(read 1 Pet. 3:1-7; Rom. 13:1-2) Christianity is a re-orientation of our world view. It introduces the concept of submission which is exactly the opposite of what we culturally think about individual human rights and the worth and dignity man. Something has changed in us. As believers, now we are to be submissive to earthly government even when we do not agree with it. Submission goes against the grain of human nature. Submission is diametrically opposed to everything that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil stood for; that polluted our hearts and minds into thinking that “whatever i want, whatever I need, I have the right to do”. The fall has caused all of us to turn inward – “what’s in it for me?”, “What do I get out of it?”, or “how do i control my own life?”. Submission is the way to keep score that Sin is no longer predominant in our lives. The purpose of submission is primarily evangelism. We submit not because we are weak, or we don’t have our own opinion and authority. We submit to show that there is a difference in the Christian life. We submit so that the Kingdom of God might be lifted up through our lives as a witness to the lost and fallen world. We must realize that God is sovereign in human governments, not just in history but in the formation, the continuation, and the limits of human government (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:22; Isaiah 44:28; Daniel 2:21). God is in control of human governments. That does not mean that they are spiritual entities. It simply means that God has purposed that human government exists for the purpose of keeping law and order in a fallen world. Therefore He establishes them and controls them. God’s people are repeatedly admonished to submit themselves to these human governments, even invading occupying governments for that matter (cf. Daniel chapts. 1-4). God’s people are also admonished to pray for civil governments (cf. Jer. 29:7) lest men would swallow each other alive (cf. Sayings of the Fathers 3:2).Christians are to give unto civil governments that which rightly belongs to them because it is God Himself who sets governments up, but give to God what belongs to Him whenever the state claims ultimacy (especially in the sense of the deity of the emperor cf. Matt. 22:21; Romans 13:1), and the state has gone beyond the bounds that God has given it. And therefore we cannot submit to that, yet there is a realm in which we are to submit as unto the Lord to civil authorities, not necessarily that we agree with them, but we are to do it because we are Christians, and how we act affects evangelism and ministry. Everyone must obey the civil authorities as a matter of attitude. It’s a Biblical attitude of reverence and submission to others because of our relationship with God (cf. Eph. 5:21). No authority exists except ordained by God. All human governments have only the authority that comes from God, because God is the only source of authority. This is not to assert the divine right of governments, it simply means that God prefers government order than chaos. Human governments are under God’s control and God’s appointment or ordination, and anyone who resists its authority sets himself against God. To rebel against civil governments is to rebel against God. The basic attitude of Christians is reverence, honor, respect, and duty towards civil governments.



In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul addresses the problem of the church at Corinth which is being disrupted by some people in the church who deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the resurrection of all believers being denied, impugned, or ridiculed. So Paul wants to share with them again the basic Kerygma model of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe this is the basic or bare-bones minimums of salvation. In verses 3-4, Paul presents the Gospel in a bulleted form – “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,…”, as a reaction to those who deny the resurrection. These are the basic criteria about the Lord Jesus Christ which Paul preached to them which they received, and wherein they also stand (cf. vs. 1). Interestingly, the word ‘received’ in verse 1 and verse 3, in Jewish circles, meant ‘passing on of a tradition’. Now Paul is telling us about the gospel that he received. Now, where did Paul receive elements of the Gospel?

I think there are several sources. Number one: if you look at Paul’s conversion that’s recorded in Acts 9,  22 and, 26, Paul was persecuting the church, killing Christians. He was really tearing the church up. Those Christians who were dying would have witnessed to him. Paul heard some of these truths from the very people he was persecuting. Paul in Acts Chapter 7 called Saul of Tarsus then, held the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen. Stephen of course preached in the temple, and the Jews got so mad they dragged him outside and stoned him on the spot. And Paul heard that sermon of Stephen. Another source in Acts 9, Jesus appears to Paul on the road to Damascus and asks him “why are you persecuting Me”, and Paul of course is struck blind, and Ananias a lay person, never read a theology book, laid hands on Paul, and Paul was healed. Ananias tells him about the Gospel, and then Paul begins to preach. In Galatians 1:11-12, Jesus Himself revealed the Gospel to Paul. So Paul was saying that the Gospel was passed on to him and he responded to it. “…in which also you stand,..” – this is a good parallel of Romans 5:2. I would call this positional Christianity. I think we are in Jesus Christ once we trust Him. This same truth about Abraham when he believed God, it was counted to him as his righteousness (cf. Gen. 15:6); imputed righteousness. Imputed is an accounting word which has the idea of God’s righteousness was placed on our bank account. We are righteous because we are in Christ. We are holy because Christ’s holiness is imputed on our account. So, I’m holy because I’m in Him now. That’s the positional aspect of justification by faith. Now because I’m holy on account of the fact that I’m in Christ, the Bible calls on me to live holy > that’s the progressive aspect. The possessing my position aspect. I’m called to be what i already am. Another way of illustrating this is, let’s think of the Christian life as a race. When i trust Jesus Christ, I’ve already won the race, the trophy is on the shelf. I’ve won because I’m in Him. Now because I’ve won, I’m called to run for Him. The thing is, i don’t run to get the trophy. I have the trophy because I’m in Him. I run because I have the trophy and i run because I’m part of the family. I run to please my Father. I don’t run to get anything. So i stand in the Gospel, i am accepted in Christ.

“…by which you are being saved…(vs. 2) – If you’ll look at the verb tenses in the New Testament to describe salvation, sometimes it is past and complete. Sometimes it’s present, ‘being saved’, and sometimes it’s future. Therefore i submit to you that none of us are completely saved yet. We’re not fully saved until we see Him, and are changed into His likeness (cf. 1 John 3:2). I believe that there is a point at which we receive the Gospel. There must be a time where you ask God to forgive you, and to save you. There is a point, and then there is a process, that’s what it is about being saved.

“…if you hold firmly to the message…” – this is a first class conditional statement (assumed to be true) meaning “…since you hold firmly to the message…”. What message? That the  Messiah died for our sin according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and was raised on the 3rd day according to the Scriptures (i.e. vs. 3 & 4). The resurrection is not an option in Biblical Christianity. If Christ’s resurrection is a sham, we’re the biggest fools the world has ever known. The resurrection is not something you can fudge on. If the resurrection is false, Christianity is false. But if the resurrection is true, Christianity is true, and there is no middle ground.

