Common Faith Network

Common Faith Network

2016 Feast of Tabernacles Details

  • Uplifting Sermons— Each day of the Feast you will enjoy inspiring sermons given by men of faith in the Church of God. Scheduled speakers for 2016 are Bill Jacobs, Guy Swenson, Wayne Cole, Ken Swiger, Jim O’Brien plus others. The deep meaning of the Feast and its application to Christianity is our primary focus.
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    Church of God International

    Sacrifices of Thanksgiving

    by Brandy Webb

    I was listening to the Bible, and something struck me as very interesting and inspiring. In Psalm 50, starting in verse 9, God points out that He has no need for meat sacrifices. In fact, everything is His already. However, what He really desires is that we offer to Him “the sacrifice of thanksgiving” (v. 14). Thanksgiving comes from the Hebrew word yadah and can mean “adoration, a choir of worshippers, confession, praise, thanks (-giving, offering)” (Strong’s Concordance).

    At first, I asked myself, how is it a sacrifice to give God thanks? Well, the truth is, sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes our carnal flesh doesn’t want to thank God. We are to thank God “in all circumstances” because this is God’s will for us (1 Thess 5:18). It is God’s will for us to thank Him always, everyday, no matter what we are going through. 

    Do we always feel thankful all the time? Do we feel thankful when we are going through a loss? Do we feel thankful when we are going through trials? Do we feel thankful in the times that we live in currently? Some of us may actually say no to some of these questions, but what if I said that it is during these times that we must strive our hardest to find something to be thankful about. It is these times that we must strive to offer up to God sacrifices of thanksgiving.

    It isn’t a sacrifice to thank God when everything is going great. In fact, it is pretty easy to thank Him when we are joyful and happy. However, does being thankful during the good times make us any different than the rest of the world? We are to be set apart, a unique people, His people, etc. What better way to show the world that we are different than by being thankful, even if, from all outside appearances we “shouldn’t” be. Just think how different we are from the world when we praise our Father and Christ during trials rather than grumbling or complaining.

    We should never cease giving God sacrifices of thanksgiving. I know that we live in a very scary world, but has the world ever not been scary since the sin in the Garden? Do you think that the apostles had it easy? They were watching their brothers and sisters being martyred. They were also martyred. They not only had the religious system of the day hating them, but they had the major governmental system hating them. Yet, they never ceased from giving thanks and praises to God, and they taught us to do so also. 

    Paul went through many hardships, beatings, stoning, shipwrecked, wrongfully imprisoned, and yet He tells us to speak “to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ” (Eph 5:19-20). Why? Because He knew that joy, thankfulness, gratefulness, etc, isn’t based on what we are going through and what we have. It is based on our faith in our Father and Messiah. It is the fruit of God’s Spirit within us, and it is our choice to be thankful, joyful, and grateful no matter what. It is our choice to show the world that this life isn’t all there is, and that there is something far better coming. It is our choice to believe in the Kingdom of God and to live out that belief. It is our choice to listen to God’s spirit and not quench it with doubts, fears, anxieties, jealousies, covetousness, selfishness, greed, and hate. 

    The truth is that the choice isn’t easy. To choose to focus on the joy you had with a loved one rather than the loss of them when they are gone is not easy. I know from experience. The choice to not fear when you listen to the news and to choose to trust God that He is in control isn’t easy because we are carnal physical creatures. However, praise, confession, and thanksgiving, helps build the Spirit of God within us quenching the carnal spirit. Giving thanks during trials increases the Holy Spirit. It is a sacrifice to refrain from complaining and negative speaking. It is humility building to force the carnal thoughts out of our minds and the grateful thoughts into our minds.

    Therefore, “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb 13:15). So, instead of looking around you and giving into the negativity of the world, look around to find something to be thankful for because as long as we have the breath of life within us, we should use it for God’s glory, so “give thanks unto the Lord, for His good,” and His love and mercy is everlasting (Psa 107:1).



    Church of God International

    Come As You Are, But Don't Stay That Way

    by Brian Bettes

    This past July 4th weekend my wife and I travelled to spend time with family. I have a bit of a love/dislike (not hate) relationship with these visits. The reason is because my wife and I continue to follow the faith that we were raised in, while my siblings and their spouses have chosen another path. In fact, neither of my sibling’s mates was raised in the faith that all three of us grew up observing.

