YAHSHUA affirmed to the disciples that if they were willing to receive and accept it, John was Elijah. After the wonderful experience the three disciples had at the Mount of Transfiguration, on their way down they asked YAHSHUA an interesting question: Why do the Scribes say that it is necessary for Elijah to come first? YAHSHUA then answered: Elijah, it is true, does come first to restore all things and set them to rights. And how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be utterly despised and be treated with contempt and rejected? But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and (people) did to him whatever they desired, as it is written of him (Mark 9:11-13). What did He mean by that? Was John the incarnated Elijah? It is natural for us to think that for lack of scriptural knowledge related to the subject. But as it is, Isaiah specifically prophesized about John saying: Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will make ready your way. A voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make His beaten tracks straight (Mark 1:2-3) prophecy from the Isaiah chapter 40:3).
The Samaritan story begins with rumors that YAHSHUA was baptizing more disciples than John. However, John denies that in verse two: Though YAHSHUA Himself did not baptize, but His disciples. We know for a fact that YAHSHUA had the authority to do so, being the Messiah, and the Prophet. But when He heard the rumor, He left Judea, and went back to Galilee. On the way to Galilee, it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria, about 30 miles distance. (v.4). There is a strong connotation of the word necessary, God’s hidden plan for the salvation of the Samaritans. Samaritans were Jewish people who intermarried with foreigners and adopted their religion. They were considered half-breed and were despised by the Jews and the world. They were the result of the time when Assyria carried the ten tribe captive and replaced them with people from several other places. They then intermarried with the Israelite’s population, resulting in a mix of all sorts of idolatrous religions. They were a rejected race, but still had knowledge of the Law and some history background of their ancestors. The Samaritans were visible to the Jews and vice-versa, perhaps in their way of dressing, etc. YAHSHUA, aware of that enmity between the two people, did not consider to isolate them from the plan of salvation, but proceeded to go through Samaria on His way to Galilee to fulfill God’s purpose.
He stops at a town called Sychar, which held historical meaning, for it was the tract of land Jacob gave to his son, Joseph and his well was there. Tired, as He was from His journey, He sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour (about noon). When He sat by their well, He was expressing to the Samaritans that He was the Living Water, the Living Water that satisfies their spiritual thirst. That divine appointment had to happen in space of history with the purpose to unite the two people as one in and through YAHSHUA also their Messiah. The point of contact was YAHSHUA’S thirst. He acknowledged to the Samaritan woman, when she came to fetch water, that He was thirsty and asked her for some water. There stood a woman who was also thirsty, spiritually thirsty and ready to drink the water YAHSHUA offered her. YAHSHUA was also thirsty physically thirsty. She could not satisfy His thirst due to the wall of enmity that separated the two of them, when she said, How is it that You being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman for a drink? – For the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans- (v. 7,9).
But YAHSHUA stood there offering her life apart from the wall that divided them. He was the Messiah that came to redeem them from their idolatry to satisfy their spiritual thirst. He did not respond to her remark, but contrary to that, He said, If you only had known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, give Me a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water (v.10). From this point on the conversation changed its physical tune to the spiritual tune, when YAHSHUA revealed Who He was to the Samaritan woman.
The water the woman could give YAHSHUA was good to satisfy His physical thirst only for a while. The sixth hour when that event took place was of great significance in God’s plan for that day in the lives of the Samaritans. Later, in YAHSHUA’S ministry, it would be at the sixth hour that Jerusalem would experience total darkness for three hours, as YAHSHUA would hang crucified from nine in the morning until His death at three o’clock. For six hours He hung on the cross to liberate the Samaritans from their idolatrous ways to bring them to the true and only God, the One Who stood there asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. The Light of the world had reached the place where the people had been rejected; where darkness abounds. But God came for them, too. In an hour just right He touched the hearts of many of that community that was thirsty for the Truth. The Samaritans were also waiting for the Messiah. They had knowledge of that fact as the woman expressed to YAHSHUA: I know when Messiah is coming. He Who is called the Christ and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us. YAHSHUA then answered her: I Who now speak with you am He (vs. 25-26).
