Verses Worth Memorizing

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Peter 5:1-14.  Let’s go!

1 Peter 5:1-4 (NIV) 
1  To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
2  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
3  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
4  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

On verses 1-4:  I encourage every parent, small group leader, team leader and anyone else who has the responsibility, passion or gift of shepherding others to meditate on these verses.  May they inform and transform the way you lead those in your care.

耶穌在耶路撒冷_醫好38年之癱子

約翰福音五章17節    耶穌就對他們說:「我父做事直到如今,我也做事。」

這是目前耶路撒冷的旅遊景點之一,讀過福音書的人都會想去看看這個畢士大池是怎樣的,因為耶穌曾經在這裡醫治了一個癱了38年的患者。

在20世紀初,考古學家White Fathers 開始在離聖殿山北牆100米的地方發掘。他發現了兩個相連的大池,池分成南北兩部份,南池(向南)面積約為71米x 51米,北池(向北)面積約有58米x 43.5米,兩池之間有一道橋,池的四邊與中間共有五條走廊,供求醫的人在此等候醫治,這與約翰的描述,有五個廊子的說法相符。

畢士大的意思是「憐憫之家」或「雙泉之家」或「善堂」,是為一些患病者設立的慈善場所。此池底下有間歇性的硫磺噴泉,每隔若干時候會噴射一次。因為硫磺泉水有醫病功能,所以許多病人到此治病。也有天使下來攪動池水,第一個下水的人便可得到醫治的傳說。據現存的遺跡所見,現在的畢士大池是在一個廢墟的大坑中,坑內有石砌的牆壁、大柱子及拱頂等,因為原來的地面不斷地填高,以致比水池高出約十米之多。不過,水池仍保留原狀,一個「日字形」的建築物,四周所見,有許多柱廊、柱頭、鼓形石塊等。

The Sweetness in Suffering for Jesus

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Peter 4:12-19.  Let’s go!

1 Peter 4:12-16 (NIV) 
12  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
13  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you…….

On verses 12-16:  It shouldn’t surprise us or seem strange to us whenever we go through painful trials.  Jesus Himself said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  Since suffering and trouble are part of living life on earth, you might as well suffer trouble for the right reasons, says Peter, instead of for the wrong reasons (v15).  If you have to suffer, suffer because of your faith in Jesus.

耶穌在耶路撒冷_尼哥底母的夜訪

約翰福音三章16節   耶穌說: 「神愛世人,甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們,叫一切信他的不致滅亡,反得永生。」

這個尼哥底母夜訪耶穌的故事相信很多人都讀過了。今天我想和大家分享一篇馬丁路德在他的時代裡也經歷過一次瘟疫,他寫下了一段話:

「我會祈求神的憐憫來保護我們,然後我會盡力去消毒,潔淨空氣,服用必需的藥物。我會避免去那些不需要去的地方,以免我被感染,以致於在不知不覺中也感染他人,因我的過失而導致他人的死亡。倘若神要帶我走,祂一定能找到我,並且也明白我所做的一切。因此我不必為自己的死亡或他人的死亡負責。倘若我的隣舍需要我,我會毫不猶豫地去幫助他,我不會因為他的所在或是他的問題而拒絕。這不是要試探神或愚蠢的選擇,乃是我對神的敬畏而做的選擇。」

〈約翰福音〉第三章,當尼哥底母和耶穌談到重生時,耶穌以永生做了最後的注釋。要有重生,才能進入永生。尼哥底母是個法律賽人,法律賽人是很追求守律法的一類人,因為他們相信神能使死人復活,撒都該人則恰恰相反,他們追求高位和名利,他們不相信死人復活。所以對一個相信死人可以復活的法律賽人而言,信仰裡有許多奧秘的事。

Can People Still Receive Salvation After They Die?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Peter 4:1-11.  Let’s go!

On verses 1-3:  What does Peter mean in verse 1 when he writes, “because whoever suffers in his body is done with sin”?  For us Christians, the moment we die physically is the moment we go to heaven and are done with sin and its ill effects.  Here Peter is saying: live that way now.  Think of your old life – the life you lived in the past before coming to Christ (v3) – as having died already.  Now you are living a new life that is controlled by Christ, not by sin, a life lived for the will of God, not for human desires (v2).  You are a new creation in Christ.  That is your identity, so live that way.  As Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

耶穌在耶路撒冷_潔淨聖殿

約翰福音二章17節  他的門徒就想起經上記著說:「我為祢的殿心裡焦急,如同火燒。」

主耶穌曾經兩次潔淨聖殿。第一次是祂剛出來傳道的時候。記載在〈約翰福音〉第二章。其餘三福音所記載的是第二次潔淨聖殿,是祂受死前一週所作的事。這也是祂第一次以成人的身份到耶路撒冷去過逾越節。猶太人曾經是遊牧民族,但是後來在迦南地定居後,神規定只能有一個獻祭和敬拜的地方。在所羅門聖殿建立之後,大家就一年幾次去耶路撒冷過節。過節往往要獻祭,但是遠道而來的人帶著牛羊很不方便,律法也允許他們帶錢到耶路撒冷,再買牛羊及獻祭用品。

但是在耶穌的時代,由於耶路撒冷聖殿為要維持聖潔,規定奉獻的錢幣必須是由聖殿發行和加利利地區的錢幣才可以,因為這兩個地方所發行的錢幣只有燈燭,沒有人物像。當時羅馬帝國發行的錢幣就有羅馬皇帝的像。為了方便這些朝聖客的需要,就在外人院設立兌換錢幣的地方,換錢之後再去買牲畜。這些牲畜攤販通常都由祭司在負責,或是由祭司檢驗合格的攤位,表示這些攤子所販賣的牲畜作獻祭用是合格的。而所有自己帶牲畜來獻祭的人都必須經過祭司檢驗合格後才可以獻祭。如果被祭司檢定不合格的話,只好到這些攤販去進行補貼「兌換」合格的牛羊等牲畜。祭司原本要服務朝聖客,卻為了錢與商人勾結,騙取人民的錢財。例如在檢驗牲畜是否健康時,故意刁難,要求獻牲祭者更換另一隻新的牲畜,這樣販售動物的攤位就可以多賺兌換手續費,甚至故意以高價售出。