    During these visits the conversation always seems to find its way to some variation of what is required for salvation, or in my words, what one must do to be saved and to make God happy, as opposed to what He finds acceptable. I find that each of these discussions tends to point to the same conclusion with only slight variations on how they arrive there. The conclusion is, “Come as you are and stay that way. God loves you, accepts you, and is happy with you as you are.”

    This trip I was presented with a new twist to the same theme, one I had not previously heard. I was told that the reason there are so many different denominations within Christianity is because God wants to make sure He can meet as many people as possible “where they are at” in order to “reach” them. The concept being that God has to lower His standards to human criteria to reach us, and then all we have to do is accept Him (no change necessary) because He is just that desperate to have a relationship with us. If He doesn’t do this, He will be out of luck because otherwise no one would want to have a relationship with Him. Is this concept accurate? Let’s briefly examine the Scriptures to see if this is true.

    The first thing I see in Scripture is, when God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, He, not man, set the standard to live by (Genesis 2:15-17). When Adam and Eve did not live by His standard, He didn’t just accept them as they were. There were consequences for disobedience (Genesis 3:16-19), and there was a very clear change in the relationship between God and man for his disobedience (Genesis 3:22-24). Mankind became estranged from God as a result of his sin. Mind you, there is no indication that God loved Adam and Eve any less than He did before they sinned, which is where I believe many people jump track. Consequences and estrangement are viewed as a lessening of love when in fact God uses them as teaching tools to show His way is the only way. He does this for us in love, with the hope that we will find our way back to full reconciliation with Him.

    The point is, and the mistake many people make is, to think that God is somehow tolerant of sin. Just because He was merciful enough to make a way for us to be reconciled with Him when we sin, does not mean He tolerates or accepts sin in any way, shape, or form. He makes that abundantly clear in the example of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Though Christ forgave her sin, he was clear in His instruction regarding her future actions: “Go and sin no more!” (John 8:10-11). 

    God is willing to forgive our sin as long as we are willing to repent of it (1 John 1:8-9). But we should not mistake His mercy regarding sin as acceptance or tolerance of sin. In fact, He is so non-accepting and intolerant of sin that He required His Son to die because of it (Romans 5:6-8), which Christ did willingly. Think about that! Even though Christ never sinned, He had to die for our sin so the path to reconciliation could exist.

    Continuing to live in sin after we have been forgiven of it, or stated in another way, staying the way we are, is not what Jesus gave His life for (Romans 6:1-2). He gave His life so that sin could be forgiven upon repentance, not accepted. His forgiveness provides the reconciliation that is the foundation from which we are able to build a relationship with our Father and Elder Brother, which enables us become more like Them. The path to forgiveness of sin (sin being the breaking of God’s law—1 John 3:4) was not instituted so we can be accepted as we are, but so we can change our thoughts and actions to His (Romans 6:12-13).

    God sets the bar on how we are to live and we are expected to rise to meet His standard. As we are told in 2 Corinthians 10:5, we are to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Again, think about that. Every thought is a pretty high standard! According to this verse, I am to raise myself to His standard, not expect Him to lower Himself to mine. So when God works with people, though He does start working with us “where we are,” His expectation is that we will not stay there!



    Morning Companion

    I Go, Sir!

    "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went.  Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go.  Which of the two did the will of his father?" (Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV)

    Do a study of the kings of the Old Testament, and be by how many began their reigns by honoring God, but then drifted from total commitment to apathy and eventually to complete apostasy.   

    Even before Israel had a king, God had warned Israel of the dangers of power, money, and women and their corrupting influence upon national leadership (Deuteronomy 17:14 – 17).  Too few leaders either then or now have heeded this warning.     

    Two kings, one an Israelite and one a Gentile, offer an object lesson.  The Israelite had all the advantages of a vision and mandate from God, all the wisdom the Holy Spirit could give,  peace, wealth, honor, and security.  God even talked to him in visions.  Yet he turned from God and built high places to Moloch and Chemosh.  That was the tragedy of Solomon.

