things that Christ had taught them.

26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26).

27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him (1 John 2:27).

Does that mean that we no longer need Bible teachers? What do you think? If we don’t need teachers, what does it mean?

My personal belief when it comes to these two passages about the Holy Spirit teaching us all things is that the Spirit will give us awareness within as to what is right and wrong. There is a “know-so” within the core of our being. Paul the apostle wrote that the Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). There is an “amen,” that resounds within when a person is confronted with the truth of God’s Word. A person may come to Christ with little knowledge as to who Jesus is, like a little child, but the Spirit will reveal truth as opposed to the lies of the enemy, even if a person does not have a copy of the Bible. Of course, we still need teachers, Paul told the Ephesian church that the teachers of the scriptures was one of the five-fold ministry gifts of God to the church (Ephesians 4:11), but each of us are also to be meditating on the Word of God as much as we are able, and the Spirit will give us insight into what is read. The presence of the Spirit (the anointing) in one’s life will reveal more and more of the things of Christ, if one is open to learn and grow in Christ.

Keith Thomas

Illustration by www.tonyvhammack.com

The Holy Spirit–The Helper

15“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:15-18). 

The Paraklētos

Keith ThomasIn the passage we are studying today, the One that the Father sends is called the Paraklētos.  This Greek Word describes the Holy Spirit and is translated in the New International Version as the Advocate [See scripture above], who will be with us forever. The English King James Version of the Bible translates Paraklētos as Comforter. The word Comforter has changed significantly since John Wycliffe first used it in the first translation of the Bible from Greek into English. William Barclay, the commentator, says:

“The word comes from the Latin fortis which means brave; and a comforter was someone who enabled some dispirited creature to be brave. Nowadays comfort has to do almost solely with sorrow; and a comforter is someone who sympathizes with us when we are sad. Beyond a doubt the Holy Spirit does that, but to limit His work to that function is sadly to belittle Him. We often talk of being able to cope with things. That is precisely the work of the Holy Spirit. He takes away our inadequacies and enables us to cope with life. The Holy Spirit substitutes victorious for defeated living.[1]

The Greek word paraklētos is found in the Bible only five times, and only in the New Testament. John’s gospel uses it four times (John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7), and it is also used once in the First Letter of John (1 John 2:1). In ancient Hellenistic texts, the word paraklētos was used to denote an advocate, but not in a professional sense as we use it today. It was used to describe a friend or patron who comes alongside a person to speak up for them when he or she is accused. When one reads the New Testament, the description of how the Holy Spirit comes alongside us is so varied that He cannot be called just an Advocate, Counselor or Comforter. One word to describe what He does limits Him in our minds. We should think of the paraklētos as our helper alongside of us, which is exactly how the New American Standard Version Bible (NASB) translates it. Now that Jesus was leaving the disciples, He comforts them by telling them about this Divine Helper. He is the One who gives us help in every situation, every trial. He is the Holy Spirit. He will give strength when we are weary (2 Corinthians 12:9). He will give insight when we are counseling someone. He will remind us of God’s promises when we are in a tight spot (John 14:26). He gives encouragement when we are weary. He will speak through us when we are hauled before the judge for being a Christian (Luke 12:11-10).

I want you to stop a moment and consider the change that came over the disciples after they opened their lives to God and were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2).  Remember their demeanor at the trial of Jesus, how they were hiding in the shadows? Think of how Peter denied Jesus when confronted with the statement that he had been with Jesus. Yet now, after they were filled with the Holy Spirit, we see boldness and bravery displayed. No longer are the disciples huddled together in the upper room, away from the world, searching for answers and trying to grasp what had happened. After Pentecost, they were sent back into the world. The Holy Spirit was sending them, with God’s Word, back into the world and endorsing the message by accompanying the Word with His Spirit:

29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4: 29-31).

Maybe today you need the Holy Spirit to empower you and give you His grace, power and strength in the middle of whatever trial you are going through. The Bible says that we have not because we do not ask God in the midst of need. Call upon your Helper, the Holy Spirit–He wants to come and help you in whatever your need is–ask Him! If you have never turned your life over to Him, do it sincerely, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and be your Helper.

Keith Thomas

If you would like to study further the topic of the Holy Spirit, go to the Inductive and Topical Studies tab at the top of the Home Page, click the line that says, Topical Studies, when you get there, scroll down to the series at the bottom, The Holy Spirit at Work in the Believer, choose and click on any of the six free studies.

[1] The Daily Study Bible, William Barclay. The Gospel of John, Volume 2, Page 167. Printed by Saint Andrews Press.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

15“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you (John 14:15-17). 

Jesus promises that He will ask the Father and He will send “another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth” (Verses 16-17).  What is a promise? It is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. This promise is given, not only to the disciples reclining around the table with Him, but to all who believe and put their trust in Christ. It is not to the “super saints”—the eleven who sat around the table were not extra-ordinary in any way. In fact, that was why they were chosen to be his apostles. They were just like you and me, ordinary people. They were so ordinary that, after they were filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, the religious leaders were astonished when they were used of God to heal the lame man at the gate of the temple. It says,

“when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

The disciples were chosen by Jesus for the very reason that they were ordinary, unschooled men so that the glory and goodness of God could be made evident. They were not great men of God, they were men of a Great God! This should encourage us all as we stop to consider what an all-powerful God can do with ordinary men and women such as you and I. Luke, the writer of the Gospel of Luke, clarifies this promise in his second book, the Book of Acts:

4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about (Acts 1:4).

Did you notice that Jesus called the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost; “the gift that the Father promised?” What does one have to do to earn a gift? Absolutely nothing! Otherwise it would not be a gift. When a person is paid for working all week, does their boss give them their wages as a gift? Of course not! They worked hard to get what they deserved for working all week. Most of us reading these notes have a holiday at least once a year where gifts are given or exchanged. If a child was misbehaving the day before, would a gift still be given? Most of us would say, “Yes,” because a gift is not earned.  A gift is not dependent on a person’s behavior, but on the grace of the one giving the gift. The God we serve is a perfect Father who loves to give good gifts to His children, and it is not because they earned the gift:

38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39).

God’s character is bound up in this promise, that all who repent (turn around from the direction they were heading) and receive forgiveness of sins through Christ, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given not only to the eleven disciples sat around the table in this passage of the Bible, but to all their children who believe and to those in many far off lands who are also called to obey the gospel message. If you have heard the message of the gospel and sincerely believed and turned your life over to Christ, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you believed.

13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Why don’t you turn your life over to Christ–sincerely ask Him to save you on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross as He paid the penalty for your sin and mine. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin and come into your life. When you do, you will receive the free gift of the Holy Spirit, just as He promised. If you would like to read more on this topic, scroll on the home page of www.groupbiblestudy.com to the study in the Book of John 14:15-31, the study called, The Promised Holy Spirit.

Keith Thomas