Bowie Apostolic Church
by From the Pastor's Desk on March 31st, 2013

Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 

Acts 2:25 For David says concerning him, “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 

In reading the words of Psalm 16, you get an affirmation of a security that we are able to grab hold to in the word of God. Through faith, we are able to trust God in this life and the life to come. The life to come is why we live in a way that discounts and dismisses the temporary pleasures of this life. There would be no such hope if there were no resurrection. The resurrection is when our God, Jesus Christ will personally return for us. This is one of many unique points of Christianity that we base our faith on.

As we come close to the end of this month of Messianic Prophecy, we again look at a prophetic typology and foretelling of Jesus. His flesh was not going to see corruption. This does not imply some type of Divine process that holds Jesus in a suspended state of animation. It literally means that there would never get to a point where He begins to visibly decay. This was not a scientific statement, but something that would be verifiable by the average observer. Corruption in the ancient mindset means complete decay of the body ending in bones. 

Death in Palestine implies heat. Being left out in the sun would hasten the decomposition of a dead body. It also would leave the body susceptible to animals. Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb with a huge stone covering the entrance. This covering would also keep the sun out. To be clear, JESUS WAS DEAD. That means that decomposition had begun. But at the resurrection, He was made alive again. 

This means that His flesh was made alive and restored. We see this in the story of Lazarus as well. Lazarus was in a tomb for four days and it was known that he was decomposing. When he came back to life, this was the restoration of his flesh. We believe that God can restore the flesh of someone after 3 days, 4 days, or 2,000 years. This is a basic tenet of the faith.

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 29th, 2013


Isaiah 53:9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
 
Matthew 27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. 

In the gospel accounts, we read the entire volume and see Jesus’ humility throughout. He is not willing to draw much attention to Himself, but rather His words and works that glorify His Father. When He healed the sick, many times He told them not to tell anyone. You don’t see Him living in a nice house. He was from an obscure town. He was from meager means, a carpenter like His step father. He was not a Roman citizen, nor a part of the upper crust, nor a part of the religious establishment. In fact, until God’s glory was manifested through Him at a wedding in Cana, Galilee He would not have received any unusual respect. The majority of His life relatively few people even knew His name.  

When He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, even that was (at least from a secular point of view) lackluster and non-regal. When He was arrested He didn’t assert His innocence, His kingship or His power. The first time our Lord allows Himself to ever be associated with anything regarding the rich was after His death. It was only in death that He was associated with anything regal. Fitting? Yes, it is fitting only because Jesus was so full of paradox and the unexpected. He was always more than He appeared, but He never made His kingship of this world. Only in death was He ever associated with the rich. He was buried in a rich man’s tomb. But as it turned out, this tomb was only a rental.

After not wanting to publicly acknowledge Jesus while He was alive, both Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea come to Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. When Pilate allows them to take His body, Joseph (who was well off, financially) chose to put Jesus into a tomb in which He had just purchased for Himself. In death He spent three days in a rich man’s tomb, but His ultimate destination was the Throne of Heaven.

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 28th, 2013

Exodus 12:43 “This is the statute of the Passover:…. 46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.
 
Psalm 34:20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 

John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 

1 Corinthians 5:7 For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 

The feast of Passover is a commemoration of Israel leaving bondage in Egypt so that they can be free to worship God in the wilderness (or desert). In the original Passover, judgment was coming to all of Egypt. The only ones who would be spared (or passed over) would be those who had the blood put upon their doorposts. This blood had to come from a lamb. It is supposed to be slaughtered, but the bones are not to be broken. When the Angel of Death passed through Egypt and saw the blood on the doorpost, he was to pass over the house and move on to the next house. In this context (as well as in our context), the blood was a covering of protection against the judgment of God.

In the New Testament the word translated as Passover is an idiom. In other words, the word does not mean Passover. The word (pascha) literally means “the thing that is slaughtered.” In 1 Corinthians 5:7 the words “Passover Lamb” is translated from pascha. This verse identifies Christ as our Passover lamb. Through His blood we escape the judgment of God that will come upon this world. Through His blood we gain eternal life. Through His blood we have access to His Holy Spirit.

