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Mini-Bible Lessons Section 3

These essays were written by Cindy Sears (member of Ebenezer Church) based upon her daily Bible reading and study. Lessons are moved here one to two weeks after first being posted on our home page. This section holds essays that were posted starting in November 2022. Access other lessons below.

Table of Contents
Title Bible Reference
#51 A Humble King John 12:12-19
#52 God Uses People Judges 2:11-19
#53 God's Testing Genesis 22:1-19
#54 Selfishness John 12:20-26
#55 Don't Wait John 12:35-41
#56 Upper Room Luke 2:1-7
#57 Faith on Trial Judges 2:18-23
#58 Best Judge Judges 3:7-11
#59 Daily Washing John 13:6-11
#60 The Perfect Example John 13:12-15

Mini-Bible Lesson #60: The Perfect Example

References: John 13:12-15; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 8, pp. 684-686.

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:15-16 NIV

The Hebrews looked up to God and reverenced him “as to One far above themselves; whereas the Greeks and Romans, in the mass, looked down upon their gods from a superior moral height which the gods themselves never attained.” (I. B. pp. 684-685) They knew that if people in the world behaved like their gods there would be utter chaos. Deep down the Greeks and Romans knew and we know that we need a moral God. “[A]nd it was Jesus who gave that to man, who showed us that God is bound by his own moral laws, that as Whittier said: ‘By all that He requires of me, I know what God Himself must be.’

So, how do we know what God is like? Jesus says to look at Him. He is the way God is, and as we ought to be. As verse 14 says, “I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you…”

But, we must first be taught about Jesus and grow into a greater likeness of him day by day. This does not mean that we are bound to “obedience to an unalterable set of hide bound rules, but the growing up into his spirit, which acts sometimes in one way, and, in differing circumstances, it may be, in quite another. The Christ who tells us that we must forgive unendingly spoke about Herod with hot and open scorn, even with contempt. And if we are to imitate him with correctness, we shall have to act sometimes forgivingly and sometimes with a clean and resolute anger.” (I. B. p. 686)

In Jesus we see the ideal realized, and we can have confidence that he can lead us to be what he wants us to be, to do what he calls us to do. Jesus is our guiding star and our goal—for he is who we struggle to become like in all things.

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Mini-Bible Lesson #59: Daily Washing

References: John 13:6-11; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 8, p. 682

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
--John 13:9-10, NIV

Jesus tells Peter that he cannot be a part of Jesus’ kingdom if he refuses to let Jesus wash his feet. We need daily washing by Jesus. When we accept him as Lord and Savior, we are cleansed all-over from sin. Yet, in our daily walk in this world, we will pick up the dirt of the world, which we should take to Jesus and request that he wash our feet (minds, hearts) clean again. Daily repentance is necessary as we walk with Jesus in this world.

In verses six and seven, Jesus tells Peter that he will understand what Jesus is doing afterwards. As Christians we are often blindsided by events or circumstances and wonder why our Lord is allowing such bad or even horrible things to occur in our lives. We forget that God is trustworthy in that he wants what is best for us. The best thing for us is to be changed into the image of his Son, Jesus. The trials and tribulations we face are bringing us closer to that image and, if not, we are in rebellion against our Lord, or more concerned with the material world than our sanctification.

“At first, however, and often for long enough we are apt to be slow to believe all that. For what has befallen us, or what is asked of us, seems to us monstrous, unreasonable, impossible…If the gospel, if our fellowship with Christ and our faith in him, if our glib professions of allegiance, our prayers and religious exercises, are not cleansing our characters from what soils them and healing our natures from what maims them: if we drift from day to day much what we have always been, and not markedly different with Christ from what we would have been without him: then for us the gospel has failed. We have missed the point and end of the whole business and are not really Christ’s at all. So Christ himself told his best friend.” (I.B. p. 683)

Jesus says in verse 10, “He who has bathed does not need to wash…” Because of this we can rejoice in the fact that in Christ, we are clean. All our past, present, and future sins are washed clean, “except for the dust gathered in the day’s traveling and marketing and bustling to and fro. And that too Christ will cleanse away if with seemly humility we allow him to work out his generous purpose toward us.” (I.B. pp. 683-4

Humbly ask Jesus to wash your feet daily, and you will be clean all over again.

