Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."

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The Long Walk Home

It had been a long day. The man was tired, hungry and sore. Yet, still he faced the long walk home. He was weary to the bone, but He began to put one foot in front of the other, for He had not been home in a very long time. The man was aware of activity all around Him. He was conscious of a throbbing headache and his back had been hurting all day. These things, however, were suppressed, for surely He had other things on His mind. Life had been burdensome from time to time. The man had seen good friends and family pass away. He had shown goodwill toward His fellow man, only to have it thrown back in His face. He had been honest and forthright, only to be ridiculed for it. He did not lie, cheat or steal; yet, few people were impressed by this conduct. He stood by His friends in difficult times, yet most of His friends did not return this loyalty. He was a good brother to His siblings, but there existed a gap between Himself and His family. Yes, the man had a lot on his mind as He travelled home.

Weary beyond belief and deep in thought, the man did not at first realize that He had been approached by someone. A hand fell on His shoulder and Jesus of Nazareth lifted His weary eyes and looked into the face of Simon of Cyrene. Simon took the weight of the cross off the shredded back of God’s Son. Jesus continued the long walk home, still carrying the sins of the world.

Yes, life had been burdensome from time to time. The Lord had left His heavenly home over thirty years before. He who was equal with God came to walk among men. He came not to condemn, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17.) He came to save the souls of men, even these men, who ridiculed Him as He walks toward home. As He approaches the place called Golgotha, He wipes the blood from His forehead where the thorns had cut so deeply. He looks at these people whom He loves, as they shout obscenities in their hatred for Him. He came here to save them, but the rough hands that yank Him to the ground show no mercy. Many hands hold the King outstretched upon the cross. Men hold His arms – He chooses not to move them. Dull spikes are driven through His hands – He chooses not to stop them. Spikes are driven through His feet – He allows it. The cross is raised and the weight of His body pulls on the new wounds. His body screams, but His mind recalls the necessity of this moment and He cries out, “. . . Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)

He is almost home. It is all over now, except for dying and rising from the grave as He had promised. Then He will ascend to the Father and He will be home again. Having shed His blood, having been the sacrifice for the sins of the world, He will abide in heaven forever, where He will intercede for those who follow Him.

The body of Jesus died on the cross that day. But Jesus had promised to do what no mere man could do.

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17,18.)

Jesus said He would not only lay His life down, but by His own power He would take it up again. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an event that cannot be disputed by rational people. The evidence is overwhelming. The Jews of the day certainly would have produced the body of Jesus if the body was to be found. The weight of eyewitness testimony alone would be more than sufficient in any court of law, to prove that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did happen (Matthew 28:1-7, Mark 16:9,10, 12, Acts 1:3 1 Corinthians 15:4). Jesus overcame death as He said He would. He then ascended to the Father where He sits at the right hand of God in the seat of power. (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Every child of God seeks heaven as his eternal home. From the time one emerges from the waters of baptism, one faces a long walk home. When the Christian walk seems too long or too hard for you, remember our Saviour’s long walk home. Remember that long ago day when He trudged through the streets of Jerusalem. He was wounded, mocked, spat upon and totally in control. He chose to walk to His execution for you. Now, how hard is your walk?

Remember as well that this same Jesus arose from the grave by His own power. He intercedes for you. He had the commitment to die for the sins of man and His Word has the power to bring you safely home, if you walk as He walked. So when the road is long, look to the horizon and keep walking. When the road is hard, put your head down, grit your teeth and endure. Our Lord did.

~ Paul Hoover ~

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In the Shadow of the Cross

Jesus lived a lifetime in the looming shadow of the cross. He was conceived for Calvary, born to die, begotten for burial and reared for the resurrection. He spent three decades on death row. He was aware of the agony that awaited His body and the anguish that would tear His heart.

We are largely left in the dark concerning His early years. At what point He knew who He was, we do not know, but it must have been early. Mary pondered the things concerning His remarkable birth and early days in her heart (Luke 2:19) and, without doubt, shared them with Him (cf. Luke 2:40). By the age twelve He was “about His father’s business” (Luke 12:49).

He grew up reading the prophecies about Himself. He saw His sacrifice implied (Genesis 4:3-5), prophesied (Genesis 22:8), typified (Exodus 12:5) and personified (Isaiah 53:7). On earth, He was identified by John (John 1:29) and verified by the apostles (Acts 8:30-35). Presently He is glorified in heaven (Revelation 5:12-13).

What was it like to grow up in the shadow of the cross? He was not isolated or sheltered from events that depicted His own future.

Imagine Jesus As A Boy Seeing His First Crucifixion

Gary Stanley has recreated what might have happened in “An Imaginary Conversation Between a Boy and Centurion Soldier” (edited).

The legionnaire leaned against his spear to study the boy standing at the base of the cross. The old soldier had handled hundreds of crucifixions, and this one was no different. Every crucifixion had its victim. Every crucifixion had its Roman sanction. Every crucifixion had its audience.

