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5: Squaring John with Elijah

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Chapter 5: Squaring John with Elijah

Copyright © 20221

by
Jim Kerwin

A Question for You

Image of John the Baptist from a 16th Century painting“He must increase, I must decrease.”2

Matthew 11 relates the story of the imprisoned John sending two of his disciples to Jesus with this question: “Are you the Expected One?” (Matthew 11:2-3) They see some of Jesus’ miracles, receive a prophecy-based word of encouragement for John, and they then depart (vv. 3-7a).

Jesus then turns to the crowds and launches into an unfolding of John’s ministry and its importance. Do you remember Jesus’ final statement regarding John in this passage?

  • 14“And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. 15He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
  • Matthew 11:14-15

In that phrase “Elijah who was to come,” Jesus is referring to [continue reading…]

“He Went About Doing Good…”

16 May 2022

Dear Friend,

Graphic of the words of Acts 10:38Jesus is still doing good!1

April flew by, May is accelerating, and I have a plane to catch early this Friday, May 20th, for my teaching trip to Guatemala (May 20-31). Let me take a break for a few minutes, sit down, and share with you some of April’s highlights.

I’m reminded of a line from Peter’s sermon at Cornelius’ house. Speaking of the Lord’s earthly life, Peter said, “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power… He went about doing good and healing…”

What a down-to-earth description of the Lord’s ministry! Jesus is [continue reading…]

DD1-6: Verb Voices and Violent Versions

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Deeper Dive 6:
Verb Voices and Violent Versions

Copyright © 20221

by
Jim Kerwin

Matthew 11:12 —
A Thorny Translation Challenge

Image of John the Baptist from a 16th Century painting“He must increase, I must decrease.”2

As we have seen, Matthew 11:1-19 is that wonderful passage in which Jesus teaches about John the Baptist.3 First, He sends a message of encouragement to the imprisoned John. Then Jesus uses the opportunity to point the crowd to John’s fulfillment of the prophecies in Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6 (the latter being the “Elijah prophecy”).

Matthew’s account of the events and teaching that day is very clear — except for one verse that has proven to be something of a thorny challenge to translate and interpret. That verse is Matthew 11:12—

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”

What makes it “thorny”? Because [continue reading…]

Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove

Isaac-Watts
(1674-1748)

Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With all Thy quick’ning powers;
Kindle a flame of sacred love
In these cold hearts of ours.

Look how we grovel here below,
Fond of these trifling toys;
Our souls can neither fly nor go
To reach eternal joys.

In vain we tune our formal songs,
In vain we strive to rise;
Hosannas languish on our tongues,
And our devotion dies.

Dear Lord! and shall we ever live
At this poor dying rate?
Our love so faint, so cold to Thee,
And Thine to us so great?1

Come, Holy Spirit, heav’nly Dove,
With all Thy quick’ning powers;
Come, shed abroad the Savior’s love
And that shall kindle ours.

 

Lyre and Wreath, used under license from www.123rf.com (santi0103/123RF Stock Photo)

To discover more hymns, visit our growing list of Powerful Poetry.

Image credit: Copyright: santi0103/123RF Stock Photo
Used under license

It’s Just Like His Great Love

Edna Worrell
(1873–1961)

A friend I have called Jesus,
Whose love is strong and true,
And never fails howe’er ’tis tried,
No matter what I do;
I’ve sinned against this love of His,
But when I knelt to pray,
Confessing all my guilt to Him,
The sin clouds rolled away.

Chorus:
It’s just like [continue reading…]

Take My Heart, O Great Refiner

Ellen Lakshmi Goreh
(1853-1937)

Take my heart, O Great Refiner,
Plunge it in the cleansing flame;
Heat the furnace seven times hotter,
I shall still adore Thy Name;
I shall hail its hungry roaring,
’Twill be music in mine ear,
If, amid its fiery [continue reading…]

His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Civilla Martin
(1866-1948)

29“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:29-31 nasb

6“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.“

Luke 12:6-7 nasb

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for Heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He—
His eye is on the sparrow, [continue reading…]

The Beautiful Garden of Prayer

Eleanor Schroll
(1878–1966)

There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting,
There’s a place that is wondrously fair,
For it glows with the light of His presence —
’Tis the beautiful garden of prayer.

Chorus:
Oh, the beautiful garden, [continue reading…]

Teach Me to Pray

Albert Reitz
(1879-1966)

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”

Luke 11:1 nasb

“Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray” —
This is my heart-cry day unto day.
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
“Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray!”

Chorus:
Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea.
Grant me [continue reading…]

God Leads Us Along

George A. Young
(18??-19??)

In shady, green pastures
So rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow
Bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.

Chorus:
Some through the waters,
Some through [continue reading…]

DD1-5: “Malachisaiah”?

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Deeper Dive #5: “Malachisaiah”?

Copyright © 20221

by
Jim Kerwin

Image of John the Baptist from a 16th Century painting“He must increase, I must decrease.”2

Two Prophecies,
Two Readings

Please let me share Mark 1:1-3 from two translations, the King James Version and the New American Standard Bible:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2As it is written in the prophets,

“Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face,
which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.
3The voice of one crying in the wilderness… etc.
[kjv]

1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way;
3The voice of one crying in the wilderness…’ ” etc.
[nasb]

As we can see, Mark introduces “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” by immediately [continue reading…]

In the Secret of His Presence

Ellen Lakshmi Goreh
(1853-1937)

In the secret of His presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me,
Neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me,
To the [continue reading…]

Honduran Encounters

5 April 2022

Answered Prayer for the Honduras Trip!

Dear Friend,

A Honduran worship band with guitar and an accordianThe La Joya church-plant worship band warming up on Sunday evening, 13 March1

Consider this communique a praise report! While you were praying for last month’s Honduras trip, God was answering and blessing. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been Covid-restricted in my travel for two years, but it really seems like this trip took the prize for the number of God-timed and God-ordained arrangements.

Plus, the Lord kept me in the best of health, and He preserved us on the road — we witnessed (but didn’t participate in!) two head-on collisions. All thanks to God and many thanks to you all for your prayers.

I fired off many pages of narrative to my wife Denise while I was gone — way too much to condense here.

Perhaps the story can best be [continue reading…]

Open My Eyes That I May See

Clara Scott
(1841-1897)

Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.

—Psalm 119:18 nasb

Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy [continue reading…]