    The Gentile king began as a tyrant and a terror to the house of Judah.  He conquered and deported the entire nation.  He was pompous and powerful, and worshiped the false gods of his fathers.  Yet, near the end of his life, after an encounter with the true God, this Gentile king declared, “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.” (Dan 4:37 NKJV)

    I once heard a preacher say that it’s not so much how you begin the race, but how you end it.  While that might not precisely true (one who runs the race correctly from start to finish has great advantages, it is certainly better to end well than begin well.  This we see in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21.  Saying “I go, sir” is not enough; it’s the act of going that counts 



    Church of God International


    by Brian Bettes

    When you live on a farm and have livestock, your animals become an endless source of “life lessons.” This morning I was doing one of my favorite chores (not!)—cleaning out the chicken house. We have 50 chickens, so this is a weekly event that is not the most pleasant. But suffice it to say that on a weekly basis, I get to spend some “quality time” with my chickens.

    As I was doing this, I observed the chickens doing their usual “pecking order” routine. Since we have some well-established chickens and some newer, young chickens, the pecking order is in flux at the moment. Some of the older mother hens who have been with us for a long time are learning that they have to take a back seat to some of the newer, larger, more energetic youngsters. 

    In the chicken yard, pecking order is important because it determines who gets to eat first, who gets to roost where they want to, and in general who “rules the roost,” so to speak. Everyone has to learn their place in the flock from the first to the last. However, in all this “jostling for position” there is one steady constant. It is the old rooster who struts around the yard providing “oversight” of the pecking order. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he is quick to show his spurs and let the others know who is in charge. Even the young roosters don’t mess with old “Bubba,” or the two hens that are always at his side and are given the privilege of preening him! Every other position in the chicken yard is up for grabs. I call this chicken-yard politics.

    As I often do, I see parallels. In this case, it is a parallel between the pecking order of a chicken yard and the “pecking order” within the church. In the church environment I grew up in, there was a very clear pecking order. Everything from who directs the choir to who makes the coffee—including who brings and sets up the snacks, who brings and arranges the flowers, who sets up the hall, who operates and manages the sound system, who directs parking, and even the “lowly” job of who cleans the restrooms—often became an entrenched “position” to be filled. There was definitely a pecking order! There were the opening and closing prayer men who hoped some day they could become song leaders. If you did well at that, some day maybe you could become a deacon who administered all of this congregational activity. For those who excelled in the deacon realm, maybe being an elder might be in your future. The elders were to be the “spiritual leaders” while monitoring the deacons and their activities. Among the deacons and elders there always seemed to be a “head deacon” and a “head elder” that all the others were to go to with questions or special situations. Then there was the rooster, whose name was “Pastor” and he was the final authority in all things within the congregation. 

    All of this activity was supposed to be done for the purpose of “serving the needs of the congregation,” but it seemed to never fail that each position became a protected encampment. The only way a vacancy occurred is if someone moved, died, or there was “vertical movement,” meaning the pastor elevated by appointment someone to a higher position. And watch out and get ready for some “pecking” if someone stepped into an area they didn’t belong. The pastor would be right there to “clarify the pecking order,” and to make sure everyone had “the right attitude,” using his authority (spurs) if necessary to accomplish this.

    How different all this posturing and positioning is from the true servant leadership approach that Jesus taught. Jesus taught that, instead of seeking to be elevated, we should humble ourselves before one another and serve, with the “chief being the servant of all” (Mark 10:42-44). Jesus made this statement because, just prior to him saying it, James and John had tried to jostle for position in Jesus’ future kingdom (Mark 10:35-40). The other ten disciples were incensed about this (v. 41) because James and John had asked for prime positions on the right hand side and left hand side of Jesus (the rooster preening positions?) in His kingdom. Almost certainly each of the ten was upset because they wanted those positions for themselves instead of James and John. Sounds a lot like the chicken yard doesn’t it?

    Note Jesus’ response with regard to Himself and to where leadership positions come from. He first identifies the Father as the one who prepares leaders for specific opportunities in the Kingdom (Mark 10:40). But second, He states that even He did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life—literally—in service, and as a part of that service (Mark 10:45). Quite the opposite of a chicken yard isn’t it?

    When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:4-5), He portrayed something very different from the norm, and deeply profound. So different was Jesus’ action by doing the job of the lowest servant in the house that Peter had an almost violent reaction (John 13:6, 8). This is just not the way things are supposed to be done! Yet so profound was His action that He made it clear that if He were not allowed to do it, Peter could not be a part of Him (v. 8). Jesus wanted to make sure that it was understood that there is a different path to leadership; the path of servitude. He then told them that they were to treat each other with the same attitude of love, respect, and humility as He had just done (John 13:12-17), which by extension was passed on to us. Can you imagine a rooster going to each of his hens and washing their feet? Okay, maybe the analogy breaks down a bit there, but I think you know what I mean.

