An interesting congregational exercise: “Why did Jesus come?”

February 24, 2020

This is not the usual posting that I have made after having had the privilege to share with our little congregation.   I decided to try an experiment, which I highly recommend to any of you who may find yourselves in a similar situation.

The week before, I assigned”‘homework” for the group.  Here is a copy of the assignment:

“There are plenty of people who are ready and eager to tell you “Why Jesus came”.
It is not always clear where they got their information.  Some are quite faithful to his message, and others much less so.  How do you decide which ones to accept?
By far the best authority on that subject is Jesus himself.
This is not in any way to disparage the Biblical writers, or anyone else, but in order to represent Jesus faithfully, we need to be familiar with his own words.
Please find some time this week to look carefully through at least one of the Gospel accounts, and make a list of the direct quotes from Jesus himself on this subject.  It would be good if couples or family units would each use a different Gospel account.
The things you are looking for may be introduced by such phrases as:
“This is why…”
“I have come because…”
“In order that…” or “in order to …”
“So that…”
or just simply “to” or “for”.
You may be surprised at what is or is not included.
Please be ready to share what you find.”

I was not at all sure how many folks would try this exercise, but was delighted with the response.    Here is a summary of what they contributed:

To preach in the next towns  Lk.4:43
To do my Father’s business Lk.2:49
To do the will of the Father Jn.6:38
To bear witness to the truth (before Pilate) Jn.18:5-8
To preach the Kingdom of God Lk.4:42
Not to call righteous, but “sinners”  Mt.9:13, Mk.k2:17, Mk.5:31
To give my life a ransom Mk.10:44  (although the respondent had expected him to say “sacrifice”)
To set the oppressed free Lk.4:18
To set prisoners free Lk.7:22
To seek and to save the lost Jn.19:10
Not to bring peace but division  Mt.10:35, Lk.12:51
Draw all people to myself Jn.12:27-33
Recovery of sight to the blind Lk.4:23
Not to be served, but to serve  Mt.20:28, Lk.22:29
To proclaim the Kingdom Lk.4:43
For judgment – to sort out those who admitted need  Jn.9:38-39, Mt.12:18
That everything about me will be fulfilled – in Law, prophets and psalms  Lk.24:44, Lk.4:18-19
Not to abolish law and prophets, but to fulfill  Mt.5:17
To fulfill Law  Jn.15:22
To make the Father  known to people Jn.17:25

“I AM” statements  (note:  there are many more)
Bread for life of the world Jn.6:51
Light of the world Jn.8:12
Good shepherd Jn.10
The way, the truth, and the Life Jn.14:6
“Don’t be afraid– I AM” Mk. 6:50,14:61

He HAS power ON EARTH to forgive sins Mk.2:10, Mt.9:5, Lk.5:24  (notice the present tense!)
Everything is handed over to Jesus by the Father Mt.11:27
(Jesus) brought glory to the Father by following his instructions Jn.17:4
Must suffer, be rejected and be raised Lk.9:22
There is tribulation in the world, but “I have overcome” the world Jn.16.33
I will come back and take you where I AM  Jn.14:3
I will send the Spirit  Jn.16:7
The Kingdom HAS ARRIVED  Mk.1:15  (at the BEGINNING of his ministry!)


As you can see, any one of these would make a “sermon” topic by itself.  Perhaps sometime it will.  The important thing for this session was to allow folks to see that many things that are usually overlooked were important enough for Jesus to emphasize them — and many ideas that are usually “preached”  were not on his expressed agenda at all.  It will be interesting to see if any of these are followed-up!  (In our little group, we take turns with a message.)

I highly commend this exercise to any of you.


An offer for those interested

April 13, 2016

Good morning, friends.
Recently, a friend of mine inquired about getting copies of Citizens of the Kingdom for a study class to use.  I was glad to send her what she needed.

As I hope I have made clear, any of you are free to make (or to have made) copies of any of my work on this site for your personal use, as long as you do not sell them for any reason.  I try to live by my conviction that anything that is truly a gift from the Lord should NEVER be used for anyone’s profit.

However, I do have a good-sized box of print copies of Citizens, which were made before my son Dan put the work on the internet for you.  They are just sitting in a closet.  It occurred to me that some of you might also like to have a few for group use.  THEY ARE NOT FOR SALE.  I would, however, be glad to send any of you what you might want to use, simply for the cost of the shipping.  Please respect the trust I have in you, that you will not offer them for sale.  UPS charged me about $15 to mail a box of ten to Pennsylvania from North Carolina,  so I do not feel able to foot the bill for shipping a quantity multiple times.
But I would rather have you using them, than just have them taking up space.

You can reply here on the site if you wish.

In the service of the King —


New resources

January 3, 2016

Hello, folks.

As I’m sure you have noticed, there have been no new postings for the last couple months.  We have been working on the problem with the Translation Notes.  Seems that the Greek font I had been using, no longer is compatible with PDF’s, and so when anyone tried to print that off, Greek words came up with a crazy jumble of English letters that were completely meaningless.  After trying a bunch of alternatives, Dan and I decided that the best solution was to simply use the transliteration we have been using in the regular studies. So I re-did the whole thing.  Sorry about that, to those of you who would prefer”real” Greek — but although the technology is out there somewhere, my computer skills are not up to learning a whole new system at this point.

So Dan has now posted the Notes in a printable (transliterated) form, which you can access from the “download” section of the homepage.  In case any of you want the Greek version, it is still there, and you can get to it if you download “SLGreek” to your computer.

We apologize for the inconvenience and nuisance, but it is the best we can do.

Wishing a blessing-filled New Year to you all — Now I will get back to a few waiting requests for studies.  Keep your suggestions for new work coming.


2015 in review

December 31, 2015

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Note to readers

March 16, 2015

Dear folks who have been using this resource:

Some of you have wondered about the lack of postings lately, and you deserve to know that I too will be glad when they can come back.  The site has been used nearly 75,000 times, in 174 countries.  This is a real delight, and each one of you continues to be in my prayers.
The fact is, that after a silly injury, I ended up having spinal surgery, and although it went well, I am not allowed to bend over or to lift more than 5 pounds.  Nearly all of my reference works are heavier than that!  And sitting for a long time does not work either.

So, dear people, thank you for your interest, and I hope to be back with you before too much longer.  Any prayers are greatly appreciated.


2014 in review

December 29, 2014

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

For folks who already printed the PNT text

December 4, 2014

If you have already made yourself a copy of the latest PNT text (as of last year), I am furnishing here the brief list of things that have been corrected in the newly published version.  Since there are only a few, you can just make the corrections in your copy, without printing the whole thing again.

Matthew 3, second line: substitute “arrived” for “come near.”  (It’s a perfect tense.)

At the end of Acts 5, the next-to-last line:  a closed square bracket instead of the vertical line

Romans 15, second paragraph (v.7), first line:  should read “welcomed you“, not “us.”

II Timothy 3:16:  insert “also” after each of the places where (is) appears.

James 2:20 — first line:  the “O” should be capitalized.

I John 1, second paragraph, v.7, after “blood” add in brackets  “[life]”.

Rev.14, third line from the end:  the parenthetical note should be italicized: it is not in the text.

That will bring your copy up to date.