That Jesus Christ died for our sins; that He was buried; that he resurrected on the 3rd day are the core beliefs of historical Christianity that we must go back to again and again. These are the essential truths that we must rally behind, and be united about, and even willingly die for.


The key principle in Bible interpretation is the intent of the original author. The intent of the original author is the meaning of Scripture – not you, not your denomination, not your experience. The only inspired person in Bible study is the original author, so what you must do is to put yourself back in the place of the first hearers. WHO? WHAT?, WHERE?, WHEN?, WHY? – these are exactly the questions we have to ask. We must ask who wrote this? when did they write it? who did they write it to? Why did they write it? These are the crucial questions in Bible study? Just think of the difference between a letter from your lawyer and a letter from your sweetheart, wouldn’t you interpret those differently, would you? Wouldn’t you be mad if someone got a hold of a love letter you’ve written a long time ago, that’s 5 pages of drippy, gooey, “I love you” stuff, and puts one sentence from the 3rd page of that letter on the blackboard. Wouldn’t you be embarrassed, and say, “wait a minute, you’ve got to know when i wrote that, you’ve got to know who i wrote that to, and you’ve got to read the whole letter”. And that’s what we’re doing to the Bible every day, if you could just hear God screaming at you. We jump in His Book, pull out one verse, redefine the words based on our own culture, apply it into our life immediately, and say, “Thus saith the Lord”. It’s called proof-texting, and we’re horrible at it. Every book of the Bible is one connected, succinct, unified message. That’s why we read through Romans, that’s why we read through the entire Book. You cannot study the Bible without moving through the entire book. There is no way to jump all over, pick one verse from Daniel, 2 from Matthew, 1 from Amos, 2 from Revelation spin them together, and say, “This is the word of the Lord”. That’s not the Lord speaking! It’s you who’s speaking. It’s your denomination that’s speaking. The tragedy is, we just buy it like, “if it’s in the Bible, it must be true”. You can’t do that to the Bible and make it prove anything!

A case in point: Through the years I have heard sermons on 2 Chronicles 7:14 applied invariably to a nation or to the church whenever it is stricken by a disaster or a calamity. This text refers particularly to God’s covenant people Israel, of which we are not, by any stretch of imagination. We (modern-day believers) are not part of a performance-based covenant (cf. Acts 15; Galatians 3; Hebrews), but under the covenant of grace (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Gen. 15:1-21; Eph. 2:8-10). This text could apply as an application or significance but not as an original intent of the inspired author of Chronicles. Be careful of proof-texting Old Testament texts and bringing them directly into the New Testament covenant of grace.

Here’s a good quote from the CSB Study Bible by the Holman Bible Staff:

“(2 Chronicles 7:13-16) This promise presupposes a very specific context. It was given to God’s people, who bear his name, and it is a part of God’s answer to Solomon’s prayer. It refers to times when the Israelites have become faithless to God and are enduring the consequences, whether it was a famine, an invasion, or even the deportation to another country. To be humble . . . pray . . . seek God and turn from sin are four aspects of one attitude: repentance. If Israel would repent, he would forgive them and heal their spiritual relationship with him associated with the promised land. Furthermore, as was established earlier, the prayer mentioned is specifically intended to refer to prayer in the temple or, if that is not possible, prayer said facing in the direction of the temple. This promise is given specifically to God’s covenant people, and by itself it should not be applied to other nations or to the church. However, these verses reflect God’s gracious nature, and on that basis, we may draw out a more fundamental principle—that any person, regardless of ethnicity or location, can come to the Lord with a repentant heart and find forgiveness (see 6:32-33; Jl 2:32; Ac 2:21; Rm 10:13; 1Co 1:2).”


If you’re a normal human being, need I convince you that there is estrangement between you and God? In the loneliness of the long nights, in the terrible fear of death, in the guilt that overwhelms humans from what we’ve done in the past to others, and what we continue to do with a terrible claw of self that’s in our lives, we all stand before what we believe is a reality and say, “O my, is there any hope for me?”, “wretched man that I am who will deliver me from this body of sin?” (i.e. Rom. 7:24). BUT THERE IS A DELIVERANCE. God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love for us even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (i.e. Eph. 2:4-5). We have been transitioned radically from the hopelessness and helplessness of the black pit of the human condition to the majesty of His grace. What more would it take to convince us that our greatest hope is in the unchanging, unmerited, and undeserved merciful character of God which is in Christ Jesus. God’s mercy, God’s grace, God’s love – did it come when we were seeking God?; did it come when we were open and repentant?; did it come to good people? NO! It came to us while were running away from Him, dead in trespasses and sins (cf. Rom. 5:8). What good news this is! I don’t know who you are but, I know this – God loves you, and Jesus died for you, and whosoever will may come!


In the course of my personal Bible study, I have struggled with a realization that has somehow defined my over-all worldview and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This has become a path that led me to great peace about the Bible in a day when there is still tremendous controversy about the Bible even among sincere Christians. One Christian focuses on this passage, and another focuses on that passage, and they disagree and build walls of denominations. We are all guilty as human beings, and I understand where it’s coming from, because our mind is like a gigantic computer, and we categorize all kinds of information into some meaningful grid. What we have done, of course, is to systematize the Bible into certain categories – Calvinism, Arminianism, Dispensationalism, and so forth and so on. We forget that these are man-made structures that the Bible does not really fit well, because the Bible is not primarily a theological dictionary which we just turn to for a certain topic, and look up what God says about it. To a very large extent, we are all influenced by western culture, and western culture is primarily Greek. We think as the Greeks, and we structure our thoughts as the Greeks. We tend to be logical, rational, and literal. We tend to order our thoughts on precepts built upon precepts. The only problem is, the Bible is not a western book. The Bible is an ancient eastern book. The people of the near eastern world would never have structured their thoughts in those ways. They are much more used to tension in their presentation. They are much more used to overstatements, understatements, and exaggerations. They are used to presenting truths not in ‘black and white’, ‘either/or’ categories, but in categories of stories that pointedly tell this truth, and another story that seems to say what looks like exactly the opposite truth. It is for this reason that the Bible is so greatly misunderstood, and so easily proof-texted, that we say, “Well, God said it right here, and that settles it”. I think in doing that, we have destroyed the very nature of Biblical truth itself.

