The Light has come into the world, and people have loved the
darkness rather than and more than the Light for their works were evil (John
We all have experienced some time in our life, one way or another, the effect of physical darkness. Voided of light, darkness grabs and handicaps us with fear, panic, and anxiety. We feel lost, not knowing where we are and how to get somewhere. People associate darkness with the presence of evil, as in Satan and his demons, rightly so. The feelings of fear, panic, anxiety attacks are feelings that express the presence of evil spirits in the environment. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind (I John 4:18). Darkness is blindness. When we are used to the darkness, we find difficulty adjusting to the light. The eyes water and hurt to some extent until we become accustomed to the light. In other ways, light exposes evil deeds. It hides nothing that seems invisible.
The word crossroad, according to Webster dictionary, is at
the point where one must choose between different courses of action.
Sometimes crossroads are unexpected emergencies as
consequences of decisions of our own. Sometimes, they come to us for changes in
lifestyles, sometimes a warning not to proceed. In today’s study of the event
in the lives of Jewish and Roman nations, we will learn that, although a seemly
bad decision was made, it was in God’s plan and purpose for the salvation of
the nations. The Prophet Isaiah prophesized this many years previously: All we
like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way; and the
Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:
6). Rejected by His own people, YAHSHUA’S
salvation was extended to all nations. John said, He came for His own, and they
did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. But to as many as did receive and
welcome Him He gave the authority to become the children of God, that is, to
those who believe in His name (John 1:11-12).
When the Lord called Israel out of Egypt, He used Moses and Aaron his brother to lead the people to their Promised Land –Canaan. They were then a multitude of people that over the years grew from seventy when they first arrived in Egypt to over a million in the period of over 400 years. That happened according to the word of the Lord to Abraham when confirming His covenant: He said, know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs, and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years… On the fourth generation, they shall come back here [to Canaan] again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full and complete (Gen. 15:13, 16). In the span of time of 400 years Israel suffered as slaves in the land of Egypt, after Joseph had died and new Pharaohs came to power who did not know anything about him and his family. God heard their cry and used Moses to lead them back to Canaan, a journey that might have lasted only eleven days, took forty years.
When YAHSHUA arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the
half shekel [the temple tax] went up to Peter and said, Does not your Teacher
pay the half shekel? He answered, Yes. And when he came home, YAHSHUA spoke to
him first, saying, What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers
collect duties or tribute from their own sons or from others, not of their own
family? And Peter said, From other people not of their own family. YAHSHUA said
to him, Then the sons are exempt. However, in order not to give offense and
cause them to stumble, go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first
fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel.
Take it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself.
The Prophet Ezekiel was one of the prophets who received
from YAHWEH difficult tasks to represent the spiritual conditions of the nation
Israel. He grew up in the environment of the temple, having been born in the
priestly family. Unlikely some prophets, he grew up knowing the things of God
firsthand. He was only thirty years old
when YAHWEH called Him while he was in the midst of idolatrous surroundings of
Babylon. In chapter one of his book, he describes the vision given him. He
starts by saying, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God (Ezekiel
1:1). After seeing the vision in its completeness, he was instructed in three
things: to hear what YAHWEH was telling him; not to be like those rebellious
people, and to eat the words given him. Meanwhile, the Lord warned him that the
people were not going to listen to his message, for they were a rebellious
nation. Ezekiel’s responsibility, however, was to warn them, listening or not,
otherwise, he would be held responsible for the blood of that person. The
instructions how to deliver YAHWEH’S message were difficult for one to follow.
Ezekiel, however, had no complaint, except for one. He willingly did exactly
what the Lord commanded Him. Arise, YAHWEH told him, go forth into the plain
and I will talk with you there (Ezekiel 3:22b).
(Mark 11: 13-15; Matt. 21:18-22)
A week before His death, YAHSHUA rode on a young colt as the
ultimate expression of His kingship or messiahship. The people, in return,
cried out with voices of happiness, they spread their garments on the road, and
others [scattered a layer of] leafy branches, and those who went before and
those who followed cried out, Hosanna! Praised and blessed is He Who comes in
the name of the Lord; Praised and blessed in the name of the Lord is the coming
kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest (Mark 11: 7-9)! What was
going on here? Had the people accepted Him as their Messiah? Of course, not.
The people wanted Him to overthrow the Romans and become their physical king.
They were not interested in the spiritual aspect of His Messiahship. That week
was very important for YAHSHUA. In a few days, His ministry as all knew it,
would come to an end. He entered Jerusalem riding on a colt fulfilling
Zachariah’s prophecy of long ago: Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout,
daughter Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you righteous and victorious, lowly
and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zach. 9: 9-10).
Slowly, He rode to Jerusalem, the city that kills their prophets, and soon, He
too, was going to face His death at their demand. He was their rejected and
condemned King, riding on to face His death in His city- Jerusalem, the city of
the great King. A lot was happening at that time while He was fulfilling the
last things before His death without the people around Him knowing or
Israelites, while living in Egypt, were undefined as a nation. They were a
family composed of twelve brothers, whose numbers grew greatly, as God was
preparing them to make a nation out of them. The 430 years that they remained
in Egypt, they grew to a staggering number, causing the Egyptians to kill their
babies and force hard labor on them, bringing them to a slave’s status. Jacob, his
wives, and sons were living in Canaan before they sojourned to Egypt until the
famine took them to Egypt in search of food. These were days of uncertainties
in the mind of Jacob, as he made decision to move to Egypt, a distance of 121
miles from Canaan, their Promised Land; they were already there, but not in
fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in the space of time ordained for it to
happen. Many years had to pass, many things had to happen in their lives,
including in Moses’ life. A nation to be
a nation is required for a good number of people to fill the spaces. A nation,
out of seventy people is hardly enough to be formed into one. God’s plan was
for them to grow and multiply before He took them out of Egypt for the purpose
to form a nation unto Him- a royal race.
Bible gives us a short synopsis of Rahab’s life just enough for us to know whom
that woman was. In the book of Joshua we find the accounts about her as a
prostitute and one who saved the Israelite spies. In doing so, she exercised
faith and belief in the God of Israel. Rahab acknowledged to the spies what
they all had heard concerning God’s supernatural deliverance of Israel from
Egypt. Although, she lived among pagans, she confessed her faith in the true God-
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, by
saying, “ The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth beneath”
(Jos.2: 9-11). Her faith expanded to action to protect the spies, as a gesture
of fear and respect for Israel’s God. She was chosen for that time with God’s purpose
not only to save Israel, but to display His plan far off into the future. Sometimes,
in our feeble mind, we get lost in our understanding of how God fulfills His
plans. In the case of Rahab we wonder why a prostitute. Remember YAHSHUA’S
reaction toward the Pharisees when they brought a sinful woman to Him,
condemning her? He bent down and went on
writing on the ground with His finger; when YAHSHUA raised Himself up, He said
to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? She answered,
No one, Lord! And YAHSHUA said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and
from now on sin no more (John 8: 8,10-11). No one is without sin, no matter the
size of it. Rahab’s heart was right with God and when the opportunity presented
itself, she chose to obey the Lord.