The guard was a seasoned student of the expression on each spectator’s face. Most feigned disgust and clucked useless sympathies, but their eyes betrayed a morbid fascination. As the day wore on, spectators came and went, but their eyes always seemed the same. By the evening meal only the boy remained. He stood quite still, a bundle of wood at his feet. The guard recognized him; he was a tradesman’s son and often travelled the streets making deliveries for his father.

Above, the man stretched out on the cross coughed. His beaten face made nonsense of once-delicate features. The dying man looked down into the eyes of the boy and his suffering seemed deeper than expression. Each breath caused muscle spasms through his frame. He swallowed and tried to clear the pounding in his head. the boy swallowed too. This was the first crucifixion he had seen. He took in every detail of the scourged and beaten man. The guard placed a hand on his shoulder. “Pretty gruesome, isn’t it?” he said. “This fellow dreamed of being a king, but he is only another revolutionary, an enemy of the state.”

The youngster made no response. “Why so silent, boy? His suffering is almost over. I know, I’ve watched hundreds die. Some say that the last few moments are actually euphoric.” The boy picked up his bundle and walked silently away. It was nearly dark.”

Jesus read His own obituary (Isaiah 53). He knew He would be pierced (Psalms 22:16; Zechariah 12:10) and hanged on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:23). He learned of the thirst involved (Psalms 69:21) and the failing of His strength (Psalms 109:4; Isaiah 53:12). He knew He would be betrayed (Psalms 41:9; 55:12-14) and forsaken by His own (Zechariah 13:7).

Christ grew up reading about Abraham sparing Isaac but knew that His Father would not stop the “knife from falling” on Him (Genesis 22). He studied the Passover lamb (Exodus 12) and knew that He was the substance of that shadow (John 1:29). He went to offer His sacrifices and knew that each one was but a figure of His bleeding wounds (cf. Leviticus 1-5; John 3:14-16).

Imagine Jesus As A Boy Seeing His First Scourging

What must He have thought when He first saw a soldier draw back a whip! He knew that His back would one day be bared to the same “cat-of-nine-tails.” When He heard the moans of agony and saw the blood pour from the wounds, He was looking into His mirrored future. When He heard the crowd’s mockery, He knew He would feel the sting of insult. He must have dreaded being smitten, spat on (Isaiah 50:6), wounded, bruised, and stripped (Isaiah 53:5).

Imagine Jesus As A Boy Seeing His First Funeral

Later, He ended every funeral He attended (Luke 7:11-15; John 11:43). But, suppose He attended one as a boy. What must have gone through His mind, knowing that He would prematurely die and be laid in a borrowed tomb? He knew that they would be unable to get a big enough rock to keep Him in the grave! He had read that He would be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9), but also that His soul would not be left in Hades (Psalms 16:8-10). He knew that He resurrected (cf. John 2:19), ascended (Psalms 68:18; 110:1), anointed (Psalms 45:6-7), and enthroned (2 Samuel 7:12-13).

Have you obeyed King Jesus? He asks that you believe that He is the Son of God (John 3:16), turn away from your sins in repentance (Luke 13:3), confess His deity (Matthew 10:32), be buried in baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), and live faithfully till death (Revelation 2:10); Titus 2:12)? Jesus lived in the shadow of the cross, that we might live in the shadow of heaven!

~ Allen Webster ~

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He is My Everything

What is there that could be written about Jesus that has not been written about Him? As we sing, “He is my everything!” When it comes to our atonement, He is our High Priest, our Sacrificial Lamb, and, even the Altar on which sacrifices are made.

Jesus, my High Priest, makes intercession to God for me (Hebrews 7:25).

A priest is on who is duly authorized to minister in sacred things, particularly to offer sacrifices at the altar, and who acts as mediator between men and God (Exodus 28:29) (ISB). More specifically, a priest’s job consisted in offering gifts and sacrifices (Hebrews 5:1), making atonement (Leviticus 16:1-34), inquiring of God (1 Samuel 23:9-12), leading in the selection and ordaining of religious and civil leaders (Numbers 8:11-21; 1 Kings 1:34), blessing the people (Numbers 6:22-27), and teaching the law (Nehemiah 8:1-8).

Jesus offered a sacrifice to God, made atonement for sinners, revealed God to men (John 14:7), selected the apostles who still serve as leaders in His church (Ephesians 2:20), blessed mankind with an opportunity of salvation (Matthew. 11:28-30), and taught men the Law of God (John 6:44-45).

There were two priesthoods in the Old Testament: Melchisedec’s and Aaron’s. Jesus is a Priest after the order of Melchisedec because He will never be replaced (Hebrews 6:20).

Jesus is a compassionate High Priest. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Because He is “on our side” we can come boldly to God’s throne to find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Just as a priest could marry only a virgin in Israel (Leviticus 2:14), Jesus took a pure virgin unto Himself (the church) (Ephesians 5:27; 2 Corinthians 11:2). A priest could have no physical defects (Leviticus 21:16-23), and Jesus had no spiritual defects (Hebrews 4:15). He is the perfect High Priest.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, offered Himself as my sacrifice.