    In a congregation, there are many things that need to be done; and every one of them is important for the smooth operation of services. Yet while we are doing these tasks, Jesus’ example and His instruction given to us through Paul, teaches us to humble ourselves before on another (Philippians 2:2-4), and to submit ourselves one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21). 

    I don’t see a system of vertical movement in play here. What I see is a group of people working together to serve the needs of the whole with each person in the congregation willing to lovingly do any task to help accomplish the end result. What I don’t see is a bunch of chicken-yard politics!



    Church of God International

    Bearing Godly Fruit

    by Brian Bettes

    Having just celebrated the Day of Pentecost, there are a number of things I have been thinking about with regard to what God’s Holy Spirit does through us.

    One of the things Scripture tells us to do is bear fruit—in this case, spiritual fruit. John 15:1-8 is very instructive on this matter. Let’s take a closer look to see what we can “pluck” from these verses.

    The first thing established is where spiritual fruit comes from—Jesus Christ and the Father (v.1). They are the source of any fruit that will be brought to bear. We also notice that sustainability comes from them as well. We must “abide” in Jesus the Source, and be willing to be “pruned” by the Father, who is the Caretaker, in order to both survive and thrive (vs. 2-7). Then, finally, we see the purpose of bearing fruit. It is to glorify the Father (v. 8). A significant point made in this final verse is the way we glorify the Father; it is by bearing much fruit. It is also important to notice throughout these verses what happens to those who do not bear fruit!

    The next natural question that follows is what fruit should we bear? For most of us who have studied God’s Word for any length of time, Galatians 5:22-23 should spring to mind. Here we are given a description of the fruit that can be found on any tree that is “powered” by the Holy Spirit. Powered by the Holy Spirit? What does that mean? Let me explain. 

    Every tree has sap. Sap is the life blood of a tree. Without getting too scientific here, a tree is grown and sustained by good soil, good water, and good light. Through a process called photosynthesis, with proper light on the leaves and a strong root system to pull water and nutrients from the soil, a tree receives its nourishment to become strong and healthy. But these nutrients are transported to all the branches of the tree by the sap. Without sap, there is no tree. It is also via the sap that fruit is developed and fed. God genetically designed fruit trees to push out leaves and fruit buds in the spring of each year.

    In the example given above in John 15, Jesus used a vine to represent His role. Most likely, He was using this analogy since grape vines were prevalent in the region during that period. The listeners would have understood what He meant. Anyone who has seen a grape vineyard knows that a mature grape vine is more like a small tree than an actual vine that grows along the ground. 

    Though there are many similarities with fruit bearing vines such as squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc., that grow along the ground and produce their fruit there, it is important to note that the example He is using is that of a fruit bearing tree. It is significant because He talks about us in terms of being the tree branches as an extension of Him. As a result, the fruit, His fruit, is being brought to bear and “hanging” on us. If we are connected to Him as the tree, and the life blood of His Holy Spirit is the power that feeds us, then we as His branches will be loaded and weighted down with the “much fruit” spoken of in Galatians 5, which glorifies His Father and ours!

    That takes my mind to these next questions. What purpose does fruit serve? Why does Jesus want us to bear much fruit, and how does that glorify our Father?

    Fruit is used as a source of food for others, isn’t it? Do you suppose we are to be a source of Godly spiritual feeding for others who come into contact with us? When good fruit is eaten, it revives, refreshes, energizes, and is a delight to those who partake of it. Is that what we provide for others when they come into contact with us? Do people see us as His branches, and do they see His fruit hanging on those branches? Are we spoken of in terms of those who love and obey God in Psalm 1:1-3 and 92:13-14?

    What kind of fruit is hanging on us as His branches? Do others come to us to “pick” and eat the fruit off of His tree and it brings light to their eyes because we provide succulent, ripe, tasty fruit?