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Mini-Bible Lesson #58: Best Judge

References: Judges 3:7-11; The NIV Application Commentary: Judges/Ruth by K. Lawson Younger, Jr. pp. 100-110.

The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishthaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. –Judges 3:8 NIV

There is a series of cycles of “judges” in the book of Judges with each judge moving from the best to the worst. Othniel, the best one, appears in only a few spare verses; while the worst, Samson, has a long story arc. Othniel was the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. When the faithless Israelites turned away from the LORD and began to worship the Baals and the Asherahs, God “sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim” whom they had to serve for eight years. Then “the Spirit of the LORD came upon him.” Othniel became a judge aka deliverer, and warred against Cushan-Rishathaim. The land then had peace for 40 years—until Othniel died.

In these spare verses, we see a man who was a believer who followed God’s will. In chapter one, verse 13, we are told that he married a godly woman (Acsah), not a Caananite as many of the Israelites ended up doing, who then led their husbands and families astray. As Christians, we should take this prohibition to heart, not only when choosing our marriage partner, but our business associates also (NIV Applcation, p. 108). “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers.”

We learn hear also that Othniel is a Kenizzite—not a true blood Israelite; yet, God found him to be the best choice for judge. It is not unusual for a person from outside the church who becomes a Christian to be more passionate and devoted to the Lord than people who have gone to church all their lives. Do too many church goers get bored and complacent about their salvation, because they spend so little time reading and studying God’s word or praying or serving or sacrificially giving to have this kind of passion and fervor? If the fire isn’t punched and raked once in a while, it will smolder and can go out completely.

Othniel overcomes the worst of the oppressors, going by his name, which means “dark, doubly wicked” (ibid p. 104). Othniel does not act until God calls him, though he was a proven warrior (See Judges 1:11-13 where his prowess won him his wife). He walks with God. We are called to walk in the Light of Jesus, too (1 John 1:7), then we also will be able to overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5). Notice also that as long as Othniel was alive, the Israelites behaved themselves enough that the land had peace until Othniel’s death. A good witness for God can influence a whole family or community for the better. Be that good witness and influence; and pray that it will stick long after you are gone.

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Mini-Bible Lesson #57: Faith on Trial

References: Judges 2:18-23; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 2, pp. 704-705

So the Lord allowed these nations to remain in the land; he did not give Joshua victory over them, nor did he drive them out soon after Joshua’s death. —Judges 2:23 GNT

The Lord would help Israel by sending them leaders to help overcome oppression from the indigenous people in the promised land, but Israel would remain faithful only during the lifetime of that leader (vv. 18-19). So, the Lord decided that he would leave some of the peoples in the land as a constant thorn in the Israelites’ side, to test their faithfulness to God. He used these remaining peoples as a way to test and refine the Israelites’ faith in him.

“With the pagan alternative always at hand, her (Israel) own faith stood out in its true beauty and value. This was a dangerous expedient. Yet how important it is for maturing, either of a nation or of an individual. The life from which all opposition has been kept, which has been carefully protected and defended, often becomes weak and ineffective. The life permitted to face experience in all its aspects, with its hurts as well as its healing, often grows in strength. There is no guarantee that this will be the case; it is a risk—but a calculated risk taken by wise parents as they rear their children and taken by a wise God as he nurtures his people” (I.B. pp. 704-705).

Would it not also be wise of the church and its teachers to introduce challenges to the faith within the church setting, and provide answers to hard questions that will be asked by the people that our children encounter in the world? What are we doing to counteract the lies in our culture that eventually lead so many young people to leave the faith once they enter college or the job market? Do we only point to scripture to counteract the lies and deceptions, when logic and rationality and observation of how things work in the natural world can also be used to show that God is Truth, and that he is our Creator and deserves to be our Lord? Do we tell our children about the evidences for the truth of God’s Word, the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus, the truth of the Creation of the world by God? Do we assume that their faith is strong enough to keep them in Christ once they leave here for the wider world? Should we be sending our children or the young in faith of any age out into the world without weapons of logic, as well as, scripture to combat the insinuations of the devil in today’s culture?

