31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die (John 12:31–33, NKJV).
The purpose for which He came into the world was about to be fulfilled (John 12:27). Soon, Jesus would be crucified. His obedient death would glorify His Father (John 12:28; Heb. 5:8-9). Some thought they heard thunder or an angel when the Father spoke approvingly to Jesus from heaven (John 12:28-30). Note some crucial things accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross. (1) Christ’s death judged the world. The world judged Jesus worthy of death, yet His death would judge the world guilty of sinful injustice in need of salvation (Luke 23:39-41; Matt. 27:54; Acts 2:22-23). (2) Christ’s death cast out Satan. The devil lost his grip on holding men and women captive in sin when God accepted the death of Jesus as an offering for sin (1 Cor. 15:56-57; Heb. 10:10). By His death, Jesus destroyed the power of sin used by the devil to destroy souls (1 John 3:8). (3) The crucified Christ would draw sinners to salvation. The Son of Man was lifted onto an instrument of execution to die for all who are dead in sin so that we can live in Him (John 3:14-16; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus glorified the Father by obeying His will and dying on the cross. The gospel calls us to honor and glorify Jesus by hearing, receiving, and following His word (Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 3:17; Luke 6:46).
28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry (Luke 23:28–31, NKJV)?”
Jesus used the figure of green and dry wood to warn the daughters of Jerusalem to mourn the difficult, deadly days ahead for Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-30). Verse 30 quotes and applies Hosea 10:8, which spoke of God’s judgment and punishment that Samaria would not escape. (This reference is used in Revelation 6:15-16, depicting the sure and inescapable nature of divine judgment.) The “green wood” period was no doubt when the Messiah was with them. His words and works brought life to Israel like a green spout. Yet they rejected and killed Him. Since that is how they acted when things were good, imagine what they would do when God removed His blessing and brought His judgment upon the city. Terrible things would be done (Matt. 24:9-12). Historians record accounts of cannibalism and other atrocities in Jerusalem during its siege and destruction by Rome in A.D. 70. We ought to believe, obey, and rejoice in the blessings of Christ (Eph. 1:3). If not, we will undoubtedly mourn when God’s wrath punishes our disobedience (2 Cor. 10:6; 2 Thess. 1:8-9).
4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; (2 Thessalonians 1:4–5, NKJV)
Jesus blesses those persecuted for righteousness’s sake (Matt. 5:10-12). Many early Christians were “made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations” because of their faith (Heb. 10:33). The saints in Thessalonica exemplify steadfast endurance in the face of fierce opposition. Their persecution was not due to God failing or forgetting them. Far from it (1 Thess. 3:12-13). Their faithful fortitude despite suffering for their faith revealed two unbending truths. (1) God will righteously judge those who persecute His people (v. 5). Paul explained, “since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you” (2 Thess. 1:6). God will judge those who bring suffering upon the righteous. The persecutors of Christians “do not know God” and “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” therefore, they will experience divine vengeance (2 Thess. 1:7-8). (2) Those who suffer as Christians are worthy of the kingdom of God (v. 5). These faithful ones will share in the glory of Christ when He comes (2 Thess. 1:10; Col. 3:4). Like them, may we faithfully endure trials and the promise of eternal life (Heb. 10:36-39). Do not be ashamed of Jesus (Mark 8:38). Glorify God when you suffer for Christ (1 Pet. 4:16). Great is your reward in heaven (Matt. 5:10-12).
Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided (Genesis 8:1, NKJV).
Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” in a world of growing wickedness ripe for destruction (Gen. 6:5-8). The description of Noah is impressive: “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). This man of faith obeyed “all that God commanded him” concerning the ark, saving his family while declaring the world’s guilt (Gen. 6:13-22; Heb. 11:7). The worldwide flood teaches us God punishes sin (2 Pet. 3:5-10). Noah received God’s mercy because of his obedient faith. Remarkably, God saw Noah amid a wicked and corrupt world. God also sees Christians who are “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). God remembered Noah after the evil world perished. His compassion extended beyond the moment of crisis, sending wind to dry the earth, restraining the rain, and sealing the fountains of the deep (Gen. 8:1-2). To this day, God remembers His promises not to leave or forsake His people (Heb. 13:5-6). God sees the evil and the good and provides all we need for life and godliness (Prov. 15:3; 2 Pet. 1:3-4). He will not abandon people of faith (those who trust and obey His word). Scripture says, “Noah became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb. 11:7). Like Noah, our faith must obey God to be saved by grace. Obedient faith is “accounted for righteousness” and remembered by God (Rom. 4:5-6).