Monumental for YAHSHUA was the age of thirty, because it was when the reason and reality of His coming into this world started to take shape in the eyes of the people. He was revealed to John the Baptist as the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world, when he came to him to be baptized. John testified by saying, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world; this is He of Whom I said, after me comes a Man Who has priority over me, because He was before me and existed before me; and I did not know Him and did not recognize Him; but it is in order that He should be made manifest and be revealed to Israel, that I came baptizing in water; He gave further evidence saying, I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven and it dwelt on Him. He Who sent me to baptize in water said to me, Upon Him Whom you shall see the Spirit descend and remain, that One is He Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit; I have seen and my testimony is that this is the Son of God! (John 1:29-35).
John’s testimony leaves no doubt in our minds Who YAHSHUA was. Obscure to many, the truth was clearly revealed to the world, and in particular to Israel: “The Son of God, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Powerful words that shone the light for all to see and receive YAHSHUA as the Messiah- the Savior, the Redeemer. He was then thirty years old, entering the time that would change the hearts of many, when seeing the evidences of Whom He was by miracles performed before all to see. He was until then, the Son of Mary- His human connection. She allowed God to use her for the purpose to bring His Son into the world, and for a time, she would shine as an important part in His life. But the time came when He had to disconnect Himself from the human connection and follow His heavenly Father’s purpose, for which He had come into the world. At the wedding at Cana of Galilee, when they lacked wine, and His mother told Him about it, His response was one that sealed His position between them. Not in a disrespected term did He addressed her as “woman, what is that to you and to Me”? [What have we in common? Leave it to me.] My time has not yet come. In response, His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it (John 2:4-5). By saying that, Mary surrenders her position of earthly authority of a mother. She realizes that aspect of her role, had come to an end. He enters into a new phase to perform that which He came to do, and under the authority of His heavenly Father. No longer was He identified as her Son, but the Son of God. An agreement happened that day between the two of them, that Mary’s role of a mother in every sense of the world had been finished. To prove that, one day when He was very busy, healing all who had come to Him, with no time to eat, His mother and brother concerned for Him, came looking for Him. Hearing that, He said, Who is My mother and who is My brothers? And stretching out His hand toward [not only the twelve disciples but all] His adherents, He said, Here are My mother and My brothers; for whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother! (Luke 12:47-50)
This phrase confirms the credibility of the pronoun Whom. It is essentially good for one to know the source in whom he puts his trust and reliance. Faith in money or positions seemly stable, faith in politicians representing government is to be up for big surprises. Putting faith in anything pertaining to what the world offers is without a doubt, foolish and disappointing. History frequently shows us humanity’s failure in delivering the promise. In the political world, they come with promises and they leave without fulfilling them. Job positions are relevant only upon success one has achieved. It is all circumstantial and transitory, together with what we as humans are. Friends often betray each other’s confidence and the bridge of relationship destroyed. Even the closest to us, as in family, has failed many times causing family to break up. Where then can one go to find the assurance and the certainty he is looking for? The Apostle Paul gives us the sure answer that will never frustrates, neither fails us. In His words, “For I know Whom I have believed,” with these words, he establishes a firm foundation and pillars that will not collapse our faith and belief in time of trials. Amidst Paul’s suffering persecution for the Gospel, he never gave up, because he knew Whom he had believed. I know He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed until that day (II Tim. 1: 12). Faith is not blind; it does not walk with a stick for guidance; it is not ignorant. Instead, Faith is knowing, although not seeing, it is sure, although not touching. Faith is hope, it is proof of things we do not see, it is the assurance of their reality; faith perceives as real of things not yet revealed. Believing in God it is for knowing Him; it for having a relationship with Him. It is to disregard everyone else and everything else in order to embrace His words of promises, especially in our most trying times. “Be still and know that I am God!” The stillness of the soul rests on Him Who can calm the storm and rage of the sea. He rushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still (Ps. 107: 29). That’s our only true God. In Him we can put our trust in confidence. “I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” Words from the Psalmist, who after great time of suffering anguish and grief, said, Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as a Live; the cords and sorrows of death were around me, and the terrors of Sheol had laid hold of me; I suffered anguish and grief; then I called upon the name of the Lord, O Lord, I beseech You, save my life and deliver me! I believed, and therefore Have I spoken (Ps. 116:3-4.10).
