God’s Grace

Grace indeed, is the greatest word in the greatest book, the Bible. If not for God’s grace, we would know nothing of His love for us personally, nor would we ever have even heard about the blood of Jesus. Without God’s grace, there would be no Jesus, no New Testament and no hope of salvation. Our world would be a horrific place in which to live without the grace of God.

Here are five facts God declares about His grace:


The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Grace , Hebrews 10:29. Therefore it is gracious that He even would want to live with us.


The apostle Paul instructs us to be strong in God’s grace, 2nd Timothy 2:1. Therefore we an emulate his grace.


Paul believed that Christians stand in the grace of God, Romans 5:2. Therefore we survive in His presence by grace.


The grace of God causes salvation to appear to all of us, Titus 2:11. Therefore we have access to a powerful and positive hope.


By grace you have been saved through faith and that not of  yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9. Therefore we can not claim or dare to even think, that we saved ourself, by ourself.


…as God has dealt to each person a measure of  faith.

Romans 12:5. Even our faith is given to us by grace!


What does God’s grace teach us?  See Titus 2:11-14.  Can we see God’s grace?  See Acts 11:23.  Who is the “prince of the power of the air” and in whom does he work?  See Eph. 2:2.  Who is the “Ruler of the kings of the earth” and in whom does He work? See Rev. 1:5.

The Burial of Jesus

Key Texts: Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42

Isaiah 53:9, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death”  Jesus was buried with sinners, as a sinner for sinners, in a sinners graveyard, but Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He gave the corpse of Jesus a new place. Wherein our new life would emerge with a new promise and law for us and all “Good and Upright” people who would imitate the faith of Abraham that was in Jesus. Another man called “Good”, was Barnabas, Ac. 11:22-24. The goodness of Joseph was from God, (2Ths. 1:11), and we too can be counted worthy by God, for his power to fulfil every desire for goodness and work of faith. Goodness truly is a fruit of His Spirit in us, Gal. 5:22-23. In this hour of crisis for Christ, most disciples abandoned Christ and ran away, while others, like Joseph, stepped forward to do the will of the Father. What will we do, when Christ is being treated ill by others around us? What do we say, when people take His name in vain? Joseph “begged” Pilate (Mt. 27:58) for the corpse of Christ to be taken off the cross for burial, and it was publicly made official. Joseph must have expected that his gift of the tomb was a permanent contribution. What Joseph gave to Jesus he received back “good as new” three days later. God raised up a Joseph… to save the Israelites from famine…to save the infant Jesus from death at the hand of Herod…to save the body of Jesus from being buried along with the robbers in a potter’s field. What we give to Jesus we receive back in heaven “with interest!”

The gravesite was obvious, both Joseph, Nicodemus and at least two Marys knew exactly where it was, when he was laid inside. Also the Jews laid their own sentry and seal upon it, so there could be no confusion amongst his enemies or disciples, about the location of God’s greatest miracle. Why do we know so little about it today?

A long tradition going back to the first century, however, maintains that Jesus’ tomb is at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. In the 4th century, Constantine supposedly located the tomb site beneath a second century Roman temple. He constructed a church over it. This church has been restored and maintained over the centuries ever since. It is today shared by six faiths: Latin Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Armenians, Syrian, Copts and Ethiopians. If it could be proved beyond a shadow of doubt, that this was truly the place, we would surely see it made into an idol. Humanity would exalt it higher than Jesus himself. Jesus doesn’t want a grave to be the memorial of the resurrection, he wants our hearts to maintain the resurrection!

Matthew 27:65, Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. This may indicate that Pilate was prepared to believe Jesus might well rise from the dead… or was it just to pacify the Chief Priests and Pharisees? So much had happened on the crucifixion day that Pilate didn’t know what might happen next. Even the hardened Roman centurion declared, “Surely this man was the Son of God.” The Pharisees now assumed they could relax thinking they had finally silenced Jesus of Nazareth. On the Sabbath Jesus was in the tomb.  The Sabbath was not Jesus’ day of victory.  The Lord’s Day was the first day of the week, the resurrection day. 