I believe that most Biblical truths come in paradoxical pairs, sometimes called dialectical pairs. In other words, the Bible seems to speak out of both sides of its mouth. Like in the Parable of the soils, on one hand, it teaches the absolute necessity of fruitfulness as an evidence of a true salvation – not the means to that salvation, but on the other hand, John 10:28; Ephesians 2:8-9 and a whole lot more teach believers about grace as a bedrock truth on which to base their assurance of salvation. Here is an obvious tension created by two paradoxes; perseverance on one hand and faith assurance of grace on the other, and both truths are divinely inspired. Other examples are: God as transcendent versus God as immanent; security vs. perseverance; Jesus as equal with the Father vs. Jesus as subservient to the Father; Christian freedom vs. Christian responsibility to a covenant partner; etc. Therefore, we need to take these scripture texts to a balance by living our Christian lives within the tension created by these seemingly opposing truths. We do not have the right to affirm one inspired Bible text and at the same time reject or relegate to second importance another equally inspired Scripture text. Therefore truth is found between the two seemingly paradoxical extremes. Denominationalism tends to proof-text one side of the paradox and radicalize truth by literally and dogmatically interpreting one expression of truth without seeking to relate it to the opposite truth. We must live within the tension created by these truths no matter how seemingly paradoxical they are because all Scriptures are divinely inspired. If all Christians will have this kind of mindset, i believe Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-23, for the unity of all believers will be realized.


but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:7 NASB

‘Kenosis’ – “…but He emptied Himself…” This has been a most controversial, and a most argumentative issue among theologians. Did Jesus leave his deity in Heaven? What did Jesus empty Himself of? I believe this kenosis passage is not a subtraction but an addition. It’s not so much He left as He gained. I mean, i think God the Son had a brand-new experience when He incarnated. To say God had a brand-new experience is just kind of a bold statement anyway, but God had never been a human being before. And now He was one, and so what we have here is not so much Him leaving something in Heaven as Him adding something to His nature. I want to tell you when we see Jesus, we’re going to see a human being with physical form. The only member of the Trinity that has a corporeal existence is Jesus. So one of the things that happened here by Him becoming a man is that God fully and completely understood what it’s really like to be a creature of time; what’s it really like to be a creature affected by surroundings that are in rebellion against God. God really became one of us. I think what He left is His glory, and He retained His deity. We see that so clearly on the Mount of Transfiguration when the disciples were there, and Moses and Elijah came and talked to Jesus. The Bible describes it in the best terms that it can, it says His garments and His body begin to glow. That divine aspect broke through the human shell, and the full divine Jesus is revealed there to those sleepy apostles. That’s exactly what we’re talking about that humanity could contain that kind of essence, and that to see Jesus is to really see God. The Bible also says of Jesus, that He is tempted in every way as we are yet without sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15). What it helps us to know is that every temptation that is common to man, Jesus has experienced. He knows us and He still loves. Indeed, His is an amazing love – the love that will not let the human race go. He completely knows us and therefore when we come to Jesus, He understands. Do you know Him?


Every believer is a full-time minister. Every one of us has been gifted by God with a unique talent, that He gives us at salvation for the purpose of the church and for the common good (cf. 1 Cor. 12). Our life is a pilgrimage with the Lord, and it strives toward maturity; never reaching but continually striving. As we mature and become completely sold out to the Lord, it is no longer a question of what “I wanted to do”, or where “I wanted to go”, and what “I wanted to be”, but the cry of our heart becomes “What do You want for my life, Lord?”. And as we seek His will for our lives with pure motives, He will help us understand that what He wants for our life is a life that grows and struggles toward Christlikeness.

I believe God speaks to us through the Bible, and it speaks to us intuitively on areas it does not cover, but the authority comes from the Book itself, because it is the inspired Word of God. The question is, “What does God want to characterize your life in ministry? I think we really have a hang-up on the word “preach”; we often associate it with a pulpit in a building, in front of a congregation, 2 or 3 hours every Sunday. Biblically speaking, the word ‘to preach’ is not so much about the word pulpit, as a word that means public proclamation. The word “ministry” is not a word that describes some small group of “called out” people in the church. It’s a term of service that characterizes the complete family of God. I think the life of the apostle Paul is an exemplar that fits so well into our day, because Paul being a rabbi had to have an occupation. The Jews thought it was a sin for their teachers and their rabbis to make a living off teaching the Old Testament. So, every rabbi had to have an occupation to support himself, and then teach as an avocation on the side, and so Paul as you know was a tent-maker (cf. Acts 18:3). I think that is very analogous to most of us that have full-time jobs that make us enough money to live on and survive and provide for our family’s needs. But even though you have a full-time job that occupies a lot of your energy, and a lot of your time, and a lot of your interest, truth is, the church of Jesus Christ is a body of “called-out, gifted, full-time” ministers. We have all been entrusted with the Gospel, and as stewards of the Gospel we are responsible for the way we use our gifts and talents, and the time and energy we spend in our own respective spheres of influence, in the workplace, in our jobs, wherever God has planted you. I don’t think when we stand before God, He is going to ask how high you rose in the corporate structure of your day. I don’t think He’s going to ask what kind of bank balance you had when you died. I don’t think He’s going to ask you what assets you bring with you. I think He’s going to ask us “Were you faithful in sharing the Good News that I gave to you”, in a world that desperately needs it? May God help us all!


Psalm 19 basically talks about how has God communicated to human beings. Man has fallen into sin, and you and i are not what God has intended us to be. Fallen human beings only use 10-20% of their potential brain. We are drastically hindered from being the marvelous creatures made in the image of God, and because of that, we walk through a glass darkly (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). We do not quite know who we are. We do not quite know what we are about. So God has broken into this fog, and has given us some very clear and very precise guidelines and information on how to live during this time on earth.

First of all, God has spoken. But what about those who have never heard, who have never seen a Bible? How about those who have never neard the Name of Jesus? That’s a relevant question, and i’m not really sure the Bible fully answers it. But if it does answer it, it answers it in Psalm 19 and in Romans chapters 1 and 2. And the answer would be, God has communicated with all human beings at some level. In Romans 1:19 and Romans 2:14, it seems to say that God has spoken to all humans in creation. It doesn’t say exactly how that works, i would assume it’s something of the beauty, the intricacy, the order, the power, and the majesty of the created order. The heavens declare the glory of God, and this is known as ‘natural revelation’. The whole of creation including man is the work of His hands. God through Jesus His Son formed man into existence (cf. John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16). Creation speaks silently, albeit powerfully of His majestic power. And He has spoken to each one of us whether we’ve ever heard of the Bible or heard about Jesus; He has spoken to us in an inner moral witness. Anthropologists have discovered that in pre-literate societies, there has always been within the tribe a sense of moral responsibility; a sense of appropriate moral action within homogeneous tribal groups. We could argue about the extent of that, but there is some kind of ethical behaviour written in the DNA of man. A person may have never heard of the Name of Jesus, and he will not be judged for denying Jesus, but he will be judged on how he lived up to the light he has had. And the bad news is “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” which is the summary of Romans 3:23. So the good news is all men understand something about God. The bad news is no one of us has followed after God. “None seek Him; all we like sheep have gone astray. None have turned after Him ” – that’s the problem.

