11th February 2017 - Josh Mackay
Barabbas was a man who lived in Jerusalem, Judea, around AD29 during the time of the Roman Empire. Barabbas was a troublemaker, a thief and a murderer. The punishment for his crimes was that he had to be crucified; which was a common punishment. This meant that he was to be nailed to a wooden cross until he would die of exhaustion and suffocation. Beyond these details, the Bible does not tell us very much about Barabbas, so the story described below is a realistic interpretation of what may have taken place. Often the Romans would force a criminal to make the cross that they were going to die on. This may have been to cause the criminal some mental suffering to go with the […]
Joseph was a firstfruits
The principle of firstfruits is revealed through the life of Joseph. Joseph, a fruitful son in his father’s house, was, figuratively, sown as a slave into the ground when his brothers threw him into a well and then sold him as a slave. ‘Buried’ in captivity, he endured a series of unjust circumstances; yet, through them, he continued to prosper. At an appointed time, Joseph surfaced from the hidden place of his captivity, bearing the fruit of God’s chastening, with new life, a new office and a new authority. As a sanctified son revealing the will of God, Joseph was anointed for his priestly service, which was to minister reconciliation. This was more than simply forgiving his brothers and then offering them safety and food during the famine. Joseph gave them the bread of life, enabling them to be restored to the will of God.
Like Joseph, we who are born of God are to be joined to a process that results in our sanctification. This process is like being sown into the ground in the same manner as a seed. As we join Christ’s death, crucifying those things that prevent us from attaining our sanctification, He gives us His life. This transfer of His life to us, as He takes our sin upon Himself, proceeds as we continue to offer ourselves in the circumstances of our life. As we endure tribulation because of His word, we are transformed. Through this process, we bear the fruit of our sanctification, resulting in eternal life.
Through His word, God gives us faith to participate in offering. As we continue to receive God’s word, we will be motivated by a spirit of faith to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, according to our sanctification. We are then activated as ministers of the New Covenant, reconciling others to the will of God in the same way that we have been established in the will of God.