    Do we deceive ourselves by thinking we bear one kind of fruit when really we bear something else? Are we saying, “I am an apple tree branch!”? Yet those who come to us say, “That’s funny, all I see is a bunch of lemons hanging off these branches.” Do people come looking for one kind of fruit (kindness, goodness, gentleness, and love) but instead find fruit that is mildewed, withered, rotting, and riddled with deadly amounts of penicillin (accusation, anger, negativity, and bitterness)? Do they come looking for a ripe apple and only find a not-yet-ripened persimmon (spiritual immaturity)? Or, even worse, do they come to His tree and find no fruit at all? In other words, do we say we are Christians, but we don’t act like it? We need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk!

    God says we are known by our fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). That means we are recognizable as one of His by Him and by others by the fruit we bear. 

    When I gave this information as a sermon, a lady came up to me afterwards and said, “You know another purpose for fruit is reproduction. It carries the seed for the next tree.” I was stunned that I hadn’t thought of that, but she was right! What a beautiful picture of how we carry the seed of the Father, and when we fully mature, we will be a reproduction of Him! I believe that in part is how we both glorify and magnify Him—by carrying the seed that reproduces Him to full maturity.

    So the key to bearing good fruit is connectedness to Jesus Christ. It is by the sap of His Spirit freely flowing into us from Jesus, and a willingness to be pruned by our Father, that we will bear good fruit.

    Let’s ask God to help us have good fruit hanging on His branches so as to provide enrichment for those who come into contact with us and fruit that will glorify Him!



    Church of God International

    What is Your Superpower?

    by Brandy Webb

    “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Love is the most powerful gift from the Holy Spirit. It is above all other gifts (1 Cor 13:13). It is truly a superpower, and we all better possess it because if we don’t we are nothing (1 Cor 13:2). Those who do not love do not know God, because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). 

    I know I talk a lot about love, but to be honest, we all should. This world is full of so much hate, and it is our job to fight back with love. Love is light, and hate is darkness. Where there is light the dark can’t prevail. Therefore, we need to brighten up our lives with love to battle the hate that is out there.

    I see a lot of hate going around. It is an election year, and it seems to bring the worst out of people. Don’t we realize that fighting hate with more hate isn’t going to work? We all know the old saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” However, it seems that as we get older we lose some sense of this when we face people that don’t agree with our opinions. Hateful people try to force others to agree with their opinions, and they are closed-minded to anyone who disagrees with them.

    Hate can bring so much pain. Last week was horrific in Orlando, FL. It was awful to witness the destructive force of hate. However, despite how destructive hate can be, love is more powerful. When people join together and help each other to get through the darkness and into the light, it takes hate’s power away.

    I know that this world isn’t going to get better until Jesus returns. I am not naïve. I do not believe in manmade utopian worlds. However, I am not going to sit back and let hate win. I want to have a superpower. I want to love. Love doesn’t force people to agree with them. Love doesn’t call people names that disagree with them. Love doesn’t spread hate. Love doesn’t seek getting its own way (1 Cor 13:5). In fact, love esteems others better than themselves (Phil 2:3), and “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8).

    When we love others, especially our enemies, we are being Christ-like in its purest form. We are being set apart. We are being true. We are using our superpower. So, become a genius and love, love, love.



    Morning Companion

    The Mick


    Every boy needs a hero, and mine was Mickey Mantle, the great Yankee slugger of the 1950s and 60s.   That’s why I enjoyed the great summertime read The Mick, which is his autobiography.

    Written in 1985, long after his baseball career had ended and after his admirers had grown to adulthood, it was a good, light read for this former Yankee fan, a sin for which I long ago repented.

    Though Mantle softens some of the more raucous experiences of his baseball years, he does paint a portrait of himself as a flawed human being who did many foolish things, but a man who loved the game of baseball and loved being a New York Yankee.  His carousing and barroom brawls with his buddies Billy Martin and Whitey Ford make for great story telling, but the Mick is clear that his exuberance for living was fun at the time but foolish in the long run.

    I was hoping for a redemption moment in his story, and after a manner there was one.  Mantle’s last few chapters discuss the strain his career and antics placed on his family, and that he never grasped that until after he had hung up his bat and glove.  The regret of not being there for his wife and boys from March to October during some very critical years was a palatable regret, but I was looking for more from this man that I idolized in my youth.

    Mantle was clearly a religious skeptic.  He says that he began to doubt God when his father was diagnosed with cancer and given no hope.  The Mick had virtually no religious instruction as a youth and thus had no context in which to place the trials of life. 