Verses 7 through 14 speak of a subject we call ‘special revelation’. Starting verse 7 through 11, this is synonymous parallelism. Notice the number of words used to describe revelation – “the law of the Lord; the testimony of the Lord; the precepts of the Lord; the commandment of the Lord; the fear of the Lord; the judgments of the Lord”. These are all parallel, and this is talking about the Word of God, in this context this is what we call the Old Testament. Notice how it characterizes this revelation: verse 7, “it is perfect”, verse 7b “it is sure”, 8 “it is right”, 8b “pure”, 9a “clean” 9b “true”. Wow! And what is the purpose of this revelation in the life of the believer? What is this special information from God to fallen man meant to do? “It restores the soul; it makes wise the simple; it rejoices the heart”. Look at 8b, “it enlightens the eyes”; verse 9 “enduring forever”. These are all characteristics of God’s special, written revelation – the Bible. The Bible is the only clear, and inspired self-revelation of God, and it is the only authoritative source for faith and practice. This is our crucial faith affirmation. But the tragedy is, a vast majority of Christians today don’t study the Book; don’t read the Book! If the Bible is the Word of God – it is crucial to make us happy; make us wise; give us guidelines for life, then why is our life in such turmoil and tumult? Because we don’t know Scripture for ourselves. God is speaking and our receiver is turned on what your pastor said. Praise the Lord for your pastor, but he isn’t authority. Thank God for your favorite Bible commentary, but it isn’t authority. Thank God for our denominational creed, but neither is it authority! The Word of God, the Bible is authority and we need to learn to self-feed on the Word of God!