In Psalm 34:20, the writer interjects a prophetic utterance: “He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken.” I’m not exactly sure why God chose not to allow His bones to be broken. But I do know that in the bible, bones represent life. For instance in Ezekiel 37, the dry bones represented people that had no spiritual life in them. In this case, the preservation of bones may refer to the preservation of His life. He would rise again. For whatever reason, God desired it and it was fulfilled. As stated before on Day 26:

Sometimes the victims are feistier than others and they last longer than their tormentors would like. After all, they are the ones who have to bury the victim. After a while, the tormentors would lose patience and break the legs of the victims. This hastens death because they are no longer able to lift themselves up. In the case of Calvary, the thieves’ legs were broken because the next day was the Sabbath and the Jews did not want them on the cross during the Sabbath (John 19:31). Of course, Jesus’ legs were not broken because He was already dead.

Jesus’ body was broken for a broken people, but none of His bones were broken. 


by From the Pastor's Desk on March 27th, 2013


Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;  by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12  Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;  yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. 

Matthew 12:39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 

John 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 


As our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), Jesus was our sacrifice. The Passover is a prophetic foreshadowing of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. This is a truth. Again, we go to the prophet Isaiah and see these very difficult words: “it was the will of the Lord to crush him.” That is the end of it. That is all of it. It cannot be anymore settled than that. Despite the Father’s love for the only begotten, it pleased Him to see Jesus crushed. Why so harsh? Why so grim? You may be wondering these things, but you should ask this question: How great is the vengeance of God against our sins? The answer is simple. Just like the rest of God, it is infinite. However, all mankind was spared because this cup of vengeance (which Jesus asked three times that it should pass) was poured out on Jesus. And in doing so, it no longer has to be poured out on us. God wanted to save humanity, therefore it pleased the Lord to crush Him.

In accordance to Isaiah’s holy prediction, He “poured out his soul to death.” He emptied Himself. He became nothing. He became sin and a curse, so that we could be holy. In John 19:30, we see Him utter His last words and take His last breath. He says “It is finished.” Literally, it means it is “accomplished.” What has been accomplished? What has Christ done on Calvary? He appeased the vengeance of God and set forth an everlasting atonement for all mankind. In this we are able to approach the Holy One fully justified by our faith and sanctified wholly, having our sins forgiven. Oh yes, He definitely accomplished it. Only He was worthy to accomplish it. Praise the Name of JESUS!

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 26th, 2013


Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
 
John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 


Crucifixion usually was administered by tying the accused to the cross. The purpose of this escapes the casual observer until it is understood that crucifixion is designed as a death by asphyxiation. You see, the weight of your body pulls your torso down to the ground while your arms are tied to the crossbeam. This produces an affect that stretches your rib cage. This is significant because your ribs (and the muscles around it) have to expand in order for your lungs to be filled with air. The longer you hang there, the less you are able to breathe in. The longer you hang there, the stretching affect makes it more natural to exhale than to inhale. Therefore, over time you can no longer fill your lungs with enough air to sustain life. You suffocate. Imagine having air all around you, but dying because you can’t get it into your lungs.

What allows the person to survive is their feet are tied and they can push their bodies up enough to stop their torso from stretching. But, eventually you lose strength in your legs to even do that. Sometimes the victims are feistier than others and they last longer than their tormentors would like. After all, they are the ones who have to bury the victim. After a while, the tormentors would lose patience and break the legs of the victims. This hastens death because they are no longer able to lift themselves up. In the case of Calvary, the thieves’ legs were broken because the next day was the Sabbath and the Jews did not want them on the cross during the Sabbath (John 19:31). Of course, Jesus’ legs were not broken because He was already dead.

Now looking at the prophetic account, along with Isaiah 53 describing the suffering Messiah leading to Calvary, Psalm 19 is a powerful picture of Christ hanging on the cross. In Psalm 19 we read language saying “my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast.”  This is referring to the breathing issue that Jesus was having while hanging on the cross. Imagine how His chest felt while suffocating. Not only that, but He died not much more than three hours after being crucified. Crucifixion until death could sometimes take a day or more. Why did it take Him such a short time? First of all, He was beaten half to death before being crucified. Secondly, He was nailed to the cross rather than tied to the cross. Therefore, He bled to death while being suffocated. How horrible!! Absolutely HORRIBLE!!

The psalm goes on to say “my tongue sticks to my jaws.” This is also a by-product of asphyxiation, especially in Israel from noon to 3:00pm (sixth to the ninth hour, Mark 15:33) during the spring in the Middle East. Of course, this would lead to Him saying "I thirst."

