How we Will Enter the Kingdom of God

The earliest letter written by Paul was Thessalonians around A.D. 52-54. Paul wrote his letter in response to the Thessalonians’ church, encouraging them and heartening the believers. The men from the Jewish community sent men to cause animosity toward the Christians who strayed from Judaism. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to comprehend that being persecuted was part of their faith. He encouraged them to strengthen for Jesus Christ and the gospel’s sake because it was expected as the cost of their faith. In fact, Paul petitions for grace and peace while on the same hand asks for patience of hope.

He tells them that they need to remain strong and in their faith because Jesus died and raised and is the Son of God. The day Jesus comes it will be unexpected because it is not written. There is no escape of this day so they have to be aware and prepare.  We are to act impure but act in holiness, because this is what God called us to do. If we reject this we are rejecting God who has also gave his Holy Spirit.  He urges us to be independent, in a sense because others do not have to show their love. We are taught by God to love one another. In fact, he urges to live quietly, work, and mind our own problems so we do not become dependent on anyone.

Moreover, Paul informs us to not become sad once someone dies. When the Lord descends from heaven there will be a cry of command, an archangel’s call, and the sound of God’s trumpet. God will raise those who died as believers first. Those who are still alive will be caught all together to meet with the Lord, and be together for eternity. With this being said, the day Jesus comes is not written, it will be unexpected. There will be no escape of this day so be aware and prepared. We are not to be afraid when this day comes because God has destined for us to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ . Jesus died for us and in no matter the circumstance we are to live with him.

In fact, Paul asks to respect those who have change of you in the Lord and love them because of what they do. In addition, he says to stay positive by helping the weak, be patient, and encourage those who are timid. He encourages  to do this so we won’t be repaid in evil but always seek good. We are to remain joyful, pray, and give thanks in all occasions because this is what God in Christ Jesus desires for us to do. Moreover, he states that we are to stay away from evil by testing everything and holding onto the good. All these actions are to have our body, soul, and spirit kept sound and blameless once Jesus comes. We will be called faithful because Jesus is faithful. If we pray, greet our brothers and sisters with a holy kiss, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ will be with us.

Throughout Paul’s message in Thessalonians 1 he warns us about living in an evil world. There is a struggle between good and evil forces. However, this battle will end soon and the good will overshadow the evil. Once this happens we will be judged by God and the righteous people will be separated from the others. The righteous people will then be raised in heaven with him and with the people who died as believers, and live forever. Similarly, love cannot be shown with a counterattack to unkind acts.  We are to show patience with others, showing the love of God which is strengthened with the Holy Spirit. Without the power of the Holy Spirit a holy life is impossible to have. A holy life consists of being full of joy, being thankful, and to continue praying.

Praying should be something done continuously, thanking God because God is working for our best. In fact, we have to pray for others. We are to encourage one another to practice these things so we can be reunited with the believers who have died and God. He mentions to the Thessalonians that they were chosen by God for a reason. Now they have to continue living this way but practice it more and more. The instructions given by the authority of the Lord now we are just to practice them. We were called to live a holy life therefore we are to act that way, pure. Those who do not will be punished by God as we are told and warned, we are to live to please God. The reward of following this will is simple, being together in the clouds to be with the Lord, forever. Therefore we are to encourage each other with these words so we are rewarded once the God comes down again.

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The Power of Jesus

Matthew 27:45-55

The death of Jesus occurs shortly after he calls for Elijah, meaning his God, questioning why he has abandoned him. The significance of Jesus’s death is shown when he breathed his last breath. The earth shook, rocks were split, the curtain was torn in two, tombs were opened, and saints were raised. Similarly, this occurs in Mark as he calls for his God; and the curtain was torn in two. In Matthew the importance of Jesus death was defined through the multiple events that occurred. While both have similar events; however, Matthew adds the shaking of the earth, rising of the dead, and opening of tombs. In the Gospel of Matthew – Matthew’s message is that Jesus is the promised messiah. With this being said, what was Matthew’s purpose to add these events to Mark’s account? What was his point of doing this? Is he attempting to show the reader the significance of Jesus’s death, that he is the messiah? While both Mark and Matthew have similar events through the death of Jesus; Matthew decided to add more verses that were significant to him. This can be an effect from Matthew experiencing conflict with the Jewish people who did not believe Jesus was the messiah.