(basahin ang Juan 4:1-26) Ang tanging paraan upang maunawaan natin ng tumpak ang Biblia, ay sa pamamagitan ng pag-unawa sa layunin ng orihinal na may-akda (na siyang tanging kinasiyahan ng Banal na Expiritu) kung bakit nya isinulat yaon, mga sirkumstansya na bumabalot sa aklat na iyon at kung ano ang pagkaunawa ng mga tao na pinaguukulan ng aklat na iyon sa larangan ng kanilang kultura at kapanahunan. At ang layunin na ito ay ipinapahayag sa maraming kaparaanan. Sa Ebanghelyo ni San Juan ang layunin ng may-akda ay ipinapahayag sa pamamagitan ng kaparaanan na sa palagay ko ay napakadaling maunawaan. Ito ay mga ilang panayam o dialogo, at sa mga panayam na ito ay makikita natin ang mga taong pinaguusapan si Hesus, o si Hesus nakikipagusap sa isang tao, at maraming bagay ang napaguusapan tungkol sa Dios, tungkol kay Hesus, at tungkol sa tao, at tungkol sa kalooban ng Dios para sa tao, at ang yaon ay lubhang mabisa at tumatalab. Ngunit alam nyo, sa paggawa ng komentaryo sa Ebanghelyo ni San Juan, mapapansin ninyo tila ito’y nagiging paulit-ulit sapagkat, ang mga pangyayari ay nagbabago, ang mga taong sangkot sa usapin ay nagbabago, but the theology of human need of the love of God; of the centrality of Christ; at ang pangangailangan ng tao na tumugon sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya ay hindi nagbabago. Ito ay mga katotohanan na patuloy na paiko-ikot lamang sa Ebanghelyo ni San Juan. Si Juan bilang pinakahuling may-akda ng ebanghelyo, marahil ay 50 taon makalipas isulat ang 3 naunang mga Ebanghelyo, ay nagsisikap na punan ang mga nakaligtaan na isulat ni Markos, Lukas, at Mateo, at sinisikap din nya na tugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng Iglesia upang sugpuin ang mga hidwang pananampalataya namumuo sa Iglesia ng unang siglo. Kaya’t ang ginagawa ni Juan ay binibigyan tayo ng iba’t ibang impormasyon, pinapagtagni-tagni sa isang paraan na pupukaw sa ating isipan. Naaalala nyo si Nicodemus sa Juan ikatlong kabanata? Inilarawan dito si Nicodemus bilang si Mr. Religioun. Alam nyo ba na ang pinakamahirap patotohanan tungkol kay Hesus ay isang animo’y matuwid na relihiyosong tao? Walang taong hihigit dito na aamin ng kanilang pangangailangan, hindi ng isang moralidad para isang makasalanan ng pagsunod sa kautusan, kundi ng isang moralidad na nakabatay sa isang personal na relasyon sa Dios na namatay para sa kanila. Napakahalaga na ang personal na relasyon na ito ay maitaguyod sa buhay ng bawat nilalang. The story of Nicodemus in chapter 3 is one bookend and the other bookend is chapter 4 Mrs. Irreligious – the woman at the well. Ito ay sadyang isinaayos upang ipakita sa atin na sa pagitan ni Nicodemus at ang Samaritana sa balon ng Sychar ay ang lahat ng mga nilalang. Ito ay isang paraan upang sabihin na ang lahat ng mga tao, matuwid man o halang na kriminal ay nakapaloob sa sinasabi sa John 3:16 na “Sapagkat gayon na lamang ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sa sanlibutan na ibinigay niya ang kanyang tanging Anak, upang ang sinumang sa kanya’y sumampalataya ay huwag mapahamak kundi magkaroon ng buhay na walang hanggan.” Nais kong talakayin ngayon ang John 4. Marahil ang pinakamagaling na transition mula sa chapter 3 patungo sa chapter 4 ay tinatawag ng marami na ‘vertical dualism’ – sapagkat sinasabi ni Hesus, simula sa verse 31, “Ang nanggagaling sa itaas ay mataas sa lahat, ang galing sa lupa ay taga-lupa nga, at nagsasalita tungkol sa mga bagay sa lupa; ang nanggagaling sa langit ay mataas sa lahat. Nagpapatotoo siya ng kanyang nakita at narinig, ngunit walang taong tumatanggap ng kanyang patotoo. Ang tumatanggap ng kanyang patotoo ay nagpapatunay dito na ang Diyos ay totoo. Sapagkat Siya na sinugo ng Diyos ay nagsasalita ng mga salita ng Diyos, sapagkat hindi niya sinusukat ang pagbibigay niya ng Espiritu. Minamahal ng Ama ang Anak at inilagay sa kanyang kamay ang lahat ng mga bagay.Ang sumasampalataya sa Anak ay may buhay na walang hanggan; ngunit ang hindi sumusunod sa Anak ay hindi makakakita ng buhay, kundi ang poot ng Diyos ay nananatili sa kanya.” Ngayon inaangkin ni Hesus ang namumukod tanging kapangyarihan. Inaangkin Niya ang kapangyarihan na kumakatawan sa nag-iisang Dios na hindi nakikita. Itong si Hesus na isang hamak na anluwagi wa walang pinagaralan sa larangan ng relihiyon, mula sa isang hamak na bayan sa Galilee, na Siyang nagsasabi at nangangaral sa mga Hudyo, “Aking inihahayag sa inyo ang Ama”. Ang pagtawag sa Dios bilang Ama ay isang kapangahasan sa mga Hudyo, anupa’t sinasabi ni Hesus sa kanila na Siya’y ang opisyal na kumakatawan sa Ama, now Jesus is either a lunatic, a liar or the Son of God who He says He is. Ngayon kailangan natin magpasya kung sino talaga Siya sa inyo. Iyan lamang 2 yan ang pagpipilian. Now let’s pick up the next bookend. From Mr. Religion in chapter 3 to Mrs Irreligion in chapter 4. Ito ay nagpapasimula sa isang pagtatalo ng mga alagad ni Juan Bautista at sa ilang mga Hudyo, palibhasa’y mas maraming tao ang binabautismuhan ni Hesus kaysa kay Juan, ay tila sila’y nagkakaroon ng paligsahan kung sino ang mas magaling magbaustismo. Nalaman ni Hesus na nabalitaan ng mga Fariseo ang pangyayaring ito. kaya’t ang ginawa ni Hesus ay tumigil sa pagbabautismo at dali-daling bumalik sa Galilea. Ngayon sa isipan ninyo ilarawan ang mapa ng Palestino. Ang Judea ay nasa ilalim, sa pagitan ay ang Samaria sa gilid ng dagat ng Galilea, at sa itaas ay ang Galilea. Most self-righteous Judeans would cross over across the Jordan and go up the Transjordan just so they wouldn’t set foot in the hated Samaritan territory. Hindi sila makabili ng pagkain doon sapagkat ang mga tao doon ay marumi. Ganoon kamuhiang mga Hudyo sa mga Samaritano. Ang sabi nila, ang mga Samaritano day ay nilikha ng Dios upang ipanggatong sa mga apoy ng impiyerno (well that’s a great purpose in life). Kung ikaw ay Hudyo at meron kang nakita na samaritanang manganganak sa lansangan, hindi mo uubrang tulungan ang tao na yon. Hindi mo rin uubrang alukan ng tubig mula sa tasang iniinuman mo. Nawawari mo ba yung pagkapoot nitong mga Hudyo naito sa mga Samaritano? If you missed the racism of the parable of the Good Samaritan and the racism of this chapter, hindi mo mauunawaang lubha ang buong Biblia. Kamusta kayo? Meron ba kayong kinapopootang grupo ng tao? Meron ba kayong kinamumuhiang tao dahil sa kulay ng kanilang balat? Dahil sa kanilang kakulangan ng edukasyon? O mga bagay sa ating sariling kultura? Mayroon ba kayong kinapopootang tao ngayon? Ito mismo ang pinaguusapan natin dito sa mga talatang ito. Ang susi upang maunawaan natin ang susunod na talata, ay ang salitang ‘dia’, na kadalasa’y na nangangahulugan ng pangangailangan moral ‘moral necessity’ na kailangan nin Hesus na dumaan sa Samaria patungong Galilea. In other words, there was a divine appointment for Jesus to pass through Samaria. Kaya’t “sumapit siya sa isang lunsod ng Samaria na tinatawag na Sicar,…” Ang sabi ng iba ito raw ay ang lungsod ng Shechem, sapagkat dito raw bumili si Jacob ng lupa malapit sa bundok ng Gerizim, kung saan itinayo ng Samaritano ang kanilang templo, at ang pangyayari na ito ay magiging isang isyu kung paano tatanggapin at iibigin ni Hesus ang pinakapopootang mga tao ng mga Hudyo. Naroon ang balon ni Jacob. Ang turing ay balon ng Sicar, ngunit marami ang nagaakala na ito ay Shechem. Noon ay malapit nang magtanghaling-tapat. Kadalasan ang mga kababaihan ang syang umiigib ng tubig paras sa pamilya. Sabay sabay sila umiigib tuwing umaga sapagkat matindi ang init sa katanghaliang tapat, ngunit itong babaeng ito ay bukod tangi na kumuha ng tubig sa katanghaliang tapat sapagkat batid nya na wala ng mga tao sa mga oras na yaon. Ang babaeng ito ay isang patapon ng lipunan. This lady is not just a member of an outcast group, this is an outcast of the outcast group. At siya ay isang babae. Alam ninyo ang mga babae noong unang panahon ay ang pinakamababa ang pagtrato sa lipunan (kaya’t mapalad kayong mga kababaihan ngayon panahon ngayon….at kilala nyo ba ang tunay na nagpalaya sa mga kababaihan?