What is most astonishing about this part of the prophecy given all that Psalm 19 says? The most astonishing part of this prophecy is that at the time of its writing, crucifixion would not even be invented until centuries later. Now that is no coincidence. God was trying to let His people know well in advance. This is so exciting!

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 25th, 2013

Isaiah 53:12 …. yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


Aren't you happy that God overlooks our ignorance? Even when we were in our sins, the bible says God overlooked our ignorance (Acts 17:30) and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). We come into this world completely ignorant of the sacrifices of our own parents, let alone the Sacrifice of our Creator. Our nature is to rebel against His holiness. Our predisposition is to question every immutable word of God as if we were equals in a high school debate. Our ideas are about our own glorification and will over and against the will of God. But God, in His infinite wisdom and great mercy decides to overlook our questions, our accusations and our transgressions.

How vivid of a representation of these statements as the picture we see the very ones who were crucifying our Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Imagine our Lord's instant forgiveness when after they had nailed Him to the cross and He hangs there bleeding, He prays a prayer in fulfillment of the prophesy by Isaiah. A simple prayer on behalf of His tormentors. Even though they were simple words, they were way more than you and I would utter in the same circumstance. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Father forgive them in their ignorance.

I don't claim to know all of my transgressions against God. I can't know them. Jeremiah tells us that we can't even know our own hearts (Jeremiah 17:9-10). But God knows our hearts (Acts 15:8) and the scary (yet comforting) thing is that He sees everything and He still forgives us. Not only does He forgive us in our ignorance, but also when we realize we have sinned and then come to Him in sincere repentance.

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 24th, 2013

Day 23: Named Among the Transgressors

 Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Luke 23: 32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 


In an earlier post, I mentioned that the company we keep can define our reputation. As they say, “Birds of a feather flock together.” This is true in so many instances, except this one. Jesus was already labeled as a friend of sinners and a wine bibber because of the fact He was actually willing to minister to people who were not self righteous. Even though the bible says that “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches... (Proverbs 22:1)” we can see in the context of scripture that Jesus' name was slandered and held in contempt. Not only did they mock Him on the cross, but He was numbered with the transgressors before He was on the cross.

It was a custom for the Roman procurator (Pontius Pilate) to let go a criminal at the passover. Jesus was numbered among transgressors during this very time. Barrabas was a zealot who was imprisoned. He was a horrible man and worthy of prison. Pilate gave the Jews a choice between Barrabas (whom he knew was guilty) and Jesus the Messiah (whom he knew was innocent). In Pilate's mind the choice was simple. I am quite sure he was shocked when they chose Barrabas over Jesus, but they did.

Finally, we must know that crucifixion was a death used for the worst criminals. The absolute worst! In addition to that it was routinely used for rebellious slaves. Jesus was neither. The mere sentence of crucifixion puts Him in the category of a criminal even if He was crucified alone. The two thieves that were with Him are confirmation of this statement and more importantly they are confirmation of scripture. He was numbered among thieves. The innocent and righteous King was tortured, taunted and mutilated on the cross like a guilty slave. He became like us so that we could become like Him. Do you see yourself on the cross? He became your sin so you can become His righteousness.

Day 24: They Will Look Upon Me Whom They Have Pierced

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.


The prophet Zechariah ministered at a time of restoration of Israel after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. It is very tragic to live during this time and then have to prophesy again about an attack on Jerusalem. However, in chapter 12 that is just what is going on.

It is God who speaks of Himself in this prophecy who says He will “pour out a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy.” This is a definite reference to the working of Jesus' ministry. He was full of grace and He was full of compassion for the nation of Israel. He even mourned for them because He knew that in the future, Jerusalem would yet again be attacked by Rome. Just as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, Jerusalem would be destroyed.

Then God says something very telling “when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him.” First and foremost, God is saying that He is coming as a man. Secondly, He (God!) would be pierced. This happened to this One and only God who came as the man Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 22nd, 2013


Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 

Matthew 27:39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. 




God is righteous and just. Sin is shameful and should be mocked. If anyone should mock sin, God should be doing the mocking. But, the fall of man and the great love and compassion of God has created a turn of events. Rather than God standing in His holiness and mocking sin, God is being mocked. His compassion is being mocked. His love is being mocked. Rather than the crowd being sinners in the hands of an angry God, we see God in the hands of angry sinners.