If we want to make disciples for Jesus, and keep them, we need to spend more effort in speaking out against the devil’s lies and deceptions. Point out worldviews being presented on tv and in the movies and in books, etc. that are untrue and unchristian. Do not let emotionalism win over rationality. The insane actions and points of view being espoused in our world today are proof of God’s assertion in his Word: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (See Psalm 14:1 NIV)

There are now books and websites and organizations combatting the lies within our culture that help to turn people away from faith in God and in His Son, Jesus. Here is a short list to get you started on finding the evidence you need to combat Satan’s lies:

  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler, Frank Turek,
  • Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace
  • Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Gregory Koukl
  • Believing Is Seeing: A Physicist Explains How Science Shattered His Atheism and Revealed the Necessity of Faith by Michael Guillen
  • Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity by Alisa Childers (also has youtube videos)
  • Answers In Genesis( Website associated with Ken Ham and the Noah’s Ark (website: in Kentucky.
  • The Becket Cook Show: youtube show by a man who formerly lived as a homosexual, now a Christian, who battles the lies related to homosexuality and lesbianism lifestyles.
  • Dangerous Affirmation: The Threat of “Gay Christianity” by M. D. Perkins (I have a copy of this book available to current attendees of Ebenezer.)
  • Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer.
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Mini-Bible Lesson #56: Upper Room

References: Luke 2:1-7; The Becket Cook Show, Ep. 65: “Are We Misinterpreting the Bible? Interview with Alan Shlemon.”

…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke2:7 NIV

I ran across an episode of The Becket Cook Show on youtube recently in which he was interviewing Alan Shlemon, who has written for and helps with training Christians to witness graciously about their faith at “Stand to Reason; Clear-Thinking Christianity” ( During the interview, Shlemon brought up an interesting re-interpretation, or more correct interpretation of the story of Jesus’ birth and the “no room at the inn” passage.

We live in a world today in which inns and motels and bed and breakfast and hotels dot the landscape everywhere. It was not so in the ancient world. Most travelers had few if any choices for accommodations when away from home. The first option was to arrange to stay with relatives or friends. Another option was to campout in the town square (this is what the angels proposed to do in Sodom, but Lot talked them out of it), which could be dangerous. Or to camp outside the city somewhere, which could be even more dangerous. Even when there was an inn very few “respectable” people would want to stay in them. They usually only offered very meager and nasty places to sleep.

Bethlehem was not a major metropolis. Many people were coming there for the census. Since Joseph had family in the city (his home town), he would have chosen to stay with relatives. So, did the relatives tell Joseph and Mary that there was “no room at the inn”? That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

In First Century B. C. (and A. D.), Israelite homes could have two floors. The bottom floor was where cooking, and storage, and general living activities were carried on. The upper floor was for sleeping and where guests would stay. In the winter or at night, animals were brought into the lower floor for protection. In some homes, the floor where the animals stayed was four feet lower than the ground floor with stone feeding troughs separating the people’s area from the animals’ area or the animals’ area was blocked off by pillars and troughs.

Since so many people were arriving in Bethlehem for the census, it is possible that there was not enough room on the upper level for Joseph and Mary. Or, Joseph’s relatives may have believed that Mary’s pregnancy was shameful (since she became pregnant before being officially married to Joseph); so, delegated them both to the bottom floor. 

How God arranges things is amazing. At his birth, Jesus was rejected by his own—the family of his supposed father, Joseph; he, and his family, were refused access to the “upper room.” After birth, he was wrapped in “swaddling clothes” just as he would be when buried (bodies were wrapped in strips of cloth with incense placed among the folds); and placed in a stone manger (at death placed on a stone in a cave).