Just before His trials and afterward His death, YASHUA spent time alone with His disciples comforting and instructing them, preparing them for what was coming. He spent His last hours with them alone to say good-bye in a sense. Disregarding what was ahead of Him, when He had to go through much suffering, His focus was now on the needs of the disciples. His three-year ministry had come to an end; the time had come when He was going to experience death and resurrection to accomplish the will of the Father, for which He had come. Subsequently, His exit from the earth was approaching. But these were news the disciples couldn’t digest for not being able to understand the meaning of it all. It seemed that they stayed in the dark of their understanding, until the Lord’s resurrection, when the He revealed plainly the meaning to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus: YAHSHUA said to them, O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe everything that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that the Christ should suffer all these things before entering into His glory? Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He went on explaining and interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning and referring to Himself (Luke 24:25-27).
Do not let your hearts be troubled, He starts, you believe on God, believe also on Me (John 14:1). The days ahead were going to be days of uncertainties for all the disciples, with the absence of their Messiah from among them. Believe on God; believe also on Me, because the future holds the promise of deliverance and hope. I will not leave you orphans; I will come [back] to you (vs. 18) … And when I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also; and where I am going, you know the way (vs.3,4). Thomas then asked a leading question in the middle of the Lord’s words of hope. He said, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” which opened the door for YAHSHUA to declare Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:5,6). He is the Way to heaven, and to the heavenly Father; He is the Truth that sets the sinners free, He is the Life eternal. The definite article, the implies that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life.
“Timely spoken words are like apples in the platter of gold!” Invisible, but certain, is the work God is performing to save us. Faith applied in these days, when confusion has taken its seat with loud noises, leading many astray, is the most necessary feeling for peace. The tangible things we embrace, hoping to bring relief to the mind of our troubled soul, is just transitory in its existence, they are just things; not able to bring the spiritual comfort and hope we long for. Our cries increase while turmoil continues day by day. We ask, “O God, why do You cast us off forever?” In a desperate cry, with sobs that reached the soul in our anguish for deliverance, we remain in the presence of our God. The invasion of demons has taken over the earth, engulfing many with fear and terror; no longer a comfortable world to live in. The end, perhaps. The end has come and we are not prepared to believe the truth. Longing for the old times, when there were peace and order, and respect for others; when fear laid low, when oxygen was what we breathed in and carbon dioxide was what we breathed out, when we laughed and sang and danced to the tune of the songs we liked; when children were desired and protected; when the food we ate was natural and GMO free. In these thoughts we remain solitary pondering the outcome of all things.
Like the Psalmist however, when his nation was going through difficulties, we must find a song in our darkest night in remembrance of God’s goodness and faithfulness in the past. He said, I will earnestly recall the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember the wonders of old; I will meditate also upon all His works and consider all His deeds (Ps. 77: 11). Therefore, the soul of men must rest in the fact that God is consistently faithful to His Words and will perform that which He promised. Valleys and deserts are places to connect with God in faith and hope, and not to connect to fear and despair. We will see “the light at the end of the tunnel” when our eyes will be directed to God’s promises and strength, even in face of a storm. As the psalmist says, Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth (Ps. 74:2). Many a night we will still face troubles that will make us scared and fearful; many days will come with trouble beyond our control; that will be our way of life until the consummation of all things takes place. However, there is a place of sure peace and security right now near to the heart of God, where we will remain emotionally stable and secure; where we will not be afraid of the terror of the night, not of the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday (Ps. 91).
It is said that God is the God of second chances. Time, after time, experiences after experiences, He has proved to be so in everyone life’s experiences. Unimaginable is His love for the human race. Israel’s history speaks very loudly about it. How many times did God spare His people by giving them a second chance as a nation? When Israel sinned against God by committing the sin of unfaithfulness, God was about to destroy the nation and start over with Moses’ offspring. But Moses intercession for the people caused God to give the nation another chance. Psalm 107:11-13 register a beautiful example of true second chance: Because they (Israel) had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High, therefore He (God) bowed down their hearts with hard labor; they stumbled and fell down and there was none to help; then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. Not only has Israel experienced such mercy, but the entire world. Look around and we will perceive the mercy of the Lord all around it, saving and blessing all, when we all deserved otherwise.