    Later in the book he speaks of Bobby Richardson, the great Yankee second baseman well-known for his deep faith and commitment to that faith.  Richardson conducted Bible studies for his Yankee teammates, and Mantle not only attended but recruited several of his fellow Yankees.  Then Bobby Richardson made a mistake.  Intentionally or not (I’m guessing not), Richardson embarrassed Mantle in front of his teammates by asking him if he would conclude their worship time by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  Mantle did not know the Lord’s Prayer!  Feeling humiliated, he never went back.

    This is an object lesson in how fragile people can be and the need to be sensitive to their unseen hurts and pains.  Psychological and spiritual injuries are every bit as real as a broken arm, but with a broken arm we can immediately recognize the injury.  You can’t tell that someone is hurting inside just by looking at them, nor can we always know what will act as a trigger.  Those who are in a position of encouraging and teaching others need a special bit of wisdom, a discernment that can only come from God.  



    Church of God International

    The Real Superhero

    by Brandy Webb

    Movies love superheroes. They draw in great crowds of all ages because who doesn’t like superheroes? Kids idealize them to the point of dressing up like them and pretending to be them. This is no surprise because superheroes are cool and powerful. They usually have powers that defy human physics, or they are so smart they can create a suit that makes them a superhero. They protect the innocent and defeat the evil. They are courageous. They also are in great shape. And last but not least, they save the day, always.

    Now, what if I told you that there was a human that walked the earth that was super powerful, but at the time didn’t use his powers to save the day. In fact, he most likely was not this gorgeous person that people admired. He most likely didn’t have kids wanting to pretend to be like him. However, he could defy human limitations. He will one day defeat all evil, and when He saves the day the whole world will know it. I know you are smart enough to know that I am talking about our Savior Jesus, but have you ever thought about how powerful He was when He was a mortal human being?

    I won’t list them all, but here are a few of Jesus’ miracles: turns water into wine (John 2:1-11); heals people of all different types of ailments (Matt 8; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 5:17-26; and many other places); miraculously feeds thousands of people with a small amount of fish and bread (Matt 14:15-21; 15:32-39); raises people from the dead (Luke 7:11-17; Matt 9:18, 23-26; John 11:1-46)…. There are many more miracles, from making the blind see to the deaf hear and removing demonic spirits. He even defied physics by walking on water. In fact, the Gospels list at least thirty-seven miracles, and we also know that according to John there are many more things that Jesus did, but if they were all written down there would not be enough room in the world for all the books (John 21:25).

    Therefore, Jesus was a superhero, and many people did flock to see Him. However, the majority did not. In fact, the majority of the populace hated Him. He left heaven and became a man, coming “to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). According to Isaiah, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isa 53:2b). He was rejected by many; unlike the make believe superheroes of our day. Yet, He is not a make believe superhero. He is real.

    Another thing that is really striking to me about Jesus is that despite how powerful He was, He never used His power to make His life easier. I want you to think about that for a moment and ask yourself, if you had just a little of His power, would you be willing not to use it to make your life easier? Do you also realize that when He was being betrayed in Gethsemane He points out that if He wanted to stop what was about to happen to Him, He could? He states that He could ask for help from His Father, and God the Father would “even now send me more than twelve legions of angels” (Matt 23:53). A legion by some commentators amounts to 6,000 troops, so that would mean 72,000 angel soldiers. I didn’t notice this until I read some interesting facts about Jesus in a book called Inside the Mysteries of the Bible by American Bible Society. Don’t get me wrong, I have read through the Gospels many times, but I always miss something. And when I became aware of this, I realized that Jesus wasn’t just a healer, teacher, wine-maker, or death-defier, He was truly God in the flesh, and He didn’t have to do what He did. 

    God the Father and God Jesus could have just started all over. Jesus could have done what the superheroes do in the movies, destroy the enemies, right then, but He didn’t because He wanted to save everyone. If you had that power would you withhold it to save your enemies? Would you restrain from the temptation of destroying evil, in hopes that maybe some of them would repent and change their ways? I don’t know if I could, but I know that in order to walk in the Messiah’s footsteps, I’d better learn how to put others before myself. I’d better learn that winning isn’t always what is important, and sometimes losing so that others may win may be more rewarding. In other words, I’d better try to mimic my Messiah by dressing up in His word and walking in His steps because He is the real superhero.