Jesus was predicted to be a “lamb dumb (silent) before His shearers” (Isaiah 53:7), presented to Israel as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), preached to the world as the sacrificed Lamb (Acts 8:32-35), and will be praised throughout all eternity as the Lamb that was slain and lives again (Revelation 5:6, 13).

Words cannot express the agony that this Lamb suffered during the process of offering Himself to God. A Levitical lamb suffered, but only briefly and only physically. Jesus suffered for twenty-four or more hours. His worst suffering may have been the emotional anguish. He was separated from His Father for the first time (Mark 15:34). He reached the point where He prayed so earnestly that His sweat was a great drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44). He was mocked, beaten, slapped, humiliated, nailed, and suffocated (the normal cause for death by crucifixion). His body was pierced with a spear. He took my place as the Lamb to pay the price for my sins (Ephesians 1:7). May we never tire of praising His name for the sacrifice He made for us.

Jesus, the Altar, is where mercy is received (Hebrews 9:5).

The Old Testament ark of the covenant was covered with a mercy seat on which blood was sprinkled by the high priest on the great Day of Atonement. This effected reconciliation between God and His people.

The Old Testament term for “mercy seat” literally means “covering.” Its New Testament counter part is “propitiation” (hilasterion, “to cover guilt,” “to make atonement”). Jesus is said to be set forth as our “propitiation, through faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25), that is, He is the covering for man’s sins. The verb form is used twice in the New Testament; in Luke 18:13 where the publican says, “God be merciful to me a sinner” and in Hebrews 2:17 where Jesus is said “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

Just as the high priest once a year took the blood of the sin offering and sprinkled it on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies, so Christ as our great High Priest took His own blood to cover our sins.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!

~ Allen Webster ~

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Jesus And His Temptations

The definition of the word temptation is: “to entice.” Entice is defined: “to attract artfully or adroitly by arousing hope or desire. To lure; an inducement to pleasure or gain.” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

To lure, to arouse, or entice are all good definitions to describe accurately the wily ways of Satan. Wily or no, Satan had no measurable ill effect on Jesus Christ! Jesus had a perfect knowledge of the Scriptures and through that knowledge He escaped the artful ploys of His opponent. Comforted by the words: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” Jesus “then was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 3:11; 4:1). Jesus fasted for forty days.

A period of forty days and nights of fasting is a long time! It amounts to exactly 960 hours! Going without food for a day often causes hunger; multiply that by forty. “He was afterward an hungered” (Matthew 4:2). Total starvation would seem the better term!

Can one perceive being that hungry and resisting the tempter who would say, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3)? Human that I am, my first reaction would be to have loaves of bread in all shapes, sizes and flavors of my choice! I would have a picnic! My spirit would be weak. Not so, Jesus. He was the Son of God in human form. There is no doubt He could have in a single thought made all the stones into bread. To gratify His human need was secondary. Quoting the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 8:3 to be exact, Jesus said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:3). Imagine being very hungry and saying “no” to a possible feast to end a forty day fast. Jesus spoke of another source of food, Spiritual food, the bread of life!

The power of Satan paled as his invitation to end the fast in pleasure was so confidently rebuffed by Christ. God must have been well pleased! During times of temptation do we weigh the provocative invitations of Satan against the reliable Word of God? “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 7:63). Jesus is that bread of life come down from heaven to do the will of the Father. He was the perfect example. Do we do as Jesus or do we please self?

Unable to defeat Jesus in his first attempt, the devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in the holy city. Again, we read, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down…” A second snare was set. The answer: “It is written again, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7). How presumptuous of Satan to assume Jesus would tempt His own Father; His God! Jesus had a complete faith in God. He knew God as a Father. That Father would care for Him. Jesus would not ask God to prove himself! Jesus may have recalled these words: “This is my beloved Son.” If we are in Christ, “behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). How strong is our faith in Him? Need we prove or even so much as question the love God has for us?

Taking Jesus with him on to an exceeding high mountain, Satan looked over all the kingdoms in their glory. From this spacious point of view he made his final offer to Jesus. “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).

What wealth, honour and pleasure! The world and all of the glory of possession within reach! Now how unwise could the devil be? The earth was already the creation come from the Father, and He, Jesus had been there. Jesus and the Father are one (Gensis 1:26). The Son of God did not mince words! “Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, “Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve.” Once more, Jesus knew how to defeat the sordid ways of Satan. To bow to him would only end in disaster! To watch the total kingdom of God fade into nothingness because of a preposterous proposal was not in the mind of Christ. By kingdom, I mean a heavenly kingdom. The earth and all of its pleasures were meaningless if God was not included. This kingdom was His home and God was His Father. He took pleasure in knowing one day He would return to His home. This is called hope. This same hope continually invites us to worship and serve God and Him only. This is the plan Jesus presented to us, despite the devil and his temptations!

“Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Now was the time to eat! The angels came to serve Jesus!

Temptations will come to all. Jesus set forth the example to follow. Do not bow down to the attractiveness of toady’s tastefully packaged pleasures. It is just another way Satan is trying to entice us. Boldly take a stand. Use the Word as Jesus did. The tempter will flee, the Bible says so! We are to “set aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Learn from Jesus and His temptations.