Before he died, he had a meal with his disciples in an “upper room.” This time he was the host of the meal, yet he remained humble enough to wash the feet of his disciples. He was rejected again by Judas, the betrayer, and the Jews who called for and arranged his execution. The True Shepherd was born among the animals (sheep and cows), and shepherds were the first to hear the good news and pay him a visit. No house is mentioned in the story of the shepherds, but note that when the wise men arrived later, Joseph and Mary were in a house (Matthew 2:10-11). And did the gifts of the Magi, which included myrrh, an incense used for burials, fund their eventual flight to Egypt? (See Matthew 2:13-15).

We may not ever know for certain all the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth, but this one thing we do know: our Savior was born as a lowly, human (and God) baby in the little town of Bethlehem, destined to die for us so all our sins can be washed away in his blood. This is the greatest gift to mankind from God our Father other than creating us in the first place. All glory and honor be to God, and his Son! 

Merry Christmas!

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Mini-Bible Lesson #55: Don't Wait Too Long

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. --John 3:16 NIV

References: John 12:35-41; Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, pp. 449

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.” --John 12:35 NIV

Jesus is closing out his public ministry at this point, and John, the Apostle, quotes some scriptures form the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah. This comes immediately after Jesus himself has given a warning to his listeners and followers. “While you have the light, believe in the light; that you may be the children of light (v. 36a KJV).”

As Isaiah said, there comes a time when God will blind their eyes, and harden their hearts…and they will no longer be able to be converted. (see Isaiah 6:10 and John 12:40) It is this way with Jesus and the Good News. There will come a day when the door to salvation is no longer open. As McGee says, “Jesus had presented Himself to them as the Messiah and as their King. They have rejected Jesus personally. Now He rejects them! Listen to me carefully. Because they would not accept Him, there came a day when they could not accept Him. My friend, the most dangerous thing in the world is to hear the gospel and then turn your back on it. If you just go on listening and listening and do not accept it and act upon it, there comes a time when you cannot hear and you cannot see. God is God, and it is He who has the final word.”

Don’t wait. Respond before your eyes and ears are so dulled with the presentation of the gospel that you can no longer hear it or see it as truth and salvation, but only as a clanging of pointless noise. Then you will truly walk in darkness forever. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Don’t wait too long.

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Mini-Bible Lesson #54: Selfishness

References: John 12:20-26; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 8, pp. 660-664

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. --John 12:25-26 NIV

On the occasion of some Greeks asking to see Jesus, he says something that at first reading seems to be unrelated to the request. Yet, Jesus is telling these Greeks and us something very important to remember and to understand.

If you live your life only for yourself, you will be alone, useless to the world, which includes your family, your community, and your nation.

"The man who lives immersed only in his own interests and plays and pleasures and sorrows—for is not Cowper near the mark when he asserts, reading partly from his own experience and partly from that of others that the miserable are nearly always selfish?—such a one maroons himself upon a narrow spit of a life, a mere islet, far more cramped than the human inheritance that falls to kindlier folks…He who would have friends, says a shrewd scripture, must show himself friendly. Else he has no vital relationships, no living part in the community, drops out of it at last, and his absence is scarcely noticed; makes no difference to anybody; not missed." (I.B. p. 661)

We will all one day "face the judgment seat of God, to give account of what we have made of the life that he entrusted to [us]…" (I.B., p. 662)

Jesus is making sure that these curious Greeks (and all of us) understand that, for our relationship or belief in Jesus to bear fruit, we must give our all to him, and serve him only. "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me…"

We believers are meant to bear fruit related to the Kingdom of God’s work here on earth. But first, we must die to ourselves, and be born again into a new existence in Christ Jesus and away from the self-satisfying, material and fame and power grasping person we so want to be. It is a constant battle; a constant working out of our own salvation, but well worth the effort for ourselves and for the Kingdom’s sake. This is the best way to help transform the world into a better place also—until the Lord comes and sets all thing right.

"Certainly, Christ expects those who claim to be his to follow in his steps, to adopt his standards of value, and to put their lives to the same uses he did. For the whole point of Christianity is a reaching out toward Christlikeness; and its end and goal is Christlikeness attained." (I. B., p. 662)

"But of the mass of us is it not too true that our Christianity is a theory to be accepted, rather than a life to be daily and actively lived out?" (ibid, p. 663)

Give your selfishness, your desires, your dreams, your goals, to Jesus, and let Jesus decide which ones to keep, and how best to fulfill your life here on earth. He wants the best for you; but you must decide if you want the best Christ has to offer you.