Keep in mind that Jesus is on the cross at Calvary dying for the sins of the very ones who are mocking Him. He is standing in their place. He stood in our place. He did not die for His sins. He died for our sins. He became like us so that we could become like Him. He became sin that we could be sanctified as holy, justified as righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Had they known that He was bearing their reproach, had they know He was bearing their sins, undoubtedly they would not have mocked Him. For if they had realized He was standing in their place, they would realize that when they mock Christ on the cross they mock themselves. It is not the nature of mankind to mock its own sin. It is the nature of mankind to hide its sin and declare its righteousness. 

Jesus did not look victorious on the cross. He looked defeated. He looked defeated. He looked like a loser. Many times when it comes to persecution for our faith, we don't look victorious. The rest of the world will make us look backwards, irrelevant and outdated. Just as they laughed at Jesus on the cross and shame God, they laugh at the righteousness of God in our lives through Jesus Christ and mock him still today.
Just remember, in a way, God will have the last laugh.

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 21st, 2013

Psalm 22:18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. 

John 19:23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”


With pinpoint accuracy, the bible predicts the callousness of the Messiah’s tormentors. They sat around and cast lots (similar but not the same as a rolling dice) for Jesus’ clothing. When I think about this, the word vulgar comes to mind.

As I read John 19:24 I wonder how many people these soldiers had crucified up to this point? I wonder how many they would go on to crucify after our Lord? As military men, they were trained in this slow death and torturous punishment. The one thing that training does for you is that it makes the deed that much more routine and you are that much more emotionally detached in performing it. To them, it was just another criminal, just another fool. How many times had they cast lots for the belongings of previous victims of the cross?

In order to crucify Him, that meant that they were in closer proximity to Jesus than most of those who had heard the Sermon on the Mount. They were closer in proximity to Jesus than most of the 5,000 who ate during the miracle of the two fish and five loaves of bread. Although those hearers on the Mount of Olives were more distant from Jesus in proximity, they saw something in Him. Sadly, though these soldiers were that close to Jesus in proximity, they saw nothing.

They treated His clothes as the spoils of a deserving victim. The only value they saw in Jesus was His stuff! Not His significance, not His love, not His grace. They only saw the benefit of His stuff. Oh how many today are in the same state of mind? No matter how much He blesses them, no matter how much they feel His presence, no matter how much He draws close to them…….. rather than seeing Him as He really is, the only thing they care about is His stuff. Rather than wanting more of Him, sometimes we want more material things that He can provide us. Instead of loving the Blesser, we are in love with the blessing only. Let us love the Blesser. After all, He will always bless us. But, He wants us to love Him, not His stuff.

by From the Pastor's Desk on March 20th, 2013

Zechariah 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; 

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep…. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 

Matthew 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. 

Mark 14:26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 
Jesus rightly proclaimed Himself as the “good shepherd (John 10:11, 14). The sheep find a sense of security and protection in their shepherd. The shepherd becomes a part of their livelihood, their identity as a flock. The disciples of Jesus Christ were very much the same way with their Master, their Teacher. His vision to a certain degree became their vision. His teachings became their teachings. His authority became their authority.

These men had abandoned what they had known as their own personal lives and began to follow Someone they had just met. They were fed by Him. They were enlightened by Him. They knew that His words were true. However, they had their own perception of how what He was saying to them was going to be fulfilled. Some, if not all of them had some sort of socio-political agenda in mind with regard to Israel being liberated from the rule of Caesar. 

But they were wrong. They were way off! What was to happen was going to be something that was unsettling to all of them. Even though Jesus told them it would happen, they were taken aback when it finally happened.

When they came to arrest Jesus, their sense of security was shattered. Their identity was taken (in their eyes). Their Teacher was captured. Surely it was the end of all they had hoped for. Their faith was shattered. The thing they had given their lives too, rearranged their lives for, had come to naught. It did not pan out the way they could handle. They ran!

This is what happens when the Shepherd is smitten. The sheep lose their sense of security. Their protection is gone. They are vulnerable. Their reality is shattered.

In hindsight, was their hope really dashed to pieces? Absolutely not! But they abandoned Him for what it looked like. It looked like the end, but looks are deceiving. Dear friend don’t abandon our Lord, because your hopes seem shattered because things did not pan out the way you thought God would’ve handled it. Remember, God is the real object of hope. If we believe the truth, that Hope is shatterproof!






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