Consequently Christians worship on the day of Christ’s great victory, not on the day of his being dead and buried, a day of apparent defeat. We need to die to our old self and let God’s new creation in our new life rejoice in Sunday the Lord’s Day. God has saved the burial story for us to learn this from: Our Lord knows what it’s like to die and feel like all is lost, but faith in His power, goodness and promise is our victory. Baptism as a burial in where that faith is rewarded by forgiveness and His Spirit’s presence.

Jesus & A Widow

Key Text: Mark 12:38-44 & Luke 21:1-4

Jesus didn’t like Scribes, because of what they loved, rather than what they were. Their love for beautiful clothing, public greetings and the best seats in assemblies, made them commit two crimes, oppress the poor and pray hypocritically. The Talmud gives evidence of the “plundering of widows” (Sota Hieros. F.20.I, Schoettg. I. 199).  In the days of Jesus, the details are vague, but we can safely assume that Scribes & Pharisees often accepted gifts from widows, in exchange for making or ruling decisions which determined which widows would get references for help from rich philanthropists like Fulvia & Helene, who paid huge sums of money for fines placed on faithful Jews who would not ascribe allegiance to Caesar. (Josephus’ Antiquities xvii.2.4, xviii.3.5, xx.2.5).  

If a widow wanted to survive, she often had to proclaim allegiance to Caesar in order to trade her meager means for food, but if she remained loyal to the Lord God of Israel, she wouldn’t be accepted, hired or helped benevolently. But if a widow gave a gift to an influential Scribe who could refer her to a rich philanthropist like Fulvia and/or Helene, she could survive, MAYBE. It was a gamble, and often the widows lost. Scribes also worked as lawyers, and could overcharge widows to handle the execution of their husbands’ wills. This could leave the widows almost penniless. Scribes could tell the widows, if you give me a gift, I’ll pray for you and give your name to a rich person. But what if the Scribe didn’t do it? Would the widow be any better off?  Jesus did a lot of teaching in the court of women in front of the Temple. The woman taken in adultery was brought there, Jn. 8, and Jesus wrote in the dirt there. He now has his disciples there just a few days before his crucifixion. This court of the women was placed after or beyond the area Gentile proselytes were allowed into. In the court of the women, there were actually thirteen metal boxes shaped like inverted trumpets, large at the bottom and narrow at the top where money was deposited. The origin of the boxes, might be in the story of Jehoiada’s chest (2Kg. 12:4-16), wherein v13 tells of a segregation in purpose of the money dedicated.  In the days of Jesus the metal trumpet-shaped boxes would have different purposes, some for maintaining the Temple, some for alms, lepers, and some for growing sacrifices. The contents held differing gifts, some gold, some frankincense, some copper, and etc.,.   

Jesus was “sitting opposite the treasury and observed how the people were putting money in”, Mk. 12:41. The Ethiopic and Arabic versions mention Jesus sitting near the gate, opposite the boxes.  Today the Spirit of Christ observes our giving. What is He looking for? Quality of faith in the power of God to provide for our necessities. God wants to grow in us a faith in his power to provide. Do we believe we are providing for ourselves, or that our God in Christ is providing for us? When Jesus saw a poor widow come and put in two very small brass, copper coins (mites) worth only pennies. He called his disciples attention to it. This reveals the purpose for Christ looking into our giving. He wants to see the quality, not the quantity. Greeks called the mites, “Leptons” they were Grecian coins and were the “thinnest” of coins.   Jewish custom at that time forbade anyone to cast in less than two gifts. Today in the church in India, many Christians give food as well as coins into the Lord’s treasury on Sunday.  The poor widow gave the smallest legal gift possible.

For us to give the equivalent of the widow’s mites we must give to the extent of knowing we have nothing left for the future, but to depend on God for it.  How is this possible? What was Jesus teaching his disciples? He was teaching us what great faith that pleases God actually is. Obedience is better than sacrifices. Why? Because when the widow was left for the future but two mites, she still obeyed. Sometimes obedience is easy and sometimes it is not. But faith is the victory, 1Jn. 5:4. If we have faith in our giving, it will be liberal, 2Cor. 8:1-7,  cheerful, 2Cor. 9:7 and from our prosperity 1Cor. 16:2.