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Mini-Bible Lesson #53: God's Testing

References: Genesis 22:1-19; The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis by John H. Walton

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 22:1-2 NIV)

Seeming stability has come to Abraham. The son promised by God, Isaac, has been born; the Ishmael situation created by Abraham’s attempt to fulfill the promise himself, has been resolved; and Abraham has settled down in Beersheba. He has a strong relationship with God, calling God the Enduring (or Eternal) God.

Suddenly, God instigates turmoil in Abraham’s life by commanding him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, whom he waited for years and years to be born.

"When God tests, he tests some value, quality, or attribute by stretching it to its limits. In most cases, he is testing the faith and faithfulness of individuals by expecting them to obey in difficult circumstances. Nowhere else, however, is this accomplished by giving a command that is rescinded before it is carried out." (p. 510, Walton)

Human sacrifice was not uncommon in the world in which Abraham lived. Was Abraham attempting to show God how devoted he was to him by being willing to go the limit and sacrifice his son? Has God set Abraham up for this to show him that this God does not require such extreme behavior as a form of worship?

Through the test, God shows himself to Abraham as a God of Love—not a blood-thirsty, demonic God. In his culture, Abraham would not have been surprised by the request from God to sacrifice Isaac. He would have been surprised and relieved to discover that this One, True God cared enough for him and Isaac to provide a sacrifice in place of Isaac.

True faith consists of being ready to give our most cherished possessions, desires, and dreams to God and his Kingdom’s work—not expecting anything in return. Why? Because God gave his most precious possession to us for our salvation—Jesus Christ, His Son. And because we know we can trust him to have our best interests at heart.

"…there is ample evidence throughout Scripture that God desires us to act out our faith and worship regardless of the fact that he knows our hearts." (p. 514, Walton)

Is the testing a way for God to show us what is in our hearts? We can delude ourselves very easily. Testing can show us the strength and depth of our faith.

"God asks us to express our faith and love. It is honoring to him for us to demonstrate those things that he knows exist because it pleases him." (p. 514, Walton)

Here God is asking Abraham to give up something dear with no promise of something better to come. All the other times that Abraham obeyed God he was promised some benefit. So, this may be God’s way of revealing whether or not "Abraham’s faith has been motivated by personal gain or simply by his love for God." (p. 515, Walton)

"This test allows the patriarch to demonstrate to himself, to Isaac, to the world, but most of all to God that his faith is not driven by what he will receive out of it, but by his commitment to God. God and God alone motivates his faith—he is willing to give up all he stands to gain, all he loves, all he hopes for." (ibid)

As Christians, we cannot expect ideal or normal circumstances throughout our lives just because we say we believe in Christ, in God. Righteousness can be its own reward, but it does not protect us completely in this fallen world. And God may use our circumstances as a way to tests our faith for our benefit, and the world’s benefit. Our reaction to evil times illuminates our faith and love for God to our families, neighbors, enemies, and the world.

"God does not promise a smooth ride; he only promises to hold us in his embrace." (p. 518, Walton)

A life of faith is not always calm or uneventful. It is our trust in God that can help us through the bad times. Even death ought not to be feared; we will be regretful of the tasks we leave undone, the loved ones we leave behind, and the goals we did not reach; yet, we should be joyful at the prospect of seeing our Lord face-to-face, and that the struggle is finally over.

The tests of God will help us to know if we love God and follow him because of Who he is, or because of what we think he can do for us. Our faith should focus on God above all else.

"God tests us not by trying to make us miserable but by disrupting our comfort zones, thereby forcing us to rely on him." (p.519, Walton)

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Mini-Bible Lesson #52: God Uses People

References: Judges 2:11-19; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 2, pp. 701-704

Then the LORD gave the Israelites leaders who saved them from the raiders (Judges 2:16 NIV).

Judges is a roller coaster ride for the Israelites, because of their own behavior. They turn away from the One True God and follow the culture of the nations around them instead. Disaster strikes when God removes his favor from them. Thankfully, God calls forth leaders to rescue his people, and to move them back towards righteousness and the worship of the True God.