… Si Hesus ang nagpalaya sa mga kababaihan. Ganuon din sa mga bata. Mga bata nuong unang panahon ay hindi binibigyan ng halaga ng katulad ngayon. At si Hesus ang tunay na nagmahal at kumalinga sa mga bata, kung papaano nya bibigyan ng halaga ang babaeng ito, na patapon na sa kanilang bayan. So narito ang isang babaeng paparoon sa balon upang sumalok ng tubig, at narito naman ang isang lalaki na nakaupo sa tabi ng balon, at Siya’y isang Hudyo, at humingi ng inumin. Nagulantang ang babae, “Ako isang Samaritana na hinihingan mo ng inumin?, Hindi nararapat na ako’y iyong kausapin sa harap ng madla sapagakat ako’y isang Samaritana, at isang babae.” Ang babae ay nagimbal sapagkat batid nya na bawal uminom and isang Hudyo mula sa tasa ng mga Samaritano ayon sa Leviticus 15. Kung alam ninyo ang kasaysayan ng mg Samaritano – Yung 10 northern tribes ng Israel ay nalupig ng mga Assyrians noong 722BC Nahulog sa mga kamay ng Assyrians ang Samaria ang kanilang capital city, at lahat ng northern tribes ay dineport sa Median. Nagpapasok ng ibang mga lahi ang Assyrians dito sa Samaria, at nakipagasawa sa mga natirang mga Hudyo doon, at yung mga anak nila ang naging mga Samaritano ngayon na nagtayo na kanilang templo sa bundok ng Ebal at Gerizim sa pagitan ng lungsod ng Shechem. At mayroon pang mga tao na sumasamba sa lugar na yaon ngayon. So here is Jesus, and here is this outcast woman, and Jesus asked her for a drink, and she’s shocked. Alam nyo po kapag kinakausap ni Hesus ang Kanyang mga alagad, madalas hindi sya maunawaan. Si Hesus ay nasa espirituwal na level, habang ang mga tao ay nasa pisikal na lebel. (Naalala ko sa John 11 tungkol kay Lazarus, ang wika ni Hesus sa Kanyang mga alagad, “ang ating kaibigang Lazarus ay natutulog, at Ako’y paparoon upang gisingin siya. Hindi naunawaan ng Kanyang mga alagad na ang ibig sabihin ni Hesus sa natutulog si Lazarus na si Lazarus ay patay na. Ang pagaakala nila ay nagpapahinga lamang si Lazarus). Ganundin si Nicodemus, ang wika’y “Papaano ako ipapanganak na muli? Ako’y lubhang napakalaki upang pumasok sa sinapupunan ng aking Ina?”, at itong babaeing ito ang wika’y “Wala ka namang timba at lubid upang sumalok ng tubig. Ang babae ay nasa surface level, at si Hesus naman ay nagwiwika ng isang espirituwal na bagay, tungkol sa buhay na tubig. Ang ginamit na katagang “balon” dito ay hindi isang bukal. ito ay isang balon na hinukay na pinaglalagakan ng tubig-ulan. So Jesus is going to have a play on what they would call dead water versus springfed living water. He’s going to play on that to get her mind, to catch your mind. In verse 10 in Greek it’s a second class conditional sentence – a false statement is going to be made to highlight a false conclusion. So notice in verse 10, it runs something like this, Jesus is talking to her and He says, “Kung alam mo lamang ang kaloob ng Dios na hindi mo naman alam, at kung sino ang humihingi sa iyong inumin, na hindi mo naman kilala, Siya ang magbibigay sa iyo ng Buhay na Tubig.” Lantad naman na hindi nya kilala ang Lalaking ito na huminhingi sa kanyang inumin. Sa verse 11, “Sinabi sa kanya ng babae, “Ginoo, wala kang pansalok ng tubig, at malalim ang balon. Saan ka ngayon kukuha ng tubig na buháy?” Ang Ginoo dito ay ang salitang kurios na ang ibig sabihin ay sir or mister, ngunit sa ibang pagkakataon katulad sa Romans 10:13, “Sapagkat, Ang lahat ng tumatawag sa pangalan ng Panginoon ay maliligtas” na ang Panginoon kurios dito ay nangangahulugan ng Dios. That’s how they pronounced the covenant Name fpr God Yahweh as Lord Adon. So nakabatay sa konteksto ang paggamit ng salitang ito. So obviously, tinuring lamang niyang mister si Hesus dito, “Higit ka bang dakila kaysa sa aming amang si Jacob…” – that’s the whole point why do you think in chapter 8 of John verse 53, nang tinanong Siya ng mga Hudyong naniniwala sa Kanya, Mas dakila ka pa ba kaysa sa aming amang si Abraham, na namatay?”. At sumagot si Hesus, “…bago pa man si Abraham ay Ako Nga.” Katotohanang sinasabi sa kanila ni Hesus na “Ako’y mas higit pa sa mga Ama ng Israel. Ito mismo ang Kanyang sinabi at nagimbal ang mga Hudyo kung papaano rin nagimbal itong babaeng Samaritana. Ngayon pansinin nyo ang sinabi sa kanya ni hesus, sa verse 13 at 14, “Ang bawat uminom ng tubig na ito ay muling mauuhaw, subalit ang sinumang umiinom ng tubig na aking ibibigay ay hindi na mauuhaw magpakailanman. Ang tubig na aking ibibigay sa kanya ay magiging isang bukal ng tubig tungo sa buhay na walang hanggan.” Wari bagang sinasabi ni Hesus, iniibig ko ang lahat ng taong mga makasalanan, katulad sa pagibig Nya sa mga taong nagtiwala sa kanya sa verse 42. Siya ang tagapagligtas ng buong sanlibutan, katulad ng John 3:16, “upang ang sinumang sa kanya’y sumampalataya”, katulad din naman ng John 1:12, ” Subalit ang lahat ng tumanggap sa kanya na sumasampalataya sa kanyang pangalan ay kanyang pinagkalooban sila ng karapatan na maging mga anak ng Diyos,”. WHOSOEVER, kalakip dito ang self-righteous na si Nicodemus, at kalakip din dito ang Samaritana na patapon ng lipunan, at sa pagitan ng 2 ito, ikaw at ako ay naririto, kalakip rin dito. Wala akong pakialam kung sino ka, marahil ikaw ay isang relihiyoso katulad ni Nicodemo o isang taong matindi ang pangangailangan katulad ng Samaritana, sinasabi ko sa iyo, i am telling you with the full force of His love, He loves you. Iniibig ka ng Dios. Walang kinalaman dito ang kung anong karumaldumal na kasalanan na ginawa mo; o mga bagay na hindi mo ginawa, ang nakasalalay dito ay ang Kanyang karakter. Siya ay Dios ng pagibig, kaya nga kung tawagin natin Siya ay Abba, samakatuwid baga’y ating Ama. Iniibig ng Dios ang lahat ng Kanyang nilalang. At ito ang pagibig ng Dios na lumaganap sa buong sanlibutan. “Ang bawat uminom ng tubig na ito ay muling mauuhaw, subalit ang sinumang umiinom ng tubig na aking ibibigay ay hindi na mauuhaw magpakailanman. Ang tubig na aking ibibigay sa kanya ay magiging isang bukal ng tubig… “ Ito ay nagpapaalala sa atin ng John 7:38, mga pangungusap ni Hesus, “Ang sumasampalataya sa akin, gaya ng sinasabi ng kasulatan, Mula sa kanyang puso ay dadaloy ang mga ilog ng tubig na buháy.” Maalala ninyo na si Juan lamang ang bukod tangi sa tatlong may-akda ng synoptic Gospels ang malimit na magsalita tungkol sa buhay na walang hanggan. Eternal life, ito ang ang salitang Zoe na ang ibig sabihin ay God’s kind of life. New Age life – not quantity of earthly life, this is the quality of heaven life. This is the relationship of the Garden of Eden before the fall. This is the intimacy of Jesus and the Father in John 17. Sinabi sa kanya ng babae, “Ginoo, bigyan mo ako ng tubig na ito upang ako’y hindi na mauhaw o pumarito pa upang umigib.” Pansinin ninyo ang sinabi ni Hesus sa kanya. Jesus is going to prick her conscience about her need, about her greatest