Sunday, March 31, 2018

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


The sky was becoming more and more charged with the coming storm.  Every day “the floods of ungodly men” were increasing.  But He, around whose head these clouds were gathering, had One on His side Greater than all that were against Him, and of whom it was said, The clouds are the dust of His feet (Nahum 1:3)


Jesus made His last visit to Galilee before his death.  His enemies here, as well as in Judea were lying in wait for the innocent Lamb of God----they want to kill him.  These enemies were composed of all ranks; from the highest to the lowest from jealous Herod Antipas, to the fickle multitude; whom He has fed, taught, healed and delivered.


There was a division among His hearers: some liked Him, some disliked Him; for the Pharisees were spreading false rumors to control the mind of the crowds.  These would have used instant violence against Him. 


Jesus asked them (Jn. 7:19) did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keep the law?  Why do you try to kill me?


Satan knows how fickle the carnal mind is.  His method is a spirit of mind control and persuasion over the multitude.  His instrument in the 21st century is still the mouth of the beast.  The Pharisees stirred strife among the beast system to turn the multitude against Jesus.


The Anti-Christ will rise to power using mind control over the multitudes.


Our news cycle changes hourly, even daily. With each new news cycle the Satanic power over our media changes the conversation and atmosphere over out nation.


Jesus’ words now change from the gentle Shepherd healing and delivering His people to the fulfillment of the prophecy given about him by John the Baptist, Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.


Jesus cried, Woe, woe, woe over those guilty men and guilty cities, that had returned hatred and rejection of the Son of God and His Father.  Jesus said, because they hate me, they will hate you.


He told the Pharisees and their followers they were more sinful and ungrateful even than the inhabitants of wicked Sodom on which God had rained down fire and brimstone.  For if He had trodden the streets and done for the cities of the plain what He did for the cities of the Lake, they would have repented long ago in dust and in ashes.


Jesus bravely continues on with His work of preaching and healing till the time arrived when He must set out on His last journey.


He steadfastly set His face to go up to Jerusalem.


Luke 9:51: When the time had come for Him to be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.


He seems not to have taken the road by the Jordan valley from Galilee to Jerusalem, which was more pleasant in winter, but went through Samaria to Jerusalem.  In the course of the journey, which would have taken some weeks, Jesus spoke some of His most powerful parables, such as that of the Unjust Judge and the Good Samaritan.  He continued to preach the gospel of Kingdom of God to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, heal the sick, recovering of sight the blind, set at liberty them that are bruised, and preach this is the acceptable year of the LORD.  


Before the leaving the shores of the Lake, Jesus gathered His more faithful followers around Him, and from their number chose seventy disciples to go before Him into every city and place where He Himself would come.  They went forth in pairs of two (two by two) preaching the Gospel as lambs among wolves.


  I ask you just as the Jews divided the earth into seventy nations, Jesus sent out the seventy (as the Sons of God (Deut.32:8-9) announcing His sovereign rule over the Kingdoms of the earth and His salvation to all the ends of the earth?

(Genesis Chapters 10 and 11 constitute what is known as "The Table of Nations" in the Bible.  In the 21st Century, there are almost 200 nations.  Jewish tradition refers to global humanity as the “70 nations.” It would seem to me as it is Heaven, so it is in earth; that Heaven would still have the earth divided in to 70 nations?” Just pondering these things.)

The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into His harvest.  The seventy no change of clothes, no bag to carry provisions, and no money in their purses.  They had a simple faith in the One who sent them. Into whatsoever house you enter, first say, peace be to this house.  If the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it; if not it shall return to you again.  Eat and drink whatever they give; for the laborer is worthy of his hire.  Do not go from house to house.  Into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.  Heal the sick that are therein and say to them, the Kingdom of God is come near to you. (Lk. 10:1-11)

  They went from city to city declaring the King and His Kingdom has come.  Because the Kingdom of God had come, they were able to work miracles in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Just as they blessed those who believed, those who would not receive them, they were told go your way out into the streets.  Even the very dust your city which cling on us, we do wipe against you; notwithstanding be sure of this, the kingdom of God is come near to you. But I say to you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

Their experience was no different than our own and all of Christ’s ministers in every age.  Some people are teachable, others harden their hearts.  Some believe and others reject the message.

Lk. 10:16: He that hears you hears Me; and he that despises you despises Me, and he that despises Me despises Him that sent Me.

  After a time, they returned to Jesus with an account of their work.  They were astonished at their success, and especially at their power in casting out devils through the name of Jesus,   Perhaps, Jesus saw they were inclined to be boastful and proud about this.  He admonished them: Luke 10:18-20: I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.  Behold I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Do not rejoice abut the devils being subject to you.  There is a matter which ought to make you far more joyful; rather rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.  

Even though the proud Pharisees and Scribes rejected His gospel, the humble, suffering, poor and lowly welcomed the “glad tidings.”

Mt. 11:25:  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes.

In the weeks before Passover, Jesus went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.  Then said one to Him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And He said to them, strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.  When once the master of the house is risen up, and ha shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us, and He shall answer and say to you, I know you not from where you are.  Then shall you begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in Your presence, and You have taught in our streets.   He shall say, I tell you, I do not know you where you are; depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.  They call come for the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.  Behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Jesus did many miracles and taught many parables during these weeks.  In chapter 19, Mathew’s gospel tells us He entered and came to the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan.  This is a district on the other side of the Jordan called Perea. 

Perea is part of the highlands of East Palestine.  David wrote and sang some of his most plaintive psalms there, when he was obliged to flee as an exile from his throne.  The Son of David, like His royal ancestor, makes it a place of refuge from the wiles of His foes.

Jesus spent several weeks in the wilderness of Judea.  Great multitudes follow Him; and he healed them there.  In Judea he taught about divorce and marriage, blessed the children, parable of the rich Young Man, the householder and many more.  

Jesus knew that His sacrifice had to be on the Passover.  He stayed in Judea until the time appointed for Him to suffer and to die.  Clouds have still farther to gather, and evening shadows to fall, before the Great Sun sets in darkness and blood. 

In going from Perea to Jerusalem, there is only one way He would select.  He must come up the steep road leading from Jericho; a road dreary in itself, which was the haunt of wild Arabs from the desert.  The first part of the rugged track is full of rough stones and the ascent is fatiguing till the traveler on foot reaches the Mount of Olives.

Jesus would likely pause for the night at Jericho.  If so, it would take between five of six hours next day to reach the heights around Jerusalem. 

Mt. 20:17-19: Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said to them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify Him and the third day He shall rise again.

Bethany is located east of Jerusalem on the South East slope of the Mount of Olives.

Bethany is the place where he spent hours in the loving home of cherished friendships of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  This was where Lazarus was raised from the dead six days before Passover.   It was here at the house of Simon the leper, Jesus was anointed by the woman with the alabaster box of precious ointment.  It was from Bethany he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It was in Bethany he spent the last weeks of his earthly ministry.


As the tremendous events which signaled the close of His earthly ministry unfolded, it is Bethany with which they are mainly associated.  The walk from Jerusalem to Bethany was a Sabbath-day’s journey – (a half-mile in the Old Testament, but possibly measured as two miles in the New Testament).  In all likelihood the time was the early dawn of day.  The grey mists of morning would still be hovering over the Jehoshaphat valley.  He must have crossed the brook Kidron.  He must have passed by The Garden of Gethsemane, now a memorial forever as a place of triumph.


Next Sunday, we will have our Resurrection Sunday Concert and then the following Sunday join Jesus on His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of John Ross MacDuff, Brighter Than the Sun.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Rev. MacDuff.

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