陳終道牧師說,「為甚麼兩次的事這麼相似﹖那正好證明猶太人並沒有因耶穌第一次潔淨聖殿而悔改。主耶穌拿繩子作鞭子,把賣牛羊鴿子的人都趕出去,推翻兌換銀錢之人的桌子,那些人的情形必然十分狼狽。後來主又得再次潔淨聖殿,因為那些受責備的人依然如故!」

How To Always Be Ready To Share Jesus With Others

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Peter 3:13-22.  Let’s go!

1 Peter 3:13-15 (NIV) 
13  Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?
14  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.

On verses 13-15a:  Don’t misunderstand Peter in verse 13.  Peter is not naively saying that no one will want to harm you if you are eager to do good.  Peter himself witnessed the greatest doer of good in history, Jesus Christ, being repeatedly criticized and ultimately crucified by people intent on harming him. But what Peter is saying to his Christian readers is: remember that the Greatest One is on your side.  He will be there to protect you and to keep you from any ultimate harm.  So do not be afraid of those who want to harm you while you live out your faith and calling.  For even if you suffer because of it, you will be more blessed in the end.  When you remember that the Greatest One is on your side, or in Peter’s words, when you “set apart Christ as Lord”, you will not give in to fear.

耶穌在耶路撒冷_12歲的耶穌

路加福音二章49節  耶穌說:「為什麼找我呢?豈不知我應當以我父的事為念嗎?」

在嬰兒耶穌第一次上了耶路撒冷之後,路加醫生記載:「孩子漸漸長大,強健起來,充滿智慧,又有神的恩在他身上」(路2:40)。路加不是猶太人,但是他為了向一位提阿非羅大人傳耶穌的福音,他很努力地去搜集資料,再把這些收集到的史實按著時間記錄下來。有解經家認為這些資料很可能都是向耶穌的母親採訪所得。

話說回來,耶穌第二次上耶路撒冷是何時呢?路加記載是在耶穌12歲的時候,跟著父母和親友從拿撒勒到耶路撒冷去過逾越節。按照摩西律法,神命定以色列的男人每年要上耶路撒冷守三次節期:一是逾越節,二是五旬節或稱初熟節,三是柱朋節或稱收藏節。後來比較嚴謹的希勒學派規定,敬虔的婦女至少也要一年過一次逾越節。

逾越節是猶太人記念:神藉著摩西把他們從埃及為奴的苦況下拯救出來的大日子。在那個晚上,神差遣滅命的天使殺掉埃及所有頭生的人和畜,獨獨越過門上有塗羊血的以色列家。在那個夜晚,法老答應讓以色列人全部離開埃及。以色列人不再是奴隸,成為自由人的日子。從那夜起,神是以色列人的神,以色列人成為神的子民。

How to Treat the One You Marry

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 1 Peter 3:1-12.  There are so many powerful lessons we can learn from this passage.  Let’s go!

1 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV) 
1  Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
2  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

On verses 1-2:  Continuing his theme of being submissive to your leaders, a theme which Peter introduced in chapter 2, Peter addresses married women and tells them to be submissive to their husbands.  What is the reason Peter gives for why married women should submit to their husbands?  For Peter it’s about evangelism, or as we say at THRIVE, living out loud: it’s about leading the husband to Jesus – “so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives”.    Here again we see Peter’s ongoing emphasis on how a Christian’s actions should speak well of Jesus.   

耶穌在耶路撒冷_嬰兒耶穌

路加福音二章22節    按摩西律法滿了潔淨的日子,他們帶著孩子上耶路撒冷去,要把他獻於主。

現在我們要來看耶穌在耶路撒冷的事蹟了。你記得耶穌何時開始去耶路撒冷嗎?今天的經文己經給您提示了。耶穌第一次去耶路撒冷是被抱著去的,因為他那時還只是個嬰兒。

「按摩西律法滿了潔淨的日子」是指〈利未記〉12章1-8節裡,神教導摩西的「母親潔淨禮」,其實有點像華人產後坐月子,只是在摩西律法裡對生兒生女後的規定日數不同。生兒子要居家33 天,生女兒要家居66 天。這對女性是一個很好的福利,因為生孩子對母親的身體是一個極大的消耗,母親在哺乳的過程中又是另一種消耗,所以居家休息對母體健康的恢復十分重要。

這個「母親潔淨禮」結束後,母親要把一歲的羊羔作為燔祭,一隻雛鴿或是一隻斑鳩為贖罪祭,帶到會幕門口交給祭司,祭司要為她獻祭,她的血源就潔淨了。馬利亞是獻一對斑鳩或兩隻雛鴿,可見他們的家境並不富裕。

所以我們可以算出,耶穌在出生後第八天行割禮,馬利亞居家33 天後,約瑟和馬利亞就帶著小小耶穌上耶路撒冷去,要把祂獻於主,這裡的「主」是指耶和華神。你算得出耶穌大約是出生後多久去耶路撒冷嗎?(割禮的前七天,其實也算在33天裡,你有沒有上當呢?)

這裡我們看到約瑟和馬利亞的敬虔,也看到在神的律法裡,母親需要潔淨自己,父親必須帶領家庭,一起把頭生的兒子獻給主。這就是《聖經》給父母的規範,父母要一起在主前,來擔當養兒育女的工作。