1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1–2, NKJV).
Christians are repeatedly warned in the Scriptures to beware of falling away from God, His grace, and the faith (Heb. 3:12-13; Gal. 5:4; 1 Tim. 4:1; James 5:19-20). Embedded in this warning in 2 Corinthians 6:1 is a call to urgency by recognizing “the accepted time” and “day of salvation” and diligently receiving and standing in God’s grace (2 Cor. 6:2). Consider the days appointed by God that urge us to respond to God’s grace in faith and be saved in Christ. (1) The day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). This day is the gospel age. Salvation is available to all who believe (John 1:12; Mark 16:15-16; Rom. 10:8-13; Acts 2:36-38). God appointed this time to believe and obey the gospel for salvation and eternal life (Gal. 4:4). (2) The day of death (Heb. 9:27). Death is the great equalizer (Eccl. 2:14; 9:2-3; 12:6-7). Jesus releases the children of God from the fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15). Death is a great incentive to be a Christian and live by faith, not fear. (3) The day of judgment (Acts 17:31; Heb. 9:27). God calls us to repent because He will “judge the world in righteousness” by His Jesus Christ. God has confirmed a day of judgment is coming by raising Jesus from the dead. Therefore, God commands us to repent (Acts 17:30). We do not know when we will die or when the day of judgment will happen. But we know “now is the day of salvation.” Believe and obey Jesus to be prepared for the day of your death and judgment (2 Cor. 5:10).
40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (John 7:40–42, NKJV)
John 7 records the belief, skepticism, and opposition to Jesus in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10-13). The multitude did not speak openly about Him for fear of their leaders, but Jesus “went up into the temple and taught” publicly (John 7:14). Like today, His words and works stirred different reactions. (1) The multitude charged Jesus with having a demon (John 7:20-24). (2) The citizens of Jerusalem marveled at His boldness under threat of death (John 7:25-27). (3) The Jewish leaders (Sanhedrin) sent officers to arrest Him, perplexed at His teaching (John 7:32-36, 44). The officers returned empty-handed, saying, “No man ever spoke like this man” (John 7:45-46). (4) The crowd was divided over whether Jesus was “the Prophet” or “the Christ” (John 7:40-42). Moses told of God sending a prophet like him (Deut. 18:15, 18-19). God’s Servant, the Messiah, fulfilled this role (Isa. 42:1-4; Acts 3:22-24). The Christ did indeed come from “the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was” (2 Sam. 7:12-14; Isa. 11:1-2; Micah 5:2). Those who said Jesus could not be the Christ since He came from Galilee, failing to consider his birthplace (John 7:1, 9-10). Jesus is “the Prophet” who spoke the Father’s doctrine (John 7:16-18). Jesus is the Christ who gives living water for the soul (John 7:37-38; Isa. 55:1-5; Rev. 22:17). Christ is the Prophet we must hear. This is righteous judgment about Jesus (John 7:24).
For there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11, NKJV).