need. “Tawagin mo ang iyong asawa at bumalik ka rito. Ang babae ay sumagot sa kanya, “Wala akong asawa.” Sinabi sa kanya ni Jesus, “Tama ang sabi mo, ‘Wala akong asawa; sapagkat nagkaroon ka na ng limang asawa, at ang kinakasama mo ngayon ay hindi mo asawa…” Sa pagkakataong ito, nawawari na ng Samaritanang ito na ang kanyang kausap ay hindi lamang isang pangkaraniwang Hudyo. Inihahantong na siya ni Hesus sa tunay na kahulugan ng Buhay na Tubig na ito, at ang dapat na maunang mapagtanto ng isang tao tungkol sa Mabuting balita, ay ang masamang balita ng pagrerebelde ng tao. Hindi Niya kinukunsinti ang kasalanan ng babaeng ito, at hindi rin naman Sya napapatisod nito. Tila bagang batid Nya na nais ng Ama na Kanyang katagpuin ang nilalang na ito, Bakit? Upang ipaalam sa kanya at sa buong sanlibutan, Na iniibig tayo ng ating Tagapaglikha. Hindi ko tunay na batid kung sino kayo, o kung anong kasalanan ang inyong nagawa, hindi ko batid kung kayo man ay naging patapon ng lipunan, ngunit nais kong sabihin sa inyo, iniibig ka ng Dios mong lumikha sa iyo, at nais nyang makipagsalumbuhay sa iyo. Ako’y namamangha na nais ng Dios na tayong lahat ay makabilang sa Kanyang pamilya at hindi Sya magsasawa kailanman ipahayag ang Kanyang karakter ng pagibig sa ating lahat. Kapag ikaw ay nagpapatotoo tungkol sa Panginoon, malimit ang tao ay umiiwas at pilit na iniiba ang usapan. Katulad ng Samaritana na ito, at katulad din ni Nicodemo sa chapter 3, pilit na umiiwas sa tunay na nyang pangangailangan. Tumugon ang Samaritana, “Ginoo, nakikita kong ikaw ay isang propeta. Sumamba ang aming mga ninuno sa bundok na ito; ngunit sinasabi ninyo na ang lugar na dapat pagsambahan ng mga tao ay sa Jerusalem.” Sinabi sa kanya ni Jesus, “Babae, maniwala ka sa akin na darating ang oras na inyong sasambahin ang Ama, hindi sa bundok na ito o sa Jerusalem. ninyo ang hindi ninyo nakikilala. Sinasamba namin ang nakikilala namin sapagkat ang kaligtasan ay mula sa mga Judio.” Ang tinuturan dito ni Hesus ay ang mga pangako sa Matandang Tipan tungkol sa Mesias, at m agigimbal ang Samaritanang ito. Palagay ko hindi natin nawawari na ang ginawa ni Hesus ng paglilinis ng templo sa chapter 2 ay isang radikal na pagpapahayag ng Kanyang pagka-Dios na tila sa Kanyang ginawang yaon ay sinentensyahan na Niya ang Kanyang Sarili. Na pinahayag Nya na ang tanging pagasa ng bansang Israel ay hindi pagsunod sa kanilang Kautusan kundi Siya at tanging Sya. Kanyang tatanggihan ang Judaismo sa bundok ng Moriah, at tatangihan Nya ang pagsamba ng mga Samaritano sa bundok ng Gerizim. At Kanyang sasabihin darating ang araw, at ngayon na, kung nais nyong makilala ang Dios dapat ninyong Kilalanin ako. It doesn’t matter where you worship, whether in a big building, in a makeshift, under a big tree, or in a hotel room. It’s not the accoutrements of worship, it’s not the merit of the worshipers, it’s not the Liturgy of the worshipers, it’s the object of the worshipers and if the object is anything but the crucified resurrected Jesus Christ, you will never make it to heaven. Ang katotohanan na ito ay kagimbal-gimbal sa Samaritana at kagimbal gimbal din para sa atin. Na bagamat ang lahat ng ating pagpupunyagi na abutin ang Dios sa pamamagitan ng ating mga gawa ay bale-walang lahat, ngunit ang Dios mismo ng Biblia ang Syang nanaog upang abutin tayo at dalhin tayo sa Kanyang Sarili. At sinabi sa kanya ni Hesus darating ang oras na hindi sa bundok na ito o sa Herusalem,… ito ay napakaradikal na pangungusap para sa mga Hudyo at para sa mga Samaritano, sapagkat ang lahat ng kanilang mga paniniwala at pagasa ay konektado sa templong iyon, at pinalis at binale walang lahat ni Hesus ng sinabi Nya sa Mateo 24, Markos 13, Lukas 21, “Gibain ninyo ang templong ito at aking itatayo sa loob ng tatlong araw.” – Nakahanda na talagang patayin ng mga tao si Hesus dahil dito, sapagkat ang kanilang pagasa nakabatay na lahat sa templong yaon, sa Jewish sacrificial system, sa mga ritual na kanilang idinadaos sa dakong yaon, and Jesus wipes it all away. “Sinasamba ninyo ang hindi ninyo nakikilala. Sinasamba namin ang nakikilala namin sapagkat ang kaligtasan ay mula sa mga Judio.” That’s what Romans 9 is all about, do you catch what tha’s saying? “The hour is coming and now is…? Ito ay tungkol sa 2 pagparito ni Hesus na siyang nagdulot igting or tension sa Biblia. Isang pagparito lamang ang inaasahan ng mga Hudyo – Ang pagparito ng Mesias bilang isang Hukom, bilang isang makapangyarihang mandirigma upang gapiin ang mga kaaway ng bansang Israel. Ngunit ang problema, ay there were 2 comings. They missed the first coming of a Servant, a Saviour of Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 9. Yes they were right about a second coming in power and for judgment but they missed this first coming of a Servant. And so the truth is that, I believe the kingdom of God has been inaugurated in the life of Christ but it has not been consummated. “Subalit dumarating ang oras at ngayon na nga, na sasambahin ng mga tunay na sumasamba ang Ama…” Alam nyo hindi malimit na pinaguusapan natin ang Ama, nabanggit lamang Siya sa verse 21 at 23, at sa tuwing gagamitin natin ang salitang Ama sa Bagong Tipan ay kung sasambitin lamang natin Siya bilang Ama ng Panginoong Hesu-Kristo. Ganoon lang natin ginagamit ang salitang Ama, bihirang bihira. Alam nyo noong araw noong wala pa kaming anak misis ko, ang akala ko sa Dios Ama ang hanging Judge of the universe. Strikto. Bahagya’t kibot ay parusa ang dulot. Ngunit nung ako’y naging ama ng aming tahanan, nagbagong lahat ang aking konsepto tungkol sa Dios. Kung batid nyo lamang ang emosyon at attachment ng isang ama sa isang anak. Yung pagibig at hangarin ng pinakamagaling para sa kanya and aking nararanasan, ngunit kailangan ko rin maranasan ang pagrerebelde ng aking anak kapag kung minsan, at maunawaan ang lahat ng bagay tungkol sa pagpapalaki ng isang anak. Ngayon, alam ko na ang damdamin ng Dios Ama patungo sa atin, na Kanyang mga anak. Pansinin nyo ang huling bahagi ng verse 23, “…na sasambahin ng mga tunay na sumasamba ang Ama sa espiritu at katotohanan,. Palagay ko ang sinasabi sa atin nito, ang tunay na pagsamba ay hindi sa pisikal o panlabas na pagkarelihiyoso. Ang tunay na pagsamba ay hindi isang gusali. Ang iglesia ay hindi isang gusali na pinagtitipunan ng mga tao minsan isang linggo, 2 hanggang 3 oras. Ang iglesia ay tayo mismo, tayong tumatawag sa Pangalan ni Hesus, at tayo ay isang maliit na bahagi lamang ng kabuuan ng iglesia ng Panginoon sa buong mundo. “sapagkat hinahanap ng Ama ang gayong mga sumasamba sa kanya…” – Alam nyo kung babasahin nyo ang John 6:44 at 15:16, na kung saan ay ang Ama mismo ang Syang naglalapit at inihihimatong tayo sa Kanyang Anak na si Hesus. ito ay napaka touching at poignant para sa akin sapagkat si Hesus mismo ang Syang nagkusa na pumaroon sa dako ng Samaria upang katagpuin itong isang patapon na patotot sa kanilang lipunan. Tinanggihan ng mga tao, kinamuhian ng lipunan, at sa gitna ng kanyang pagiging makasalanan, tinanggap at inibig ni Hesus. Kinatagpo ni Hesus ang babaeng ito, at dahil sa pangyayaring ito, marami ang nagsisampalataya kay Hesus. kinakatagpo din tayo ni Hesus. Si Hesus ang pagkabuhay na muli at buhay na walang haggan, Siya ang ilaw ng Sanlibutan, Siya ang tinapay na nanaog mula sa langit. Siya ay ang Dios ng Pagibig. Maging sino ka man, kinakatagpo ka ni Hesus ngayon. Bakit hindi mo ipagkatiwala sa Kanya ang iyong buhay?