However, Matthew’s use of earthquakes is not only present in the death of Jesus but also when Mary Magdalene went to see Jesus’s tomb. Matthew uses earthquakes as a sign to show Jesus is present, he never was absent. As a reader we are drawn to the fact that the earth was shaken. This is a sign that Jesus is active and he has never left. God’s activity is shown through the earthquakes and rocks splitting, showing how Jesus is the messiah. He is the King of the Jews, our promised savior. Matthew states this in the first line of the Gospel demonstrating his kingdomship as the Son of David and of Abraham.

Jesus opens the tombs and rises people from the dead, another difference from Mark and Luke. Nevertheless, we know that after resurrection the dead were raised. Why did people rise from the dead? Is he narrating it in this manner as a preparation for resurrection?  Or does he want us to see the connection between Jesus death and his resurrection? Matthew want us to recognize that Jesus’s resurrection after being crucified is a necessary event that needs to occur. Moreover, Jesus talks to Martha because she does not believe in resurrection. He tells her that one day his voice will rise the dead but some will be condemned and those who trust in him will live eternal life. This is significant because those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus believe in him. He has the power to lift people from the dead since he created life, so he has the power to resurrect. Jesus has the sovereignty over life and death.

After Mary and Mary Magdalene went to see the tomb a great earthquake occurs. An angel appears as lightning and white like snow. He tells the guards that Jesus has risen to not be afraid and meet him in Galilee where they will see him. The earthquake that occurs shows his presence, his power, and his return. Matthew again uses the imagery of nature to demonstrate the importance of Jesus presence. Jesus is resurrected but he continues to show his importance and how powerful he is. Jesus presence causes the world to tremble and Matthew demonstrates this again in this scene as he resurrects.

Jesus miracle resurrected dead people Matthew 27 Bible - Public Domain “The Dead Appear in the Temple” by James Tissot.

On the other hand, in the Gospel of  Luke he narrates the death of Jesus differently than Mark and Matthew. In Luke Jesus does not call for Elijah, he accepts his death. Jesus does not question him but commends to him, in a peaceful manner. In fact, in Luke there is no tearing of the curtain like there is in Matthew and Mark. In both Matthew and Mark the people there witnessing Jesus’s death proclaim “Truly this man was God’s Son!” While on the other hand in Luke the centurion states “Certainly this man was innocent.” However, in Matthew and Mark the people accept that he truly was the God’s son. In Luke the people return home beating their chest as if they felt guilty of not knowing that Jesus was innocent. In Luke he was recognized but not as God’s son as he was in Matthew and Mark. John 1:29 Jesus’s mission was to be a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. Does Luke believe that Jesus’s death was to redeem people from their sins? He does not acknowledge this throughout his narration of Jesus death but that he was an innocent man.

In Luke there are no use of earthquakes like in Matthew showing the power of Jesus. In fact, the people do not recognize him as God’s son. The lack of imagery of nature in Luke has a lower impact on the reader because they simply saw him as an innocent man who was crucified. The use of earthquakes in the bible are used to show the presence of Jesus which were highly used in Matthew. The difference between the three gospels is shown significantly. Although Matthew and Mark have a similarity through the death of Jesus; in Matthew the adding of the the earthquake, rising of the dead, and saints were risen have a higher impact on the reader. In fact, this proves to the reader the significance of his death and how powerful he is. If you believe in the resurrection of Jesus then you believe in him. Jesus is the promised messiah.

Christ is our bridge to heaven - the only Way across the gulf between earthly life and eternal glory   “Radiant Light” by Elizabeth Wang.

 

 

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