“When men were in sore straits, at the end of the rope, their help came. It came not in direct and miraculous intervention, but through the medium of courageous and consecrated men…God leads through human leaders who have become such because they are his followers.” (I.B. p. 702)

And God continues to use people today. “Theresa speaks thus of the Christian task: ‘Christ has no body now on earth but yours. No hands but our hands. Yours are the eyes with which He has to look out with compassion upon the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good.’” (ibid) The Israelites chose to go “a whoring after other gods.” Because righteousness and worshiping that God no one could see, no stone or wood sculpture could depict was difficult to maintain amidst the culture in which they found themselves.

“Genuinely spiritual worship is always difficult” (I.B., p. 702). Attending church, praying, studying (reading) the Bible, giving money and time to God’s work on earth; all can be difficult and make life more difficult at times. “You will be persecuted” as Jesus warned us (see John 15:20). And we will be called upon to sacrifice—our money, our friends, our jobs, our things, our time, to take up our cross as Jesus did to follow him. The Christian faith is not meant to be easy; but it is meant to be life changing and culture altering. Life is better and fuller when we live in the will of God; yet, the world will fight against his will tooth and nail, and fight against you, too. As God told Joshua long ago, “be strong and of good courage” (see Joshua 1:6-9). Follow the will of God, and serve only him; because, no matter how difficult this may be, it is the better road.

Through Judges, we will see that God saves, yet he does not ignore the evil that we do. He is a God of Love, but also of righteousness. “Many people think that God…should keep them from the consequences of their evil. He does nothing of the kind. Indeed, he guarantees the consequences of their sins.” “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Judges and the whole Old Testament reveals to us that our righteous God has and will punish anyone and any nation that does evil (that’s why he gave the promised land to the Israelites in the first place; because of the evil practiced in the area before Israel came to be).

It can be worse for a person or a nation that once followed God, but has turned away. God’s favor will be withdrawn. Only repentance and a sharp turn away from evil will restore his favor. His love never ceases; but his favor can be withheld for a time as a way to wake us up. So, don’t sleep walk your faith. Be an active follower of Jesus or be pulled into disobedience by your emotions and physical desires and face his judgment here and now—and for those who never believe in Jesus—forever in eternity.

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Mini-Bible Lesson #51: A Humble King

References: John 12:12-19; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 8, pp.657-660

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (vv. 14-15 NIV)

Jesus rides into Jerusalem among a crowd of enthusiastic people who witnessed or were witnessed to about the raising of Lazarus from the dead. But, they really do not understand yet what kind of king Jesus is to be to them. He searches for and borrows an ass to ride into the city—an ass! Not a large and strong white horse ridden by the Roman conquerors when they returned in triumph from a war. A lowly ass. One Jesus did not need for what would have been a short walk into the city. Jesus is giving another sign here of who he is, and what his kingdom and rule will be like.

He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Yet, he has not come to fight a physical war, which would claim many lives. He has come to give his one life for the many for a prize more valuable and precious than lands and wealth and power. He is here to save souls for eternity. These people in the crowd and his disciples do not understand. If they did, they would not be so enthusiastic about his entry into their lives—as many who profess to believe think they are—until he calls on them to pick up their cross and follow him.

Jesus will die soon. He asks us each day to die also—to let him have more and more control over our lives; to give up that hidden sin; to give up that desire or plan for our lives; to give our all to him and his kingdom’s work. Are we ready for a King who completely owns us? Or do we want one that is simply nice to us, and lets us go about our own affairs with little or no sacrifice or change involved?

Jesus is a humble king, because he rules it all, and has no fear of being conquered—even by death. If we want the assurance belief in Christ can provide, we must humble ourselves completely into his will and let go of our own. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to go to the cross with Jesus? Or do you only want the pomp and circumstance parade, but will turn away when the going gets tough or when Jesus ask you to give up something for him? Go to the cross with Jesus; let your old sinful self die there and be buried. Christ rose again, and he will raise you up into new life also—if you are willing. Be willing!

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