It is not easy to be objective in moral and spiritual matters. Yet, God is impartial in His judgments, and He expects us to be, too. Paul recognized “God shows personal favoritism to no man,” therefore, he refused to court the favor of men by changing his preaching to please men (Gal. 2:6, 4-5; 1:10). James wrote, “The wisdom that is from about is…without partiality” (James 3:17). Prejudice (judging a matter or person before and without evidence, Prov. 18:13) and preferential treatment based on fleshly considerations are grievous sins. James explained at some length what happens when partiality happens in the assembly of the church (James 2:1-13). James said showing favoritism based on external factors (in this case, wealth or poverty) is evil (v. 2-4). It dishonors the innocent person (v. 6). It is an unloving action of sin (vv. 8-9). And it is unmerciful (vv. 12-13). When we show favoritism, we are in danger of condemning the innocent and approving the guilty. The apostle Paul warned Timothy against rash judgments and partiality in 1 Timothy 5:19-22. Instead, he was to “observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Tim. 5:21). Neither misplaced sympathy (“You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute,” Exod. 23:3) nor a lingering grudge (“You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute, Exod. 23:6) must be allowed to distort justice (Lev. 19:15, 18). Fearing God protects us against partiality, but fearing men causes it (2 Chron. 19:5-7; Deut. 1:17). Our heavenly Father does not play favorites. He accepts all who fear Him and work righteousness (Acts 10:34-35). And He judges “without partiality…according to each one’s works” (1 Pet. 1:17). So may we develop the character of impartiality seen in God.
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1–2, NKJV).
Jesus contrasted the righteousness of the kingdom with the scribes and Pharisees (who broke the commands of God with their traditions and taught others to do so, Matt. 5:19-20; 15:3; 23:1-2). He judged them to be hypocrites for this conduct (Matt. 15:3-9; 23:23). To conclude from today’s passage that we can never make judgments about right and wrong, good and evil, is absurd (Rom. 12:9). Otherwise, Jesus Himself is a hypocrite for judging the scribes and Pharisees to be hypocrites. In truth, Jesus is warning us against making hypocritical judgments (Matt. 7:3-5). Righteousness in the kingdom compels us not to judge others rashly, prejudicially, vindictively, and hypocritically (Matt. 6:33). When we judge unrighteously, we hinder conflict resolution, prevent forgiveness, and fail to love others as God does (Matt. 5:21-26; 6:14-15; 5:43-48). When we do so, we can expect to be judged (condemned) for our ill-conceived judgments. Jesus challenges us to “judge what is right” (Luke 12:57; John 7:24). His judgments are “true and righteous altogether” (cf. Ps. 19:9). Let us follow Christ’s example of making righteous judgments by using the proper standard (God’s revealed truth) with the proper motive (to seek the Father’s will) (John 5:30). God will judge us for the judgments we make (Luke 6:37-38). Avoid exposing yourself to condemnation by judging unrighteously.
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:21–22, NKJV).”
Jesus challenges us to inspect our attitudes toward others and the words they prompt us to use (Matt. 12:33-37). Brotherly kindness and love (attributes Christians add to our faith, 2 Peter 1:5, 7) go far beyond not murdering a person. The apostle John assures us that “whosoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Jesus expects citizens of the kingdom to follow a path that leads from hate to harmony. Unjustified anger, contemptuous words, and hateful conduct bring a judgment that endangers the soul. So, we must be careful how we speak to others and speak of them to others. We must remove animosity, contempt, bitterness, malicious speech from our hearts and mouths (Eph. 4:31). Kindness must prevail to be a faithful follower of Jesus (Eph. 4:32). Remember, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Prov. 15:4). Furthermore, the perverse tongue condemns the soul.
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:37, NKJV).
Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his throne over Babylon to live as a wild animal because of his pride that praised his accomplishments while ignoring God (Dan. 4:22-33). Instead of praising the Most High God, who “rules in the kingdoms of men,” the king praised himself and his majesty (Dan. 4:25, 28-31). God has not abdicated His rule over the nations (Ps. 22:28; Acts 17:26). Those in power who honor the true and living God are blessed; those who pridefully dishonor Him face inevitable defeat (Ps. 33:10-22). “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect” (Ps. 33:10). And, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12). Nebuchadnezzar learned God’s “works are truth, and His ways justice” (Dan. 4:37). God calls national leaders and all the earth’s inhabitants to humble themselves before Him. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” is true of individuals and nations (Prov. 16:18). Daniel’s counsel to the Babylonian king remains relevant: “Break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity” (Dan. 4:27).