(read Rev. 5:1-5) As John wailed because of the specter that no one was found worthy to open the book, one of the elders (acting as an angelic interpreter) comforts John, and tells him to ‘stop wailing, for the seals will be opened. John finds that Christ who is here called ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (cf. Gen. 49:9-10; 2 Esdras 12:31-32) is worthy to open the book. But He is also spoken of as ‘a lamb’, looking as it had been slain’. It speaks of the Christ crucified on the cross that He is worthy. Satan is called a ‘roaring lion’ in 1 Pet. 5:8, but here it’s the Lord Jesus Christ who is called a ‘lion’; it speaks of His power and royalty. Now the next phrase is very important, notice He belongs to the ‘tribe of Judah, the Root of David’ – this is a direct reference to Isa. 11:1-9, and in Eccles. 47:22 where it seems to be a ‘Shoot’ of David instead of a ‘Root’. This also goes back to the promise of a royal Messiah from 2 Samuel chapter 7, and we see it again in Revelation 22:16. Another allusion to this ‘the root of Jesse’ is found in Jeremiah 23:5. It tells us that the Lion has triumphed (aorist tense, meaning triumphed once and for all) – a beautiful expression of this is found in Col. 2:15. Notice, He’s called a ‘Lion’ but He conquers by being a ‘sacrificial Lamb’. This is a paradox of the 2 comings of God in Christ; one is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, but one as the ‘suffering Servant’ of Isaiah 53:7. this is exactly what John is hitting here – these 2 allusions to ‘Lion and Lamb’. Now notice as it says, “who has conquered. He can open the book and its seven seals”. Verse 6, “Then I saw a Lamb standing in the middle of the throne, and the 4 living creatures standing among the elders, a Lamb that looked as though it had been slaughtered…” It was ritually killed as the throat was cut like it was ritually slaughtered. But He was alive, and it’s an allusion to the vicarious substitutionary atonement of Christ. The idea of a Lamb is repeated over and over and over in the book of Revelation, and you’ll notice the concept of the cross is found throughout the book of Revelation. This is the concept of the New Testament picture that Jesus died for our sins (cf. Mk. 10:45; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Now what Lamb is it referring to? Well, some say it’s the Passover Lamb some say it’s the Lamb of the morning and evening sacrifice, some say it’s the Lamb of Isaiah 53:7, some say it’s like John 1:29’s “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” I’m not sure what Lamb it is, but I’m so glad that Jesus laid down His life on our behalf, and that’s how He has overcome. That’s how He is worthy to open the book, not because He’s just so strong, but because He gave His life for and in our behalf. It’s the central truth of the Gospel, and that’s what really matters! Hallelujah!