(John 17: 16; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 11: 16, 13:14)
If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you (John 15:19).
Called and chosen out of the world, the believer has an eternal heavenly passport. The moment that a person becomes a child of God by the new birth, or being born again, he/she receives the right to become a child of God. It is not a birth from flesh, but of the Spirit. YAHSHUA told Nicodemus, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (Jn. 1,3). This passport is signed, and sealed by and with the Holy Spirit. As a foreigner carries his passport as the proof of his citizenship somewhere else, the believer also carries his heavenly passport as the proof of his heavenly identity in this world. This Seal guarantees the believer his entrance into his heavenly country, as Paul confirms: The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, an anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it – to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:14). One sign of a true believer is the antagonist attitude the world displays against him/her. YAHSHUA said, Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great, for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt. 5:11-12). In their persecution, the believers are sustained by the promise that the glory which will be revealed to them, will be greater than the sufferings he has endured in this world. In reference to the heroes and heroines of the faith, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews says, These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth…they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (Heb. 11:13,16).
When YAHSHUA received the message from Lazarus’ sisters, concerning his sickness, He was in a town beyond the Jordan River, which was a day’s journey to Bethany, where Lazarus and his sisters lived. His death took place 2 weeks before the Lord’s death. He died on Friday April 17th, and he rose on Monday April 20th. This parallels to the time span when YAHSHUA died, which was 2 weeks later, on the Friday of the first of May, which is 15 days from April 17th; and He rose on May 4th, two weeks from April 20th. The delay Lazarus’ sisters experienced did not constitute a delay in God’s calendar to implement His divine plan in which He would glorify His Son through the display of His power over death, with the purpose that the nation of Israel might believe in this their last chance, YAHSHUA to be His Son, the Messiah that was to come to redeem the nation.
Arriving at the place, four days later, YAHSHUA encountered Martha, who in deep sorrow, expressed her frustration by saying, If You had been here my brother would not have died. “If you had been here” a phrase that demonstrates faith and confidence in YAHSHUA’S divine being. The presence of the Lord is the most desired presence Christians long for. His presence brings joy, peace, unity, love, healing, forgiveness, hope and much more. When He saw people’s sorrow over the dead, He then partook of their sorrow and wept with them, knowing that sin is the cause of death. Sighing repeatedly, deeply disquieted, he went to the tomb. This was the moment when He lived His soon coming death by crucifixion, and the evil treatments He was going to go through. This was the moment when He saw Himself paying the penalties of sins in a most humble way men ever experienced; when men’s cruelty, for whom He was going to die, would take its toll on Him, leaving Him completely disfigured; that would be the moment of His Father’s abandonment of Him as the sins of the world would weigh on Him. That was a disquieted moment, although for Lazarus and his sisters, it was a very exciting moment- it was Lazarus’ resurrection moment.
Messiah being essentially one with God and in the form of God, did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped, or retained, but stripped Himself, so as to assume the guise of a servant in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name. That in the name of YAHSHUA every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess and acknowledge that YAHSHUA the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2: 6-7).
On the first day of weeks, that is, counting from the day after the Sabbath, when they had brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths (Lev. 23: 15-16). That constituted Pentecost and the waving of the sheaf constitutes resurrection- Messiah’s resurrection, behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled the boulder back and sat upon it. And his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. He said to the women who had come to the tomb, do not fear. He is not here for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid. There was the empty tomb! Some of His disciples witnessed as well and believed Him. As two of His disciples were walking to the city of Emmaus, Messiah walked with them to their place and ate with them. On the evening of that same day, Messiah appeared to His disciples though they were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. He stood among them and said, Peace to you! Then He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples were filled with joy. The Prophet Zachariah foretold that in “that day” future day yet to come, Israel will look upon their Messiah, Whom they had pierced and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn. Messiah remained on earth forty days after His resurrection. He appeared to five hundred people at that time. They all testified His resurrection. He, the firstfruit of all those who will believe in Him, went ahead to conquer death. It was swallowed up in and unto victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through the Lord YAHSHUA the Messiah.